Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Vineyard of the Saker: Ukraine SITREP-update April 30, 16:12 UTC/Zulu: "US/EU Hedgehog scaring techniques"

  • China has officially strongly criticized any sanctions saying that they would be useless.
  • Another six cities of the eastern Ukraine have rebelled.
  • Dmitryi Olegovich Rogozin Russian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia and Deputy Prime Minister of Russia in charge of defense industry has declared that Russia will respond to words with words and to actions with actions. For example, he said, if the US would try to hurt the Russian aerospace industry they could fly their astronauts to the International Space Station themselves.
  • Oleg Tsarev, one of the most popular political figures from the eastern Ukraine officially quit the Presidential race explaining that it was impossible for him to participate.
  • Mikhail Dokin, a top Party of Regions figure and close friend of the Major of Kharkov Gennadi Kermes - who has been shot and is in critical condition in an Israeli hospital declared that he is also thinking of quitting the Presidential race.
  • Russian pilots have reported that the GPS signal over Ukraine appears to have been degraded by the USA. The USA also did that in Libya and during the 08.08.08 Ossetia. Luckily, the Russian constellation of GLONASS satellites is at its full capacity (24) and it can easily take over.
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry:"Today Russia seeks to change the security landscape of Eastern and Central Europe, we have to make it absolutely clear to the Kremlin that NATO territory is inviolable we will defend every single inch of it."
  • In Kiev the Right Sector and the Maidanites have fought each other
  • Turchinov admits that his operation has failed:"I would like to say frankly that at the moment the security structures are unable to swiftly take the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions back under control. Security personnel tasked with the protection of citizens are helpless. More than that, some of these units either aid or co-operate with terrorist groups. Our task is to stop the spread of the terrorist threat first of all in the Kharkiv and Odessa regions."
  • It has been announced by the military authorities in Russia that two newcomers will participate in the next May 9th (aka "Victory Day") parade in Moscow: a Spetsnaz unit in its new bullet-proof combat fatigues and silenced rifles and a Naval Infantry unit from the Black Sea Feet which will be flying the flag of the Russian Crimean Republic. I can just about imagine the rage of the NATO attaches invited to watch the parade (which they always are each year).
  • The pro-US liberal activist Boris Nemtsov has committed political suicide by going on Ukie TV and comparing Putin to Stalin. Not that he has much to lose since his "Parnas" party was firmly pegged in the single digits.
  • Nemtsov, Khodorkovsky, Kasparov and Navalnyi and a few others are basically political corpses now
  • On the same program on Ukie TV which featured Nemtsov, a well-know Ukrainian nationalist, Iurii Lutsenko, seriously declared that the "genetic code of the Ukrainian people give them the ability to live outside lies, whereas the genetic code of childern of Gengis Khan makes them willing to live in lies and spread the patriotic syphillis". His comments about the genetic makeup was made particularly comical since he was sitting next to a Jew (Nemtsov), on a TV show hosted by a Jew (Savik Shuster) and that he was co-organizing the conference which invited Nemtsov to Kiev with another famous Jew (Khodorkovsky). I wonder why these Jews who usually are hyper-sensitive to "genetic" issues all remained silent and smiling when a neo-Nazi nationalist was seriously discussing how the Asia genes of Russians made them different and less capable of opposing lies than the putative Ukrainian "race".
  • The USA and EU have adopted further symbolic sanctions on Russia which only serve one purpose: to convince the Russians that the West cannot and will not take any meaningful punitive measures against Russia.
  • Finally, the US is gleefully reporting that sanctions are hurting Russia which is now suffering from a capital outflow. This is partially true, there are signs of capital outflow, but this is speculative capital anyway which, like in 08.08.08 is moved out by western plutocrats in response to an anti-Russian campaign and which will soon be right back. So far, there are absolutely no signs of disinvestment for the simple reason that the Western plutocrats are not willing to suffer the consequences of such a move.

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: Ukraine SITREP-update April 30, 16:12 UTC/Zulu: "US/EU Hedgehog scaring techniques"

New York Times Propaganda Photos on Ukraine Exposed | Global Research

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New York Times Propaganda Photos on Ukraine Exposed | Global Research

A day after the New York Times published a front-page report purporting to show the involvement of Russian Special Forces in protests in east Ukraine, its report, titled “Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia,” has been exposed as a blatant fabrication.

The Times printed low-resolution pictures of fighters—allegedly wearing Russian insignia while in Georgia, and then later as protesters in east Ukraine—asserting they were the same men, thus proving the existence of an armed Russian intervention in Ukraine. It was based on a crude trick first noted by a commenter on a link posted on Reddit. The photos in the Times were down-sampled versions of higher-resolution images circulating online, which show that the men in the different pictures are in fact not the same.

Images from the New York Times with text and captions:

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is www globalresearch ca  Subject is nyt propaganda6

It very rapidly became clear that the Times ’ claims to have proven that Russian soldiers were driving the east Ukraine protests against the pro-Western regime in Kiev were complete rubbish.

The BBC compared the high-resolution pictures of two bearded men theTimes falsely asserted were the same fighter. It concluded, “In the 2014 photos, the man’s greying beard appears to be black, while in Georgia six years ago, the slimmer-looking man shown has a reddish beard.”

Complete story at - New York Times Propaganda Photos on Ukraine Exposed | Global Research

Why is Putin in Washington’s Crosshairs? - Mike Whitney


US provocations in Ukraine cannot be understood apart from Washington’s “Pivot to Asia”, which is the broader strategic plan to shift attention from the Middle East to Asia. The so called “re-balancing” is actually a blueprint for controlling China’s growth in a way that is compatible with US hegemonic ambitions. There are different schools of thought about how this can be achieved, but loosely speaking they fall into two categories, “dragon slayers” and “panda huggers”. Dragon slayers favor a strategy of containment while panda huggers favor engagement. As yet, the final shape of the policy has not been decided, but it’s clear from hostilities in the South China Sea and the Senkaku Islands, that the plan will depend heavily on military force.

So what does controlling China have to do with the dust up in Ukraine?

Everything. Washington sees Russia as a growing threat to its plans for regional dominance. The problem is, Moscow has only gotten stronger as it has expanded its network of oil and gas pipelines across Central Asia into Europe. That’s why Washington has decided to use Ukraine is a staging ground for an attack on Russia, because a strong Russia that’s economically integrated with Europe is a threat to US hegemony. Washington wants a weak Russia that won’t challenge US presence in Central Asia or its plan to control vital energy resources.

Currently, Russia provides about 30 percent of Western and Central Europe’s natural gas, 60 percent of which transits Ukraine. People and businesses in Europe depend on Russian gas to heat their homes and run their machinery. The trading relationship between the EU and Russia is mutually-beneficial strengthening both buyer and seller alike. The US gains nothing from the EU-Russia partnership, which is why Washington wants to block Moscow’s access to critical markets. This form of commercial sabotage is an act of war.


It’s all about the pivot to Asia and the future of the empire. This is why the CIA and the US State Department engineered a coup to oust Ukrainian president Viktor Yonuchovych and replace him with a US-stooge who would do Obama’s bidding. This is why the imposter prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, has ordered two “anti-terror: crackdowns on unarmed activists in East Ukraine who oppose the Kiev junta. This is why the Obama administration has avoided engaging Putin in constructive dialog aimed at finding on a peaceful solution to the present crisis. It’s because Obama wants to draw the Kremlin into a protracted civil war that will weaken Russia, discredit Putin, and shift public opinion to the side of the US and NATO. Why would Washington veer from a policy that clearly achieves what it’s supposed to achieve? It won’t. Here’s an excerpt from an article on

Complete story at - Why is Putin in Washington’s Crosshairs? »

Obama s Poodle

The U.S. Opts for Ineffective Sanctions on Russia | Stratfor

Intentionally Ineffective Sanctions

In addition, the United States doesn't want to threaten regime survival in a country with massive military power. Nor does it want to engage in an action that would trigger an invasion of Ukraine and force the United States to either back away or join a war it is unprepared for. It also will try to avoid mistakenly seizing U.S. and European assets -- assets deployed by Russia deliberately to bait Washington into making just such a mistake.

