Sunday, December 30, 2007


Russia's year

There can be no doubt about it that 2007 was Russia's year. And that is all thanks to President Vladimir Putin.
Time's "Person of the Year" shaped events inside Rodina and shored up his authority with a popularity other leaders can only dream of. Outside her borders he stood up to the hegemony of the United States and United Kingdom, even while being pilloried in the press over the Litvinenko case and being portrayed as a despotic maniac.
Putin kicked off the year by tackling the US in Munich in February, being one of the few credited world leaders to accuse them of attempting to dominate the world. Since then he has revised arms treaties, renewed Russia's long-range nuclear patrols, sent the Russian Navy out into Mediterranean and warned that Moscow might target European cities with its nukes.
Finally Russia has a leader strong enough to stand up to the west - and someone who has the heavy artillery to do so. And it sorely needed a confrontation. What the western media fail to report is the reasons. As mentioned previously, the US-funded Nato is expanding when it should be reducing - there is no longer a threat to Europe and yet Russia is surrounded by a ring of steel. In 2001 the US unilaterally decided to do away with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Nato states have refused to apply a conventional arms limitation pact and Nato patrols continue to menace Russia's borders. For what?
But the biggest threat to Russia has been the west's insistence that it will deploy the US missile defence system in eastern Europe. This despite Moscow's offer of co-operation with Washington on the shield, an offer that has so far been greeted very coldly. What are we supposed to think? They tell us it is not aimed at us, and then will not let us be a part of it. Luckily Russia has its own missiles that can break through that shield, a few of which Putin had test-fired this year as no uncertain warning to Bush not to tread on Russia.
On other international issues too, Russia stood firm, the most important of these being Iran, refusing to give in to the US's hysteria. After years of apparently fruitless diplomacy on Iran, 2007 ended with Russia making its first deliveries of nuclear fuel needed to power the Islamic state’s first nuclear power station.
The other big issue is Kosovo which has been under UN administration since 1999, when NATO air strikes drove Serbian and Yogoslav security forces from the province. Serbia has offered broad autonomy to Kosovo Albanians along with many elements of statehood, but has insisted on retaining sovereignty over the territory. Kosovo Albanians insist on complete independence. that is just what we don't need, - another Muslim state. Last week, Western members of the UNSC said further negotiation on Kosovo's plan to declare independence would be pointless after talks failed to sway Russia. West's intent to recognize Kosovo is a dangerous precedent for international law and international security. By rejecting further UN talks, Western powers are effectively transferring responsibility for the resolution of the Kosovo problem to the European Union and Nato. What Nato is effectively doing is breaking apart one of Russia's few allies in the region to insert into the area a destabalised region where Muslim extremists and their great friends Al-Qaeda can take hold and cause mischief.
In July, Russia was awarded the 2014 winter Olympic games after an intensive lobbying campaign and the country was overjoyed by its football team’s 11th-hour qualification for the Euro 2008 football competition.
Putin was named Time's Person of the year, with a caveat, naturally...“is a clear-eyed recognition of the world as it is and of the most powerful individuals and forces shaping that world -- for better or for worse,” Time said in a note accompanying its cover story.
Putin won a landslide victory for his party at the polls, despite heavy interference from the West which saw at least one ambassador asked to leave. Again it is interesting to note the uncontrolled bitching from the West even though Russia fulfilled all of their standards on an election.
This year started with intense speculation over whether Putin, 55, would leave office. The business world was nervous. Could we get another Yeltsin? In spring Putin calmed the markets by saying that he would retain influence, and by autumn we knew he would still be there, guiding the ship, the markets relaxed and rebounded.
United Russia's crushing victory at the polls sent a clear message to the west. Russians LIKE Putin, they WANT him to stay on.


