Saturday, February 28, 2015

Why the Rise of Fascism is Again the Issue » CounterPunch


The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.

“To initiate a war of aggression…,” said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, “is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.

Like the fascism of the 1930s and 1940s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent, repetitive media and its virulent censorship by omission. Take the catastrophe in Libya.

In 2011, Nato launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that “most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten”.

The public sodomising of the Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi with a “rebel” bayonet was greeted by the then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, with the words: “We came, we saw, he died.” His murder, like the destruction of his country, was justified with a familiar big lie; he was planning “genocide” against his own people. “We knew … that if we waited one more day,” said President Obama, “Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.”

This was the fabrication of Islamist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. They told Reuters there would be “a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda”. Reported on March 14, 2011, the lie provided the first spark for Nato’s inferno, described by David Cameron as a “humanitarian intervention”.

Complete story at - Why the Rise of Fascism is Again the Issue » CounterPunch

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is pbs twimg com  Subject is azov nazi

Why the Media War Over Ukraine is a War Against Everyone | New Eastern Outlook

The ongoing media war between the United States and the Russian Federation is pretty much official. Even before the first official shots were fired, through the announcements by Andrew Lack, the newly-appointed chief of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which compared the English Language Russia Today to the Islamic State and Boko Haram, it was being conducted alongside the other concurrent conflicts: the ground war, the sanctions war, and the currency war.

In any sort of conflict opposing sides will have opposing views, and will present whatever suits their purposes and ignore what they don’t want people to hear. However, history shows us that there is such a thing a Truth, and if you ignore it it will come back and bite you. Ask any American who has served in Iraq and Syria, or any of the Vietnam veterans who came home vilified for doing their duty when, having seen the situation on the ground, they had no idea why they were there to begin with.

It is therefore in the interests of any conflicting party to base their propaganda on facts which give their actions justification. However, in Ukraine only one side is endeavouring to do this, and regretably it is not the US. All the Western powers have no choice but to go along with another projection of the US world view, despite the fact very few people outside the US believe it has any connection with reality. This is important, when people’s lives, and millions of war machine dollars, are involved.

Pot calling the kettle black

The American world view is very simple. It is based on one premise: everyone else has something wrong with them because they are not American. This encourages the US to look for the splinter in everyone else’s eye whilst neither seeing the log in its own nor imagining it could exist.

Consequently the US has expectations of different countries which reflect this prejudice. If they have wrong with them what America says they do, they must therefore want to do what America wants to put it right. Maybe these countries have their own ideas about what they want and what is good for them. But America’s ideas are superior, so what America wants must be what is good for the world as a whole, there is no need to take any other interest into account.

The US view of Ukraine is as follows: Putin’s view of what the new Russia should be is not compatible with the 21st century. His “nostalgia for the years of tsarist or communist conquest” is a utopian and dangerous sympathy out of step with the modern world. Reincorporating or annexing Crimea must therefore be part of an effort to create a buffer zone (East Ukraine, Moldova, Ossetia, Abkhazia and maybe more to come) between Russia and Western sympathizers, because his views are not American, so he must be setting up an anti-American bloc.

As journalist Robert Parry writes, part of the problem is that the neocon propagandists who conduct such wars have been allowed to get away with introducing a fundamental falsehood into the modern American media. The personal has become the political: that is, you don’t deal with the larger context of a dispute, you make it all about some easily demonised figure.

Complete story at - Why the Media War Over Ukraine is a War Against Everyone | New Eastern Outlook

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is 21stcenturywire com  Subject is 1 BBC WAR PROPAGANDA

The Metamorphosis of Vladimir Putin » CounterPunch


Suddenly last summer, Vladimir Putin, formerly once a decent enough Russian leader (with a few unsettling quirks), turned into a malevolent, almost demonic, force.

Congratulations to the American propaganda system for putting over this remarkable metamorphosis.

At the same time, the verdict on Barack Obama did not change – not last summer, not since he assumed office.

From the moment that it became clear that his presidency would be rife with “disappointments” and sparing in achievements, Democrats have maintained that he means well and would be a force for good – were it not for pesky Republicans thwarting his every move.

Republicans, meanwhile, have a different view. For them, Obama has always been evil incarnate – like Putin now is, maybe worse. Hell, he may not even be a Christian, and he doesn’t “love America.”

Needless to say, the Republican take on Obama is preposterous. But then the liberal view is preposterous too. Disappointed Obamaphiles are not as in-your-face stupid as GOP Obamaphobes, but it is hard to say which is worse.

* * *

Obama’s first term was, for the most part, a continuation of George Bush’s second.

Winding down (repackaging) the never-ending wars Bush and Dick Cheney started in Afghanistan and Iraq was one of Obama’s principal objectives. Bush and Cheney had been working on this too, at least since 2006.

It was the same with 24/7 surveillance. Obama’s predecessors got it going; then Obama picked up the ball and ran with it, taking it as far as he could. In this case, there was not even a pretense of winding anything down; the point was to rev the snooping up.

Complete story at - The Metamorphosis of Vladimir Putin » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is pbs twimg com  Subject is obama putin

Friday, February 27, 2015

5 Reasons Why Arab Spring States are Dumping Obama and Reaching for Russia / Sputnik International

Obama has a Middle East problem. Almost all states which went through the Arab Spring revolutions are dumping the US and looking to Russia for help. Here are five reasons why.

As Obama's foreign policy falters, even former US allies are turning toward Russia for support. In February, high-profile visits to Moscow were made by Libya's prime minister and Yemen's ruling coalition. On February 10, Putin made a visit to Egypt which has been labelled as historic by analysts, and led to multiple high-level visits since.

However, the leaders are not only seeking access to Russia's historically strong military industry, but also its economic cooperation and political clout at the United Nations Security Council as they realize that dealing with the United States is a dead end. There are five main reasons why post-Arab Spring states are yearning for Russia's support.

1. The US Only Provides Weapons When it Serves Its Doctrine

Following the NATO intervention which led to the overthrow of Muammar Gadhafi during the 2011 Libyan Civil War, the country was discarded by the West. A conflict between secular and Islamist factions who came to power led to a second civil war in 2014. Now, the secular government is yearning for Russia' support as it battles the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Islamist faction as well as jihadists, including the Islamic State, is yearning for Russia's support.

"The United States and Britain have been supporting armed groups while at the same time denying weapons to the Libyan army," the country's internationally-recognized Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani told Sputnik on Tuesday.

Al-Thani, previously announced that Libya hopes for a military cooperation with Russia, in both weapons supplies and training, during a press conference at the Rossiya Segodnya press center in Moscow on February 5.

2. Infrastructure Projects With the West Mean IMF Debt Traps

Having lost a considerable amount of infrastructure in the Civil War, Libya cannot afford expensive Western technologies other than through IMF and World Bank loans which have political strings attached, such as austerity policies. The other choice is Russia, which is willing to finance deals on much more generous terms and at a lower price.

Complete story at - 5 Reasons Why Arab Spring States are Dumping Obama and Reaching for Russia / Sputnik International

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is fc09 deviantart net  Subject is Uncle Obama s Cabin by Latuff2

At the finish line of deindustrialization: how Ukraine loses its industry | The Vineyard of the Saker

By Ivan Lizan

Translated by Eugene

Ukraine’s refusal to cooperate with Russia in the military, scientific and technical fields has already begun to bear fruit. Naturally, this Kiev’s policy forced the citizens of Ukraine to eat only one (poisonous) kind of “fruit”: unemployment, poverty and deindustrialization.

Thanks to the West and Kiev for this

The goal of this break in cooperation, initiated by the Western curators of Kiev – while talking heads in the government only announced Washington’s decision, wrapped in the slogan “Not a single spare part for the occupier!” – was actually the disruption of the state defense order of the Russian Federation.

“Geniuses” of the Ukrainian political thought expressed the intention to force Moscow’s capitulation by refusing to cooperate and to export components. For example, the Ukrainian political “giant” Yuri Lutsenko suggested to use the Yuzhmash plant as a means to blackmail Russia. The argument was truly “deadly”, but, as turned out, not for Russia: “… all Russian nuclear missiles can be serviced only by our Yuzhmash. Without this service, the whole world will sing la-la-la-la” [reference to the obscene ditty “Putin huilo la-la-la-la” popular among anti-Russian Ukrs] – Lutsenko repeated in mid-July last year.

