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New Cold War: Simultaneously, Russia and America Conduct Major War Games
by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, October 16, 2007

There has been a virtual media blackout on the conduct of major military exercises by both Russia and the US. .

Reminiscent of the Cold War, Russia and America are conducting major war games simultaneously.

The Russian Air Force will be conducting major military exercises over a large part of its territory from the 16th to the 30th of October.

These Russian exercises coincide chronologically with the conduct of major US sponsored war games under Vigilant Shield 08, which are slated to take place from the 15th to the 20th of October.

VS-08 was preceded by major naval exercises under Pacific Shield 07 hosted by Japan, involving the participation of Australia, France, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, and the US.

President Vladimir Putin announced in August that Russia would be resuming long-range bomber flights over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union. (Associated Press, October 1, 2007). Moscow's resolve was in response to US-NATO threats directed against Russia including the militarization of Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

The US exercise code named Vigilant Shield 2008 (VS-08) is casually presented as an "anti-terrorist drill". While under the joint auspices of the Pentagon and the Department of Defense, US Northern Command in liaison with NORAD is in charge of the operation.

VS-08 includes a massive deployment of the US Air Force and Canada's Air Force. It resembles a war-time scenario with the deployment of bombers and fighter jets over the entire North American continent extending into the Arctic.

Meanwhile in the Pacific, military exercises are being held in Guam under the VS-08 imitative. Parallel US-Philippines sponsored war games are slated to commence in the Philippines archipelago on the 16th of October, "involving nearly 3,500 troops from specialized forces from the two countries."

In what visibly appears to be a confrontational scenario, the Russian war games commence one day after the launching of the US sponsored VS-08.

Russian strategic bombers Tu-160, Tu-95 and Tu-22M3, and Il-78 aerial tankers "will conduct flights over the Arctic region, the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, and the Black Sea, with simulated bombing raids and firing of cruise missiles at testing grounds in northern and southern Russia," Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky said." (RIA Novosti).

Part of these Russian war games will be conducted in the Arctic, within proximity of US and Canadian territory (Alaska and Canada's Arctic).

"Moscow announced in mid-August that regular patrol flights by strategic bombers had been resumed, and would continue on a permanent basis, with patrol areas including commercial shipping and economic production zones.

The U.S. administration expressed concern about the resumption of patrol flights by Russian strategic bombers.

"I think the rapid growth in Russian military spending definitely bears watching," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in an interview with ABC News on October 14.

"And frankly, some of the efforts - for instance, Bear flights in areas that we haven't seen for a while - are really not helpful to security." (RIA Novosti)

Over the last several months, Russia has been conducting warplane exercises around Alaska. In the course of last Summer, Russian bombers staged a number of exercises in what is described as "a buffer zone outside U.S. air space", within proximity of Alaska. According to a NORAd spokesman,

"U.S. and Canadian fighter jets, including F-15s, were dispatched each time to escort the Russian planes in the exercises, which ranged from two to six aircraft,...

VS-8 is based on a scenario of confrontation with Russia and China.

In August, under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Russia and China joined hands in the conduct of major war games. Code-named "Peace-Mission 2007", the exercises were held in the Volga region of Russia as well as in the Urumqi region of Western China.

Global Research Articles by Michel Chossudovsky

....

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

To become a Member of Global Research

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author's copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com

© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2007

Original

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How China Could Crash the US Dollar on a Whim
October 15th, 2007
Link
By Adam Kritzer

Over the last 30 years, China’s economy has grown at an average annualized rate of nearly 10%. While this statistic alone is jaw-dropping, what is more impressive is the extent to which the nominally Communist country’s economy has become intertwined in the global economy. China now exerts enormous influence over the economies of virtually every country in the world, and a slight change in its domestic economic policy has the potential to send shockwaves rippling throughout the world. Nowhere is this more apparent-and frightening-then in China’s economic relationship with the United States, which is very much at the mercy of China when it comes to prices, wages, interest rates, most importantly, the value of the Dollar.

The precariousness of this relationship is already the subject of significant publicity, redolent of the Japanaphobia of the 1980’s that saw American economists scare-mongering about Japanese control of the US economy. [Of course this later turned out to be unfounded, but that is beyond the scope of our discussion.] With regard to China, most of the analysis is focused on its growing foreign exchange reserves, the majority of which are held in Dollar-denominated assets. This article will go beyond forex reserves and discuss several other facets of China’s economy. From US house prices to global commodity prices, from interest rates to inflation rates, we will explore how China could cripple the US economy, both willfully and unintentionally, if so desired.

Forex Reserve Diversification

Let’s begin with an examination of China’s forex reserves, which is probably China’s biggest bargaining chip in its economic relationship with the US. Up until two years ago, China’s currency, the RMB or Yuan, was pegged to the Dollar. As with any peg, there often develops a discrepancy between the fixed value of the currency and the value that the market would assign if the currency were permitted to float. As China’s economy surged ahead, especially over the last five to ten years, tremendous pressure began to build under the RMB. In order to maintain the peg and hold down the value of the RMB, China began accumulating foreign exchange reserves by withdrawing foreign currency from circulation. Today, China’s foreign exchange reserves are massive, at $1.4 trillion as of September 2007.

In the eyes of American policy-makers, this presents a problem because the majority of these reserves are held in Dollar-denominated assets, namely in the form of US Treasury securities. The US government theoretically could not be happier that foreign Central Banks are willing to finance its perennial budget deficits. However, this borrowing has reached a point where foreigners now control over 40% of the US national debt. Moreover, long-term US interest rates are market-driven, based on the buying and selling of US government bonds. In other words, the US has gradually ceded control of its long-term interest rates to foreign Central Banks, namely China and Japan.

