What Happens If Putin Starts Calling These Flash Mobs What They Are?–US State Dept. Shock Troops

[CIA psywar specialists have fine-tuned their social media political action system, so that they can instantly capitalize on any bad political news.  With State Dept. watchdog groups like Golos patrolling electoral exercises like piranha looking for blood in the water, it is a sure thing that they will find some dead issue to pounce on.  Putin understood that this would happen once he let the West in.  The question now is how will he deal with it, like a democratic head-buster or a real dictator.  There is a fine line that Russian enforcers can walk to emulate the American police state.  Look for long-range acoustical mob control devices to appear at the next planned protests.]

Chanting ‘Russia without Putin,’ flash mobs roil Moscow

Protesters across Russia march against Vladimir Putin’s ruling party following allegations of official vote-rigging in last weekend’s Duma elections.

By Fred Weir,

Opposition demonstrators walk along a main thoroughfare during protests against alleged vote-rigging in Russia’s parliamentary elections in Moscow on Tuesday. Police clashed with demonstrators protesting alleged election fraud in Moscow and at least two other major Russian cities on Tuesday as anger boiled against strongman Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his ruling United Russia party.

Ivan Sekretarev/AP

MOSCOW

Moscow was uncommonly tense Wednesday, with tens of thousands of riot police patrolling the streets and helicopters buzzing overhead, while opposition leaders promised more flash-mob-type demonstrations to protest alleged official vote-rigging in last weekend’s bitterly contested Duma elections.

For more than a decade, Russians appear to have quietly accepted Vladimir Putin’s system of “managed democracy.” The system utilizes a toolbox full of official measures to ensure that only Kremlin-approved parties and candidates get elected, and that the decisive share of votes is always won by the ruling party, UnitedRussia (UR), which has been headed by Mr. Putin for much of its existence.

But on Monday, after official returns showed UR winning almost 50 percent of the votes – down sharply from the 64 percent it won in 2007 polls – up to 10,000 protesters, informed mainly through social media, converged on the downtown Chistye Prudhi metro station. They attempted to march to the Kremlin, shouting slogans like “down with the police state” and “Russia without Putin.” About 300 were detained, and a few such as radical blogger Alexei Navalny and liberal opposition leader Ilya Yashin were subsequently handed 15-day prison sentences for “refusing to follow a lawful police order.”

US-Based Pseudo-Democracy Group Appears To Create the Appearance of Democratic Reform In Uzbekistan

The movement “Birdamlik” hold exclusive promotion to the Day of the Constitution of Uzbekistan

Fergana

December 7 in honor of the Constitution of Uzbekistan , celebrated on 8 December, the opposition People’s Movement “Birdamlik” (“Unity”) intends to hold a charity raffle in Tashkent, “OR” (an abbreviation of the phrase “ommavy shikoyatlar” – “mass appeal”), reported Birdamlik.info .

The lottery will be held in the capital of Uzbekistan, the famous Alai market, from 11-00 to 13-00 hours. The action can take part of any citizen of Uzbekistan. Those wishing to participate are invited to write on slips of their names, as well as to avoid lining if the lottery will have full namesake, indicate series and passport numbers or simply leave your autograph. “Birdamlik” plans to play 20 prizes “Honadon” for $ 50 U.S. each and a grand prize “Tea” in 1000 dollars.

In addition, organizers of the precarious social action plan to hold a competition for the best knowledge of the Constitution of Uzbekistan. Five participants who can best explain the content and meaning of the Basic Law, will receive $ 100 and a copy of the Constitution of the Republic.

On to the action “GS” and its sources of funding “Fergana” questioned a member of the movement “Birdamlik,” the former journalist TV channel “Yoshlar” (“Youth”) Malohat Eshonkulovu .

Malohat Eshonkulova

Malohat Eshonkulova

- Malohat where you have the means to carry out such an act?- The action was financed by the head office of the movement “Birdamlik” which is located in the United States. The funds consist of membership fees and sponsorship.The main office of motion suggested that we hold a charity raffle, dedicated to the Day of Constitution of Uzbekistan. We endorsed the idea and began preparations.

- How many people do you intend to collect?

- At a charity event invited all the heads of regional branches of the movement “Birdamlik” come all our activists. We expect that will come from every region of four activist movement led by the head of the regional office. According to preliminary calculations, the expected participation of more than 60 people. The motion will cover all travel expenses of participants. In addition, an event attended by representatives of the diplomatic corps and all of Uzbek human rights activists.

- What is the main purpose of such an action?

- As you know, in October, we were trying to measure “mass appeal”, but it failed. The reason? I do not want to talk about the legal literacy of our people, the population of sufficient knowledge in this field. But unfortunately, our people are indifferent.Indifferent to the laws and their enforcement. We know that in our country, laws and even the Constitution inoperative. In my opinion, seeing such a situation, people are disillusioned and spit at it. The people retreated. It should not be. People should not give up. The laws do not work, and the Constitution does not apply because of the indifference of the population.

The Constitution of Uzbekistan provides an almost ideal “democratic document.” However, its provisions are often not enforced, while remaining formal declarations. Thus, the basic law of the Republic states that the sole source of authority in the country is the people, and citizens have the right to engage in public life by holding rallies, meetings and demonstrations. In fact, the country atmosphere of hard police suppress any public activity.

Citizens need to continue to demand that the government of the Constitution, if necessary, must rise to his feet, not to give up and not get tired. People – an invincible force, but it should not stop their claims, give up. I think it is necessary to exacerbate political and legal consciousness of people. This is the purpose of our action: to awaken the interest of citizens to the Constitution, to increase the rigor of the people.It’s no secret that people who have never picked up the Constitution, a lot. Therefore we would like to purchase the texts of the Constitution in large quantities. Have gone through all the bookstores in Tashkent, but none of them are on sale it was not. We managed to get only 20 copies in Russian.