However, the negative effect of breaking the bonds is almost always mutual and is not immediate. Because, all of a sudden, it turned out that the mastodon of Ukrainian engineering – the backbone of Ukrainian rocket-building – Yuzhmash found itself between life and death. Yet, Russian companies still keep working, for reasons still unclear to Kiev.

How the flagship of rocket-building dies

The plant had problems before. They were not critical, but accumulated from year to year.

Americans were first to refuse cooperation with Yuzhmash because of the exploded Anthares rocket. Formally, the Americans are going to work for about a year on finalizing the technical solution for their rocket, so Yuzhmash will be left without US orders during this time. In reality, if Washington decides to renew the cooperation, they will not find anyone to talk with, as by that time the company will be reduced to just a pile of equipment.

The final nail in the plant’s coffin was the refusal of the Russian Federation to procure launch vehicles Zenit; they will be replaced with [Russian made] Angara.

Complete story at - At the finish line of deindustrialization: how Ukraine loses its industry | The Vineyard of the Saker

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

America’s paranoid war game fantasies about Putin’s Russia — The (information) war in Ukraine* — Medium

This map of Europe (below), appearing in the March/April 2015 issue of Modern War magazine (a publisher of military strategy games), purports to show “Putin’s vision of Europe for 2015.” Based on the compiled speeches, papers and offhand remarks of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his advisers, it’s the ultimate war gamer fantasy of how dangerous an aggressive an expansionist and imperialist Russian might become for Europe.

On the map, parts of Ukraine have been lopped off to create Donbas, Crimea and Novorossiya (“New Russia”). The Baltic states have been partitioned to make room for ethnic Russian states in Narva and Dvinsk. Transnistria appears as a separate nation-state. Georgia has been partitioned into Western Georgia and Kakheti, bookended on either side by “Russian Abkhazia” and the “Caucasus Emirates.” To make that possible, there’s a “heavily-patrolled autobahn-type highway” giving Russia a narrow corridor of access to the South Caucasus.

And consider all the other audacious changes on this map of Europe — Germany appears to have expanded significantly both eastward and westward; there’s a new “ghetto-like mini-state” called “Arab Piedmont” for Western Europe’s restive Muslim population; and England and Spain have been partitioned due to separatist movements in Scotland and Catalonia, respectively. Turkey has carved out part of Bulgaria to form “Turkish Burgas.” (Perhaps as compensation for partnering with Russia on a huge new gas deal?) Eastern Europe has become a mess of small states — Chelm, Galicia, Carpathian Rus, Bukovina and Bessarabia.

According to Gilberto Villahermosa, the author of the “Putin as Warlord” piece that accompanies the map in Modern War magazine, “The resurgence of Germany to its prewar 1939 borders in the east, and those of 1914 in the west, would be engineered as payoff to Berlin for letting all the other changes take place.” It’s another Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, this time engineered between Putin and Merkel! And we thought they didn’t like each other!

Complete story at - America’s paranoid war game fantasies about Putin’s Russia — The (information) war in Ukraine* — Medium


"We are losing"--Maidan die-hard toys with the idea of military dictatorship - Fort Russ

By Yuriy Kasyanov

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

Let’s speak openly. We are losing the war. The string of battlefield defeats, punctuated by the so-called “peace agreements” demonstrates the political powerlessness of the government and the total inadequacy of the military high command. Let’s count. The agreement to let Girkin [a.k.a. Strelkov] from Slavyansk, the destruction of our forces in the border sector D, Ilovaysk, the retreat from Lugansk airport, the loss of Novoazovsk, 32nd and 32st checkpoints, the defeat at Donetsk Airport, Debaltsevo…It’s a far from complete list of our failures. The list of victorious lies is even longer: we tend to call our defeats victories, and to blame the Kremlin for all the failures. If the retreat cannot be prevented then it has to be renamed, by calling it a “planned withdrawal” with subsequent military decorations and commemorative photos. The treacherous Putin can serve as an alibi personal cowardice and incompetence. Our losses are under-reported by a wide margin. We are short of equipment, artillery ammunition is nearly all gone; we can’t expect military aid from the glorious Western democracies. We can see the specter of total military catastrophe, the loss of even greater territories, an economic collapse, and the break-up of the state system of governance.

We are losing. We are losing because we are fighting an enemy which we do not want to defeat. The enemy is not the homegrown separatists, not Russian occupiers, and not even the entire “Russian world” of Putin. We are our own enemy number one: our cowardly short-sighted leaders and clumsy commanders; our new/old Rada, incapable of accepting the responsibility for the country; the mindless corruption which had become a part of our lives; our serf worldview which expects favors from a good master.

We do have enlightened minds, clean hands, and burning hearts. Nearly all of them are at the front. In general brains work better at war; life becomes more understandable and people show their true nature. Here you are valued by your deeds and not by your words; no rank, expensive equipment, or fashionable assault rifle are worth anything if the person is a craven coward. Here they fight well enough, to the extent that our GenStaff does not interfere; they consider each peace agreement the prelude to an even bigger war, and they know what needs to be done for that victory.

It’s different behind the front. Some are praying for the president, others curse him. While cursing, they find themselves a new icon on the blue screen, and pray to it. Behind the front, people put their hopes in the West, sanctions, and military aid. They consider all volunteers heroes, and the prominent battalion commanders Napoleons. Behind the front they don’t want to fight and don’t like bad news. In the battle between the truth about the war and the TV, the latter wins. When the reality of war penetrates mass consciousness, the citizens fall into cognitive dissonance with the propaganda inculcated earlier. It may end with a blind rebellion—an assault on the presidential administration, a siege of the GenStaff, the burning of the Rada, or the destruction of other foundations of the state which would only make our northern neighbor happy.

Complete story at - "We are losing"--Maidan die-hard toys with the idea of military dictatorship - Fort Russ

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is scontent a vie xx fbcdn net  Subject is nazi toilet head

Alarming Currency Devaluation Provokes Consumer Panic in Ukraine / Sputnik International

The rapid devaluation of Ukraine's currency has provoked a "consumer panic" in the country, adding fuel to the fire of the ongoing political and economic crisis.

Ekaterina Blinova – The rapid devaluation of the hryvnia has triggered a panic amongst Ukrainian consumers, prompting people to "storm" supermarkets and pharmacies.

The Ukrainian currency has already lost 70 percent of its value, triggering a "consumer panic" in the country. Ukrainians are stockpiling food and medicine, scouring the shelves for sugar, cooking oil, flour, canned products, cakes and frozen chickens. Most of these products have already disappeared from Ukrainian stores.

Local media outlets depict a gloomy picture of people standing in queues for hours, cursing and jostling each other. The panic has emerged in the last few days in Kiev and other cities of the country: cheap products such as coffee, tea and sunflower oil have vanished from the shelves due to consumer hysteria.

Ukrainian stores have already introduced rationing of basic products in order to reduce the negative impact caused by the nationwide panic. Restrictions have been introduced for goods like cooking oil, flour and sugar; with retailers allowed to sell only two bottles of oil and three to five kilograms of flour and sugar per person.

Complete story at - Alarming Currency Devaluation Provokes Consumer Panic in Ukraine / Sputnik International

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is fbcdn sphotos e a akamaihd net  Subject is damn putin toon

How 'Reverse Blame' Works: New Book on Ukraine Crisis Exposes US Geo-Scams / Sputnik International

One year since the bloody uprising in Kiev, world’s leading political analysts look into the background of what grew into one of the gravest geopolitical crises.

According to the accepted narrative of the Western mainstream media, the crisis begun when the so-called fresh-faced young pro-democracy activists overturned what they believed was a brutal Russian-backed dictatorship which stood in Ukraine's way, keeping it from joining the European family of nations and sharing in its prosperity. This led to the claimed "Russia's incursion into Ukraine" and what they called "its annexation of Crimea."
However, 22 analysts with impeccable credentials were able to review the events that led up to the current crisis in Ukraine, and an entirely different story emerges.

The authors reveal the true aims of the backers of the military conflict and what they were willing to do in order to achieve their goals. Their book, “Flashpoint in Ukraine”, of course, went unnoticed by the US and European mainstream media. Sputnik got hold of one of the copies.