As the Dollar has depreciated over the last five years, many Central Banks have begun “diversifying” their forex reserves, by switching from Dollar assets to assets denominated in other currencies. This is problematic for the Dollar for two reasons. First, switching from US assets to European assets, for example, directly causes the Dollar to depreciate. Second, the bulk sale of US treasury securities (whether or not they are replaced with other US-assets) causes US bond prices to decline and hence, yields to increase. Thus, if China suddenly decided to diversify its reserves, for economic and/or political reasons, it could potentially crash the Dollar and send US long-term interest rates skyward. Since mortgage rates are tied directly to government bond yields, a rise in interest rates would probably also affect US real estate prices. Higher interest rates would make borrowing for a home more difficult, which would lower the demand for houses and thus, the value of American real estate.

In fact, China recently created the China Investment Co. Ltd., capitalized with almost $300 Billion, charged with investing its vast forex reserves in higher-yielding assets. However, the company’s inaugural investment was a stock purchase in the Blackstone group, an American private equity firm. Thus, while it seems likely that China will gradually discard some of its stock of US Treasury Securities, the affect on the value of the Dollar will be minimal. Besides, while China would certainly punish US businesses and consumers by unloading US Treasuries on the market, it would punish itself even more, since the value of the government bonds that it didn’t sell would decline. In short, it seems China will probably hold off on exercising its “nuclear option” for the time being.

Currency Manipulation

The second aspect of the China-US economic relationship which China could wield to its advantage is the RMB, itself. American public officials enjoy criticizing China for failing to allow its currency to appreciate more quickly. In fact, there is a bill that has been lying dormant in the US Congress, which threatens to slap a massive across-the-board tariff on all Chinese imports if China fails to allow the RMB to appreciate adequately against the Dollar. What policymakers don’t realize is that a rapid appreciation in the RMB would actually harm the US economy.

Coupled with its growing role as the world’s factory, China’s cheap currency has made Americans wealthier, by increasing their purchasing power. As production of labor-intensive goods was outsourced to China over the last decade, prices for finished products began to fall both in real terms and in nominal terms. While the effect on US employment trends is debatable, its effect on prices has been unambiguous. Thus, even while the American economy boomed, inflation remained relatively modest by historical standards. This allowed the Federal Reserve Board to hold interest rates down and foment economic growth.

As the RMB appreciates, Chinese producers will become ever-more forced to pass along some of the price increase to consumers. Now, if China was to suddenly revalue its currency by the 25%-30% that western policy-makers are demanding, prices on a whole host of Chinese products would jump up overnight. This would adversely affect American purchasing power and limit consumption to such an extent that the US would be in danger of slipping into recession. While the trade deficit that is the bane of American politicians’ existence might decrease in the long-term, it would skyrocket in the short-term. Besides, as many analysts have been quick to point out, there is not much overlap between Chinese and American production. Thus, a more expensive Yuan would send production to other parts of Asia, rather than back to America. While the US-China trade deficit might narrow, it would be offset by increased imbalance with the rest of Asia. Just like with the case of its foreign exchange reserves, however, China is unlikely to exercise this option because it would deal equal harm to itself. China’s ruling Communist party derives most of its legitimacy from the strength of its economy, and especially exports. If a more expensive Yuan forced producers to relocate to other parts of Asia, it would certainly spell trouble for the CCP!

Direct Competition with US Exporters

A more potent (and plausible) weapon would be to compete more directly with US exporters, by expanding into high-technology products. Currently, China specializes in manufacturing labor-intensive products, which have long since been manufactured outside of the United States. As previously stated, a revaluation of the Chinese Yuan would surely not return production to the US. However, if China were to expand into capital-intensive and/or high-technology products, it could easily steal marketshare and jobs from the US.

Limiting the Importation of US Products

Of course, there is also the imports side of the trade equation. China is quickly becoming one of the United States’ largest export markets; limiting the importation of US goods and services would certainly be felt in the US. In fact, China already requires multinational companies in many industries to form joint ventures with Chinese companies in order to produce and/or sell their wares in China. Other anti-competitive measures include tariffs, import taxes, quotas, or a simple ban on the importation of certain types of products. Each would have a devastating impact on the US trade deficit with China and would probably result in retaliatory sanctions by the US.

Wage Pressure

Next, there is the impact that China has exerted on global wages. When Deng XiaoPing’s famous tour of the South in 1979 ignited three decades of dizzying growth, hundreds of millions of Chinese were added to the global labor pool overnight. Yet, the majority of China’s population remains concentrated in rural areas. In fact, there are perhaps 500 million Chinese peasants that have yet to join the modern labor force, which means the full effect of China’s economic explosion has yet to be fully realized by the rest of the world. Already, there is no hope of unskilled work that has already been outsourced returning to the US. If/when China begins to expand into the production of high-technology goods and more complex services, it will encroach on the territory of American businesses. Unfortunately for the US, China will likely make these undercapitalized sectors of its economy more of a priority in its next five year plan.

One popular method for estimating GDP is the income approach, which as its name suggests, represents a summation of the reported incomes of a given country’s domestic population. Logic dictates that downward pressure on the wages of skilled American workers would negatively impact US GDP, and at the very least, would curtail the purchasing power of American consumers. This would also limit US exports to China, since Chinese would have homegrown alternatives to choose from.

Raw Material Pricing

In addition, there is the impact that China’s economic growth has exerted on global raw material prices. It has been said that 25% of the world’s construction cranes are currently located in China, to support the country’s building boom. These massive development and infrastructure projects require proportionally massive quantities of raw materials, namely cement and steel. Unfortunately, China is especially inefficient at converting raw materials into finished products. Combined with the CCP’s emphasis on the near-term (which inherently prioritizes low cost over efficiency), this is placing a tremendous strain on global energy supplies, driving prices skyward.

Competition for Energy

The global prices for oil and coal are already at record highs and China only consumes 1/15 the amount of per-capita energy as the US! Chinese energy companies are becoming increasingly visible, scouring the globe for stable supplies of energy and often coming head-to-head with American energy companies. Conveniently, China does not recognize the ethical issues which arise from purchasing energy from dictatorships and corrupt regimes, whereas US companies are limited from doing business in these places. From Sudan to Myanmar to Kazakhstan, Chinese companies have set up join ventures where US companies could not. While energy prices have certainly risen in the US, they have not kept pace with global energy prices. In this way, China is able to ensure that its citizens and its businesses have the oil, coal, and natural gas that they require, while their American counterparts may be forced to conserve.

