Monday, June 30, 2014

Stress Test for IMF in Ukraine - Igor Kolomoisky's PrivatBank is the Biggest Beneficiary of the IMF's Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA)

By John Helmer, Moscow

The Ukrainian revolution has been very bad for business in the country. But for Igor Kolomoisky’s Privatbank there has been compensation of almost a billion dollars in state funds: publicly, rival Ukrainian commercial banks call that favouritism; privately, Ukrainian business as usual.

Privatbank is Ukraine’s largest commercial bank. Since the replacement of the Ukrainian Government in February, and the start of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) financial aid programme in April, Privatbank has been the largest beneficiary of what the IMF and the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance are calling Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) to the country’s banks. Published measurements of Privatbank’s share of ELA range from 36% to more than 40% of the additional financing which has flowed out of Ukrainian state funds into the commercial banks. Just how much Kolomoisky benefits, along with related companies to which Privatbank lends much of its loan book, is one of the control operations being performed this week, as the IMF’s Ukraine mission starts its first inspection since the IMF transferred $3.2 billion to the National Bank of Ukraine on May 7.

This is the first tranche of the $17.1 billion committed to Kiev by the IMF. The next tranche of $1.4 billion, according to the IMF’s published schedule, is due to be paid on July 25. The complete inspection and payment schedule looks like this:

The IMF mission leader in Kiev this week is Nikolay Gueorguiev. Two weeks ago, he indicated that he will be discussing with his counterparts at the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) and the Ministry of Finance what reports the IMF expects to gather by next month on stress testing of the condition of Privatbank and the fourteen other major domestic banks, which are the IMF’s priority targets. The technical criteria, selection of independent auditors, and the deadlines for reporting stress test results Gueorguiev says he is hoping to finalize in Kiev by the weekend. For Gueorguiev’s remarks, read this.

According to Gerry Rice (right), the spokesman for the IMF’s managing director, Christine Lagarde (left), there’s no telling how much of the IMF payments will be transferred to the Ukrainian banks. “Those funds,” said Rice, “are not assigned to specific budget line items, but the package ensures, or tries to ensure that the government can stabilize the public finances, and remain current on all its payment obligations…On the question of the disbursement, as you probably know, our disbursements are made for budget support, and then we review the budget support on a fairly rigorous basis and assessment in the context of the reviews of the program. In this case, as you know, it’s bimonthly reviews, so at that time we will be looking at how expenditures are being used, and how the budgetary support indicators are being tracked, the budget deficit indicators and so on.”

Complete story at - Stress Test for IMF in Ukraine - Igor Kolomoisky's PrivatBank is the Biggest Beneficiary of the IMF's Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) | Dances With Bears

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It's Just a Goddamned Piece of Paper Day in Ukraine!

Ukraine: A Grand 1000 Year History, or a 100 Year-Old Manufactured Fantasy?

NoBC4U Note:  This is the original title: Metaphysical Doubts Concerning the Existence of Modern Ukraine, a 1918 Creation of the German General Staff «

News reports on the reaction in Kiev to the reunification of the Crimean peninsula with Russia have included the idea that some Ukrainians resent the failure of the United States or the western European powers to intervene militarily against Russia in favor of the new Kiev fascist government. At the same time, it appears that Ukrainian military units have uniformly refused to fight for their borders, their bases, their headquarters, or other strategic assets under their control. Much of the Ukrainian army and navy located in the Crimea has chosen rather to become part of the Russian forces. Repeated attempts by the Yatsenyuk government in Kiev to call up reservists or otherwise to mobilize manpower for military purposes have met with a very meager response.

What can we make of a country which refuses to fight for itself, and at the same time, expects foreign countries to pull its chestnuts out of the fire? The reasons may lie in the historical genesis of modern Ukraine, which is a nation called into being during World War I, not by a popular movement of its own people, but rather by the German military leadership, and then propped up in recent years by the United States and the European Union.

International attention has lately been much focused on Ukraine, but world publics know very little of the history involved. The country located on the Pontic step (the flatlands north of the Black Sea) currently calling itself Ukraine has only existed for 23 years, since the failure of the August 1991 KGB-inspired coup in Moscow. Before that, to find something that corresponds to modern Ukraine, we must go back to the Kievan Rus late in the first millennium of the Common Era. This was a state set up by Vikings (called Varangians) along the Dnieper River, which was the main inland waterway between Scandinavia in the north and the Byzantine Empire in the South. It was here that grand Duke Vladimir converted to Orthodox Christianity in the year 988, thus establishing a religious tradition which continues to be decisive in Russian history down to the present day. But Vladimir’s state did not call itself Ukraine, considering itself rather the leading state of Russia, which the Latin West sometimes called Ruthenia.

No Ukraine on Map Until 1918

The Kiev Rus was conquered around the middle of the 1200s by the Mongols, and was thereafter ruled by a series of Mongol Khans. After the Mongol power north of the Black Sea had been shaken by the victory of the grand Duke of Moscow Dmitry Donskoi in the battle of Kulikovo on the Don in 1380, the Mongol yoke over the Kiev region began to fall away. By 1526, much of today’s Ukraine, including Kiev, was part of the very large Polish Republic, which stretched from the Baltic to near the Black Sea. Other parts of today’s Ukraine were under Moscow, while some — including the Crimea — had been incorporated into khanates of the Ottoman Empire, and a small corner had been taken by the emerging Austrian Habsburgs. Little of this had changed by the time of the peace of Westphalia in 1648. Emmanuel Bowen’s 1747 English map of Eastern Europe calls today’s Ukraine “Little Russia” (south of “White Russia,” today’s Byelorus) with “Red Russia” (south of the city of Lvov (Lwow in Polish, Lviv in Ukrainian, Lemberg in German, and Leopoli in Italian); only a very small area astride the Dnieper is labeled “Ukrain,” meaning something like “at the border.”

In the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774, Russian troops conquered the north coast of the Black Sea and much of modern Romania from the Ottoman Empire. By the 1774 Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji, the Turkish Sultan lost his status as overlord of the Black Sea Tartars, and had to allow Russian ships to transit the Straits at Constantinople in and out of the Black Sea. Soon Russia permanently acquired the Black Sea coast, and Moscow’s ability to project power into the Mediterranean, upon which the survival of civilization in Syria has largely depended, dates from this important historical turning point.

Complete story at - Metaphysical Doubts Concerning the Existence of Modern Ukraine, a 1918 Creation of the German General Staff « TARPLEY.netCC Photo Google Image Search Source is upload wikimedia org  Subject is Simplified historical map of Ukrainian borders 1654 2014

Biggest Threat to World Peace: The United States | Common Dreams

International polls shows that world, including significant portion of Americans, deem US as greatest obstacle to peace

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Over 12 years into the so-called "Global War on Terror," the United States appears to be striking terror into the hearts of the rest of the world.

In their annual End of Year survey, Win/Gallup International found that the United States is considered the number one "greatest threat to peace in the world today" by people across the globe.

The poll of 67,806 respondents from 65 countries found that the U.S. won this dubious distinction by a landslide, as revealed in the chart below.

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The BBC explains that the U.S. was deemed a threat by geopolitical allies as well as foes, including a significant portion of U.S. society.

Predictable in some areas (the Middle East and North Africa) but less so in others. Eastern Europe's 32% figure may be heavily influenced by Russia and Ukraine, but across most of Western Europe there are also lots of figures in the high teens.