Thursday, December 27, 2007


Cuba and the struggle for independence

It was interesting to see the white right racists on AC bashing Castro and Cuba for what is essentially an American-made problem. Naturally when I commented to this effect, those comments were discreetly ignored - nothing should upset the volk, you see, and it just blows their tiny minds that Communism might not be the devil's work.
They, like many others who were brainwashed, cannot accept or understand that all Communism has ever done is to support the downtrodden with the aim of giving them a better share of the economic and social pie. Of course exactly these sentiments sparked the French revolution but because the French didn't call themselves Communists, and the Americans modelled themselves on the French, this little factoid is often forgotten.
Now the results of the French and Russian revolutions were vastly different, of that there can be no doubt. However, how far would the French revolution have got if it had had to suffer the interference of the capitalist governments like America?
Cuba, that little island off the coast of America, is like catnip to the lynx that is the US. It just cannot leave it alone. Author William Blum sums it up very eloquently in his essays on the American empire (Freeing the World to Death). "Cubans often complain about the many hardships imposed upon their life by the US blockade. Defenders of the US policy reply that this is just an excuse for Cuba's own failings, that the hardships are the inevitable result of a socialist economic system. It makes me think of this analogy. Someone is constantly pounding your head with a hammer and you keep getting headaches. You complain to the wielder of the hammer and demand that he stop hitting you. The guy says to you: The headaches are due to the way you live; blaming me is just an excuse you make up to shirt your own responsibility. You then say to him: Well why don't you stop hitting me on the head with your hammer so we can see if the headaches go away?"
Fidel Castro came to power in early 1959 and by March that year the US National Security Council was talking about how to bring him down. It is a testament to the man's tenacity and spirit, and the spirit of those under him, that this has failed. What followed his rise to power has been almost 50 years of error attacks, bombings, full-scale military invasions, sanctions, embargoes, blockades, isolation and assassination.
In 1998 the US state department listed Cuba as being among the nations that "sponsors terrorism". A lovely little cliche that is often swallowed hook line and sinker by the sleepy public. Cuba is bad because it sponsors terrorists. This, according to the State Department is because they "harbour" terrorists. There is a subtle difference between "harbour" and "sponsor". But the US itself is guilty of harbouring Cuban terrorists who have committed hundreds of acts of terror both in the US and in Cuba. Now this is not me calling them terrorists, the United States FBI has labelled these people as such. The Cuban exiles are in fact one of the most prolific and long-running terrorist groups in the world. During 1997 they carried out a spate of hotel bombing in Havana, directed from Miami.
We're shocked by instances of terrorists hijacking vehicles. But when Cuban exiles hijack planes and boats as they have done, at gunpoint, knife point and with the use of physical violence - including at least one murder, the mighty US turns a blind eye.
And because this posting is focused on Cuba I will refrain from mentioning the other myriad terrorists the US harbours.
Now playing by America's own rules regarding the Presidential Decision Directive 39, signed by Bill Clinton in 1995 which gives America the right to take "appropriate measures" against states that harbour terrorists the US wants to punish, and allows them to return suspects by force, surely it is Cuba's right to bomb the US.
Isn't it ironic that the very things the American public were terrified China or the USSR would do to them, their very own agents were doing to the unsuspecting public of Communist countries? A CIA official, who helped direct worldwide sabotage efforts against Cuba, revealed that "there was lots of sugar being sent out from Cuba, and we were putting a lot of contaminants in it."
Then in 1962 a Canadian agricultural technician advising the Cuban government was paid US$5,000 by an American military agent to infect Cuban turkeys with Newcastle disease. Some 8,000 birds subsequently died.
In The Fish Is Red: The Story Behind The Secret War Against Castro, written by Warren Hinckle and William Turner, a participant in the project says that during 1969 and 1970 the US developed techniques that would interfere with the weather and used such techniques over Cuba to cause torrential rains over non-agricultural areas and leave the sugar crops dry. These downpours caused killer flash floods in some areas.
In 1971 the CIA gave Cuban exiles the virus which causes African swine fever. Six weeks later an outbreak of the disease caused the slaughter of half a million pigs to prevent an epidemic. This was the first ever outbreak in the Western hemisphere and termed the most alarming event of the year by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation.
In 1981 it was dengue hemorrhagic fever. This is transmitted by mosquitoes and infected over 300,000 Cubans. Appeals to the US for insecticides fell on deaf ears. This was the first ever outbreak of this disease in the Americas - it usually comes from Southeast Asia. It was reported from the United States that the US army had loosed swarms of specially-bred mosquitoes in Georgia to see if they could be used as weapons in biological warfare. It was also reported by Science magazine that dengue fever was being studied as a potential weapon. But the most damming evidence was the testimony of a Cuban exile in New York in 1984 that in 1980 a ship had travelled from Florida with a "mission to carry some germs to introduce them to Cuba to be used against the Soviets and against the Cuban economy".
As recently as 1996 a Cuban pilot observed an American plane releasing a mist of some substance about seven times. The Cuban asked the American if he was in trouble. He said no. A few months later the first signs of Thrips Palmi, a plant eating insect never before seen in Cuba, showed up. This insect is very resistant to insecticides and severely damages all crops. The Cubans questioned the US on the American pilot's behaviour. The US claimed the pilot had merely "released smoke" to let the Cuban pilot know where he was. This is not an FAA practice. Cuba took the case to the United Nations where it was dropped for technical reasons.