The absence of the Constitution of Uzbekistan Opened sales – a very strange phenomenon. As if the authorities are afraid that people will buy it, learn, and to demand their rights.

We’re going on the first page of the Constitution to write: “The country’s constitution – a program of our lives. Read it and let us read to their children. NDU “Birdamlik” recommends “- and to distribute copies of the Basic Law of the protesters.

In addition, we are planning our speakers presentations and lectures on the meaning of the Constitution. At the same time want to hold a charity lottery to do something to help our poor countrymen, who for several weeks did not see the meat in their cauldrons, so they can arrange a holiday at home. Can you say, and not it be better to just give money? No, our people are proud, they have to give, so as not to hurt their feelings.

- Did you get permission from the authorities to conduct a lottery?

- Is to celebrate Constitution Day, you must request permission from the authorities? No, we did not apply to any office of power and did not receive permits. Because it is – a one-time lottery, and, charity.

- Are not you afraid that the authorities can easily accuse you of illegally conducting a lottery?

- When I worked in television, a friend of mine told prosecutor said jokingly: “If necessary, we can find fault and to the stake, and bring it on paper.” This is true. Our laws – like a rubber band, pull the can, where you want. Who is stronger, and he would chip.Therefore, the authorities can be expected any. But I do not see in our actions constitute a crime. We’re giving away a one-off charity raffle in connection with the holiday – Constitution Day. The movement “Birdamlik” has by this material, financial benefits.On the contrary, it will be profitable by the citizens. What to think about the benefit of citizens in Uzbekistan – the crime? Will be distributed to 100-200 copies of the Constitution, and the crime?

We do not want to guess what will happen tomorrow, so we’ll wait. Time will tell.

- Do you plan to distribute dollars or scrip? In the first case, you may be accused of conducting illegal foreign exchange transactions.

- We will not deviate from the laws of our country. In the charity raffle will be drawn cash prizes, the winners will be handed out checks, confirming the winnings. They will also receive a business card with the address of our head office, phone numbers, e-mail. The winners will be able to contact the main office and receive their prizes. The money will be transferred through banks in foreign currency. At the time of the lottery are no foreign exchange transactions will not be.

The international news agency “Fergana”

U.S. embassy opened Internet in Iran – to communicate with the Iranian people

U.S. embassy opened Internet in Iran – to communicate with the Iranian people

Fergana

December 6th U.S. opened in an Internet-based embassy of the country to Iran , according to RIA Novosti .

At the present time between the two countries have no diplomatic relations. U.S. interests in Iran is Switzerland.

“I am pleased to announce the launch of a virtual U.S. embassy in Tehran. This is a new opportunity to bring together American and Iranian peoples. Because of the lack of diplomatic relations, we lacked the dialogue between our citizens. We hope that now, thanks to new technologies, this website and its associated social networks will become a bridge that can improve communication between us “- said in a written statement, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland.

According to her, opening the site is the first step the United States, aimed at overcoming attempts to “the Iranian regime omit electron curtain, enter on-line filtering and restrict satellite broadcasting.” “We hope to expand our relationship directly with the Iranian people”, – explained Nuland.

As the BBC B , at the presentation ceremony of the project Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States missed an opportunity to engage in dialogue with the Iranians for more than 30-year absence in Tehran current diplomatic mission.

It is assumed that the online embassy will compile information about human rights in Iran, and Iranian citizens informed about life in the United States.

In the U.S. State Department declared that “virtual representation” will not substitute for official diplomatic mission in Iran, it should become a “bridge” between Washington and Tehran. To obtain U.S. visas for Iranian nationals still need to be treated in the U.S. Embassy in third countries.

The international news agency “Fergana”

US Efforts To Out-train Kyrgyz Scorpions Units Better Than Russian Spetsnaz

[Kyrgyz Special Forces seem to be unimpressed by Western training, according to the report below.  We are witnessing a series of strange events in Central Asia, as both the US and Russia seek to create the first regional Rapid Reaction Force.  Since there is really no existing threat to regional peace, other than the rising specter of the "Spring" revolutions and stray militants from Afghanistan, then governments are obviously preparing to crush dissent.  In the end, the separate governments will choose the military solution which meets their needs--meaning a Rapid Reaction force willing to pound civilian protestors into the ground--literally.  The only really democratic decisions that will be made by the Central Asian dictators is that they will vote UP or DOWN on the make-up of this budding Central Asian Rapid Reaction Force. 

If American forces are willing to do to Central Asian civilians exactly what Saudi forces have been doing to the citizens of Bahrain,

then they might actually get the job of forming that new regional military force.  Otherwise, the Russians offer the only realistic solution.  Every  effort short of this is just blustering into the wind.] 

Kyrgyzstan: Chui is a joint training of U.S. and Kyrgyz special forces (photo)

Fergana

From November 1 to December 19 in Tokmok Chui is a joint training special forces in Kyrgyzstan and the United States, according to AKIpress .


Training in Tokmok. Photo AKIpress

Training takes place on the basis of special forces military unit “Scorpion”. On the American side it involves twelve special forces soldiers “Alpha 31-34″, led by Captain Anthony Tsinkutisom, including having the experience of participating in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan , and from the Kyrgyz side – fifty soldiers from special units “Scorpion,” ” Panther “and” Ilbirs “Department of Defense.


U.S. Army Capt. E. Tsinkutis. Photo AKIpress

The military of both countries share their experiences in combating terrorism and drug trafficking, work out the skills of combat in urban environments, the hostages were released, clearing facilities, medical evacuation, search vehicles and so on.