The Obama administration has a final major reason to avoid effective sanctions. If someone had said a year ago that U.S.-Russian relations would reach the present point, they would have been laughed at, something I can attest to. Foreign investment is a major component of the U.S. economy, and distinguished political leaders are an excellent source of capital. If you are the leader of China, Saudi Arabia or India, all of which have problems with the United States that could conceivably mushroom, you might think twice before investing your money in the United States. And there are more countries than those four that have potential conflicts with the United States.

The U.S. sanctions strategy is therefore not designed to change Russian policies; it is designed to make it look like the United States is trying to change Russian policy. And it is aimed at those in Congress who have made this a major issue and at those parts of the State Department that want to orient U.S. national security policy around the issue of human rights. Both can be told that something is being done -- and both can pretend that something is being done -- when in fact nothing can be done. In a world clamoring for action, prudent leaders sometimes prefer the appearance of doing something to actually doing something.

Complete story at -->  The U.S. Opts for Ineffective Sanctions on Russia | Stratfor is republished with permission of Stratfor."

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Marx's last stand: Eastern Ukraine - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

The "Ukrainian Spring" has been a popular subject for all people. Various perspectives have been exhibited: US and Russian, Ukrainian and European. When not viewed as the manifestation of Vladimir Putin's megalomania, or US overreach, the conflict has been interpreted as the rebirth of the Cold War, as Russia's belated attempt at empire restoration, or as Western expansion.

Some basic categories were invoked, be they of national character, or morality, good and evil, Nazi vs democratic. Some saw the events as the clash between a corrupt political system that is failing to stop the march of liberal democracy; others as US-driven globalism hitting against the rock of some backward particularism, informed by Orthodoxy and an outdated political system. More sophisticated and informed concepts such as historical development or complex make-up of the Ukrainian nation were also invoked.

However, what is mostly missing is old-style class analysis of the type I thought I left behind when I emigrated from Russia some 30 years ago. The West has generally entered the post-industrial stage; it tends to find the category of proletariat-bourgeoisie conflict as outdated and less useful than, say, ethnicity or religion. But what is unfolding in Eastern Ukraine has all the makings of a classic Marxist drama.

Corrupt, Kiev-based oligarchs have entered into alliance with ultraconservative forces of the western Ukrainian region, a region which is agricultural, pre-modern and is extremely hostile to all things Russian, including modernisation. The rather obvious purpose of this alliance is to impose a Western version of shock-therapy upon a country that has so far resisted it, because its economy is heavily intertwined with Russian resources and consumption.

Complete story at - Marx's last stand: Eastern Ukraine - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

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How Obama’s White House Lost Ukraine in a Few Stupid Steps - Yahoo Finance

No one wants to say so, but the Obama administration has backed the wrong horse in Ukraine, and the misguided wager is a big loss. It is hardly the president’s first failure on the foreign side, but it may prove the costliest of his many to date.

For a while it was possible to pretend, just barely, that supporting the coup against Viktor Yanukovych, the elected president hounded into exile in February, would prove a sound judgment. Obama always came across as a welterweight in the ring with Vladimir Putin, simply not up to the Russian leader’s command of all available moves. But one could imagine Secretary of State Kerry clearing an exit corridor with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (my note: Kerry vs. Lavrov goes to Lavrov too).

For a while it looked as though the provisional government in Kiev might prove worthy of bailout funds from the U.S., the European Union, and the International Monetary Fund, despite the new regime’s legitimacy problems. Putin took (back) Crimea and prompted little more than impotent bleating, true. But there was hope that this new bunch could hold together what remained of the nation at least until the elections scheduled for May 25.

It is all by the boards now. Regardless of how you may construe these past six months in Ukraine, we have just watched a failed effort to wrest the nation straight out of Russia’s sphere of influence and insert it into the West’s. It is now easy to conclude that the second-term Obama White House has not one foreign policy success to its credit and none in prospect. (The first term looks little better, for that matter.)

Complete story at - How Obama’s White House Lost Ukraine in a Few Stupid Steps - Yahoo Finance

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Ground Troops to Ukraine, Really Mr. Ambassador?


In a 15 April OPED published in the Washington Post, former Ambassador and Bush Deputy National Security Advisor, James Jeffrey, now a fellow at the Washington Institute argues for the commitment of American ground forces to “quell the crisis” in Ukraine. In yet another American triumph of ill-considered military adventurism over statecraft, Ambassador Jeffrey seems to think Mr. Putin will be impressed with the gradual appearance of a few U.S. Army ground units on Russia’s border. Meanwhile, like Secretary Kerry, Ambassador Jeffrey is ignoring the simple truth that Mr. Putin is doing the West a favor by removing the Russians from Ukraine through annexation.

The good news is that Mr. Putin is creating the conditions for the emergence of a free, democratic and smaller, as well as, demographically more homogenous Ukrainian State. A quick glance at Ukrainian election results over the last several years demonstrates conclusively that the Ukrainians living west of the Dnieper River in overwhelming numbers want to divorce themselves from Russia and live inside Europe.

Instead of threatening Moscow, it is now time for Secretary of State Kerry and his colleagues in the European Union to ask Mr. Ranko Krivokapic, the President of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), to meet with Mr. Putin and propose an OSCE-monitored plebiscite in Ukraine’s Russian speaking areas. If the population in Eastern Ukraine wants to join Russia, then, they should be allowed to vote themselves into Russia with a plebiscite. However, at the same time, the Ukrainians in the West should be allowed to join the EU without joining the NATO Alliance, much like Sweden, Austria, or Finland. This outcome would provide Mr. Putin with what he thinks he wants and Ukraine’s true Ukrainians with what they want: membership in the European Union. None of these developments or proposals involves a military confrontation between Russia and the West.

Complete story at - Ground Troops to Ukraine, Really Mr. Ambassador? »


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Clapper Goes on Tour to Persuade University Students Snowden Is No Whistleblower, Not a Hero | The Dissenter

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is touring universities and colleges in the United States in an attempt to persuade students that they should not consider former NSA contractor Edward Snowden a whistleblower or a hero.

Speaking at the GEOINT conference in Tampa, Florida, on April 15, Clapper addressed attendees and told university students at Georgetown University and the University of Georgia about a recent article in The Washington Post on college admissions.

“An admissions officer from George Washington University told The Post that for the admissions’ essay question, ‘Who’s your personal hero?’ the admissions officer observed that she was seeing a lot more of Edward Snowden citations. And the idea that young people see Edward Snowden as a hero really bothers me. So I thought I needed to talk about Snowden at Georgetown and Georgia and I am going to do the same elsewhere at colleges and universities.”

For those unfamiliar, this conference is hosted by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF), which describes itself as “the only organization dedicated to promoting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft and building a stronger GEOINT Community across industry, academia, government, professional organizations and individual stakeholders.” 

Clapper said the level of “corporate support” at the conference was a “testament to the value” of this “symposium.”

Complete story at - Clapper Goes on Tour to Persuade University Students Snowden Is No Whistleblower, Not a Hero | The Dissenter

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What’s Been and What’s Next | KUNSTLER

The wonder is that more Americans are not ticked off about the state of our country than whatever is happening ten thousand miles away. For instance, how come the US Department of Justice is not as avid to prosecute the pervasive racketeering in the US economy as the State Department is for provoking unnecessary wars in foreign lands on the other side of the planet, over matters that have little bearing on life here? This racketeering, by the way, amounts to a war against American citizens.

I’m speaking especially of the US military racket, the banking and finance rackets, the health care racket and the college loan racket, all of which have evolved insidiously and elegantly to swindle the public in order to support a claque of American oligarchs. In other civilized lands, health care and college are considered the highest priority public goods (i.e. responsibilities of government), and national resources are applied to support them under the theory that bankrupting people for an appendectomy or a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering is not in the public interest. In our land, that would be considered “socialism.” Instead, we “socialize” the costs of supporting Too Big To Fail banks — so their employees can drive Beemers to their Hamptons summer house parties — and a military machine that goes around the world wrecking one country after another to support a parasitical class of contractors, lobbyists, and bought-off politicians in their northern Virginia McMansions.