'Finance in Today’s World Has Become War by Non-Military Means'

In his chapter "The new Cold War’s Ukraine Gambit", Michael Hudson, a world-famous research professor of economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City explains what the conflict is actually all about.
"The object is the same as that of military conquest: appropriation of land and basic infrastructure, and the rents that can be extracted as tribute," he writes. "In today’s world this is taken mainly in the form of debt service and privatization. That is how neoliberalism works, subduing economies by indebting their governments and using unpayably high debts as a lever to pry away the public domain at distress prices."
Complete story at - How 'Reverse Blame' Works: New Book on Ukraine Crisis Exposes US Geo-Scams / Sputnik International

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

The 4th Media » Russia Creates Its Own Payment System

This is important:

Almost 91 domestic credit institutions have been incorporated into the new Russian financial system, the analogous of SWIFT, an international banking network.

The new service, will allow Russian banks to communicate seamlessly through the Central Bank of Russia. It should be noted that Russia’s Central Bank initiated the development of the country’s own messaging system in response to repeated threats voiced by Moscow’s Western partners to disconnect Russia from SWIFT.

Much of the West’s power comes from our financial hegemony. Our ability to cut people off from loans, payments and so on. Since this new system is Russian only, it isn’t, right now, that big a deal.

But start connecting other countries to it, say China, Iran, India and so on, and it becomes a way of breaking financial blockades.

Include some calculable financial law (less of a challenge than it used to be as New York and London courts make increasingly punitive decisions), and start lending in Yuan (with which one can buy much of what one needs in the world, since the Chinese make so much of it), and you have a fully credible financial system.

The key is to get one major manufacturing country in. Most of the nations the West is punishing these days, financially, are oilarchies ( Venezuela, Iran, Argentina). They need the ability to buy manufactured goods.

Complete story at - The 4th Media » Russia Creates Its Own Payment System

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is EAE0QAAIBAgMDBwULCAcJAAAAAAABAgMRBBIhBTFRBhMiQWFxkTKBobGyByNCUmJyc5KjwdEUFRYzRFNjdCQ0Q4Kz4fElZHWDk6LS4vD  Subject is russian flag

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Year of the Sheep, Century of the Dragon?

by Pepe Escobar

BEIJING -- Seen from the Chinese capital as the Year of the Sheep starts, the malaise affecting the West seems like a mirage in a galaxy far, far away. On the other hand, the China that surrounds you looks all too solid and nothing like the embattled nation you hear about in the Western media, with its falling industrial figures, its real estate bubble, and its looming environmental disasters. Prophecies of doom notwithstanding, as the dogs of austerity and war bark madly in the distance, the Chinese caravan passes by in what President Xi Jinping calls “new normal” mode.

“Slower” economic activity still means a staggeringly impressive annual growth rate of 7% in what is now the globe’s leading economy. Internally, an immensely complex economic restructuring is underway as consumption overtakes investment as the main driver of economic development. At 46.7% of the gross domestic product (GDP), the service economy has pulled ahead of manufacturing, which stands at 44%.

Geopolitically, Russia, India, and China have just sent a powerful message westward: they are busy fine-tuning a complex trilateral strategy for setting up a network of economic corridors the Chinese call “new silk roads” across Eurasia. Beijing is also organizing a maritime version of the same, modeled on the feats of Admiral Zheng He who, in the Ming dynasty, sailed the “western seas” seven times, commanding fleets of more than 200 vessels.

Meanwhile, Moscow and Beijing are at work planning a new high-speed rail remix of the fabled Trans-Siberian Railroad. And Beijing is committed to translating its growing strategic partnership with Russia into crucial financial and economic help, if a sanctions-besieged Moscow, facing a disastrous oil price war, asks for it.

To China’s south, Afghanistan, despite the 13-year American war still being fought there, is fast moving into its economic orbit, while a planned China-Myanmar oil pipeline is seen as a game-changing reconfiguration of the flow of Eurasian energy across what I’ve long called Pipelineistan.

And this is just part of the frenetic action shaping what the Beijing leadership defines as the New Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road of the twenty-first century. We’re talking about a vision of creating a potentially mind-boggling infrastructure, much of it from scratch, that will connect China to Central Asia, the Middle East, and Western Europe. Such a development will include projects that range from upgrading the ancient silk road via Central Asia to developing a Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor; a China-Pakistan corridor through Kashmir; and a new maritime silk road that will extend from southern China all the way, in reverse Marco Polo fashion, to Venice.

Don’t think of this as the twenty-first-century Chinese equivalent of America’s post-World War II Marshall Plan for Europe, but as something far more ambitious and potentially with a far vaster reach.

Complete story at - Tomgram: Pepe Escobar, Inside China's "New Normal" | TomDispatch

Operation Get Putin: Why the Western Media Pushes for War on Russia | The Smirking Chimp

by Brian Cloughley | February 20, 2015 - 9:46am

Voutenay sur Cure, France. | The US war on Iraq began on March 20, 2003 and six weeks before that catastrophic conflict which has had such terrible consequences for the entire world Republican Congressman Joe Wilson showered praise on a newspaper for its weighty support of his president’s determination to invade a country that had done no harm to the United States.

Mr Wilson declared he “would like to call attention to an excellent editorial in today’s Washington Post, written by the newspaper’s editorial staff. They have presented a definitive summary of why we must act to disarm Iraq in preserving the safety of Americans.” And there then arose overwhelming national support for what the WP called “justified military intervention.” The paper carried 27 editorials supporting war on Iraq before the ‘Shock and Awe’ onslaught began destruction of the country. In a mist of majestic inanity its leader of February 5, 2003 declared that
a war in Iraq would not be primarily a humanitarian exercise but an operation essential to American security.
Next day one of the WP’s columnists, Richard Cohen, wrote acerbically that
Iraq not only hasn’t accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool — or possibly a Frenchman — could conclude otherwise.
Only a columnist with the intelligence quotient of a mentally challenged crustacean would have ventured such judgment, but his views were greeted with enthusiasm verging on veneration. Similar balanced analyses by Washington Post gurus continue to appear today and many are quite as propaganda-intense as those that advocated the calamitous war on Iraq, the failed military campaign in Afghanistan and the destruction of Libya.

Complete story at - Operation Get Putin: Why the Western Media Pushes for War on Russia | The Smirking Chimp

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is 0 tqn com  Subject is propaganda shockawe

The 4th Media » The Draft Dodgers of Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine — Roman has been dodging the draft for almost a month now.

A longtime political activist and accountant in Lviv, in western Ukraine, he no longer lives where he’s registered at his parents’ house in a small village outside the city, so he wasn’t there when the local draft board tried to serve him notice on Jan. 16. His father refused to sign at first; he relented after the head of the village threatened to call the police.

But Roman, 24, who declined to give his last name for fear of being tracked down, never showed up for the required medical examination.

“I am against every war, but especially this war, because it’s meaningless,” said Roman, who has been staying in an apartment in Lviv that belongs to his wife’s relatives. “I think this conflict was created artificially. The Ukrainian mass media helped this along by spreading this patriotic hysteria.”

Desperate for manpower in its standoff with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, which has lasted some 10 months and killed at least 5,600, the Ukrainian military early this year reinstituted a general draft, giving itself the power to conscript young men between the ages of 20 and 27.

But a huge number of Ukrainians, like Roman, are reportedly avoiding service, either because they’re disturbed by the prospect of fighting their fellow countrymen in the rebel ranks, are against the war in principle, or because they are simply afraid to go.

Although no exact figures on the number of those avoiding conscription are available, it could be as many as tens of thousands: The military said in September that during partial mobilizations in 13 regions in 2014, 85,792 of those summoned didn’t report to their draft offices and 9,969 were proven to be illegally avoiding service.

Now young men with views like Roman’s are on the run as the government tries to stem a rash of reported draft dodging and is cracking down on anti-war sentiments. Last week, high-profile journalist Ruslan Kotsaba was detained on charges of treason and espionage after he spoke out against mobilization.

Days later, President Petro Poroshenko announced that the security service had “detained 19 active critics of mobilization” for their “anti-Ukrainian activity.” New regulations reportedly in the works could soon prevent those eligible from service for going abroad or even leaving their home regions without permission.

Complete story at - The 4th Media » The Draft Dodgers of Ukraine

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

Paralyzed By Ukraine, Dumbfounded by Russia -

The sluggish disintegration of a weak peace deal in Ukraine has come as nothing less than a blessing for President Obama. It has helped mask his administration's inability to determine the best response to the crisis, and to Russia.

But this respite will not last. Given the events on the ground, Obama will soon have to decide whether to send weapons and trainers to the Ukrainian government and risk turning what has been largely a border skirmish into a major conflict by proxy with serious implications for the United States, Europe, and American interests worldwide.

