Middle East File: Top Syrian general defects amidst “Arab Spring” uprising, Syrian National Council and Marxist-infiltrated National Coordination Board sign pact for post-Assad government; Damascus: December 23 car bombs targeted Russian SVR agents; Iran’s Ahmadinejad plans tour of Latin American allies

The civilian uprising and military rebellion against Syria’s Arab Socialist Ba’ath regime continued this week, provoking President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces to disperse protesters, even as Arab League peace monitors inspected some of the more troubled cities in the country. The United Nations estimates that more than 5,000 people have been killed in the government crackdown on dissent since March.

Pictured above: Syrian National Council chief Burhan Ghaliun.

Yesterday, in Cairo, the opposition Syrian National Council, consisting of both the banned Muslim Brotherhood and liberal groups, signed a pact with another dissident group, National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria (NCB), laying the ground rules for a “transitional period” should Assad be toppled. The NCB embraces Arab nationalists, socialists, independents, Marxists, and members of Syria’s minority Kurdish community. The coalition opposes any NATO military intervention, such as took place in Libya, where long-time dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi was ousted and killed in October. The pact articulates support for the mutinous Free Syrian Army, which has been battling regular army troops.

For decades, the two factions of the Syrian Communist Party have held subordinate positions in the Ba’athist-led National Progressive Front, but Syria’s communists can be expected to try to exert influence in any post-Assad regime.

Several days before Christmas, reports the Israeli media, a top Syrian army general, Mustapha a-Sheikh, defected from his post, allegedly escaping over the northern border into Turkey, which has condemned Assad’s crackdown on opposition. A-Sheikh’s defection apparently reflects increasing frustration among many army soldiers at being ordered to kill civilians. “Weeks ago,” Arutz Sheva states, “soldiers were subjected to intense propaganda stressing that the protests were being organized by groups seeking to plunge Syria into anarchy, who were funded by ‘foreign governments.’” Notwithstanding Assad’s propaganda machine, “many soldiers have come to the conclusion that the uprising in Syria is indeed a legitimate expression of protest by Syrians.”

Sources in the Israeli Defense Forces told Army Radio that “the increasing instability in Syria is of great concern to Israeli security officials.” The Israeli government has taken note of the fact that on December 21 the Syrian army conducted military exercises using its “most advanced equipment,” and is worried that those weapons could fall into the hands of Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist organization, either before or after Assad is ousted. Among the weapons Syria displayed in its exercises were the Russian-made P-800 supersonic Yakhont anti-ship missile.

Meanwhile, Syrian state television reports that the two powerful car bombs that exploded in Damascus on December 23 were targeting both the Syrian intelligence agencies, as well as Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) agents based out of Moscow’s embassy in the Syrian capital. The Ba’athist regime alleges that Al Qaeda-linked elements were probably responsible for the blast, but Omar Idilbi, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council called the explosions “very mysterious because they happened in heavily guarded areas that are difficult to be penetrated by a car.” The two explosions killed 40 people and injured 100.

Russian diplomatic personnel in Damascus lambasted the report, denying the blasts occurred anywhere near Moscow’s embassy. “No, I think it is utter nonsense. Russian intelligence has no buildings here and I have no idea how, even theoretically, it is possible to do this,” an embassy spokesman told Gazeta.ru. The embassy insisted that “no Russian companies or representative offices are located anywhere near those areas.”

Incidentally, earlier this month, the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and a hardline Salafist Islamic group emerged as the two largest forces in a second round of national elections that will chart Egypt’s course following February’s overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak. The Muslim Brotherhood has issued assurances to the effect that it will not seek to implement an Islamic state after it forms Egypt’s next government.

Elsewhere in the region, Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is vehemently anti-Israel to the point of genocide, plans to visit several Latin American countries ruled by leftist, anti-Zionist regimes, including Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Ecuador.  Ahmadinejad’s tour is slated for the second week of January 2012. To her credit, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed concern over Iran’s alliances with countries in the Western Hemisphere.


Asia File: North Korea’s genocidal communist dictator dead, succession passes to third son; South Korean armed forces on emergency alert; Red China, Latin America’s Red Axis leaders outdo one another in mourning demise of Kim Jong-il

 – Kim Jong-il’s Brother-in-Law, Vice-Chairman of National Defence Commission Probable “Power Behind the Throne” in North Korea

– Cuban Dissidents Worry Member of Castro Clan May Assume Control of Communist State after Raul’s Eventual Demise

This past Monday, the citizen-slaves of the communist hellhole known as North Korea poured into the streets of their capital, Pyongyang, to bewail the death of their “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-il. At the same time, state media hailed Kim’s untested third son, Jong-un, as the impoverished country’s “Great Successor.” The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) lauded Kim’s youngest son, Jong-un as “the outstanding leader of our party, army and people.” The DPRK, extolled KCNA, has the “absolute surety that the leadership of Comrade Kim Jong-un will lead and succeed the great task of revolutionary enterprise.”

Pictured above: On September 9, 2011, Kim Jong-il (right) and son Kim Jong-un (second from left) review a military parade in Pyongyang.

In central Pyongyang, large crowds gathered at a massive memorial to Kim Jong-il’s father, Kim Il-sung, to mourn the death of their “Dear Leader.” Kim will be laid to rest next to his father. The KCNA acknowledged that Kim Jong-il died on Saturday, December 17, after “an advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated with a serious heart shock.” Earlier, a tearful North Korean television announcer, dressed in black and her voice quavering, said the 69-year old ruler died of “physical and mental over-work” while on a train tour of factories, farms, and the armed forces.

“Kim Jong-un is a pale reflection of his father and grandfather. He has not had the decades of grooming and securing of a power base that Jong-il enjoyed before assuming control from his father,” commented Bruce Klingner, an Asia policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC. “[He] may feel it necessary in the future to precipitate a crisis to prove his mettle to other senior leaders or deflect attention from the regime’s failings.”

In 1945, after the withdrawal of Japanese troops and under the aegis of the Soviet military, Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, founded the DPRK. At the same time, in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula, US troops oversaw the formation of the Republic of Korea. In 1951, the North invaded the South and, two years later, was finally repelled by a United Nations-backed military coalition led by the USA. A truce held, but no peace treaty was ever signed and, thus, North and South Korea are still in a state of war.

Regional security concerns over the so-called hermit state, which in 2010 shelled civilians on a South Korean island and is blamed for the sinking of a South Korean warship earlier that year, were heightened after Seoul said the North had test-fired a short-range missile prior to the announcement of Kim’s death. It was the first known launch since June.

North Korea, which tested a nuclear device in 2006 and again in May 2009, is seen as one of the greatest threats to regional security. Last year, the secretive North unveiled a uranium enrichment facility, giving it a second route to make an atomic bomb along with its plutonium program.

Communist China, the North’s neighbour and only powerful ally, said it was confident that the two countries would maintain their relationship. “We were distressed to learn of the unfortunate passing of [Kim] … and we express our grief about this and extend our condolences to the people of North Korea,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying. “We are confident the North Korean people will be able to turn their anguish into strength and unify as one,” he added.

Kim Jong-un takes over a Stalinist state whose economy was ravaged by decades of mismanagement. Under Kim Jong-il’s rule, an estimated 1 million North Koreans died during a famine in the 1990s. Even with good harvests, the state cannot feed its 25 million people. Little is known of Jong-un, who is believed to be in his late 20s and who studied for a short time at a school in Switzerland. In reality, Asia analysts speculate that Jang Sung-taek, Kim Jong-il’s brother-in-law and Vice-Chairman of the National Defence Commission, will be the “power behind the throne” until Kim Jong-un has obtained some experience in leadership.

Upon learning of Kim’s death, South Korea placed its troops and all government employees on emergency alert, but decided that there were no indications of any unusual North Korean troop movements. The USA reaffirmed that is was committed to “stability” on the Korean Peninsula. There are some 28,000 US troops in South Korea. Across the heavily armed border, the North maintains an estimated 1 million troops, one of the world’s largest standing armies.

Japan is also closely following events on the Korean Peninsula. “We hope this sudden event does not have an adverse effect on the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told a news conference after a hastily called ministerial meeting on security.

Meanwhile, Latin America’s tinpot communist dictators are falling over themselves to articulate their remorse over the long-awaited demise of the genocidal megalomaniac in Pyongyang. In fellow communist state Cuba, flags flew at half-staff on Tuesday as Cubans began three days of official mourning for Kim Jong-il. A book of condolences was opened at the North Korean embassy in Havana, with a big mugshot of the dead “Dear Leader” and flowers in the entrance.

Havana and Pyongyang established diplomatic ties in 1960, the year after Fidel Castro seized power in a revolution facilitated by a communist-infiltrated US State Department. Both Cuba and North Korea were later placed on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, until the latter was removed in 2008.

Not so coincidentally, Cuba is facing its own succession crisis as the island approaches a generational leadership change “without much new blood waiting in the wings.” Cuba was ruled for 49 years by Fidel Castro, now 85 years old, who was succeeded by brother and then first vice president Raul Castro in 2008. Under the constitution, if Raul were to leave office tomorrow, 81-year-old Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, first vice president of the Council of State, would succeed him until 2013.

Regime opponents said are worried that the Communist Party of Cuba could circumvent the constitution and follow North Korea’s example by quickly replacing Machado Ventura with a Castro family member.

“I hope that way of thinking does not take hold on the island,” said human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez. “But it could be that there are people thinking of that type of dynastic scheme with the children, grandchildren etc.”

Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez wrote: “In these parts, as well, genealogy has been more determinate than ballot boxes, and the heritage of blood has left us, in 53 years, only two presidents both with the same last name. The dauphin over there is named Kim Jong-un; perhaps soon they will communicate to us that over here ours will be Alejandro Castro Espin [Raul’s son]. Just to think about it makes me shudder.”

Cuba’s sister communist state, Bolivarian Venezuela, also expressed “sincere sorrow” for the demise of North Korea’s maniacal leader. In an email statement, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry stated: “The North Koreans will move toward a prosperous and peaceful future.” Caracas expressed its “solidarity” with North Korea and said that Venezuela is willing to “continue fighting along with sovereign nations for the auto-determination of countries and world peace.” North Korea, observes Bloomberg News, “has defied three U.S. administrations in its pursuit of nuclear weapons, while economic mismanagement has resulted in mass starvation.”

From Nicargaua, past/present President Daniel Ortega sent his condolences to the “people and government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for the death of their leader Kim Jong II.” The coordinator of Nicaragua’s Communication and Citizenship Council, Ortega’s wife Rosario Murillo, told the program Multinoticias on Channel 4: “The president [Ortega] deeply regrets the death of the beloved leader [Kim Jong-il].” Murillo continued: “We have wishes for the continuity of the process that the Korean people and its government are living, a process to further build peace and prosperity for all families in that country.”

After seizing power in a Soviet/Cuban-backed insurgency in 1979, the Sandinista National Liberation Front established diplomatic ties with North Korea. These were severed between 1990 and 2006, when pro-Washington governments ruled in Managua. With Ortega’s return to the presidency in January 2007, Nicaragua restored formal relations with North Korea’s Stalinist dictatorship.

Breaking News: North Korean state media: Communist dictator Kim Jong-il dead, son Kim Jong-un new “Dear Leader”

Middle East File: Rebel Free Syrian Army kills 27 police and regular troops in southern province, Syrian VP in Moscow; US Navy’s 6th Fleet endangered by Syria’s Russian-built Yakhont cruise missiles; US military ends Iraq occupation as Pentagon reportedly diverts special forces to Jordan-Syria border

The civil war in Syria–part of the unfolding Arab Spring uprisings that commenced in Tunisia this past January–continued this week with mutinous soldiers of the Syrian Free Army attacking and killing 27 regular troops in Daraa. The uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s Arab Socialist Ba’ath regime began in this southern province in March.

On Thursday, rebel troops fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a bus carrying police into the town of Busra al-Hariri, killing 12 officers and sparking clashes with accompanying soldiers. The defectors killed 13 regular troops in this incident, before killing two more soldiers in an attack on a checkpoint.

The next day, after Friday prayers, Syrian security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters at several locations around the country, while the army sent reinforcements into the tense south. In Homs, up to 200,000 people marched in different neighborhoods, denouncing Assad and his brutal crackdown against dissent.

Due to the turmoil, on Thursday Ottawa urged Canadians living in Syria to leave as soon as possible while commercial flights are still available. In September, Washington issued a similar warning for US citizens. At the United Nations in New York, Russia, a long-time ally of Syria, circulated a draft Security Council resolution that is designed to resolve the conflict in Syria without sanctions against the regime.

In a rare interview with a foreign journalist, Assad, who inherited power from his father Hafez in 2000, told Barbara Walters that he did not issue orders to kill civilians. However, New York-based Human Rights Watch insists that dozens of military commanders and officials authorized or gave direct orders for widespread murders and torture. The United Nations contends that 5,000 people have been killed in the Syrian uprising.

Meanwhile, the Syrian vice president, Farouk al-Sharaa, arrived in Moscow on Friday to meet with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, “to discuss ways for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in his country.” No doubt the Syrians and their Russian benefactors will discuss the state of Syria’s Russian-built missile defense system and the estimated time of arrival of Russia’s sole aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, in Syrian waters.

More than two weeks ago, in a previous post that cited the Cypriot media, we indicated that the Admiral Kuznetsov, which is the flagship of Russia’s Northern Fleet, was already near Malta, implying a quick deployment to Syria. Yesterday, however, according to the BBC News, citing UK Ministry of Defence sources, the Russian carrier and accompanying warships, including a destroyer and two frigates, sailed away from Scotland’s Moray Firth, where they had taken shelter. It appears, therefore, that the Russian naval task force will probably arrive in Syria in January.

Pictured above: The Royal Navy’s HMS York monitors the Admiral Kuznetsov off the coast of Scotland, on or around December 14, 2011.

Earlier this month, Defense Update reported that Russia has supplied two Bastion coastal missile systems to Syria, the result of a controversial US$300 million arms deal inked with Assad four years ago. Russian sources claim the new missile system will “enable Syria to protect its entire coast from a possible seaborne attack.”

One Bastion battery consists of 18 mobile launchers, each carrying two 3M55E Yakhont supersonic cruise missiles capable of striking surface targets on land and at sea at a range of 300 kilometers. The Yakhont is armed with a 200-kilogram warhead and seriously endangers vessels of the US Navy’s Six Fleet patrolling the eastern Mediterranean, as well as Israeli warships and Israeli offshore rigs. In a show of force, the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier, the US Navy’s newest, briefly parked outside Syrian waters last month, but has since returned to its home port in Norfolk, Virginia.

If rebel troops and protesters manage to topple the Ba’athist regime, speculates Defense Update, then these dangerous weapons, conceivably, could be transfered to its allies, such as Hezbollah, Iran, or other Islamic fundamentalist groups in the region.

In a December 16 report, Debkafile maintains that last week Russia airlifted three million gas masks to Syria and that when Russia’s aircraft carrier arrives in Syrian waters, probably in the New Year, the Russian Navy will carry out joint maneuvers with its Syrian counterpart. The purpose of this saber rattling will be to warn NATO against any potential Libyan-style assault against Syria. Turkey, which borders Syria to the north, is a long-time NATO member.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, today US occupational forces in Iraq handed over control of their last military facility in the country, the Imam Ali Base, known to the US military as Camp Adder, which housed 15,000 US troops at its peak. Presiding over the transfer of administration was US Colonel Richard Kaiser and Hussein al-Assadi, the Iraqi official in charge of base transfers.

“We proudly announce to the Iraqi people today the handover of the last American military base,” Assadi said after the signing ceremony. “Today we are turning the last page on the occupation.” Colonel Kaiser responded on behalf of the USA: “It’s an honour to have been the commander of this base, and to be the one to sign over the last large base in Iraq,” Kaiser told AFP news agency. “It’s truly an honour… I feel very proud of all the work we’ve done together.”

All that remains of the US military presence in Iraq are around 4,000 soldiers, down from a top strength of nearly 170,000 troops. The Imam Ali Base transfer concludes nearly nine years of US military involvement in Iraq, which began with a “shock and awe” campaign in 2003 to oust Saddam Hussein. Under the aegis of the US occupational forces, post-Ba’athist Iraq presently has a 900,000-strong armed forces that many analysts believe, while capable of maintaining internal security, lacks the equipment to defend its land borders, air space, and territorial waters at the head of the Persian Gulf.

Source of dubious credibility, such as the Kremlin-run Russia Today, which often features anti-capitalist conspiracymongers like Alex Jones, and Debkafile purport that rather than bring all of its troops home, the Pentagon has quietly deployed special forces along Jordan’s border with Syria, matching similar moves by the Assad regime. Damascus has accused both Amman and Ankara of harbouring Syrian army deserters, who have organized themselves as the insurgent Syrian Free Army. According to other reports, the FSA has welcomed into its ranks Libyans involved in the October overthrow of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi, another veteran ally and client of Moscow.

On December 8, the Turkish media reported that Assad dispatched tank units to Syria’s northern border to thwart infiltration from Turkey by the “armed terrorists” of the FSA. Turkey’s pro-Islamist government, once a close friend of Assad, has denounced the dictator’s brutal crackdown on that country’s Arab Spring uprising. Thus far, Ankara’s response to the Syrian bloodshed has been to impose economic penalties on Damascus. “We will place a 30 percent tax on all goods coming from Syria,” Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı was quoted at the time as saying.

Blast from the Past File: Ex-strongman, convicted drug trafficker Noriega back in homeland to face justice after 22 years in US and French prisons; Reagan Diaries: Cuba flying Soviet arms to Panama, East Bloc advisers on site before 1989 invasion; US troops flushed out dictator with Van Halen song “Panama”

Last Sunday, former Panamanian dictator Manuel (“Pineapple Face”) Noriega returned to his homeland nearly 22 years after US troops forcibly removed him from office. From Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, where security was tight, authorities whisked the 77-year-old ex-strongman to El Renacer prison (pictured above) to serve time for crimes committed during his brief rule between 1983 and 1989.

Last month, a French court authorized his extradition to Panama, where officials want Noriega to face justice in the killings of Hugo Spadafora, a political opponent, and at least one other person. He was convicted in absentia. Since Noriega’s ouster, Panama has become a prosperous, functional democracy. The current president, Ricardo Martinelli, is a US-educated businessman who stands out among Latin America’s many post-Cold War leftist-communist regimes.

“I think it has historic and symbolic significance,” commented Michael Shifter, president of the Washington DC-based Inter-American Dialogue, about Noriega’s return. “It’s a sense of closure for the Panamanian people. He clearly was a dictator for six years and presided over assassinations, disappearances and killing of opposition leaders. And so I think that it’s something that was unfinished business and I think it’s important for Panama to have a sense of closure.”

Shifter added: “I don’t think it’s going to change in great measure the politics in Panama. The country has moved on. They’re interested in different things. Many young people don’t even know about the Noriega era. But I think for those who do remember I think it is important.”

However, Julio Berrio, Noriega’s laywer, was not impressed by his client’s two-decade ordeal at the hands of foreign governments. “He [Noriega] wanted to return to the country and face in this land the charges for which he was tried in absentia,” Berrios protested to reporters in the Panamanian capital. “General Noriega is accused of having participated in three homicides. U.S. President George H.W. Bush invaded us [our country] and that cost 4,000 deaths. Has anybody said anything against Bush?”

Interior Minister Roxana Mendez said Noriega will receive the same treatment as other inmates at El Renacer prison. “The Panamanian state has no special consideration when it comes to him serving his sentence inside the prison complex,” Mendez explained. “However, based on our laws, and if there’s a valid request from his attorneys, they can ask that he be transferred from the prison to house arrest if the inmate’s health is in jeopardy or if the inmate, being over 70 years old, may face risks inside the prison complex.”

In December 1989, the elder President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama, maintaining that Noriega, who had been indicted on drug trafficking and money laundering offenses in a US federal court, posed a threat to the lives of US servicemen and military property in the Central American country. At that time, the US government still controlled the Panama Canal Zone and would not entirely hand this strategic waterway over to the Panamanian government until December 31, 1999.

Fearing for his life, Noriega fled the presidential palace and sought sanctuary in the Vatican embassy until January 1990. While Noriega was holed up in the papal nuncio’s residence in Panama City, US troops surrounded the facility and tried a variety of tactics to flush out the recalcitrant dictator. Among other tricks, soldiers set up loudspeakers around the compound and (rather cheekily) blasted Van Halen’s song “Panama” and assorted hard rock music day and night.

After his surrender, US authorities escorted Noriega to Miami where a federal court convicted the deposed military man of narco-trafficking and other crimes. US prosecutors accused him of business dealings with Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, boss of the Medellin cartel, which netted the dictator an easy multimillion-dollar fortune.

The disgraced general was thrown into a US federal prison until 2010, when he was extradited to France. There he faced more charges and additional prison time. A French court sentenced Noriega to seven years in prison for laundering US$2.9 million through banks in that country. Although Noriega denied the charges, he was ordered to pay the money back.

Incidentally, in the late 1980s Soviet/Cuban-backed Marxist dictator, Daniel Ortega was also accused of providing a transhipment hub for Escobar’s drug ops, but neither US President Ronald Reagan nor Bush ordered an invasion of Nicaragua, even though CIA’s No. 2, Robert Gates, floated the idea of airstrikes against Managua for other strategic reasons in 1984. In any case, Colombian security forces killed Escobar in 1993, dismantling his criminal syndicate in the process.

For his part, Ortega democratically returned to power in 2007 and, since then, has busily re-consolidated his leftist dictatorship, even flouting a constitutional ban to get himself re-elected last month. Once again, drug money, this time smuggled into Nicaragua via Communist Venezuela, is propping up the neo-Sandinista regime.

In 1990, terrorism expert Joseph Douglass published Red Cocaine, which detailed the involvement of the Soviet Union, Communist China, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, and Colombia’s Marxist guerrillas in the flow of narcotics into the USA. Some of Douglass’ assertions find validation in the Reagan Diaries (New York: Harper Perennial, 2007), in which the president, writing in 1988, asserts that Cuba was flying multi-tons of Soviet arms to Noriega and that East Bloc advisors were in Panama City at that time (pages 585, 588).

Although Noriega started out as a CIA asset in the US government’s strategy to contain Central American communism, the opportunistic general’s links to the Castro regime may have been a factor that quietly influenced the White House’s decision to remove their fair-weather ally. In 1991, US prosecutors preparing to try Noriega alleged that military aide Luis del Cid accompanied the general to a 1984 meeting in which Fidel Castro mediated a dispute between the Panamanian dictator and the Medellin drug cartel. According to William Buckley’s book, Panama: The Whole Story, in the 1980s Noriega himself was an intermediary between Bush, then vice president, and Castro.

Although Operation Just Cause may have prevented the transformation of Panama into another Soviet beachhead in Central America, Washington’s transfer of control over the canal zone to the Panamanians ultimately permitted Hutchison-Whampoa Ltd., owned by Red China ally Li Ka-shing, to administer port operations at either end of the canal.

USSR2 File: Largest anti-Kremlin protest since Soviet collapse: BBC estimates 50,000 participants in Moscow, equal number of police and Interior Troops; communists, nationalists, liberals demand resignation of Putin, Medvedev, chief electoral officer, new vote

WW4 File: Putin reminds USA Russia “big nuclear power,” accuses Clinton, US State Dept. of giving “signal” to anti-Kremlin protesters, repeats past charges of Washington funding Russian opposition; Medvedev in Prague to clinch nuke deal, enlist Czechs against NATO missile defense

As if US-Russian relations were not strained enough over NATO’s incipient anti-missile system in Europe, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks concerning Russia’s “flawed” parliamentary election this past Sunday have only added fuel to the fire.