Hence, the laughable conceit pinging through the news media lately that some dynastic grifter like Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton will slide into the White House in 2016 as easily as a watermelon seed popped into a shot glass. I don’t think it’s going to work out that way. The US political system needs to be turned upside down and inside out, and I expect that it will be. Either it happens within the bounds of electoral politics, or you’ll see it playing out in the streets and the windswept plains.

Just a glance around the USA these days ought to nauseate the casual observer. We have an infrastructure for everyday life that is failing in every way imaginable. Are you disturbed by the asteroid belts of vacant strip malls outside your town? Or the empty store fronts along your Main Streets? What do you suppose these places will be like in ten years when the mirage of shale oil dissolves in a mist of disappointment and political grievance? How are Americans going to feel, do you suppose, when gasoline just isn’t there at a price they can pay, and they are marooned in delaminating strand-board-and-vinyl houses 23 miles away from anything? Does the sheer immersive ugliness of the human imprint on the American landscape not give you the shivers?

Complete story at - What’s Been and What’s Next | KUNSTLER

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Russia May Halt Oil Supplies On Ukraine Theft | Zero Hedge

First it was concerns over whether Ukraine would 'steal' gas supplies bound for Europe as it passed through pipelines in the country and now, as bills remain unpaid, a Transneft unit is threatening to halt Ukraine oil products supply due to pipeline theft.


As Bloomberg reports,

57.9k tons of oil products have been lost from theft in Ukraine and "Transneft expresses hope that the Ukrainian authorities can evaluate the risks of the current situation and not allow a negative scenario to develop."

Complete story at - Russia May Halt Oil Supplies On Ukraine Theft | Zero Hedge

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CC Photo Google Image Search. Source is Subject is A Mountain of Damaged Oil Drums Near the Exxon Refinery.jpg

The Vineyard of the Saker: How the Ukrainian crisis will eventually bring down the AngloZionist Empire

There are many theories out there about what exactly caused the collapse of the Soviet Union. Some say that it is Ronald Reagan with his Star Wars program. Others say that this is the war in Afghanistan or the Polish union Solidarnosc. Other popular theories include the failure of the Soviet economy, the drop in oil prices, the inability to produce consumer goods, the yearning of many Soviets for western-style freedoms and incomes, national/ethnic problems, a hypertrophic military-industrial complex, a massive and corrupt bureaucracy, the corruption of the CPSU and its nomenklatura, the personal treason of Mikhail Gorbachev and many other theories. While all of these factors did contribute to weaken the Soviet system, I do not believe that they brought it down, not even combined together. What really brought down the Soviet Union was something entirely different: an unbearable cognitive dissonance or, to put it more simply, an all-prevailing sense of total hypocrisy.

But before I make my case about the role of hypocrisy, let me first clarify why I don't believe that any other of the theories I listed above make sense: simply because the USSR survived much, much, harder times. Frankly, the entire period from 1917 through 1946 was much worse than anything which happened during Brezhnev's "stagnation" or after. And yet, not only did the Soviet Union survive, it almost single-handedly defeated the biggest military machine Europe ever created - Hitler's Wehrmacht - it also deterred the Anglosphere from its plans to attack it at the end of the war. Then it more or less won the "space race" (with the very notable exception of the race to the moon which the USSR lost on 24th of October 1960), built what was arguably the most powerful conventional military force on the planet while enjoying an internal economic boom. By any measurement, the USSR was a formidable power during a very long period.

But then something went very, very wrong.

Personally, I am inclined to blame Nikita Khrushchev who, in my opinion, was by far the worst leader the Soviet Union ever had.

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: How the Ukrainian crisis will eventually bring down the AngloZionist Empire

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Ukraine coal miners on strike, refuse to pay Kiev coup damages bill — RT News

Over 2,000 coal miners in Lugansk region have been on strike for the second day running, demanding higher wages and refusing to accept a pay cut to fund the restoration of Kiev, which suffered damage during the coup that overthrew the government.

Some 80 percent of miners from five coal mines belonging to "Krasnodonugol" enterprise in the city of Krasnodon have not shown up to work. The mines are all owned by one of Ukraine's richest man, Rinat Akhmetov of the mining and metallurgical "Metinvest" corporation.

Angry miners are pressing for wage increases to match region's average pay, better social and living conditions and higher social bonuses. According to the strikers they get an average of 6,000 hryvnas ($520), while the average salary in the coal industry in the region is up to 10,000 hryvnia ($860).

Miners are also refusing to pay a 10 percent tax on their salaries, imposed by the post-coup authorities to restore the Maidan square in Kiev. The square and nearby buildings suffered significant damage during months of rallies and the violent standoff that led to a coup in February.

According to local media reports miners have seen around a 10 percent cut in their paychecks to restore the Ukrainian capital.

“I don't understand why are we involved!” one of the protesting miners, Stanislav Denisenko told Itar-tass. “It was not us who dismantled the stones and burned the houses down. I get about 900 hryvna a month, that is around 9,000 rubles ($260). I don't understand why they are taking away my salary.”

Complete story at - Ukraine coal miners on strike, refuse to pay Kiev coup damages bill — RT News

CC Photo by Flickr User albertof Subject is Coal Miner.jpg

CC Photo by Flickr User albertof Subject is Coal Miner.

The Vineyard of the Saker: Ukraine SITREP-update April 28, 1447 UTC/Zulu

  • The city hall and the city council buildings of the eastern city of Konstantinovka have been taken under control of Russian-speaking insurgents who say that they are here to protect the local authorities (who are opposed to the revolutionary regime in Kiev) from any attack by the junta.
  • Probably lured by the oligarch-galore in the Ukraine, the Jewish oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has showed up in the Dontesk region to show is support for the new regime.
  • According to him, “Donetsk is far from being as pro-Russian as it could be".
  • The Mayor of Kharkov, Gennadi Kermes, has been shot in the back and critically wounded by an unknown gunman who used a rifle from long range. The bullet passed through Kermes' body, damaging several internal organs.
  • Six more Right Sector gunmen have been arrested over the week-end when they attempted to penetrate the Donetsk area under cover.
  • According to The Guardian, the Jews of the Ukraine do not fear the neo-Nazi Banderists, but Putin, Russia and Russian propaganda.
  • Obama is about to announce new sanctions against Russia.
  • The EU is about to announce new sanctions against Russia.
  • On Sunday, pro-regime soccer hooligans clashed with pro-federation Russian-speakers. There were injuries, but not fatalities.
  • A number of fake snuff-videos purportedly made by the Right Sector which show policemen being killed have emerged on the Internet. They are almost certainly fake, but nobody knows who is behind this action.

A very interesting trend is beginning to emerge: the deepening of the rift between the, shall we say, "official" leaders of the eastern Ukraine and their own electorate. I am talking about folks like Mikhail Dobkin, Gennadi Kermes (the one shot today) or the various representatives of the Party of Regions in what is left of the Ukrainian Parliament. The folks leading the anti-regime insurgency are adamant that the Party of Regions and all its members have already betrayed them many times and that the idea of participating in the Presidential elections organized by the junta in Kiev is yet another betrayal. Yesterday, in one of the most popular talkshows on Russian TV ("Sunday Evening With Vladimir Soloviev") one of the supposedly "pro-Russian" representatives of the Party of regions ended up having an ugly shouting match with about half of the guests on the show, including three representatives of the pro-Russian insurgency in the eastern Ukraine, and several well-known Russian analysts. At this point the "least disliked" "official" political figure in the eastern Ukraine might be Oleg Tsarev who was expelled from the Party of Regions and who initially announced that he was running for President, but who dropped out of the race when confronted about that by the local people in Donetsk. He is also the politician who was invited to the Ukie TV show "freedom of speech", who was guaranteed protection and then who ended up several beaten and partially stripped of his clothes by neo-Nazi thugs outside the TV station.