Oh me, oh my, do Cuba's enemies love to bring up the terrible "human rights" record of the island nation. It's interesting to note that during the time of the revolution in Cuba and the subsequent almost 50 years of its rule, there have been the most heinous crimes committed on the American mainland - torture, murder, kidnapping, government-supported death squads, people disappearing. The worst offenders have been Brazil, Argentina, Honduras, Haiti, Chile, Guatemala, Peru, Uruguay, Colombia and Mexico. Cuba has never been charged with any of these. Not even by her worst enemies. Yet on the on the other hand Cuba's education and health care - according to US President Bill Clinton - works better in Cuba than in most other countries in the world. All Cubans, without distinction as to gender, race, political beliefs or religion, have equal access to education, free of charge, at every level of education, including university.Perhaps it would be better if people were starving and dying through lack of care.


The economic, commercial and financial embargo has been in place since February 7, 1962.
It means that US companies and their foreign subsidiaries may not trade with Cuba.
As most medical corporations are owned by US companies, this means that people in Cuba die because they cannot get the right medicine or equipment to save them. Children with cancer die because they cannot get the drugs as US transnationals have bought the pharmaceutical laboratories that formerly had contracts with Cuba.
Even donations do not get through. the Disarm Education Fund, an NGO that was prohibited from sending a donation of medicine to Cuba until two antibiotics were removed from the shipment; the antibiotics in question, Cipro and Doxycyclin, are used, among other things, for treating patients infected with anthrax. The U.S. authorities alleged that the decision was based on reasons of national security.
One of the highest priority targets in the US government's economic war on Cuba has been the food sector. Generating the conditions that lead to hunger and despair qualifies, by virtue of international law, as a crime of genocide and a violation of the Cuban people's right to food.
The blockade measures affect imports of food products destined for the Cuban population, both for direct consumption in the home and social consumption in schools, old age homes, hospitals and day-care centers. They have a direct impact on the people's nutritional levels and consequently on their health.
The prohibitions imposed by the U.S. government on the export of food products to the United States led to 114 million dollars in losses for Cuba in the year 2002 alone.
It's interesting to note that in this issue was brought before the UN in 1992. The vote in favour of dropping the embargo was 59 - those opposed 2, Israel and the US. In 1993 88 were in favour, those opposed 4 - Israel, US, Albania (?) and Paraguay. In 1994, 101 were in favour, two against - Israel, US. In 1995 117 were in favour and 3 were against, US, Israel, Uzbekistan (?).
1996 138 in favour, the same three opposed. 1997 143 in favour the same three opposed. 1998 Uzbekistan changed its mind and joined the 157 in favour of dropping the embargo, only the US and Israel opposed. And people will tell you with a straight face that the US doesn't run the United Nations.

We will never know what Cuba was capable of. Because it was strangled at birth, just as Winston Churchill urged of all Communist nations. Critics of the Cuban government claim that it sees the CIA behind all of its problems. In truth the CIA is behind perhaps half of them. The problem is that the Cuban government can't tell which half.



New GPS system to rival America's

The rocket that lifted off from Baikonur's cosmodrome on Christmas Day was carrying the final three satellites for Russians military-run GLONASS mapping system that is the rival to America's GPS. Glonass covers most of Russia at the moment and by the end of next year will cover the globe.
Work on Glonass (Global Naviation Satellite System) began in the USSR around the 1970's to maintain direction and navigational services for the Soviet forces. When the economy collapsed in the 1990s the system was shelved and dusted off when current President Vladimir Putin began military spending.
Glonass will be used alongside the US GPS system which can be withheld from civilians at the will of Washington, as was seen in Iraq.
The Russian system will offer alternative satellite navigation systems for those countries that fall outside Washington's ambit of friendship.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Merry Christmas Mr Bush

The Russian submarine Tula in the northern Barents Sea successfully test-fired a new ballistic missile on Tuesday, hitting a target on the Kamchatka peninsula полуо́стров Камча́тка minutes later, the Russian Ministry of Defence said.
“The launch was carried out from the submarine platform in line with military training. The rocket warhead arrived down range at the designated time,” the ministry said in a statement.
The RSM-54, or Sineva, is a hybrid ballistic missile that in its final stages becomes a modified cruise missile. In this guise, the warhead cannot be targeted by anti-missile systems that rely on a ballistic trajectory for their calculations.
Tuesday’s launch is the second such test-firing of the Sineva in less than a week. The first was fired from the Tula on December 17.
Speaking after the last successful launch, Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov, Commander of the Strategic Missile Forces, said Russia could thwart any anti-missile system in the foreseeable future.
“The military hardware now on our weapons, and those that will appear in the next few years, will enable our missiles to outperform any anti-missile system, including future systems,” General Solovtsov said.
The launch was conducted from an underwater position as part of training to test the readiness of the marine strategic nuclear forces
The test missile was also fired from the Tula Ту́ла (K114), one of seven Delfin-class submarines which is capable of carrying 16 intercontinental rockets and torpedoes. The Tula submarine, built in 1987, has been modernized at the Zvyozdochka (Starlet) Engineering Plant in Severodvinsk in the Arkhangelsk Region.