Today, following talks in Brussels between NATO foreign ministers and Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, the alliance’s secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, reported “no progress” toward a deal on the rancorous issue. “We listen, and we have listened today,” Fogh Rasmussen told journalists after meeting Lavrov at NATO headquarters. Lavrov, who speaks perfect English, resorted to clipped Russian immediately after Rasmussen’s comments. “Unfortunately our partners are not yet ready for cooperation on missile defense,” Lavrov huffed, but he left the door open for more talks, “provided that legitimate concerns of all parties are taken into consideration.”

“No ally within NATO is going to give any other country outside the alliance a veto over whether NATO protects itself by building a missile defense system against threats we perceive are the most salient,” Clinton said tersely at the time. “It’s not directed at Russia, it’s not about Russia, it’s frankly about Iran,” she said, adding it was “certainly not a cause for military countermeasures” by Russia.

The talks in Brussels came as Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused Clinton on Thursday of encouraging and supporting the election protesters and warned of a wider Russian crackdown on unrest. By describing Russia’s parliamentary election as rigged in favour of Putin’s potemkin party, United Russia, the KGB-communist dictator alleged Clinton “gave a signal” to his opponents. “They heard this signal and with the support of the U.S. State Department began their active work,” Putin said in televised remarks.

“I looked at the first reaction of our U.S. colleagues,” Putin said during a meeting with representatives of his All-Russia People’s Front movement in Moscow. “The [U.S.] secretary of state was quick to evaluate the elections, saying that they are unfair and unjust, even before she received materials from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) observers.”

“What is there to say? We are a big nuclear power and remain so,” Putin growled. “This raises certain concerns with our partners. They try to shake us up so that we don’t forget who is boss on our planet [meaning the USA].”

Russian protesters have taken to the streets in Moscow and St. Petersburg for three straight nights despite heavy presence of city police and Interior Ministry Troops, outraged over observers’ reports of widespread ballot box stuffing and manipulations of the vote count.

Police have detained more than 1,000 people in both cities, many of them briefly, in a crackdown since Sunday, but opposition groups are planning new protests on Saturday, including one close to the Kremlin in the capital.

When asked about Putin’s comments, Clinton said Washington valued amicable relations with Moscow, which currently facilitates NATO’s military supply route across Russia to Afghanistan. “At same time the U.S. and many others around the world have strong commitments to democracy and human rights,” she said. “We expressed concerns we thought were well founded about the conduct of the elections.”

Last month, President Dmitry Medvedev, threatened to deploy missiles to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave and Krasnodar region, to be aimed at US and NATO missile defense sites, unless a deal is reached assuaging Russian concerns.

Tainted Past: Czech President Vaclav Klaus Accused of Being a Communist-Era Secret Police Informer, Current Russian SVR Asset

Meanwhile, on December 7, as Russians brave bans to protest in the streets, Soviet Komsomol graduate Medvedev arrived in Prague to hold talks with Czech President Vaclav Klaus (pictured above) and Prime Minister Petr Necas. Over his two-day working trip in the “ex”-Soviet Bloc state, Medvedev will back a bid from Russia’s Atomstroyexport company for a US$28 billion contract to build two reactors at the Czech Republic’s Temelin nuclear power plant.

Russian officials have said Medvedev also wants to discuss NATO’s missile defense plan, which under the George W. Bush administration entailed the placement of anti-missile batteries and a radar installation in the Czech Republic. Modified by President Barack Hussein Obama, the missile defense system now includes batteries in Poland and Romania.

Medvedev’s Czech hosts have questionable links to the old communist regime in Prague. Although Necas, like Medvedev, was in his mid-20s when the Soviet Bloc unravelled, the Czech Republic’s Civic Democratic PM served in the Czechoslovak People’s Army in 1988 and 1989, the last two years before the so-called Velvet Revolution “ended” communism in that country. Klaus’ alleged role as an informant for Communist Czechoslovakia’s secret police places him in a comprised political and legal situation, similar to that faced by Poland’s Lech Walesa, who apparently spied for that country’s communist security service.

According to a fascinating 2008 article by Robert Eringer, which we cite here at length, Klaus, “while a 21-year-old student at the University of Economics, Prague, in 1962, was recruited by Czech counterintelligence [StB] officers and put to work as a spy against democratic reformers with whom he studied and later worked.” Incidentally, Eringer is a former FBI counterintelligence agent who later worked for Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Codenamed “Vodichka,” Klaus is said to have been “an avid and willing informant” who reported on the political reliability of his classmates. For his cooperation, he was awarded the rare privilege of travelling abroad on research projects, first to Italy in 1966 and, three years later, to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. While studying at Cornell, Klaus reported to Czech intelligence officers on the activities of Czech exiles in the USA.

In 1970, Mr. Klaus participated in Operation Rattrap, staged by the StB with the assistance of Soviet KGB advisers. In this ruse, Klaus was publicly named as an “anti-socialist malcontent” and “purged” from the University of Economics, enabling him to pose as a “victim” of the regime so he could continue to penetrate dissident circles. With this new cover, he established a personal relationship with Charter ’77 leader Vaclav Havel, who would become the Czech Republic’s first democratically elected president in 1993.

In 1987, Klaus was officially “rehabilitated” by the Communist Party, allowing him to join the Economic Forecasting Institute of the Academy of Sciences. Successfully planted within its ranks, he informed on the activities of other academics while further cultivating his reputation as a subversive. Between 1971 and 1986, however, Klaus had pursued a career at the Czechoslovak State Bank, an unlikely position for real dissidents against the communist regime.

In 1989, he entered politics as a member of the Civic Forum and was appointed finance minister. Three years later, he became prime minister. Klaus pushed the Civic Forum to the right and the so-called “Klaus wing” of the party became the nucleus of the currently ruling Civic Democratic Party. In 1997, Klaus resigned as prime minister due to complicity in a political funding and corruption scandal stemming from a secret Swiss bank account in his name.

Just over a year later, Klaus began a series of secret meetings with the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service’s resident (station chief) in Prague. An SVR officer told Eringer, “We opened an operational file on Klaus under the codename ‘Kolesnikov,’ and did not rule out the possibility of a recruitment attempt [on the basis of possessing his file and being privy to his darkest secret].”

“It is unclear,” concludes Eringer, “whether Mr. Klaus’s political career was resurrected with SVR assistance, but crystal clear that Mr. Klaus has since established an unusually close relationship with Russian supremo Vladimir Putin, who one year ago this month [2007] rewarded Mr. Klaus — a fluent Russian speaker — with the Pushkin Medal, ostensibly for promoting Russian culture.”

Putin paid a rare state visit to the Czech Republic only after Klaus succeeded Havel as president in 2003. While hosting Putin, then president of the Russian Federation, Klaus’ meek behavior was described by Czech journalists as “borderline sycophancy.” Since then, Klaus’ support for the Putin regime has been “strong and unwavering.”

It is a well documented fact that the Russian SVR is very active in the Czech Republic and probably has connections with the (formerly ruling) Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM). In spite of warnings from the Security Information Service (BIS), President Klaus has done next to nothing to thwart Moscow’s influence in Prague. In terms of parliamentary representation, the KSCM is the fourth largest party in the Czech Republic.

USSR2 File: Interior Troops roll into central Moscow as Kremlin counters anti-Putinist protests; resurgent Communists and other opposition reject United Russia’s diminished victory in State Duma vote; Clinton calls election “flawed”

– Gorbachev Denounces Russian Election Results, Demands New Vote; Former Soviet Dictator Praised Putin 10 Years Ago

In what could be a communist-scripted drama to portray the Putinist regime in the worst possible light and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) as the only hope for the country–humiliated by 20 years of “gangster capitalism” and loss of satellite states to NATO–the Kremlin is cracking down on post-election protests. In Sunday’s parliamentary poll, the CPRF surged ahead seven percent to take one in five votes, knocking down Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s potemkin party, United Russia, below 50 percent.

According to the English-language Moscow Times, citing the Vesti.ru and Gazeta.ru websites, “Columns of trucks carrying fresh Interior Troops rolled into Moscow on Tuesday, the day after a record protest rally ended in clashes with police.” Anonymous bloggers, who generally enjoy more freedom than Russia’s cowed professional journalists, reported seeing the soldiers driving into central Moscow via major thoroughfares such as Leningradskoye Shosse, Yaroslavskoye Shosse, and Shosse Entuziastov.

Among the Interior Troop divisions spotted was the Dzerzhinsky division, which specializes in suppressing mass protests. This special division is named after Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Cheka, forerunner of the Soviet KGB, known as the Federal Security Service (FSB) since the mid-1990s.

A crowd of between 5,000 and 15,000 gathered on Chistoprudny Bulvar on Monday to protest the State Duma election results, which were marred by reports of numerous violations, especially ballot stuffing. The opposition rally was authorized by officialdom, but some protesters tried to stage an unsanctioned march afterwards, prompting a police crackdown in which some 300 were detained.

An Interior Ministry spokesman, reported Interfax, said Moscow police had requested the soldiers. “The troops’ sole task is to ensure public safety,” he soothed. For its part, Moscow police confirmed that security was being “stepped up” between December 1 and 6 in connection with the election. The Italian media described the deployment status of the Russian Interior Ministry’s troops as on “red alert.”

United Russia has indicated that 10,000 of its supporters will stage a demonstration later today, while oppositionists said a “nationwide protest” is slated for Saturday, December 10. As it turned out, on Tuesday evening riot police in helmets roughly dragged over 550 protestors into detention vans in downtown Moscow.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed “concerns” respecting Sunday’s election in Russia. The Voice of America quotes her as saying: “We’ve just witnessed a flawed Duma election in Russia, including efforts to halt the election monitoring by Golos, a respected independent civil society organization and Golos’ work is exactly the type of activities that countries committed to the rule of law should welcome and countries that are members of the OSCE signed up to support.”

Nearly 20 years ago, on Christmas Day 1991, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev announced the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Since then, as an internationally acclaimed speaker, he has on several occasions, including this year, called for “perestroika” (socialist restructuring) in the USA. Rebuking the Putinist regime, with which he has sided before, Gorbachev denounced Sunday’s vote: “The results do not reflect the will of the people. Therefore I think they [Russia’s leaders] can only take one decision – annul the results of the election and hold new ones.”

Both Putin and Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov advocate the resurrection of the Soviet Union, albeit as the “Eurasian Union” in the case of Russia’s prime minister.

USSR2 File: Communist Party surges ahead in Russian State Duma election, Putin’s United Russia loses supermajority; Reagan Diaries: President, Secretary of State Shultz read Gorbachev’s Perestroika (1987), failed to grasp (or admit) deceptive nature of Soviet “restructuring,” glasnost

– Communist Party Woos New Generation of Russians with No Adult Experience of the Gulags, Mass Murders, and Societal Regimentation

In yesterday’s State Duma election in Russia, the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) surged ahead with nearly 20 percent of the vote, stealing support from the potemkin United Russia in what amounted to an electoral protest against the “oligarchic” Putinist regime. Whether as prime minister or president, Vladimir Putin has been the visible ruler of Russia since late 1999.

About 60 percent of Russia’s 110 million registered voters, strewn across nine time zones (as of 2010), cast ballots, down from 64 percent four years ago. With 95 percent of the votes processed as of Monday, Russia’s Central Election Commission announced that United Russia, which was founded by “ex”-communists in 2000, led with a shade under 50 percent, followed by the Communists, the social democratic Just Russia with 13 percent, and the neo-fascist (“ultranationalist”) Liberal Democrats with 12 percent.

In terms of seat redistribution in Russia’s lower house of parliament, United Russia will have 238 deputies, down from the 315 elected in 2007, while the CPRF’s representation will jump from 57 to 92 deputies. Now Russia’s “party of power” no longer has the supermajority it needs to change constitution without impediment.

“For many Russians disillusioned by rampant corruption and a widening gap between rich and poor,” comments Alissa de Carbonnel for Reuters, “the communists represented the only credible opposition to Putin’s United Russia.” Through all the turmoil of the early 1990s after the Soviet Union collapsed,” she continues, “the party kept a strong national organization based on regions and workplace.” From voter interviews by the news media, it is apparent that Russians who voted Communist on Sunday were “gritting their teeth” and “holding their noses.”

“Many people [40 percent] didn’t vote, simply saying there’s no-one to vote for and it’s all decided ahead of time,” said veteran commentator Vladimir Pozner, whose name and face were well known in the West during the late 1980s. At that time, Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev was implementing his perestroika (“restructuring”) and glasnost (“openness”) reforms. “That’s a shame because if more had voted, Yabloko might have got in,” Pozner stated.

Economist Grigory Yavlinsky’s Yabloko party, however, is closely associated in the minds of many with the economic and social chaos of the “post”-Soviet era. For this reason, on Sunday Yabloko doubled its vote to only 3.3 percent.

“The Communists are the only real party out there,” observed one Western banker in Moscow. “United Russia is a joke, Just Russia is a joke and the LDPR is a joke and many people know it. So they vote communist because they realize it is a real vote for the opposition and against United Russia.”

“With sadness I remember how I passionately vowed to my grandfather I would never vote for the Communists,” declared Yulia Serpikova, 27, a freelance location manager in the Russian film industry. “It’s sad that with the ballot in hand I had to tick the box for them to vote against it all.”

“United Russia has angered everybody, so people are looking for an alternative,” said Alexander Kurov, a physics student at Moscow State University. Kurov was born in 1992, the year after the Soviet Union collapsed. “I don’t particularly like the communists but there is no one else [to vote for] and I don’t want my vote to be stolen.” Another Moscow State student concurred. “They are a different party than in Soviet times,” said Anna, 21, a student in the mechanics program. “I have a lot of friends who are activists for the Communists Party. It’s become popular.”

Sergei Yemilianov, a mathematics professor who was in his mid-20s when the CCCP imploded, huffed: “I am voting against Putin, to weaken his party, so it makes sense to vote for a party that will make it in.”

At CPRF headquarters in Moscow, bedecked with portraits of the first Soviet dictator Vladmir Lenin and heavy gold-on-red velvet hammer-and-sickle banners, party boss Gennady Zyuganov accused the Kremlin of fraud and described the election as “theft on an especially grand scale.” The 20 percent slice of the electoral pie that his party received was apparently not enough to satisfy him.

“Despite their efforts to break public opinion, the country has refused to support United Russia,” he gloated. Zyuganov alleged that police had barred Communist monitors from several polling stations across the country. “Some [cadres] ended up in hospital with broken bones. Some ballot boxes had been stuffed with ballots before voting began.” On Sunday evening, one Communist deputy hailed the electoral surge as a “a new political reality.”

In an ironic twist, Russia’s post-Soviet communists obtained a lot of mileage from Internet satire comparing Putin’s United Russia to the old Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). One popular image depicts Putin’s face aged and superimposed on a portrait of decrepit Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, ridiculing the prime minister’s plan to return to the presidency in March for two possible terms extending until 2024.

Analyst Masha Lipman of the Moscow Carnegie Center described votes scooped up by the CPRF as “similar to writing a four letter word on the ballot.” “It’s a sign of defiance,” she opined. “The government has turned this election into a farce and in response people are turning their electoral choice into a travesty.”

Perceptions among some Russians that Just Russia and the LDPR are in the Kremlin’s backpocket also aided the Communists. “We are losing votes to the Communist Party, who people think of as more of an opposition party because it doesn’t have a history of cooperation with the authorities like we sadly do,” admitted Gennady Gudkov, a senior lawmaker with Just Russia.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a Soviet Komsomol graduate who has long been perceived as Putin’s “poodle,” congratulated the leaders of the parties that won seats and acknowledged that the results would necessitate the formation of “coalition bloc agreements.” “Democracy is in action,” triumphed Medvedev, standing with Putin at United Russia’s campaign headquarters on Sunday evening. Surprisingly, both head of state and head of government appeared a bit shaken. “The party performed worthily; it essentially represents 50 percent of our population,” Medvedev continued, “the final number will be determined—and the result is real democracy.”

Petros Efthymiou, who led the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe observer mission, gave Russia a middling grade for election transparency. On the one hand, he stated that the State Duma election “proved that the Russian people can form the future of this country by expressing their will despite many obstacles.” On the other hand, he cautioned: “However, changes are needed for the will of the people to be respected. I particularly noticed the interference of the state in all levels of political life, the lack of necessary conditions for fair competition and no independence of the media.”

On the streets of central Moscow, several hundred anti-Putinist protesters tried to enter Triumfalnaya Ploshchad on Sunday evening. Police with batons forcibly prevented them from succeeding, blocked all of the entrances, and urged them to disperse.

Twenty-one-year-old student Yelizaveta said she was protesting because the liberal Parnas party was not allowed to register. “All of the parties are Kremlin-backed and we have no choice,”” she complained. Valery, 43, an activist of the Solidarnost movement, said he “regularly attends protests” to fight for free elections. “Our Constitution is not bad,” he conceded, “but authorities should use it for the people.” Valery added: “Continually dripping water wears away a stone. The reaction shows that the authorities are afraid of a revolution, similar to the ones in Ukraine and in Egypt.”

The fact that Russians clearly recognize that the CPRF is the “only credible opposition” in the country and that, over the past 20 years, “the party kept a strong national organization based on regions and workplace” are two confirmations of what we call the Golitsynian thesis. In his first book, New Lies for Old (1984), KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn warned the West that the Soviet Communist Party planned, among other deceptions, to abandon its public monopoly of power by creating “independent” parties, withdraw the Soviet Army from Eastern Europe, bolster the Soviet command economy with Western finance, and end the Sino-Soviet split with a treaty of friendship and cooperation with the Red Chinese.

Three years later, in Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World, Gorbachev all but ratified Golitsyn’s predictions by placing his perestroika (“restructuring”) and glasnost (“openness”) reforms squarely within the contexts of ongoing Leninist revolution and the equation of “more democracy” with “more socialism.”

In a most intriguing admission, US President Ronald Reagan states in his diaries (New York: Harper Perennial, 2007; page 568) that he and Secretary of State George Shultz read Perestroika in 1988, yet he does not respond to “Gorby’s” candor concerning the true intent behind the “reforms.” Were Reagan and his foreign policy advisors not being entirely truthful themselves or has the White House lacked astute strategic thinkers for the past 30 years (or longer)? If you believe the former is true, then you will side with the folks at the John Birch Society. If, on the other hand, you believe the latter is true, then you will side with geopolitical analysts like Jeff Nyquist.

As for ourselves, we believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Red Dawn Alert: Russia to help Cuba build assembly line for production of Kalashnikov assault rifle ammo, Rosoboronexport confirms contract with Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara military plant; Russian, Cuban military prosecutors compare notes in Havana

– Under License from Moscow, Communist Venezuela Will Begin Kalashnikov Rifle and Ammo Production in 2012, Arrangement Established in 2007

Pictured here: Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez makes the victory sign after a meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Caracas, on August 24, 2011. In recent months, Chavez has sported a bald pate, the result of chemotherapy treatments in Cuba.

According to the November 30 edition of Kommersant business daily, Russia and Cuba intend to sign a contract on building an assembly line for the production of ammunition for Kalashnikov assault rifles. Citing a source in the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, Kommersant reveals that “an assembly line for 7.62-mm rounds used in Kalashnikov assault rifles and other Russian-made rifles will be built at Cuba’s Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara military plant.”

Russia’s arms exporter Rosoboronexport has apparently prepared a contract that covers the license and technology transfer. Kommersant’s source says that Moscow also hopes to receive a contract involving the “complete overhaul of rifle ammunition production facilities in Cuba,” which were built in 1970s and 1980s under the direction of Soviet specialists.

Cuba’s communist dictatorship has repeatedly insisted that it has “no intention of resuming military cooperation with Russia” after the sudden closure of the Russian electronic listening post in Lourdes in October 2001. Incidentally, the latter occurred, suspiciously, only weeks after the 911 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC.

Notwithstanding these assurances, Russian-Cuban military ties have improved since 2009. During his visit to Havana that year, General Nikolai Makarov, Chief of the Russian General Staff, announced that the modernization of Cuba’s Soviet-made military equipment and the training of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba personnel will be the “focus of Russian-Cuban military cooperation in the future.” In the Cold War, Makarov was a battalion commander in the Group of Soviet Forces in (East) Germany.

In 2007, Russia established an identical arrangement with President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s communist dictator, which entailed the construction of two factories, one for producing the Kalashnikov AK-103 rifle and another for the rifle’s ammo. Production of this weapon will begin in 2012.  In 2005-2006, Chavez ordered weaponry from Russia worth US$3.4 billion, including 24 Su-30MK2V Flanker fighter jets, Tor-M1 air defense missile systems, Mi-17B multi-role helicopters, Mi-35 Hind E attack helicopters, and Mi-26 Halo heavy transport helicopters.

Meanwhile, the Spanish-language edition of Kremlin-run Novosti reveals that Russia’s top prosecutor, Sergei Fridinski, has led a delegation of lawyers to Havana. There they conferred with Cuban counterparts in the Military Prosecuting Office, which also carries out investigations for the Cuban Interior Ministry. The anti-Castro Cubapolidata blog offers the following translation:

According to Fridinski, the Russian and Cuban sides exchanged experiences about issues concerning criminal and civil law as well as the work of military prosecutors in both countries. The Cuban side was very interested in the work of Russian military prosecutors in the area of civil law and defense of civil rights [?!], meanwhile Russia was interested in the issue of investigations that is one of the Cuban military prosecutors’ responsibilities.

In another era, when the Soviet threat was clearly defined, the convergence of Russian and Cuban military prosecutors 90 miles south of Florida would have suggested that US patriots would soon be facing communist tribunals. Has that time returned?

WW4 File: Retired Russian admiral admits Kremlin’s Mediterranean naval task force no match for US 6th Fleet, but makes veiled reference to nuclear war if Russian warships attacked; post-Qaddafi leader Jalil approves and Turkish government facilitates smuggling of 600 Libyan fighters into Syria

Last Thursday, the Cypriot media reported that Russia’s sole aircraft carrier was in the vicinity of Malta and headed for the eastern Mediterranean Sea, where it would conduct joint drills with the Israeli Defense Forces, beginning November 28.

Later, the Admiral Kuznetsov and another ship of the Northern Fleet, the Admiral Chabanenko anti-submarine warfare ship, would join three destroyers already anchored in or patrolling Syrian territorial waters. Still later, the Russian battle group would be joined by the frigate Ladny of the Black Sea Fleet via the Bosphorus. Still other reports indicate that the Admiral Kuznetsov will not arrive in Syria until the end of December.

Pictured above: Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) departs Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, for its maiden deployment on May 11, 2011.

In summary, it appears that at least six Russian warships are presently operating in or close to Syrian territorial waters, or will be so in a matter of days. This is all taking place while President Bashar al-Assad uses every weapon at his disposal to cling to power in the face of a popular uprising and military rebellion organized by defected Colonel Riyad al-Asad. According to Russia Today, citing Izvestia, “Russian military officials insist that the move has no connection with the ongoing crisis in the region and was planned a year ago.” Sure, comrade, whatever you say.

The Admiral Kuznetsov is carrying some of Russia’s most advanced fighter aircraft, including eight Sukhoi Su-33 all-weather fighters, two Kamov Ka-27 anti-submarine helicopters and several factory-new Mig-29K fighters, which are destined for the Indian Air Force but will be “tested” by Russian pilots. Unlike the US Navy’s “floating runways,” Russia’s sole aircraft carrier is also a heavily armed cruiser with 12 long-range anti-ship Granit cruise missiles, a Kinzhal six-gun short-range surface-to-air missile system, eight Kashtan close-in air defense gun-missile systems, and two UDAV-1 anti-submarine systems.