Training in Tokmok. Photo AKIpress

Americans celebrate diligence and Kyrgyz Special Forces say they were interested in “work” with the best of Kyrgyzstan’s arms. Their Kyrgyz colleagues reported that Americans are a little weaker physically, but pay special attention to accuracy when shooting and trying to “work” head.

The international news agency “Fergana”

Islam Karimov has something planned

Islam Karimov has something planned

Lenta.ru

On Monday, December 5, news agencies have disseminated information that the Senate of Uzbekistan adopted the amendments to the constitution of the country, according to which the term of office in this country is reduced from seven to five years. The amendments were initiated by President Islam Karimov. Lenta.ru tried to understand the purpose for which Karimov has decided to shorten his term.

The first thought that comes to mind: in Uzbekistan starting to change the constitution, it is probably connected with the intention of the incumbent to create yourself an environment in which he could run again. So it was more than once.

The first presidential election in Uzbekistan took place in December 1991. Then Islam Karimov was elected for five years, but in March 1995, a referendum to extend his presidential term until 2000. Well after working nine-year term in 2000, Karimov was re-elected for five years, and in 2002, according to the results of the next referendum, presidential term was extended to seven years. Due to legal technicalities second term Karimov continued from January 2000 to December 2007, there is every eight years instead of seven.

Last election, won by Karimov took place in December 2007, that is his current term ends in 2014. However, if changes to the constitution will take effect the next presidential election could theoretically take place as early as next year. And the acting head of state they can go under the pretext that he did not put dosidel seven years and now everything should begin anew.

At the same time, it is no secret that the last election and Karimov at the highest office in the state was seen by his opponents as a direct violation of the Constitution, limiting the stay of any person in the position of president to two terms. Moreover, if the discontent among his fellow citizens have learned to suppress Karimov at the root, the negative reaction from the West Uzbek leader can do nothing.

It is true that in 2007 Tashkent’s foreign policy, which largely depends on the situation in the country, was aimed at closer cooperation with Russia and China. And in these countries manipulation Karimov with the constitution and democratic principles do not attach special significance. Another thing the United States, which after six and a half years after the events in Andijan in Uzbekistan once again positioned as a strategic partner.

According to the chief editor of news agency “Fergana” Daniel Kislov, reducing the presidential term – it’s a step in which Karimov is pushed Washington’s position. “From the ostentatious” easing “of the regime depends on the degree of military and political support that the U.S. will have to Tashkent. In this regard, from prisons and mental hospitals have been released a few journalists and human rights. We can expect that in the near future will be held, and other simulation reforms “, – said Kislov. He believes that Americans, in the first place, it is necessary to justify before the world community for the support of the governor, who in the eyes of many is “no better than Qaddafi.”

Finally, there is a version that Karimov, or – as it is often called the people of Uzbekistan – the Pope, yet really decided to give up the presidency. While in favor of this except that the head of state old age (in January next year he turns 74), the mere possibility that Karimov will leave his post, generates millions of rumors and speculation. Do not deny yourself the pleasure to reflect on this issue and we are.

Karimov has, like its northern neighbor, Nursultan Nazarbayev, no, let’s say, the biological successors – both the president’s got time to his sons, who could hand over power. Although older daughter, and Karimov and Nazarbayev – Gulnara and Dariga – public figures rather, only in the case of Kazakhstan “princess” can talk about any political perspective. In contrast to Dariga Nazarbayeva, Gulnara Karimova is never interested in politics, focusing on the “glamor” and the secular parties. Collection of clothes, diamonds, hospitality – is unlikely with such baggage allowed to handle the president’s daughter running the state.

True, there is Karimov’s son – from his first marriage. But with Peter Karimov, about which little is known except that he seems to live in Tashkent, the father relationship is not supported. Consequently, a member of the “family” does not recognize it, so that one can hardly speak about some plans for the Pope against this man.

Against the background of the insolvency of the presidential children to the fore recently published figure of Prime Minister Shaukat Mirzijaeva Uzbekistan, which is due to a rapid career in the civil service more than once been compared to Vladimir Putin.

54-year-old prime minister has Mirziyayev since 2003. Prior to that he led Jizzakh and Samarkand regions. “Tough, ruthless and power-hungry man who has the support of representatives of” Samarkand “clan” – so wrote about Mirzijaeva edition of “CentrAsia” immediately after his appointment as head of government. Journalists, referring to people who work with the new prime minister, argued that Mirzijaeva was common assault against subordinates.

In 2003, BBC News Mirzijaeva gave this description: “Excellent political reaction and ability to achieve their goals by any means.” Further on the basis of this conclusion was drawn that the Uzbek prime minister has much in common with those African dictators who came to power with the help of Soviet military advisers.

Brutality of the former governor Karimov has used in the most difficult part – Mirziyayev was responsible for gathering the cotton crop. This trend, he controls today, so all the buds that are showered on the Uzbek government for use in the fields of child labor, should, in theory, get it Mirzijaeva. Human rights activists argue that once Mirzieyav, such as beating of high school teacher for refusing to Jizzakh show the students to pick cotton.

At the same time the Uzbek prime minister for a time was completely closed to the press – he does not give interviews, does not talk to reporters, not lit for the cameras. Needless to say – just three years after the appointment Mirzijaeva to head the government in the media got a picture of him.

It is true that in recent conversations about Mirzijaeva as a possible successor, several have died down. But with the last change of the constitution, they may be resumed with renewed vigor. If Karimov is, of course, extend the presidential term reduction in operating current, and not dosidit quietly at his post until 2014.

Photo RIA Novosti, Sergey Guneev

Pakistani militants claim responsibility for pilgrim slaughter

Pakistani militants claim responsibility for pilgrim slaughter

Afghan men cry as others remove bodies from a suicide attack at a shrine in Kabul.

