Friday, May 30, 2014

‘The disgraced oligarch’: WikiLeaks cables reveal changing US views on Poroshenko — RT News

The US was among the first states to congratulate Ukraine's president-elect Petro Poroshenko. Yet real US opinions of the new president are more complicated, as revealed by WikiLeaks cables which refer to the billionaire as a “disgraced oligarch.”

For years, the US was keeping an eye on the Ukrainian billionaire and former foreign minister. Between 2006 and 2011, Poroshenko's name was a direct or indirect subject of hundreds of cables released by WikiLeaks.

A simple search for ''Poroshenko'' on WikiLeaks' website gives at least 350 documents mentioning his name. But some of the descriptions provided by US diplomats are far from complimentary.

Poroshenko is not new to politics, having occupied various prominent posts in Ukraine in the past.

The majority of the negative characteristics were given to Poroshenko by US diplomats between 2006-2009 - the years he served as a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada and council chair of the National Bank of Ukraine.

Complete story at - ‘The disgraced oligarch’: WikiLeaks cables reveal changing US views on Poroshenko — RT News

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The Vineyard of the Saker: Does Russia really need the Ukrainian military-industrial complex?

I really like the Asia Times, but the article I saw in it today left me wondering how it could have gotten past the editors. The article in question is Ukraine: A military-industrial complex to die for by Gregory J Moore. While I most definitely encourage you to read the article in its entirety, its thesis is simple: the Ukrainian military-industrial complex is, if not vital, then at least crucial for Russia. Moore gives several examples which I want to quote here:

1) Antonov is not a Russian aircraft manufacturer, its Ukrainian
2) The Ukraine builds many aircraft and helicopter engines
3) The Ukraine builds missiles, rockets and the SS18
4) The Ukraine accounts for 30% of the USSR's shipbuilding industry
5) The Ukraine builds APCs and tanks including the T-84
6) The Ukraine builds air-to-air, surface-to-air and cruise missiles

And all this is true. So what is the problem here?

The problem is that all the examples Moore gives are Soviet-era systems. Even the T-84 is nothing but an upgraded T-80. The Ukraine, just like Russia, has inherited a lot of top-quality Soviet technologies. These technologies were, in fact, so good, that both the Ukraine and Russia could literally "coast" for almost 20 years on that technological basis without really developing any truly new systems. A good example of that is the SS-18 missile which is still one of the most powerful ones on the planet. But it's design is really late 1950s early 1960s technology and it runs on liquid fuel. And yet the Russian Ministry of Defense recently wanted to purchase more of these missile. Why? Money: the Ukrainians were willing to sell them cheap. Now the deal appears dead, much to the delight of the Russian military which did not want that missile to begin with, but which had been told that it was the cheaper solution to a more expensive but also more modern purely Russian alternative.

And here is the key issue here: Russia does not need the Ukrainian MIC, Russia could produce all it needs indigenously, but that would be more expensive. So why spend more when you can spend less and use the difference in developing other sectors?

When the Soviet Union broke apart Russia lost not only the Ukraine but another 13 republics many of which had Soviet MIC resources and many have wondered whether Russia could go by without them. The test of that proposition is simple: can Russia produce completely new weapon systems or not? And the clear answer is yes - Russia can and Russia has.

Take, for example, the new Russian submarines (Borei-class or Yasen-class), new combat aircraft (Su-34 of PAKFA), new tanks (Armata), new ICBMs (SS-27) or SLBMs (SS-N-32). Now, of course, since the weapons-design cycle is very long, all these systems have their origins in Soviet designs, and some might even have part purchased from the Ukraine (or other ex-Soviet states). But the fact that Russia assembled, tested and deployed these systems proves that Russia has the technological know-how to control all the technologies used in them. This is especially true of very complex systems like submarines or advanced combat aircraft. For the general military, the goal is to have the Russian armed forces equipped with new military systems for 70% of all its equipment by 2020. That is ambitious but doable.

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: Does Russia really need the Ukrainian military-industrial complex?

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Cut-Throat Capitalism: Welcome To the Gig Economy | Alternet

May 27, 2014 |

The media are all abuzz with the changing nature of work. Exciting words like “creativity” and “adaptability” get thrown around, specifically in connection to the shift away from steady, full-time employment to a freelancer-dominated, gig economy. Proponents of the gig economy, from Thomas Friedman to bright-eyed TED pundits, tout it as a welcome escape from the prison of the standard workweek and the strictures of corporate America. Working on a project-to-project basis will set you free, they tell us. Wired magazine has called it "the force that could save the American worker.”

But when you’re actually stuck in it, the gig economy looks quite different.

Consider the New York Freelancer’s Union: According to a report in the New York Times, 29 percent of the union’s New York City members earn less than $25,000 a year, and in 2010, 12 percent of members nationally received some type of public assistance. Turns out that life with no health benefits, vacation pay or retirement plan is not a rosy picture.

Writing for Fast Company, Sarah Kessler, who went undercover to hustle for work in the gig economy, put it this way:

“For one month, I became the ‘micro-entrepreneur’ touted by companies like TaskRabbit, Postmates, and Airbnb. Instead of the labor revolution I had been promised, all I found was hard work, low pay, and a system that puts workers at a disadvantage.”

Complete story at - Cut-Throat Capitalism: Welcome To the Gig Economy | Alternet

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Ukraine: The Real Energy Crisis Starts in June | naked capitalism

By Robert Bensh, an energy and energy security expert with over 13 years of experience leading oil and gas companies in Ukraine. He has been involved in various roles in finance, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and government for the past 25 years and is currently the Managing Director and partner with Pelicourt LLC, a private equity firm focused on energy and natural resources in Ukraine. Cross posted from OilPrice

Kiev is feeling emboldened by the successful election of a new Ukrainian president and a bloody surge against separatists in the east, but in just a few days, Russia says it will twist the gas spigot, and there’s very little Kiev can do to stop that.

On June 3, Russia plans to reduce the gas supply to Ukraine — and hence, to Europe — if Kiev has failed to pay in advance for next month’s gas deliveries, the price for which has been doubled as a result of the political crisis.

Interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is trying to play hardball with Moscow, suggesting that gas talks cannot move forward until Russia addresses the issue of $1 billion in gas it stole when it annexed Crimea.

Yatsenyuk may be riding high on the sense of stability the recent presidential election has brought, not to mention the unleashing of the Ukrainian military on pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, but the “stolen gas” gambit is a losing one—a bunch of bluster that certainly won’t make Moscow go away.

Complete story at - Ukraine: The Real Energy Crisis Starts in June | naked capitalism

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Europe and Ukraine: A tale of two elections — RT Op-Edge

Circumstances surrounding the European and Ukrainian elections were far from being a mere coincidence.

The regime changers in Kiev decided to hold a presidential election on May 25, the same day as European Parliament elections, in order to demonstrate their desire to follow a European-centric foreign policy.

Talk about two elections somewhat joined at the hip! In the end, the Ukraine election did actually represent European foreign policy in action – manifested in regime change leading to the specter of civil war.

Few in Europe would have noticed how this process is so far away from “democracy” –instead enshrining intolerance and an ideology of blind confrontation, as represented by this “debate” in Kiev driven by a clueless Yale historian.

Key facts that should be understood are how the West ignored the Odessa massacre, as well as the detention of Russian journalists; and how the West dismissed the aspirations of eastern and southern Ukrainians as the work of “pro-Russians” or “terrorists.” These people simply became objects of repression - fully supervised by the West, with now the whole regime change theatre of the absurd in Kiev legitimized through an election charade.