In addition to Syria, explained Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, former Chief of the Russian Federation’s Naval Staff, to Izvestia, the aircraft carrier and its escort ships will make ports of call in Italy, Cyprus, and Lebanon. Forty years ago, the Soviet Navy required its own maintenance facility in the region, which prompted negotiations with Syria leading to the establishment of the Tartus base in 1971. At present, some 600 military and civilian personnel in the employ of the Russian Defense Ministry work at Tartus, where they mainly service vessels of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Since the Cold War, the Admiral Kuznetsov has twice visited the Syrian port, once in 1995 and again in 2007.

Lamenting Russia’s inability to prevent the deposing of Moscow ally Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi in October, Kravchenko added: “The presence of a military force other than NATO’s is very useful for this region, because it will prevent the outbreak of an armed conflict. The Soviet Union created a special naval squadron to deter Western military forces in the Mediterranean Sea.”

News of Russia’s naval deployment in Tartus came shortly after the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush anchored outside Syrian territorial waters on November 23, along with additional naval vessels. The US naval task force, remarks Russia Today, is reportedly conducting “maritime security operations and support missions” as part of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. The US 6th Fleet is also patrolling the area, states Russia Today, citing Interfax, another Kremlin-run news outlet.

In an indirect warning to Washington that appears to have gone unnoticed by the shopping mall regime, Admiral Kravchenko remarked to Izvestia: “Of course, the Russian naval forces in the Mediterranean will be incommensurate with those of the US 6th Fleet, which includes one or two aircraft carriers and several escort ships. But today, no one talks about possible military clashes, since an attack on any Russian ship would be regarded as a declaration of war with all the consequences.”

Kravchenko’s last statement is clearly a veiled reference to nuclear war, since Soviet/ Russian military doctrine has for decades held this to be a winnable option in any showdown with America. Moreover, since the USA has had no credible civil defense for nearly 20 years, it is very likely that should NATO forces challenge the Russian naval cordon protecting Syria’s embattled Ba’athist regime, Moscow could very well respond with a strategic missile barrage against North America.

No word has been yet published in open sources concerning the Admiral Kuznetsov’s arrival in Syrian territorial waters nor its scheduled work-out with the IDF.

Meanwhile, the covert support of Libya’s post-Qaddafi National Transitional Council (NTC) and Turkey’s Justice and Development government for the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) and its armed wing, the Syrian Free Army (SFA), has deeply complicated the Islamic world’s shifting alliances. For example, although Iran has reached out to Libya’s interim government, which supports the implementation of sharia law, Libya’s de facto leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil supports the overthrow of the Syrian Ba’athists, who are locked into a military defense pact with the Islamic fundamentalists in Tehran.

Last Friday, The Telegraph reported that representatives of the NTC and the SNC met that day in Istanbul, under the approving eye of Turkish officials, to discuss funding, arming, and supplying Colonel al-Asad’s FSA. In recent days, Turkey’s pro-Islamist government has raised the spectre of military intervention in Syria in order to topple the bloody Ba’athist dictatorship. “If the oppression continues, Turkey is ready for any scenario. We hope that a military intervention will never be necessary. The Syrian regime has to find a way of making peace with its own people,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a televised interview.

In confirmation, Russia Today, citing Egyptian news website Al-Ray Al-Arabi, contends that the Turkish government has already facilitated the smuggling of 600 Libyan fighters over the Syrian border to join the ranks of the Syrian Free Army. The Kremlin media notes: “Bashar Assad’s government has repeatedly accused foreign forces of smuggling armed groups and weapons into Syria and thus fueling the ongoing violence.” In mid-October, the Libyan interim government–followed by France, which administered Syria after the First World War–was the first in the world to recognize the SNC as “the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.” The Kremlin media platform then posits an intelligent analysis for Libya’s involvement in the Arab Spring uprising in Syria:

Funneling armed, underemployed and eager-to-fight youngsters to another country could be a convenient move for the NTC. The Syrian government, however, is likely to see them as mercenaries, which NATO member Turkey allowed into their country as an alternative to a full-scale military campaign, which is impossible without the sanction of the United Nations Security Council.

Breaking News: Iranian students storm British embassy in Tehran, ransack offices, burn Union Jack, hoist Iranian flag; protesters angered by London’s support for anti-nuke sanctions

WW4 File: Washington, Moscow cross swords over Arab Spring uprising in Syria, deploy navies, aircraft carriers to Syrian coast; Medvedev orders Kaliningrad radar station on combat alert, Russia prepared to “take out” US missile defense in Europe; Assad’s troops clash with rebel Free Syrian Army

– Source Close to Syrian President: Three Russian Destroyers to “Patrol” Syrian Waters to Thwart “Military Interference” from USA/NATO

– Russian Warships Transported “Technical Advisors” to Set Up Syria’s Russian-Built S-300 Anti-Missile Batteries; Key Syrian Infrastructure Protected by Russian Radar System

– President Assad Gives Renegade Soldiers of “Free Syrian Army” 24 Hours to End “Rebellion” as Russian Communist Party Boss Reiterates Support for Ba’athist Regime

– Iranian Navy Commander Announces “Massive” Drill to Take Place in Sea of Oman and Northern Indian Ocean in “Near Future”; Tehran and Damascus Locked into Military Defense Pact (source)

– Libya Offers Weapons and “Fighters” to Syrian Rebels, Post-Qaddafi Islamist Government Held Secret Talks with Syrian National Council on November 25; Turkish Officials Brokered Istanbul Meeting (source)

Pictured above: A campaigner with the global civic organization Avaaz shouts slogans against Russia’s arms deals with Syria in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin, on November 2, 2011. The poster shows photos of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Amidst international debate concerning the political benefits of imposing a no-fly zone over insurgency-wracked Syria, the USA, which has duly condemned President Bashar al-Assad’s alliance with Iran and Hezbollah, and Russia, which has carefully protected its arms clients in Damascus for 40 years, have positioned naval forces off that country’s Mediterranean coast.

According to the Cypriot media, citing Moscow’s naval chief, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, three Russian destroyers are currently anchored off Syria, where Russia operates a naval supply and maintenance site near the port of Tartus. “Tartus will be developed as a naval base. The first stage of development and modernization will be completed in 2012,” Vysotsky elaborated, adding that it could then serve as a base for guided missile cruisers and even aircraft carriers. The Russian military has operated the Soviet-era facility at Tartus since 1971.

Russia has apparently deployed its destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea under the guise of conducting a week-long joint drill with the Israeli Defense Forces, beginning November 28. Informed sources, reports the Famagusta Gazette, have stated that the Russian and Israeli navies will hold their joint exercise close to the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone. During this exercise, the Russian Navy may request the use of port facilities at Limassol.

The Hindu, citing a source close to the Syrian president, states that the Russian warships will “patrol” Syrian waters in a show of support for Assad. In addition to the slavishly pro-Moscow Ba’athist regime in Damascus, the Kremlin can count on the allegiance of Dimitris Christofias, the president of Cyprus and the European Union’s only communist head of state.

According to the Israeli media, the Russian warships transported “technical advisors” to Syria to set up that country’s Russian-built S-300 anti-missile batteries. Furthermore, states Israel’s Arutz Sheva, “Russia has installed advanced radar systems in all key Syrian military and industrial installations.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s only aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, is currently off the coast of Malta and heading for the eastern Mediterranean. The Russian carrier is sailing with 24-fixed wing planes and a number of helicopters. According to Stratfor, in a story that was picked up by Voice of Russia, the US Navy has countered Russian naval moves in the Mediterranean by deploying the carrier George H.W. Bush from the Persian Gulf to Syria.

Speaking for the Centre of Political Situations in Moscow, Maxim Minayev alleges warmongering intent on Washington’s part:

This is preparation for a military operation against Syria. These activities are reminiscent of a similar initiative when a group of NATO vessels were concentrated near Libya. Washington wants to collect a maximum dividend from the series of revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa. With this aim in mind, Washington is likely to start a military intervention even without UN sanctions. Now we are witnessing the first stage of NATO naval contingents drawing up near the Syrian shorelines.

Oleg Kulakov, an expert in Oriental studies at the Russian Armed Forces University, cautions against speculation concerning the Pentagon’s plans: “The reinforcement of the US aircraft-carrier fleet in the Mediterranean is more likely to be a threat. They are building up muscle in the region and this is undoubtedly an element of strong political intimidation. Military pressure is likely to be augmented by possible diplomatic demarche. However, all this does not mean direct military intervention.”

The Pentagon’s reported counter-moves in the Mediterranean were preceded by the withdrawal of Washington’s ambassador from Damascus last month. The US embassy in Syria has also ordered citizens to leave the Middle Eastern country immediately.

On the ground, fighting between Syrian regular troops and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), consisting of forces loyal to defected army Colonel Riyad al-Asad, intensified around Rastan and Homs today. Earlier, Al-Jazeera and Reuters reported that around 50 army tanks and armoured vehicles had fired anti-aircraft guns and machine guns into farmland on the edge of Rastan, where anti-Assad forces are concentrated. Opposition activists relate that at least 24 people killed in clashes with security forces. Colonel al-Asad organized the FSA in July.

President Assad has given rebels 24 hours to surrender, while the Arab League, which has suspended Syrian membership, has in turn demanded that the Syrian dictator accept observers to monitor the violence or face economic sanctions.

The French government, which was one of the first in the European Union to recognize the rebel Transitional National Council in Libya, is presently in talks with the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC). After a meeting with Burhan Ghalioun, exiled leader of the SNC, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé described the body as “the legitimate partner with which we want to work.”

On November 17, after the FSA attacked a strategically important military base in Harasta, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that “the situation in Syria is beginning to resemble civil war.” Unconfirmed reports stated that six soldiers were killed in the mutinous troops’ assault on the air force intelligence building.

On November 27, the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation reiterated its support for the embattled Ba’athist regime. Party boss Gennady Zyuganov ranted:

Syria faces a ferocious media campaign and that the U.S. and its allies flagrantly interfere in its internal affairs.

The official representatives of these countries encourage the armed men to pursue their armed attacks and call upon the opposition not to communicate with the Syrian authorities despite the fact that President Bashar al-Assad started implementing the announced political reforms, in addition to exerting utmost efforts to complete works on a new constitution for the country and conduct local and parliamentary elections in the near future.

Zyuganov expressed disappointment about the involvement of the Arab League in this “aggressive campaign against Syria.” He accused neighboring Turkey of harbouring the Syrian insurgents seeking to bring down Assad. His reference to “US interference” is no doubt a dig at official comments similar to those expressed by President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor, Thomas E. Donilon, on November 22.

At that time, Donilon declared that “end of the Assad regime would constitute Iran’s greatest setback in the region yet—a strategic blow that will further shift the balance of power in the region against Iran.” He added that Iran was “basically down to just two principal remaining allies—the Assad clique in Syria and Hezbollah.” With a nod toward this year’s Arab Spring uprisings, Donilon remarked: “And, like Iran, they too are fundamentally at odds with the democratic forces now sweeping the region. The Assad regime is thoroughly isolated and universally condemned. The Arab League, appalled by the regime’s brutality, has shown remarkable leadership and taken the extraordinary step of suspending Syria’s membership.”

As tensions flare between Washington and Moscow over the Arab Spring uprising in Syria, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in a televised address, has articulated the Kremlin’s immediate plans for militarizing its Kaliningrad exclave, on the Baltic Sea, possibly as a counter-measure to US activities in the Middle East. A blogger at Zero Hedge posted a quote from Medvedev’s speech:

First, I am instructing the Defense Ministry to immediately put the missile attack early warning radar station in Kaliningrad on combat alert.

Second, protective cover of Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons, will be reinforced as a priority measure under the programme to develop out air and space defenses.

Third, the new strategic ballistic missiles commissioned by the Strategic Missile Forces and the Navy will be equipped with advanced missile defense penetration systems and new highly-effective warheads.

Fourth, I have instructed the Armed Forces to draw up measures for disabling missile defense system data and guidance systems if need be…

Fifth, if the above measures prove insufficient, the Russian Federation will deploy modern offensive weapon systems in the west and south of the country, ensuring our ability to take out any part of the US missile defense system, in Europe. One step in this process will be to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad Region.

In 2010, the Pentagon deployed an anti-missile battery in Warsaw Pact-turned-NATO state Poland and will shortly do the same in Romania. Clearly, the situation in the Middle East is fluid and so the reliability of some sources used in this post needs further verification.

Buncha Commies Corner: US, Canadian authorities crack down on anti-capitalist “Occupy” protests, police dismantle tent cities; “Occupiers” return to clash with NYPD, 100 protesters seize Bank of America branch in SF; social/business analyst notes movement’s rhetoric has become “more truculent, violent, revolutionary”

– Workers’ World Party, Socialist Party USA, and Communist Party of Canada Join Communist Party USA and Occupy Movement Founder—Vancouver’s Adbusters—in Demanding More “Militance” against the Rich

– Class Warfare: United Auto Workers, Service Employees International Union, and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Join the AFL-CIO in Supporting “Occupiers”

Frustrated by the public hygiene, access, and image problems presented by hundreds of anti-capitalist protesters encamped in urban financial districts across North America, municipal authorities in the USA and Canada have ordered police to break up tent cities in New York, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland, as well as in Calgary, Regina, Victoria, and Vancouver. In the last city, home to Adbusters, the activist group that conceived the movement, Mayor Gregor Robertson has demanded that “Occupy Vancouver” be torn down before Canadian Football League fans descend for the Grey Cup game.

On Thursday, two days after the New York Police Department dismantled the original Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, anti-capitalist demonstrators marched through New York’s financial district, promising a “Day of Disruption” there and in other cities. About 500 protesters were met by a line of police in riot helmets one block from Wall Street. “Whose street? Our street!” protesters chanted. Police using bullhorns informed the “Occupiers” they did not have a permit to march.

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) had announced that it would rally near the New York Stock Exchange, then “fan out” across Manhattan and head to the subways, before marching over the Brooklyn Bridge. “The protesters are calling for a massive event aimed at disrupting major parts of the city,” Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson said. “We will be prepared for that.” The “Day of Disruption” had actually been planned before the city and park owners dislodged the two-month-old encampment in Zuccotti Park, but the “action” acquired added urgency afterwards.

Pictured above: OWS protesters and NYPD scuffle in Zuccotti Park on November 17, 2011.

Later, after massing in Foley Square, thousands of protesters, their ranks swelled by the presence of union activists, flooded across the Brooklyn Bridge. Police arrested up to 300 people. Anti-capitalist/anti-bank protests also took place in Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Las Vegas, St. Louis, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Miami, and elsewhere. “Scores” of arrests were made as police removed tents in Oakland, California and Burlington, Vermont. However, evictions occurred peacefully elsewhere, including Atlanta, Portland, and Salt Lake City.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Mercury News reports, “Occupy Cal” cadres clashed with police in Oakland and at the University of California at Berkeley (go figure), before regrouping in San Francisco’s financial district. There they stormed the lobby of the Bank of America on California Street:

The relative quiet in San Francisco comes a after displaced Occupy protesters from Oakland and Berkeley funneled into the city, clashing with police as they stormed a downtown bank and upsetting a fragile deal brokered by Mayor Ed Lee to allow the encampment along The Embarcadero to remain in place.

As the protesters marched into the heart of San Francisco’s financial district Wednesday afternoon, managers of several banks quickly locked their doors and posted security guards out front. But protesters were able to rush into the Bank of America branch as panicked employees ran to the back office and shut the bank safe.

Police in riot gear demanded the roughly 100 protesters leave the lobby of Bank of America on California Street or be arrested. But protesters continued to chant “Whose bank? Our bank!” as they danced on desktops and scribbled “Occupy Bank of America” on office calendars.

One protester pitched a tent — a symbol of the Occupy movement and a scourge of city officials — inside the bank lobby. Police pushed back protesters with their batons — witnesses reported seeing at least two people struck. By the end of the night, 95 protesters had been arrested, and no one was injured.

In San Jose, campers were given a warning late Tuesday evening that police planned to clear away their tents overnight. Protesters decided to voluntarily pack up, said Shaunn Cartwright, an unofficial spokeswoman for Occupy San Jose. “We’re occupiers, not campers,” Cartwright complained, promising further marches.

Vincent Schiavone, founder and chairman of ListenLogic, a company that monitors social and business trends, believes that OWS is “not going away anytime soon” and, in fact, is becoming better organized and more radicalized. “There’s increased activity on campus. They had live blogging of Tuesday night’s New York City police action, minute by minute.”

“There’s an increased truculence,” Schiavone adds, referring to protest signs that threaten: “Rich, beware. Your days are numbered.” “The words and images are darker, more violent. You see protesters covering their faces now, which they didn’t do before. There’s more talk of revolution. Increasingly, the targets are conservative political figures.” Herman Cain, for example, cancelled an appearance in Iowa when his campaign learned that Occupy protesters had targeted him. Cain is a Republican candidate for the 2012 presidential election.

The better organization and increased radicalism of the Occupiers may be attributable to the fact that Big Labor, the Communist Party USA, and other far-left groupings hijacked the movement within weeks of its inception at Wall Street. We have already mentioned the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations’ support for the Occupy movement, but now the United Auto Workers, Service Employees International Union and International Brotherhood of Teamsters have lined up behind this assault against capitalism.

Meanwhile, reports ABC News at the link above, “the movement’s system for self-governance has been evolving, and its character has grown ‘more militant’ in the words of Adbusters, the Canadian magazine and activist organization that originally gave rise to Occupy.” A recent survey of OWS participants by Professor Hector R. Cordero-Guzman, who teaches at the School of Public Affairs at New York’s Baruch College, discovered that 64 percent are under 34 years old, well educated, white (81 percent), and male (67 percent). Only one half are employed full time. Over 70 percent of OWS protesters say they are independents politically, 27 percent are Democrats, and three percent are Republicans. No one apparently admitted to being a communist.

However, after the NYPD cleared away the OWS camp this past Tuesday, North American communists went ballistic. On November 16, the New York-based Stalinist outfit Workers’ World Party ranted against “billionaire” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, claiming the movement for itself:

Our movement is under attack. We must mobilize to defend it.

The Occupy Wall Street movement seemed to spring up from nowhere. Its program was unclear. But its very existence was a thorn in the side of world capitalism, angering the super-rich on their own turf, and making OWS a pole of attraction for the other 99 percent.

Starting Nov. 11, local governments in Oakland, Calif.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Portland, Ore.; Denver and other cities had their cops clear the encampments. Then billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg struck at the movement’s heart at Zuccotti Park near Wall Street itself. Hundreds were arrested as cops tore apart the park after 1 a.m. on Nov. 15 and trashed the tents, books and belongings of the campers/protesters. And the courts have ruled against Occupy Wall Street, blocking the right of the protesters to set up tents, proving once again that the courts work hand-in-hand with the police and super-rich politicians like Bloomberg.

The anti-Semitism implied in the WWP’s attack against New York’s “super-rich, billionaire” Jewish mayor was obvious.

In like fashion, the Socialist Party USA condemned Mayor Bloomberg for ordering the dismantling of OWS:

The Socialist Party of New York City (SPUSA) condemns the police action taken against the months long occupation of Zuccotti Park in New York City.  Under the cover of dark, the NYPD cowardly entered the park and forced hundreds of protesters out.  The power of our Occupation is demonstrated by the fact that the police had to shut down all subway and car traffic to the Park because they feared solidarity demonstrations. In the end, about 70 demonstrators refused the police orders despite the overwhelming force and were arrested.

We strongly condemn the NYPD, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and all other parts of the political establishment and law enforcement who were involved in this raid. 

The SPUSA wrapped up its rant with the cry: “Occupy Everything!” “As Socialists,” they explain, “we are permanent resisters. We stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. We will continue to spread the powerful message of OWS that we are the 99% and that we are no longer willing to quietly accept the economic inequality, the war and the environmental destruction that the capitalist system is based upon. Occupy Everything!”

For its part, the Communist Party of Canada enjoins cadres to unreservedly support the Occupy movement in that country. The CPC does not hesitate to characterize Occupiers as “anti-capitalist.”

Starting without a declared political aim, the Occupy Wall Street movement combines rage against oppression and poverty with hope for a better world. These sentiments are moving millions into the streets, and Occupy is spreading like wildfire.

The challenges faced by this openly anti-capitalist but extremely diverse crusade are enormous. But the decision to rise up together against corporate domination is a powerful and liberating act, with enormous potential. Through their bold attempt to defeat the system, the “99 percenters” will learn more about social change than any textbook could teach.

This movement deserves the unhesitating support of all progressive activists. More “occupations” will begin in cities across North America in mid-October. We urge our readers to jump in and help build these struggles, taking People’s Voice and socialist ideas into the debates. Our next issue will report on the progress of this unique political development.

If the Occupy movement in the USA and Canada truly becomes “more truculent, violent, and revolutionary,” then statements from prominent foreign communists—like former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev, who has already expressed sympathy for the Occupiers, Russian Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov, and Latin American dictators like Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez—should be carefully examined for cues.

EU/USSR2 Files: United Russia, CPRF platforms converge ahead of elections; Kremlin, Zyuganov condemn “US provocations” in Syria’s “Arab Spring” uprising; German CFR invites Zyuganov to deliver speech in Berlin; Russian and ex-GDR communists discuss “global financial crisis”

“Post”-communist Russia’s citizen-slaves face another farcical State Duma election on December 4 and another farcical presidential election next March. Like Soviet Russians, they have few options. The presidential race, for example, includes a communist candidate (Gennady Zyuganov, pictured above), an “ex”-communist candidate (Vladimir Putin), and an alleged KGB/FSB candidate (Vladimir Zhirinovsky). With respect to the parliamentary election, since 2003 United Russia has posed as the country’s ruling party, while the Communist Party of the Russian Federation has assumed the role of chief opposition. However, there is very little substantive difference between the platforms of the two parties:

  • Origins: United Russia was founded by “ex”-communists, while the Communist Party of the Russian Federation was founded by open communists.
  • Soviet legacy and restoration: United Russia’s “non-member” leader and “ex”-communist Putin laments the demise of the Soviet Union and advocates a new “Eurasian Union” across the post-Soviet space. CPRF boss Zyuganov cuts to the chase and unabashedly advocates the restoration of the Soviet Union.
  • Economy: United Russia supports “post”-communist Russia’s “state capitalism” (crypto-socialism), in which the Kremlin has a monopoly or near-monopoly in “strategic” sectors of the economy (oil, gas, metals, telecommunications, media, banking, aircraft construction and ship building). CPRF boss Zyuganov advocates the nationalization (communization) of all Russian industries.
  • Foreign policy: Both United Russia and the CPRF promote Russian patriotism, hold to anti-NATO/USA/Israel and pro-Arab stances, support the CSTO alliance and a strong Russian military, and glorify Russia’s Soviet legacy.
  • There are only two key differences between United Russia and the CPRF. They differ primarily in rhetoric (nationalism versus “nationalistic” Marxism-Leninism) and the latter’s advocacy of pervasive social safety net and widespread price controls.

 The policy differences between United Russia and the CPRF, in fact, are so slim as to mirror the incestuous relationship between the US Democratic Party and Communist Party USA, both of which have thrown their weight behind the widespread anti-capitalist “Occupy” protests.

Foreign policy is definitely an area where the Putinist regime and CPRF leadership are for the most part in agreement. For example, this past Saturday the Arab League expelled Syria from its ranks on account of President Bashar al-Assad’s heavy-handed crackdown on anti-regime protests, part of the wider Arab Spring movement that began in January of this year. According to United Nations reports, at least 4,000 people, mostly civilians, have died. Over the weekend, too, the European Union added 18 Syrian government officials to its sanctions target list and formally suspended European Investment Bank support for Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quick to express Moscow’s disapproval of Syria’s expulsion from the Arab League in particular. Disingenuously, Red China supported Syria’s diplomatic isolation.