In the Americas themselves, decades of US meddling have left an awkward legacy. Its neighbours, Mexico (37%) and Canada (17%), clearly have issues. Even 13% of Americans see their own country as a danger.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Complete story at - Biggest Threat to World Peace: The United States | Common Dreams

The Vineyard of the Saker: Why Novorussian authorities need to get their act together

We already had the somewhat "bipolar" statements of Igor Strelkov who could go from "we are about to win" to "they are about to exterminate us" in 24 hours and then back. Still, looking at his videos he looked tremendously stressed and frustrated and, what is really a major issue in such situation, he looked severely sleep deprived. He also clearly was trying to wake up the semi-comatose part of the Novorussian population which preferred to stay home and either let Strelkov's men die for them or, if all else fails, they hoped for Russia's Polite Armed Men in Green to liberate them. So, if anything, I feel sympathy for Strelkov who, after all, is a military commander, not a professional spokesman. But then a truly incredible piece of news began popping up all over the Internet: the NDF had taken a major military base with 221 tanks, 228 APCs, 12 Self-Propelled guns, 18 Grad launchers, 183 IFVs, and 12 Mortars. Wow! I even saw an article claiming that the NDF was now in the process of forming an tank division (nevermind that there is a lot more to a tank division than just tanks). Tank division or not, if true this was truly fantastic news. The information came from "chief of the information section of the southeastern front", Konstantine Knyrik, it was picked up by Interfax and made its way to other news outlets (including ANNA news). A day later the press service of the Donetsk People's Republic denied this information. In fact, it appears that not only did the NDF not get such a fantastic arsenal - they did not even take the military base from which supposedly this arsenal came from: the Ukies had successfully repelled their attack.

Fog of war or no fog of war - this is a real problem, in my opinion.

All it takes is just *one* such embarrassing situations to shoot down in flames the credibility of all the information coming out of the resistance forces in Novorossia. And again, I will point out to Hezbollah as the perfect example of a successful information policy: as Hassan Nasrallah himself explained in a speech last year, Hezbollah might not always reveal all that it knows, but it will never lie. Never. Hezbollah announces its defeats as well as its victories. It even admits when it does a mistake. And this remarkable policy - especially in the Middle-East - gives Hezbollah a huge capital of credibility, even with the Israelis.

There is another example which the NDF and the authorities of Novorossia might want to pay attention to.

Yesterday evening I was watching a recorded experts panel basically discussing the viability of a Donetsk and Luganks People's Republic or Novorossia. The panel included mostly Russian experts, but a number of Novorossian officials were also invited. One of the panelist asked the Novorussians what they were doing to help those whose houses were being destroyed by Ukie shelling. The reply was: "we are actively discussing the issue". At which point, the moderator jumped in and said "stop discussing and help these people now!"

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: Why Novorussian authorities need to get their act together

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Consider me a separatist |

If there is a violation of the principle of territorial integrity, the apocalypse will come, the sky will fall, and the fish will walk on the land. These are the statements of most Ukrainian media and politicians over the breakaway of Donetsk and Lugansk People Republics. Territorial integrity is the overriding principle of international law, as they try to convince us. Those who violate it are separatists, and will be damned forever and ever, amen.

But let us imagine that the "fundamental principle" was never violated. In such a case Kiev would still be, if not the administrative center of Genghis Khan’s empire, or a province of the German Reich, then certainly the capital of the province of a “Anti-Soviet Union of Capitalist Republics”. Instead of such countries as the U.S., India, Pakistan, Canada, and Australia (the very existence of which is a flagrant violation of the territorial integrity of the British Empire) - the map would look like the indivisible possession of the British crown. The list goes on. Just to say that there would be no such countries as Norway, Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Albania, Finland, all African countries ...

And what about international law?

Speaking seriously, without violating territorial integrity, modern nation-states (whose establishment was a great achievement compared with the feudal and capitalist empires) would not exist. There would be no independent states that emerged as a result of the national liberation struggle against colonialism and imperialism in the twentieth century. Just look at the political map of the world to understand the falsity of Kiev’s interpretation of "territorial integrity" and "separatism.”

The very principle of territorial integrity was adopted by the United Nations after the Second World War not to hold small or large nation under foreign oppression, but to effectively oppose the annexation policy, political grabs. According to the provisions adopted by the countries that gained victory over fascism in 1945, the desire of the people, whose rights are violated in a particular state, is above the "principle of territorial integrity."

This, incidentally, is recorded in the United Nations Declaration on Principles of International Law, that was signed also by Ukraine:

"All peoples have the right to freely determine, without external interference, their political status and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and every State has the duty to respect this right".

Complete story at - Consider me a separatist |

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ITAR-TASS: World - More than 80 Ukrainian border guards crossed to Russia

ROSTOV-ON-DON, June 21 (Itar-Tass) - More than 80 Ukrainian border guards crossed to Russia after the attack on Ukraine’s Izvarino checkpoint overnight. Two people were wounded, the head of the Rostov regional border guard department, Vasily Malayev, told Itar-Tass.

"Unidentified armed people on Friday attacked the Ukrainian checkpoint of Izvarino (named Donetsk on the Russian side). More than 80 Ukrainian border guards came from Izvarino to (the Russian station of) Donetsk at about 22:30 Moscow time and asked for shelter from pursuing armed persons. Two among the Ukrainian border guards were wounded. First aid was rendered to them," the Russian official said.

None among Russian border guards and civilians was hurt. The Russian side took additional border guard strengthening measures.

Earlier on Friday, another incident occurred on the Ukrainian-Russian border. Malayev said fighting started near the Ukrainian point of Dolzhansky (Novoshakhtinsk on the Russian side) at 18:40 Moscow time between militiamen who controlled the border and soldiers of Ukrainian armed forces or the National Guards.

The Russian station was also under fire, and a Russian customs officer was wounded at the site. He has undergone an operation, and there is no threat to his life. The border checkpoint stopped working.

Complete story at - ITAR-TASS: World - More than 80 Ukrainian border guards crossed to Russia

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Land Destroyer: US Propaganda Accidentally Exposes Nazi Crimes in Ukraine

June 20, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci - LD) - The Interpreter Magazine is a "special project" of the Institute of Modern Russia. By "Modern Russia," its creators mean, Russia as imagined by Wall Street and London. The "institute" is run by disgraced Russian billionaire oligarch, convicted criminal, and long-time Western proxy Mikhail Khodorkovsky, his son, and Washington lobbyists. It includes contributors such as Catherine A. Fitzpatrick who literally worked for the US State Department's propaganda arm, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and convicted financial criminal George Soros' faux-rights advocate Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Soros' Open Society Institute itself.

The Interpreter is overtly a clearinghouse for anti-Russian propaganda and ceaselessly promoted by corporate-funded and directed faux-rights advocates like the Neo-Con lined National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Freedom House - both of which are funded and perpetuated by the US State Department itself.

In an entry titled, "Russian Defense Ministry Apologizes For Lying About White Phosphorus," we discover the degree to which The Interpreter is propaganda. Upon reading the entry, we find out that the Russian Defense Ministry did no such thing as "apologize." Instead, what is described is a war crime committed by Neo-Nazi Right Sector militants working on behalf of Kiev's "Security Service of Ukraine" (SBU). Right Sector captured the journalists, interrogated them, and coerced a confession from them. Right Sector then simply claimed they worked for the Defense Ministry and their coerced confession constituted a formal apology for "lying," before handing the captured journalists over to Kiev's SBU.

The entry claims:
"Then a video of one of the detained reporters, Evgeny Davydov, appeared on pro-Kiev media, showing him confessing while he was still in captivity that he was forced to put in false information by editors in Moscow, and that in fact he wasn’t even in Slavyansk when the broadcast was edited and had obtained no footage from the town."
The entry then admits:
"The two correspondents from Zvezda, a TV channel of the Russian Defense Ministry, Davydov and Nikita Konashenkov had been detained 14 June outside Slavyansk, reportedly by Right Sector militants who transferred them to the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) where they were investigated on suspicion of espionage."
Complete story at - Land Destroyer: US Propaganda Accidentally Exposes Nazi Crimes in Ukraine

Subject is propaganda posters

The Vineyard of the Saker: Auslander reports about the refugee assistance program

All the women and children evacuated from the fighting areas are doing well, some better than others considering what they have been through. I can not report much on our efforts to evacuate more women and children from the conflict area to safety. There are too many prying eyes who read this blog for information and pass it on to the Ukies and their allies, read US/EU. I am keeping Saker up to date on the effort. I will not even say where these women and children are coming from nor their routes to safety. Ukraine is actively trying to prevent evacuations and as of late yesterday is making a spirited attempt to close off the Novorossiya/Russia border to prevent anyone from leaving. They will shoot and have shot refugees en route to the borders.