Two years ago, the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) attempted to purchase an American energy company, Unocal, for over $18 Billion. However, the deal was blocked by the US Congress, which feared Unocal’s energy reserves would be supplied to China at the expense of Americans. It did not help CNOOC’s case that 70% of the Company was effectively owned by the CCP. Needless to say, Chinese government officials were not happy with the outcome; (Unocal was ultimately sold to Chevron for a lower price). China has already shown its willingness to use extreme tactics to secure an adequate energy supply. It seems reasonable to expect its energy policy will continue to oppose and inconvenience the US.

Conclusion

In short, China has several economic “weapons” at its disposal for countering the US, ranging from the manipulation of its currency to the diversification of its burgeoning stock of forex reserves. It also has several less blunt options to choose from, such as enabling Chinese companies to compete more directly and effectively with US companies, and opposing the US in securing a domestic energy supply. On all of these fronts, the US is essentially being held hostage, since it has become so dependent on China as the world’s factory. Ultimately, it seems unlikely that China will deliberately butt heads with the US unless it is first provoked, but America should nonetheless be on its guard, since its economy hangs in the balance.

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Bush's World War Three
By Michel Chossudovsky Original
Global Research, October 17, 2007

" We got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously...." (George W. Bush, 17 October 2007)

Grin and Laugh: "Here's his expression while saying the words "World War Three" (Huffington Post, 17 October 2007)

"I believe that. I believe that [the revolt of passengers on the hijacked flight 93 on September 11, 2001] was the first counter-attack to World War III." (George W. Bush, May 6, 2006)

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous... Having said that, all options are on the table." George W. Bush, February 2005)

We are not living a sound and rational World where far-reaching decisions by the US President are based on an understanding of their likely consequences.

A World War III is no longer a hypothetical scenario.

During the Cold War, the concept of "mutual assured destruction" (MAD) was put forth. An understanding of the devastating consequences of nuclear war largely contributed to avoiding the outbreak of war between the US and the Soviet Union.

Today, in the post-Cold war era, no such understanding prevails. The specter of a nuclear holocaust, which haunted the world for half a century has been relegated to the status of "collateral damage".

US foreign policy under the Neocons is based on a diabolical and criminal agenda. The "war on terrorism" is a lie; Iran does not constitute a threat to global security as confirmed by a recent IAEA report. Iran does not constitute a threat to Israel.

The US president is a liar, who believes his own lies.

While Iran's non existent nukes are said to constitute a lethal and deadly threat, so-called tactical nuclear weapons "Made in America" are described in Pentagon documents as "harmless to the surrounding civilian population".

In a bitter irony, those who decide on the use of nuclear weapons believe their own propaganda. A preemptive nuclear attack on Iran is upheld as a bona fide humanitarian undertaking which contributes to global security.

And now the US Head of State, who has a limited understanding of geopolitics, let alone geography, is hinting that if Iran does not give up its nonexistent nuclear weapons program, we might be reluctantly forced into in a World War III situation. Bush has insinuated that as Commander in Chief, he could decide to launch a war on Iran, which would result in World War III.

"Dr. Strangelove rides again." In an utterly twisted logic, World War III is presented by the US President as a means to preventing collateral damage.

The war would be triggered by Iran, who has refused to abide by the "reasonable demands" of "the international community".

Realities are twisted and turned upside down. Iran is being accused of wanting to start World War III.

Media Blackout

World public opinion has its eyes riveted on the cataclysm of "global warming". World War III on the other hand is not front page news. We are talking about the loss of tens of thousands of lives: the consequences of the US military agenda which includes the preemptive use of nuclear weapons in a very concrete way threatens the future of humanity.

At present US and coalition forces including NATO and Israel are in an advanced state of readiness to launch an attack on Iran. Leaders of the coalition fully understand that such an action will result in a World War III scenario. Escalation scenarios have already been envisaged and analyzed by the Pentagon. US sponsored war games have even foreseen the possible intervention of Russia and China.

World War III has been on the lips of NeoCon architects of US foreign policy from the outset of the Bush regime. It is contained in a document published in September 2000 by the Project of the New American Century (PNAC),

The PNAC's declared objectives imply a "long war", a global war without borders::

"defend the American homeland;

fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars;

perform the "constabulary" duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions;

transform U.S. forces to exploit the "revolution in military affairs;"

Former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney had commissioned the PNAC blueprint prior to the 2000 presidential elections. The PNAC outlines a roadmap of conquest.

The pre-emptive nuclear doctrine contained in the Nuclear Posture Review is supported by the Republican Party and Washington’s conservative think-tanks

George W. Bush is an instrument of powerful economic interests. A preemptive war on Iran has widespread support by the US Congress, it is also supported by America's European partners and allies. Leading Republicans have expressed their support for a preemptive World War III scenario. In a 2006 interview at the height of the Israeli bombing of Lebanon (July 16, 2007), former Republican leader of the House Newt Gingrich candidly acknowledged:

"We’re in the early stages of what I would describe as the third World War and, frankly, our bureaucracy’s not responding fast enough and we don’t have the right attitude. And this is the 58th year of the war to destroy Israel and, frankly, the Israelis have every right to insist that every single missile leave south Lebanon, and the United States ought to be helping the Lebanese government have the strength to eliminate Hezbollah as a military force — not as a political force in the parliament — but as a military force in south Lebanon.

The Bush Administration has adopted a first strike "pre-emptive" nuclear policy, which has now received congressional approval. Nuclear weapons are no longer a weapon of last resort as during the Cold War era.

In a classified Pentagon document (Nuclear Posture Review) presented to the US Senate in early 2002, the Bush Administration established so-called "contingency plans" for an offensive "first strike use" of nuclear weapons, not only against the "axis of evil" (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria and North Korea), but also against Russia and China.

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Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international bestseller America’s "War on Terrorism" Global Research, 2005. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization.