In a show of solidarity with Damascus, the Kremlin dispatched Russian Orthodox Patriarch and alleged KGB/FSB agent Kirill I to Syria, where the good patriarch conferred with bloody socialist dictator Assad. Upon arriving in Damascus on Saturday, Patriarch Kirill stated that he “hoped the Syrian people would overcome the crisis, and that their country would remain a country of peace and love.” Peace and love in Ba’athist Syria? Not likely. “I am deeply convinced that all the problems can be solved peacefully and through dialogue. The most important thing is that human blood is not spilled. History teaches us that when human blood is spilled it will be hard to solve the problem,” blathered Kirill. For his part, Assad thanked Syria’s long-time arms suppliers in Moscow for their diplomatic support.

One week ago, in an interview with the Syrian Arab News Agency’s Moscow correspondent, Zyuganov condemned the “US provocations” allegedly behind the “continuing acts of terrorism in Syria” and the US State Department’s “calls on the armed groups not to give themselves up to the Syrian authorities.” According to the CPRF chairman, “NATO and the West stand behind [the] instigations in Syria. Those countries committed brutal crimes in Libya.” Zyuganov indicated that he appealed to the “Russian President [Dmitry Medvedev], Premier [Putin] and Foreign Minister [Lavrov] to continue supporting Syria because the powers of darkness are trying to undermine stability under the pretext of human rights.”

Although a Forbes editorial recently characterized the Russian Communist Party boss as a political “dinosaur,” a description with which we would not disagree, Zyuganov has the ear of the EU’s globalist leaders. On October 18, the German Council on Foreign Relations, which is a sister organization to the Rockefeller-founded CFR in the USA, invited Zyuganov to present a paper titled “The Alternative for Russia: A New Idea Left.”

While in Berlin, Zyuganov made several other pit stops, including the Russian embassy, where he conferred with Ambassador V. Grinin and the diplomatic staff. The CPRF chairman and his entourage also met with the leaders of Germany’s Left Party, including Bundestag faction chief Gregor Gysi, honorary party chairman Hans Modrow, and International Department chief Oliver Schroeder. 

The Left Party, which also has a presence in several state legislatures in western and eastern Germany, is descended from the Socialist Unity Party that ruled the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) until 1990. Modrow was the last premier of East Germany, while Gysi was a high-ranking official in the GDR. In the Federal Republic of Germany’s last election in September 2010, the Left received about 12 percent of the vote and formed a parliamentary faction of 76 deputies.

The German communists, whose predecessors enjoyed the protection afforded by the Soviet military occupation, swapped notes in a friendly tete-a-tete with their Russian visitors. For their part, the “German comrades informed in detail of the CPRF leader on the situation in their country, the activities of the party both in Parliament and outside it. They talked about the upcoming Congress in the coming days, the Left Party in Germany, which should be discussed and adopted a political manifesto.” Under the auspices of Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Boris Yeltsin, Russian troops finally left the reunited Germany in 1994.

For his part, “Zyuganov told in detail about the development of political situation in the Russian Federation, the election campaign on elections of deputies of the State Duma of the sixth convocation. He emphasized those points in the program of the Communist Party, which will undoubtedly find understanding and support in the community.” The Russian and German communists observed that both countries were major trading partners, while Zyuganov indicated that Russia should closely monitor the “global financial crisis” to avoid bankruptcy.

From the vantage of the Soviet deception plan, the fundamental ideological harmony among Russia’s parties is perfectly understandable. In Moscow, everyone is on the Red Team.

Neo-Sandinista File: Clashes between Ortegistas and opponents rock Nicaragua following “Comandante’s” re-election, 4 dead, 46 police injured; EU questions impartiality of electoral officials, US Rep. Ros-Lehtinen castigates FSLN’s “tricks and ruses”; Russia, Cuba, Venezuela rush to congratulate Ortega

– Fidel Castro Lauds Sandinista Election Victory, Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, Leftist Regimes in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Uruguay (source)

– Assuming Chavez “Wins” 2012 Presidential Election, Ortega “Victory” Secures Anti-USA Havana-Caracas-Managua Axis for at Least Five More Years

Violent clashes between supporters and opponents of communist-turned-Catholic President Daniel Ortega, as well as between protesters and police, have rocked Nicaragua following his disputed re-election on Sunday. At least four people were shot dead in the northern and Atlantic regions of the Central American country, including three anti-Ortegistas and one Sandinista supporter. The Nicaraguan National Police say 46 officers were injured, including six with bullet wounds, trying to contain post-election violence.

The main opposition candidate, Fabio Gadea, has denounced the election result as fraudulent. Official results gave former guerrilla commander Ortega of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FLSN) 63 percent of the vote, while Gadea of the Liberal Independent Party came second with 31 percent. Pictured above: A Gadea supporter burns the flag of the FSLN in Managua on November 8, 2011.

Many Nicaraguans question the legitimacy of Ortega’s election victory, especially in the light of a 2009 ruling when the Sandinista-stacked Supreme Court invalidated a constitutional provision forbidding consecutive presidential terms. This provision was included in the country’s 1995 constitution, which sought to prevent the re-creation of the first Sandinista dictatorship, but has obviously failed.

For their part, European Union election observers have questioned the transparency of the vote and the independence of the electoral authorities. “There is no doubt Mr. Ortega and the Sandinistas won the elections,” admitted Luis Yanez-Barnuevo, head of the EU mission. “But I am not saying that they won cleanly and transparently, because we don’t know what would have happened without all these tricks and ruses.”

The FSLN also resorted to “tricks and ruses” in the November 2009 municipal elections, grabbing a majority of the mayoral posts and provoking the ongoing political crisis in Nicaragua, which was last torn by civil war in the 1980s, when the Soviets and Cubans openly backed Ortega’s first regime.

US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, strongly condemned the vote. “Sunday’s so-called election in Nicaragua was a complete sham,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a cutting statement, adding:

Daniel Ortega made sure of it. And once he forced his way onto the ballot, Ortega pulled out more tricks to make sure that he would win. He denied countless Nicaraguans the right to vote in order to stack the deck in his favor. He has clearly learned from his dictatorial buddies in the region, like [Venezuela’s Hugo] Chavez, who is an expert at trampling democracy.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland noted that the Nicaraguan government denied international election monitors access to voting stations. “Frankly, if the Nicaraguan Government had nothing to hide, it should have allowed a broad complement of international monitors,” she said on Monday.

Meanwhile, the crypto-communist dictatorship in Russia and the open communist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela rushed to congratulate their ally in Managua. At the Kremlin website, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issued a statement that promised an “expansion” of Cold War-era ties between the two countries:

Your solid victory in the electiondemonstrates that the Nicaraguan leadership’s socioeconomic policy and consistent position in international affairs are successful and widely supported by the people of your country.

Russia considers Nicaragua an important and reliable partner. We highly value the constructive nature of our political dialogue, as well as our efficient cooperation on the international arena and on a wide range of bilateral issues.

I am certain that further expanding trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian ties, and developing mutually beneficial cooperation in responding to emergency situations will further promote the potential of Russian-Nicaraguan partnership in the interest of the time-tested friendship between our countries and peoples, as well as peace and stability in the Latin American region.

From Cuba, President Raul Castro declared: “On behalf of our people and leaders, I send you our warmest congratulations on your important victory during the presidential elections. I reiterate our willingness to continue strengthening the close friendship and cooperation relations between our two sister nations.” “Cuba,” Havana’s state media reported, “supported the FSLN during its struggle against the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza and after their victory in 1979 with teachers, medical personnel and military advisors.” The same source also notes Nicaragua’s current membership in Latin America’s Red Axis: “Cuba and Nicaragua are both members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of the Americas (ALBA), which also includes Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, among other countries.”

From Venezuela, President Chavez telephoned Ortega to offer personal congratulations for his Nicaraguan counterpart’s “stunning success” at the polls. “Chavez and Ortega agreed that popular support for the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in Nicaragua is a victory for all peoples of the ALBA,” relates Cuba’s Prensa Latina, “and strengthen this alliance as the right path to social happiness, according to the source.” Both presidents reaffirmed their “commitment to the democratic [leftist] revolutions that are taking place throughout the continent” and stressed “the historical importance of the steps that are being taken to achieve a true union of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

As a result of chum Ortega’s re-election and his own recovery from a bout of cancer, Chavez will no doubt be emboldened with respect to his re-election chances in 2012. Strategically speaking, Ortega’s so-called victory will likely perpetuate, at least for another five years, the Havana-Caracas-Managua Axis. This alliance is not only radicalizing the region along the USA’s southern flank through organizations like ALBA, Petrocaribe, and the Sao Paulo Forum, but also, with Russia’s assistance, militarizing the same.

For its part, army-less Costa Rica, which is pursuing a rancorous border dispute with Nicaragua, predicts little change in diplomatic relations with Managua. “There will be changes if they change,” Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo declared Tuesday in San Jose. In 2010, in order to secure the San Juan River for dredging operations, Nicaraguan troops invaded and occupied the river’s Isla Calero.

USSR2 File: Belarusian police detain three oppositionists for crashing red rally, pelting Lenin monument with eggs, shouting “Communism must face trial!” Lukashenko fears US-led invasion, calls NATO “worse than Nazis” for killing Qaddafi, holds military maneuvers, organizes “territorial defense troops”

– Belarus Still Officially Celebrates October Revolution, President Lukashenko Extols Ideals of Bolsheviks in Annual Formal Address, State Factories Send Reps to Lenin “Worship Services”

– Lukashenko’s Secret Police Raid House Churches, Belarusian Baptists Resist Forced State Registration, “Underground” Pastor Defends Stance in Open Letter to Dictator

Although the USA and European Union officially recognize that the Belarusian government is a dictatorship, few appreciate the fact that President Alexander Lukashenko is a dictator precisely because he is an unreconstructed communist. On November 7, for example, Belarusian communists and government authorities still celebrate the October Revolution, which propelled the Bolsheviks to power throughout the Russian Empire in 1917.

At this time, Hitler-look-alike Lukashenko normally delivers a formal address extolling the ideals of the October Revolution. This year, on the 94th anniversary of the revolution, speaking like a true red, he intoned:

Dear compatriots, history again confirms the significance of the Great October ideals: the liberation of workers from exploitation and oppression and the introduction of equal rights and social justice.

People’s wish for self-determination and independence in their home land was preserved by our grandfathers and fathers during the foreign [Nazi German] intervention and in the tragic period of the Great Patriotic War and the difficult 1990s.

The people of Belarus have chosen to build a sovereign socially oriented state. The implementation of our model of development has helped us raise our industry and agriculture to a new level and increase out national wellbeing.

This past Monday, 100 cadres of the pro-Lukashenko Communist Party of Belarus held a flower-laying ceremony at a monument to Vladimir Lenin in Minsk’s Independence Square. There they were confronted by three activists of the Young Front—Raman Vasilyeu, Mikhail Muski, and Paval Syarhey—who pelted eggs at the Lenin statue and shouted “Communism must fact trial!” The three anti-communists were detained by plainclothes policemen (pictured above), who were most likely KGB, recently empowered with sweeping Soviet-style powers of surveillance, arrest, and detention.

Along the same theme, regional government authorities have ordered workers in state enterprises to present themselves at officially sanctioned, veritable Lenin worship services. Charter 97, which provides an independent analysis of Belarusian news, reports:

. . . Brest regional executive committee has approved the schedule of laying flowers to monuments and busts of Lenin in the region. Local ideologues are appointing representatives of organisations and enterprises who are to take part in it.

Veterans are to come and bow thanks to Lenin with them. “A document signed by the chairman of the ideology department of Staritski district has been received at the plant. On October 4 the administration is to appoint workers who will lay flowers to monument of Lenin on Privokzalnaya Square,” said a representative of the sugar factory in Zhabinka. “If workers would start to refuse, they said those who have disciplinary infractions should go.”

Belarusian communists marked the 94th anniversary of the October Revolution not only by laying flowers at Lenin monuments, but also at monuments of other communist leaders, such as Mikhail Kalinin, Sergei Kirov, and Yakov Sverdlov. Communists and other pro-government parties do not have to apply for holding pickets and rallies, even though a tough new law requires Lukashenko’s opponents to do so.

Following the overthrow and death of Libya’s long-time socialist dictator, Muammar al-Qaddafi—who was also a personal bud of Lukashenko, as well as Latin American communists like Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega—the Belarusian president is clearly sweating bullets regarding a possible NATO invasion of his retro-Soviet republic. After all, two communist-turned-NATO states, Poland and Lithuania, are situated right next to Belarus.

On November 4, while speaking to the country’s controlled press in Grodno Oblast, Lukashenko denounced the United Nations for failing to rein in NATO, which vigorously enforced a no-fly zone over Libya to the point of aiding the anti-Qaddafi insurgents:

We can view the situation extremely negatively only. How can we evaluate NATO actions in Libya? As a violation of the mandate of the UN Security Council. I am not exaggerating this headless and senseless Security Council. I am not exaggerating their role and the role of the United Nations Organizations. The latter has evolved into some kind of cover-up. See or yourself: Iraq, Afghanistan, an entire Arabic world. Why has UN failed to prevent all of it?

It seems they have written one mandate while the NATO troops dared to violate the mandate.

An aggression has been accomplished, the country’s leadership have been murdered, not only Muammar Gaddafi. Besides, he was killed by NATO special forces. They mocked him, tortured him, raped the injured man, broke his arms and then killed. They did worse than the Nazis in their time.

God forbid the policy will prevail across the globe.

In Tunisia and Egypt positions of radical Islamists have become much stronger. The situation in Libya will be much worse because the country has colossal deposits of natural resources. Everyone has rushed to get there. Besides the USA, Italy, France, Germany have up to $150 billion of Libyan money now. They are very interested in snatching these riches.

This act of the 21st century vandalism must not happen [again]. But such actions show the face of our so-called teachers of democracy [meaning USA]. Do you need this kind of democracy?

Last week, Lukashenko visited a military training ground near Hrodna in southern Belarus to personally direct a five-day command-and-post exercise for the purpose of assessing the efficiency of the country’s defenses. After the drill, the president announced that he would organize a 120,000-member territorial defense force consisting of citizen soldiers who would supplement the regular army of 65,000 active personnel. Back in Minsk, Lukashenko presided over a ceremony in which he awarded the rank of general to the country’s six regional governors, appointing them as commanders over the citizen militias, but requiring them to work with the military hierarchy. He stated:

It is a fact that you are becoming general-governors, yet I emphasize it is not for demonstration or prestige – the human resources policy will be changed towards giving the people command of the territorial defense troops. We are creating, if you want, a new army in Belarus which will be commanded by you.

Our governors are military and responsible people, therefore starting today the second part of your life is military security. You should organize territorial defense maneuvers. There shall be concrete persons assigned to every automatic rifle, pistol, RPG, to every weapon.

Replying to speculation that the purpose of the command-and-post exercise was to repel NATO, Lukashenko retorted that the Western Alliance has a “very high opinion” of the Belarusian Armed Forces. He continued:

Quite clever people serve with NATO and they know well the worth of our Armed Forces. Belarus should maintain this level. NATO is a potential rival. We have created the territorial defense system, which is cheaper than a professional army. We will train our people, and in a year we will have ideal forces, which will total as many as 120,000 people in time of war.

Not insignificantly, Belarus and Russia have an integrated air defense system and have carried out several combined military exercises, including Union Shield 2011, Union Shield 2006, and Zapad (West) 2009, which simulated a nuclear attack against ex-Soviet Bloc state Poland. In view of Belarus’ war preparations and its alliance with Russia, it is hard not to conclude that Russia itself is prepping for war against the West. Should NATO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which includes both countries and others of the former Soviet Union, ever come to blows, Belarus, in particular, stands smack-dab between the two regional alliances.

Meanwhile, taking a page from the atheistic script of their Soviet parent organization, the Belarusian KGB and Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee have raided “unauthorized worship services,” including house-based meetings, after various Christian denominations failed to register with Minsk and Astana. On October 24, Worthy News reported:

Evangelical Christians in Belarus and Kazakhstan faced increased pressure Friday, October 21, to halt unauthorized worship services after pastors were fined and churches raided in the former Soviet republics.

In Belarus, Pastor Aleksei Abramovich was among those fined several weeks of average wages as is part of the Baptist Council of Churches which refuses “on principle to gain state registration,” said advocacy group Forum 18.

Yelena Goretskaya of the Ideology Department of Zhodino Executive Committee reportedly defended a recent raid on Abramovich’s house church in Zhodino, near Belarus’ capital Minsk, saying believers “had broken the law” by not registering the church.

However in a published letter to President Alexander Lukashenko the pastor called the worship meetings “purely religious,” adding that it’s “not a crime if believers worship” in his house.

Like Lukashenko, Kazakhstan’s president for the past 21 years, Nursultan Nazarbayev, is an “ex”-communist.

Latin America File: Moscow ally Ortega flouts ban, grabs consecutive presidential term in landslide vote, renewed Russian influence in Central America likely to expand; retired general sweeps Guatemala vote on “law and order” ticket, center-leftist Colom leaves after one term, unable to eradicate powerful drug cartels

– Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Cuban Dictator Raul Castro Send Post-Election Congrats to Ortega, Pledge Expanding Relations with Nicaragua (source 1, source 2)

– Supporters of Presidential Candidate Fabio Gadea Protest Ortega Win, Clash with Police in Town of Concepcion, 19 Miles South of Managua (pictured above)

– President-Elect Perez Denies His Military Intelligence Unit and Regular Troops Committed Abuses during Guatemala’s Decades-Long Civil War, Promises to Let Attorney General Prosecute War Crimes Cases

This past Sunday, two important presidential elections took place in Central America, both (re-)installing veterans of the region’s Cold War-era battles.

In Nicaragua, long-time KGB asset President Daniel Ortega, who made his first post-Cold War pilgrimage to Moscow in December 2008, marched toward a landslide re-election victory after drawing broad support for his Venezuela-financed anti-poverty programs. Based on a sample of votes from 40 percent of polling stations, Ortega had obtained 62.6 percent support. Actual ballots showed a similar result as counting continued into Monday. “Comandante” Ortega was well ahead of his two main conservative rivals, popular radio personality Fabio Gadea and fair-weather ally and former president Arnoldo Aleman (1997-2002). On Sunday night, Sandinista cadres, who in past months assaulted opponents with home-made mortars, poured into the streets of Managua to celebrate their leader’s victory.

A member of the unelected Sandinista-dominated junta that instigated a reign of terror over Nicaragua during the early 1980s, Ortega “won” the presidential election of 1984, only to be democratically ousted six years later by US-backed opposition candidate, Violeta Chamorro. In the minds of most North Americans at the time, this was viewed as the end of the Sandinista Revolution. However, undeterred and with the Sandinistas firmly in control of the military and police, Ortega unsuccessfully ran again in 1996 and 2001.

Finally, after establishing the sordid “El Pacto” with Aleman, considered one of the Western Hemisphere’s most corrupt politicians, Ortega squeaked back into the presidential palace on less than 39 percent of the popular vote in November 2006. Released by a Sandinista-stacked Supreme Court in January 2009, ex-convict Aleman’s participation in Sunday’s poll effectively split the right-wing vote in Nicaragua, assuring Ortega’s dubious victory. Gadea supporters accused the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front of stuffing ballot boxes and interfering with the street-level voting process in conservative districts.

Since his inauguration in January 2007, Ortega has re-consolidated his hold on Nicaragua, ramming a martial law package through the National Assembly last December, in expectation of possible challenges to his neo-Sandinista regime, which is not only closely allied with Hugo Chavez, but also Raul Castro. At the same time, Nicaragua’s economy, ruined by the civil war in the 1980s, is enjoying an unprecedented economic surge, growing by 4.5 per cent in 2010, in part due to exports to Russia and Venezuela. Although 57 per cent of Nicaraguans still live below the poverty line, this figure, thanks to Sandinista largesse, is down from 65.5 per cent in 2005, according to World Bank statistics. Pragmatic millionaire communist Ortega, reports the Globe and Mail, has “let private businesses work untroubled” even as he implements his anti-poverty policies.

Hector Perla, a political scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, commented on yesterday’s Nicaragua vote:

The fact voters backed him despite reservations about his leadership style shows Nicaragua has moved on from the painful war years. Contrary to what most people believe, Ortega’s re-election signals the end of polarization in the country, at least as far as the average voter is concerned. A Sandinista victory shows that ordinary Nicaraguans are no longer driven by ideologically-based arguments, but rather by economic results that benefit the majority of Nicaraguans.

This may be so but, as a result of Ortega’s dubious re-election victory, we can expect to see Nicaragua’s deeper integration into the Havana/Caracas-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, as well as probably an expanded Russian presence in Central America. Since 2007, Nicaragua has feted both the Russian deputy prime minister and foreign minister in Managua; hosted the Russian-Nicaraguan Intergovernmental Commission; welcomed a Russian destroyer with “humanitarian aid” to the port of Bluefields; accepted a US$26.5 million gift from Moscow to form a “rescue unit’ in the Nicaraguan army; and renovated the never-used Soviet-built air base at Punta Huete, manning Central America’s longest runway with a military brigade that may one day welcome Russia’s strategic bombers (that is, if Moscow can keep behemoths like the Tu-160 “Blackjack” airborne before all of the spare parts for this supersonic ALCM platform vanish).

Meanwhile, in Guatemala a retired right-wing general who has vowed to crack down on the region’s bloodthirsty drug cartels won the presidential election on Sunday, ousting center-left incumbent Alvaro Colom after only one term (2008-2012). Otto Perez Molina (pictured at left) will be the first military man to take power in Guatemala City since democracy was restored in 1986. Perez scooped up 54.2 percent of the popular vote with results in from 98 percent of polling stations, while his rival, businessman Manuel Baldizon, trailed with 45.8 percent. Last August, Sandra Torres was disqualified from the presidential race due to her past marriage to Colom, leaving a vacuum on the political left.

The results of the election were a clear shift to the right for Central America’s largest economy and came after the pro-Cuban Colom failed to curtail violent drug crime or prevent Mexico’s Los Zetas cartel setting up training camps in the country’s northern jungles. In the grip of a Mexico-style narco-insurgency that controls 40 percent of its territory, Guatemala’s murder rate is about eight times that of the USA. Although Colom did not have enough time to steer Guatemala into ALBA, as Manuel Zelaya did in neighboring Honduras in 2008, only to be ousted in a coup the following year, the outgoing Guatemalan president gratefully received subsidized Venezuelan oil via the Petrocaribe program. Incidentally, Petrocaribe’s energy ministers descended on Managua last month to reaffirm their allegiance to petro-communist dictator Chavez.

“From the first day on, Guatemalans are going to see they’ve got a president committed to defending the lives and safety of all Guatemalans,” Perez promised late on Sunday. Supporters of Perez’s Patriotic Party set off fireworks and joined a street party near the convention center where the votes were counted. “There’s even extortion in the schools,” said housewife Elsa Guzman, who voiced her support for Perez. “I trust the army more. The army is not afraid to go out at night, but the police don’t even go out at night … that’s why we want a military man.” Inspired by President Felipe Calderon’s crackdown on the cartels in Guatemala’s large northern neighbour, Perez intends to hire 10,000 new police and deploy 2,500 more soldiers to combat the same cartels in his own country.

Human rights groups worry Perez’s crime-fighting message obscures a “dark side” in his military career. During Guatemala’s 36-year-long civil war, in which about 250,000 people died or disappeared, the army murdered suspected communists and massacred many peasants. There have been allegations that troops under Perez’s command committed abuses. “I can tell you, it’s totally false,” he told Reuters the day before the election. The good general also headed the military intelligence unit accused of orchestrating assassinations of political rivals. In spite of these allegations, Perez played a key role in supporting the 1996 peace accords that ended the war.