Way beyond the established fact of an Atlantic push against Russian western borderlands, Ukraine remains a catfight of local oligarchies. No wonder the new Ukrainian president is also an oligarch; the 7th wealthiest citizen in the land, who owns not just a chocolate empire, but also automotive plants, a shipyard in Crimea and a TV channel. The only difference is that he’s a NATO oligarch

Complete story at - Europe and Ukraine: A tale of two elections — RT Op-Edge

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ukraine is a Prize Neither Russia Nor the West Can Afford to Win | Brookings Institution

Authors' Note: This article is based on a section of our paper, “Beyond the Sanctions: Russia, the West, and Ukraine.”

Almost forgotten in the discussions of the conflict between Russia and the West is what happens to Ukraine. The answer to that question, like so many other problems, depends on how much each side is willing to pay for their preferred outcome. It is important therefore to understand the costs of the potential outcomes for Ukraine and how those costs will be apportioned between Russia and the West.

The West sees itself as defending Ukraine against Russia, and since it won’t wage military war against Russia it has two main ways to do that, both economic. The first is to shore up Ukraine’s huge economic vulnerabilities, mainly by helping Ukraine pay its bills and plug its deficits. The IMF has pledged $17 billion to that end, the EU a nearly equal sum. The second way the West is defending Ukraine is to levy economic sanctions against Russia to deter it from further aggression.

From Russia’s standpoint, things are more complicated, but in the end there, too, it comes down to economics. Russia sees Ukraine as a front in a war being waged by the West against Russia. Through its actions in Ukraine, Russia is telling the West to stop using the country as a staging ground for operations against Russia. Russia sees sanctions as a yet another weapon in the West’s war. Russia knows it is far inferior to its adversaries in terms of economic size and strength (the combined GDP of Russia’s NATO and EU adversaries is roughly 15 times that of Russia’s), so it has opted not to engage in tit-for-tat responses to Western sanctions. Instead, it resorts to “asymmetric” measures. It looks for weak spots. One obvious such weak spot is Ukraine’s economy. The Russia attitude is, if the Western coalition wants to use Ukraine against us, let them see how much it will cost.

It is clear to most observers that the West would not be able to defend Ukraine economically from a hostile Russia. Russia is in a position to do far more damage than the West can defend against or repair. It’s always true that it’s easier to undermine a country economically than to build it up. It’s easier to destabilize than stabilize. It is perhaps less evident that the West would have a very hard time stabilizing the Ukrainian economy even if Russia weren’t around to make mischief. The simple fact is that Russia today supports the Ukrainian economy to the tune of at least $5 billion, perhaps as much as $10 billion, each year.

When we talk about subsidies, we usually think of Russia’s ability to offer Ukraine cheap gas — which it does when it wants to. But there are many more ways Russia supports Ukraine, only they are hidden. The main support comes in form of Russian orders to Ukrainian heavy manufacturing enterprises. This part of Ukrainian industry depends almost entirely on demand from Russia. They wouldn’t be able to sell to anyone else. The southern and eastern provinces of Ukraine are dominated by Soviet-era dinosaur enterprises similar to Russia’s. They were all built in Soviet times as part of a single, integrated energy-abundant economy. They could be sustained only thanks to the rents from Soviet (overwhelmingly Russian) oil and gas. Russian subsidies have continued to maintain the structure in the post-Soviet era. Because most of these subsidies are informal, they do not appear in official statistics. (In fact, not even Putin talks about them, though it might be to his advantage to do so, because acknowledging the existence of hidden Russian subsidies to value-destroying Ukrainian enterprises would expose the fact that the same thing goes on, on a much greater scale, with their Russian counterparts. They, too, are not producing real value.)

Complete story at - Ukraine is a Prize Neither Russia Nor the West Can Afford to Win | Brookings InstitutionCC Photo Google Image Search Source is www globalresearch ca  Subject is ukraine flag1

'Poroshenko can only pretend that he controls the situation in Ukraine' — RT Op-Edge

Pyotr Poroshenko is a kind of a puppet president and it is total chaos when it comes to the control system and the governmental system in Ukraine, Mateusz Piskorski, political scientist from the European Center of Geopolitical Analysis, told RT.

RT: Just a week ago, Poroshenko was calling for dialogue with the East. Why this sudden u-turn?

Mateusz Piskorski: Just a week ago, he tried to gain as much support as it is possible before the elections. Of course, he also counted on those voters who are living in eastern and southern parts of the country. Although, as we know, the elections in Lugansk and Donetsk regions did not take place, in several other regions like Odessa, Poroshenko tried to get the support of those voters who support dialogue.

On the other hand, we know that it is not Poroshenko who is in control of the situation and the military forces now in Ukraine. So he can do nothing, he is a kind of a puppet president at the moment. He does not control the SBU, the secret service of Ukraine, which is controlled by Mr. Valentin Nalivaychenko. Mr. Nalivaychenko is a direct collaborator with the CIA and American services. As well, Mr. Poroshenko does not control the Ministry of Internal Affairs and its Minister Avakov who is closely connected to Miss Tymoshenko, the harshest competitor during the electoral campaign of Mr. Poroshenko.

Complete story at - 'Poroshenko can only pretend that he controls the situation in Ukraine' — RT Op-Edge

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Mr. Kerry, Stop Bullying Venezuela | This Can't Be Happening!

by: John Grant

I don’t believe in the dogmatic postulates of Marxist revolution. I don’t accept that we are living in a period of proletarian revolutions. Reality is telling us that every day. But if I am told that because of that reality you can’t do anything to help the poor, then I say, “We part company.”                             -Hugo Chavez, 2004

The hypocrisy of the government of the United States seems to know no limits. The current posture it’s taking toward the elected government of Venezuela is simply shameful.

Secretary of State John Kerry and two powerful US Senators are threatening economic sanctions unless the duly elected Venezuelan government changes its tune in on-going talks between itself and a collection of disgruntled right-wing parties and business elements. The headline in the New York Times reads: “Kerry Calls on Venezuela To Talk with Opposition.” What it should have read was: “Kerry Threatens Venezuela With Sanctions: Do It Our Way, Or Else.”

The headline misleads because talks are already in process mediated by representatives from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and the Roman Catholic Church. Venezuela is talking; the opposition just hasn’t gotten what it or the US wants -- hence the threats. Encouraging fair diplomatic talks is a good thing; but threats of an economic attack? The hypocrisy is laughable.

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Can you imagine John Kerry threatening Israel with economic sanctions if it did not “demonstrate good-faith actions” or “honor the dialogue process” or “restore the civil liberties of [Palestinian] leaders who have been unjustly imprisoned.” Kerry’s Israel/Palestine diplomacy crashed and burned last month, and as most of the world knows, the Israeli decision to pursue new West Bank settlements in the midst of the talks had a lot to do with their demise. The Israelis failed miserably at “good faith actions.” So why not economic sanctions against Israel? You gotta be kidding.

Complete story at - Mr. Kerry, Stop Bullying Venezuela | This Can't Be Happening!

M of A - Ukraine: Major "Western" Think Tank Admits Defeat

Ukraine: Major "Western" Think Tank Admits Defeat

There is simply no viable alternative for Ukraine than to cooperate with Russia and to pay the price that is necessary to do so. That is why Russia is just sitting back and waiting for that simple truth to become evident.

Back in February we said:

Putin will now sit back and let the "west" squabble about who will throw tons of money into the bottomless pit that Ukraine is going to become. ... Putin now just has to wait for the apple to fall from the tree.