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Annex

Excerpts of President Bush's October 17th White House Press Conference (emphasis added)

Q Mr. President, I'd like to follow on Mr. -- on President Putin's visit to Tehran. It's not about the image of President Putin and President Ahmadinejad, but about the words that Vladimir Putin said there. He issued a stern warning against potential U.S. military action -- U.S. military action against Tehran --

THE PRESIDENT: Did he say U.S.?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, he did?

Q He said -- well, at least the quote said that -- and he also said, "He sees no evidence to suggest Iran wants to build a nuclear bomb." Were you disappointed with that message? And does that indicate possibly that international pressure is not as great as you once thought against Iran abandoning its nuclear program?

THE PRESIDENT: I -- as I said, I look forward to -- if those are, in fact, his comments, I look forward to having him clarify those, because when I visited with him, he understands that it's in the world's interest to make sure that Iran does not have the capacity to make a nuclear weapon. And that's why, on -- in the first round at the U.N., he joined us, and second round, we joined together to send a message. I mean, if he wasn't concerned about it, Bret, then why did we have such good progress at the United Nations in round one and round two?

And so I will visit with him about it. I have not yet been briefed yet by Condi or Bob Gates about, you know, their visit with Vladimir Putin.

Q But you definitively believe Iran wants to build a nuclear weapon?

THE PRESIDENT: I think so long -- until they suspend and/or make it clear that they -- that their statements aren't real, yeah, I believe they want to have the capacity, the knowledge, in order to make a nuclear weapon. And I know it's in the world's interest to prevent them from doing so. I believe that the Iranian -- if Iran had a nuclear weapon, it would be a dangerous threat to world peace.

But this -- we got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously. And we'll continue to work with all nations about the seriousness of this threat. Plus we'll continue working the financial measures that we're in the process of doing. In other words, I think -- the whole strategy is, is that at some point in time, leaders or responsible folks inside of Iran may get tired of isolation and say, this isn't worth it. And to me, it's worth the effort to keep the pressure on this government.

And secondly, it's important for the Iranian people to know we harbor no resentment to them. We're disappointed in the Iranian government's actions, as should they be. Inflation is way too high; isolation is causing economic pain. This is a country that has got a much better future, people have got a much better -- should have better hope inside Iran than this current government is providing them.

So it's -- look, it's a complex issue, no question about it. But my intent is to continue to rally the world to send a focused signal to the Iranian government that we will continue to work to isolate you, in the hopes that at some point in time, somebody else shows up and says it's not worth the isolation.

...

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

To become a Member of Global Research

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author's copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com

© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2007

Original

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House Passes Thought Crime Prevention Bill
Link
October 25, 2007

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed HR 1955 titled the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. This bill is one of the most blatant attacks against the Constitution yet and actually defines thought crimes as homegrown terrorism. If passed into law, it will also establish a commission and a Center of Excellence to study and defeat so called thought criminals. Unlike previous anti-terror legislation, this bill specifically targets the civilian population of the United States and uses vague language to define homegrown terrorism. Amazingly, 404 of our elected representatives from both the Democrat and Republican parties voted in favor of this bill. There is little doubt that this bill is specifically targeting the growing patriot community that is demanding the restoration of the Constitution.

First let’s take a look at the definitions of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism as defined in Section 899A of the bill.

The definition of violent radicalization uses vague language to define this term of promoting any belief system that the government considers to be an extremist agenda. Since the bill doesn’t specifically define what an extremist belief system is, it is entirely up to the interpretation of the government. Considering how much the government has done to destroy the Constitution they could even define Ron Paul supporters as promoting an extremist belief system. Literally, the government according to this definition can define whatever they want as an extremist belief system. Essentially they have defined violent radicalization as thought crime. The definition as defined in the bill is shown below.

`(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.

The definition of homegrown terrorism uses equally vague language to further define thought crime. The bill includes the planned use of force or violence as homegrown terrorism which could be interpreted as thinking about using force or violence. Not only that but the definition is so vaguely defined, that petty crimes could even fall into the category of homegrown terrorism. The definition as defined in the bill is shown below.

`(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

Section 899B of the bill goes over the findings of Congress as it pertains to homegrown terrorism. Particularly alarming is that the bill mentions the Internet as a main source for terrorist propaganda. The bill even mentions streams in obvious reference to many of the patriot and pro-constitution Internet radio networks that have been formed. It also mentions that homegrown terrorists span all ages and races indicating that the Congress is stating that everyone is a potential terrorist. Even worse is that Congress states in their findings that they should look at draconian police states like Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom as models to defeat homegrown terrorists. Literally, these findings of Congress fall right in line with the growing patriot community.

The biggest joke of all is that this section also says that any measure to prevent violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism should not violate the constitutional rights of citizens. However, the definition of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism as they are defined in section 899A are themselves unconstitutional. The Constitution does not allow the government to arrest people for thought crimes, so any promises not to violate the constitutional rights of citizens are already broken by their own definitions.

`SEC. 899B. FINDINGS.

`The Congress finds the following:

`(1) The development and implementation of methods and processes that can be utilized to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States is critical to combating domestic terrorism.

`(2) The promotion of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence exists in the United States and poses a threat to homeland security.

`(3) The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

`(4) While the United States must continue its vigilant efforts to combat international terrorism, it must also strengthen efforts to combat the threat posed by homegrown terrorists based and operating within the United States.

`(5) Understanding the motivational factors that lead to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence is a vital step toward eradicating these threats in the United States.

`(6) The potential rise of self radicalized, unaffiliated terrorists domestically cannot be easily prevented through traditional Federal intelligence or law enforcement efforts, and requires the incorporation of State and local solutions.

`(7) Individuals prone to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence span all races, ethnicities, and religious beliefs, and individuals should not be targeted based solely on race, ethnicity, or religion.

`(8) Any measure taken to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence and homegrown terrorism in the United States should not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights and civil liberties of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents.

`(9) Certain governments, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have significant experience with homegrown terrorism and the United States can benefit from lessons learned by those nations.