Lately, Guatemala has begun to prosecute and extradite military officers implicated in the worst civil war abuses, including one who settled here in Canada. Perez himself has never been charged with human rights crimes. Some analysts, therefore, believe that a key litmus test for President-Elect Perez will be whether he retains Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz, who has vigorously prosecuted the alleged war crimes. “That’s the big question. If she’s able to keep her job, will they allow her to do her job?” mused Adriana Beltran at the Washington Office on Latin America think tank. Perez, who will be inaugurated in January, has assured sceptics that if Paz y Paz “does her work well, there is no reason to end her four-year term prematurely.”

Useful Idiots Bin: Gorbachev, Pelosi, AFL-CIO, Communist Party USA, American Nazi Party bemoan current crises in global capitalism, throw their weight behind Canadian-launched “Occupy” protests; former Soviet dictator denounces Washington’s “militarism,” once again urges “perestroika” in USA

Soviet communism, we were told by the Moscow Leninists themselves 20 years ago, was dead. Let’s be honest, they lied so freedom lovers everywhere would let down their guard while “repackaged” revolutionaries continued the patient process of subverting freedom.

In the midst of an international debt crisis that is particularly acute in the USA and European Union, characterized by a jobless post-recession recovery in the USA, and threatening to bring down Greece’s debt-stricken socialist government, communists, “ex”-communists, crypto-communists, and neo-Nazis are speaking the same language and combining forces to overthrow the money-grubbing “Zionist Jewish” banking clique and other corporate execs in Washington, London and other global business hubs.

Most disturbingly, the political climate and economic woes of the 2010s appear to be resurrecting some of the dangerous racist, anti-capitalist rhetoric of Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. After the Great Depression, the Soviets, in particular, vowed that world communism would never again fail to exploit such a crisis in capitalism.

Launched by Adbusters, a Canadian tree-hugging cabal founded in 1989, the Occupy protests began on Wall Street, New York City’s financial district, on September 17, 2011. The movement’s main slogan is “We are the 99 percent,” referring to those who are not the one percent of US citizens who reportedly control 40 percent of the wealth in that country. In May 2011 Colombia University economist Joseph Stiglitz touted these figures in an article for Vanity Fair, titled “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%.”

Since then, anti-capitalist, tax-the-rich protests have taken place on numerous occasions in many cities across the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and even Mongolia. For the most part peaceful, these protests have occasionally become violent. On October 15, for example, black-garbed anarchists in Rome committed numerous violent acts, tossing Molotov cocktails and other improvised explosives, burning and blowing up cars, torching buildings, and smashing up ATMs and shop windows. The church building Santi Marcellino e Pietro al Laterano sustained extensive damage, including a statue of the Virgin Mary being thrown into the street and destroyed. Over US$1.3 million in property damage was reported after the “Occupy Rome” rampage.

On October 15, John Bachtell, an Illinois-based community organizer and Communist Party USA national board member, addressed the “Occupy Chicago” protest. “I bring greetings and solidarity from the Communist Party,” Comrade Bachtell said to hoots and applause. “We are here, marching side-by-side. We’ll sleep here. We’ll be with this movement ’til the very – ’til we make all the changes that we know we have to make.”

Bachtell also organized a conference call, with an online call to action that linked the CPUSA’s involvement in the “Occupy” protests with the AFL-CIO’s “Week of Action for Jobs,” congressional Democrats’ push to pass President Barack Hussein Obama’s American Jobs Act, and the planned demise of the Republican Party in the 2012 elections. Incidentally, the AFL-CIO has backed the “Occupy” movement almost from Day One.

“While there is a wide range of political and ideological trends,” Bachtell wrote, “there is a consensus against corporate greed, getting money out of politics, taxing the rich and putting people before profits.” He added: “A big challenge for the CPUSA and left, progressive movements is to link these demonstrations with the labor led all-people’s coalition and help deepen understanding that the path to progress must be through electoral and political action including defeating Republican Tea Party reaction in 2012.”

This past Wednesday, anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 “Occupy Oakland” protesters blockaded the Port of Oakland for five hours, but not before listening to veteran communist/feminist and ex-Black Panther Angela Davis denounce capitalism. At the opening rally, Comrade Davis addressed a crowd milling about the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway: “We do not assent to economic exploitation, to global capitalism, to police violence, to corporate inequality, we do not assent to the prison industrial complex… We do assent to community, to education – free education, to health care – free health care, to housing, to happiness, to justice … to hope for our future.”

This sort of anti-elite rabble-rousing, of course, is typical of the “Left Coast” which, incidentally, extends north of the 49th parallel to the Canadian city of Vancouver, where Adbusters is based.

Not to be outdone, the swastika-worshipping groupies of the American Nazi Party have announced their support for the Occupy movement, forming an informal red-brown alliance that once again proves the convergence of views between “national socialists” and “international socialists.” In an October 16 statement, the typographically challenged, Michigan-based Hitler freaks ordered their brainwashed disciples to covertly join the Occupy protests, which are “TAYLOR [sic] MADE for National Socialists, as well as WN [White Nationalists] who are serious about DOING SOMETHING.” The e-rant continued: “I urgently URGE all of you to TAKE PART and JOIN IN when these protests hit your neck of the woods. Produce some flyers EXPLAINING the ‘JEW BANKER’ influence — DON’T wear anything marking you as an ‘evil racist’ — and GET OUT THERE and SPREAD the WORD!”

The US political fringe is not the only segment of society to support the Occupy demos. President Obama has downplayed the radicalism of the movement. “I understand the frustrations being expressed in those protests,” Obama told ABC News in an exclusive interview, published on October 18. “In some ways, they’re not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the Tea Party. Both on the left and the right, I think people feel separated from their government. They feel that their institutions aren’t looking out for them.”

Democratic Minority Leader of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has also given the movement her imprimatur: “God bless them for their spontaneity. It’s young, it’s spontaneous, it’s focused and it’s going to be effective.” Yes, Comrade Nancy, it’s all of these things and neo-communism to boot.

Into the left-right fray of US politics wades former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev who, even as he launched political and economic reforms in the Soviet Union in 1985, vowed never to repudiate communism. In an October 19 speech, delivered at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, Comrade Mike extended his sympathies to the Occupy movement and rebuked “US militarism”:

We are reaping the consequences of a strategy that is not conducive to cooperation and partnership, to living in a new global situation. People are asking “Why do our leaders want to decide everything at the expense of the people”?

Some people in the United States were pushing the idea of creating a global American empire, and that was a mistake from the start. Other people in America are now giving thought to the future of their country. The big banks, the big corporations, are still paying the same big bonuses to their bosses. Was there ever a crisis for them? . . . I believe America needs its own perestroika.

We need to build a society where human beings are at the center. A lot of brain power is concentrated in the military-industrial sector; we need to shift that to other goals.

History is not preordained. We can influence history if we understand the most important things.

As we have pointed out in past posts, Gorbachev’s perestroika (“restructuring”) and glasnost (“openness”) reforms were never meant to signal a repudiation of Leninism but, rather, were an application of the communist dialectic leading, after a few “zig zags,” to a mature socialist society in Russia and the rest of the world. This was Gorby’s unvarnished thesis in Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World (1987). Tragically, that’s not how Western expertdom interpreted the cosmetic changes in the Soviet Union during the Cold War’s last decade. Instead, our brilliant leaders swiftly agreed with the wily Soviets that communism was “dead.”

Communist Bloc Military Updates: The Bear and the Dragon: Putin, Patrushev visit Beijing to promote 10-year-old alliance; Russian, Red Chinese generals hold “strategic consultations,” plan combined naval drill for 2012, following four joint “Peace Mission” exercises

– Red China Intensifies Military Contacts with “Ex”-Communist Poland, Communist Cuba, Left-Nationalist Peru, and Insurgency-Wracked Colombia

– Cash-Flush PRC Props Up European Financial Stability Facility with Undisclosed Sum, EFSF Chief Executive Heads Cap in Hand to Beijing; Chinese “Generosity” Follows US$1 Billion Loan for Belarus

– Russian DM Serdyukov: Russian-Belarusian Integrated Air Defense System Prototype for Network that Will Protect All Collective Security Treaty Organization Members

– Russia “Complies” with New START, Resumes ICBM Tests from Baikonur Cosmodrome after Two-Year Moratorium; Kazakhstan Spaceport Oldest Such Facility in World

Pictured above: Cuban President Raul Castro confers with Guo Boxiong, Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, in Havana, on October 27, 2011.

On October 11, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, followed by a 160-member entourage of businessmen and bureaucrats, arrived in Beijing, making this his first foreign trip since he announced his intention to run for the Russian presidency in March 2012. On the agenda were US$7 billion worth of bilateral deals ready to be signed, as well as negotiations for a US$1 trillion project to export natural gas from Siberia to northwest China.

Zhang Jianrong, a professor at the Shanghai Academy of Social Science, a government think tank, noted that Putin would have the opportunity to meet Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, the two high-ranking communists who are likely to take over as Red China’s president and premier in 2012. “This is a special visit,” Zhang said. “He should be able to have a good talk with China’s next generation of leaders and begin to build a private relationship. This is quite important for both countries.”

The warming of political ties between “post”-communist Russia and the People’s Republic of China began in 1996 and was sealed five years later with the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation. The latter ended the disengenuous “Sino-Soviet split” of the Cold War. This development, unforeseen by most Western analysts, was actually predicted in 1984 by KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn, who referred to a future Moscow-Beijing alliance as world communism’s “one clenched fist.”

The Moscow-Beijing Axis is undergirded by a significant increase in trade, especially in raw materials and natural resources. In 2010, there was a 41 per cent rise in Sino-Russian trade to US$55.45 billion. This figure is expected to rise again to US$70 billion this year and US$200 billion by 2021.

“By the end of the decade, Russia could account for a third of China’s natural gas supplies,” commented Lin Boqiang, professor of energy and economics at Xiamen University. “Of course, there are also downsides. Russia used to shut off its gas supply to Europe, for example.”

On the geopolitical front, Red China’s state media feted Putin’s arrival as a “step towards building a more multipolar world” which, in commiespeak, means a world where the sole superpower, the USA, has been knocked down a peg or two, or three. “With Russia and China united,” suggested Xinhua, “global politics would be more balanced.” In reality, global politics would be balanced in favor of the Communist Bloc.

“The official propaganda arm of the Chinese government,” reports the UK’s Telegraph, “praised Russia for standing together with China to ‘thwart several attempts’ by the West to meddle in other countries’ ‘internal affairs.’” Both Moscow and Beijing, are “deeply suspicious” of the Arab Spring—populist/Islamist movements that have toppled corrupt regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya and threaten to overthrow Syria’s Ba’athist dictatorship—and worry that Washington is “feeding” the protest movements to advance its own interests. Not surprisingly, opines The Telegraph, Moscow and Beijing are “nervous of losing influence” in the Arab world and are determined to oppose efforts to use the United Nations to sanction regime change.

Kevin Rudd, Australia’s foreign minister, has denounced the Sino-Russian collaboration behind the veto of an October 4 UN Security Council resolution that would have demanded regime change in Damascus. “China and Russia now bear a particular responsibility for persuading Syria to end the violence,” wrote Rudd in an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald.

One week after Putin’s trip to Red China, Nikolai Patrushev, Russian Security Council Secretary and past chief of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB), attended the sixth round of the China-Russia Strategic Security Talks. There, in Beijing, State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Patrushev agreed to “comprehensively implement” the agreement Russia and China reached when President Hu Jintao visited Moscow earlier this year. Patrushev also conferred with the PRC’s Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu. Together, they agreed to “increase personnel exchanges, strengthen security cooperation on large-scale events and promote professional law-enforcement training.”

On October 19 and 20, the General Staffs of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Russian Federation Armed Forces held their 14th round of “strategic consultations.” The consultation was co-chaired by Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the PLA, and Zarudniski, deputy chief of general staff of the Russian armed forces and director of the Operation Department of the General Staff Headquarters (GSH). “The two sides,” reports the PLA Daily, “had an in-depth exchange of views and reached broad consensus on such issues as the current regional and international security situation and the cooperation between the two militaries of China and Russia.”

This high-level military consultation between the two communist powers follows PLA Chief of the General Staff Chen Bingde’s official visit to Moscow in August. “China stands ready to work with Russia to further advance military ties, which will help promote strategic cooperation and is conducive to peace and stability in the region and the world,” Chen said during a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. 

Chen also met Nikolai Makarov, chief of the Russian General Staff, who expressed hope in conducting joint navy drills with China in 2012. “Russia attaches great importance to communication and cooperation with the Chinese military,” enthused Makarov, adding: “The relationship with China is one of Russia’s top priorities.” According to state-run Voice of Russia, the PLA delegation inspected a motorized infantry brigade in a suburb of Moscow; the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet, based in Murmansk, including Russia’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, sister ship to the Soviet-era carrier Varyag, which the PLA Navy upgraded and recently commissioned as its first; and K-317 Pantera nuclear-powered submarine. China and Russia have held four “Peace Mission” exercises since 2005.

Meanwhile, the PLA is building alliances with armed forces in other countries, such as in Europe and various states in Latin America. On October 23, Guo Boxiong, Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission began official goodwill visits to Cuba, Columbia and Peru. Guo was invited by the General Staff of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba, Columbia’s Defense Ministry, and Peru’s Defense Ministry. Cuba, of course, is a single-party communist dictatorship, Peruvians recently elected a pro-Chavez/Castro left-nationalist to the presidency, while Colombia has been wracked by a Marxist insurgency since the 1960s.

The PRC is also enhancing military cooperation with the former People’s Republic of Poland, now ostensibly ruled by a center-right government with no obvious attachment to the old communist regime. On October 21, Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie welcomed Zbigniew Glowienka, commander of the Land Forces of the Polish Armed Forces, to Beijing, pledging to “deepen exchanges and pragmatic cooperation with the Polish army.” Liang noted that the two countries have “experienced good momentum in the development of bilateral military relations,” referring to “frequent high-level visits, successful exchange programs and expanding professional communication and cooperation.”

This past summer 80 PLA Air Force paratroopers were deployed to Belarus, which is “next door” to Poland, for a joint “anti-terrorism drill” with their counterparts in that former Soviet republic. Belarus’ “ex”-communist dictator, President Alexander Lukashenko, has also gratefully received a US$1 billion loan from the PRC, a favour that Beijing is likewise extending to the cash-strapped European Union. The AFP news agency reports: “China has agreed to invest in Europe’s bail-out fund, two senior EU diplomats told AFP today. ‘China is in,’ said one of new plans to boost the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) with a spin-off investment vehicle to be used to prop up debt-laden nations.” The same source continues: “The diplomats gave no indication as to the scale of China’s likely investment, although an EU official said EFSF chief executive Klaus Regling would leave for Beijing on Thursday [October 27], after the [EU’s emergency financial] summit.”

It would seem that the Butchers of Beijing—with a grim nod toward the massacre in Tiananmen Square 22 years ago—are anxious to introduce both communist cash and PLA soldiers into debt-stricken Europe without raising any alarms.

In the light of the Soviet strategic deception plan, military cooperation between the former Soviet republics appears more and more like an attempt to resurrect some aspects of the unified command behind the Soviet Armed Forces. For example, following the Russian-Belarusian Union Shield 2011 exercise this past September, state-run Itar-Tass quoted Serdyukov as saying:

The military exercises at the Ashuluk firing range are unique [in] that a multilayer air defence system was created and tested. This air defence system is made up of modern combat systems: S-400, S-300, Tor, Pantsir and Buk. Under the scenario of the exercises, cruise missiles, airplanes and ballistic targets of the mockup enemy [meaning NATO] were seeking to break through this multilayer air defence system. Amid strong radioelectronic jams all attacks were rebuffed thanks to qualified actions of the combat teams. The air defence system created at the military exercises may turn into a prototype of a future joint CSTO air defence system.

Following Russia’s “agreement” to abide by the terms of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), Kazakhstan’s “ex”-communist President Nursultan Nazarbayev has obediently lifted a moratorium on test launches of Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. According to Vladimir Popovkin, chief of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, the ban was imposed in 2009 in line with the Kazakh government’s (ill-conceived?) plans to make Baikonur an entirely commercial space launch facility. “Now that the ban has been lifted we will [test] launch an ICBM [from Baikonur] in November,” Popovkin told Russia’s rubber-stamp lawmakers.

The Russian-Kazakh agreement, which was first signed in 1994 and then renewed in 2004, extends Russia’s use of the facilities at Baikonur, rented out an annual fee of US$115 million, to 2050. In addition to space launches, Russia frequently used Baikonur facilities to test performance characteristics and service life of its ballistic missiles. The last launch prior to the moratorium was carried out in October 2008 and involved an RS-18 (NATO designation SS-19 Stiletto) ICBM with a range exceeding 9,600 km (6,000 miles).

The US State Department reported this past week that Washington currently deploys 300 more ICBMs, SLBMs, and ALCMs than Russia. New START, which entered into force in February, commits the USA and Russia to reducing and limiting the number of deployed and non-deployed strategic offensive arms to agreed aggregate numbers.

Breaking News: Qaddafi killed as NATO warplanes attack deposed fugitive dictator’s convoy outside Sirte

Reuters reports today: “Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi died of wounds suffered on Thursday as fighters battling to complete an eight-month-old uprising against his rule overran his hometown Sirte, Libya’s interim rulers said.”

USSR2 File: Lukashenko defies EU bans and sanctions, grants KGB Soviet-style powers, outlaws all protests, throws opponents into labor camps; Belarusian dictator endorses Putin’s “Eurasian Union,” admits existence of a “strategy” on part of the Russian leadership

– Convicted for Torching Local KGB Office, Young Christian Democrat and Anarchist Activists Disappear into Lukashenko’s “Gulag Archipelago”

 – Lukashenko Shores Up Regime by Securing Natural Gas Supply from Russia, Selling State-Run Beltransgaz’s Remaining Shares to Gazprom

– EU Pours Water on Possible “Association Agreement” between Brussels and Kiev in Wake of Tymoshenko Conviction, Kiev Threatens Possible Membership in Moscow-Led Customs Union

Lukashenko has run out of money and he is now selling fear to an angry and hungry population.
— Stanislav Shushkevich, Belarus’ first post-Soviet leader, October 2011

Pictured above: Belarusian KGB chief Vadim Zaitsev speaks during a news conference in Minsk, on April 13, 2011.

One of the key evidences for the phoney demise of Soviet communism in 1991 was the failure to hold a “Nuremburg trial” for the Leninist thugs who ruled over Russia and its satellites for more than 70 years. Indeed, the “hardline” communists who orchestrated the “Vodka Putsch” against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in August of that year received minimal sentences, living out their remaining years in comfortable retirement and even attending Vladimir Putin’s first inauguration as Russian Federation president in 2000. In summary, there is for the most part no new blood in the leadership of the “former” Soviet republics. It is business as usual or, shall we say, communism in a more deceptive form.

To this end, Belarus’ embattled “ex”-communist dictator, President Alexander Lukashenko, has responded favourably to a proposal lately advanced by Russia’s “ex”-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, to create a “Eurasian Union” in the “post”-Soviet space. This project would build upon the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia and probably the new free trade zone uniting the Commonwealth of “Independent” States. The Eurasian Union would at first compete and then merge with the European Union, itself, according to Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, a project concocted in the mid-1980s by the Moscow Leninists with their socialist/communist allies in Western Europe.

In an article published by Izvestia earlier this month, Putin propounded: “We suggest creating a powerful supra-national union capable of becoming a pole in the modern world, and at the same time an effective connection between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific Region.” In his own written response, Lukashenko stated:

This is not meant to be a compliment to my colleague, the former Russian president and current prime minister, but I must say that this article was a real event. Russia has stated clearly and unambiguously for the first time in many years about the priority of the relations with the states with which it shares a common Soviet background.

Behind the words of the article lies a strategy. The right strategy.

Putin’s initiative should not be perceived as a division of Europe. The integration of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan is not against anyone.

The integration strategy described in the article is addressed not only to the voters and us, Russia’s neighbors, but to all global power centers. Bluffing could come out costly in this case, because upon receiving this powerful signal they all will make their strategic conclusions. Politics and politicians get respect only if they are serious and consistent. Thus, there should be no doubt that the intentions outlined by Putin are sincere.

You have to prove that the integration drive is not some sort of political games but a real prerequisite for the further improvement of human well-being.

If the three states succeed in forming the Eurasian Union this would lead to creation of the solid socio-political structure with common values, legal system, living standards and objectives. The union could eventually get a single currency.

Putin’s initiative to restore the USSR under a new name not only echoes the proclamations of Russian Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov, but also confirms yet again the remarkably accurate predictions offered by KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn more than 25 years ago in New Lies for Old. We have outlined those predictions in many previous posts. In summary, Golitsyn predicted that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union would abandon its public monopoly of power; (temporarily) withdraw the Red Army from Eastern Europe, thereby eliminating all reason for NATO’s existence; create a “neutral, socialist” Europe; bury the hatchet with the Chinese Communists; and eventually construct a new “worldwide communist federation.”

That Lukashenko himself should admit the existence of a “strategy” on the part of the Russian leadership, with which he is closely allied, is therefore telling. There is indeed a Leninist strategy unfolding in the Not-So-Former Soviet Union, where the Stalinist boot for the most part presently wears a velvet slipper.

Defying the bans and sanctions of the EU and no doubt emboldened by a US$1 billion loan from Red China, however, Lukashenko is twisting the thumbscrews ever tighter on the hapless citizens of Belarus. Last week, his rubberstamp parliament, with backing from the Communist Party of Belarus, passed legislation that grants sweeping powers to the Committee for State Security (KGB). Unlike Russia, the Belarusian communists elected to retain the old Soviet-era name for that republic’s secret police.

According to the MSM, the new law lifts restrictions on the KGB’s use of weapons, gives KGB officers the authority to break into residences and offices, and makes it even easier for Lukashenko to throw his political opponents behind bars. A new ban on receiving foreign funds carries a two-year prison sentence, while simply calling for an anti-government protest can lead to a three-year prison sentence. The Minsk regime is also expanding the definition of treason in such a way as to cast possible suspicion on anyone working for a foreign organization.

Oleg Gulak, head of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, has commented that Minsk’s law enforcement agencies have been granted “the same rights that the Soviet secret police had in Stalin’s time.” According to other human rights activists and dissidents, the KGB’s Soviet-style powers reflect “Lukashenko’s fear of rising public anger” over the country’s worst financial crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union. For example, the value of the Belarusian ruble has collapsed, prompting Minsk to unify the currency’s exchange rate, while inflation is running at a staggering 60 percent, forcing the regime to remove subsidies for food and fuel.

President Lukashenko’s iron-fisted rule since 1994 has prompted both the USA and EU to impose economic sanctions on the country and travel bans on officials from Minsk. A recent poll showed that Lukashenko’s approval rating has plunged to an all-time low of 20 percent. The poll from the Independent Institute for Socio-Economic and Political Research indicates that support for Lukashenko dropped among farmers, blue-collar workers, and retirees, social groups that previously endorsed his efforts to preserve a Soviet-style social safety net and maintain relative stability in the global economy.

“Lukashenko has run out of money and he is now selling fear to an angry and hungry population,” Belarus’ first post-Soviet leader, Stanislav Shushkevich, told the Associated Press. In December 1991, along with Russia’ Boris Yeltsin and Ukraine’s Leonid Kravchuk, Shushkevich co-founded the so-called Commonwealth of Independent States, a sort of “placeholder” for the soon-to-be-restored Soviet (Eurasian) Union.