In March:

To the growing unrest one can add the likely economic collapse that will come rather sooner than later. Any "western" help will be conditioned on austerity and impoverishing the people as well as on political reform that the oligarchs and the current politicians will not allow to happen. Under such condition further unrest is a given while Ukraine falls apart and there is no need at all for Russia to intervene to achieve such.

Russia will do nothing nefarious, it will do just nothing. Russia will not help, neither economically nor politically, unless Kiev and the "west" are willing to pay its price: A federalized Ukraine with strong regions and a weak central government.

Two month later this truth finally dawns to the mediocre thinkers in those "western" misnamed tanks. The Brookings Institute, which in general supports Obama policies, finally admits that a Ukraine without Russia is impossible and therefore cooperation with Russia on Ukraine is the only viable way forward. It all comes back to money. The loss of access to Russian markets is already hitting and will kill Ukraine's heavy and weapon industry in east Ukraine. That will be expensive:

[A] minimum estimate is $276 billion to buy off the east. It is unthinkable that the West would pay this amount.


The key point here is that there can be no viable Ukraine without serious contributions from both Russia and the West. Of all the options for Ukraine’s future, a Ukraine exclusively in the West is the least feasible. A Ukraine fully under Russian control and with severed links to the West is, unfortunately, possible.

Complete story at - M of A - Ukraine: Major "Western" Think Tank Admits Defeat

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

R. Hunter Biden Should Declare Who Really Owns His New Ukrainian Employer, Burisma Holdings | naked capitalism

Here’s last week’s big announcement, adorned by a photograph of an American with a faintly alarming rictus; oh yes, oh dear me, yes: Hunter Biden joins the team of Burisma Holdings:

Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, has expanded its Board of Directors by bringing on Mr. R Hunter Biden as a new director.


However, it is not R. Hunter Biden’s appointment that is a hoax, nor Devon Archer’s; nor is it, for that matter, the appointment of the ex-President of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski, who is also on Burisma’s board, as of January. No, it’s Burisma itself that looks flaky, even on a casual inspection.

But surely, that would be a failure of due diligence on the part of messrs Biden, Archer and Kwasniewski? Indeed it would, but there is a most unfortunate precedent for such a failure, which you can read about here, at some length. To sum it up: in 2006 or so, two Bidens, James Biden (future VP’s brother) and our R. Hunter Biden (future VP’s son), wildly overpaid a drug-addicted very senior Moonie for a hedge fund marketing operation that was hugely exaggerating its size and success, and turned out to be distributing ponzis, including the giant Allen Stanford ponzi, second only to Madoff, and other eyecatching frauds, such as Ponta Negra, via a sales network that included brokers with visibly very terrible FINRA records.


Which brings us, five years after the Paradigm scandal blew up, to R. Hunter Biden’s new job at Burisma Holdings, a company that has a mysterious past.


The identification of Privat Group as the owner of Burisma, though unconfirmed, is logical enough. Privat Group is a conglomerate controlled by the ferocious Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky.


One also still wonders how oil- and gas-rich those Burisma Holdings assets really are; they never amounted to much in the years 2003-2009; why are they so much better after another roll of the dice? R. Hunter Biden could always get the boss to call in a geologist, I suppose, in the name of transparency, and all. Is there new capital, provenance unknown? Or are there new permits, acquired under the deliriously corrupt Yanukovych regime? Or is there still nothing much to Burisma Holdings at all?

Complete story at - R. Hunter Biden Should Declare Who Really Owns His New Ukrainian Employer, Burisma Holdings | naked capitalism

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Iraq: the Biggest Petroleum Heist in History? | The Smirking Chimp

“Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, US and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq’s oil market. But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973.”
— Antonia Juhasz, oil industry analyst, Al Jazeera.

These are the ‘best of times’ for the oil giants in Iraq. Production is up, profits are soaring, and big oil is rolling in dough. Here’s the story from the Wall Street Journal:

“Iraq’s oil production surged to its highest level in over 30 years last month, surprising skeptics of the country’s efforts to restore its oil industry after decades of war and neglect.” (Wall Street Journal)

Mission accomplished?

You bet. But for those who still cling to the idea that the US was serious about promoting democracy or removing a vicious dictator or eliminating WMD or any of the other kooky excuses, consider what we’ve learned in the last couple weeks. Here’s the story from Aljazeera:

“While the US military has formally ended its occupation of Iraq, some of the largest western oil companies, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, remain.

Complete story at - Iraq: the Biggest Petroleum Heist in History? | The Smirking Chimp

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Who will benefit from the IMF's $17bn bailout of Ukraine? Not its people | Michael Burke | Comment is free |

In return for the latest $17bn bailout of Ukraine the IMF insists on dramatic measures in five main areas of the economy: a sharp currency devaluation, which will increase the cost of all imported goods, a government-funded bailout for domestic banks, government spending cuts, measures to regulate money laundering and a sharp increase in energy prices.

The latter are particularly ironic, since the widespread story in the west is that it is the Russian oil giant Gazprom that is threatening price hikes. The IMF calls for energy prices to be increased by between 240% and 425% over the next four years. No wonder Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says he will be "the most unpopular prime minister in the history of my country".

Many of the usual arguments are advanced for the terms, such as the emergency need to "stabilise government finances". But on the fund's own admission the implementation of its policies will lead to an increase in Ukraine's public sector deficit in the short term, and the deficit "will decline only gradually thereafter". Preserving the private-sector banks seems to take precedence over the stated objective of improving government finances. The state will be expected to recapitalise the failed private banks using public resources.

Complete story at - Who will benefit from the IMF's $17bn bailout of Ukraine? Not its people | Michael Burke | Comment is free |

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The State Department's Ukraine Fiasco | The Smirking Chimp

American diplomacy, by definition, is supposed to advance the national interests of the United States, not contribute to international crises that undermine those interests. Yet, by that standard, the U.S. State Department and Secretary of State John Kerry have failed extraordinarily during the current Ukraine crisis.

Besides ripping Ukraine apart – and getting scores of Ukrainians killed – the U.S.-supported coup in February has injected more uncertainty into Europe’s economy by raising doubts about the continued supply of Russian natural gas. Such turbulence is the last thing that Europe’s fragile “recovery” needs as mass unemployment now propels the rise of right-wing parties and threatens the future of the European Union.

Any new business downturn in Europe also would inflict harm on the U.S. economy, which itself is still clawing its way out of a long recession and needs a healthy Europe as an important trading partner. But the crisis in Ukraine, spurred on by Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and other anti-Russian hardliners, is now complicating the U.S. recovery, too.

There’s also the problematic impact of pulling Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and locking it into Europe’s: the scheme would shift the financial burden for Ukraine’s impoverished population of 45 million people onto Europe’s back, even as the EU is straining to meet the human needs of the jobless in Greece, Spain and other countries devastated by the Great Recession.

One of Ukraine’s principal exports to Europe has been low-wage Ukrainian workers, including participants in the criminal underworld, most notably prostitution. The willingness of Ukrainians to take the lowest-paying jobs across Europe has exacerbated the Continent’s unemployment situation and is sure to become an even bigger problem if a bankrupt Ukraine is more fully integrated into Europe.