Section 899C calls for a commission on the prevention of violent radicalization and ideologically based violence. The commission will consist of ten members appointed by various individuals that hold different positions in government. Essentially, this is a commission that will examine and report on how they are going to deal with violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism. So basically, the commission is being formed specifically on how to deal with thought criminals in the United States. The bill requires that the commission submit their final report 18 months following the commission’s first meeting as well as submit interim reports every 6 months leading up to the final report. Below is the bill’s defined purpose of the commission. Amazingly they even define one of the purposes of the commission to determine the causes of lone wolf violent radicalization.

(b) Purpose- The purposes of the Commission are the following:

`(1) Examine and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States, including United States connections to non-United States persons and networks, violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in prison, individual or `lone wolf' violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence, and other faces of the phenomena of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence that the Commission considers important.

`(2) Build upon and bring together the work of other entities and avoid unnecessary duplication, by reviewing the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of—

`(A) the Center of Excellence established or designated under section 899D, and other academic work, as appropriate;

`(B) Federal, State, local, or tribal studies of, reviews of, and experiences with violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence; and

`(C) foreign government studies of, reviews of, and experiences with violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence.

Section 899D of the bill establishes a Center of Excellence for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States. Essentially, this will be a Department of Homeland Security affiliated institution that will study and determine how to defeat thought criminals.

Section 899E of the bill discusses how the government is going to defeat violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism through international cooperation. As stated in the findings section earlier in the legislation, they will unquestionably seek the advice of countries with draconian police states like the United Kingdom to determine how to deal with this growing threat of thought crime.

Possibly the most ridiculous section of the bill is Section 899F which states how they plan on protecting civil rights and civil liberties while preventing ideologically based violence and homegrown terrorism. Here is what the section says.

`SEC. 899F. PROTECTING CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES WHILE PREVENTING IDEOLOGICALLY-BASED VIOLENCE AND HOMEGROWN TERRORISM.

`(a) In General- The Department of Homeland Security's efforts to prevent ideologically-based violence and homegrown terrorism as described herein shall not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights, and civil liberties of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents.

`(b) Commitment to Racial Neutrality- The Secretary shall ensure that the activities and operations of the entities created by this subtitle are in compliance with the Department of Homeland Security's commitment to racial neutrality.

`(c) Auditing Mechanism- The Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Officer of the Department of Homeland Security will develop and implement an auditing mechanism to ensure that compliance with this subtitle does not result in a disproportionate impact, without a rational basis, on any particular race, ethnicity, or religion and include the results of its audit in its annual report to Congress required under section 705.'.

(b) Clerical Amendment- The table of contents in section 1(b) of such Act is amended by inserting at the end of the items relating to title VIII the following:

It states in the first subsection that in general the efforts to defeat thought crime shall not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights and civil liberties of the United States citizens and lawful permanent residents. How does this protect constitutional rights if they use vague language such as in general that prefaces the statement? This means that the Department of Homeland Security does not have to abide by the Constitution in their attempts to prevent so called homegrown terrorism.

This bill is completely insane. It literally allows the government to define any and all crimes including thought crime as violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism. Obviously, this legislation is unconstitutional on a number of levels and it is clear that all 404 representatives who voted in favor of this bill are traitors and should be removed from office immediately. The treason spans both political parties and it shows us all that there is no difference between them. The bill will go on to the Senate and will likely be passed and signed into the law by George W. Bush. Considering that draconian legislation like the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act have already been passed, there seems little question that this one will get passed as well. This is more proof that our country has been completely sold out by a group of traitors at all levels of government.

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Clinton bucks the trend and rakes in cash from the US weapons industry
By Leonard Doyle in Washington
Published: 19 October 2007
Link

The US arms industry is backing Hillary Clinton for President and has all but abandoned its traditional allies in the Republican party. Mrs Clinton has also emerged as Wall Street's favourite. Investment bankers have opened their wallets in unprecedented numbers for the New York senator over the past three months and, in the process, dumped their earlier favourite, Barack Obama.

Mrs Clinton's wooing of the defence industry is all the more remarkable given the frosty relations between Bill Clinton and the military during his presidency. An analysis of campaign contributions shows senior defence industry employees are pouring money into her war chest in the belief that their generosity will be repaid many times over with future defence contracts.

Employees of the top five US arms manufacturers – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, General Dynamics and Raytheon – gave Democratic presidential candidates $103,900, with only $86,800 going to the Republicans. "The contributions clearly suggest the arms industry has reached the conclusion that Democratic prospects for 2008 are very good indeed," said Thomas Edsall, an academic at Columbia University in New York.

Republican administrations are by tradition much stronger supporters of US armaments programmes and Pentagon spending plans than Democratic governments. Relations between the arms industry and Bill Clinton soured when he slimmed down the military after the end of the Cold War. His wife, however, has been careful not to make the same mistake.

After her election to the Senate, she became the first New York senator on the armed services committee, where she revealed her hawkish tendencies by supporting the invasion of Iraq. Although she now favours a withdrawal of US troops, her position on Iran is among the most warlike of all the candidates – Democrat or Republican.

This week, she said that, if elected president, she would not rule out military strikes to destroy Tehran's nuclear weapons facilities. While on the armed services committee, Mrs Clinton has befriended key generals and has won the endorsement of General Wesley Clarke, who ran Nato's war in Kosovo. A former presidential candidate himself, he is spoken of as a potential vice-presidential running mate.

Mrs Clinton has been a regular visitor to Iraq and Afghanistan and is careful to focus her criticisms of the Iraq war on President Bush, rather than the military. The arms industry has duly taken note.

So far, Mrs Clinton has received $52,600 in contributions from individual arms industry employees. That is more than half the sum given to all Democrats and 60 per cent of the total going to Republican candidates. Election fundraising laws ban individuals from donating more than $4,600 but contributions are often "bundled" to obtain influence over a candidate.