Certainly, Obama has faced overseas challenges before—most notably in Libya, Iraq, and Syria. But he has never had to stare down a nuclear power bent on reestablishing its sphere of influence. And he's never faced an adversary with the swagger and smarts of Vladimir Putin, who hails from a throwback era of global power politics that predates Obama's experience on foreign policy, and one that the American president can't quite wrap his head around.

From all indications, the president and his aides are downright torn over how to proceed, mindful of the consequences of both action and inaction. Meanwhile, Putin-backed rebels consolidate their gains.

That's making hawks impatient. As separatists last week secured control of the strategically critical town of Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham excoriated Obama. At times, they accused him of "hiding" behind the increasingly rickety cease-fire agreement and clinging to "any available excuse" to not provide arms and equipment to the embattled nation.

McCain and Graham simply don't believe Obama has the stomach for the fight. (Neither likely does Putin.)

Complete story at - Paralyzed By Ukraine, Dumbfounded by Russia -

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is johnhelmer net  Subject is gunboat duck

Lavrov: Time to decide if we want UN focused & effective or on the sidelines — RT News

The UN would be effective in settling international disputes, if some member-states didn’t try to use it for dominating world affairs, Russian Foreign Minister believes, adding that such efforts led to bombings in Serbia, war in Iraq and chaos in Libya.

Sergey Lavrov has called for the UN, about to celebrate its 70th anniversary, to be an independent and effective leader in global decision-making, despite attempts by some of its members to usurp the organization’s functions.

“It’s time to answer the question: do we really want the see the UN an effective and influential instrument of preserving peace and security or are we ready to allow it turn into the arena of propagandist struggle, with the UN being excluded from the process of finding key solutions to international problems,” Lavrov said, at the open debate for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), held on Monday in New York.

Lavrov listed episodes in recent history, which he sees as violations of the UN charter, caused by a will to dominate world affairs.

“It’s enough to remember the bombings of Serbia, the occupation of Iraq under a false pretext... and the rude manipulation of the Security Council mandate leading to destruction and on-going chaos in Libya,” the minister said.

Complete story at - Lavrov: Time to decide if we want UN focused & effective or on the sidelines — RT News

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is pixabay com  Subject is united nations 303670 640

How Goes the War? | James Howard Kunstler

Oh, you didn’t notice that World War Three is underway, actually has been for more than year?

Well, that’s because most of it has been taking place in the banking sector, which for most people is just an alternative universe of math. The catch, which many people either miss or don’t care about, is that the math doesn’t add up.

For instance, the runaway choo-choo train of linked European sovereign bond obligations with its overloaded caboose of interest rate swaps and other janky derivatives of mass destruction. That train left the station in Athens a few weeks ago bound for Frankfurt. Ever since, the German government and its cohorts in the EU, the ECB, and the IMF have been issuing reassurances that the choo choo train will not blow up when it reaches its destination.

Few people grok that Greece is an entity with an economy not much bigger than North Carolina’s, yet it is burdened with roughly $350 billion of old debt that will never be paid back. The only thing at issue is how it will not be paid back, that is, what mode of pretense will be employed to disguise the inability to pay back this debt. The mode du jour has been the crude one of lending Greece more money to pay back the interest on the old debt. A seven-year-old ought to be able to understand where that leads.

It’s kind of up to the Greeks this week to possibly opt out of that farcical deal. They have at least two other present options: return to being a sunwashed semi-medieval backwater of olive farmers, shepherds, and inn-keepers, or perhaps lease out some cozy corner of their vast Mediterranean coastline to the Russian navy for enough annual walking-around money to keep the lights on for the aforementioned farmers, shepherds, and inn-keepers. Of course, that would drive the United States and its NATO quislings batshit crazy.

Complete story at - How Goes the War? | James Howard Kunstler

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Vineyard of the Saker: Three fronts for Russia: How Washington will fan the flames of chaos in Central Asia

by Ivan Lizan for Odnako

Translated by Robin

U.S. Gen. “Ben” Hodges’ statement that within four or five years Russia could develop the capability to wage war simultaneously on three fronts is not only an acknowledgment of the Russian Federation’s growing military potential but also a promise that Washington will obligingly ensure that all three fronts are right on the borders of the Russian Federation.

In the context of China’s inevitable rise and the soon-to-worsen financial crisis, with the concomitant bursting of asset bubbles, the only way for the United States to maintain its global hegemony is to weaken its opponents. And the only way to achieve that goal is to trigger chaos in the republics bordering Russia.

That is why Russia will inevitably enter a period of conflicts and crises on its borders.

And so the first front in fact already exists in the Ukraine, the second will most likely be between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, and the third, of course, will be opened in Central Asia.

If the war in Ukraine leads to millions of refugees, tens of thousands of deaths, and the destruction of cities, defrosting the Karabakh conflict will completely undermine Russia’s entire foreign policy in the Caucasus.

Every city in Central Asia is under threat of explosions and attacks. So far this “up-and-coming front” has attracted the least media coverage – Novorossiya dominates on national television channels, in newspapers, and on websites –, but this theater of war could become one of the most complex after the conflict in the Ukraine.

A subsidiary of the Caliphate under Russia’s belly

The indisputable trend in Afghanistan – and the key source of instability in the region – is to an alliance between the Taliban and the Islamic State. Even so, the formation of their union is in its early days, references to it are scarce and fragmentary, and the true scale of the activities of the IS emissaries is unclear, like an iceberg whose tip barely shows above the surface of the water.

But it has been established that IS agitators are active in Pakistan and in Afghanistan’s southern provinces, which are controlled by the Taliban. But, in this case, the first victim of chaos in Afghanistan is Pakistan, which at the insistence of, and with help from, the United States nurtured the Taliban in the 1980s. That project has taken on a life of its own and is a recurring nightmare for Islamabad, which has decided to establish a friendlier relationship China and Russia. This trend can be seen in the Taliban’s attacks on Pakistani schools, whose teachers now have the right to carry guns, regular arrests of terrorists in the major cities, and the start of activities in support of tribes hostile to the Taliban in the north.

The latest legislative development in Pakistan is a constitutional amendment to expand military court jurisdiction [over civilians]. Throughout the country, terrorists, Islamists and their sympathizers are being detained. In the northwest alone, more than 8,000 arrests have been made, including members of the clergy. Religious organizations have been banned and IS emissaries are being caught.

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: Three fronts for Russia: How Washington will fan the flames of chaos in Central Asia

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is EAE0QAAIBAgMDBwULCAcJAAAAAAABAgMRBBIhBTFRBhMiQWFxkTKBobGyByNCUmJyc5KjwdEUFRYzRFNjdCQ0Q4Kz4fElZHWDk6LS4vD  Subject is russian flag

Crimea: Was It Seized by Russia, or Did Russia Block Its Seizure by the U.S.?

Both before and after Crimea left Ukraine and joined Russia in a public referendum on 16 March 2014, the Gallup Organization polled Crimeans on behalf of the U.S. Government, and found them to be extremely pro-Russian and anti-American, and also anti-Ukrainian.(Neither poll was subsequently publicized, because the results of each were the opposite of what the sponsor had wished.) Both polls were done on behalf of the U.S. Government, in order to find Crimeans' attitudes toward the United States and toward Russia, and also toward Ukraine, not only before but also after the planned U.S. coup in Ukraine, which occurred in February 2014 but was actually kicked off on 20 November 2013, the day before Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych publicly announced that Ukraine had received a better economic offer from Russia’s Eurasian Economic Community than from America’s European Union. (The EEC subsequently became the Eurasian Economic Union, now that it was clear that Ukraine was going with the EU.) That decision by Yanukovych in favor of the EEC was mistakenly thought by him to be merely an economic one, and he didn’t know the extent to which the U.S. Government had set up an operation to overthrow him if he didn’t go along with the EU’s offer. (If some of these basic historical facts don’t come through from merely the wikipedia articles alone, that’s because the CIA is among the organizations that edit wikipedia articles, and so wikipedia is unwittingly a . It is especially used for propaganda by the CIA and FBI.)