Complete story at - The State Department's Ukraine Fiasco | The Smirking Chimp

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Looking for Ukraine by Tim Judah | The New York Review of Books

Sloviansk—Every now and then I can hear distant explosions and bursts of gunfire. But most of the time, here in the center of Sloviansk, which since early April has become eastern Ukraine’s separatist stronghold, everything is quiet. Since the small town is chopped up by barricades and many businesses and factories have closed down, there is not much going on, so that when the wind blows you can hear it shimmer the leaves of the silver birches that line the streets. If you were looking for war here, it would be hard to find.

Ice creams are still getting through the checkpoints around town and there is a steady stream of people buying them. As I chose a chocolate bear, Irina, aged fifty, who sells them, told me that she liked being here among people, because the worst thing in this situation was being at home, alone and anxious.

When we come to look back on the Ukrainian conflict, it will be hard, if it moves from its current low-level state to a full-blown war, to say that such-and-such a date marked its beginning. Was it the day that some forty people died, many after being trapped in a building that then caught fire in Odessa? Was it the day that seven people or was it more than twenty or perhaps more than one hundred died in Mariupol, another Black Sea town? For people here the numbers they believe depend on whether they follow the Russian or Ukrainian press and, since both are lying and distorting slivers of truth, it is not surprising that people are being dragged down into a vortex of war.

But while it will be hard to agree on a date, it is already easy to say what is happening in people’s heads. Six months ago everyone here just went about their normal business. They were worried about the things that everyone worries about, and here especially: low salaries, scraping by, collecting money for all the bribes one has to pay, and so on. And then something snapped. The rotting ship of the Ukrainian state sprung a leak and everything began to go down. In people’s heads a new reality has gradually begun to take shape and, in this way, everyone is being prepared for war.

Complete story at - Looking for Ukraine by Tim Judah | The New York Review of Books

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Is the West DIRECTLY Responsible for the Massacres In Ukraine? Washington's Blog

Biggest German Newspapers Say Blackwater Behind Massacres

FireDogLake reported on Monday:

Breaking during the weekend was a story by Der Spiegel and Bild that American mercenaries were on the ground in Kiev. According to the report 400 mercenaries from Academi (formerly Blackwater) were on the ground “involved in a punitive operation mounted by Ukraine’s new government.”

Der Spiegel claims “the information originates from U.S. intelligence services and was presented during a meeting chaired by the Chancellor’s Office chief Peter Altmaier (CDU). At the meeting were present the president of the intelligence agencies and the Federal Criminal Office, as well as the intelligence coordinator of the Chancellor’s Office and senior Ministry officials.”

Indeed, the German newspaper apparently claim that the American mercenaries are directing and coordinating the attacks by the fascist Right Sector militia.

Blackwater is more or less an extension of the CIA.

There are also dozens of CIA and FBI “advisors” in Ukraine, and the CIA director visited Kiev before the massacres started.

In any event, even if the U.S. is not directly responsible for the massacres, we are certainly indirectly responsible. After all, the U.S. is backing neo-Nazis in Ukraine (and see this).

Complete story at - Is the West DIRECTLY Responsible for the Massacres In Ukraine? Washington's Blog

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The Official James Petras website » The Kiev Putsch: Rebel Workers Take Power in the East

Up until 2013 the Ukraine was a ‘buffer state’, basically a non-aligned country, with economic ties to both the EU and Russia. Ruled by a regime closely tied to local, European, Israeli and Russian based oligarchs, the political elite was a product of a political upheaval in 2004, (the so-called “Orange Revolution”) funded by the US. Subsequently, for the better part of a decade the Ukraine underwent a failed experiment in Western backed ‘neo-liberal’ economic policies. After nearly two decades of political penetration, the US and EU were deeply entrenched in the political system via long-standing funding of so-called non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), political parties and paramilitary groups.

The strategy of the US and EU was to install a pliant regime which would bring Ukraine into the European Common Market and NATO as a subordinate client state. Negotiations between the EU and the Ukraine government proceeded slowly. They eventually faltered because of the onerous conditions demanded by the EU and the more favorable economic concessions and subsidies offered by Russia. Having failed to negotiate the annexation of the Ukraine to the EU, and not willing to await scheduled constitutional elections, the NATO powers activated their well-financed and organized NGOs, client political leaders and armed paramilitary groups to violently overthrow the elected government. The violent putsch succeeded and a US-appointed civilian-military junta took power.

The junta was composed of pliant neo-liberal and chauvinist neo-fascist ‘ministers’. The former were hand-picked by the US, to administer and enforce a new political and economic order, including privatization of public firms and resources, breaking trade and investment ties with Russia, eliminating a treaty allowing the Russian naval base in Crimea and ending military-industrial exports to Russia. The neo-fascists and sectors of the military and police were appointed to ministerial positions in order to violently repress any pro-democracy opposition in the West and East. They oversaw the repression of bilingual speakers (Russian-Ukrainian), institutions and practices – turning the opposition to the US-NATO imposed coup regime into an ethnic opposition. They purged all elected opposition office holders in the West and East and appointed local governors by fiat – essentially creating a martial law regime.

Complete story at - The Official James Petras website » The Kiev Putsch: Rebel Workers Take Power in the East

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Putin’s Threat Just Stunned U.S. and Europe

Today former US Treasury official, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, warned King World News that the threat made by Putin today just stunned the United States and Europe.  Dr. Roberts also discussed how the threat unfolded today at the International Economic Forum in Russia.  Below is what Dr. Roberts had to say in this powerful interview.

Eric King:  “Dr. Roberts, there is this International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg (Russia).  I know the U.S. has pulled out, but does the high level of attendance, despite Washington’s pressure, indicate fading U.S. influence?”

Dr. Roberts:  “Yes.  One of the advisors to Putin had publicly complained that Washington had put unprecedented pressure on American and European countries not to attend.  But it turns out that present at this forum, which began yesterday and continues today and tomorrow, there are official delegations from 62 countries, and the CEOs of 146 of the major companies in the world….

“Last year trade deals were made that totaled $263 billion — more than a quarter of a trillion dollars.  And I suspect that there will be an equal success in trade deals this year.  For example, the heads of BP, Total (SA), Shell, Exxon, Phillips, Caterpillar, they’ve all gone to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, despite Washington’s pressure.

So what we are seeing is that it’s OK to cooperate with Washington’s absurd foreign policy, until it starts to effect the bottom line.  (Laughter ensues).  If it affects the bottom line, the Germans (as an example) aren’t so interested.  You may have seen that the French have said they are going to continue their military sales to Russia, regardless of Washington.

Complete story at - Putin’s Threat Just Stunned U.S. and Europe

Audio interview with Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

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​Just imagine... If Russia had toppled the Canadian government — RT Op-Edge

Just imagine if the democratically-elected government of Canada had been toppled in a Russian-financed coup, in which far-right extremists and neo-Nazis played a prominent role.

That the new unelected 'government' in Ottawa cancelled the law giving the French language official status, appointed a billionaire oligarch to run Quebec and signed an association agreement with a Russian-led trade bloc.

Just imagine…

If Russia had spent $5 billion on regime change in Canada and then a leading Canadian energy firm had appointed to its board of directors the son of a top Russian government politician.

Just imagine…

If the Syrian government had hosted a meeting in Damascus of the 'Friends of Britain'- a group of countries who supported the violent overthrow of David Cameron's government.

That the Syrian government and its allies gave the anti-government ‘rebels’ in Britain millions of pounds and other support, and failed to condemn ‘rebel’ groups when they killed British civilians and bombed schools, hospitals and universities.

That the Syrian Foreign Minister dismissed next year’s scheduled general election in the UK as a ‘parody of democracy’ and said that Cameron must stand down before any elections are held.