The arms industry has even deserted the biggest supporter of the Iraq war, Senator John McCain, who is also a member of the armed services committee and a decorated Vietnam War veteran. He has been only $19,200. Weapons-makers are equally unimpressed by the former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Despite a campaign built largely around the need for an aggressive US military and a determination to stay the course in Iraq, he is behind Mrs Clinton in the affections of arms executives. Mr Giuliani may be suffering because of his strong association with the failed policies of President Bush and the fact he is he is known as a social liberal.

Mrs Clinton's closest competitor in raising cash from the arms industry is the former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who raised just $32,000.

"Arms industry profits are so heavily dependent on government contracts that companies in this field want to be sure they do not have hostile relations with the White House," added Mr Edsall.

The industry's strong support for Mrs Clinton indicates that she is their firm favourite to win the Democratic nomination in the spring and the presidential election in November 2008. In the last presidential race, George Bush raised more than $800,000 – twice the sum collected by his Democratic rival John Kerry.

....................................................................... Sherry Jackson former IRS agent

After leaving the IRS and by the end of the first year, I decided to start a small accounting practice, specializing in helping people avoid IRS problems. Then, in 1999 I started meeting people with these unusual claims that the income tax doesn't apply to citizens of America. I didn't tell them that they were crazy, but I also didn't try to prove them wrong. Like most people, I just ignored their claims and went on with life.

Then, some of my special clients, pastors, started asking questions about it; stating that their members were talking about the income tax being illegal.

Click here for Sherry Jackson's website

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Open Letter to the Government from an AWOL Soldier
By James Circello, Iraq Veterans Against The War
Link

To those Businessmen and women holding seats in Congress,

To the Highest Court of America,

To every Department within the U.S. government,

To the President’s Cabinet,

To the Joint Chiefs of Staff,

To the Vice President and President of the United States of America:

My name is James Circello. I am sure some of you already know who I am now that wiretaps and spying on American citizens has been approved.

Or maybe you’ve heard of me when you saw my name on a comprehensive list of Anti-War activists.

Or maybe you just know of me because I was a Sergeant in the United States Army and served as an Airborne Infantryman for six years, went to Iraq in March 2003 and served until March 2004, remained in the Army a little longer before refusing to take part in the Occupation of the Middle East and went AWOL.

I am writing you today, not asking for forgiveness for what I decided to do, but to give you an idea of what brought me to that decision to leave the Army and speak out against the Occupation. Though some will claim I left for other reasons and will try to force the discussion away from the facts and at the same time attempt to assassinate my character with half truths and out right lies, these are the facts. If later we wish to get into more of my personal life, we can do that: I have no fear of it.

I will first like to say that I am no longer a member of the United States Armed Forces. When I left the military on Easter morning, April 2007, I have officially resigned from service to that military. There are no ties between myself and an oppressive military regime set on occupying groups of impoverished indigenous people.

I am no longer a Sergeant or a paratrooper.

I will not respect an organization that can and does, at its own will, change entire enlistment contracts for the purpose of extending soldiers;

Gives quarterly sexual harassment courses and still allows roughly 30% of women to be sexually assaulted in some way, shape or form;

Openly discriminates against people based on homosexuality, race, gender and ethnic background;

Allows crimes against humanity and peace to occur and covers them up with internal investigations;

Actively recruits young boys and girls from low level income high schools and communities with false promises of health care, school and job experience and fails on all accounts;

Refuses to recognize conscientious objectors (C.O.), and when individuals apply for C.O. status that are administratively “punished” by their chain of command;

I refuse to be a part of a military and Administration that continue to abuse and torture, doesn’t recognize the rights of detainees and allows them to be shipped to secret detention facilities for “National Security” purposes; a military that is illegally, based on all U.S. as well as International Law, inside of Iraq; a military that is over extended, under funded in a war with no foreseeable end (because time tables give our enemy a “sense of victory”, but how can the enemy have victory when “Mission Accomplished” has been declared?); a military that watches billions of government contracts given to private military outfits, while they run through the streets of Iraq unchecked, and allows soldiers to be poorly equipped and the V.A. poorly funded.; the No Child Left Behind Act and it’s policy of making it mandatory for schools to send out the information of all students attending the school to military recruiters, or they are threatened with being cut off from Federal funding (I thought school was a place of learning, not a place of turning our youth into the:

” Veterans Against The War”.

This and many other reasons are why I tell you today, I do not recognize any of the warrants that may have been placed upon me. These warrants are merely a way to silence any opposition to this criminal war. I do not support the United States foreign policy and will not be the fool that enforces it.

The United States has a history of using the poor of this country to massacre and oppress the poor of other countries and I say to everyone that is able to read this - I am no longer a member of the United States Armed Forces.

I also say, this by no way makes me Un-American. I love this country and feel very strongly that it can be saved and that it must be saved.

I say this without a growing ego, but my acts as of now are what the Founding Fathers envisioned and wrote about. This is what Democracy looks like.

Dissent isn’t Un-American, it is what Patriotism means. Patriotism is not blindly following a Flag waver, it is Direct Action.

I joined the Army after the towers of New York fell. Swept up in the fervor, I left college to enlist. My country was attacked - I, like many, wanted to defend it.

But here is where a majority of Americans, as well as Politicians have made their largest mistake: Defending your country does not mean destroying other Nations out of and/or for Revenge. But the People bought into the outcry that we must kill to feel better, and the Politicians sang their songs and danced their dances, in an attempt to show who was the most Patriotic of them all!

America stayed fixed to the lies from Fox News (can it really be called “News”?) and we watched the towers fall so many thousands of times until we were all ready to go kill and die for the Eagle and Red, White and Blue.

Though, I will admit, I was angry and young but it didn’t take me too long to see that this wasn’t about defending America, but creating an entirely new enemy.

It was all there.

It was almost too perfect.

They are of different color.

They speak a different language.

They are a people that have been made to be poor - not a people that are poor; there is a difference.

They follow a strange religion that Americans don’t understand! A religion so very similar to Christianity, that - get this - it recognizes almost the same individuals as being Prophets that the Bible does.

They “hate us (you) for our (your) freedom”.

They will come here and kill our women and children if we do not go there and kill their women and children first.