The submarine is equipped with 16 intercontinental RSM-54 missiles and torpedoes. Tula submarines form the mainstay of the strategic nuclear fleet. Seven of the series were built between 1984 and 1992.
The RSM-54 is a three-stage liquid-propellant ballistic missile with a range of 8,300km. The warhead consists of four to ten multiple, independently targeted re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) each rated at 100 kt. The missile uses stellar inertial guidance to provide a circular error probable (CEP) of 500 m. The CEP value is a measure of the accuracy of strike on the target and is the radius of the circle within which half the strikes will impact.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Navy's stocking stuffed with new missile

Russia's navy will receive a new ICBM next year. According to Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Makarov, the nuclear submarine Юрий Долгорукий Yuri Dolgoruky, which will carry the Булава Bulava (GRAU 3M30)(RSM-56)(Nato SS-NX-30) missile will be commissioned next year. The Bulava can pierce any anti-missile shield and has been designed for the new Borei-class submarines, the first of which was launched last April. The Borei class subs are intended to replace the Delta III and the Typhoon class boats. The submarine is designed by Rubin Design Bureau and there are 12 planned in total for the Russian Navy.
The Bulava is based on the Topol-M. It is bigger than the original missile intended for the Borei-class subs. At first it was reported this class would carry 12 missiles, but now that has been increased to 16 as of the 2007 START exchange.
The Yrui Dologoruky was launched 15 April, 2007, in Severodvinsk Северодви́нск. She has cost the Navy 40% of its 2007 weapons budget at 5 billion rubles.

Makarov also said a new tank would be comissioned in 2009, but did not give any details. Russia currently has two tanks in development, Omsk tank design bureau's Black Eagle which first when on public display in 2004. It was created in the 1990s.
Meanwhile Uralvagonzavod has been working on the T-95 of which few details are available.
Russia has declared 5,063 tanks in the European area last year and has just suspended participation in the Convention Forces in Europe Treaty which opens the way for it to deploy more forces close to western Europe.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007


No guarantee Zuma will be president

According to South African President Thabo Mbeki, there is no guarantee that new elected ANC head Jacob Zuma will get to lead the country.
Despite constant criticism by the white right, Mbeki has overseen the economy's longest period of expansion since the end of World War II, with growth accelerating to a 25-year high of 5.4 per cent last year. Not even the Nationalists could top that.
But this had done little to quell discontent among the workers, who say he has done nothing to relieve the 26 per cent unemployment rate or reduce poverty. Only someone who is truly communist could even out the huge imbalance left by apartheid.
But Zuma heading the ANC does not mean that the government is going to swing left. The ANC is still bound by economic policy as decided by the party and which will be carried out by the party leader.
It still remains to be seen, however whether or not Zuma will beat the corruption charges he is facing. Which-ever way this plays out the hysterical, and hysterical reaction of the former masters of the nation has been hilarious.
From shrieking that the country is doomed to a communist regime, to clapping their hands in glee at the prospect of a complete meltdown between the fractious Xhosa and Zulu nations they have been filling their blogs with doom, gloom and on one side, unmitigated relish at the firm belief that the West gives a fig about South Africa. Of course all these wild scenarios see the mighty whites rise again.
Personally I think the country's fragile peace and tenuous economy had about as much chance as a family friend staying over in Zuma's house - not likely to remain unscrewed.
But looking back at the ANC rule, you can understand how this contest can be celebrated as a resounding success of the party's stewardship of the nation. And this, from me, an ardent anti-ANC journo. In all honesty the country has not descended into the mass chaos predicted. There has not been a prolonged bombing campaign by disaffected whites. Inter tribal conflict has been minimal.
Despite white prediction there are no starving masses in the country. Health care has reached more South Africans than ever before, more South Africans are living in houses, more are getting fresh water.
Again, despite what the white right would have you believe the SA press is as freer now than it was under Nationalist rule.
And generally speaking the rule of law has been followed no matter who is in the dock - though I'm sure Mr Scott-Crosley might have room to disagree. He was convicted of tossing one of his former labourers to the lions - literally. Yes, only in Africa.
The standing joke of One Man, One Vote, One Time, does not apply in South Africa. And in fact it was this sentiment that precipitated Zuma's rise to power in the first place. Mbeki fumbled the pass of power. He should have handed off to someone like Tokyo Sexwale or even Cyril Ramaphosa, but he failed to do that. And in fear that the country was going to go the way of its northern neighbour, the ANC voted him ...O...U...T.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Kicking the American imperialists back to America