Complete story at - ​Just imagine... If Russia had toppled the Canadian government — RT Op-Edge

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The Russians are coming! (or maybe not) | Counterfire

They have been like headlines from darkest days of the Cold War: “Russian troops massing on the border! Tanks set to roll”

Will they invade? When will they attack?

That Crimea would only be the start of campaign of seizures by Russia has become an underlying assumption of much of the commentary. Hasn't Russia always been an expansionist power after all?

Then Putin announced that Russia was pulling its troops back from the border and called for the referendums in the east to be called off, and this narrative was called into question.

Either it must just be a ruse on his part, or the dominant narrative wrong.

No guesses which formulation the media has gone for. The wily fox is just trying to keep everyone off guard. The "War on Ukraine" continues. We must prepare for the worst.

Rhetoric with a purpose

This Cold war rhetoric is serving a purpose though.

It is acting as a justification for increased arms spending and further Nato expansion.

For instance in just one recent statement, after accusing Russia of expansionism and militarism, the head of Nato Anders Fogh Rassmussen said that “Above all, we must stop the decline of our defence budgets. And start reinvesting in our security.”

Not wanting to let a good crisis go to waste Nato leaders have sought to use the Russian menace to once again justify its own existence and the waste billions on useless baroque and useless military technology.

After a twenty years of having to find new missions (“nation building”, “liberal intervention”) it can now get back to its original mission, defence of the “western civilization” against the Russian hordes.

Complete story at - The Russians are coming! (or maybe not) | Counterfire

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Why Everything You've Read About Ukraine Is Wrong

This article is by Vladimir Golstein, a professor of Slavic studies at Brown University. He was born in Moscow and emigrated to the United States in 1979.

The mainstream American media has taken a nearsighted view of the Ukrainian crisis by following a script laid out by the State Department. Most reports have either ignored the truth or spun it in a way that paints only a partial picture. Here are seven things you should know about Ukraine.

1. Regardless of claims by some commentators like Forbes contributor Greg Sattell, the divisions in Ukraine are real, and violence unleashed by the Kiev regime is polarizing the nation further. While the differences between the Ukrainian west and the more Russian-facing rest of the country are widely acknowledged, what tends to be overlooked is that the culture, language, and political thinking of western Ukraine have been imposed upon the rest of Ukraine. Ostensibly this is for the sake of “unifying the country,” but in fact the objective has been to put down and humiliate Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population. The radical nationalists of western Ukraine, for whom the rejection of Russia and its culture is an article of faith, intend to force the rest of the country to fit their narrow vision. Western and eastern Ukraine do not understand each other’s preoccupations, just as Cubans in Miami and Cubans in Havana would not understand each other. Ukrainian conflict is not the conflict between the “pro-Russian separatists” and “pro-Ukrainians,” but rather between two Ukrainian groups who do not share each other’s vision of an independent Ukraine. (more)

2. The Western press was wrong about the massacre of Ukrainian citizens in Odessa on May 2, 2014, when as many as 100 (the officially accepted number appears to be 42) unarmed people were burned alive in an Odessa building. When telling the story, the Western press reported on the clashes between pro-Ukrainian soccer hooligans and pro-Russian protesters without any explanation as to why the results of these clashes were so one-sided. (more)

3. The Ukrainian elections scheduled for May 25 would hardly solve the economic problems of Ukraine, since there is a glaring absence of good candidates. Current political contenders in the elections are either Soviet-style oligarchs like Petro Poroshenko, corrupt politicians like former Prime Minister Iulia Timoshenko, or former member of Timoshenko’s cabinet Arseny Iatseniuk. (more)

4. Politicians do not really matter in Ukraine, because Ukraine is the land of oligarchs. For better or for worse, Putin has put an end to oligarch rule in Russia. Members of Putin’s inner circle may be immensely rich, but they know to whom they owe their wealth. By imprisoning Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Putin sent a clear message to the all-powerful oligarchs that controlled Russia during former president Boris Yeltsin’s time: stay out of politics. (more)

5. The Western press, including Forbes, has underestimated the extent of oligarch Igor Kolomoisky’s influence. Taking the concept “corporate raiding” literally, Kolomoisky has employed paramilitary units at his disposal for all kinds of hostile takeovers. Undoubtedly a shrewd businessman, he managed to wrestle various businesses from such powerful competitors as the current president of Tatarstan, and, if we believe Putin, from Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. Kolomoisky’s recent foray into politics has been carried out on the same grand scale. (more)

6. Russia is weak. The country is losing population and shrinking geographically and economically. Russia is clearly overextended. Look at the Russian-Chinese border, where the concentration of population reveals a grim picture for Russia: there are about 100,000 Chinese per square kilometer on the south side of the border vs. 10 Russians on the Russian side. (more)

7. President Putin has been accommodating to Western interests. Despite what you read in the Western press, he didn’t protest about NATO expansion, he gave up on a number of important Russian military bases, and acted aggressively only when he felt that Russia’s back yard was threatened. Annexation of Crimea, while responding to very strong popular demands both in Russia and Crimea, was a limited operation that enabled Putin to save his face after “losing” Ukraine. Since then he has given plenty of indications that he is ready to call it a day. His limited goals are acknowledged in the writings and interviews of such people as former ambassador to Russia Jack Matlock, or former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. But what needs to be stressed is that the next Russian leader might not be that accommodating, especially in light of continuous and needless bullying on the part of the US. (more)

Complete story at - Why Everything You've Read About Ukraine Is Wrong

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Stop forcing Ukraine into a narrative of Moscow versus Washington | Oliver Bullough | Comment is free | The Guardian

Damn, this article starts off well, but it's conclusions are well off the mark. :-(

Anyone who tells you Ukraine is a battle between Russia and the west is wrong. It is a lazy narrative told by ignorant people, but is helping create a genuine tragedy that we should all be concerned about.

The history of Ukraine's crisis began not in February, with Viktor Yanukovych's flight, but in 1991, with independence. Desperate to break communism, privatisers sold state assets as quickly as they could. They didn't care who got them; they just wanted private property to exist. They thought the new owners would insist on their rights, and thus build a stable society, governed by the rule of law.

It was the west that killed that dream. By moving their wealth offshore – to Austria, the Caribbean or the various UK-owned tax havens – Ukraine's property owners could enjoy western property rights, while benefiting from chaos at home. That turned the privatisers' calculations on their head.

Insiders snatched Ukraine's industries, with particularly powerful business clans in the cities of Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk. They fought for control of the government in Kiev, but all had the same basic interest: to perpetuate chaos. The longer Ukraine was a mess, the richer they got.

This was not Russia against the west; everyone piled in. Just look at the needless intermediary company created by Dmitry Firtash in 2004 to buy gas from Russia and sell it to Ukraine, making more than $600m a year. RosUkrEnergo was a west-east joint venture: half owned by Russia's Gazprom, half owned via an Austrian bank. Every dollar it earned was a dollar less for ordinary Ukrainians.

Complete story at - Stop forcing Ukraine into a narrative of Moscow versus Washington | Oliver Bullough | Comment is free | The Guardian

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China And Putin May Have Just Screwed America's Future, And Your Retirement With It

Although receiving relatively little attention from the mainstream media, the Bank of China (BOC) just signed a non-dollar settlement deal with VTB, one of Russia’s largest commercial banks. The agreement will allow VTB and BOC to pay each in their domestic currency, removing the need for the US Dollar to settle the trade. This might not sound like much; but in terms of international trade and finance, it is huge. Since the Bretton-Woods agreement after WWII, nations have used the USD in international business dealings. But reserve currency status does not last forever. The Dollar is losing this position, and it will have serious ramifications for the United States and everyone invested in the dollar.