Donations. Saker and I communicated last evening. At first he thought I was disappointed at the response from our readers on the blog. At this time, 09:30 Sevastopol, 37 people have donated to the refugee fund. Another 22 have expressed interest in donating. What he thought at first was disappointment he now realizes was my shock at the numbers in just the first 24 hours. Donations have come in from all over the world, from Australia to Canada, from Kamchatka to Cape Town SA, from Finland to Argentina. We had meetings with officials involved in this effort for most of yesterday. We will spend a goodly part of today doing the same. By tonight my time I will have a close idea of how much it will cost for each child or woman for transport and daily living costs. I will inform Saker of this amount and he and I will formulate a policy for the evacuees. It is Saker's call to pass on any information he deems fit.

This effort will be an ongoing process. We will need more donations to support these poor evacuees. I think it will be another month minimum before the situation in Novorossiya is resolved one way or another and possibly more. Please, please, pass the word to everyone you can. Tell your Churches, your civic organizations, your friends, everyone you can. No donation is too small, all are deeply appreciated. As we get up and running I will have an accounting sheet listing all donations and all dispersement. This I will send to Saker and he can provide what information he feels expedient on the blog.

Situation Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Federal City of Sevastopol. V. Nuland, US assistant SecState, met on or about 16 June in Odessa with the exiled head of a small part of our Tatars in Crimea, read 5% or less. After our election of 16 March where we (including our Tatars) overwhelmingly voted to return to the Russian Federation and were accepted in to same, roughly 2000 Crimean Tatars left Crimea, most moving to Lviv in west Ukraine. Our population of Crimean Tatars is about 350,000, 10% of the total population of Crimea. You can run the numbers to see the percentage that left.

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: Auslander reports about the refugee assistance program

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Swiss to Investigate Igor Kolomoisky's Permit to Live in Geneva | Dances With Bears

NoBC4U Note:  Igor Kolomoisky is a notorious Ukrainian oligarch, believed to be a major financial supporter of Right Sector and Svoboda, the main Nazi forces in Ukraine, and a major financial backer of the war again East Ukraine (Novorossiya). He's the guy pictured below on the left. 

By John Helmer, Moscow

The Swiss Federal Police and the Federal Office for Migration will shortly decide whether the residency permit issued to Igor Kolomoisky to live in Geneva will be extended beyond the current expiry date. Kolomoisky’s permit comes up for renewal in October, and four months of investigation may be required by the Swiss authorities to authorize his stay.

Regular reviews of foreign residency permits in Switzerland are required every one or two years, according to government sources referring to Swiss law and regulations. But in Kolomoisky’s case, the Swiss authorities are obliged to determine whether Kolomoisky’s activities since March as the governor of the eastern Ukraine region of Dniepropetrovsk, and a recent Russian indictment of Kolomoisky for war crimes, represent a violation of the rules and disallow him for residency.

Last week, the Investigative Committee (IC) of the Russian procuracy announced that it is issuing an international warrant for Kolomoisky’s arrest on war crimes. The indictment charges Kolomoisky under articles 33, 105, 126, 144, and 356 of the Russian Criminal Code with conspiracy to murder; commission of war crimes; and kidnapping. According to IC spokesman Vladimir Markin, “over forty investigators continue to carry out investigative operations with people who are arriving from Ukraine to the Rostov Region, the Republic of Crimea, as well as to Belgorod, Voronezh, Bryansk, Kursk and other regions. As of the present moment, 2,400 witnesses have been questioned; 1,470 people have been found to be victims [of crime], including 208 minors. More than a thousand people have handed Russian investigators their claims to be addressed to the International Criminal Court and the European Court of Human Rights. Moreover, measures are being taken to identify certain individuals from among the number of officers and soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the National Guard of Ukraine and Right Sector militants, who took part in the military operation against civilians in southeastern Ukraine. The investigation is ongoing.”

Charged in the Russian indictment with Kolomoisky is Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Interior appointed after the ouster of President Victor Yanukovich on February 21.
Asked if the indictment has been filed with the governments of Switzerland, where Kolomoisky has lived for more than a decade, and of Cyprus and Israel, which have issued him with passports, Markin declined to give details; he confirmed that the warrant, plus supporting evidence for extradition, will be filed with Interpol and with the Swiss authorities. Yesterday Markin announced that the indictment of Kolomoisky has been submitted for an initial ruling by the Basmanny court in Moscow. A hearing on the indictment and request for a warrant for Kolomoisky’s arrest is scheduled for the morning of July 2. Kolomoisky may engage a lawyer to represent him at the hearing. If he does not, the court will appoint a public defender.


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The Vineyard of the Saker: National Nihilism

by Mark Hackard

Strategies for full-spectrum dominance encompass far more than just military means – their entire point is found in politics, the struggle for power. Movements proclaiming themselves the champions of national salvation thus deserve extra scrutiny, since they might serve precisely the opposite end.

Ever since a US-backed junta seized control of Ukraine in February, the country’s ethnic, cultural and linguistic fault lines have been accentuated to deadly effect. The predominantly russophone south and east have already paid a terrible price for resisting the new liberal-nationalist regime, from a fiery massacre in Odessa to outright war against Donetsk and Lugansk, two regions bordering Russia that have declared their independence. Had Vladimir Putin not moved to secure Crimea, the peninsula today would be suffering an analogous fate. When we consider the atrocities committed against the inhabitants of historical Novorossiya (New Russia), it must be understood that Kiev’s counterinsurgency is far more significant than a local conflict – it is a proxy war the Pax Americana wages against Russia in order to command the Eurasian heartland.

In the quest to “contain” and destabilize Russia, Washington has found willing and eager proxies in Ukrainian nationalists. Longtime enemies of Moscow, outfits like Stepan Bandera’s Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Rebel Army (UPA) worked in close partnership with Nazi Germany during the Second World War. With the Reichstag still smoldering and the new Cold War underway, the United States would continue where the Abwehr and SS left off, dropping nationalist agents into western Ukraine to conduct sabotage and guerrilla campaigns against the Soviet government until the early 1950s. The Berlin Wall may no longer stand, but US/NATO employment of Ukrainian nationalists in subversion programs continues to this day. Aside from the $5 billion the US has openly spent over twenty years to suborn Ukraine, it stands to reason that substantial clandestine assets were also dedicated to that objective.

Supported by the CIA as well as Polish intelligence, Kiev has attempted for the past two months to bring the east to heel, yet the regime has little to show for the effort other than dead and wounded in the thousands, while towns such as Slavyansk and Kramatorsk are pulverized under sustained bombardment. The regular Ukrainian army, demoralized, underfunded and under-equipped, hasn’t taken to the repression with the revolutionary fervor expected of them by the junta. Rather, Kiev has relied on the newly-instituted National Guard, foreign mercenaries and paramilitaries bankrolled by billionaire oligarchs like Dnepropetrovsk governor Igor “Benya” Kolomoisky, an ardent Zionist with a business empire reportedly built on ruthless criminality. Filling the ranks of these “special battalions” are motivated but often inexperienced thugs from neo-fascist Right Sector, the group that played a pivotal role in the success of February 22nd’s Maidan putsch. The death squads have proven adept at terrorizing civilians, but they haven’t fared so well in combat with local resistance forces.