PHOTO: Afghan men cry as others remove bodies from a suicide attack at a shrine in Kabul.(AFP: Massoud Hossaini)

A Pakistan-based insurgent group has claimed responsibility for twin attacks which caused carnage at two shrines belonging to Afghanistan’s minority Shiite Muslims yesterday.

The suicide attacks in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif killed at least 59 people and forced president Hamid Karzai to cut short his visit to Europe and the UK.

Doctors and police struggled to count the casualties after the first blast, which tore through a crowd of pilgrims commemorating the Shiite holy day of Ashura in the capital Kabul.

Many women and children were among the casualties after a suicide bomber blew himself up at the gates of the Abu Fazal shrine.

It was one of the bloodiest days in the Afghan capital since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 and came after similar attacks on Shiite pilgrims in Iraq on Monday.

Shortly after the Kabul blast, a bicycle bomb exploded near the main mosque in northern Mazar-i-Sharif city, killing four people.

This morning Sunni extremist group Lashkar e-Jhangvi al-Alami said it launched the attacks; the group’s first in Afghanistan.

Violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan has been rare since that fall of the Taliban in 2001 but the attacks have raised fears that Afghanistan will be gripped by the same sectarian violence which prompted the US to send thousands more troops to Iraq in 2007.

Dozens of funerals will be held later today for the victims of the bombings and Mr Karzai is expected to meet with victim’s families.

“This is the first time on such an important religious day in Afghanistan that terrorism of that horrible nature is taking place,” he told journalists in Germany.

The attacks were swiftly condemned by the international community, with France calling them “cowardly and odious acts” and UK foreign secretary William Hague saying he was “shocked by the sectarian attacks on innocent civilians”.

Afghan leader to confront Pakistan over attack

Afghan leader to confront Pakistan over attack

(AP)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s president says that the unprecedented suicide bombing at a Shiite shrine in Kabul originated in Pakistan and is pledging to confront the Pakistani government about the attack.

President Hamid Karzai spoke Wednesday as he visited a hospital where scores of people wounded in the attack are being treated. At least 56 people, including an American citizen, were killed in the explosion, which occurred as Shiites were commemorating the major Islamic holy day of Ashoura.

Karzai says the Afghan government has launched an investigation, but the group behind the attack is based in Pakistan and he will take the issue to the Pakistani government.

Rehman Malik thanks Taliban for not attacking Shias In Pakistan–What About Lashkar e-Jhangvi In Kabul?

[Pakistan's LeJ seems to have moved its annual Ashura attacks upon Pakistan's Shia processions to Afghanistan, since the Taliban have been withholding attacks inside Pakistan is deference to Pakistan's ongoing underdog status.] 

Pak minister Rehman Malik thanks Taliban for not attacking Shias

IANS

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik has thanked the Taliban for not attacking Shia Muslims during their religious rituals Tuesday.

“I am thankful to the Taliban who did not carry out any attack on Shia Muslims and showed respect to their rituals,” Makik was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

“I hope they would also remain peaceful in future, lay down arms and work together with us for the security of the country,” he said.

Malik said he had appealed to the Taliban to spare the processions of Shia Muslims and that “they positively responded to my appeal. This is a good sign and I am confident that the security situation will further improve in future”.

Millions of Shia Muslims across Pakistan on Tuesday commemorated the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad under unprecedented security. Thousands of paramilitary soldiers and police officials were deployed to provide security during the processions.

The Taliban have in the past carried out suicide attacks on Shia Muslims in Pakistan, but Tuesday was relatively peaceful with no major attack in any part of the country.

Two minor blasts in Karachi slightly injured four people while some rockets were fired in the northwestern city of Hangu, which injured five people.

Processions concluded peacefully across Pakistan in the evening. Walk-through gates had been put in place at all entry points of the processions and every participant was searched through detectors.

In sensitive areas, Pakistani security forces used helicopters for aerial monitoring of the processions.

Occupy Moscow Protests Powered By Twitter Low-Level Warfare

INSIGHT-Social media makes anti-Putin protests “snowball”

By Alissa de Carbonnel

MOSCOW, Dec 7 (Reuters) – Artyom Kolpakov used to shrug when he came across occasional appeals on social media sites to protest against Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his government.

“I didn’t see the point really,” he said.

But something changed when, clicking through amateur videos and online testimonies documenting cases of ballot-stuffing and repeat voting, he saw others shared his outrage at Putin’s party’s victory in Sunday’s parliamentary election.

On Monday evening, Kolpakov, 38, was among several thousand Russians who took to the streets of Moscow in the biggest opposition protest in years.

Such protests against Putin’s rule, as president from 2000 to 2008 and as prime minister since then, have rarely drawn more than about 200 people, some of them Soviet-era dissidents and others activists in marginalised opposition groups.

Typically, they are quickly dispersed by heavy-handed riot police. But Sunday’s rally attracted about 5,000 people and a similar rally on Tuesday drew several hundred.

Many were responding to calls on social networking sites VKontakte and Facebook to “continue the revolution”, and tweets sent by protesters from Triumfalny Square in central Moscow.

“For the first time really the online presence has transformed offline politics,” said Konstantin von Eggert, a commentator for Kommersant FM radio. “The whole thing works like a snowball. This is definitely the start of something that will stay in Russian political life.”

CROSSING A LINE

Just as news of planned rallies spread on social media, protesters and opposition forces used Twitter to keep each other up to date on the whereabouts of detained leaders.

The wife of Alexei Navalny, a blogger now serving a 15-day jail sentence for his role in Monday’s protests, took up his twitter feed on Tuesday. Later in the day, a follow-up protest at which police detained about 300 people was streamed live on the Internet.

By midday on Wednesday, over 10,000 people on Facebook and 4,300 on Russia’s Cyrillic-language VKontakte had pledged to attend a fresh protest near the Kremlin on Saturday. Another 8,000 people said they “maybe” would join.