In another effort to shore up his crypto-communist regime, Lukashenko is also ensuring that Belarus receives a steady supply of natural gas from Russia and handing over the keys of Belarusian state enterprises to Moscow. The Minsk Telegraf reports that Gazprom Chairman Alexey Miller is hosting talks with Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister of Sergei Rumas to complete a contract for the supply and transportation of Russian gas through Belarus, as well as the sale of Beltransgaz’s remaining shares to Gazprom. Russian and Belarusian negotiators say the documents will be ready for signing in November.

Meanwhile, the plight of Belarusian opposition leaders and activists, some exiled and some jailed, can only be described as miserable.

Earlier this month, former presidential candidate Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu was warned again by his parole officer after taking part in an opposition gathering. Nyaklyaeu told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that he participated in a People’s Assembly convened by the Belarusian opposition in Minsk on October 8. He said police visited his apartment three times that day to check whether he was at home. Later, police delivered a subpoena summoning him to the parole inspection center in Minsk’s Lenin District on October 10.

“They must have received specific instructions to keep me under constant surveillance to justify my possible return to jail for violating parole,” Nyaklyaeu told RFE/RL.

On October 3, the parole inspection center issued a “final warning” to Nyaklyaeu for visiting Poland between September 27 and 30. While in Warsaw, Nyaklyaeu attended the EU’s Eastern Partnership summit and a human rights conference.

On October 13, another dissident, Viktar Ivashkevich, was fined 1.4 million rubles (US$250) for his part in actually organizing the Minsk People’s Assembly. Judge Kiryl Palulekh found Ivashkevich guilty of violating the law on public gatherings. Ivashkevich faced 15 days in jail or a fine. Ivashkevich retorted that the People’s Assembly was held in accordance with the law on town hall meetings, which does not require prior permission from local authorities. Judge Palulekh overruled the requests by Ivashkevich and his lawyer. Significantly, Ivashkevich brought personal items with him to court on the assumption that he would be jailed.

At the Minsk People’s Assembly meeting, some 500 opposition activists gathered in Peoples’ Friendship Park, adopting a resolution addressed to the government. The resolution demanded wage increases, a cap on price hikes, the release of all political prisoners, and free presidential elections under the supervision of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Other meetings were held in Berastse, Mahileu, and Slonim. Several organizers and participants were fined at similar trials. More People’s Assembly gatherings are planned for November 12.

Lastly, the unknown fate of Yauhen Vaskovich, a member of the unregistered Belarusian Christian Democracy party, exposes the ongoing reality of Belarus’ Soviet-style gulag system. Vaskovich is serving a seven-year prison term for an arson attack on the local KGB headquarters in the eastern town of Babruysk in October 2010.

On October 18, RFE/RL reported that Vaskovich had been transferred from a labor camp in the eastern city of Mahileu to another facility, but his family does not know his whereabouts. Officials at Labor Camp No. 15 in Mahileu told RFE/RL that Vaskovich had indeed been transferred from there to “another labor camp,” but did not specify the destination. A labor camp duty officer said Vaskovich’s relatives will be informed where he is three days after his arrival at the new location.

Vaskovich’s mother, Rushannya, told RFE/RL she has not been officially informed about her son’s transfer. She said Vaskovich wrote in his last letter to her that he was to be moved to a “closed correctional facility” (PTK), where inmates are usually sent for systematically refusing to obey prison guards. At the Mahileu labor camp, Vaskovich was placed in solitary confinement on numerous occasions for this transgression.

Two anarchist activists, Artsyom Prakapenka and Pavel Syramalotau, were also jailed for seven years over the Babruysk arson attack. Vaskovich admitted his involvement, but pleaded not guilty. His two associates, however, pleaded guilty. Belarusian Christian Democracy considers Vaskovich a political prisoner, but acknowledges that his participation in the attack was wrong.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, a Moscow-friendly “ex”-communist like Lukashenko, has rejected EU protests over the jailing of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and intends to nevertheless pursue a trade agreement with Brussels. “The point isn’t if someone likes the verdict or doesn’t–in Ukraine or in Europe,” Yanukovich told reporters in Kiev. “The point is that there is a supremacy of law, there is a court that decides. Whatever decision the court makes, we must respect it.”

Last week, Tymoshenko—ironically, a Komsomol grad and thus part of the old Soviet regime like Yanukovich—was sentenced to seven years in prison for abuse of power as premier when signing a 10-year gas supply and transit agreement with Russia in 2009. The verdict may have “profound implications” for Ukraine’s relations with the EU, warned Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for the European Commission. EU President Herman Van Rompuy has said that a planned meeting with Yanukovich in Brussels would be delayed. Last month, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule opined that “The Tymoshenko case appears to be politically motivated and may damage Ukraine’s reputation.”

The Ukraine Security Service (SBU), which was hived off the old Soviet KGB but renamed like Russia’s Federal Security Service, opened a new criminal probe into Tymoshenko on October 13, accusing her of transferring US$405 million in debt owed to the Russian Defense Ministry by United Energy Systems, a company she used to run, to the state budget. Tymoshenko denied any wrongdoing, counter-accusing Yanukovich of engineering the trial to silence opposition before parliamentary elections next year.

In a related story, Putin has rebuked Ukraine for seeking EU membership, which is “absolutely unrealistic,” according to a September 16 comment by the Russian premier, who is seeking to return to the presidency next year. Russia has invited Ukraine to join the Customs Union, but Kiev has previously said the country is ready to cooperate with the union only in a so-called three-plus-one format. At the same time, Ukraine hopes to initiate an association agreement with the EU by the end of 2011.

“We are looking for a possible form of cooperation with the custom union,” explained Yanukovich, who is straddling the fence between Moscow and Brussels. “We are obliged to find a form that would not contradict our European integration.” Ukraine’s Social Policy Minister Serhiy Tyhypko has come right out to confirm that, as a result of the Tymoshenko flap with the EU, Ukraine may move closer to the Customs Union if the EU backtracks on its proposed “association agreement” with Kiev. “If the European Union gives a clear ‘no’ signal, the possibility that Ukraine will turn to the Customs Union is quite high,” huffed Tyhypko to Ukrainian newspaper Den.

Into the spat between Kiev and Brussels arrives Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, like Tymoshenko a graduate of the Soviet Komsomol. On Tuesday, Medvedev met with Yanukovich in Donetsk, Ukraine, for an interregional economic forum. Apart from issues of energy and the Customs Union, Medvedev and Yanukovich will discuss border interaction, joint research and technology, joint industrial ventures, transportation, and the environment. No doubt, too, the neo-Soviet leadership will look at the opportunities for exploiting the European debt crisis in order to advance its own position in the world.

Latin America File: Russia propping up Communist Cuba via Chavez, Medvedev sends letter of solidarity to Ortega ahead of Nicaraguan vote, Mexican leftists form coalition ahead of 2012 presidential poll, make second bid to install pro-Cuban Obrador

– Chavez Opens Venezuela’s Oil and Gas Reserves to Kremlin Exploitation as Russian Consortium Ties Knot with PDVSA, Ramps up for Early 2012 Production

– Costa Rica’s President and Foreign Minister Label Nicaragua as “Enemy,” Ortega’s Second Regime as “Xenophobic”

 – Obrador Favors Termination of Mexican Government’s War against Drug Cartels, Dismantling of Border Wall, Conferred with Russian Communist Party Boss in Barely Reported 2007 Meeting

Pictured above: Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, left, talks with past and current presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador at the closing campaign rally of Alejandro Encinas, candidate for governor of the State of Mexico for the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), in Nezahualcoyotl, on June 26, 2011.

Since this past summer, Venezuela’s self-avowed Marxist president, who is still ruling by decree—which means Hugo Chavez may be accurately referred to as a “communist dictator” —has made four trips to Cuba to participate in chemotherapy treatments for a still publicly unrevealed form of cancer. Lately, South America’s champion of “21st century socialism” has sported a bald pate, indicative of chemotherapy patients. Chavez’s familial links with the red regime in Havana, however, go much deeper still.

Between January 2007 and May 2010, reveals a document from the Economic Social Development Bank of Venezuela (BANDES), Venezuela disbursed more than US$1.5 billion to finance dozens of projects in Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and other states in the eight-member socialist bloc known as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.

The veracity of the document was confirmed by Julio Montoya, an opposition member of the Venezuelan Congress, who accused President Hugo Chavez of sinking his own country deep in debt while simultaneously financing leftist allies. Montoya, who represents the New Time Party, protested:

It is not possible for Venezuela to continue increasing its external debt to the point of already surpassing $124 billion, while the president continues to finance the governments of Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia.

While Venezuela is going through serious problems with its infrastructure and its communications systems are falling apart, President Chávez is financing the repairs of Cuban airports and railroad systems.

We have to learn about these things only when officials denounce them […]. It’s totally confidential. He [Chávez] doesn’t inform anybody in this country about the manner in which he uses resources.

According to the 58-page report, BANDES, through its Autonomous and International Cooperation Fund (FICA), granted “solidarity credits” for more than US$980 million to 100 Cuban companies participating in a “twin enterprises” program. The document does not identify the companies nor their activities, simply indicating that they operate within “five industrial sectors” and that the financing is part of “strengthening” ALBA.

Cuban projects financed by Venezuela involve numerous credits disbursed by FICA to finance the railroad sector and other loans for more than US$45 million to finance the international airports at Varadero-Matanzas (Juan G. Gómez) and Havana (José Martí).

Ultimately, Venezuela, which is making the painful transition to communism, is propping up its sister regime in Cuba by way of its domestic oil revenue and loans from Moscow. Not so coincidentally, Chavez, who expects to shortly make his annual pilgrimage to the Kremlin, has enticed Russia, Belarus, and Red China into exploiting its proven petroleum and natural gas reserves in the Caribbean Basin.

Russia, Bloomberg reports, has agreed to lend Venezuela US$4 billion through 2013 for defense spending in return for gaining access to heavy crude and offshore gas fields in Venezuela’s Junin 6 block. Russia’s OAO Rosneft and OAO Gazprom signed a cooperation accord with Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA on October 6 at a ceremony in Caracas led by Chavez and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who in the 1980s served as Soviet military intelligence’s pointman in Latin America. The Junin 6 block is a joint venture between PDVSA and a Russian consortium that includes OAO Lukoil, TNK-BP, and OAO Gazprom Neft. It is expected that production in the block will begin in May 2012.

Chavez, who has led the OPEC-member nation since 1999, has strengthened ties with Russia during his 12-year rule in a bid to re-equip his military after a US arms embargo in 2006 and to attract investment in the energy industry. The US$4 billion defense loan will be disbursed in two equal parts in 2012 and 2013. In the last five years, Chavez has purchased more than US$4.4 billion of fighter jets, air defense systems, helicopters, and small arms from Russia, while denying that he was fuelling an arms race in South America, especially against the center-right government in neighboring Colombia.

“We’re working on large-dimension projects from oil, gas and petrochemicals to finance, banking and trade,” Chavez, who has troubling relations with Colombia’s Marxist guerrillas, soothed on state television. “We’re not a threat to anyone. We’re modernizing our armed forces that were totally defenseless.”

In a separate agreement, the two countries agreed to commit US$2 billion each to boost the capital of a bi-national bank, Evrofinance Mosnarbank SA, which will provide lending for housing projects and a joint-venture oil project in the Junin 6 block. In February, Venezuela paid US$400 million to buy a 49 percent stake in the Moscow-based Evrofinance, which opened an office in Caracas July 25. Evrofinance is 49.9 percent owned by Venezuelan state development bank Fonden, with the rest controlled by Russian banks VTB Group and Gazprombank Group.

Now that Chavez has opened Venezuela’s natural resources to Kremlin exploitation, Moscow’s Rosneft will develop the Carabobo 2 heavy-crude block in the Orinoco as a minority partner with PDVSA. At the same time, Gazprom will explore for natural gas in the Gulf of Venezuela, close to the Perla field where Eni SpA and Repsol have 15 trillion cubic feet of certified gas reserves. Gazprom and PDVSA agreed to consider a joint venture to develop the Robalo gas deposit.

Incidentally, Chavez, who like comrade Daniel Ortega invokes “Christianity” as a basis for his socialism, said that he received a religious icon from Sechin to help with his recovery.

Meanwhile, on September 15 five countries in Central America simultaneously celebrated their independence from the First Mexican Empire in 1821. Nicaragua was one of them. In Managua, Ortega, who returned to the presidency in early 2007, after a 17-year stint in the political wilderness, has openly allied himself with his old red buds in Havana, pocketed more than a billion dollars from Chavez by way of ALBA front companies, and rehabilitated the never-used Soviet-built runway at Punta Huete, replete with special military brigade to man the control tower (possibly to welcome Russian strategic bombers in the not-too-distant future).

In a September 15 letter conveyed by Russia’s ambassador to Nicaragua, Igor Kondrashev, Medvedev expresses these wishes to Ortega:

 Please receive our warmest and sincere congratulations on the occasion of the National Celebration of the Republic of Nicaragua, the Day of Independence.

 I celebrate with satisfaction the fact that the economic-commercial, cultural and humanitarian relations between the Federation of Russia and the Republic of Nicaragua have extended successfully into the political field. This relationship is highly valuable because of our interaction in the international arena, based on our adherence to the principles of the supremacy of law and to the task of constructing a multi-polar world.

I am convinced that the recent development of constructive and fruitful dialogue will continue contributing to the deepening of Russian-Nicaraguan cooperation in the interests of our States, and to the consolidation of stability and security in the region of Central America.

My desire for you, Most Excellent Gentleman President, is good health and success to the Nicaraguan people, well being and prosperity.

The arrival of this missive from Moscow, less than two months before an election that Ortega is expected to win, but only by flouting Nicaragua’s constitutional ban on consecutive presidential terms, is obviously an expression of solidarity between the neo-Soviet leadership and the neo-Sandinista regime. Ortega made his first post-Cold War journey to Moscow in December 2008 and has received promises of upgrades for the Soviet-equipped Nicaraguan military, known as the Sandinista Popular Army until 1995. During a tete-a-tete with this long-time KGB asset, Soviet Komsomol grad Medvedev referred to Ortega as “comrade.” For commie watchers, ‘nuff said.

Last year, relations between Nicaragua and Costa Rica soured when Nicaraguan troops occupied a disputed island in the San Juan River, which forms part of the boundary between the two “brother” countries. Former Sandinista revolutionary Eden Pastora and a contingent of Sandinista Youth are currently overseeing a government dredging operation in the San Juan that will eventually transform the river into a trans-oceanic link that will rival the Panama Canal. Moscow has expressed an interest in using both Punta Huete and financing the long-dreamed-of “Nicaragua Canal,” but so far US policy makers are untroubled by these revelations of a revived Russian presence in Central America.

Costa Rica’s center-left government is not allied with the Western Hemisphere’s Havana/Caracas-led Red Axis and so takes a dim view of Ortega’s “xenophobia.” Six months since the International Court of Justice ruled that Nicaragua must remove its troops from Isla Calero, Costa Rica’s new foreign minister insisted that Ortega’s government remains an “enemy” of Costa Rica. “I think that we have to consider Nicaragua as an enemy while they continue to usurp [our territory],” said Enrique Castillo, in an interview with San Jose’s La Nación daily. He continued:

There is a vengeful motivation that is based in the xenophobia that the government of Ortega feeds the Nicaragua people and is practiced by the Nicaraguan government. It is a xenophobic government against Costa Rica.

I think Nicaragua planned this in bad faith (and) with much anticipation. The execution occurred when it was thought to be a favorable moment during the transition period from one government to another. It was going to happen sooner or later.

Castillo served previously as Costa Rica’s ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington DC, where he argued the case against Nicaragua in November 2010.  He assumed the role of foreign minister when René Castro stepped down to become the minister of energy, environment and telecommunications. In December of last year, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla also said she considered Nicaragua to be an enemy (Tico Times, December 6, 2010).

In Mexico, still in the grip of a ferocious five-year-old narco-insurgency that has left dozens of corpses lately in the Gulf Coast city of Veracruz, leftists are organizing a common front to once again try to place their candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in the presidency. The leader of the Dialogue for the Reconstruction of Mexico (DIA in Spanish), Manuel Camacho Solis, has revealed that the first poll to elect DIA’s common presidential candidate is scheduled to take place in November and, if a run-off poll is necessary, in February. The DIA consists of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), formed in 1989 from the Mexican Communist Party and other leftist groupings; the Labour Party; and the Citizens’ Movement. Obrador’s main rival for the DIA candidacy is Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard.

Obrador is not in favor of continuing the federal government’s war against the drug cartels but, rather, intends to shift the focus of the Mexican state toward economic development. “Cooperation for development is more effective and humane than the emphasis on military assistance, intelligence services and armaments,” the former Mexico City mayor said in a speech at Washington’s Woodrow Wilson Center last week. Obrador added: “Development and job creation should come first. It is not with military assistance … nor with more weapons that those problems will be resolved. It is not with a wall that the border will be secured.”

How job creation programs can be implemented in Mexico when a major insurgency is taking place, however, remains to be explained.

In 2006, Obrador made a previous bid for the presidency, refusing to this day to recognize Felipe Calderon’s victory. Last year, Obrador lauded Fidel Castro and, in April 2007, following his failure at the ballot box, quietly received Russian Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov in Mexico City. Zyuganov, who is also taking a stab at the Russian Federation presidency in March 2012, was then making a regional tour that included pit stops in Havana and Caracas. Needless to say, important incidents of communist power networking such as the Zyuganov-Obrador pow-wow were totally ignored in the MSM, which still holds to the unbelievable “communism is dead” line, a mantra invented by the communists themselves.

Elections for the Mexican presidency and Congress will take place in July 2012. According to public opinion polls, the candidate of the once long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, Enrique Pena Nieto, appears poised to restore Mexico’s “perfect dictatorship.” The centrist PRI belongs to the Socialist International, but the PDR and its allies are even further to the left, transforming a potential Obrador victory into a national security issue for the USA.

USSR2 File: Putin poised to return to Russian presidency in March 2012, presents first foreign policy initiative with advocacy of “Eurasian Union,” integrating Russia, former Soviet republics, and European Union in “common economic space”

– Russia’s KGB Dictator Denies Intention of Restoring Soviet Union, Praises NAFTA and Other Regional Bodies as “Bricks” to Be Assembled in Quest for “Way Out of the Global Crisis”

– Eurasian Union Warmed-Over Version of Gorbachev’s “Common European Home,” Stepping Stone to Lenin’s Goal of “World Soviet Republic”

Pictured above: A man looks at a caricature depicting Russian Premier Vladimir Putin as past Soviet dictator Leonid Brezhnev on his computer screen in Moscow on October 5, 2011.

By the end of the 1980s, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’ command economy could not outpace the USA in the arms race, could not provide a comparable standard of living for Soviet citizens vis-à-vis the West, and could no longer bear the burden of maintaining a massive conventional military presence in Eastern Europe since 1945. For these reasons, most Western conservatives/classic liberals and libertarians believe, the Soviet Union collapsed. This is only part of the story, though.

Within the conservative/libertarian movement, an “end-time remnant” of fervent, intellectually robust anti-communists exists, a clique which to this day maintains that the North Atlantic Alliance did not win the Cold War’s ideological battle, that is, in the sense of finally discrediting the idea of communism once and for all.

This vanguard of freedom heeded the warnings of KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn—whose 27-year-old published predictions are corroborated by other Soviet Bloc defectors like Czech Major General Jan Sejna and political developments in the “post”-communist states—that Soviet communism would feign its demise, promote European integration, remove any justification for NATO’s existence, and end the Sino-Soviet split with an alliance with the Red Chinese, all with the intent of returning another day to either smash the “bourgeois” nations in an unexpected nuclear war, or lure them into a world federation of repackaged communist states.

In his first book, New Lies for Old (1984), Golitsyn writes: “In the new worldwide communist federation the present different brands of communism would disappear, to be replaced by a uniform, rigorous brand of Leninism” (page 346). Most of Golitsyn’s published predictions, writes Mark Riebling in Wedge: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11–How the Secret War between the FBI and CIA Has Endangered National Security (2002), came to pass by the early 1990s, proving that this East Bloc defector had real “inside information” from the heart of the Politburo.

Fast forward to 2011. President Dmitry Medvedev’s commitment to modernizing the Russian military in collaboration with Moscow’s allies in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Kremlin’s frequent overtures for a security arrangement embracing both Russia and the European Union (or NATO sans the USA) show that the Moscow Leninists hold both cards in their hands. Although only 26 years old when the Soviet Union was dismantled, Medvedev is a graduate of the Komsomol and, thus, indoctrinated in Marxism-Leninism.

Russian “voters” face a parliamentary election in December and a presidential election in March. As in the days of open communism, they have few if any real options. The two top presidential candidates, for example, are Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, an “ex”-communist and career Chekist, versus Gennady Zyuganov, head of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, legal successor of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Putin, Medvedev, and Zyuganov hold regular closed-door meetings. Due to the global recession, Putin’s popularity has slipped somewhat but he still holds a commanding lead over unabashed Stalinist Zyuganov.

Whether an “ex”-communist or open communist holds the post is almost irrelevant. Either way, the Soviet strategists will advance their stealth plan for global domination and the demise of their principal enemy, the USA.

In an article published in the October 4 issue of Izvestia, Putin has essentially called for the restoration of the Soviet Union, albeit in a new and improved form that will include the European Union, an entity that former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has called the “new European Soviet.” In what amounts to his first foreign policy initiative, Putin writes:

We must bring the ex-Soviet states into a Eurasian Union. The new union will be built on Russia’s existing Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, which in 2012 will remove all barriers to trade, capital, and labor movement between the three countries.

We are not going to stop there and are setting an ambitious goal — to achieve an even higher integration level in the Eurasian Union.

The new union will be a supra-national body that would coordinate economic and currency policy between its members. It will also be open to new members.

In the Izvestia article, Putin did not hide his disapproval of the World Trade Organization: “The process of finding new post-crisis global development models is moving forward with difficulty. For example, the Doha round [of international trade talks] has practically stopped. There are objective difficulties inside the WTO.” In 2009, Putin threw Russia’s 18-year-old bid to join the WTO into confusion by committing Russia to the Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Putin, who in 2005 called the collapse of the USSR “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century,” assures readers that this new project would not resemble the Soviet Union. “It would be naive to attempt to restore or copy something from the past,” he soothed. “However, a stronger integration on a new political and economic basis and a new system of values is an imperative of our era.”

Even though pro-Russian politicians rule in Kiev and Minsk and may shortly lead a government in Latvia, Russia’s relationship with its ex-Soviet neighbors has been tempestuous, disrupted by energy and trade disputes, and the armed conflict with Georgia in 2008. However, Putin predicts that the Customs Union will at least absorb the Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

In his article, the Russian PM issued a veiled criticism of Ukraine, which has joined neither the Customs Union nor the CSTO military alliance. “This was a wrong choice,” he complains, adding:

The Customs Union and in future the Eurasian Union would be the European Union’s partner in talks over the creation of a common economic space, guaranteeing its members a stronger voice. Membership in the Eurasian Union, apart from direct economic benefits, will enable its members to integrate into Europe faster and from a much stronger position.

Putin concludes that “the way out of the global crisis” is to be found through regional integration, mentioning as positive examples the European Union, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, North American Free Trade Agreement, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations. “These ‘bricks’ can assemble into a more stable global economy,” he states.

In 1989, in his propaganda offensive against the West, Soviet dictator Gorbachev, who still draws audiences at various speaking events, urged the formation of a “common European home,” from the Ural Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. More than 20 years later, enough building blocks exist to realize Putin’s “Eurasian Union,” which also replicates Vladimir Lenin’s dream of a “world Soviet republic.” All Moscow needs to do is to fold the EU, Commonwealth of “Independent” States, Union State of Russia and Belarus, Customs Union, and CSTO into one enormous political-economic-military entity.

Afterward, Red China and Iran can join the Eurasian Union via the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The African Union and Union of South American Nations will be compliant allies, while North America remains a stubborn holdout against world government.