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: National NihilismCC Photo Google Image Search Source is pbs twimg com  Subject is killed ukrainian

CrossTalk: Ukrainian Truce?

Friday, June 27, 2014


Finian Cunningham - Mr Hague, How about Ending the Rape of Whole Countries? - Strategic Culture Foundation

A four-day summit entitled ‘End Sexual Violence in Conflict’ closed this week in London, with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie rallying international support for rape victims in war.

The tears, smiles, smooches and flash photography suggested a great blow for human rights had been achieved – by a combination of sturdy British diplomacy and Hollywood star power.

“This is one of the great mass crimes of the 20th century and the 21st century, sadly,” Hague said at the conference, which was attended by representatives from over 100 countries.

“If anything, this is getting worse – war-zone rape as a weapon of war, used systematically and deliberately against civilian populations,” added Britain’s top diplomat.

Hague and his Oscar-winning celebrity companion are calling for special prosecution measures to track down war-zone rapists.

The focus on sexual violence against civilians in conflicts is, of course, in itself laudable. Who could possibly find fault with such an initiative to stamp out this particularly vile crime against humanity?

But surely the most effective way of ending rape and sexual violence in wars is to end wars and the making of war in the first place. In other words, instead of merely focusing on ending rape of individuals, how about ending the rape of whole countries and their people, from which so many crimes against humanity stem?

Complete story at - Finian Cunningham - Mr Hague, How about Ending the Rape of Whole Countries? - Strategic Culture Foundation CC Photo Google Image Search Source is 37 media tumblr com  Subject is I think I won war

Ukie stormtroopers assault Russian church and bank in Kiev

June 26th Novorossia News Bulletin by the ANNA news agency

ANNA News puts out these updates on a daily basis, or at least on most days. These are nice, quick 2-3 minute round-ups of news coming out of Novorossiya (the Donetsk and Lugansk regions). I'll try to get these out on a more frequent basis!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Vineyard of the Saker: Auslander reports on refugees from the Ukraine and how to help them

The situation in Novorossiya for civilians in many areas is critical. In the areas under heavy and continuous bombardment food is scarce. Water in Slavyansk area is stopped some days ago. Electric also. The other important part of water supply, the removal of sewage, well, the Ukes shot those plants to pieces also. The situation in Kramtorsk is even worse, so bad that there are civilian bodies in the streets, many bodies, that have not been picked up for days. I am not joking. I tell the truth. I shudder to think how many dead civilian men, women and children we will find when we eventually secure the area but I will not be surprised to find the numbers exceed a thousand if not far more.

To the best of my knowledge the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has refused to bestow refugee status on the civilians leaving the combat and bombardment areas of Novorossiya. To quote a famous quote, why should they care? Those who are suffering are Untermenschen.

What this apparent decision means is Russia and we the people of Russia will do the work for the civilians and refugees ourselves with no official help from The West. The reality is I am not unhappy with this apparent decision from those fops in NYC. At least when we work for the refugees and citizens they will get every kopek of the money and effort we spend as opposed to perhaps 5% from that useless UN plus we will not be under their thumbs, 'guidance' and control while we do what is needed.

At this time we are working on getting as many civilian women and children out of the combat areas as possible. I can not give you the slightest detail of this effort. The Ukes are trying to watch everything and they do read this blog faithfully. The Ukes are following their American and EU master's instructions and will kill evacuees they find before they let them go. That is a fact. I can not tell you where our evacuees are going, suffice it to say they are going out of the combat area. Let the Ukes figure out if it's east, west, north or south.

All this being said, some of you asked how you can help, where can you send donations. You will have to trust me on this one. None of you, not even The Saker, know me personally, although my official US HOR is close to Saker. All I can say is I will tell you all when this is over, just as I promised The Saker some information after all is said and done. Trust me, wherever you live you will hear The Saker laughing when I give him the info promised, but before you hear the laughter you will hear a 'Holy s//t, really? It's true?'. You will also hear me say 'Yes, my friend, it is true. Remember when I told you to look at ///// ////?'.

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: Auslander reports on refugees from the Ukraine and how to help them

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Article: The Nazis Even Hitler Was Afraid of | OpEdNews

By George Eliason

March 16, 2014 at 11:26:27

EU politicians that supported the Maidan Revolution are voicing concerns bordering on fear about how much control Ultra Nationalists have over the government in Kiev. Chancellor Merkel's government is telling her she can no longer afford to ignore the Ultra Nationalists in Ukraine. They are scared Germany will be responsible for setting up a new Reich. It's time to strip away the rest of the veneer and take a look at what's really there.

Forget about the Nazi symbolism, and ultra-nationalist exuberance. I will even grant supporters of the current government that much.

Every important ministry, from education and social policy to policing, prosecution and national defense, is headed by Ultra Nationalists. In every aspect of national life, Ultra Nationalists now determine what it means to be Ukrainian and all the policies needed to enforce it.

Even Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk falls among this moderate majority. For generations his own family has had a proud tradition of service to the Ultra- Nationalist cause and has won awards for their service. Before Maidan it hurt his chances for election. After Maidan he didn't need to worry about election.

What is Scary

In an OpEd in the LA Times, entitled "Ukraine's Threat from Within," Director of the School of International Relations at USC Robert English very concisely warns that "the way Ukrainian Ultra Nationalists whitewash Bandera history, which is their past, makes the present and future all that much more scary."

The Banderas, or Banderites, are activists in the Ukrainian Ultra Nationalist movement that is now in control of the government in Ukraine. Under the militant leadership of Stepan Bandera in World War II, the ultra-nationalists organized the Ukrainian Waffen SS Galician, Nichtengall, and Roland Divisions that collaborated with the Nazis and were responsible for the genocide of over 500,000 people. Following the war, however, Ukrainian Nazis were the only group to escape trial at Nuremburg for crimes against humanity. Moreover, neither the Banderas, the Ukrainian Waffen SS, nor any other Ukrainian collaborators have ever apologized for their participation in genocide.

In the landmark work on the subject , Genocide Committed by Ukrainian Nationalists on the Polish Population During World War II, Ryszard Szawlowski characterizes it this way:

"...the Germans have long admitted to their crimes, and have apologized for them publicly .... [The] president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Roman Herzog, [said] in his speech in Warsaw on August 1, 1994 ... 'I bow before the fighters of the Warsaw Uprising, and before all the Polish war victims. I beg forgiveness for what the Germans did.' Russian president Boris Yeltsin, when he kissed monsignor Zdzislaw Peszkowski on the hand, whispered the words 'I apologize' ....

"Ukrainian genocide committed against the Poles during World War II surpassed German and Soviet genocide .... [It] was marked by the utmost ruthlessness and barbarity, and ... up until the present day, it has been denied or, at best, presented with reminders that all is "relative' or other such evasions."

Complete story at - Article: The Nazis Even Hitler Was Afraid of | OpEdNews

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Businesses on Both Sides of the Divide Push Back Against Russian Sanctions - The Wire

Two major business lobbies in the United States plan to break with President Barack Obama's plan to issue more sanctions against Russia. The two groups, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, believe the additional sanctions will harm state-side employees and businesses.

Sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg Businessweek that the lobbies plan to take advertisements in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post this Thursday to address the economic impact of these sanctions.

Copy for the advertisements obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek read as follows:

"...the only effect [of economic sanctions would be] to bar U.S. companies from foreign markets and cede business opportunities to firms from other countries."

Rather than address Obama directly as the force behind the sanctions, lobby presidents Jay Timmons and Thomas Donohue address "some U.S. policymakers."

Igor Sechin, CEO of Rosneft, a Russian owned natural gas and oil company, expressed similar concerns about the impact of future sanctions. In a press conference this week, Sechin told Handelsblatt (Germany's largest business and financial publication), "Sanctions will not help anybody. There will only be additional risks. The number of those [indirectly] concerned will grow."