The links for the protest can be found at facebook.com/events/198328520252594/ and vkontakte.ru/event32872901.

“It’s absolutely a Facebook story. It’s not as if there is some kind of organiser of this, some kind of villain,” veteran journalist Sergei Parkhomenko told Dozhd TV, an independent cable and Internet television station that has been one of the only broadcasters to cover the opposition protests.

For Kolpakov, who lives on the outskirts of Moscow and works at a recording studio specialising in children’s songs, new media has been instrumental in changing his view of Putin since he won popularity by restoring order following Russia’s difficult transition to a market economy in the 1990s.

“During Putin’s first term, I was happy that he restored some kind of order. Then it became clear this order was not for the good of the country but for the good of his inner circle,” he said.

“It takes time to understand that the authorities have crossed some kind of line.”

OUTRAGE AFTER ELECTION

Sunday’s election was, for him, the moment that line was crossed. Kolpakov drove an hour to the centre of Moscow to take part in Monday’s protest, ignoring his wife’s pleas to stay safely at home with their one-year-old daughter.

He had already volunteered as an election monitor after reading online allegations that Putin’s United Russia party was trying to bribe and bully voters in the run-up to the election.

Kolpakov saw no foul play at his polling station in Shchyolkovo, east of Moscow centre, where he says the Communist Party won almost twice as many votes as the ruling party.

So he was stunned when he heard the official result registered United Russia leading the pack with 46.6 percent of the vote in Moscow.

His outrage grew when he saw some of an avalanche of video clips online, most of them apparently shot by disgruntled citizens and election observers using smart phones.

One clip, which has had more than 1 million clicks, gives a bird’s eye view of an election official in Moscow calmly ticking off a stack of ballots, apparently preparing to stuff the urns with votes for United Russia.

In another, Kolpakov says a group of so-called merry-go-round voters are shown being bused from one polling station to another.

Yet another testimony widely shared on networking sites shows the disparity between scans of hand-counted voting results and those posted on the Central Election Commission’s website.

A DIFFERENT PICTURE ON STATE TELEVISION

The picture painted by state television, which is dominated by positive coverage of Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev, is very different.

It has been silent on the protests, reporting marches by pro-Kremlin youth groups that were organised to drown out anti-government demonstrators meeting at the same square in central Moscow on Tuesday.

“How do you feel when you understand that you are being lied to, that people take you for an idiot, that they are wiping their feet on you?” Kolpakov said.

“People are angry and it’s natural. The temperature is rising. Our authorities must understand that if this is repeated, more and more people will take to the street.”

Medvedev, presents himself as the iPad-toting, Internet-savvy modern face of Russia, dismissed such videos as inconclusive evidence and thanked citizens for backing United Russia.

In a potentially embarrassing incident, an obscene post by a United Russia deputy calling anti-government bloggers “stupid sheep” among other things was retweeted on Medvedev’s Twitter feed. The tweet was quickly deleted. The Kremlin was not immediately available for comment.

THREAT TO KREMLIN?

The ability of social networking sites to mobilise a large group of Russians is a new and powerful tool that could give the Kremlin cause for concern as Putin plans a return to the presidency in a March election.

“A Twitter revolution is when people stop messing around on twitter, and start coordinating action through it,” tweeted Ilya Varlamov, whose twitter followers grew by several thousand to almost 6,000 throughout the day on Tuesday.

“Muscovites have taken the expression ‘Twitter revolution’ literally,” he said, commenting on live cell phone streaming of people gathering outside a court house where activists were on trial after overnight arrests.

Many observers are still sceptical that an Arab Spring is about to sweep Russia.

Although more than one third of Russia’s population now have access to the web – or 50.8 million people, says Internet marketing research group ComScore – only a small percentage are politicised and they are mainly in Moscow and other big cities.

Often there is no alternative to tightly controlled media in the Russian provinces, where the authorities hold the most sway with voters.

“Let’s be honest, so far the Internet and social media have influence only in big towns and cities,” said Gennady Gudkov, an opposition lawmaker with the left-leaning Just Russia party. “It doesn’t have much sway in the regions and provinces.”

FEARS OF CRACKDOWN

Many bloggers fear the Kremlin will act to reign in Russia’s vibrant blogosphere, if it becomes too influential. Some bloggers have already been prosecuted offline under libel law and Russia’s wide-reaching law on extremism.

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks — attempts to make a computer or network unavailable — have in the last few days shut down a large number of media websites. Russia’s most popular blogging site, LiveJournal, was hobbled.

The cyber attack also simultaneously crippled the websites of leading radio station Ekho Moskvy – owned by state energy monopoly Gazprom – Kommersant newspaper and other top media outlets. Russia’s main independent vote monitor, Golos, was another targeted.

“I am sure the authorities will very soon try to introduce legislation that will restrict the Internet,” Von Eggert said, although the Kremlin has denied such suggestions.

The cyber attacks spurred bloggers and Twitter users to step into the gulf, with Navalny and others offering up their blogs as a clearinghouse for evidence of election violations.

Popular writer Boris Akunin polled readers of his blog on whether they believed the elections were rigged: Only 243 out of 8,129 respondents thought the vote was fair.

“I will address a few words to Vladimir Vladimirovich (Putin): ‘I am sorry for you,’” he wrote at Borisakunin.livejournal.com. “‘You don’t have to be Nostradamus to predict your future.’”

WILL ONLINE LEADER BECOME OFFLINE LEADER?

New media, and the protests they have helped spawn, may also be in the process of building Navalny, 35, into a much more potent opposition force.

Until now he has been an informal leader of the disenchanted, campaigning online against corruption, as well as showing nationalist tendencies. But his jail sentence on Tuesday could turn him into a symbol and leader of the protests.