More recently, a poll of Crimeans was issued on 4 February 2015, by the polling organization GfK, and paid for this time by the pro-American-Government Canadian Government, via its Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, and via Free Crimea, which is itself funded by the latter organization. However, the Canadian Government got no better news than the U.S. Government had gotten: 82% of Crimeans “Fully endorse” Crimea’s having become part of Russia (of which it had been part between 1783 and 1954, and which the public there had never wanted to leave); 11% “Mostly endorse” it; 2% “Mostly disapprove”; 3% “Don’t know”; and only 2% “Fully disapprove.” Or, to put it simply: 93% approve; 3% don’t know, and 4% disapprove. This poll was publicly issued only in the polling organization’s own report, which was made available only in Russian (the Ukrainian Government’s main language for international business) and therefore not comprehensible to English-speakers. It was titled, “СОЦИАЛЬНО-ПОЛИТИЧЕСКИЕ НАСТРОЕНИЯ ЖИТЕЛЕЙ КРЫМА Исследование проведенное GfK Ukraine по заказу компании” or "SOCIO-POLITICAL SENTIMENTS IN CRIMEA: Research conducted by GfK Ukraine on the order of the company.”On February 10th, an English-language article reported and summarized the poll’s findings.

During the 16 March 2014 public referendum in Crimea, 96% voted to rejoin Russia. One question on the post-referendum, April 2014, U.S.-sponsored Gallup poll in Crimea, was headlined, “Perceived Legitimacy of March 16 Crimean Referendum” (on page 28 of the poll-report), and 82.8% of Crimeans agreed with the statement, “The results of the referendum on Crimea’s status likely reflect the views of most people here.” 6.7% disagreed. According to the newer poll (4 February 2015), 96% were for annexation to Russia, and 4% were opposed, which happens to be exactly what the 16 March 2014 referendum had actually found to be the case. But, continuing now with the description of the April 2014 Gallup poll: its “Views of Foreign Parties’ Role in the Crisis — Crimea” (p. 25), showed 76.2% of Crimeans saying that the role of the U.S. was “Mostly negative,” and 2.8% saying the U.S. role was “Mostly positive”; while Crimeans’ attitudes towards Russia were the exact opposite: 71.3% said Russia’s role was “Mostly positive,” and 4.0% said it was “Mostly negative.”

An accurate reflection of the reason why Crimeans, during the lead-up to the referendum, were appalled by America’s extremely violent and bloody takeover of the Ukrainian Government (as the EU itself had confirmed), was given on Crimean television shortly before the referendum, when a former criminal prosecutor in the Ukrainian Government, who lived and worked in Kiev and saw with her own eyes much of the violence but was not personally involved in the events, quit her office, and got in her car and drove back to her childhood home in Crimea, now unemployed, because she was so revulsed at what had happened to her country. On this call-in show, which was watched by many Ukrainians, she explained why she could no longer, as a lawyer and a supporter of the Ukrainian Constitution, support the Ukrainain Government — that it was now an illegal Government. She closed her opening statement, just before taking the calls from people over the phone, by saying, “Despite that our ‘great politicians’ who seized power by bloodshed, are now claiming that we don’t have the right to decide our own future — citizens of Crimea, you have every right in the world. Nobody is allowed to ururp power.” She subsequently became a criminal prosecutor in the new Crimean government, enforcing now the Russian Constitution, in Crimea.

However, anyone who says that Russia “seized Crimea,” is clearly lying or else is fooled by people who are.

Complete story at - Crimea: Was It Seized by Russia, or Did Russia Block Its Seizure by the U.S.?

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is upload wikimedia org  Subject is Map of the Crimea

TASS: World - Search for 8,000 army draft evaders unleashed in Ukraine’s south-west

KIEV, February 24. /TASS/. Authorities in Ukraine’s south-western Ivano-Frankivsk region have opened a search for about 8,000 men who are evading conscription for military service as part of the government’s yet another wave of mobilization, the Vesti news portal said on Tuesday.

Yuri Veranovsky, a deputy military commissar of the Ivano-Frankivsk regional military board told reporters the majority of those on the ‘wanted list’ were absent from the places of their official permanent residence while the mayors of rural communities refused to assist the workers of military boards in handing the call-up notifications to the designated population.

Local military commissars say many of the men, who were be drafted, had left for other countries while many others were hiding out on their private households and refusing to let anyone in.

Ukrainian legislation specifies punishment for evasion of military service. Any evader can be imprisoned for a period of up to five years.

In 2015, the Ukrainian Armed Forces hope to draft up to 200,000 conscripts as part of the fourth, fifth, and sixth waves of mobilization. Also, about 40,000 men should be drafted for regular military service.

Complete story at - TASS: World - Search for 8,000 army draft evaders unleashed in Ukraine’s south-west

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

The Hryvnia collapse is likely to continue...

by A. Talka

Here are the current rates for buying dollars on the black market, via the internet... (Oh internet, is there nothing you can't do?)

The second column, labeled "course" is the rate sellers are will to sell dollars for...


And the mandatory warning...


from here, via Google Translate:

Current "official" rate - 32.5:1 ..... But since banks are not selling dollars at this rate, it means one of two things...

1) The official rate is being held artificially low, or...
2) Official government policy is banks can't sell dollars, meaning as the hryvnia sinks, your savings and your standard of living fall at that rate too.

Things Will Get Much Worse before They Get Better for Ukraine Economy - Russia Insider

NOTE: This article is two days old, but the stated exchange rates are history. The official exchange rate is now 32.5:1 while rates on the black market range from 38 - 45. Another story about this soon.

A recent note by Ukraine-based investment firm Concorde Capital paints a worrying picture for the near future of Ukraine’s struggling economy.

Currency weakness, inflation levels, as well as contractions in industry and manufacturing output have all worsened in 2015, following already poor figures in the final months of 2014.

Since the beginning of the year, the hryvnia’s official rate has fallen against the dollar by more than 1.5 times, or by UAH9.79, to UAH26.05 per dollar.


An inflation forecast of 26% – up from an initial 13.1% – means that a nominal GDP increase of 20% on year will still see the overall economy of Ukraine shrink by 7% in real terms this year.

Complete story at - Things Will Get Much Worse before They Get Better for Ukraine Economy - Russia Insider

Alexander Donetsky - Ukraine: Emergency Measures to Build Totalitarian State - Strategic Culture Foundation

It took 16 hours of hard work to reach and sign the February 12 Minsk agreement on Ukraine. Five days later the 13-point accord was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. On February 20, Ukrainian President Poroshenko signed a decree on the introduction of the National Security Council decision of 25 January «On emergency measures against the Russian threat and terrorist attack, supported by the Russian Federation».

The classified provisions of the document prevent from coming up with a detailed assessment of what the Kiev regime is going to do. No matter that, the part of the document which is open to public makes possible to trace the evolution of political regime in Ukraine.

Kiev has toughened the police control over the compliance with the order of registration of the place of living and the place of residence of Ukrainian citizens, foreigners and stateless persons in big cities, including the capital. The media censorship is going to be toughened. It was introduced on February 22 last year right after the coup to be called «a moratorium on criticism of government.» Practically all Russian TV channels are banned on Ukrainian soil. The Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council is to take additional measures to prevent «unsanctioned» infiltration of information coming from Russia. It is done in violation of Annex 1 (Article 5) of the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 2022, (the «Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements») which says «Ensure pardon and amnesty by enacting the law prohibiting the prosecution and punishment of persons in connection with the events that took place in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.» The National Security and Defence Council offers the Prosecutor General of Ukraine «to take steps on the recognition of the so called «DPR» and «LPR» as terrorist organisations.» Instead of introducing laws to prevent persecutions, the President instructs to persecute opponents – the Ukraine’s partners at the Minsk talks – not in Ukraine only but also across the world.

The presidential decree calls for toughening the economic blockade of the territories under the anti-government self-defence forces’ control, in particular it orders the implementation of measures to stop deals on the electrical energy market with the plants that produce electrical energy in Novorossia. This provision is in strict violation of Article 8 of the Annex I, which envisions «Definition of modalities of full resumption of socioeconomic ties, including social transfers such as pension payments and other payments (incomes and revenues, timely payments of all utility bills, reinstating taxation within the legal framework of Ukraine).»

Complete story at - Alexander Donetsky - Ukraine: Emergency Measures to Build Totalitarian State - Strategic Culture Foundation - on-line journal

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is ic pics livejournal com  Subject is nazi ukraine flag

"Gas War" between Russia and Ukraine looms large over LPR/DPR gas supplies - Fort Russ

Vladimir Putin held an emergency meeting with the permanent members of Russia’s Security Council. The President instructed the government to strictly adhere to its contract obligations concerning gas deliveries to Ukraine.