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: Ukraine SITREP-update April 28, 1447 UTC/Zulu

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Time is running out for the US dollar - News - Reality Check - The Voice of Russia

It is often speculated that some members of the US establishment are pushing Ukraine towards a military conflict with Russia. But why do it in such a hurry? A Russian economist claims that he knows the answer, alluding to the link between the latest international crisis and the fate of the US currency.

Russian diplomats have repeatedly criticized the US for not trying to restrain their Ukrainian underlings in order to make them respect the agreement reached during the recent Geneva meeting. US-sponsored Ukrainian junta is trying to provoke Russia to intervene in Ukraine in order to protect ethnic Russians and supporters of federalization. There can be only two results for such policy. Ukraine will either become the battleground for a long and bloody civil war or will become the target for a Russian military intervention. From the American point of view it is a win-win situation. If there is a civil war, the delivery of natural gas to Europe will be disrupted hurting both the European and the Russian economy. If Moscow decides that it has to intervene in Ukraine, Washington will ignore the ethic Russians killed by the US-sponsored junta and will claim that Russia is an aggressor. Such a strategy will give Washington a chance to force the EU to institute hard economic sanctions against Russia, but such sanctions will hurt the EU even more than Russia . According to Sergey Glazyev, economic advisor to President Putin, European Union stands to lose 1 trillion euro, if hard economic sanctions against Russia are enacted.

Complete story at - Time is running out for the US dollar - News - Reality Check - The Voice of Russia

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How Washington and its Allies Use Social Media to Topple Governments & Manipulate Public Opinion | SCG News

The U.S. government's latest attempt to topple Cuba using social media is just the tip of the iceberg, but what's really interesting is how connects to the Ukrainian crisis.

On April 2nd the Associated Press released an report exposing how the U.S. government recently attempted to topple the Cuban government yet again. This time the plot hinged on the creation of a communications network called "ZunZuneo" which was essentially a primitive version of Twitter. The plan, which was cooked up by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. State Department, was to build up a large following of users and then push them towards revolt. The network was built using shell companies and financed through a foreign bank to hide their connection to Washington. The Obama administration defended the program saying that it "had disclosed the initiative to Congress".

Of course we all know that attempting to topple a foreign government is perfectly fine as long as you let congress know a bit in advance.

As shocking and absurd as these revelations may be to the general public, the truth of the matter is that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The U.S. government and its allies have been using the internet as a covert weapon for some time now. Much of the evidence of these activities got mainstream coverage, but the corporate media is very careful not to refer to that evidence in the context of current events.

So let's connect a few dots here.

In 2011 it came to light that the U.S. military had developed a 'sock puppet' software for creating and managing fake online identities. These sock puppet accounts were to be used to spread propaganda on social media sites, forums and blogs. The software which was described as an "online persona management service" allows one soldier to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world. When this program was exposed the U.S. government claimed that the program was never used on English speaking audiences. Considering that these are the same people who swore up and down that the NSA surveillance program never targeted U.S. citizens, we can take that with a grain of salt, but it's worth noting that they explicitly acknowledged in their statement that the program was intended for covert operations in foreign countries.

A leaked document recently made public by Glenn Greenwald showed that the UK's GCHQ has been running a similar program through a unit called the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (or JTRIG). You can download the file that Greenwald leaked here..

Complete story at - How Washington and its Allies Use Social Media to Topple Governments & Manipulate Public Opinion | SCG NewsCC Photo Google Image Search.  Source is  Subject is 800px-Social-media-for-public-relations.jpg

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Ukraine Crisis - How the Provisional Government in Kiev is Flirting with Collapse | SCG News

After failing once, the Ukrainian provisional government's second attempt to crush the rebels in the East may be a fatal error.

Using physical force to maintain power is dangerous. Well established dictators are able to use such tactics as long as they have a solid grip on the military (it's no accident that such rulers are usually former military men themselves), but losing control of the military is quite often the death blow for a failing regime. The provisional government in Kiev seems to lack the historical perspective to recognize that they are flirting with their own demise in their response to the uprising in the East.

It's an awkward position to say the least. Just two months ago U.S. backed "Maidan" protesters seized power claiming to represent "civil society" and democratic ideals. Now the tables are turned, and they are pitting the military against rebels who don't recognize their authority. Well at least they are trying. So far it hasn't gone so well.

There are currently twelve cities in the East which are now under the control of separatists forces, and by all appearances their hold on the region is stronger now than it was before Kiev launched its first "anti-terrorist operations". The provisional government has announced this week that they are about to make another attempt to crush the insurgents, however this is likely to weaken their own position even more.

Complete story at - Ukraine Crisis - How the Provisional Government in Kiev is Flirting with Collapse | SCG News

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Michael Lewis: "Wall Street has gone insane" | Business | The Guardian

On a sliding scale of difficulty, writing a general-interest book about high-frequency trading is slightly harder than making baseball statistics interesting, but easier than animating the role played by quantitative analysis in the 2007 financial collapse. "Collateralised debt obligations," says Michael Lewis, who has written about all three, "are impossible to describe. There's nothing harder. However, trying to show a reader how a market moves? How stock prices move? You can already see them tuning out."

That was the concern when he wrote Flash Boys, an investigation into what he calls the "rigged" underbelly of Wall Street trading. In the event, the book has sold a staggering 130,000 copies in the US in its first week of publication. (By comparison, The Big Short, his biggest seller to date, sold 60,000 in its first week.)

Lewis has been on every talk show and financial news panel in the land, arguing with, among others, Bill O'Brien, the president of the Bats Global Markets stock exchange, about whether or not he and his cohorts are ripping off their customers. If the 53-year-old started off angry, opposition to the book has sharpened his stance into a moral crusade. "I find this story really upsetting," he says over lunch in LA, where his publicity tour just ended. "The idea that the smartest, richest elites of society find this an acceptable activity. This predatory activity."

If it's emotional for Lewis, then the responses have been emotional too, given how unequivocal his accusations are. The cornerstone of Flash Boys is a discovery made by an obscure Canadian banker, Brad Katsuyama, who noticed that whenever he tried to execute a trade, the stock price moved before the order went through. A long and tortured investigation revealed that the variable speeds at which trading information travels down fibre-optic cables to the exchanges was being exploited by brokers and high-frequency traders – so-called for the volume of trades they make – to jump the queue, buy the stocks in question and sell them back at a higher price to the person who expressed the original interest.

Complete story at - Michael Lewis: 'Wall Street has gone insane' | Business | The Guardian

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The New York Times Criticized for Submitting to Israeli Censors | Informed Comment

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The New York Times Criticized for Submitting to Israeli Censors | Informed Comment

(By Sarah Lazare)

The New York Times made a rare admission that it submits to Israeli state gag orders, fueling charges from critics that the globally-influential publication plays fast-and-loose with journalistic ethics to give favorable coverage to Israel.

The revelation emerged when the The Times delayed its coverage of the Israeli detention of a Palestinian journalist, due—as it turns out—to a gag order from an Israeli court.

The blackout came to light when journalists who did not heed the gag order exposed the detention and media censorship. The Times's public editor, Margaret Sullivan, then elicited an admission from her own publication that it complies with Israeli media blackouts as a matter of policy.

Gagging Coverage of Journalist's Detention

Journalist and activist Majd Kayyal, who is a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was returning from a conference in Lebanon on Saturday when Israeli Shin Bet secret police detained him for five days, during which he was interrogated and denied access to a lawyer.

Complete story at - The New York Times Criticized for Submitting to Israeli Censors | Informed CommentCC Photo Google Image Search Source is openclipart org  Subject is censorship

Chris Hedges: The Rhetoric of Violence - Chris Hedges - Truthdig

At least nine people were killed and at least 35 others were wounded in shootings across Chicago on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Thursday police announced that a man had been arrested on charges of firing on a number of motorists recently, wounding three of them, on Kansas City-area highways. On April 13 three people, including a child, were murdered at two Jewish-affiliated facilities in Overland Park, Kan., leading to the arrest of a white supremacist. On April 12, armed militias in Nevada got the federal government to retreat, allowing rancher Cliven Bundy to continue to graze his cattle on public land. All this happened over a span of only nine days in the life of a country where more than 250 people are shot every day. In America, violence and the threat of lethal force are the ways we communicate. Violence—the preferred form of control by the state—is an expression of our hatred, self-loathing and lust for vengeance. And this bloodletting will increasingly mark a nation in terminal decline.