In a tiny courtroom where he was sentenced to 15 days in jail for obstruction of justice during Monday’s protest, Navalny said the Kremlin would seek to silence anyone who spread the word about what he said was obvious vote-rigging.

“The elections were falsified,” Navalny, looking exhausted and angry, told Reuters in the stuffy court opposite the old headquarters of the KGB secret police on Lubyanka square.

“The very acknowledgement of this fact will be deadly for the regime, and they will do their utmost to shut the mouths of everyone who talks about it openly,” said Navalny, looking gaunt and without laces in his dirty boots.

Using his blog to illustrate the absurdities of Russia’s corrupt bureaucracy, Navalny shot to prominence by challenging state companies such as pipeline operator Transneft to explain millions of dollars of unorthodox payments.

He has also challenged Putin directly, accusing him of ruling a corrupt elite as “chairman of the board of Russia Inc.” and branded his party “swindlers and thieves”, a phrase that haunted the party during its election campaign.

Ekho Moskvy editor Alexei Venediktov wrote on his station’s website that the arrest could turn Navalny into a much bigger problem for the Kremlin.

“Navalny’s arrest was a political mistake. Jailing Navalny is the transformation of an online leader into an offline one,” he wrote. (Additional reporting by Alexei Anishchuk, Maria Tsvetkova and Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Peter Graff)

Nato allies meet amid tensions with Russia, Pakistan

Nato allies meet amid tensions with Russia, Pakistan

Hillary Clinton irked Russia by voicing “serious concerns” about the parliamentary elections. –Photo by AFP

BRUSSELS: Nato allies meet Wednesday hoping to calm Russian fears over their missile shield project but US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton angered Moscow by criticising its parliamentary elections.

Clinton is joining her 27 alliance counterparts in Brussels for two days of talks that will also touch on the Afghan war amid tensions with Pakistan after a Nato air strike on the Afghan border last month killed 24 Pakistani troops.

They will then meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday to tell him the missile shield will go ahead but that Nato still wants to negotiate a cooperation deal with Moscow, alliance diplomats said.

A diplomat said Nato wants to “calm things down” after Russia activated a radar warning system in its exclave of Kaliningrad on the EU’s borders last week, days after President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to deploy missiles there.

“Some of President Medvedev’s recent comments about Nato’s missile defence system reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the system,” Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen wrote in Russia’s Kommersant newspaper Tuesday.

The Russian threats “reflect the rhetoric of the past,” Rasmussen said.

While he was pleased that Medvedev did not shut the door on dialogue, Rasmussen indicated that Nato will continue to refuse to provide legal guarantees that the system does not threaten Russia.

Western officials insist that the missile shield is aimed at countering Iran.

Nato and the United States have sought to improve ties with Russia since President Barack Obama took office in 2009.

But Clinton irked Russia by voicing “serious concerns” about the parliamentary elections and calling for allegations of fraud and vote-rigging to be investigated.

“As we have seen in many places, and most recently in the Duma elections in Russia, elections that are neither free nor fair have the same effect,” Clinton said in Lithuania on Tuesday.

The Russian foreign ministry described Clinton’s comments as “unacceptable”while Medvedev said it was “none of their business” what Russia’s political
system looked like.

Russian riot police arrested hundreds of activists in central Moscow on Tuesday to stop a new protest alleging that elections were rigged in favour of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s ruling party.

Despite lingering suspicions between the former Cold War foes, Russia has allowed the alliance to use its territory to send vital supplies to troops in Afghanistan.

The transit route through Russia has become all the more important since Pakistan shut down supply lines in anger at last month’s deadly air strike on the Afghan border. Nato has launched an investigation into the raid.

“We have every interest to make sure that we get back to a better relationship again and that is what we are trying to achieve in the near future,” said a senior Nato official.

The ministers will review the transfer of security reins to Afghan forces after Monday’s major Afghanistan conference in Bonn, where participants vowed sustained support for another decade after combat troops leave in 2014.

Another mission, Kosovo, will also be discussed in the wake of violence at the border with Serbia that injured 50 Nato troops.

Saudi “Taliban” Condemn Australian On Hajj To 500 Lashes and One Year In Prison

Screaming woman publicly flogged by laughing po…, posted with vodpod

Mansor Almaribe

The family of Mansor Almaribe, who is facing a year in jail and 500 lashes in Saudi Arabia. Picture are Mohammad, 16, Jamal, 24, Wafaa, Isaam, 21, and Wally, 2. Picture: Fiona Hamilton Source: Herald Sun

THE family of an Australian man sentenced to 500 lashes and a year in jail in Saudi Arabia fears he will not survive the punishment.

Mansor Almaribe, from the Victorian town of Shepparton, was yesterday found guilty of blasphemy by a Saudi Arabian court.

The 45-year-old father of five was arrested in the city of Medina on November 14 while making the hajj pilgrimage and accused of insulting companions of the prophet Mohammed.

It’s reported he was reading and praying in a group when accosted by religious police and arrested.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the Australian ambassador in Saudi Arabia,  Neil Hawkins, had been in touch with authorities to plead for leniency.

“The Australian ambassador has been in touch with Saudi authorities after a 45-year-old Australian man was sentenced by a court in Saudi Arabia to one year in jail and 500 lashes,” a DFAT spokeswoman said.

The ambassador would “urgently pursue avenues for leniency with relevant authorities”.

A consular official attended the sentencing, at which Mr Almaribe was initially given a two-year jail term, subsequently reduced.

One of the man’s sons, Mohammed, told the ABC his father had serious health problems.

“Five hundred slashes on his back and he has back problems. I wouldn’t think he’d survive 50,” he said.

Saudi Arabia enforces a strict form of Sharia or Islamic law and the dominant form of Islam in the country is Wahhabism, an ultra-conservative strand of Sunni Islam.