“I am asking the Russian Federation government to adhere to the contract obligations, and fulfill them to the letter,” the President underscored.

Dmitriy Medvedev, in turn, said that Kiev will have to pay for all deliveries of gas to Ukraine, including the deliveries using alternative routes to the Donbass. If Ukraine will not pay for gas in its entirety, Russia will be forced to make a “complicated decision”.

“Our Ukrainian partners will either pay for everything we deliver, or we, as usual, will have to make a complicated decision,” said the Prime Minister.

A few days ago Ukraine stopped gas deliveries to the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. This caused an emergency situation, and the only gas available for deliveries is in Russia. Therefore, in accordance with government instructions, Gazprom redirected some of the fuel paid for by Ukraine’s Naftogaz to DPR and LPR using a reserve system.

Complete story at - "Gas War" between Russia and Ukraine looms large over LPR/DPR gas supplies - Fort Russ

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is www lngworldnews com  Subject is Myanmar China Gas Pipeline Officially Inaugurated

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Battle Behind the Fog of Propaganda: The “Exceptional” U.S. Suffers Crushing Defeat in Debaltsevo

by Mike Whitney | February 21, 2015 - 10:51am

“There’s no city left. It’s destroyed.”
— Anonymous Ukrainian soldier following the battle of Debaltsevo

In less than a year, the United States has toppled the democratically-elected government of Ukraine, installed a Washington-backed stooge in Kiev, launched a bloody and costly war of annihilation on Russian-speaking people in the East, thrust the economy into a downward death spiral, and reduced the nation to an anarchic, failed state destined to endure a vicious fratricidal civil war for as far as the eye can see.

Last week, Washington suffered its greatest military defeat in more than a decade when Ukraine’s US-backed army was soundly routed in the major railway hub of Debaltsevo. Roughly, 8,000 Ukrainian regulars along with untold numbers of tanks and armored units were surrounded in what-came-to-be-known-as “the cauldron.” The army of the Donetsk Peoples Republic led by DPR commander Alexander Zakharchenko, encircled the invading army and gradually tightened the cordon, eventually killing or capturing most of the troops within the pocket. The Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered major casualties ranging between 3,000 to 3,500 while a vast amount of lethal military hardware was left behind.

According to Zakharchenko, “The amount of equipment Ukrainian units have lost here is beyond description.”

Additionally, the US-backed proxy-army saw many of its crack troops and top-notch units destroyed in the fighting leaving Kiev unable to continue the war without assistance from allies in the US or Europe. The full impact of the defeat will not be known until angry troops returning from the front amass on the streets of the Capital and demand Petro Poroshenko’s resignation. The Ukrainian President is responsible for the massacre at Debaltsevo. He was fully aware that his army faced encirclement but ordered them to remain in order to satisfy powerful right-wing elements in his government. The disaster is even more terrible due to the fact that it was entirely avoidable and achieved no strategic purpose at all. Extreme hubris frequently impacts outcomes on the battlefield. This was the case at Debaltsevo.

The debacle ensures that the bumbling president’s days are numbered. It’s nearly certain that he will either be replaced or hanged sometime in weeks ahead. He has already flown his family to safety out of the country, and there’s growing speculation that both Washington and the far-right nationalists who occupy the Security Services will insist on his removal. That paves the way for a second Ukrainian coup in less than a year, a grim reminder of the tragic failings of US policy in Ukraine. Check out this blurb from a post at the Vineyard of the Saker:

Complete story at - The Battle Behind the Fog of Propaganda: The “Exceptional” U.S. Suffers Crushing Defeat in Debaltsevo | The Smirking Chimp

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is 21stcenturywire com  Subject is 1 BBC WAR PROPAGANDA

The Vineyard of the Saker: The Maidan - one year later

Today is the first anniversary of the deal made between Yanukovich and the "opposition" and guaranteed by foreign ministers Radosław Sikorski of Poland, Laurent Fabius of France and Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany. As we all know, the deal resulted in a withdrawal of the security forces from the Kiev city center immediately followed by an armed insurrection which overthrew the government. Predictably, Poland, France and Germany did not object. I won't recount all of the events which happened since this infamous day, but I think that it is important to look at what has changed in a year. I think that it also makes sense to compare what I had predicted might happen with what actually happened simply to see if a person if a person with no access to any classified data and who is using only "open sources" for his analysis could have predicted what happened or if this was all a huge and totally unpredictable surprise.

So let's look at my predictions in a chronological order.November 30th, 2013: in "The Gates of Hell are Opening for the Ukraine"

The supposedly "pro-Russian" Eastern Ukrainians
They have no vision, no ideology, no identifiable future goal. All they can offer is a message which, in essence, says "we have no other choice than sell out to the rich Russians rather than to the poor European" or "all we can get from the EU is words, the Russians are offering money". True. But still extremely uninspiring, to say the least.

The future of Yanukovich

I am beginning to fear that this will all explode into a real and very dangerous crisis for Russia. First, I am assuming that the the Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists will eventually prevail, and that Yanukovich will either fully complete his apparent "zag" and reverse his decision, or lose power. One way or another the the Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists will, I think, prevail. There will be more joyful demonstrations, fireworks and celebrations in Kiev, along with lots of self-righteous back-slapping and high-fiving in Brussels, and then the gates of Hell will truly open for the Ukraine.

The real risks for Russia

Being drawn into the inevitable chaos and violence with will flare up all over the Ukraine (including the Crimean Peninsula), stopping or, at least, safely managing a likely flow of refugees seeking physical and economic safety in Russia and protecting the Russian economy from the consequences of the collapse of Ukrainian economy. Russia will have to do all that while keeping its hands off the developing crisis inside the Ukraine as it is absolutely certain that the Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists will blame Russia for it all. The best thing Russia could do in such a situation would be to leave the Ukrainians to their private slugfest and wait for one side or the other to prevail before trying to very carefully send out a few low-key political "feelers" to see if there is somebody across the border who has finally come to his/her senses and is capable and ready to seriously begin to rebuilt the Ukraine and its inevitable partnership with Russia and the rest of the Eurasian Union. As long as that does not happen Russia should stay out, as much as is possible.

Sarajevo on the Dniepr

Right now, all the signs are that the Ukraine is going down the "Bosnian road" and that things are going to get really ugly.

It is hard to tell, but my sense is that when the local authorities in the southeastern Ukraine threaten not to accept any regime change in Kiev they probably do really mean it. This very much reminds me of the repeated warnings of the Bosnian-Serbs that they would not accept to live in an Islamic state run by an rabid fanatic like Itzebegovich. At the time, and just like today, nobody took these warnings seriously and we all know how that ended. The big difference between Bosnia and the Ukraine is first and foremost one of dimensions: Bosnia has an area of 19,741 square miles and a population of 3,791,622 while the Ukraine has an area of 233,090 square miles and a population of 44,854,065. That is a huge difference which make a direct foreign intervention a much more complicated endeavor.

And Russia in all that?

I can only repeat that Russia should stay out of whatever happens in the Ukraine. The Russian government should prepare for an influx of refugees and the Russian military should be placed on high alert to avoid any provocations or cross-border violence. A special goal for Russia should be to use all the means possible to avoid any violence on the Crimean Peninsula because of the presence of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol which can find itself in the position of the 14th Army in Transdniestria when it simply had not other choice than to get involved due to the high number of officers with relatives living in the republic. If, God forbid, the nationalist try to militarily take over the Crimean Peninsula or Sevastopol I don't see how the Black Sea Fleet could stay uninvolved - that is simply impossible and this is why that situation needs to be avoided at all costs.

January 26th, 2014: Yanukovich's latest move might make a partition of the Ukraine unavoidable:

The partition of the Ukraine is inevitable
This has, of course, not been reported in the western Ziomedia, but the eastern Ukraine is now also bubbling with political actions. To make a long story short, the folks in the southeastern Ukraine have no desire whatsoever to let folks like Iatseniuk, Klichko or Tiagnibok rule over them. In fact, several local assembles - including the Parliament of Crimea - have adopted resolution calling on the President to restore law and order and warning that they would never accept a "regime change" in Kiev.