Violence, as H. Rap Brown said, is “as American as cherry pie.” It has a long and coveted place in U.S. history. Vigilante groups including slave patrols, gunslingers, Pinkerton and Baldwin-Felts detectives, gangs of strikebreakers, gun thugs, company militias, the White Citizens’ Council, the Knights of the White Camellia, and the Ku Klux Klan, which boasted more than 3 million members between 1915 and 1944 and took over the governance of some states, formed and shaped America. Heavily armed mercenary paramilitaries, armed militias such as the Oath Keepers and the anti-immigration extremist group Ranch Rescue, along with omnipotent and militarized police forces, are parts of a seamless continuation of America’s gun culture and tradition of vigilantism. And roaming the landscape along with these vigilante groups are lone gunmen who kill for money or power or at the command of their personal demons.

Vigilante groups in America do not trade violence for violence. They murder anyone who defies the structures of capitalism, even if the victims are unarmed. The vigilantes, often working with the approval and sometimes with the collusion of state law enforcement agencies, are rarely held accountable. They are capitalism’s shock troops, its ideological vanguard, used to break populist movements. Imagine that, if instead of right-wing militias, so-called “ecoterrorists”—who have never been found responsible for taking a single American life—had showed up armed in Nevada. How would the authorities have responded if those carrying guns had been from Earth First? Take a guess. Across U.S. history, hundreds of unarmed labor union members have been shot to death by vigilante groups working on behalf of coal, steel or mining concerns, and thousands more have been wounded. The United States has had the bloodiest labor wars in the industrialized world. Murderous rampages by vigilante groups, almost always in the pay of companies or oligarchs, have been unleashed on union members and agitators although no American labor union ever publicly called for an armed uprising. African-Americans, too, have endured a vigilante reign of terror, one that lasted for generations after the Civil War.

And all the while, vigilantes have been lionized by popular culture, winning mythic status in Hollywood movies that glorify lone avengers.

Complete story at - Chris Hedges: The Rhetoric of Violence - Chris Hedges - Truthdig

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Gunboat Diplomacy, Round-2 — USS Donald Cook Gives Odessa a Miss, Sails Southeast | Dances With Bears

By John Helmer, Moscow

On Thursday President Vladimir Putin described NATO missile batteries aimed at Russia’s Black Sea coastline as threatening the nuclear defences of southwestern Russia. It was the first time the president or Russian defence officials have put Crimea into Russian strategic survival doctrine. US Navy deployment in the Black Sea of ships armed with Aegis missiles is one of the concrete threats Putin was referring to. This has made the current Black Sea cruise of the USS Donald Cook, an Aegis-armed destroyer, of special importance. It is the reason a Russian military aircraft buzzed the Cook as it steamed towards Constanta port, in Romania.

It is also the reason why, as Putin was speaking in Moscow, the Cook pulled away from the Constanta dock, setting a course to the southeast from Constanta towards Georgia and Turkey, and not a northward course towards Odessa. In that Ukrainian port, public demonstrations against a port call by the Cook have been under way for several days.

US Navy deployments inside the Black Sea are now consecutive, one vessel arriving as another leaves, since February 2, when the USS Mount Whitney passed through the Bosphorus, the Turkish straits, guarded by the frigate, the USS Taylor. The Mount Whitney is a floating headquarters for NATO strike forces aimed at Russia from Romania to Hungary and Poland. It had sailed into the Georgian port of Poti in September of 2008 as Russian air, ground and naval forces surrounded the port. The BBC reported the mission as the delivery of humanitarian aid. In July of 2011 the Mount Whitney was off the Libyan coast to coordinate US and NATO operations to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi.

Complete story at - Gunboat Diplomacy, Round-2 — USS Donald Cook Gives Odessa a Miss, Sails Southeast | Dances With Bears

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This Saudi prince is accused of killing 2,000 endangered birds while on safari in Pakistan | Informed Comment

Jeez. Happy Earth Day.

A Saudi prince has been accused of killing 2,000 endangered birds during a safari in Pakistan earlier this year.

The birds, known as houbara bustards, are on the brink of extinction and protected globally under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Each winter, they migrate from central Asia to the warmer climate of Pakistan.

Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, better known as Prince Fahd bin Sultan, is said to have gunned down 1,977 of the birds on reserved and protected areas over 21 days in January, the Karachi-based Dawn newspaper reported.

Complete story at - This Saudi prince is accused of killing 2,000 endangered birds while on safari in Pakistan | Informed Comment

Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Imperative | Consortiumnews

Exclusive: The mainstream U.S. news media is flooding the American people with one-sided propaganda on Ukraine, rewriting the narrative to leave out the key role of neo-Nazis and insisting on a “group think” that exceeds even the misguided consensus on Iraq’s WMD, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

After the Feb. 22 coup in Ukraine – spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias – European and U.S. diplomats pushed for a quick formation of a new government out of fear that otherwise these far-right ultra-nationalists would be left in total control, one of those diplomats told me.

The comment again underscores the inconvenient truth of what happened in Ukraine: neo-Nazis were at the forefront of the Kiev coup that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych, a reality that the U.S. government and news media have been relentlessly trying to cover up.

Although real-time reports from the scene in February chronicled armed and organized militias associated with the neo-Nazi Svoboda party and the Right Sektor attacking police with firebombs and light weapons, that information soon became a threat to the Western propaganda theme that Yanukovych fled simply because peaceful protesters occupied the Maidan square.

So, the more troubling history soon disappeared into the memory hole, dismissed as “Russian propaganda.” The focus of the biased U.S. news media is now on the anti-Kiev militants in the Russian-ethnic areas of eastern Ukraine who have rejected the authority of the coup regime and are insisting on regional autonomy.

Complete story at - Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Imperative | Consortiumnews

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Ukraine Imbroglio and the Decline of the American Empire | Global Research

When discussing the Ukraine-Crimea “crisis” it might be hygienic for Americans, including their political class, think-tank pundits, and talking heads, to recall two striking moments in “the dawn’s early light” of the U. S. Empire: in 1903, in the wake of the Spanish-American War, under President Theodore Roosevelt America seized control of the southern part of Guantanamo Bay by way of a Cuban-American Treaty which recognizes Cuba’s ultimate sovereignty over this base; a year after the Bolshevik Revolution, in 1918, President Woodrow Wilson dispatched 5,000 U. S. troops to Arkhangelsk in Northern Russia to participate in the Allied intervention in Russia’s Civil War, which raised the curtain on the First Cold War. Incidentally, in 1903 there was no Fidel Castro in Havana and in 1918 no Joseph Stalin in the Kremlin.

It might also be salutary to note that this standoff on Ukraine-Crimea is taking place in the unending afterglow of the Second Cold War and at a time when the sun is beginning to set on the American Empire as a new international system of multiple great powers emerges.

Of course, empires have ways of not only rising and thriving but of declining and expiring. It is one of Edward Gibbon’s insightful and challenging questions about the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire that is of particular relevance today. Gibbon eventually concluded that while the causes for Rome’s decline and ruin were being successfully probed and explicated, there remained the great puzzle as to why “it had subsisted for so long.” Indeed, the internal and external causes for this persistence are many and complex. But one aspect deserves special attention: the reliance on violence and war to slow down and delay the inevitable. In modern and contemporary times the European empires kept fighting not only among themselves, but also against the “new-caught, sullen peoples, half-devil and half-child,” once these dared to resist and eventually rise up against their imperial-colonial overlords. After 1945 in India and Kenya; in Indochina and Algeria; in Iran and Suez; in Congo. Needless to say, to this day the still-vigorous U. S. empire and the fallen European empires lock arms in efforts to save what can be saved in the ex-colonial lands throughout the Greater Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Complete story at - The Ukraine Imbroglio and the Decline of the American Empire | Global Research

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US financial showdown with Russia is more dangerous than it looks, for both sides - Telegraph

The United States has constructed a financial neutron bomb. For the past 12 years an elite cell at the US Treasury has been sharpening the tools of economic warfare, designing ways to bring almost any country to its knees without firing a shot.