Complete story at - Businesses on Both Sides of the Divide Push Back Against Russian Sanctions - The Wire

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Rosneft CEO Warns Against Increasing Sanctions - Business Insider

In the New York and London markets brokers and bankers explain that they are being discreetly called by US Treasury officials with this message: buying Russian equity or debt paper is legal, but in the event there is a new round of sanctions, it will be illegal to re-sell them, so there can be no profit in Russian assets.

The market is calling this campaign “stealth sanctions”. It is an attack on the international market for Russian corporations, and on the international currency and security clearance systems on which the market depends.

According to the highest UK and European courts — reported here on March 25 — the type of formal sanctions which the US and the EU have already introduced are likely to be found illegal, if they are challenged in court. Stealth sanctions are more difficult to substantiate in court -– and also financially much more damaging. Until now, there has been no Russian retaliation for the sanctions, and no litigation.

Yesterday, Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft, said in a television interview with a New York network: “The sanctions have been discussed a lot and I would like us to abstain from this discussion because the more we talk about the sanctions, the more important they seem. I am trying to put myself in the shoes of those people who introduce sanctions and I believe that there should be some purpose of the sanctions and some justification of them.” The reference to purpose and justification is also a discreet reference to the court judgements in London and Strasbourg.

Complete story at - Rosneft CEO Warns Against Increasing Sanctions - Business Insider

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The Vineyard of the Saker: Ukie hunt on Russian journalists and the possibility of war

It is no secret that the junta in Kiev hates the Russian media. This is hardly surprising considering that with a few extraordinarily rare exceptions, the western press corps walks in lockstep with Psaki's narrative about this war. So Russian journalists have been beating up, kidnapped, searched, detained, tortured and, of course, murdered. And just in case anybody would still hold on to the belief that this policy is the result of the action of a "few bad apples" (the use the Pentagon's favorite expression), I want to mention two interesting developments here:

1) The Ukie "Rada" is in the process of passing a law removing the press accreditations of pretty much the entire Russian press corps in the Ukraine.
2) The Ukie secret police - the SBU - has now issued a directive ordering the attest of 80 people including several of the best known journalist currently reporting from the warzone.

And this all makes perfect sense. Since the Russians are the only reporters courageous enough to report from places like Slaviansk and Kramatorsk and since they are the only ones honest enough to say the truth about the atrocities committed daily in Novorossia, getting rid of them (by means of murder or kidnapping) will basically remove Novorossia from the world's "media radar".

I am generally not a big fan of the modern press corps (where I have too many friends to have any illusions about how it really works), but I have to express my deep admiration for the absolutely fantastic work the Russian journalists do in Novorossia and, by the way, in Syria. And while I am sure that the Ukie threats and the death of their colleagues will not stop the Russian journalists of continuing to report from Novorossia, I only feel total disgust and contempt with western media whose indifference towards its Russian colleagues is absolute.

Can you imagine the kind of atrocities the Ukie death-squads would engage in if they succeeded in getting rid of the only real journalists reporting from the warzone?

In the meantime, while Poroshenko has announced that Banderastan will sign the association agreement with the EU, Russia is apparently moving some of its military forces closer to the Ukrainian border. Whether this is again a hallucination by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen or not, I am quite sure that a Russian military intervention is imminent and that short of a miracle Putin will have to take action to protect the population of Novorossia.

Will a Russian liberation of Novorossia trigger a war with NATO?

Probably not.

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: Ukie hunt on Russian journalists and the possibility of war

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Poroshenko: Off To a Bad Start - Dire Fallout Looming Out to Tower around Ukraine ~ Strategic Culture Foundation

To cease fire this week. Nobody could make out what it means in practice (is it pulling troops out or turning Donbass into scorched earth?). "We have to stop fire this week. For me, every day of people dying, every day of Ukraine paying such a high price is an unacceptable one," President Poroshenko said in an apparent reference to the fighting around Slavyansk as he opened the first meeting of a three-party contact group on the implementation of the peace plan to establish peace and calm in eastern Ukraine. The establishment of the group with such a long and complicated name appears to be the major result of Poroshenko’s first foreign trip after the presidential election. The Ukrainian President discussed a peace plan with French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the margins of the D-Day commemorations in Normandy.

As reported, the meeting of Petro Poroshenko with Russian President Vladimir Putin lasted just 15 minutes as did the conversation between the Russian President and US President Barack Obama. The Russian and German leaders spoke for an hour before the D-Day commemoration ceremony started. It’s not known what they talked about. The description of the event was unusually short. The Chancellor’s press-service said Russia is to realize it has responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine. The gas deal was not on the agenda. The scarcity of information made journalists watch the gests, eyes and expressions of leaders’ faces. Angela Merkel looked stern as a school teacher. American diplomats praised the Chancellor for being cool with Putin unlike the warm reception she had given to Poroshenko in Berlin just a day before meeting the Russian President. And that was all.

Visiting the German capital Poroshenko was told that Berlin is ready to render the aid Ukraine needs so much. The promise caressed the ear; Ukraine still cherishes hope that German businessmen will lend a helping hand. Perhaps that’s what Kiev-appointed Donetsk regional governor Sergey Taratuta has visited Germany for. According to Federal Foreign MinisterDr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, they discussed the prospects for crisis management. The German foreign chief warned Kiev against excessive use of force. [1] It makes one hope that at last Steinmeier started to think in practical terms about how to get the situation out of deadlock as just recently he had been inclined to point finger at Moscow making it guilty for everything that went wrong in Ukraine.[2]

Complete story at - Poroshenko: Off To a Bad Start - Dire Fallout Looming Out to Tower around Ukraine > Strategic Culture Foundation

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Cuba Looks to Sign a Major Oil Deal with Russia's Rosneft - The Wire

As if tensions between the United States and Russia were not high enough, the Russian government-owned oil corporation Rosneft is now seeking a major oil deal with Cuba. At the World Petroleum Congress in Moscow, Rosneft met with Cuban Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines, Ruben Cid, to discuss new oil fields right in America's backyard.

Cid told Itar-Tass, "Talks with Russian oil corporations are underway at the moment. The Director General of our national oil company CUPET, Juan Torrez Naranjo, and Rosneft President Igor Sechin signed a memorandum recently in St Petersburg, under which the two companies will do the joint development of oilfields on the Cuban continental shelf.”

If the deal continues, it will mean two government-owned oil companies with roots in communism will build a meaningful business relationship. Cuba has oil reserves of somewhere between four and 20 billion barrels. CUPET estimates 20 billion, whereas the United States Geological Society has a more modest estimate of four-to-nine billion barrels.

Right now, oil is priced around $110 per barrel. This is quite a lucrative deal, comparable even to the $900 billion deal Rosneft currently has underway with Exxon Mobil. In that arrangement, Arctic drilling should bring in nine billion barrels of oil.

Complete story at - Cuba Looks to Sign a Major Oil Deal with Russia's Rosneft - The Wire

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The Vineyard of the Saker: Nuclear apples and oranges

I just realized that I forgot to make something clear in my latest post about Russian and US nuclear capabilities: a lot of the current debate about a possible US nuclear attack on Russia is a case of comparing apples and oranges. Let me explain.

My posts dismissing the possibility of a US nuclear attack on Russia are based only on two things:

a) a certitude that any such attack would result in the complete obliteration of the USA.
b) the working hypothesis that the US is a "rational actor".

If you carefully read the writings of those who are warning about a UN nuclear attack on Russia, they fall into two very different categories:

Group A: they say that a nuclear war in unwinnable (Paul Craig Roberts is one of them) but that the US leaders are deluding themselves.