As an ex bond/FX trader, I understand the benefits the United States receives as a result of the USD enjoying reserve status. There is a natural bid, or demand, for entities to own Dollars. Countries want to store their wealth in an instrument that will retain its value. For almost eighty years, this has been the United States Dollar. But we have squandered this position through our financial irresponsibility. As our sovereign debt approaches twenty trillion Dollars, nations and corporations can be forgiven for wondering if we will ever have the will or the means to pay back this astounding sum of money. They believe we will have to devalue our currency, i.e. print money, to settle what we owe as a country. Therefore, they are starting to look for other vehicles to store their wealth and settle their transactions in.

Even before signing this bilateral deal, China in particular has been one nation that has started to move its assets elsewhere to protect its interests. Vince Miller, senior market strategist at Birch Gold Group, believes that the Chinese are putting a staggering sum of their wealth into gold: “When China last reported their gold holdings in 2008, they had 1,054 tons. Since then, they’ve gone absolutely silent on how much they have, but if you start to add up the numbers – the reported imports flowing into the country each month, the estimated NON-reported imports on top of that, plus what the Chinese can mine in gold from within their borders – we wouldn’t be surprised if some recent reports that put the nation’s current holdings in the 3,000 to 5,000 ton range were accurate.”

As more nations make moves similar to the Chinese, the demand for Dollars will start to slide as this process unfolds. As there is less reserve currency demand, the value of the Dollar will fall. This will have a negative impact on the American consumer, as import prices will rise. The United States will be much more susceptible to economic crises; and the value of our currency will swing much more freely, making it much harder for businesses and individuals to manage their finances. Our standard of living will shrink further than it already has. No country has ever devalued its way to prosperity. Only banana republics try to do this. Americans also will have to pay much more when they travel overseas.

Complete story at - China And Putin May Have Just Screwed America's Future, And Your Retirement With ItThe Holy Cow Dollar

Has America's Use of Finance as a Foreign Policy Tool Backfired? | naked capitalism

From the 1980s onward, one of the major aims of American foreign policy has been to make the world safer for US investment bankers. That might seem like an exaggeration until you look at the priorities of American economic policy as well as the actions of US-dominated international institutions like the World Bank and the IMF. The World Bank, though its International Finance Corporations, pushed emerging economies to set up capital markets. The posture was that more open markets were always better.

Now that we’ve had repeated tsunamis of hot money flows in and out of small economies wreak havoc with them, conventional wisdom among development economists is more along the lines of “protectionism in emerging economies is desirable so they can develop companies and/or export sectors that are capable of competing internationally, and also serve domestic markets, so that the economy isn’t too export dependent. Open capital markets produce too much volatility in interest and foreign exchange rates and thus undermine internal development.”

Similarly, the US has pressed advanced economies for more open financial markets. America’s insistence that Japan deregulate its banking system was a prime driver of its 1980s bubble (I had a bird’s eye view of how the Japanese banks went full bore into all sorts of products and markets they didn’t understand and incurred huge losses as a result).

A cynic might point out that Japan’s speculative boom and bust put a decisive end to Japan’s status as serious challenger to American economic dominance. The Chinese, the poster children of successful development, have made a close study of the Japanese experience. Among other things, the Chinese decided to maintain tight control over the banking system and have restricted international capital flows. Note these curbs have become less effective over time, perhaps due to neglect. Regional governments have helped spawn a large shadow banking system and wealthy company owners have been able to evade capital controls through over-invoicing. Nevertheless, the Chinese financial system is a long way away from being deregulated. As a result, the consensus among Western securities analysts is that China will be able to engineer a soft landing despite the scary size of its credit bubble.

Now of course, there has been pushback against the American model of open capital markets since they can and do upend the real economy. After the Asian financial crisis of the 1997, when the IMF put in place “shock doctrine” style reform programs, countries throughout Asia concluded that they never wanted to suffer through that again. They pegged their currencies low relative to the dollar to build up foreign exchange reserve warchests. Economists have argued that this use of currency pricing to increase exports to the US has been a major culprit in the decline of US manufacturing and job losses. So to the extent that this strategy might have produced foreign policy advantages, it has come at considerable domestic cost.

Complete story at - Has America's Use of Finance as a Foreign Policy Tool Backfired? | naked capitalism

The Holy Cow Dollar

Ukraine’s Population Challenge | FiveThirtyEight


Ukraine’s population has been shrinking fast — a trend that started long before Russia annexed Crimea in March, and 4 percent of Ukraine’s population with it.

Ukraine’s population declined by 6.3 million people, or 12 percent, between 1990 — the year before it gained independence from the Soviet Union — and 2012, the latest year for which the government has released estimates. And the United Nations projects the trend will continue: In the most likely scenario, Ukraine’s population will dip below 34 million in 2050, or less than two-thirds its population at independence.

Four main factors drive population, and Ukraine is lagging in all of them. Births are well below replacement level. That has persisted long enough to age the population and drive down the proportion of women who are at the ages of peak fertility.1 Ukraine’s life expectancy is lower than in wealthier countries with low fertility, such as Germany and South Korea, so it needs more births than those countries do to compensate for deaths. And more people have moved out of Ukraine than have moved in, though net migration is balancing out.

In Ukraine, “Most women stop at one child mainly for economic reasons,” Oleh Wolowyna, a research fellow at the Center for Slavic, Eurasian and Eastern European Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote in an email.

“Mortality is very high, especially among men, due to unhealthy life styles (mainly smoking and drinking) and a very deficient health-care system,” Wolowyna said. “The large outmigration is due to high unemployment and low wages.”

At one point, Ukraine was losing much of its population to migration: a net loss of more than two people per 1,000 population each year from 1994 to 2001, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s International Program. During that period, more than a quarter of the country’s population loss resulted from people choosing to leave. Since then, though, outmigration has slowed to a trickle.

Complete story at - Ukraine’s Population Challenge | FiveThirtyEightCC Photo Google Image Search Source is www globalresearch ca  Subject is ukraine flag1

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ukraine's Controversial WWII Legacy Lives On As Nation Remains Divided Over Nazi Allegiances

CHERVONE, Ukraine -- Ukrainians dressed in Nazi SS uniform trudge through trenches and fire model rifles in a reconstruction of a key battle against the Soviets during World War II. An Orthodox priest leads a ceremony for fallen soldiers of the Nazi unit, sprinkling his blessing over several men sporting swastikas who lower a coffin in a ritual reburial.

The scenes were part of commemorations last week of soldiers many Ukrainian nationalists – along with a smattering of hardcore ultra-rightists – hail as heroes. The men they are honoring belonged to the SS Galician division, a Nazi military unit made up mostly of Ukrainians, which fought Soviet troops during World War II.

More than 20 years since gaining independence from the Soviet Union, Ukraine remains painfully divided over the legacy of World War II and the actions of Ukrainian nationalist fighters, who are honored as heroes by some and condemned as traitors by others. Some of those fighters served under or cooperated with the Nazis, seeing a chance to overthrow the Soviet regime, while others fought both the Red Army and the Nazis.

"Ukraine is in our souls and hearts," said SS Galician division veteran Mykhailo Yamulyk, a gray-haired man in his late 80s, before the remains of some of his fellow soldiers were reburied in coffins draped with the yellow-and-blue Ukrainian flag at a cemetery in this small village in western Ukraine. "Those who say that we wore German uniform – yes, we did, and our weapons were German, but our hearts were full of Ukrainian blood and we never betrayed it."