The Administration and all of Its men and women sold it and America bought it.

How many people got chills when the American flag was placed there at Ground Zero? Remember when there were so many flags outside of houses, and flag stores ran out of them?

So I went to Iraq and I saw their faces. People that I thought wanted to kill me, and hated me because I was free, brought me into their homes, offered me food and something to drink.

Was the food poisoned? No.

Was it a poor family that could barely afford the food they were offering, but offered it to me without charge or regret? You bet.

I was quickly disillusioned by the military. Senators and Representatives from Congress would come to visit us - and we would be told to get everything clean for the Dog and Pony Show.

We would up the security levels, to make everything look ship-shape. When it was time for the questions and answers portion, we would never be without a question, because the chain of command was always there for us - and thankfully they had come up with the questions we were allowed to ask our Representatives. This is what happens every time someone from D.C. came for a little sight seeing visit. I can only imagine what kinds of shows they put on now.

Long story short, I left Iraq feeling really uncomfortable with America’s position in this entire conflict. It didn’t feel right. It didn’t look right. And after much soul searching and researching, I discovered that it plain out just wasn’t right.

It took me a while to finally decide to leave. I wanted to leave prior to invading Iraq, while witnessing the illegal “Shock and Awe” that killed so many innocent people and destroying the infrastructure of the country that we hadn’t destroyed from the first bombings in the Gulf War and what wasn’t antiquated and useless from the illegal sanctions held over the heads of the every day Iraqi citizen.

I fell for the trap of “don’t let your buddies down”. And what a well spun web it is. I can not control the conscience of another man. I can only follow mine. And after deciding what I believe in is not consistent with the United States military and learning that “don’t let your buddies down” is just a form of domination through guilt, I left my post in Italy to return to America. I began speaking out against this Occupation. I do not fear arrest. I do not stay hidden. I go to all national events and travel the country at my own leisure.

I say this to you Congressional Democrats: you have failed us. I delayed my AWOL, because when I learned both Houses of the Congress were controlled by Democrats I was confident that the war was finally over. You ran on the platform of ending the war. I told all of my friends to just hang on, it will be over very soon. You funded the war and you continue to fund it. By no means is my hostility solely directed towards the Republican bench of the government. You lied to the American people, and more so, you failed the American people. We are finally awake and more and more are realizing that we don’t have a two party system in America, we have a single party that is not representing the will of the People.

The People say end the war. Stop funding the Occupation. The Soldiers want to come home. The insane idea of we must stay in Iraq and Afghanistan so that these thousands of soldiers will not have died in vain should never be said again! We tried saying that in Vietnam! The Iraqi people are strong and can defend themselves. They also want us out.

It took years for a G.I. Resistance to begin within the Military during Vietnam, but I am telling you right now - the feeling of resentment is there. The feeling that Politicians and Businesses are profiting off of this Occupation while we suffer through extended tours and battle Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depleted uranium, losing friends and family, losing our lives through wounds.

We come home and barely have time to adjust to being home before we begin training to leave again.

Families are falling apart.

Iraqis are dying.

For what?

A red, white and blue flag that says, “I’m a Patriot”?

Dissent is Patriotic.

Open discussion is Patriotic (this to Speaker of the House Pelosi who refuses to have an open forum with the people of her district. I believe it is going on just over 2 Years now.)

And I say to you dissent is filling the ranks of the military and it doesn’t even need a charismatic figurehead to come forth and say “Dissent; Desert!”. They are doing it and will keep doing it.

And the military’s attempt to censor free speech will not contain it. Blogs, Youtube, Myspace: these sights, and others, weren’t blocked for any reason other than these are the most popular places to find out that the G.I. Resistance Movement is growing daily.

So proud Patriots of America, I ask you today for nothing. You are my Employee, never forget that. My tax dollars pay your salary, never forget that.

I do however have demands for you:

-End the Occupation Now. Not tomorrow.

-Bring home all American troops. Replace them with a true international coalition designed specifically for peace keeping operations, NOT military operations.

-Remove all U.S. contractors from the Middle East that continue to benefit off of the death of the Iraqi and Afghan people and the destruction of their countries.

-Allow the Afghan and Iraq governments the freedom to decide what kind of country they want to be in, not what kind of country we want them to have.

-Allow the Afghan and Iraq governments freedom to choose who is given reconstruction contracts - which none should be American companies, for obvious reasons.

-Fund in full all reconstruction projects in Afghanistan and Iraq: We destroyed their countries, by International Law we must pay. By Moral virtue we must pay.

-Support the Troops means take care of them when they come home, not blindly fund their continued existence in a war zone - Completely fund the V.A. Department!

-Fund the Levees; Do NOT allow another Hurricane Katrina or Rita.

-Oversight on Gulf Region reconstruction (where is it?) - I was just in New Orleans, it is still a disaster area two years later. Fix it now.

-Open Diplomatic negotiations with Iran - Do not allow another war to take place. We have Diplomats that are paid by taxpayers to do just that: to Talk and Discuss. Use Diplomats not Depleted Uranium and Cruise Missiles.

I also want to say this before I close, I wrote it in a letter, just yesterday, to the people of Italy that stand up and actively oppose more U.S. military bases in their country. And it says:

The Iraq war is a War of Aggression, led by a cry of “We Will Never Forget”; the famous quote from September 11, 2001. Well, I have something to say for the people of the World and to the People of this Administration, as well as to the members of the U.S. Congress.

We WILL never forget.

We will never forget that the men who hijacked those aircraft on September 11, 2001 were not Iraqi.

We will never forget that Iraq had no Weapons of Mass Destruction (W.M.D) when we invaded.

We will never forget that the W.M.D’s that Iraq did have years before, were sold to them by the U.S. Government.

We will never forget the millions of Iraqi men, women and children who have suffered through the Dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, The Iraq-Iran War, The Gulf War, Depleted Uranium, Years of Illegal Sanctions, Shock and Awe, “Liberation” from a Tyrant only to find a new Tyrant take his place.

We will never forget the 2 million of Iraqi men, women and children who are now displaced refugees within their own country.