The strategy relies on hegemonic control over the global banking system, buttressed by a network of allies and the reluctant acquiescence of neutral states. Let us call this the Manhattan Project of the early 21st century.

"It is a new kind of war, like a creeping financial insurgency, intended to constrict our enemies' financial lifeblood, unprecedented in its reach and effectiveness," says Juan Zarate, the Treasury and White House official who helped spearhead policy after 9/11.

“The new geo-economic game may be more efficient and subtle than past geopolitical competitions, but it is no less ruthless and destructive,” he writes in his book Treasury's War: the Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare.

Bear this in mind as Washington tightens the noose on Vladimir Putin's Russia, slowly shutting off market access for Russian banks, companies and state bodies with $714bn of dollar debt (Sberbank data).

Complete story at - US financial showdown with Russia is more dangerous than it looks, for both sides - Telegraph

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Guest Post: The Slow Death Of The Old Global Order | Zero Hedge

Submitted by Robert Merry via The National Interest,

In the spring of 2012, The National Interest produced a special issue under the rubric of “The Crisis of the Old Order: The Crumbling Status Quo at Home and Abroad.” The thesis was that the old era of relative global stability, forged through the crucibles of the Great Depression and World War II, was coming unglued. In introducing the broad topic to readers, TNI editors wrote, “Only through a historical perspective can we fully understand the profound developments of our time and glean, perhaps only dimly, where they are taking us. One thing is clear: they are taking us into a new era. The only question is how much disruption, chaos and bloodshed will attend the transition from the Old Order to whatever emerges to replace it.”

Since publication of that special issue of the magazine, events have seemed to bolster the thesis that the current global situation and the American domestic political situation are inherently unstable, and stability will return only with the emergence of some kind of new order. Leaving aside the U.S. domestic scene for purposes of this digression, the gathering global crisis got a penetrating survey the other day from William Pfaff, the longtime geopolitical analyst for the International Herald Tribune (recently renamed the International New York Times).

Pfaff said the world faces an “international disorder unmatched since the interwar 1930s,” fostered by the ongoing Ukraine crisis, the “self-destructive forces” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, growing instability within the world of Islam, and the “serious risk of collapse” of the European Union. Pfaff notes with a small measure of relief that the world isn’t beset these days by ideological dictatorships on the march or any new waves of totalitarianism. Today’s problems, he says, are merely “confusion, incompetence, and intellectual and moral disorder.” He adds: “But these are bad enough, in an over-armed world.”

What’s most troubling about all this is that today’s national leaders seem utterly lacking in any serious consciousness of just how dangerous the global situation is. The current Ukraine crisis , for example, is the product of a long-term Western tendency (the word “strategy" hardly qualifies here, given the lack of any coherent logic involved) to push eastward through what once were the buffer territories of Eastern Europe and press right up to the Russian border.

Though highly provocative, this didn’t generate any serious crisis when Russia remained weak after the Soviet collapse and the eastward push didn’t extend into territories that for centuries had been part of Russia’s traditional sphere of influence. But the United States, European Union and NATO remained blithely unmindful of the consequences when they kept pushing as Russia gained sufficient power to resist incursions into its areas of crucial national interest. What were the leaders of these Western entities thinking?

Complete story at - Guest Post: The Slow Death Of The Old Global Order | Zero Hedge

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Obama channeling Cheney? | Michael Hudson

HUDSON: The big news is all about the Ukraine. And it’s about the events that happened in the shootings on February 20. Late last week, the German television program ARD Monitor, which is sort of their version of 60 Minutes here, had an investigative report of the shootings in Maidan, and what they found out is that contrary to what President Obama is saying, contrary to what the U.S. authorities are saying, that the shooting was done by the U.S.-backed Svoboda Party and the protesters themselves, the snipers and the bullets all came from the Hotel Ukrayina, which was the center of where the protests were going, and the snipers on the hotel were shooting not only at the demonstrators, but also were shooting at their own–at the police and the demonstrators to try to create chaos. They’ve spoken to the doctors, who said that all of the bullets and all of the wounded people came from the same set of guns. They’ve talked to reporters who were embedded with the demonstrators, the anti-Russian forces, and they all say yes. All the witnesses are in agreement: the shots came from the Hotel Ukrayina. The hotel was completely under the control of the protesters, and it was the government that did it.

So what happened was that after the coup d’état, what they call the new provisional government put a member of the Svoboda Party, the right-wing terrorist party, in charge of the investigation. And the relatives of the victims who were shot are saying that the government is refusing to show them the autopsies, they’re refusing to share the information with their doctors, they’re cold-shouldering them, and that what is happening is a coverup. It’s very much like the film Z about the Greek colonels trying to blame the murder of the leader on the protesters, rather than on themselves.

Now, the real question that the German data has is: why, if all of this is front-page news in Germany, front-page news in Russia–the Russian TV have been showing their footage, showing the sniping–why would President Obama directly lie to the American people? This is the equivalent of Bush’s weapons of mass destruction. Why would Obama say the Russians are doing the shooting in the Ukraine that’s justified all of this anti-Russian furor? And why wouldn’t he say the people that we have been backing with $5 billion for the last five or ten years, our own people, are doing the shooting, we are telling them to doing the shooting, we are behind them, and we’re the ones who are the separatists?

What has happened is that the Western Ukraine, the U.S. part, are the separatists trying to break up the Ukraine, in keeping, pretty much, with what Brzezinski advised in his book some years ago when he said breaking Ukraine off from Russia would be the equivalent of blocking any Russian potential military power.

Complete story at - Obama channeling Cheney? | Michael Hudson

Asia Times Online :: Ukraine and the grand chessboard By Pepe Escobar

The US State Department, via spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki, said that reports of CIA Director John Brennan telling regime changers in Kiev to "conduct tactical operations" - or an "anti-terrorist" offensive - in eastern Ukraine are "completely false". This means Brennan did issue his marching orders. And by now the "anti-terrorist" campaign - with its nice little Dubya rhetorical touch - has degenerated into farce.

Now couple that with NATO secretary general, Danish retriever Anders Fogh Rasmussen, yapping about the strengthening of military footprint along NATO's eastern border: "We will have more planes in the air, mores ships on the water and more readiness on the land."

Welcome to the Two Stooges doctrine of post-modern warfare.

Pay up or freeze to death

Ukraine is for all practical purposes broke. The Kremlin's consistent position for the past three months has been to encourage the European Union to find a solution to Ukraine's dire economic mess. Brussels did nothing. It was betting on regime change to the benefit of Germany's heavyweight puppet Vladimir Klitschko, aka Klitsch The Boxer.

Regime change did happen, but orchestrated by the Khaganate of Nulands - a neo-con cell of the State Department and its assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nulands. And now the presidential option is between - what else - two US puppets, choco-billionaire Petro Poroshenko and "Saint Yulia" Timoshenko, Ukraine's former prime minister, ex-convict and prospective president. The EU is left to pick up the (unpayable) bill. Enter the International Monetary Fund - via a nasty, upcoming "structural adjustment" that will send Ukrainians to a hellhole even grimmer than the one they are already familiar with.

Complete story at - Asia Times Online :: Central Asian News and current affairs, Russia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan

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Ukraine crisis shows global governance is in a mess, and the West knows why - Telegraph

The crisis surrounding Ukraine shows that global governance is in a mess, but events there are merely a symptom of something larger.

My visit to Washington for the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank set me wondering whether western democracies are much guiltier than we are prepared to admit.

These meetings took place against the surreal background of the US Congress having failed to pass a bill allowing the IMF to reform in the way that was agreed back in 2010 – a strange decision, as the planned changes to the fund were led by the then-US Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner.