American people are generally very stupid when it comes to the rest of the world. If their foreign policies were not so deadly they would be charming in a Disney kind of way. But let us face the truth here. The average American has little idea about that country's foreign policy and is happy to leave it to the people in power as long as they can carry on with their daily struggle for the dollar. Let us not forget their God-given right (well constitutional right at least) to "pursue happiness".
This makes them the perfect cows for their leaders to milk. A billion dollars for Iraq, a billion dollars for Nato, a billion dollars for Taiwan, a billion dollars for South Korea, a billion dollars for Afghanistan, round and round it goes to end up in Dick Cheyney's pockets. Because the American leaders are in the business of war, or at least armed standoffs.
For years now this didn't cost Americans anything but their hard earned cash, their educations and their medical and social services. But then they were suckered into believing that THOSE were not their rights. There is something fundamentally wrong with a society that believes buying a gaz guzzling, air polluting monster-car is their "right" but having their children taught to read, or looking after someone who has an illness, or putting a roof over a veteran's head is not a "right".
Some of them do the math. Some of them look at America's foreign policy and scratch their heads and wonder why.
The average American does not want to spend years patrolling some foreign hostile country, getting maimed or killed for a bigger reason other than to protect their families. They have been sucker punched into the Iraq war, which had nothing to do with 9/11. And only now they are beginning to wake up to that fact. But the problem is far more pervasive than just Iraq or Afghanistan.
And when it is not a hot issue, when Americans are not being killed but just paying out billions of greenbacks, the American public goes back to it's family and it's get rich or famous quick schemes, and empties its pockets to fund interventions across the globe. In a way, the hollow joke is on them.
The US empire interferes in almost every country in the world in some form or another. And many of its biggest investments are now entirely obsolete. Yes the American voters don't ever seem to ask why they are still ongoing.
Why is America still involved in Nato when it is so clearly against America's national interests? This is an obsolete organisation that continues to expand. It was once believed that Europe needed defending from the Soviet Union. But from whom is the US defending Europe today? And the joke is that Europe has a larger population and a larger gross domestic product than America does. So if anyone needs to be helping anyone, Europe should be helping the US.
We can see, though, the rhetoric used by the US to maintain its military presence in Europe. Whereas before it was there to keep the communists down - whether those were homegrown communists or foreign ones - now it is to "contain Russia".
Why does Russia need to be contained?
Because it refuses to be a US client state. It refuses the Mafia's protection and it refuses to pay the price of that protection. So they will kick it and provoke it until it lashes out and then they will need to "contain it" again.
Similarly misguided is America's continuing defence of South Korea. From whom are they defending this successful Asian powerhouse? The North? The South has more than 40 times the GDP and twice the population of the North. Most South Koreans no longer fear the North and in fact have been subsidising it for years. If the Americans had to leave, in all likelihood the North and South would reunite, and get on with their lives after the heinous suspension of normality after world war II. But no. Condi Rice and crew have their fingers in that pie, stirring and stirring, intimating the North has nuclear weapons when no one has ever confirmed this. The strident whining of the US power elites about this non-issue is carried world wide. North Korea has no expansionist ideas. It can barely keep itself together. What it wants and what is happening despite the US's best efforts, is for an opening up of the economic borders and for its people to join the boom.
Then there's Japan. There's a nation that needs to be firing off interceptor missiles like the lap-dogs of the empire that they are. Again, the joke is on America. Japan is the second ranking economy in the world. It is more than capable of protecting itself, and funding that protection.
American elites like the idea of the US trying to run the world, so Joe average must foot the bill. But there is a hidden danger in this naivete.
Serious armed conflict is unlikely in Asia or Europe, but Washington's promise to defend the Baltic states and Eastern Europe means that all of those nations' squabbles with Russia become America's squabbles too. And Washington's implicit guarantee to Taiwan does the same thing with mainland China. This may offer some deterrent to aggression, however it also ensures American involvement in conflicts that have little relevance to US security.
Moreover, this protectionist attitude of America creates and incentive for irresponsible behaviour by the smaller powers they are protecting. As long as small powers believe Washington will rush to their defence in a conflict with bigger powers - like Russia or mainland China - they are likely to act more aggressively. And this is obvious in Taiwan today, with Chen Shui bian provoking China beyond reasonable lengths.
This in turn affects the internal security of China and Russia who are forced into an arms race on a larger scale than would normally be necessary. This in turn takes finances away from the populations of Russia and China and affects those nations' services to their people. And the resentment and anger continues to grow against the perpetrator of it all - the United States.
It's time a strong Europe and Asia told them to back off, butt out and go home.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