Post-Soviet Ukraine has failed to investigate, prosecute or bring to trial a single Nazi war criminal, according to Efraim Zuroff, the top Nazi hunter with the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The same is true of other post-Communist countries with a record of Nazi collaboration such as Latvia, Estonia and Belarus. Pressed by the West, Lithuania put three Nazi criminals on trial, but waited until they were too old or unfit to be punished. In all of these countries, experts say, suspected Nazi collaborators were protected because of their role fighting the Soviets, considered by much of the population as the greater enemy.

Complete story at - Ukraine's Controversial WWII Legacy Lives On As Nation Remains Divided Over Nazi AllegiancesFair Use Source is rt com  Subject is 000 par7866597

Chris Hedges: They Can’t Outlaw the Revolution - Chris Hedges - Truthdig

RIKERS ISLAND, N.Y.—Cecily McMillan, the Occupy activist who on Monday morning will appear before a criminal court in New York City to be sentenced to up to seven years on a charge of assaulting a police officer, sat in a plastic chair wearing a baggy, oversized gray jumpsuit, cheap brown plastic sandals and horn-rim glasses. Other women, also dressed in prison-issued gray jumpsuits, sat nearby in the narrow, concrete-walled visitation room clutching their children, tears streaming down their faces. The children, bewildered, had their arms wrapped tightly around their mothers’ necks. It looked like the disaster scene it was.

“It’s all out in the open here,” said the 25-year-old student, who was to have graduated May 22 with a master’s degree from The New School of Social Research in New York City. “The cruelty of power can’t hide like it does on the outside. You get America, everything America has become, especially for poor people of color in prison. My lawyers think I will get two years. But two years is nothing compared to what these women, who never went to trial, never had the possibility of a trial with adequate legal representation, face. There are women in my dorm who, because they have such a poor command of English, do not even understand their charges. I spent a lot of time trying to explain the charges to them.”

McMillan says Grantley Bovell, who was in plainclothes and did not identify himself as a police officer, grabbed her from behind during a March 17, 2012, gathering of several hundred Occupy activists in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. In a video of the incident she appears to have instinctively elbowed him in the face, but she says she has no memory of what happened. Video and photographs—mostly not permitted by the trial judge to be shown in the courtroom—buttressed her version of events. There is no dispute that she was severely beaten by police and taken from the park to a hospital where she was handcuffed to a bed. On May 5 she was found guilty after a three-week trial of a felony assault in the second degree. She can receive anything from probation to seven years in prison.

“I am prepared mentally for a long sentence,” she told me this past weekend when I interviewed her at the Rikers Island prison in the Bronx. “I watched the trial. I watched the judge. This was never about justice. Just as it is not about justice for these other women. One mother was put in here for shoplifting after she lost her job and her house and needed to feed her children. There is another prisoner, a preschool teacher with a 1-year-old son she was breastfeeding, who let her cousin stay with her after her cousin was evicted. It turns out the cousin sold drugs. The cops found money, not drugs, that the cousin kept in the house and took the mother. They told her to leave her child with the neighbors. There is story after story in here like this. It wakes you up.”

Complete story at - Chris Hedges: They Can’t Outlaw the Revolution - Chris Hedges - Truthdig

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Videos and Photos of the Odessan Massacre, and Why It Was Done - Washington's Blog

By Eric Zuesse:

For the first time in history, an organized massacre of civilians has been filmed by many people from many different angles and perspectives while it was happening, and is documented in extraordinary detail in “real time,” the perpetrators having no fear of any negative consequences from their endeavor, and even cheering and celebrating the tortures and deaths as they were being imposed upon the helpless victims. The perpetrators were unconcerned, because what they were doing was what the government (which the U.S. had imposed upon their country and which U.S. taxpayers had spent more than 5 billion dollars to bring about there) had wanted them to do, and had helped to organize them to carry out. These people were just having fun, like a party to them, nothing really serious at all. Sort of like Stanley Kubrick’s movie A Clockwork Orange, more than, say Auschwitz (such a bore!). But, if so, a hundredfold more. And none of these people (tragically including the victims) were actors!

Background: On May 2nd, the Ukrainian Government in Kiev, located in the west, ordered local governments in the country’s east to take over the buildings that were being occupied by Russian-speaking Ukrainians who didn’t recognize the legitimacy of that newly installed and U.S.-supported Ukrainian government. There was violence in many cities, one being Odessa, where Russian-speaking Ukrainians were taken into the Trade Unions Building (viewed as leftist by the conservative political parties) and were massacred by burning, gunshots, and other means.

This video from George Eliason, an American living in Ukraine, shows the Trade Unions Building starting to be firebombed; then at 2:28 a big firebomb is blasted into the building and there are cheers, but by the end of the video the flames are strong and the sky can hardly be seen because of the dense smoke from the burning building:

Complete story at - Videos and Photos of the Odessan Massacre, and Why It Was Done - Washington's Blog

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Ukraine's Election. Hey, this might be legit. Right?

Just look how neatly people drop those ballots into that box!

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Asia Times Online :: Ukraine: The waiting game

By Pepe Escobar

Everything one needs to know about mediocre political elites allegedly representing the "values" of Western civilization has been laid bare by their reaction to the referendums in Donetsk and Lugansk.

The referendums may have been a last-minute affair; organized in a rush; in the middle of a de facto civil war; and on top of it at gunpoint - supplied by the Kiev NATO neo-liberal neo-fascist junta, which even managed to kill some voters in Mariupol. An imperfect process? Yes. But absolutely perfect in terms of graphically depicting a mass movement in favor of self-rule and political independence from Kiev.

This was direct democracy in action; no wonder the US State Department hated it with a vengeance. [1]

Turnout was huge. The landslide victory for independence was out of the question. Same for transparency; a public vote, in glass ballot boxes, with monitoring provided by Western journalists - mostly from major German media but also from the Kyodo News Agency or the Washington Post.

What should come after the Donetsk People's Republic proclaimed itself a sovereign state, and asked Moscow to consider its accession into Russia, is not secession, nor outright civil war, but a negotiation.

Complete story at - Asia Times Online :: Ukraine: The waiting game

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ITAR-TASS: World - Ukraine’s Right Sector militants reportedly shoot 30 soldiers for laying down arms

LUGANSK, May 23, 4:44 /ITAR-TASS/. A spokesman for people’s militia in the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic appeared at a news conference on Thursday to claim that Ukraine’s Right Sector militants had shot 30 conscript soldiers for laying down arms and defecting to the local civilians. The spokesman, Ostap Cherny, said the incident occurred during talks between the LPR militia and government forces in the town of Privolye.

“On Thursday, we got word from Lisichansk the army was trying to storm the city. We dispatched a group for talks,” he said. “A column of Ukraine’s national guards was blocked from behind by civilians, including women and children.”

“While the talks proceeded, shots began to be fired and seven members of the Lugansk militia were killed and sixteen others injured,” Cherny said. “Thirty men from the Ukrainian brigade laid down arms and defected to civilians. According to the latest information available, Right Sector militants shot them all.”

The spokesman said “the people were in an open field and nobody was hiding when the lethal shots were fired.”