Final Phase Backgrounder: Russia approaches elections as Putin and Medvedev attend United Russia congress, announce post-swapping deal that could put KGB dictator back into presidency until 2020; comments from Gorbachev, Zyuganov signal ongoing reality of Soviet strategic deception

– Finance Minister Kudrin Rejects Participation in Future Russian Government, Laments President Medvedev’s Heavy Allocation of Funds toward Military

– Chairman Zyuganov Demands Nationalization (Communization) of Russian Industries, Restoration of Soviet Union, “Liquidation” of “Imperialist” NATO, Calls “Post”-Soviet Politics in Russia a “20-Year Experiment”

– Gorbachev Candidly Revealed Soviet Strategic Deception in 1987 Manifesto, Maintains Current Kremlin Leaders Still Implementing “Perestroika” (Socialist Restructuring), Implying Continuity between Soviet and “Post”-Communist Russia

 – Kremlin-Founded Polling Firm Surveys Russians’ Views of Perestroika in 2010, Gorbachev Reviews Effects of Reforms 25 Years after Initial Implementation, Offers Praise and Criticism

This past Saturday, Russian Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin–who belongs to the “St. Petersburg clan,” the cabal of yes-men clustered around Prime Minister Vladimir Putin– announced that he will not join the new government formed after the upcoming State Duma and presidential elections. These will take place on December 4 and March x, respectively.

Kudrin is credited with repeatedly “cushioning” Russia from collapsing oil prices, on which that country’s economy is heavily dependent, and helping the country to weather the 2008 global banking collapse. Speaking with journalists on the sidelines of a joint meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, Kudrin said:

 I do not see myself in the new government. It is not just that I have not been offered the job, but I think that those differences of opinion that I have, they do not allow me to join this government. I have differences with Medvedev on economic policy, they basically have to do with considerable spending on military goals.

Kudrin elaborated that President Dmitry Medvedev, a graduate of the Soviet Komsomol, had approved an increase in military spending amounting to US$65 billion, or three percent of Russia’s gross domestic product:

This is the 2011 level of financing for the whole education system, including all universities, idle schools, and specialized education establishments. That is in three years we will pay the same sum for military spending that we pay for all education.

I am sorry, that these questions were not sufficiently discussed at the convention of United Russia. The serious sums which are being spent on military aims mark a turning point in the budgetary policy of the country.

Kudrin’s comments expose an internal conflict that has been “kept under wraps” while KGB dictator Putin and his lapdog Medvedev ironed out the wrinkles in a reshuffle at the top of the government. The latest version of “musical political posts” in Moscow, announced at the United Russia congress this weekend, essentially reverses an agreement formulated in 2008, when Putin left the presidency for the premiership of Russia, while Medvedev transferred from his role as Gazprom CEO to that that of premier. “Ex”-communist Putin was first elected president in 2000, after briefly holding the post of prime minister, a position to which he was appointed in 1999 by President Boris Yeltsin.

The delay in announcing Putin’s or Medvedev’s presidential bid in 2012 not only provoked considerable speculation among Kremlin watchers worldwide, but also spurred US$31.2 billion in capital flight from Russia in the first half of this year. The IMF, which last week chopped its forecasts for Russia’s economic growth in 2011 and 2012, said “the lack of clarity before the presidential election was a drag on foreign investment.” On September 20, Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach acknowledged that in August alone capital flight exceeded US$1 billion.

Whether the post-swapping deal between Putin and Medvedev will bolster the sagging popularity of Russia’s potemkin “party of power,” United Russia, which slipped from 53 percent in early 2010 to 43 percent in April of this year, or reverse the diminishing personal approval rating of Putin, which fell from 69 percent in January 2010 to 43 percent this past spring remains to be seen. Popular support for Medvedev fell from 62 percent to 46 percent over the same period. “The decrease in the ratings is mainly due to economic problems, with the government still unable to overcome the effects of the recent recession,” Lyudmila Sergeyeva, an analyst at the independent Levada Center polling firm, commented at the time.

To this day, Western “expertdom”—dot.gov functionaries, ivory-tower academics, posturing politicians, Hollywood rabblerousers, and assorted “fellow travelers”—has not considered the possibility that the collapse of the Soviet Union 20 years ago, while reflecting real problems in that country’s command economy, was stage managed and part of a long-range strategic deception ahead of communism’s conquest of the world.

This is tragic because, as usual, the Soviet communists have been very honest about their intentions, both before the Iron Curtain came down and, ever since. Indeed, high-ranking communists, like former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and current party boss Gennady Zyuganov, continue to broadcast signals concerning the pros and cons of perestroika (socialist restructuring) and democratization (Kremlin-controlled political pluralism) in Russia. Thus, if there is a “communist conspiracy” then, in reality, it has always been an open conspiracy, to quote the title of a novel by H.G. Wells. It is in this sense, that we use the word conspiracy in our blog’s subtitle.

KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn, while posted in Finland, defected to the West in 1961. He acquired US citizenship. Born in Ukraine in 1926, the good major, if he is alive today, would be 85 years old. Living under an assumed name, Golitsyn fired off memo after memo to the US Central Intelligence Agency. In these missives, he warned those who had ears to hear of the Communist Party’s plan to dismantle the Soviet Union and abandon its public monopoly of power. In both New Lies for Old (1984) and The Perestroika Deception (1995), Golitsyn explained the six main reasons for this massive, unprecedented, multi-front offensive:

  • to psychologically confuse the West with the notion that Soviet communism and world revolution were no longer a threat
  • to establish a communist-controlled “multi-party” system in the Soviet Bloc states as the basis of “mature socialist societies” and “states of the whole people”
  • to economically bleed the West by attracting a new generation of “Nepmen” into revitalizing the ailing Soviet economy
  • to disarm the West by removing any grounds for NATO’s existence and transforming the Soviet war machine into an invincible force
  • to create a “neutral, socialist Europe” under Moscow’s thumb
  • to end the Sino-Soviet split with a treaty of friendship between the Soviet and Chinese communists and the formation of “one clenched fist” to smash the “bourgeois” nations.

In a 1990 memo, Golitsyn reveals that “The basic weapon in the Soviet political armoury is the KGB with its 5 or 6 million secret agents inside the USSR.” No doubt, the ascent to power of career Chekist Putin in 1999 and the expansion throughout the 1990s of the Federal Security Service’s staff of domestic agents and the Foreign Intelligence Service’s overseas plants reflect institutional continuity in the Soviet deception plan. Golitsyn continues:

Together, the Party and the KGB have fabricated controlled political opposition in the main cities of the USSR and in the national Republics. Together they have chosen and trained the organisers, leaders and activists of the new ‘democratic’, ‘non-Communist’, ‘nationalist’ and ‘independent’ organizations which are mushrooming under the Soviet ‘multi-Party system.’ Even non-democratic groups like the anti-Semitic ‘Pamyat’ movement are creatures of the regime (The Perestroika Deception, page 123).

Golitsyn, who 50 years ago was privy to the workings of the “inner KGB,” which veiled the long-range deception plan from rank-and-file Chekists, rebukes the West for its ideological blindness:

Until the West abandons its simplistic thinking, penetrates mentally the complexities of the ‘changes’ which have taken place in the Communist world, and comes to terms with the Leninist dialectic driving those ‘changes’, the Communist strategists will retain the upper hand. This critical state of affairs demands urgent rethinking of the West’s response to the strategy of ‘perestroika,’ and its dangers for the West. That is the main and urgent priority. This review will take courage and statesmanship of the highest order (ibid., page xxx).

Gorbachev, who continues to pound the speakers’ circuit in the West, would not disagree with Golitsyn. In 1987, Harper & Row published Gorbachev’s manifesto, Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World. There the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union candidly reveals that all of the changes that took place and continue to take place in Russia accord with the “Leninist concept of socialist construction,” a “well-considered, systematized program,” and a “concrete strategy for the country’s further development”:

Thus, an arsenal of constructive ideas has been accumulated. Therefore, at the April 1985 Plenary Meeting we managed to propose a more or less well-considered, systematized program and to outline a concrete strategy for the country’s further development and a plan of action. It was clear that cosmetic repairs and patching would not do; a major overhaul was required. (27)

Perestroika is the all-round intensification of the Soviet economy, the revival and development of the principles of democratic centralism in running the national economy, the universal introduction of economic methods, the renunciation of management by injunction and by administrative methods, and the overall encouragement of innovation and socialist enterprise. (34)

Perestroika means the elimination from society of the distortions of socialist ethics, the consistent implementation of the principles of social justice. (35)

The essence of perestroika lies in the fact that it unites socialism with democracy and revives the Leninist concept of socialist constructionboth in theory and in practice. Such is the essence of perestroika, which accounts for its genuine revolutionary spirit and its all-embracing scope. (35)

Perestroika is closely connected with socialism as a system. (36)

I would like to point out once again that we are conducting all our reforms in accordance with the socialist choice. We are looking within socialism, rather than outside it, for the answers to all the questions that arise. We assess our success and errors alike by socialist standards. Those who hope that we shall move away from the socialist path will be greatly disappointed. Every part of our program of perestroika—and the program as a whole, for that matter—is fully based on the principle of more socialism and more democracy. (36)

We will proceed toward better socialism rather than away from it.We are saying this honestly, without trying to fool our own people or the world. Any hopes that we will begin to build a different, non-socialist society and go over to the other camp are unrealistic and futile. Those in the West who expect us to give up socialism will be disappointed. (37)

We want more socialism and, therefore, more democracy. (37)

This “Final Phase Backgrounder,” referring to the last section of Golitsyn’s first book, provides the necessary historical and ideological context for correctly evaluating the upcoming State Duma and presidential elections in “post”-communist Russia. In this, light no matter which party wins the parliamentary election or which man wins the presidential election, the Soviet strategists will nevertheless advance toward their goals, enumerated above. The election of open communists, as opposed to “ex”-CPSU cadres, will simply hasten the re-Sovietization of the “post”-Soviet space, already initiated under the Putinist regime.

Over the weekend, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the legal successor of the CPSU and Russia’s real “party of power,” also held its own pre-election congress to present a list of candidates for the Duma vote. According to the slick Kremlin-run Russia Today, “The Communists have pledged to beat the ruling party at the parliamentary elections, saying United Russia has brought the country to a deadlock.”

“It will not be just the elections of State Duma or president, it will be a choice of the course after a 20-year experiment,” Chairman Zyuganov, alluding to the deceptive nature of Gorbachev’s perestroika reforms, told delegates and guests of the congress in the town of Moskovsky, near Moscow. Referring to the Putinist regime, he grumbled “All these years a gang of folks who cannot do anything in life apart from dollars, profits and mumbling, has humiliated the country.”

“The majority of people must win,” Zyuganov confidently predicted, presuming that most voters will support the CPRF. The communist congress stated that “Russia has entered a new phase of development when patriotic forces start a decisive struggle for power of the people and socialism.” Zyuganov urged his followers to “seize the levers of power as the country is running out of its strength.” He warned: “Russia only has a maximum of 10 years to lay a foundation of new development.” He proposed a new course that will “ensure Russia’s security, transfer from economic decline to accelerated development and overcome poverty and social degradation.”    

“The Communist platform envisages the nationalization of the oil industry and the modernization of the economy,” proclaimed Zyuganov (pictured above) under a bust of the Soviet Union’s first dictator, Vladimir Lenin, whose mummified corpse still remains unburied in Red Square. He added: “The party will also campaign for the disbandment of imperialistic NATO and the establishment of a new alliance of former Soviet republics, beginning with Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.” The liquidation of NATO and the restoration of the USSR as part of a “world communist federation,” according to Golitsyn in both of his books, are key objectives of the Soviet strategists.

On the CPRF electoral list are 597 names, topped by Zyuganov, retired Navy Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov, who commanded the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet from 1998 to 2002, and the head of the Communist Youth League, Yury Afonin.

The head of the Central Elections Commission, Kremlin loyalist Vladimir Churov, attended the CPRF congress without offering any reason for his presence.

This past August, the Kremlin-contrived Just Russia party, which articulates a social democratic platform, appealed to the CPRF to form an electoral alliance in a bid to break United Russia’s dominance of the Duma since 2003. “I would like to take this platform to appeal to the leadership of the Communist Party of Russia, personally to Gennady Zyuganov (KPRF leader) with a proposal to create an alliance of left forces that would destroy United Russia’s plans to gain a majority,” Just Russia’s Duma faction leader Nikolai Levichev said at a press conference at the time.

Based on recent public opinion polls, the Communists and Just Russia would together command about 25 percent of the popular vote, compared to United Russia’s 43 percent, although Levichev claimed the two parties could in combination surpass United Russia. The Communists currently hold 57 seats in the 450-seat Duma, while United Russia has 315 seats. Sergei Mironov’s Just Russia and Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democrats hold a token number. The Communists can count on garnering 18 percent of the Duma vote, while Just Russia 6 to 7 percent, according to a poll by Levada released in mid-September.

In reply to Just Russia’s overture, the Сommunists said they were ready to discuss the proposal only if Just Russia severs its ties with United Russia. “It is not clear what ‘alliance’ means because [electoral] blocks are prohibited by law,” mused senior CPRF official Sergei Obukhov. He added:

If the proposal means the creation of an alliance like the one that exists de jure between United Russia and A Just Russia – an agreement between [United Russia parliamentary faction leader Boris] Gryzlov and [A Just Russia party leader Sergei] Mironov on cooperation, joint electoral staff policies, then, A Just Russia is performing like a political bigamist. They haven’t yet divorced United Russia, but are already seeking an alliance with the Communist Party. Our party has many claims to A Just Russia over its cooperation with United Russia.

Originally supportive of Putin, Just Russia leader Mironov was last May ousted from his role as speaker of the Federation Council, the Russian parliament’s upper house. At the time he came under fire from United Russia for his criticism of St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko. In June, Mironov directed his rancor toward Putin’s newly formed Stalin-esque All-Russia People’s Front, an electoral coalition designed to draw other parties and civic groups into United Russia’s orbit. “This is an attempt to camouflage United Russia as a bloc of ‘party and non-party people,’” Mironov complained. “To ensure the bloc’s victory, regional leadership… is being hastily replaced with people loyal to the ruling establishment.”

Intriguingly, state-run Novosti opines that “Mironov’s break with the Kremlin is seen by some analysts as a move to cast him as an opposition figure who might subsequently head a ‘controlled opposition,’ to lend greater legitimacy to next year’s presidential elections.”

The third party that will have no fears about gaining seats in the Duma is the mis-named neo-fascist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), under the bombastic, over-the-edge leadership of alleged KGB agent Vladimir Zhirinovsky. The LDPR should garner some 10 to 13 percent of the vote. For years, the party has campaigned against immigration, while its 2011 slogan, “We are for the Russians,” signals no change in method. The LDPR, which was founded by the CPSU two years before the dismantling of the Soviet Union, usually remains loyal to the Kremlin line.

In January 2010, All-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM), a Kremlin-run polling agency that was also founded before the collapse of the Soviet Union, carried out a survey concerning Russian’s perceptions of the success or failure of Gorbachev’s perestroika reforms. According to VTsIOM, between 2000 and 2010 the number of Russians who were unhappy about the results of perestroika almost halved, from 75 to 42 percent. Twenty-four percent of “highly educated and affluent” Russians consider that they gained from the reforms, as opposed to 11 percent in 1999. Sixty percent of poorly educated and low-income Russians view the results of perestroika negatively.

Nearly 25 years after Gorbachev became CPSU general secretary, Russians are not agreed whether perestroika was necessary. Hence, 41 percent of respondents said that “everything should have been left as it was before 1985” when Gorbachev launched his reforms, which had already been approved by the party’s collective leadership. This figure rises to 57 percent among supporters of the CPRF and elderly respondents. Intriguingly, 48 percent of supporters of Just Russia and 45 percent of people in the 25-to-44-year-old age bracket also oppose the perestroika reforms.

Most Russians still believe that the main result of perestroika was “a rise in uncertainty about the future,” specifically 46 percent against 59 percent in 1999. They also believe there has been “a rise in chaos and confusion in the governing of the country,” specifically 35 percent as opposed to 66 percent in 1999, and “a crisis in ethnic relations,” 30 percent as opposed to 38 percent 12 years ago.

VTsIOM sociologists noted that over the last 10 years there has been a “significant rise” in the number of Russians who perceive the positive results of perestroika, such as “the start of the economic strengthening of the country,” which has risen from seven to 21 percent. A further 18 percent, as opposed to 2 percent in 1999, see “the strengthening of the country’s international positions” among the results of the reforms of that time.

On March 5 of last year, Gorbachev presented the report “Breakthrough towards Freedom and Democracy,” which was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of perestroika which, in his own words years before, “revives the Leninist concept of socialist construction.” In the former Soviet president’s opinion, “the multi-party system in Russia only exists on paper, while in practice many of the flaws of a one-party system are being reproduced.” Alluding to continuity between the Putinist and old Soviet regimes, he stated:

The current Russian reality convinces me that the breakthrough towards freedom and democracy which was started by Perestroika remains relevant. Moreover, new impulses and actions by the authorities and society as a whole aimed at democratisation are needed. Otherwise the ambitious plans for the country’s modernisation cannot be realised.

Since the old Soviet regime is supposedly “dead and buried,” it is certainly noteworthy that a Kremlin-run polling agency is concerned about Russians’ perception of Gorbachev’s legacy, while Gorby himself periodically chastises Putin for not faithfully implementing reforms that, one would think, lost their relevance with the demise of the Soviet Union. This past August, Gorbachev signalled yet again that political pluralism in “post”-communist Russia is a sham, saying to Germany’s Spiegel that “Sometimes United Russia reminds me of the old Soviet Communist party.” Well, Comrade Mike, you would know better than the rest of us!

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Belarusian and Ukrainian troops deploy to Russia for Union Shield 2011 war game; CSTO’s Collective Rapid Reaction Force flexes its muscles in Caspian Sea region, Center 2011 drill prep for Kremlin action in “allied countries”

– Communist China Rescues Cash-Strapped Dictator Lukashenko, Exports “Market Socialism” to Belarus by Extending US$1 Billion Loan, Buying State Enterprises

Although the Soviet Armed Forces were officially dissolved on Christmas Day 1991, when the Communist Party deceptively banned itself and dismantled the Soviet Union, this once-feared military has returned, in part, under the guise of the Union State of Russia and Belarus’ integrated air defense system and the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s Collective Rapid Reaction Force.

According to the Belarusian media, some 5,000 servicemen from that “former” Soviet republic are taking part with Russia in a joint military exercise, Union Shield 2011, which began on September 16 and will wrap up on September 22. The Belarusian army, which like Russia’s still fights under the banner of the Bolsheviks’ red star, shipped 35 tanks, 80 armored vehicles, and some 20 warplanes and helicopters to the Gorokhovetsky and Ashuluk training grounds in southern European Russia. The Russian Armed Forces will contribute 7,000 servicemen.

The Union Shield 2011 war game features different versions of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system and Smerch multiple rocket launch system. Belarus’ military training grounds are too small to accommodate air defense exercises. The maneuvers will involve cadets from the Belarusian Military Academy and the military faculty of Belarusian State University of Informatics and Electronic Engineering.

The scenario of the exercise was jointly designed by the General Staffs of the Russian and Belarusian Armed Forces and “developed with consideration for the experience of military conflicts in Afghanistan and Libya,” presumably referring to the ongoing NATO operations in those Muslim countries. Russian and Belarusian brass insist that Union Shield 2011, the most recent of several similarly named drills, is “exclusively defensive nature” and not directed against “any countries or military blocs.” Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod and Astrakhan regions, where the exercise is taking place, are far from the country’s front with NATO, which embraces several ex-Warsaw Pact states.

For the first time in the “post”-Soviet era, as previously blogged here, Ukraine is participating in a Union Shield exercise by sending an “airmobile unit,” presumably meaning paratroopers. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kiev transferred control of the strategic bombers and nuclear weapons on its territory to Moscow. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, like Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, is an “ex”-cadre of the CPSU and generally pro-Moscow in his political orientation, although Kiev feigns interest in joining NATO in order to provoke tiffs with the Kremlin.

At the same time, Russian and Belarusian troops are taking part in CSTO’s Center 2011 drill, which began at the Ashuluk training ground and will culminate in reconnaissance operations in the Caspian Sea region, for the purposing of preventing aircraft from transporting “terrorists” (NATO forces?) into the CSTO sphere. The exercise, which will test the operability of the new Collective Rapid Reaction Force (pictured above), consists of more than 12,000 troops in brigade-sized units, over 50 jet fighters and ground attack aircraft, and 25 air defense units from Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

“The scenario of one of the episodes of the active stage of the exercise provides for the joint application of air defense units of Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan in counterterrorism efforts in an armed conflict in a border area,” Kremlin-run Novosti quoted Vladimir Drik, spokesman for the Russian Air Force, as saying.

Center 2011 also involves more than 15 target simulators, as well as six different antiaircraft missile systems. CSTO troops will practice battlefield tasks, defensive and offensive operations, and bridging rivers during combat. More than 100 tanks will provide support to the war games, which includes the use of live ammunition. Belarusian warplanes are expected to participate in simulated aerial combat and practice hitting aerial and ground targets. All of these tactics, of course, could be well applied in an operation involving the re-invasion and re-occupation of territory now claimed by the European Union–Mikhail Gorbachev’s “new European Soviet”–but 20 years ago part of the East Bloc of socialist states.

Observing Center 2011 on the ground are representatives of Algeria, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Syria, countries which have been historically aligned with the Soviet Union and now Russia, as well as recipients of Soviet/Russian armament. In attendance are also the defense ministers of Armenia, Belarus, Russia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine.

The quote from Drik above shows that the Soviet strategists are concerned about an “armed conflict in a border area,” meaning the “post”-Soviet periphery. According to Interfax news agency, both Union Shield 2011 and Center 2011 are “aimed at making the Kremlin’s forces more agile and better capable of deploying to allied countries” and “better able to deploy abroad.”

A news report from the Azerbaijani media indicates Ukraine’s participation in both war games, although Kiev does not officially hold membership in CSTO: “The Union Shield and Center-2011 exercises have common topics and tasks. They involve all participants – Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine, stated a report from the Kazakh Ministry of Defense.”

In a related story, last December it was reported that some time this year Russia and Red China would hold their fifth “Peace Mission” war game, but this has yet to materialize. The end of the Sino-Soviet split, following a bogus collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, was predicted in KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn’s remarkable first book, New Lies for Old (1984), which details the Soviet strategic deception plan for global conquest. Golitsyn referred to this Moscow-Beijing, or Trans-Asian, Axis as the “one clenched fist” of world communism.

Incidentally, Communist China, which this past July sent a small contingent of People’s Liberation Army paratroopers to Belarus for joint “anti-terrorist” exercises, has extended a US$1 billion loan to cash-strapped international pariah Lukashenko. A pioneer of “market socialism,” the Communist Party of China is also offering to prop up Belarus’ Soviet-era command economy by buying a number of state enterprises like Belaruskali, which produces 15 percent of the world’s potash.

Blogger’s Note: Freedom vs. communism

Lately, several communists have tried to leave comments here. Since communism is a political cult that forbids free thought, these cyber-agitators typically resort to personal attacks. This is a standard communist tactic for shutting down political discourse. In this case, instead of relying on reasoned arguments and presenting documentation to support his position, an unknown poster hurled the diversionary epithet “fascist” at your resident blogger and referred to our copiously documented blog as “pathetic.” Comments like this will not be approved for publication.

Please see our brief rules for leaving comments at this blog on the Visitor’s Comments page. If you are a communist and wish to comply with these rules, then we will consider publishing your comment.