New missiles commissioned

Russia has commissioned three new Topol-M missiles which are capable of breaking through any kind of missile shield.
The Topol-M is dubbed the missile technology for the 21st century.
These new commissions will be part of the mobile launch forces, on the backs of vehicles that can go almost anywhere, and launch at any point in their journey.
The system has been commissioned regardless of whether or not heavy missiles are stood down from from combat alert duty, with some 90 or the 360 launch silos vacated by the RS20s converted to accept Topol.
But it is not only these mobile launchers that give the RVSN the edge.
Through the turmoil of the USSR's collapse, the missile forces have remained a constant but secretive exclusive club for some of the best military minds in the country. The duty officers of the CCP (Central Command Post) are hand picked by the strategic missile forces. Seventy percent of those on CDA are master-rated, or first or second-class specialists. Their training is, and has been, continuous with the SFM holding around 2,000 drills each year.
Because a missile's readiness to obey an order ranges from between 30 seconds to two minutes, communications equipment to relay those orders are top of the range. Its communications channels operate continually both in and outside of the country's borders. It is so effective that if some of the command posts are disabled, the order will be rerouted within seconds to reach a certain number of launchers and they will launch the missiles.
Even in the cowboy days of Yeltsin's rule, every missile was continually monitored like an early-born infant, it's temperature, its seals, and its component parts. Each and every missile is constantly monitored by central command with alarms and shutdown systems in place to prevent infiltration, even from the duty general at central. If he "flips the lid" an attempts to tamper with any missile without complete authorisation, the whole system is replaced. Because of these stringent safety measure it can take an entire day to relieve one missileman.
To this end shifts only change every fourth or fifth day, in accordance with a commitment to privyazany k odnotipnosti.
Russians believed that after 2005 there would be holes in the missile defence system but with the deployment of the Topol M's every year, the outdated missiles are steadily being replaced with new ones, to constantly reinforce the readiness to fend off any attack.
Now that Putin has broken free of the restrictive treaties, the missile forces are able to fully deploy to the best of their ability.

Whites go belly-up in face of hardship

Unlike some websites, Isidingo publishes all comments from readers as long as they are not useless name-calling or attempts at free advertising.
The same cannot be said of others who tend to weed out comments unless they fit into their preconceived ideas.
Take for example Jan Lamprecht's African Crisis. AC ran a damming report on its own people, that stated at one third of the Afrikaners in South Africa were homeless, unemployable and destitute.
Naturally he blames all of this on South Africa's affirmative actions policies, which supposedly prevent whites from being employed. Of course this is just not true. There are plenty of whites who are employed quite gainfully in South Africa, men and women. But the whining AC would never admit that. They would like you to believe that the people who have not succeeded have failed because of government policy and nothing else.
It's ironic that the chosen volk are suffering this way, under the same circumstances they foisted upon the majority of the population during their rule. But of course, that too, would never be mentioned. Not even from readers' comments.
These are "educated" "multilingual" people who are living in third-world conditions. The article talks about exorbitant rents for shocking accommodation, old folk shivering with no heat in winter and children playing among pigs and chickens.
Well, cry me a river.
Conversely or perhaps perversely, we have the white farmers who are isolated out on their tracts of land - some the size of small countries - whining about how unprotected they are and how they are easy prey for murderous robbers. I can see a few "employment" opportunities right there. Then there is the huge "domestic" labour market. For years white South Africans have employed blacks as servants in their homes, cooking, cleaning, gardening, washing. It's hard to imagine that market has just dried up. But of course we can't expect our multilingual educated volk to do such menial tasks, it's far better that they hang around and look pathetic.
One thing SA is is a land of opportunity for those who remain there. There is nothing to stop these people starting their own businesses, helping their own people. Perhaps they are too educated for that.
It's interesting to note that after world war two there was a huge problem with "poor whites" in South Africa. Now you have to understand that "poor" means "not able to afford a nice house, car and steak for the braai". It doesn't actually mean starving, without water, disease ridden as it does in the rest of the world. So after world war two, with the Nationalists in power, laws were introduced that reserved skilled and managerial jobs for whites only. So even if blacks managed to have the education (let's remember the education for blacks was vastly inferior) they were not allowed to work in various positions. And when blacks and whites were doing equal work, well the whites always took home the fatter pay cheque.
In fact it was right back in 1924 when the Industrial Conciliation Act redefined the term employee to exclude most blacks.
But that wasn't enough for the poor whites, who now had jobs reserved just for them.
In 1952 the Native Labour (Settlement of Disputes) Act (No 48) was changed to exclude all blacks and take away any protection for labour law.
These laws along with land laws that put 80 per cent of South Africans on 20 per cent of the land, ensured a steady supply of cheap labour for the mines.
It was on the backs of these disenfranchised, underpaid blacks that the powerhouse economy of South Africa flourished. This very same economy that the whites will tell you they built.
So all things considered, whites are very lucky in South Africa today. There has not been a complete reversal of fortunes.
What has happened is that the protection that certain people enjoyed under the previous laws is no longer in effect. Business have to have a certain quota of black employees in certain positions. But whites can live where they like, and there are no rules stopping them from opening their own businesses.
This is where the myth of white superiority crunches against the reality of life.
Call me when the first white dies of starvation.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Vladimir Vladimirovitch's landslide victory in the recent elections has left the west hopping mad. Even their sad little stooge Garry Kasparov was out in the chill air without much to say. And who cares what a former chess master has to say on the matter of international politics anyway?
Well, the western media. They hung on his every utterance, lapping up his anti-Putin sentiment like starving dogs. What they failed to realise was that Kasparov could not even get enough votes to enter the elections. No one in Russia cared about him or wanted to listen to him.