Complete story at - ITAR-TASS: World - Ukraine’s Right Sector militants reportedly shoot 30 soldiers for laying down arms

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Eastern Ukraine: the logic of a revolt | Counterfire

Russian bureaucrats have been honestly surprised at the reaction by the official West—they did not expect such anger or unanimous condemnation. European politicians are beside themselves with fury. The mainstream press is relating appalling stories to its readers of Russian aggression against Ukraine. The television shows interviews with Kiev ministers and deputies who tearfully implore Europe to save their country from the enraged bear.

Indeed, the reputation of Putin’s Russia in the West is nothing wonderful—even worse than that of Brezhnev’s Soviet Union. But what we are now witnessing is quite outside the bounds of the usual. There was nothing resembling it either during the Cold War, or during the Chechen conflict, or during the clash between Russia and Georgia. We should not even mention the action of Yeltsin in shelling the Russian parliament; at that time, the liberal West applauded.

In Moscow, people were expecting criticism following the annexation of Crimea. But that was more than a month ago, and the Kremlin authorities have done nothing new since. Several times a day they repeat, like a mantra, words to the effect that they respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine; that they are not about to annex anyone else; that they have called on the West to work out a joint approach with them to the crisis…but the criticism has not ceased. Meanwhile, the more absurd the declarations issued by the present rulers in Kiev, the more avidly and delightedly these have been lapped up. Only after the signing of the Geneva agreement of 17 April between Ukraine, Russia and the West was there a certain softening: the European officials discovered abruptly that in Ukraine it was “necessary to deal with groups that answer neither to Kiev nor to Moscow,” and it was recognised that “clear proof was lacking” of interference from Moscow. But warnings were issued in every case that if the Russian authorities did not behave themselves, there would soon perhaps be such proof.

The arguments of the Kremlin in this dispute have not worked, and cannot work, for the simple reason that Western politicians for the present are not especially interested in what official Russia is thinking or doing. These politicians know perfectly well that there is no Russian invasion, and this, precisely, is the main international problem for them. To admit as much means admitting that the government in Kiev has gone to war on its own people. To speak of the Donetsk Peoples Republic as an independent political phenomenon in impossible, since this would require posing the question of the reasons for the popular protest, and listing its demands. The talk of Kremlin agents and of the ubiquitous Russian troops—who are impossible to discover, but who have occupied close to half of Ukraine without firing a shot or even showing themselves on Ukrainian territory—is playing the same propaganda role against the Donetsk republic as was played in the anti-Bolshevik propaganda of 1917 by stories of German spies and of money from the German General Staff.

The point here is not so much to discredit opponents of the present authorities, depicting them as traitors to their country, as to conceal the class essence of the movement that has arisen, its social basis. A half-unconscious fear has taken hold of the liberal public, from intellectuals and politicians to decent and almost progressive bourgeois, and is forcing them to believe the most obvious ravings, to repeat any manifest rubbish, so long as class struggle is neither mentioned nor thought about in any serious way. That is, not class struggle as it is described in learned tomes and depicted by the best avant-garde cinema, but as it occurs in real life, and as it becomes a fact of practical politics.

The new Kiev authorities are directing the same accusations at the anti-Maidan forces in the south-east, and spinning the same conspiratorial theories about them, as Yanukovich’s propaganda employed a few months back in discussing the Maidan. But all this is now being repeated on a scale ten or a hundred times greater than before, and is taking on completely grotesque forms.

Complete story at - Eastern Ukraine: the logic of a revolt | CounterfireMe CorporateNews

Nazism: History is Repeating itself in Ukraine (Video)

Finian Cunningham - Kiev’s Jumping Jackboots… It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas! - Strategic Culture Foundation

Well ain’t it a gas! The Western-installed neo-Nazi regime in Kiev wants to join the European Union and the US-led NATO military alliance in order to allegedly adopt Western standards of market principles and law. So they say, anyway.

Yet, in the capitalist West one abiding principle is that if you don’t pay your bills on time, then the bank or utility company can sue the customer for non-payment, leading to foreclosure or the utility supply being shut off.

In Kiev, the Western-sponsored coup, posing now as a sovereign government of Ukraine led by the self-styled Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, wants to assume the responsibilities of state power. Their main responsibility so far is to wield a monopoly of state violence against so-called terrorists and separatists in the east and south of the country, who happen to dissent from the regime’s illegal self-imposed rule.

But in every other way the junta refuses to conform to supposed Western standards by point-blank denial of honouring colossal financial arrears to Russia for years of natural gas fuel supply.

Over half of all Ukrainian natural gas consumption is supplied from Russia. The gas bill is well overdue, with billions of dollars-worth outstanding.

Alexei Miller, the head of Russia giant gas company Gazprom, has warned that if Kiev does not pay up $1.6 billion – a fraction of the outstanding debt – then the gas deliveries for next month are to be stopped forthwith.

The Kiev regime has reacted with jackboot arrogance to what is a normal market principle – a principle that it is allegedly keen to uphold as part of its craving to join the EU and the capitalist Western camp.

Complete story at - Finian Cunningham - Kiev’s Jumping Jackboots… It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas! - Strategic Culture Foundation - on-line journal > Kiev’s Jumping Jackboots… It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas! > - Strategic Culture Foundation

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Euro austerity to fling Ukraine into new Maidan - Investment Expert (Video)

Cross Talk: Multipolar Order (Video)

The Vineyard of the Saker: Ukraine mini-SITREP May 21th, 20:42 UTC/Zulu

It's not really news, but it still amazes me: for two days in a row no Jen Psaki, speaking for the regime in Washington, has declared that the USA has doubts about the real affiliation of the Russian journalists working for the Russian new outlet LifeNews. Even though the professional record of these journalist is in the public domain and very well know (they have worked for many years including abroad), Mrs Psaki believes it is possible that there were spies. Ditto for the reporters of Russia Today which are still being held incommunicado.

Also in the news, the house of Oleg Tsarev has finally been burned.

I say finally, because:

1) The oligarch-mobster Kolomoisky had promised that to Tsarev
2) Tsarev had predicted that too
3) The house next to Tsarev had already been torched by mistake

I suppose that Mrs Psaki will speak of a "natural fire", or a "spontaneous combustion" or even an "operation of the Russian special forces" and threaten Russia with more sanctions.

As for the Western media, it couldn't care less. Just like when Uncle Sam bombed the TV station in Belgrade. After all, anybody opposing the AngloZionist Empire is a) a propagandist and b) subhuman.

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: Ukraine mini-SITREP May 21th, 20:42 UTC/Zulu

Subject is propaganda posters

Western Media Blackout on the Reality in Ukraine | The Smirking Chimp

On 2 May 2014, there was a massacre that was initially reported as being of 116 anti-Kiev (or independence) demonstrators at the Trade Unions Building in Odessa. The latest reliable report (from an American, George Eliason, who lives in that area) indicates it to be instead "now counted at 272 people that were tortured, gassed ..., bludgeoned, ..., etc.," above and beyond the numbers who had been incinerated there by the firebombing of the building. Western news-media unfortunately seem to be doing all they can to keep the public ignorant of what went on there, and of why

For example, despite the many youtube videos that were posted on the night of May 2nd showing the actual massacre, and making clear that this was a massacre of anti-Kiev, pro-independence, demonstrators by pro-Kiev (pro-central-government) thugs, here is what came up on May 20th in a google search at Huffington Post of the two terms "Ukraine" and "Odessa" (all suggesting that Russia's Vladimir Putin was behind this, not that America's Barack Obama, who had actually installed the Kiev Government, was): 


Associated Press:

Complete story at - Western Media Blackout on the Reality in Ukraine | The Smirking Chimp

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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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