Group B: they say that the US has the capability to strike Russia and not be obliterated in a retaliatory strike.

I do not disagree with Group A. I don't necessarily agree either. My purely subjective feeling is that the US "deep state" will not risk it all on such a dangerous move and that the top US military comment would not go along with such an insane plan even if ordered. But I am not a psychic, a psychologist, a psychiatrist or somebody with any kind of access to the US leadership. I don't know what they are thinking today. The closest I have ever been to the US elites was in the late 1980s early 1990s - a very long time ago. So I do not know for a fact that the US is still a "rational actor". Maybe they have all gone completely insane as a consequence of a massive overdose of imperial hubris. Could be.

It is Group B which I categorically disagree with. All I am saying is that there is no conceivable scenario under which the US could strike Russia without risking unacceptable retaliatory damage if only because the current Russian nuclear deterrent is much stronger than the US one and that this will remain true for the foreseeable future.

So let's not compare apples and oranges, rational scenarios and those based on the hypothesis that one side has gone completely insane. Force planning and psychiatry are different sciences :-)

Kind regards,

The Saker

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: Nuclear apples and orangesCC Photo by Flickr User x ray delta one Subject is  strangelove

The U.S. Has The Most Expensive And Least Effective Health Care In The Developed World | ThinkProgress

For the fifth time in a row, the United States has been ranked last in a prominent think tank’s review of industrialized nation’s health care systems. Compared to other wealthy countries like Germany, France, Switzerland, and Australia, the U.S. lags far behind when it comes to ensuring health care access, efficiency, and equity:

Among the nations included in the Commonwealth Fund’s survey, the highest percentage of U.S. residents skip out on the medical care they need because they can’t afford it. Thirty-seven percent of Americans said they didn’t fill a prescription, visit a doctor, or seek out recommended medical care because they were worried about the cost; on the other end of the spectrum, just four percent of United Kingdom residents reported skimping on that care for the same concerns. That’s largely because the United States is the only country on the list that doesn’t offer universal health care, leaving a proportion of its population uninsured and unable to pay for medical services out of pocket.

The new report falls in line with previous research that has found Americans pay much more for their health care than the residents in other wealthy nations, even though those high price tags don’t necessarily correlate to better care. And the authors note that while other industrialized nations have enacted policy reforms to nudge their health systems in the right direction, the United States hasn’t significantly improved in these areas over the past decade.

However, the data that contributes to Commonwealth Fund’s survey was collected before Obamacare officially took effect. The authors point out that the “historic legislation” represents an “important first step” to fixing some of the United States’ persistent issues with high costs and lack of access to insurance. The health reform law hopes to expand insurance coverage to millions of Americans who have been locked out of the health care system, and that could finally improve the U.S.’s rankings in areas like access and equity.

Complete story at - The U.S. Has The Most Expensive And Least Effective Health Care In The Developed World | ThinkProgress

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

US Capitalism on Heat again for War > - Strategic Culture Foundation

When capitalism is in crisis, war is always an imminent danger. History shows us this to be case. The two biggest conflagrations ever, the First and Second World Wars – claiming total deaths of around 80 million – were both presaged by economic collapses in the capitalist system.

This is what makes the present juncture in international relations so disturbing. The American-centered capitalist system is once again choking to death from deep social malaises of poverty, unemployment, vast income inequality, and with that, stagnation in the productive economy. The tendency, as in the previous depressed economic times of the early 1900s and 1930s, is to go to war in a desperate act of “creative destruction”. Rationally and morally perverse, war nevertheless makes logical sense to the capitalist system as a way of clearing its choking contradictions. Depraved, yes to be sure, but that’s the ineluctable logic of the profit system.

One illustration of how deeply in crisis the capitalist system has once again become is the story of fake towns that the Pentagon is building across America. These towns are being used to train the US army in techniques of “urban warfare”. One such place was recently reported as newly opened as a training facility in the state of Virginia. The “model town” took six years to plan and two years to build at a total cost of $96 million, according to a report in Britain’s Daily Telegraph…

The Pentagon facility, covering 300 acres, is a replica of other cities that one might typically find across the US. It has residential houses with gardens, schools, places of religious worship, a sports stadium, banks, and even a five-storey embassy. The replica town has also been built with an underground subway and train station, complete with real, working trains.

The only thing missing from the picture are human beings. No one actually lives in this military model town in Virginia and others like it elsewhere in the US. These fake urban centres are to be used solely by the Pentagon to conduct ground troop and helicopter assaults on the various premises.

Complete story at - US Capitalism on Heat again for War > - Strategic Culture Foundation

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Kiev nationalists clash with police outside Orthodox monastery — RT News

Ukraine nationalists have clashed with police outside the citadel of the Orthodox Church in Kiev, the Pechersk Lavra, as the churchgoers and monks were about to hold a peace service praying for an end to violence in Ukraine.

According to various media reports up to 500 ultra-nationalists, representing the Right Sector and Ukraine's Patriots neo-nazi movements, clashed with around 100 policemen in an attempt to disrupt the Procession of the Cross at one of the centers of the Eastern Orthodox monasticism in Eastern Europe.

The procession was supposed to start at noon local time in the Holy Dormition Cathedral of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and end up at the monument of the Unknown Soldier. Participants in the rally, mostly elderly, oppose Kiev's military operation in the Donetsk region.

Ultra-nationalists claimed that “separatists” were planning to use the event as a chance to gather and form a “Kiev's People Republic” and used a “few dozen grandmas” to disguise their plan.

After the armed ultra-nationalist crowd arrived at the gates of the convent, the Lavra was forced to shut fearing clashes.

“After the crowd of activists with baseball bats and hammers, some wearing bulletproof vests arrived at the Lavra, the entrance and exit to the shrine was closed. According to law enforcement, this was done to avoid clashes,” spokesman for Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Fr. Georgiy Kovalenko shared his account of the events surrounding the procession service on his Facebook page.

Complete story at - Kiev nationalists clash with police outside Orthodox monastery (PHOTOS, VIDEO) — RT News

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Natalie Meden - Truth Leaks to People No Matter Information is Filtered through Fine Sieve - Strategic Culture Foundation

A few days had to pass before it became clear what the Ukrainian President meant talking about the need to cease fire. No, he was not talking about withdrawing chasteners away from Donbass or truce. He meant the use of force to quell the resistance of those who opposed the spread of fascism on Ukrainian soil. The military and the National Guard units predominantly manned by Pravy Sector acting under the orders of Supreme Commander Petro Poroshenko have failed to carry out the mission of putting down the unrest in a week. They had no chance to succeed. No go. So they have started to search for more extraordinary things than just firing conventional weapons…

For instance they used incendiary munitions or phosphorus bombs on June 12 in Slavyansk. It happened right after the vibrant discussions on the possibility of US assistance, including lethal aid. It did not take long for Jen Psaki, State Department spokeswoman, to come up with the conjecture that the bombs were used by «Russians». She is not aware the Russian army does not participate in the conflict. Russia respects its commitments as a party to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects. Protocol 3 restricts the use of incendiary weapons. It prohibits the use of incendiary weapons against civilians (effectively a reaffirmation of the general prohibition on attacks against civilians in Additional Protocol Conventions) as well as the use of air-delivered incendiary weapons against military targets located within concentrations of civilians and loosely regulates the use of other types of incendiary weapons in such circumstances. The US is not a party to this Protocol. In 2004 the United States used incendiary weapons in Iraq. Americans used such bombs in Vietnam before. In 2009 the US informed the UN Secretary General that its consent to observe article 2 of the above mentioned protocol was subject to some reservations. This approach to the use of weapons prohibited internationally on humanitarian grounds could have influenced the approach of American advisors who told their Ukrainian dependents to use incendiary bombs. On November 29, 2005, speaking at a press conference General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that white phosphorus «is a legitimate tool of the military,» and can be used for illumination, smoke, and incendiary purposes. Incredibly, the Department of Defense released an addendum to the press conference clarifying that white phosphorus was not used as an incendiary weapon. According to General Pace, «it was well within the law of war to use white phosphorus… for marking and screening». (1)

Hardly anybody in the United States could be concerned over the use of such weapons so far away from CONUS. The US believes the use of weapons forbidden for humanitarian reasons is legal. But quite often Europeans get stunned by the US interpretation of the rules to be observed in contemporary war. The current commander of the German Air Force Lieutenant General Karl Müllner has slammed the use of drones by the United States as air-to-ground weapons because it contradicts major humanitarian and ethical norms. (2)

What should European politicians do? How can they explain to their people the fact that the Ukrainian President welcomed so warmly in Europe uses incendiary weapons against his own people? It’s not something happening far away. The EU-German border is almost a thousand and a half kilometers long. They say President Poroshenko wants peace and democratic reforms. But singing praises only emphasized the dubious and shaky position of the Ukrainian head of state.