March 1st, 2014: Obama just made things much, much worse in the Ukraine - now Russia is ready for war

Russia is ready for war

Something absolutely huge has just happened in Russia: the Russian Council of the Federation, the equivalent of the US Senate, has just UNANIMOUSLY passed a resolution allowing Putin to use Russian armed forces in the Ukraine, something the Duma had requested earlier. Before the vote took place, Russian senators said that Obama had threatened Russia, insulted the Russian people and that they demanded that Putin recall the Russian ambassador to the USA. I have never seen such a level of outrage and even rage in Russia as right now. I hope and pray that Obama, and his advisers, stop and think carefully about their next step because make no mistake about that RUSSIA IS READY FOR WAR.

April 23rd, 2014: The US plan for the Ukraine - a hypothesis

The US will try to force Russia to intervene in the Donbass
The eastern Ukraine is lost no matter what. So the junta in Kiev have to pick on of the following options:

a) Let the eastern Ukraine leave by means of referendum and do nothing about it.
b) Let the eastern Ukraine leave but only after some violence.
c) Let the eastern Ukraine leave following a Russian military intervention.

Clearly, option 'a' is by far the worst. Option 'b' is so-so, but option 'c' is very nice. Think of it: this option will make it look like Russia invaded the Eastern Ukraine and that the people there had no say about it. It will also make the rest of the Ukraine rally around the flag. The economic disaster will be blamed on Russia and the Presidential election of May 25th can be canceled due to the Russian "threat". Not only that, but a war - no matter how silly - is the *perfect* pretext to introduce martial law which can be used to crack down on the Right Sector or anybody expressing views the junta does not like. That is an old trick - trigger a war and people will rally around the regime in power. Create a panic, and people will forget the real issues.

As for the USA - it also knows that the Eastern Ukraine is gone. With Crimea and Eastern Ukraine gone - the Ukraine has exactly *zero* value to the Empire, to why not simply use it as a way to create a new Cold War, something which would be much more sexy that the Global War on Terror or the really old War on Drugs. After all, if Russia is forced to intervene militarily NATO will have to send reinforcements to "protect" countries like Poland or Latvia just in case Putin decides to invade all of the EU.

Bottom line - the freaks in power in Kiev and the USA *know* that the eastern Ukraine is lost for them, and the purpose of the imminent attack is not to "win" against the Russian-speaking rebels or, even less so, to "win" against the Russian military, it is to trigger enough violence to force Russia to intervene. In other words, since the East is lost anyways, it is much better to lose it to the "invading Russian hordes" than to lose it to the local civilian population.

So the purpose of the next attack will not be to win, but to lose. That the Ukrainian military can still do.

Two things can happen to foil this plan:

1) The Ukrainian military might refuse to obey such clearly criminal orders (and becoming a target of the Russian military might help some officers make the correct "purely moral" choice).
2) The local resistance might be strong enough to draw out such an operation and have to come to a grinding halt.

Ideally, a combination of both.
So let's summarize the above:
Yanukovich will be overthrown. Check
The Donbass will rise up. Check
The Ukraine will be partitioned. Check
A civil war will break out. Check
The US will try to pull Russia in. Check
Russia will protect Crimea. Check
Russia will say out of the Donbass. Check
Russia will have to deal with refugees. Check
The US/NATO will not intervene like in Bosnia. Check
The Ukrainian economy will collapse. Check

There is one point which I did really get wrong: the people of Novorussia. I saw them as very passive, interested only in getting paid (in Hrivnas or Rubles - doesn't matter) and with very little Russian national identity. Here I got it very wrong, but in my defense I would say that the Russian identity of people of the Donbass was awaken by the huge military assault of Ukrainian military and by the clearly russophobic and neo-Nazi rethoric and policies of the junta. But setting aside the motivations of the Novorussians, I did predict that the Donbass would rise up, and it did. In fact, it looks to me like my predictions resulted in a score of 10 out of 10.

My point is not to congratulate myself (I sincerely wish my pessimistic predictions would have turned out wrong), but to demonstrate that anybody armed with a) basic knowledge of Russia and the Ukraine b) access to open sources information c) basic common sense could have made all of these predictions.

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: The Maidan - one year later

Washington’s Loosening Grip on Ukraine and Europe Has ‘Russophobic Hack Pack’ Howling with Despair - Russia Insider

When we started this column in November as a space to discuss 'the big picture' with an emphasis on Russia’s relationship to Euro-Atlantic relations, we could not have imagined that some nameless editor at BBC Monitoring would fancy our term ‘Russophobic hack pack’. Unfortunately, we cannot trademark this label and sell it on t-shirts along Old Arbat to tourists, next to the tees of Putin and a housecat cozying up to the ‘Polite People’ of Crimea. As a link to the original source made clear, this pithy phrase comes from the tweets of a Muscovite Irishman, RT social media editor Ivor Crotty.

Greeks Bearing Bonds and Where the Eurocrats Can Stick Them - an EU/NATO 'Brezhnev Doctrine' for Greece?

As we hoped Russia Insider readers would pick up on, the name ‘Byzantium’ is itself a parody of The Economist’s unsigned ‘Charlemagne’ columns on Europe (upon the advice of RI’s editors we opted against calling ourselves Constantine Palailogos, since the name might prove too obscure for a broad audience). We chose the 'Byzantium'reference last year in anticipation that the Greeks would soon rise up against their Eurocrat overlords, and that Brussels invoking its own version of the Brezhnev doctrine but enforced via bank runs, ‘bail ins’ (what Depression-era Americans used to call ‘theft’ by the banks when it was done to depositors of the Bailey Savings and Loan), and bad press. Our instincts from November have proven correct as the new Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has proven the old saw correct: if you owe the bank 10,000 euros, you have a problem. If you owe the bank 100 billion euros and cannot pay, the bank, in this case the European Central Bank backed by the IMF and German Bundesbank, has a big problem. A headache so massive that it cannot be cured via the US Federal Reserve elixir of massive electronic money printing, at least not without making Germans whose postwar motto was ‘never Weimar hyperinflation again’ nervous. The Germans led by Wolfgang Schauble are predictably digging in against any debt jubilee, because if Greece’s debt of a paltry few hundred billion euros can be either forgiven or inflated Japanese-style into oblivion, why not the debts of 40%+ youth unemployed Italy, Spain or Portugal?

Meanwhile, the same Russia-loathing circles that denied the coup in Kiev one year ago was funded in part by the United States government are seeing Kremlin influence everywhere, from Syriza’s big win in Athens to the rise of Marie Le Pen’s National Front in France and Podemos in Spain. The message from The Economist with its story “In the Kremlin’s Pocket” is plain: any developments in Europe adverse to continued US domination of the Continent and preserving EU sanctions against the Russians must be the result of Moscow’s ‘active measures’. Meanwhile, any suggestion that the State Department, George Soros, Sen. John McCain’s friends at the National Endowment for Democracy, or Bandera/OUN-worshipping Galician exiles cultivated by Paul Goble types at the CIA for decades had a hand in the events on the Maidan and years of ‘Colored Revolutions’ in the post-Soviet space remains pure Kremlin ‘agitprop’. If one believes The Economist, there is absolutely no reason, even after the ‘bail ins’ of March 2013 on Cyprus and years of Great Depression-level impoverishment, for Greeks to blame the European Union and the utopianism of yoking Athens and Berlin together in the same monetary union for their troubles.

Complete story at - Washington’s Loosening Grip on Ukraine and Europe Has ‘Russophobic Hack Pack’ Howling with Despair - Russia Insider

America’s National Security Schizophrenia: Damning Russia with ‘Partnership’ | New Eastern Outlook

There is no stronger example of the schizophrenic nature of American foreign policy toward Russia than comparing statements written in the formal National Security Strategy (NSS) of President Obama with actual testimony given by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. In 2010 the NSS asserted that the U.S. would endeavor to ‘build a stable, substantive, multidimensional relationship with Russia, based on mutual interests.’ What’s more, the NSS called Russia a 21st century center of influence in the world and a country with whom America should build bilateral cooperation on a host of issues, including forging global nonproliferation; confronting violent extremism; fostering new trade and development arrangements; promoting the rule of law, accountability in government and universal values in Russia; and in cooperating as a partner in Europe and Asia.

Now take into account Director James Clapper while appearing before Congress in 2013 to discuss global threats. He described Russian foreign policy as a nexus of organized crime, state policy, and business interests (let it be noted that all three of these descriptors were said pejoratively. It wasn’t just the organized crime reference that was considered bad). Clapper went on to warn that both China and Russia represented the most persistent intelligence threats to the United States and that Russia could even face social discontent (read: political disorder and revolution) because of a sluggish economy, the constraint of political pluralism, and pervasive corruption.