Buncha Commies Corner: Ortega, Borge and D’Escoto host WFTU’s “Union Meeting of Our America” in Managua; ESNA denounces World Bank, IMF, “capitalism/ imperialism,” praises communist-led student riots in Chile, endorses Zelaya’s re-installation in Honduras, Ortega’s unconstitutional re-election bid

Between August 25 and 27, more than 300 delegates, representing 134 working-class organizations in 27 countries in the Western Hemisphere, met in Managua, a “Red Mecca” for over three decades. There the Encuentro Sindical Nuestra América (ESNA) plotted out the demise of the “bourgeois” nations. Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator, was present at the meetings.

The communist-controlled World Federation of Trade Unions founded ESNA or, in English, the Union Meeting of Our America, four years ago, about the same time the WFTU moved its historic HQ from Prague to Athens.

The publication of the New York-based Workers’ World Party relates: “In plenaries and workshops, delegate after delegate described the suffering in their country caused by neoliberal (capitalist) economic policies, brutal political repression and the capitalist recession.” Taking a page from the communist playbook, Víctor Mendibil, secretary general of the Judicial Federation of Argentina (FJA) and a communications coordinator for ESNA, spelled out the goals of the conference:

In agreement and unity with the working class of the continent, we will give an alternative response to those initiatives that aim, at a global level within a reformist framework and with close ties to the dominant economic powers, to be the social arm of the World Bank or the IMF.

We, with a deep spirit of class and liberation, will work within ESNA with the prospect of building a large movement that will help transform society and advance along the path of social justice, the integration of our peoples, sovereignty and peace.

To the advances the multinationals are making against workers’ rights, we should put up a barrier and for this, dozens of delegations in Managua were here today in class solidarity to develop that strategy of the workers against the multinationals and imperialism.

The first day of the ESNA hugfest began with a rally in solidarity with the “Cuban Five” espionage agents, cooling their heels in a US federal prison. To help her denounce the USA, Irma Sehwerert, mother of Cuban spy René González, was joined by Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, former Catholic priest, Nicaragua’s foreign minister during the first Sandinista regime in the 1980s, and former president of the United Nations General Assembly (2008-2009); Tomás Borge, Maoist, the only living co-founder of the ruling Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN), and presently Nicaragua’s ambassador to Peru; Gustavo Porras, secretary general of the Sandinista-backed National Workers’ Federation of Nicaragua (FNT); and Salvaldor Valdés Mesa, secretary-general of the regime-controlled, WFTU-affiliated Workers’ Central Union of Cuba (CTC). Porras is pictured above, left, with his boss Ortega.

Delegates applauded loudly for Juan Barahona, Honduran union activist and leader of the National Resistance Front of Honduras, which is devoted to re-installing former president Manuel Zelaya, who was deposed in June 2009 and earlier this year legally returned to his homeland. Barahona was optimistic about the re-accession of Hugo Chavez’s lackey to power in Tegucigalpa, crowing: “We are organizing and mobilizing for total power.”

Incidentally, what do Barahona and Honduras’ “center-right” president, Porfirio Lobo, have in common? They’re both “ex”-cadres of the Communist Party of Honduras, which may explain why Lobo tamely accepted Zelaya’s repatriation.

Delegates also listened to Humberto Montes de Oca, a leader of the Union of Mexican Electrical Workers (SME), describe the “struggle” of 44,000 workers who were fired by the state-owned power company and bodily removed from their jobs by soldiers. SME members have been occupying the Zocalo Plaza in Mexico City since March 3 in opposition to privatization.

For their part, Chilean delegates related the revolutionary activities of students and workers in their country in a bid to topple the pro-business government of President Sebastian Pinera. On August 25 and 26, students, teachers, and Chile’s main umbrella labour union (CUT) held a violent two-day strike in Santiago, agitating for a “better educational system,” meaning free post-secondary education, as is available in some countries of the European Union.

The ringleader of the current protests in Chile is Camila Vallejo Dowling, a 23-year-old geography student at the University of Chile and president of the student federation at the same institution. Vallejo, according to the publication of the Communist Party USA, is a card-carrying member of the Young Communist League of Chile and daughter of Communist Party cadres who fought against the government of President Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), the bête noire of commies and lefties everywhere.

In a final resolution, ESNA expressed solidarity with “the dignified resistance of the people of Libya” (meaning the ousted terrorist regime of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi), “the Palestinian people” (meaning the terrorist quasi-state ruled by the Palestine Liberation Organization), “the Cuban people” (meaning the terrorist state ruled by the Communist Party of Cuba), “the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela” (meaning the incipient communist regime of President Hugo Chavez), “the Chilean students” (who are led by young red Vallejo), and “the people of Colombia” (meaning the insurgent Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and presumably, too, the National Liberation Army).

ESNA also passed a special resolution that offered “unconditional support” for the (unconstitutional) re-election bid of “Comandante” Ortega, to occur on November 6, praising the second Sandinista regime (2007-present) for its participation in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA). According to the delegates, the FSLN government has demonstrated that “there are alternatives and our revolutionary parties of America can change conditions of social injustice” created by “traditional parties and oligarchies linked to and subordinate to imperialist [US] interests of international finance capital.” The resolution stated that “capitalism is confronted with one of its deepest, most integral and most systemic crises” and “the salvation of humanity is only possible with a new social system, socialism.”

The Nicaraguan president, whose top general is currently rubbing elbows with the brass of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba, closed the ESNA conference, praising the resolutions and “blasting capitalism and imperialism.” After Ortega’s rant, delegates joined hands to sing the Marxist anthem “The Internationale.” The next ESNA pow-wow will take place next year in Morelia, capital of the state of Michoacán in Mexico. Previous conferences were held in Ecuador, Brazil, and Venezuela, all three of which tout leftist presidents, namely Chavez “mini me” Rafael Correa, ex-urban guerrilla Dilma Rousseff and, of course, Chavez himself.

Yup, communism’s dead all right. That’s why the WFTU and its offspring like ESNA are committed to overthrowing private property and free enterprise, even as reds like Ortega make tactical and pragmatic compromises with capitalism, to wit Nicaragua’s schizophrenic membership in both the US-led Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement and the Havana/Caracas-led ALBA.

WW4 File: Tokyo accuses Moscow of “provocative military action,” Russian strategic bombers encircle Japan; tiff over S. Kurils unresolved since 1945; US DoD denies North Korea forced down spy plane in March

On Friday, Tokyo protested to Moscow, via diplomatic channels, against the flights of two strategic bombers that encircled the entire archipelago the previous day. “We will deal with the matter appropriately based on Russia’s response,” announced Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura.

According to Fujimura, this is not the first time Russian military aircraft have flown around Japan, but noted that the incident was unusual because the bombers flew over an especially long distance and refueled in midair over the Sea of Okhotsk.

The Japanese Defense Ministry said the two Russian planes flew from the east of the Korean Peninsula, approached Japan south of Okinawa Island, then flew north over the Pacific Ocean to an area near the disputed Kuril Islands off Hokkaido. The planes came near Sakhalin Island before going south again, through the airspace between Japan and the Korean Peninsula. Finally, they headed north over the Sea of Japan, returning to Russia.

Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force scrambled its fighters, worried that the bombers might violate Japanese airspace. At one point, 10 Japanese and South Korean interceptors escorted the lumbering Tu-95 Bears.

Russia’s Defense Ministry acknowledged that two of its nuclear bombers flew over the Pacific Ocean and other areas for about 19 hours but stressed they did not violate the airspace of Japan or any other country.

In a telephone conversation with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Japan’s Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba referred to the bomber flights as a “provocative military action.”

Japan and Russia are technically in a state of war, having never signed a peace treaty in 1945, when Soviet troops occupied the Japanese-inhabited southern Kuril Islands. During the Second World War, the Soviet Union fought against the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis on the side of the Allied Powers. The territorial dispute festers to this day. Not so coincidentally, last Thursday’s bomber flights took place ahead of planned bilateral talks to finally formulate a treaty.

In another story from East Asia, the South Korean media reports that last March, when Seoul and Washington were holding their annual joint military exercise in the region, Communist North Korea used an electronic warfare device to force a US spy plane to land shortly after take off. The Chosun Ilbo cites a South Korean Defense Ministry report, which states:

[T]he RC-7B took off from its base at 8:30 p.m. on March 4 but had to make an emergency landing about 45 minutes later due to disruption of its GPS functions by jamming signals transmitted from Haeju and Kaesong in North Korea at intervals of five to 10 minutes that afternoon.

The jamming signals also disrupted the GPS devices of coastal patrol boats and speed boats of the South Korean Navy. Several civilian aircraft in the Gimpo area were also affected.

The North deploys vehicle-mounted jammers that can disrupt signals within 50-100 km and is reportedly developing a jamming device capable of disrupting signals more than 100 km away.

As noted in the quote above, the plane that made the emergency landing was a US Army RC-7B ARL (Airborne Reconnaissance Low), a modified DeHavilland DHC-7 crammed with reconnaissance gear. A US defense official denies the incident took place.

Russia’s sabre rattling ahead of a potential peace treaty with Japan and North Korea’s hostile act against a US reconnaissance plane–if the South Korean report is correct– proves again that in the communist mindset, peace and war are interchangeable terms. There are 28,000 US troops in the Republic of Korea as a deterrent to Northern aggression.

Red Dawn Alert: Nicaragua’s Cuban-trained army commander in Havana to revitalize Cold War-era military relations, Aviles’ first official visit to Cuba since Ortega’s return to presidency; ALBA states est. armed forces school in Bolivia earlier this year

– Moscow Begins to Quietly Rebuild Nicaraguan Military, Sends US$26.5 Million to Equip “Rescue Brigade,” Build Hospitals



We have decided on a plan of covert actions, etc. to block the Cuban aid to Nicaragua & El Salvador. There is no question but that all of Central Am.[erica] is targeted for a Communist takeover.

— US President Ronald Reagan, entry for November 16, 1981, The Reagan Diaries (New York: Harper Perennial, 2007)

Pictured above: Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega (left) salutes next to Commander in Chief of the Army of Nicaragua, General Julio Cesar Aviles, during a military parade commemorating the 32nd anniversary of the founding of the Nicaraguan army, on Simon Bolivar Avenue in Managua, on September 3, 2011.

In a sign of the revitalized friendship between Managua and Havana, Nicaragua’s top general, Sandinista Julio Cesar Aviles, has traveled to Cuba to promote bilateral military cooperation that was severed in 1990, after President Daniel Ortega lost to US-backed candidate Violeta Barrios de Chamorro and her 14-party opposition coalition. Ortega returned to the presidency in January 2007 on the basis of a meager 38% of the popular vote, one of the provisos of a sordid pact with Constitutionalist Liberal Party leader Arnoldo Aleman.

In Havana, ex-guerrilla Aviles thanked Cuba for the support the island communist state historically offered his Central American country, especially in the military and health sectors. “We came to strengthen these historical bonds of friendship and cooperation between our armed forces,” Aviles told reporters after laying a wreath on the tomb of Cuban independence hero, General Antonio Maceo, at the Cacahual Mausoleum.

“You supported us to make Nicaragua a free country, helped us in all areas and continue to help”, said Aviles, who extended the good wishes of President Ortega for the Cuban people. “Cuban doctors have provided medical care to thousands of Nicaraguans living in remote areas of our country,” remarked Aviles. “I am happy and pleased to be here”, Aviles said, recalling his years as a student at the General Jose Maceo Inter-Arms Academy of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), one of the sites he will visit during his stay until September 16. Aviles will also visit FAR military units, higher education institutions, and historical sites.

With training from the Soviet KGB and pep talks from Fidel Castro, Ortega, brother Humberto and Maoist Tomas Borge led the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) to victory over the Somoza dynasty in 1979. In 2006, Lloyd Billingsley, citing Vasili Mitrokhin’s The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World, writes:

Under the same ISKRA codename, the KGB also trained the Nicaraguan guerrillas who seized the National Congress in August 1978. Vladimir Kryuchkov head of the FCD, the KGB’s foreign intelligence directorate, was briefed on operations. The guerrillas flew to Havana, where Castro met with Tomas Borge, Humberto Ortega and Daniel Ortega. Cuba’s Departamento America (DA) helped them set up a base in Costa Rica, vital in their ousting of strongman Anastasio Somoza in 1979.

After the communist takeover of Nicaragua, Soviet, Eastern European, and Cuban advisors flocked to Central America’s new “Red Mecca.” According to a 1987 report published by the Los Angeles Times:

The leftist Sandinista regime last year conceded that 800 Cuban military personnel were in Nicaragua. However, Reagan Administration officials believed their number to be as much as three times higher. The military advisers were in addition to about 2,500 Cuban civilians who serve as teachers, health workers and technical advisers.

In spite of the “collapse of communism” in Eastern Europe 20 years ago, the neo-Sandinista regime’s ideological continuity with its own past has not changed. This past week, governments and individuals in solidarity with Cuba conveyed their sympathies over the recent death of Cuba’s defense minister, General Julio Casas Regueiro, one of the island’s communist “old guards.”

In Managua, a much older Borge attended a memorial for Regueiro at the Cuban embassy at the request of Ortega. Cuba’s Prensa Latina news agency referred to Borge as “Commander of the Revolution,” referring, of course, to the 1979 uprising in Nicaragua. During the 1980s, Borge was Nicaragua’s feared interior minister. Since 2007, he has been Nicaragua’s ambassador to Peru. The book of condolences was also signed by leaders of the ruling FSLN, Sandinista deputies of Nicaragua’s National Assembly, and Nicaraguan legislators of the Central American Parliament.

The communist regimes in the People’s Republic of China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Laos hastened to send their sympathies over Regeiro’s death. The Secretary General of El Salvador’s ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, Medardo Gonzalez, dispatched his condolences to Cuban President Raul Castro.

Bolivian Defense Minister Maria Cecilia Chacon expressed her “deepest sympathies” and signed the book of condolences open at the Cuban embassy in La Paz. Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, is a self-avowed “Marxist-Leninist.” Like Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, Bolivia is a member of the eight-nation Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas and, since earlier this year, has hosted a military school tasked with indoctrinating member armed forces in neo-Marxism and pan-Latin Americanism.

Incidentally, the ALBA states are united in their support for deposed Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi, who is also a long-time personal friend of Ortega. This week, Venezuela’s foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, protested: “The NTC is part of a brutal and criminal foreign occupation and intervention and of a war that has been imposed on the people of Libya.”

Russia has also revitalized its relationship with Ortega, sending US$26.5 million to the Nicaraguan military, ostensibly to form a “rescue brigade” and build two hospitals for victims of natural disasters. However, this news was only reported in the Spanish-language media, so most citizens of the “shopping mall regime” will remain in the dark.

Africa File: Large Libyan army convoy, top Qaddafi regime officials find shelter in Niger, Burkina Faso offers sanctuary to elusive ousted strongman; loyalists still control Bani Walid, Jufra, Sabha and Sirte; NTC renews accusations against Algeria

Blogger’s Note: Google and WordPress are blocking the name of the West African country “_iger,” presumably due to its similarity to a derogatory word for Black people.


Pictured above: Children play under a billboard of Nigerien President Issoufou Mahamadou in Niamey, on September 8, 2011.

Africa’s socialist/communist regimes are falling over themselves to offer sanctuary to officials of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi’s deposed regime. According to Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) and the government of neighboring Niger, a convoy consisting of some 200 Libyan army vehicles entered Niger this past Tuesday. A thousand kilometers of desert separate the largest urban centers between the two countries.

The NTC maintains that officials and soldiers loyal to ousted strongman Qaddafi set out from the loyalist town of Jufra on Monday, making off with large amounts of gold and cash belonging to the deposed regime. With the help of Tuareg tribes in Niger and the Nigerien military, the Qaddafi loyalists slipped into the other country, albeit without their elusive ousted leader. The government of Niger, however, has confirmed reports that Qaddafi’s security chief Mansour Dhao was also allowed to enter its territory, even though Niger recognized the NTC as Libya’s legitimate government last month.

Not so coincidentally, the president and prime minister of Niger both belong to the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism, placing them in the same ideological camp as Qaddafi.

On Friday, Reuters reported that a second exodus of 14 Qaddafi loyalists, including General Ali Kana, a Tuareg who commanded the dictator’s southern troops, fled to Niger’s northern city of Agadez. A Reuters reporter in Agadez said four top Libyan officials were staying at the Etoile du Tenere, a luxurious hotel believed to be owned by Qaddafi himself. “The group arrived in four four-wheel-drive vehicles on Thursday afternoon,” one of the sources said, adding that they were accompanied by Nigerien security forces.

Qaddafi is currently a fugitive in his own country, while his wife and three children have found state-protected sanctuary in Algeria, a country that has successfully resisted this year’s Arab Spring uprisings. The NTC believes that Qaddafi and his sons were planning to meet the convoy in Niamey, Niger’s capital, which is close to the border with Burkina Faso. There the Marxist regime of President Blaise Compaoré has offered refuge to the ousted strongman. Officials in Burkina Faso have yet to respond to reports suggesting that the Libyan convoy that entered Niger was actually on its way to their capital city of Ouagadougou.

Libya’s rebel National Liberation Army now controls most of the country, except for some pockets still controlled by Qaddafi loyalists, including the towns of Bani Walid, Jufra, Sabha, and Qadhafi’s birthplace of Sirte. Rebels have besieged Bani Walid and Sirte, and are engaged in talks aimed at the peaceful surrender of the two towns. Libya’s capital of Tripoli is under rebel control.

Meanwhile, Algeria continues to shut down its border with Libya, where the interim government has renewed accusations implicating Algiers in arms deals with the Qaddafi regime during its dying days. For its part, Algeria’s ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) maintains that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb may try to seize leftover arms caches in Libya to prosecute terrorist actions.

Abdelkader Messahel, an Algerian government minister, declared all border crossing points would be closed indefinitely to contain the threat. “A new situation has been created by the Libyan crisis, notably through the arms flow and the massive exodus of people from this country,” he stated. In the 1990s, the FLN defeated an Islamic uprising that killed up to 200,000 people.

Documents recovered from regime offices in Tripoli by Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper appear to show that Qaddafi planned to quell the uprising in his homeland with the use of Red Chinese arms smuggled through Algeria and South Africa. The People’s Republic of China, unlike Russia, has yet to recognize the NTC as Libya’s legitimate government.

Neo-Sandinista File: Catholic officials in Nicaragua demand answers concerning murder of priest critical of government; bishop reproves “communist-turned-congregant” Ortega for politicizing faith; Comandante leading contender for Nov. re-election in spite of ban

On August 23, Catholic officials in Nicaragua confirmed that a body recently recovered on a road leading to the city of Leon was that of Father Marlon Ernesto Pupiro Garcia, pastor of Concepcion Parish since 2006. According to the Archdiocese of Managua, the 40-year-old Fr. Marlon had been missing since August 20 under as yet to be determined circumstances. Archbishop Leopoldo Jose Brenes Solórzano of Managua said that news of Fr. Marlon’s murder “shocked everyone.” The priest’s remains were found at an illegal refuse dump, wrapped in plastic.

Pictured above: Nicaraguan soldiers train at a military base on the outskirts of Managua, on August 31, 2011. On September 2, Nicaragua’s armed forces will commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the founding of the organization, when it was known as the Sandinista People’s Army, a title that was not changed until 1995. Ex-guerrilla General Julio César Avilés Castillo is the Nicaraguan army’s commander.

Thousands of Catholics in Masaya, capital of the department of the same name, took to the streets to express their grief and repudiation of the crime. Bishop Bismarck Conde, dean of the cathedral in Managua, said: “We are walking together with our Catholic community so that together we can bid our last farewell to our beloved brother, Father Pupiro. We are mourning the fact that, as happened today to a priest, unfortunately happens every day to many people even though the police say ours is the safest country in Central America.”

Nicaragua’s ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) refuses to acknowledge Marlon’s death, prompting the Catholic media to note simply that the clergyman “had been a critic of the government.”

This is not the first time that KGB asset Ortega has locked horns with the Catholic Church. After leading the Sandinista guerrillas to victory against the Somoza dynasty in 1979, “Comandante” quickly turned Nicaragua into a base for East Bloc subversion, welcoming thousands of Soviet, Cuban and Eastern European “advisors” to Managua, taking delivery of tons of Soviet Bloc weaponry, and persecuting the Catholic hierarchy, which was perceived as being in league with the US Central Intelligence Agency. In early 1990, a democratic election kicked him out of power, even though the Sandinistas retained control of the military and national police.

In the early 2000s, Ortega “saw the light,” humbled himself before the ecclesiastical authorities, married ex-guerrilla girl Rosario “in the Church” in 2005, and began faithfully attending Mass. Manipulating a sordid pact with the corrupt Constitutionalist Liberal Party, Ortega clinched the 2006 presidential election, returning from political oblivion, but not after retired US Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North showed up in Managua to endorse the PLC candidate. Eighty-five-year-old Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo, who opposed Ortega in the 1980s and retired as Archbishop of Managua in 2005, became a prominent Ortegista.

The repackaged Ortega’s campaign slogan “Christian, Socialist, and in Solidarity” and frequent references to God in speeches, as well as his wife’s comparison of a Sandinista rally to a Mass, offended many Catholics. “The use of biblical words and Church symbols is in bad taste,” protested Bishop Juan Abelardo Mata Guevara of Esteli. “They are messing around with religion and the Christian faith.”

Meanwhile, a former Nicaraguan official who was in the employ of the country’s first Sandinista regime (1979-1990), alleges that his government orchestrated the bombing that killed three journalists at a news conference in neighboring Costa Rica in 1984. At the time, Luis Carrion served as assistant to then Interior Minister Tomas Borge, the only living co-founder of the FSLN.

Carrion tells the Associated Press that his department arranged the bombing to kill Eden Pastora, a dissident Sandinista who joined the US-backed Contras. Pastora survived the attack and, ironically, is presently overseeing the second Sandinista regime’s dredging of the San Juan River, which borders Costa Rica. For his part, Maoist Borge is now Nicaragua’s ambassador to Peru.

The bombing was previously attributed to the CIA, which President Ronald Reagan acknowledged in his published diaries (2007) was engaged in covert operations in Central America. In the 1980s, Reagan was very concerned about a communist takeover of Central America, especially Nicaragua and El Salvador. He regularly discussed this subject with the National Security Council, but the Democratic-controlled Congress frequently obstructed his attempts to fund the Contras and the Salvadoran military. However, reports in the 1990s suggest that the Costa Rican bombing was part of a plot by the FSLN to kill the renegade Pastora.

The timing of Carrion’s public allegations suggest a plot by disaffected Sandinistas to derail Ortega’s re-election bid. Many ex-Sandinistas believe “Comandante” betrayed their revolutionary ideals by moving ideologically to the right in the 1990s.

This is not the first time, too, that Catholic priests have been murdered in Central America. Right-wing death squads and the Salvadoran armed forces, respectively, were officially held responsible for the 1980 assassination of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, and the gunning down of six Jesuit priests at the Central American University in 1989.

Events in Central America have turned full circle since the Cold War supposedly ended. Reagan died in 2004. The Sandinistas are back in the saddle in Nicaragua, having modernized the Soviet-built, strategic bomber-capable air base at Punta Huete. The Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front peacefully took control of El Salvador in 2009.

Center-left president Alvaro Colom imports oil into Guatemala under the auspices of Hugo Chavez’s Petrocaribe program. An anti-communist coup in Honduras removed Chavez lackey Manuel Zelaya in 2009, only to witness the installation of “ex”-Stalinist Porfirio Lobo as president the next year.

Red Chinese front company Hutchison-Whampoa manages port facilities at both ends of the Panama Canal. Powerful criminal cartels transporting “red cocaine” from rebel-held territory in Colombia have destabilized much of Central America.

But, hey, all of these facts are “no biggie,” ‘cause we’re all good capitalists now. Right?

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.

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.