Those proposals were to increase the IMF’s lending capability as well as to boost the voting share and seats of the major so-called “emerging economic powers” at the expense of others, including Europe.

Without the additional firepower, it makes it more difficult for the fund to intervene in economic crises, including the one engulfing Ukraine.

Complete story at - Ukraine crisis shows global governance is in a mess, and the West knows why - Telegraph

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Ukraine’s Coup Regime Ups Threats as Protests Expand by Greg Butterfield + Kiev military storms occupied East Ukraine airfield, wounded reported

April 14 — Desperate to stamp out a popular uprising in southeastern Ukraine, the junta in Kiev — which came to power through a violent coup using fascist groupings against elected President Viktor Yanukovych — is attempting to crush the newly declared People’s Republic of Donetsk and rebellions in other cities.

But instead of intimidating the anti-fascist resistance, this attack has spread the fightback.

In cities throughout the Donbas mining region of eastern Ukraine — including Slavyansk, Gorlovk and Mariopul — anti-junta protesters have seized government buildings and begun setting up popular councils and militias loyal to the independent People’s Republic of Donetsk that was called for on April 7 in the regional capital.

In the capitals of neighboring Kharkov and Lugansk provinces, foes of the coup have also fought running battles for control of government buildings. In all three regions, anti-fascists have called for a May 11 referendum on autonomy or independence from the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev.

Even in the western city of Lviv, near the Polish border, activists briefly seized the local prosecutor’s office.

Every day, the coup government, whose police and military forces are directed by leaders of neo-Nazi and far-right political parties like Svoboda and Fatherland, issues new ultimatums and ups the threats against the southeastern resistance. And every day, it demonstrates just how much it is in disarray.

Complete story at - Ukraine’s Coup Regime Ups Threats as Protests Expand by Greg Butterfield + Kiev military storms occupied East Ukraine airfield, wounded reported | Dandelion Salad

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Vineyard of the Saker: The thing which everybody seems to be missing

(Not sure if I posted this yet. Either way, it's being posted because I believe what's stated here is important).

Okay, I decided to squeeze in one more post before taking time off for Holy Paskha, this is well worth it.

Some of you have asked about China's role in all this, in what the real interests of the USA are, how the EU is positioning itself and what Russia does or does not want. And, somehow, bogged down by the minutiae of the unfolding events I managed to never mention something which Putin, Lavrov and many other top Russian politicians have repeatedly said:

What is happening today before our eyes is the end of one international system and the birth of a qualitatively different one.

Interestingly, Putin has declared that for him the point of no return was reached when the USA and its allies at the UNSC and NATO clearly and grossly twisted the intention of the UNSC on Libya and "upgraded" what should have been a "no fly" zone to a free-fire zone to attack and bomb Libya [of course, it was pretty darn clear to Putin that the "all necessary means to protect civilians" of the resolution was an open ended invitation for the AngloZionists to "interpret" it in any way they wanted; now his says that Russia was "lied to" in order to not blame Medvedev for walking into a 10 foot wide hole. But that is irrelevant here]. Putin says that from then on he had acquired the conviction that the West could not be negotiated with and had to be simply stopped. Then Syria happened: for the first time since the end of WWII the USA had decided to do something and was stopped by an outside power in the most humiliating way possible.

The Russian stance on Syria was an overt challenge to US world hegemony. It was clearly understood as such in Washington and now, following the crisis in the Ukraine, the Russians have openly admitted this.

So this is the real stake of the civil war in the Ukraine: for the USA it is to punish Russia for daring to challenge the world hegemon; for Russia it is to unseat this hegemon and replace him by a multi-polar international system in which sovereign countries act within the bounds of international law. You could say that even though most of the Security Council is vehemently opposed to that, Russia is trying to show to the world that the USA does not own the UN and that it only represents 1/5th of the P5 and 1/15th of the UNSC.

The West has slouched into a position of total submission to the USA and its domination tools over Europe: the EU and NATO. The central Europeans have even volunteered to become a US protectorate, a territory to house US missile systems and secret CIA prisons.

With the exception of Iran and Syria, the Arab and Muslim world has sold out, some to the USA, others to Saudi Arabia, most to both at the same time. Latin America tries hard, but is still heavily dependent on the USA while Africa just wants to survive the best it can. As for Asia, some parts are as sold out as Europe (Japan, Korea), others are trying to keep a low profile, while China is clearly quietly standing behind Russia but in an externally undeniable way even though China stands to benefit more than any other country on the planet from a change in the international order.

The Russians would have much preferred to wait, to buy time, but the US determination to punish it for daring to oppose it on Syria literally forced them to fold and surrender or openly accept the US challenge and stand firm.

I will repeat that again and again - Putin had no other choice.

And now that this is all in the open, you can be absolutely sure that Russia is not playing to return to the status quo ante. With an amazing candidness both Putin and Lavrov have openly spelled out their goal on Russian TV (Lavrov on the show "Sunday Evening with Vladimir Soloviev" and Putin on during his 4 hours long Q&A yesterday).

So this is the Russian end-goal: to unseat the USA from its role as a world hegemon. And that goal implies a much longer, bigger and more sustained effort that just force the freaks in Kiev to the negotiating table. Among other things, this goal implies that Russia must:

1) Force the Europeans to fully realize the outrageous price they are paying for being the obedient and silent vassals of the USA and slowly drive a wedge between the USA and Europe.
2) Force the USA to admit that it does not have the military might to punish or, even less so, "regime change" anybody they don't like.
3) Encourage China and other Asian powers to openly stand with Russia in demanding that international law be adhered to by the West.
4) Gradually replace the dollar with other currencies in international trade and thereby slow down the financing of the US debts by the rest of the planet.
5) Create the conditions for Latin America and Africa to be able to make choices about its future and replace the current monopoly enjoyed by the West in setting the terms of North-South relations.
6) Present another civilizational model which openly reject the current Western paradigm of a society run by small and arrogant minorities.
7) Challenge the current liberal and capitalist economic order embodied in the Washington Consensus and replace it by a model of social and international solidarity (call it "21 century socialism" if you want).

All of the above can be summed up in one word: re-sovereignization.

Since he got elected, Putin mentioned many times the need for a re-sovereignization of Russia. The Ukrainian crisis has forced him reveal the real end goal of his agenda: to re-sovereignize the entire planet.

This is a tall order and it will take many years, possibly decades, to achieve this goal, though my personal feeling is that the total incompetence and infinite arrogance of of the 1%ers plutocrats which rules over the western world will continue to accelerate that process.

The big question now is this: can the AngloZionist Empire follow the example of the Soviet Empire and collapse without triggering a massive bloodbath on its way down?

There will be violence, for sure, as has been with the former Soviet Union. But if we can avoid a global conflagration or even a large scale massive war then that would have to be considered as success because it is when they collapse that empires become the most dangerous and unpredictable.

I hope that the above answers many of the questions which have been posted here.

Many thanks and kind regards,

The Saker

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: The thing which everybody seems to be missing

I'm confused, can anyone help me? — RT Op-Edge


I'm confused. A few weeks ago we were told in the West that people occupying government buildings in Ukraine was a very good thing. These people, we were told by our political leaders and elite media commentators, were 'pro-democracy protestors'.

The US government warned the Ukrainian authorities against using force against these 'pro-democracy protestors' even if, according to the pictures we saw, some of them were neo-Nazis who were throwing Molotov cocktails and other things at the police and smashing up statues and setting fire to buildings.

Now, just a few weeks later, we're told that people occupying government buildings in Ukraine are not 'pro-democracy protestors' but 'terrorists' or 'militants'.

Why was the occupation of government buildings in Ukraine a very good thing in January, but it is a very bad thing in April? Why was the use of force by the authorities against protestors completely unacceptable in January, but acceptable now? I repeat: I'm confused. Can anyone help me?


We were also told by very serious-looking Western politicians and media 'experts' that the Crimea referendum wasn't valid because it was held under “military occupation.” But I've just been watching coverage of elections in Afghanistan, held under military occupation, which have been hailed by leading western figures, such as NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen as a “historic moment for Afghanistan” and a great success for “democracy.” Why is the Crimean vote dismissed, but the Afghanistan vote celebrated? I'm confused. Can anyone help me?