We will never forget the 1.5 million refugees in Syria, the 775,000 refugees in Jordan and the nearly 200,000 refugees in Egypt.

We will never forget the 1 million dead Iraqi men, women and children since March 2003.

We will never forget that nearly 100,000 Iraqis flee the country each month since 2003.

We will never forget the widows, widowers and orphans of those dead.

We will never forget the effects of depleted uranium in American ammunition that litters the countries of the Middle East.

We will never forget the increased infant mortality rate. The sewage on the streets. The sectarian violence that was never in the streets of Iraq until we installed a Pro-U.S. Government.

We will never forget the destruction of Shock and Awe that destroyed Iraq’s entire infrastructure.

We will never forget Abu Ghraib.

We will never forget the Lost men and women of Guantanamo Bay and other Secret U.S. Detention facilities.

We will never forget the every day Iraqi that is gunned down at a Traffic Control Point by a tired American teenager.

We will never forget the sounds of Improvised Explosive Devices (I.E.D) directed not at the American soldier, but at American Policy.

We will never forget the Women and Children gunned down at random after an I.E.D. explodes, because they were working the vegetable fields and were frightened and began to run.

We will never forget that War is, in fact, Terrorism. And America is the largest State Sponsor of Terrorism.

We will never forget that the Men, Women and Children of the Middle East may be of the same color as Saddam Hussein, but they do not have his face. They are not him. They do not deserve what they have been made to endure.

And we will never forget that corporations are profiting off of the death and destruction.

We will never forget that Blackwater and other private armies, which are in themselves illegal, are running around the Middle East killing at will - and are left unchecked.

We will never forget amazing photo opportunities with the soldiers, whether its walking through a market in Iraq with security all around you and Apaches in the air, or sitting on the deck of a ship under a “Mission Accomplished” banner.

We will never forget that a majority of the American population want the Occupations to end and we will keep repeating it until you do what you are paid to do - and that is, Listen to the People.

The People are United and I know that attempts will be made to have me appear a fool and soon you will have my grade school photographs, my coloring books, a list of every library book I have ever checked out, and whatever other records these incredibly large and over-funded Secret Agencies compile on Activists in America, but I do not fear you.

You have no moral authority over me. Or any authority at all. I do not fear you. Any of you.

We The People, United within The Struggle,

James Circello; Iraq Veterans Against The War

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Putin warns US not to attack Iran

Robert Tait, Tehran

October 18, 2007

Link

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has given Iran's leaders a public morale boost in their nuclear dispute with the West by issuing a veiled warning to the US not to resort to military strikes over the issue.

Mr Putin used a historic visit to Tehran — the first by a Kremlin leader since Joseph Stalin's in 1943 — to amplify his opposition to a US attack against Iran.

"We should not even think of making use of force in this region," he told a five-nation summit of Caspian Sea countries.

Mr Putin called on Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Russia and Iran not to allow an outside power to use their territories to launch an attack on another member of the group.

"We are saying that no Caspian nation should offer its territory to third powers for use of force or military aggression against any Caspian state."

Mr Putin's comments appeared to be aimed at Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic that has a partnership deal with NATO and has been touted as a potential launching pad for US strikes against Iran.

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Putin compares U.S. missile shield to Cuban crisis

By Oleg Shchedrov

Link

MAFRA, Portugal (Reuters) - Russia's President Vladimir Putin drew a parallel on Friday between U.S. plans for a missile shield in Europe and the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, widely regarded as the closest the world came to nuclear war.

But the Kremlin leader added that his personal friendship with U.S. President George W. Bush has helped to prevent the latest U.S. initiative from turning into a new global disaster.

"I would remind you how relations were developing in an analogous situation in the middle of the 1960s," he told a news conference after the Russia-EU summit in the Portugal.

"Analogous actions by the Soviet Union when it deployed rockets on Cuba provoked the Cuban missile crisis," Putin added. "For us, technologically, the situation is very similar. On our borders such threats to our country are being created."

A decision by the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to send nuclear missiles to Communist ally Cuba put the world on the brink of nuclear war in 1962. After days of dramatic negotiations, Khrushchev agreed to pull out the missiles.

Russia has been outraged by the U.S. decision to deploy a radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland to avert potential missile strikes from countries like Iran. It sees the plan as an outright threat to its security.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack strongly rejected Putin's comparison between the U.S. missile shield proposal and the Cuban crisis.

"There are some very clear historical differences between our plans to deploy a defensive missile system designed to protect against launch of missiles from rogue states such as Iran, and the offensive nuclear capability of the missiles that were being installed in Cuba back in the 1960s," McCormack said.

"They are not historically analogous in any way, shape or form," he added.

MISSILE PRODUCTION

In a demonstration of potential consequences, a top Russian military commander said on Friday Moscow could resume the production of short and medium-range nuclear missiles, similar to those which threatened Western Europe in the mid-1980s.

"If there is a political decision to make such a class of missile, then it is obvious that they will be made in Russia in the near future because we have everything we need," Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov said in Moscow.

In an attempt to stop the U.S. plan, Putin has promised to allow Washington use a radar it rents in Azerbaijan, built in the Soviet days to monitor the Indian Ocean zone, or a new radar with even wider range located in Southern Russia.

He has also proposed setting up a joint missile defence system, which would include European countries.

Washington has made clear it was ready to cooperate with Russia, but insisted that the Russian offer was an addition rather than a replacement for its missile shield plan.

"Unfortunately we haven't received replies to our proposals," Putin said.

He added, however, that the row over the U.S. missile shield plans had no chance of turning into a major global crisis: "Thank God, we do not have any Cuban missile crisis now and this is above all because of the fundamental way relations between Russia and the United States and Europe have changed."

"Not in the least our personal relations with President Bush, the relations of trust, help to smooth such problems," he said. "I have a full right to describe him as my personal friend as he calls me his friend."

In an attempt to ease Russian concerns, U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said earlier his week that Washington had offered to delay the activation of parts of its missile shield in Europe if Russia cooperated on the project.

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