At first blush these two accounts seem to offer a completely incomprehensible attitude toward Russia. But this is only at first blush. Reading deeper between the lines of the NSS reveals key words that always trigger contempt from Russian actors in the Kremlin. The ideal of promoting rule of law, government accountability and universal values is not an olive branch offering Russia the chance to team up with America to achieve these goals in problem areas around the world. This ideal was written as not needing to happen with Russia but in Russia. To follow that goal up with being a ‘cooperative partner’ in Europe and Asia has always signaled to Russian ears an American skepticism about Russia’s ability to be a ‘non-meddler’. In other words, the NSS comes across not as a mechanism to promote deeper co-equal ties between the two countries but rather as a snobbish slap across the face about how the United States needs to engage Russia to stop it from getting in its own and others’ way.

Clapper’s comments in some ways garner even more derision from Moscow. Not so much the complaints about centralized power and corruption. Russia has been hearing these criticisms since Yeltsin first came down off the tanks after the August coup in 1991. Russia has always been rather indifferent to these arguments. Rather, Clapper’s comments about the possibility of social discontent and unrest, placing that possibility at the feet of the Russian government because of repression and incompetence, always comes off as a red flag to the bull of Russian conspiracy theorists: they are quick to see American interference in any and all things that go wrong in Russia. And even if the more rational voices in Russian political power dismiss conspiracy theories, there is still the obvious interpretation that while America might not try to personally foment unrest, it would welcome instability if it happened.

Complete story at - America’s National Security Schizophrenia: Damning Russia with ‘Partnership’ | New Eastern Outlook

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is EAE0QAAIBAgMDBwULCAcJAAAAAAABAgMRBBIhBTFRBhMiQWFxkTKBobGyByNCUmJyc5KjwdEUFRYzRFNjdCQ0Q4Kz4fElZHWDk6LS4vD  Subject is russian flag

How the CIA gets away with it: Our democracy is their real enemy -

On March 11, 2014, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein stepped to the well of the Senate to deliver a speech exposing in stark terms a struggle between congressional investigators and their oversight subject: the Central Intelligence Agency. Feinstein was an unlikely critic of the practices of the intelligence community. The wife of investment banker Richard C. Blum, who managed enormous capital investments in corporations serving the American defense and intelligence communities, Feinstein had distinguished herself among Senate Democrats as a staunch CIA defender. In her long service on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which she had chaired since 2009, Feinstein established close personal ties with key senior agency figures—championing the candidacy of former deputy director Stephen Kappes to head the agency after Barack Obama was elected.

Patiently and meticulously, Feinstein unfolded the string of events that led her committee to launch the most exhaustive congressional probe of a single CIA program in the nation’s history. “On December 6, 2007, a New York Times article revealed the troubling fact that the CIA had destroyed video tapes of some of the CIA’s first interrogations using so-called enhanced techniques,” she stated.

CIA director Michael Hayden had assured congressional overseers that they had no reason to be concerned: routine written field reports, what Hayden called CIA operational cables, had been retained. These documents, Hayden said, described “the detention conditions” of prisoners held by the CIA before it decided to shut down the program as well as the “day-to-day CIA interrogations.” Hayden offered the senators access to these cables to prove to them that the destruction of the tapes was not a serious issue. Moreover, he reminded them that the CIA program was a historical relic: in the fall of 2006 the Bush administration ended the CIA’s role as a jailer and sharply curtailed its program of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs)—specifically eliminating techniques that most of the international community, including the United States in the period before and after the Bush presidency, had viewed as torture, such as waterboarding.

Nevertheless, the Senate committee had never looked deeply into this program, and Hayden’s decision to offer access to the cables opened the door to a careful study, which was accepted by then-chair Jay Rockefeller. Early in 2007, two Senate staffers spent many months reading the cables. By the time they had finished in early 2009, Feinstein had replaced Rockefeller as committee chair, and Barack Obama had replaced George W. Bush as president. Feinstein received the first staff report. It was “chilling,” she said. “The interrogations and the conditions of confinement at the CIA detention sites were far different and far more harsh than the way the CIA had described them to us.”

This first exploration of the dark side of CIA prisons and torture led committee members to recognize a serious failure in its oversight responsibilities. The committee resolved with near-unanimity (on a 14–1 vote) to launch a comprehensive investigation of the CIA program involving black sites and torture.

Complete story at - How the CIA gets away with it: Our democracy is their real enemy -

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is fc06 deviantart net  Subject is CIA LOGO by krumbi

What is behind Poroshenko's hardening rhetoric? - Fort Russ

It’s not necessary to read the article [the blog post links to an article outlining the Ukrainian gov’t latest measures, including the hardening of rhetoric against Russia, the closure of borders, and stepped-up censorship], but the question is absolutely appropriate, and we know what the answers are. Poroshenko wanted a bit of calm, he wanted order that he needs to hold on to power, but instead everything is spinning out of control. So much so that the MFA is making statements about being ready for a full-scale war with Russia.

It’s all very simple.

It doesn’t matter what Poroshenko wants anymore. The economy is collapsing, its strategic enterprises are dying, and there is no money and there will be none. Ukraine’s sponsors in which it had placed its hopes are now practically insulting it—the Europeans are helpfully suggesting that “Ukraine ought to show its attractiveness to investors, while the US equally helpfully points out that “Ukrainians are very ineffectively using their resources,” so not a chance of actual help. Moreover, coal mines are about to close and a hungry coal miner is a dangerous beast.

As if on cue, Mr. Azarov is suggesting the creation of a “Ukrainian government in exile”, and Azarov is not Yanukovych, he is totally dependable, so much so that many of Ukraine’s oligarchs might be tempted to play the role of “prodigal son” to seek his forgiveness, which would mean curtains for Poroshenko. On the other hand there are rumors on the Maidanek [Maidanek was a German death camp in Poland, whereas the Maidan, well, you get the picture] that maybe it’s time to change the president, but not for Yatsenyuk or the Pastor [Turchinov] (both seem repelled by the prospect of this honor), but rather the [Azov commander] Biletsky who is already being groomed for the post of mayor of Kiev [here the article links to a rather lengthy article, one of several that appeared in Ukrainian press in recent days, on the campaign to get Biletsky elected as a mayor of Kiev].

Complete story at - What is behind Poroshenko's hardening rhetoric? - Fort Russ

Cc poroshenko stupidity not a handicap

Our Wars, Our Victims by Charles Simic | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books

Jon Stewart: “Right now, the Middle East is spiraling out of control. What should America do about this?”
Bassem Youssef, Egyptian comedian and satirist: “Well, how about… nothing.”
—The Daily Show, February 9, 2015
Since we rarely see real images of our wars today and have to fall back on simulated ones in Hollywood movies that make us look good, I wonder what Americans would say if they were shown graphic footage of the results of US drone attacks, some of the many wedding parties or funerals we mistook for gatherings of terrorists and reduced to “bug splats,” in the parlance of those dispatching our missiles. The idea that wiping out a bunch of innocents along with a few bad guys will make us safer at home and not make us more enemies everywhere is nuts, and so is the argument that the atrocities we find appalling in others are acceptable when perpetrated by us.

All this ought to be obvious to our leaders in Washington, but apparently it isn’t. President Obama’s new request for war authorization, now pending before Congress, to fight ISIS over the next three years with further airstrikes and “limited” combat operations, despite the complete failure of all our previous attempts in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen to do any good, may make our wars legal, but no less foolish.

What Czeslaw Milosz said of the last century is unfortunately already true of this one: Woe to those who think they can save themselves without taking part in a tragedy. Millions of Americans certainly continue to think so, even after September 11 and all the wars we have fought since and are still fighting. Television footage and newspaper photographs do not convey the scale of destruction and death in New York City on that day. One needed to have stood at least once under the twin towers to grasp their immense height and magnitude. Although I did, it took me days and months to comprehend fully what had occurred. Even after the second airliner struck the towers, it didn’t cross my mind that they might collapse. When they did, my mind had trouble accepting what my eyes were seeing. It was like a movie, people said afterward. We’d exit the dark movie theater with a shudder and go back to our lives. I thought Americans would finally begin to understand what being bombed is like.

Complete story at - Our Wars, Our Victims by Charles Simic | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is pixabay com  Subject is war 230357 640

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.  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...