Complete story at - Natalie Meden - Truth Leaks to People No Matter Information is Filtered through Fine Sieve - Strategic Culture Foundation

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Russian government dumps Intel and AMD in favor of homemade processors

Russia's policy on Western technology is clear: The country can live without it, especially if key issues like economic sanctions, NSA spying and GPS cooperation aren't resolved to its leader's satisfaction. It looks like this tough stance extends to US-designed computer chips too, as a Russian business newspaper is reporting that state departments and state-run companies will no longer purchase PCs built around Intel or AMD processors. Instead, starting in 2015, the government will order up to one million devices annually based on the "Baikal" processor, which is manufactured by a domestic company called T-Platforms. An interesting twist, however, is that the Baikal processor is actually based on an ARM (Cortex-A57) design, which means the East / West divorce isn't quite as complete as it might sound. It could also mean that many Russian bureaucrats won't get the chance to be a Mac or a PC: they'll have to use some sort of ARM-compatible, presumably Linux-based operating system instead.

Complete story at - Russian government dumps Intel and AMD in favor of homemade processors

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Refugees Slaviansk in Kiev Courier - Russia

NoBC4U Note: Translated from the original French by Google Translate.

Plagued by civil war, the eastern Ukraine is now experiencing a mass exodus of its population. Thousands of people leave the region. While the pro-Russian in Russia will, supporters of Ukraine united flee Kiev - as did Sergei and Olga Sviatko originating Slaviansk. Faced with threats from insurgents, the couple had to quickly leave his hometown to stay alive. Interview with the relevant Ukrainian Journal Reporter .

The atmosphere in this small studio is stifling: there is no air inside and just half-open window to the room is filled with trees flew down. In the entrance enthroned a packet of detergent and a mop.

"I bought the laundry today, says his tenant, Sergei Sviatko, showing the package. We have very little money, but it is not a reason to live in the dirt. Want to see our kitchen? "

The small room, bright, contains an oven, a sink and a small table. Top: tea, sugar, buckwheat, cookies, bread, vegetables and preserves.

"You see under what conditions of paradise we were seated? "Said Sergei. And his voice does not contain a hint of irony - only sincere gratitude to the Kievan which allowed them to him and his family to live here free "as long as it takes." There are only a few days Sviatko was ready to sleep even in a cave - anything but being shot in his native Slaviansk. In Kiev, the man takes everything that happens to him as a gift.

"I am pleasantly surprised at how people, learning where we fled, trying to help us recognize Sergei. Everything you see here, mattress, sofa bed, bed in which we sleep, all the clothes I wear, my wife's ...: all that was brought to us by people we have met since we are here. "

Complete story at - Refugees Slaviansk in Kiev

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Monday, June 23, 2014

The Vineyard of the Saker: Short reminder about US and Russian nuclear weapons

A recent article in the LA Times caught my eye yesterday. It's title was "$40-billion missile defense system proves unreliable". I urge you to read the full article but the bottom line here is simple: the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, or GMD, is a catastrophic failure. Basically, the system is useless and would not even work against a (totally hypothetical) Iranian or North Korean strike with primitive missiles. And it's not like there are just a few technological kinks which need fixing here or there - the entire system was mis-designed from day 1, just like the latest tri-service "flying brick" the F-35. Billions of dollars wasted for nothing except making the folks in the US military-industrial complex rich, very rich. I hope to write up one day a full analysis of why a country which in the past has produced absolutely world class military hardware and weapons systems (like the WWII Jeep or the F-16) is now systematically producing hugely expensive crap, but that is not my purpose today. Today I want to remind you all of a few basic facts:

1) The entire US nuclear arsenal is hopelessly outdated, especially it's land-based component which is over 30 years old and whose B-1 and B-2 bombers which cannot deliver cruise missiles and whose "stealth" capabilities are no match for Russian air defense systems. The only part of the US nuclear triad which is more or less in good shape are the US Navy boomers.
2) The US GMD cannot even intercept primitive ballistic missiles.
3) Russia has recently deployed brand new mobile land-based (SS-27, SS-29) and sea based ballistic missiles (R-29RMU2, RSM-56) which are designed to be able to evade future ABM systems.

Please keep that in mind when you hear all this talk about a US first strike on Russia. What is happening now is a typical self-feeding rumor which somebody started (dunno who) and who get's picked up by more and more people who then end up quoting each other as a proof of the thesis. So my advice to you is this: the next time you come across an article suggesting that the US is about to nuke Russia (or some variation thereof), see if the author offers a plausible scenario of how this could be done. This scenario should not just mention some vague "Star Wars" like "secret" technologies (like nukes in space) but mention existing, tested and deployed systems.

There are enough real reasons to be discouraged, disgusted, worried and outright despondent about the world we live in and there really is no need to add a completely artificial nuclear scare to this.

My 2cts.

The Saker

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: Short reminder about US and Russian nuclear weaponsMe dumbocracy

‘Merchants of Death’ Could Make a Lot of Money Off a War in Ukraine | The Nation

William Greider on May 13, 2014 - 3:57 PM ET

If you’re wondering why some US politicians are so hot for war in the Ukraine, think “merchants of death.” At the height of the antiwar movement, that was nasty label some of us applied to Lockheed Martin, Boeing and other major manufacturers of high-tech war-fighting equipment—planes, tanks, missiles, whatever does the job. When the drums of war are sounding in some distant land, these the weapons makers naturally smell sales opportunities.

Trouble in Ukraine has aroused the same ambitions and hawkish politicians have picked up the ball and are running with it. They are demanding that the US government send military stuff to Kiev to hold off threatening Russians (our favorite bad guys). The hawks are portraying President Obama as a wimp who’s insufficiently bellicose. But the president is so far playing a cool hand. He has been getting us out of two wars. He’s pretty sure the people don’t want another one.

In fact, neutral historians may someday conclude that it was the United States who stirred up the trouble in the Ukraine, inadvertently if not intentionally, and that US arms makers played an important supporting role. When the Cold War ended in 1991, these companies saw a promising new market opening for their stuff—the newly liberated Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe. Let’s expand NATO! The manufacturers lobbied policy makers in Washington and courted governments of post-Soviet nations as potential customers.

Bill Clinton decided to do it, cheered on by the arms merchants. Why is nobody talking about that? Because It might sound unpatriotic. And the media love bang-bang, even if the cause is stupid.

But expanding NATO to the east—even right up to Russian borders—was the provocative decision that led eventually to the current tensions and troubles. The Clinton administration determined that the United States must reach out and embrace the nations of Eastern Europe by offering them membership in the defense alliance originally created to hold off Soviet aggression. Expanding NATO, it was said, would guarantee the Communists could never reclaim their old dominance.