Then there's gay rights. We are told that Russia is a very bad and backward country because it has passed a law against promoting homosexuality to minors. Yet our leaders who boycotted the Winter Olympics in Sochi because of this law visit Gulf states where homosexuals can be imprisoned or even executed, and warmly embrace the rulers there, making no mention of the issue of gay rights.

Surely the imprisonment or execution of gay people is far worse than a law which forbids promotion of homosexuality to minors? Why, if they are genuinely concerned about gay rights, do our leaders attack Russia and not countries that imprison or execute gay people? I'm confused. Can anyone help me?

Complete story at - I'm confused, can anyone help me? — RT Op-Edge

Luhansk protest

An anti-government protester waves a flag in front of the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine April 14, 2014. (Reuters / Shamil Zhumatov)

Nato's action plan in Ukraine is right out of Dr Strangelove | John Pilger | Comment is free | The Guardian

Since Washington's putsch in Kiev – and Moscow's inevitable response in Russian Crimea to protect its Black Sea fleet – the provocation and isolation of Russia have been inverted in the news to the "Russian threat". This is fossilised propaganda. The US air force general who runs Nato forces in Europe – General Philip Breedlove, no less – claimed more than two weeks ago to have pictures showing 40,000 Russian troops "massing" on the border with Ukraine. So did Colin Powell claim to have pictures proving there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What is certain is that Barack Obama's rapacious, reckless coup in Ukraine has ignited a civil war and Vladimir Putin is being lured into a trap.

Following a 13-year rampage that began in stricken Afghanistan well after Osama bin Laden had fled, then destroyed Iraq beneath a false flag, invented a "nuclear rogue" in Iran, dispatched Libya to a Hobbesian anarchy and backed jihadists in Syria, the US finally has a new cold war to supplement its worldwide campaign of murder and terror by drone.

A Nato membership action plan – straight from the war room of Dr Strangelove – is General Breedlove's gift to the new dictatorship in Ukraine. "Rapid Trident" will put US troops on Ukraine's Russian border and "Sea Breeze" will put US warships within sight of Russian ports. At the same time, Nato war games in eastern Europe are designed to intimidate Russia. Imagine the response if this madness was reversed and happened on the US's borders. Cue General Turgidson.

And there is China. On 23 April, Obama will begin a tour of Asia to promote his "pivot" to China. The aim is to convince his "allies" in the region, principally Japan, to rearm and prepare for the possibility of war with China. By 2020, almost two-thirds of all US naval forces in the world will be transferred to the Asia-Pacific area. This is the greatest military concentration in that vast region since the second world war.

Complete story at - Nato's action plan in Ukraine is right out of Dr Strangelove | John Pilger | Comment is free | The Guardian

CC Photo by Flickr User x ray delta one Subject is  strangelove

» CIA Will Soon Roll Out Death Squads to Deal With Activists in Eastern Ukraine

In early March of 2014, following Russia’s invasion of Crimea in Ukraine, the New York Times editorial board declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “stepped far outside the bounds of civilized behavior,” suggesting that Russia should be isolated politically and economically in the face of “continued aggression.”

John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, lashed out at Russia’s ”incredible act of aggression,” stating that: “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on [a] completely trumped up pre-text.” Indeed, invading foreign nations on “trumped up pre-texts” is something only the United States and its allies are allowed to do, not Russia! What audacity!

Even Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, proclaimed Russia’s actions in Ukraine to be “aggressive, militaristic and imperialistic ,” threatening “the peace and stability of the world.” This is, of course, despite the fact that Russia’s invasion and occupation of Crimea took place without a single shot fired, and “faced no real opposition and has been greeted with joy by many citizens in the only region of Ukraine with a clear majority of ethnic Russians.”

Indeed, Russia can only be said to be an “aggressive” and “imperial” power so long as one accepts the unrelenting hypocrisy of U.S. and Western leaders. After all, it was not Russia that invaded and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, killing millions. It is not Putin, but rather Barack Obama, who has waged a “global terror campaign,” compiling “kill lists” and using flying killer robots to bomb countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and even the Philippines, killing thousands of people around the world. It is not Putin, but rather, Barack Obama, who has been sending highly-trained killers into over 100 countries around the world at any given time, waging a “secret war” in most of the world’s nations. It was not Russia, but rather the United States, that has supported the creation of “death squads” in Iraq, contributing to the mass violence, civil war and genocide that resulted; or that has been destabilizing Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation, increasing the possibility of nuclear war.

...Damn, I messed up that link, didn't I? Here's the correct one...

Complete story at - » CIA Will Soon Roll Out Death Squads to Deal With Activists in Eastern Ukraine Alex Jones' Infowars:

CC Photo by Flickr User katerw Subject is Brave Death Squads.jpg

CC Photo by Flickr User katerw Subject is Brave Death Squads.

SteveLendmanBlog: Kiev Violates Four-Party Agreement

by Stephen Lendman

The ink wasn't even dry. On April 17, deal terms was struck. A previous article discussed them. Hold the cheers. They're not worth the paper they're written on.

Washington negotiates duplicitously. Promises made are systematically broken. Don't expect this time to be different.

Kiev's illegitimate putschists didn't surprise. They violated agreement terms. They did so straightaway. They acted with full US support. More on this below.

On April 17, a joint US/EU/Russia/Ukraine statement said the following:

"The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens.

All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism.

Complete story at - SteveLendmanBlog: Kiev Violates Four-Party Agreement

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is www globalresearch ca  Subject is ukraine flag1

Twin Ukrainian shocks: tumbling hryvnia and sharply higher inflation

There’s a lot of panic in Ukraine now, and not only the prospect of a Russian military invasion. Everyone who buys anything (which is all of us) are alarmed at increasing prices and the decreasing value of the hryvnia, Ukraine’s battered national currency.

The turmoil in the country has pushed the hryvnia to all-time lows, spurring people to buy dollars and euros.

The hryvnia has dropped around 50 percent since the start of the year, before improving slightly to 11.3 against the dollar on April 17.

Ukraine’s financial solvency depends on receiving help from international creditors.

The International Monetary Fund is considering providing a $18 billion package, short of the $27 billion that Ukraine’s government thinks it needs over the next two years.

On April 14, the European Union approved a mid-term loan of $1.38 billion and an additional $848 million in micro-financial aid for Ukraine. The same day the United States agreed to provide a $1 billion loan guarantee. Meanwhile, the World Bank is going to transfer $750 million in May.

Moreover, the National Bank of Ukraine has raised its key interest rate – from 6.5 percent to 9.5 percent in a bid to strengthen the hrvynia. Besides, regulator has banned 14 commercial banks from interbank foreign exchange market for their speculations.

Government’s official forecast for the average rate of the hryvnia in 2013 is 10.5 to the dollar, while inflation expectations are at 12-14 percent. That is already happening, from the price of bus tickets to prices in groceries, pharmacies and restaurants.

People’s hryvnia wages and savings are simply worth less.

Complete story at - Twin Ukrainian shocks: tumbling hryvnia and sharply higher inflation

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is www globalresearch ca  Subject is ukraine flag1

Recommended Reading via Amazon

If you're seeking more information about how the world really works, and not how the media would want you to believe it works, these books are a good start. These are all highly recommended.

If you don't see pictures above, you likely have an adblocker running.  If so, here are the links.

1. The Shock Doctrine - Naomi Klein
2. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man - John Perkins
3. Manufacturing Consent - Edward Herman, Noam Chomsky
4. Gladio - NATO's Dagger at the Heart of Europe - Richard Cottrell
5. Profit Over People - Noam Chomsky
6. Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives - Stephen Cohen
7. The Divide - American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap - Matt Taibbi

How this works.  Follow one of the links.  Should you decide to buy that item, or any item, I get a small percentage, which helps to maintain this site.  Your cost is the same, whether you buy from my link or not.  But if the item remains in the cart too long, I don't get a thing.  
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