Reach out and snatch someone

It certainly is lucky that Litvinenko did not die his stage-managed death in America. If that were the case Andrei Lugovoi, the suspect-in-chief, would surely have been kidnapped by American agents and either taken back to the US for trial, or sent to some legal dark hole to rot away in a prison cell without any legal recourse.
This piece of news came to light again in a recent court case in the UK.
The court case involves Stanley Tollman, who used to be a director of Chealski football club. He and his wife are wanted in America for fraud and tax evasion.
Much the same sort of stuff that Boris Berezhofsky is wanted for in Russia. But uncle Boris is able to walk around Londonistan with his terrorist friends without fear because Russia obeys the rules.
Under American law, it is quite okay to kidnap someone from outside the United States and take them back to the US, no American court can refuse to try them on the grounds that their abduction was illegal.
So George Bush Inc has the right to kidnap and imprison anyone on earth he pleases. Not only that, but he also has the right to have them killed, without charge or trial or in fact any legal procedure. And what is more, he has given his "license to kill" to US agents who can assassinate whoever they wish, without even a "by your leave" from Washington.
So it is with a smile that Russia listens to the criticism from Washington about imagined crackdowns on press and personal freedoms. Because in reality, the biggest Tsar of them all, is George Bush, after all, he has the whole world in which to play.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Africa plum ripe for the picking