Complete story at - William Greider, The Nation, NATO, Ukraine, Lockheed Martin, Republicans, Vladimir Putin | The Nation

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Boko Haram a Blessing for Imperialism in Africa: U.S. Training Death Squads | ActivistPoster

by Glen Ford | May 29, 2014 Black Agenda Report

Militarily, Africa is fast becoming an American continent. Barack Obama, who has been president for all but the first year of AFRICOM’s existence, has succeeded in integrating U.S. fighting units, bases, training regimens, equipment and financing into the military structures of all but a handful of African nations. The great pan-Africanist and former Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah’s dream of a militarily united Africa has been all but realized – with Americans and Europeans in charge. Under the guise of “humanitarian” intervention, Obama has vastly expanded Bill Clinton and George Bush’s African footprints, so that only a few patches on the continental map lie outside Washington’s sphere of operations. Eritrea and Zimbabwe are the notable exceptions – and, therefore, future targets.

Africa is occupied territory. The African Union doesn’t even pretend to be in charge of its own nominal peace-keeping missions, which are little more than opportunities for African militaries to get paid for doing the West’s bidding. China and Brazil may be garnering the lion’s share of trade with Africa, but the men with the guns are loyal to AFRICOM – the sugar daddy to the continent’s military class. U.S. troops now sleep in African barracks, brothers in arms with African officers who can determine who will sleep next week in the presidential mansion.

The pace of U.S. penetration of West Africa has quickened dramatically since 2011, when Obama bombed Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan government out of existence, setting a flood of jihadists and weapons streaming east to Syria and south to destabilize the nations of the Sahel. Chaos ensued – beautiful chaos, if you are a U.S. military planner seeking justification for ever-larger missions. NATO’s aggression against Libya begat the sub-Saharan chaos that justified the French and U.S. occupation of Mali and Niger. Hyperactive North African jihadists, empowered by American bombs, weapons and money, trained and outfitted their brethren on the continent, including elements of Nigeria’s Boko Haram. The Yoruba-speaking Islamic warriors then bequeathed AFRICOM a priceless gift: nearly 300 schoolgirls in need of rescuing, perfect fodder for “humanitarian” intervention.

Nobody had to ask twice that Obama “Do something!”

Complete story at - Boko Haram a Blessing for Imperialism in Africa: U.S. Training Death Squads | ActivistPoster

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Deserters are Heroes » CounterPunch:


If Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was a deserter, then he’s a hero. Furthermore, he might have been the only sane American in Afghanistan. That war is not only unnecessary, it is wrong. Bergdahl’s recognition of this fact (if that’s what occurred) proves his sanity. Then again, perhaps he just got tired of killing and the threat of being killed. Or maybe the military’s excessively macho culture got to him. If he did just walk away from his post, it’s clear something cataclysmic happened in his psyche. It is not his fault other soldiers may have been killed searching for him. It is the fault of the government and its supporters that sent the soldiers into war in the first place.

Naturally, the right wing could not help themselves when rumors began to appear on the internet of Bergdahl’s possible desertion. After all, not only does the requisite hatred of Obama and the possibility he did something other rightwingers might like come into play, there is also the need to maintain the martial myth US culture insists on. Deserters must be punished. After all, if soldiers feel like they can walk away from a war for whatever reason at all, then how can a military be maintained? How can an Empire fight its wars except by overpaying mercenaries whose allegiance to anything but money and loot is questionable? Ever since Vietnam there is a lingering fear in every military officer and those civilians that support the institution of enlisted men and women who ignore orders, don’t fight and generally tell their higher-ups to fuck off.

Back in 1974, NBC television showed a film made from the book The Execution of Private Slovik by William Bradford Huie. The film and book were based on the true story of a hapless draftee who was executed on New Year’s Eve 1944 for desertion. The man who ordered the execution was General Dwight Eisenhower. When Huie tried to get the book published, Eisenhower attempted to quash publication. In 1960 Frank Sinatra tried to get a film version of the book made. He hired the blacklisted Albert Maltz to be the screenwriter. After being accused of being a communist sympathizer and asked to delay the film by John F. Kennedy, Sinatra backed down. Finally, the film was made with Martin Sheen playing the role of Eddie Slovik. In a side note, Kurt Vonnegut mentions Slovik in his antiwar novel Slaughterhouse Five.

According to Huie, Slovik realized rather quickly that he was not made to fight. He asked his commanding officer for a reassignment and was refused because the military needed fodder with rifles in their hand. After being refused, Slovik walked away from his unit, heading to a camp in the rear. It was there that he handed an Army cook a note which read, in part, “I, Pvt. Eddie D. Slovik, 36896415, confess to the desertion of the United States Army. At the time of my desertion we were in Albuff [Elbeuf] in France…. They were shelling the town and we were told to dig in for the night. The following morning they were shelling us again. I was so scared, nerves and trembling, that at the time the other replacements moved out, I couldn’t move. I stayed there in my fox hole till it was quiet and I was able to move. I then walked into town. Not seeing any of our troops, so I stayed over night at a French hospital. …. They turned me loose. I told my commanding officer my story. I said that if I had to go out there again I’d run away. He said there was nothing he could do for me so I ran away again AND I’LL RUN AWAY AGAIN IF I HAVE TO GO OUT THERE.”

Complete story at - Deserters are Heroes » CounterPunch:

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ukraine Faces Backlash as Devaluation Ravages Foreign-Currency Borrowers - Bloomberg

As central Kiev burned amid deadly street protests in February, Ukraine’s currency dived and Alex Bukovetskiy stopped paying his dollar-based mortgage.

The 41-year-old joined hundreds of angry borrowers at parliament last week to demand the authorities provide relief after the hryvnia lost a third of its value in two months. Payments to Universal Bank on his flat in the capital’s suburbs have jumped 40 percent to $1,250 since President Viktor Yanukovych was toppled.

“I don’t have that kind of money,” Bukovetskiy, who’d been dipping into savings to pay his mortgage after losing his marketing job last autumn, said June 5 by phone. “I’m not hiding from my bank. I’m ready to pay but I want a compromise.”

Six months of political turmoil have rocked Ukraine’s finances, turning the hryvnia into 2014’s worst performer versus the dollar and prompting the government to sign a $17 billion bailout with the International Monetary Fund. Already battling an insurgency in the nation’s east, officials must now decide between placating the borrowers and further undermining the nation’s fiscal position or antagonizing them by doing nothing.

The situation could be worse: Ukrainian banks, which include Dnipropetrovsk-based Privatbank, Russian lenders such as OAO Sberbank (SBER) and foreign institutions such as Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI), have been limited to issuing hryvnia-based home loans since the 2008 financial crisis ravaged the economy.

Complete story at - Ukraine Faces Backlash as Devaluation Ravages Foreign-Currency Borrowers - Bloomberg

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National Guard soldiers rebel against Kiev > - Strategic Culture Foundation

NoBC4U Note: The Ukrainian National Guard is made up mostly of Right Sector Nazis.

Soldiers of the Ukrainian National Guard say that they are going to go to Kiev to ask questions to defense officials and Interior Minister Avakov.

The commander of the third company of the first reserve battalion of the National Guard of Ukraine, who at the end of May returned with his company from the zone of the "antiterrorist operation," said that there was a mutiny in their military unit. The lieutenant said that their battalion does not exist.

According to him, the servicemen received IDs of the 6th and 10th battalions that do not exist in the 36th unit either.

"We do not exist. There is no record that we were in Slavyansk, that we received weapons - nothing," said the lieutenant.

A video, shows the military men standing near the bus stop, saying that they are going to Kiev to ask questions to the Secretary RNBO Parubiya, the National Guard Commander, Lieutenant General Poltorak and Interior Minister Avakov, "who was shaking our hands, telling us that we were his only hope."

Complete story at - National Guard soldiers rebel against Kiev > - Strategic Culture Foundation

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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

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