Mr Almaribe is a constituent of Liberal MP Sharman Stone, who has called on Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd to intervene, “even perhaps to remove the sentence all together if that can be achieved”, she said.

Additional reporting: AAP

Russia Deploying Iskander Missiles To Westernmost Kaliningrad To Counter US Anti-Missile Deployments

Deploying arms in Kaliningrad is within the law – FM

Russia threatens to deploy missiles in row with US, posted with vodpod

RT

Russia is not violating its international obligations by stationing advanced weapon systems in its westernmost exclave, Kaliningrad, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

Speaking at a media conference in Vilnius, Lavrov stressed that Kaliningrad is a sovereign territory of the Russian Federation. “We are not abusing any international commitments,” the minister underlined, as cited by Itar-Tass.

Over the past five to six years Russia has removed hundreds of units of heavy weaponry. “And, of course, we will replace them with more modern arms,” Lavrov said. He noted though that this is being done in the context of the Russia-NATO dialogue.

Moscow and Brussels remain at odds over the planned US missile defense shield in Europe. Even though Russia was invited to be involved in the project, the sides have so far failed to come to an agreement as to what role exactly Russia would play. The Russian side is only ready to take part in the plan as an equal partner rather than being just a passive observer. In addition, Washington has refused to provide any legally-binding guarantees that the missile defense system would not be used against Russia.

Speaking on Wednesday, Sergey Lavrov pointed out that NATO is well-aware of the situation. He stressed that the dialogue between the sides can only progress when the alliance finally hears what Moscow says on the matter.

“The situation is not changing, but we are continuing consultations. Our legitimate concerns are not taken into consideration. Our NATO friends flatly refuse to record on paper what they say verbally, namely, that the missile defense in Europe would not create a threat to Russia,” Lavrov said.

The minister said that Moscow’s major concern is that foreign arms and military infrastructure are being placed around the territory of Russia and its neighbors.

On November 23, President Dmitry Medvedev outlined military measures Russia would take in response to any further development of America’s controversial missile defense shield. Those included the deployment of strike systems in the west and south of the country and Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region. Shortly after that, the head of state launched a radar system in Kaliningrad, which protects the country from missile attacks and covers all Europe and Atlantic.

On Thursday, Sergey Lavrov will discuss the tricky missile defense issue in Brussels, at a Russia-NATO Council meeting of foreign ministers.

Moscow’s permanent representative to the alliance, Dmitry Rogozin, told Itar-Tass that in light of President Medvedev’s recent statement, the talks are expected to be “rather serious”.

“Out NATO colleagues will have to answer why they, while calling Moscow their partner, create potentials which might pose a threat to our country’s security,” he said.

Why Does NATO Put Islamists In Power?–Russia To Ask At NATO Meeting

[SEE: America’s “Islamists” Go Where Oilmen Fear to Tread ]

NATO assists assertion of radical political Islam – Rogozin

Brussels, December 7, Interfax – Arbitrary changes of politicians in the ‘third world’ who NATO dislikes means assisting the spread of Sharia and radical Islamist groups, Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said.

“The Russian side would like to understand to what extent NATO is aware of the fact that the assertion of radical political Islam in every region where NATO ‘projected its force’, as they say, is the result of its actions,” Rogozin said Interfax.

The main issue that the Russian side is going to raise at a NATO-Russian Council meeting at the level of foreign ministers on December 8 is the analysis of consequences that the West made in the military and political sphere in 2011, he said.

New Bedfellows for Hillary and O. in Uzbekistan

New Bedfellows for Hillary and O. in Uzbekistan

written by Craig Murray
In Bed With Lola and Gulnara
Karimov: America’s new best friend in Central Asia
The Afghanistan conference in Bonn is a farce.
There are no representatives of the Afghan resistance to the occupation, so it is not negotiating peace.
Karzai’s corrupt and effete presidency, obtained by massive electoral fraud, expires in 2014. It is no coincidence that immediately after that the NATO troops will leave.

 
Be guaranteed that none of the Karzai family will remain in Afghanistan, but will rather retire to Switzerland with the many billions of dollars they have looted from UK and US taxpayers’ funds, and made from the heroin trade.
Pakistan of course is not present at the conference. After approximately 6,000 Pakistanis were blown up by the USA on Pakistani soil, the next 25 were killed all at once and were all young soldiers, something that not even Pakistan’s complacent, corrupt government could gloss over.
So for now all of NATO’s ground supplies are being shipped through Uzbekistan – the percentage of NATO supplies going that way was already increased to almost 50% and still rising fast as a matter of policy.
Lucky that Hillary has a new best friend in President Karimov

All of which explains why there has been not one single word of criticism of Uzbekistan’s human rights record by the co-alition government in the UK. There was not one single mention of human rights, of child slave labour, of political prisoners, of free elections, unbanning the opposition, of freedom of assembly, speech or religious belief, when the British government hosted official Uzbek parliamentary and trade delegations last month. There was not one word either in public or in private on any of these subjects.

The current British government loves Karimov. It has never issued even the mildest criticism. Boiling people alive and torturing political opponents to death is fine by them. We even deport him back extra dissidents to practice on. This British government succesfully pushed through the EU new preferential tariff access for Uzbek cotton picked by eight year old child slaves. 

The love affair with the British establishment goes wider than just this government. New Labour’s chief financier, their own Lord Ashcroft, is a man named Andrew Rosenfeld. He has sold a house in Switzerland to Karimov’s daughter Lola for three times its market value. Such huge payments in excess of market value are, very often, a spot of money laundering with the extra money being in return for something else.

Money flows both way – as previously reported here, Karimov’s elder daughter Gulnara is getting a massive cut from the transport of all those NATO supplies through Uzbekistan.