Africa, with its wide open spaces, vast mineral and precious stone wealth, tracts of arable land and other resources, has long been a prize for any nation going through a rapid phase of industrialisation. In the 19th century the "Dark Continent" was the target of European powers which explored and colonised it and exploited its resources. So it is unsurprising that the emerging economic giant that is China should see Africa as a plum ripe for the picking by companies in search of raw materials, a nation seeking oil and entrepreneurs looking for new markets.
Centuries ago the migration of Europeans to Africa sparked a leap forward in the continent's technological development, but colonialism ended after a power struggle with the Africans, the effects of which are still being played out today.
Since those colonial powers began withdrawing, the story of the continent has been in many ways an unhappy one with endless wars, droughts, famines, dictators and mounting debts that have proved insurmountable obstacles to building a peaceful and stable continent.Now there is a new wave of settlers heading for Africa's shores - the Chinese.
Whether Africans should put out the welcome mat is an open question.
Unlike some western nations which have tied investment and aid in developing countries to human rights demands and good governance, China's pockets are deep and its cheque book is open. Beijing does not limit its investment calls. In this manner China has become an increasingly important partner in Africa's development.
Lawrence Schlemmer, of Witwatersrand University's business school in Johannesburg, argues that China's attentions are not welcome. "In effect, China is forcing Africa back into the role of raw material suppliers - undermining its textile industry and importing raw cotton instead," Professor Schlemmer told Britain's Sunday Telegraph.
However, there is another issue which some say is more sinister.
As China industrialises, the need for land has become an increasing headache, with developers and farmers coming into confrontation over resources.
Recently Li Ruogu, head of the China Export-Import Bank, identified the problem of millions of peasant farmers being left landless in Chongqing. His solution - organised migration to Africa.
"The bank will give full support to the farmers in terms of capital investment, project development and product-selling channels," he said. "Chongqing is well experienced in agricultural mass production, while in Africa there is plenty of land but food production is unsatisfactory. There is huge room for co-operation on both sides. We have already supported several agricultural projects in Africa, all of which are generating very sound profits."
Chongqing's labour exports have just started, but they will take off once we convince the farmers to become landlords abroad," the media quoted him as saying.
Since then Mr Li's assistants have sought to distance the bank from his remarks, saying he was not speaking in an official capacity and had not exactly used the word "landlord". Mr Li declined to comment.
The reaction to Mr Li's ideas was mixed, with rights activists slating the plan as an underhanded trick to advance China's hegemony, and African farm management experts welcoming the boost the Chinese migration would give to the continent's agriculture production.
Ghanaian economist George Ayittey, who is president of the Free Africa Foundation in Washington and the author of Africa Unchained, is in the sceptical camp. "As an economist, I fully support increasing trade between Africa and China. China's demand for Africa's resources should boost Africa's growth prospects," Dr Ayittey says.
"But China is aggressively pursuing trade deals and policies in Africa that will backfire or blow up in its face in five years or less.
"First, Chinese investments in Africa do not seem to have any moral scruples. China seems willing to sign any trade agreement with just about any rogue and unsavory regime in Africa. The risk here is that, in so doing, China is seen as siding with repressive regimes, not with the people. In the next five years, many such regimes will be kicked out of power and trade deals they have signed abrogated."
He warns that new governments will not honour debts they consider to be abhorrent, and China may stand to lose any money it loans to governments which have little regard for human rights.
"It has become evident to many African observers that, despite the euphonious verbiage about 'co-operation', 'equal terms' and 'altruism', the real intentions of China are threefold. The first is to gain access to Africa's resources; the second is to canvass for African votes at the United Nations in its quest for global hegemony; the third is to seek African land [on which] to dump its surplus population.
"Chinese communes are springing up in Namibia, Zambia, Nigeria and other African countries. The Chinese have succeeded in getting African states to accept large numbers of Chinese experts and workers as part of their investment packages: 28 'Baoding villages' have been set up, each housing up to 2,000 Chinese workers, in various parts of Africa. But the Chinese are going about this in a way that is likely to provoke a violent reaction."
One man who has first-hand dealings with the Chinese communes is Liu Jianjun, who has helped farmers move from the mainland to Africa. He has helped at least 15,800 people from the city of Baoding , in Hebei province , settle in Africa in various sectors. To minimise clashes with locals, Mr Liu chooses places that are away from city violence and tribal conflicts and the villages also employ locals.
"To attract and retain us, they gave extremely good terms, such as charging a symbolic annual fee of US$1 per acre for 99 years," Mr Liu told the Washington Times.
Things were not so good for Li Li, who moved to Zambia in 1994 to support her husband in his African dream. She was a nurse in Beijing and he was a university lecturer. She told People's Daily that they had had to clear the bushveld to set up Johnken Farms. "We had to start from scratch by ourselves," Ms Li says.
And when her husband, Wang Chi, died in 1995, she took over the reins of the operation. Her workforce has doubled to about 200 labourers, and a loan from a Zambian bank allowed the farm to diversify into wheat production. Now Ms Li hopes that Chinese agricultural conglomerates will head to Zambia to tap its vast potential.
Julian Hewitt, a Shanghai-based consultant at The Beijing Axis, doubts that Africa will witness the influx of millions of Chinese in the near future.
"China does have an agricultural policy in place with Africa and much emphasis is placed on transferring agricultural skills to African farmers," Mr Hewitt says. "However, millions of farmers migrating to Africa does seem to be an excessive figure."
He warns that the success of any move into African agriculture will depend on how it is managed. This will include social integration with local communities and the legality of land occupation.
Lawrence McCrystal of Agrifica, a Pretoria-based market intelligence company, sees problems ahead if Beijing aims to merely "export its unemployment problem".
"The effect of the limited Chinese migration to Africa so far has been largely beneficial because of the additional food produced," Dr McCrystal says. "But the scale of it is minute both in terms of Africa and China. What is now envisaged is a completely different scale. Unless it is done within a skills transfer model, it will lead to many problems.
"If the Chinese are successful, the small-scale farmers will be impoverished and will become employees on the Chinese farms. That is typically what happened in the much-maligned European colonial era. Doing it on the scale envisaged will create problems far worse than that ever did. On the other hand, if the Chinese, or a significant proportion of them, fail, all China will be doing is exporting its problem to Africa."
Dr McCrystal is a strong champion of an agricultural development model called the hub and spoke, whereby core commercial farming operations are established as technology and training hubs and small-scale farmers are involved as out-growers or contract producers. The out-growers have access to the central technology and skills from the hub, to improve their farming techniques and access larger markets. If Chinese farmers use this method, Dr McCrystal says, they will be able to take advantage of various existing and new farming businesses across Africa. Within this model, Chinese involvement will be seen as taking place on a mutually beneficial "partnership" basis, rather than as one-sided and exploitative in nature.
Firmly in the pro camp is Anton Scheepers, marketing manager for Agricultural & Industrial Marketing Company in South Africa, who relishes the idea of large numbers of Chinese farmers moving to Africa.
"Africa is not going to develop itself," he says, adding that he views the Chinese as "change agents".
"If they are bringing in their own financing and technology, they are most welcome."
Mr Scheepers, who has the markets for produce but finds it difficult to get orders filled, says the Chinese should not be equated with European farmers who had tried their hand in Africa and then left. And he has no time for the western powers' practice of tying aid and developmental funding to human rights conditions.
"The Chinese don't go through any of that nonsense," he says.
"The west has come and the west has left," he said, "There are empty shells, silos, farms that are left abandoned and just waiting for someone to work them."
He admires the Chinese work ethic and ingenuity, and says the fact that they will come with a ready-made home market will be an added bonus.

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