But the latest bit of love-in with the Karimov family will astound you. William Hague is going to agree that Gulnara Karimova - the most hated person in Uzbekistan - can come and live in London as Uzbek Ambassador. The request for her to be accepted (“agrement” in diplomatic parlance, in French) – has been in for some time. The only obstacle remaining is to resolve how many of Gulnara’s seven bodyguards will be allowed to carry semi-automatic weapons on the streets of London.

Among our major political parties, the notion of morality appears virtually as dead as it is to the Karimov family.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. - www.craigmurray.org.

Prince Turki Wants Saudi Nukes To Counter Israel’s Thermonuclear Arsenal and Iran

Saudi Arabia may need nuclear weapons to fend off threat from Iran and Israel, says former intelligence chief

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

Former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal said Saudi Arabia 'must look at all options, including obtaining nuclear weapons' to protect itselfFormer Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal said Saudi Arabia ‘must look at all options, including obtaining nuclear weapons’ to protect itself

Saudi Arabia may have to arm itself with nuclear weapons to counter threats from Iran and Israel, a former Saudi intelligence chief said yesterday.

Prince Turki al-Faisal, who is still influential despite no longer holding public office, said the move may be necessary ‘as a duty to our country and people’.

He noted that Israel is widely assumed to have a nuclear arsenal and that Iran, Riyadh’s arch-rival in the Middle East, is believed by many to be developing such weaponry.

‘If our efforts, and the efforts of the world community, fail to convince Israel to shed its weapons of mass destruction and to prevent Iran from obtaining similar weapons, we must, as a duty to our country and people, look into all options we are given, including obtaining these weapons ourselves,’ he told a conference in Riyadh on Monday.

The remarks were covered in the Saudi press today.

Prince Turki has previously argued for a nuclear-free Middle East, but is now also pushing the idea that the conservative Islamic kingdom might enter an atomic arms race if Iran, its bitterest regional rival, became a nuclear power.

The Fatally Flawed Northern Distribution Nightmare

Northern Distribution Nightmare

Tensions in Pakistan are running high. So, to resupply U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Washington’s having to cut deals with some very unsavory regimes.

BY DAVID TRILLING

On Nov. 17, a railway bridge reportedly blew up in southern Uzbekistan, near the Afghan border. A few days later, the state-controlled media tersely blamed the explosion on a terrorist attack, but gave no details on who may have carried out the strike or why. Local officials have kept mum ever since. Meanwhile, freight bound for neighboring Tajikistan, which depends on Uzbekistan for all its rail connections with the outside world, has been piling up — more than 320 cars at last count. The backlog smacks of déjà vu: Uzbekistan has regularly blocked rail shipments to Tajikistan. But never so dramatically.

While Washington may once have considered this an obscure regional conflict, the urgent need for supplies to the war in Afghanistan has upped the international stakes considerably. In order to transport people and goods to the theater of operations, NATO must play ball with former Soviet republics whom the Center for Strategic and International Studies has called “unwieldy and volatile partners”beset by “persistent tensions, mistrust, paranoia, authoritarianism, and a near-exclusive focus on ‘regime preservation.’” Of these, Uzbekistan plays the most crucial role. The damaged bridge leading to Tajikistan was not a key part of the transport route to Afghanistan, but it shines a sinister light on the weak links in NATO’s vital supply chain.

How did Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan become all that stand between G.I. Joe and his Jambalaya meal-ready-to-eat? Apart from geography, it was Pakistan that heightened their role: Infuriated by a NATO attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on Nov. 26, Islamabad has blocked Western convoys from traveling on its supply routes into Afghanistan. Now Tashkent, Dushanbe, Moscow, and Bishkek must provide safe passage for troops, contractors, food, fuel, prefabricated buildings, vehicles, and more. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are both corrupt dictatorships that wrangle incessantly over water, boundaries, and ethnic minorities, with periodic shoot-outs on the border. Russia’s interactions with NATO are often marked by suspicion and short-sightedness, as Moscow seeks to reestablish influence in in Central Asia. And Kyrgyzstan, where rioters have chased out two presidents since 2005, is not a consistent partner. NATO will be hard-pressed to navigate these shoals.

Any military logistician since Alexander the Great could tell you that landlocked Afghanistan is not an easily accessible destination for material. In 2008, Pentagon strategists, seeing an uptick in violence against their cargo and fuel trucks in sometime ally Pakistan, began looking for an alternative route. What they came up with is the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), a transport web through the former Soviet Union, with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan as its penultimate stopping points. The route has been operating since early 2009, and though U.S. Transport Command says the trip through Central Asia costs twice as much per shipping container as going via Pakistan, over50 percent of non-lethal goods destined for NATO troops have passed along the NDN in recent months. Washington had hoped that figure would reach 75 percent by the end of the year. With Pakistan out, the only other option would be expensive airlifts.

Most supplies on the NDN begin in the Baltic Sea port of Riga, Latvia, where they’re shipped from suppliers around the world. From there, they take about ten days to transit Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan by rail, crossing into Afghanistan over the Friendship Bridge at Termez. Another branch of the route completely bypasses Russia, starting at the Black Sea port of Poti, in Georgia, snaking across Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan, then funneling into southern Uzbekistan. The two routes come together at Termez, creating a bottleneck where supplies can languish for over a month.

The potential for increased traffic on the NDN has Tajikistan eager for a bigger piece of the pie, with its attendant foreign investment, prestige, and bribes. But growing tensions with Uzbekistan could snuff those dreams. The Nov. 17 railway blast was on a line the Tajiks say could handle more NDN traffic. With the link severed, all rail traffic to southern Tajikistan has stopped, inflicting a mounting economic toll domestically and increasing NATO’s dependence on Uzbekistan. Tajik officials have complained that Tashkent has been inexplicably slow in repairing the bridge. From the Tajiks’ perspective, Uzbekistan’s intent is clear.