Tuesday, September 15, 2015

War and Politics - September 15, 2015

• Who’s Going to Foot the Bill for Ukraine?
• Putin: The Only World Leader Speaking Sense on Syria & The Migrant Crisis
• IMF head is "extremely encouraged" by the economic disaster in Ukraine
• Cyber Berkut's Latest Hack May Reveal UAF deliberately targeted Schools
• Half a million refugees gather in Libya to attempt perilous crossing to Europe
• Refugee Crisis: What The Media Is Hiding
• Sovereign Debt as Weapon: Subverting Democracy in Greece
• Media Rubbish about Venezuelans Who Have Left to Live Abroad
• Uruguay To Withdraw From Free Trade Deal on Services
• China intends to oust dollar from oil trade

• Russia/Ukraine •

Who’s Going to Foot the Bill for Ukraine? | Russia! Magazine

The standoff with Russia over Ukraine is, on the one hand, generally acknowledged to be “the most serious security crisis in a generation.” Military tensions between NATO and Russia are now sharper than they’ve been since before Gorbachev came to power, and arguably even before that. Barely a day goes by without some Western diplomat or politician intoning solemnly about the need to “stand up to Russian aggression” or “support Western values.” I hope this doesn’t come across as glib, because the reality is that, largely due to Ukraine, Russia and the West are further apart than they have been in my entire lifetime. That is a big deal.

Indeed the need to thwart Moscow’s meddling in Eastern Ukraine is one of those rare issues on which there is no partisan disagreement. The Labour party’s statements could easily be confused for the Tory party’s, just as Republicans and Democrats are reading from identical scripts. Even Germany and France have consolidated around a consensus position that, a year or two ago, would have seemed radically hawkish. Anti-Russia economic sanctions have gone further for longer than I would have ever thought possible, and the odds of them getting even tighter are much greater than the odds of their being loosened.

Truth be told Russia has never been a topic of particularly deep partisan discord in the West. But while there has tended to be agreement on the big picture issues (NATO expansion, missile defense, democracy promotion) there used to be a caucus in favor of limited engagement with Moscow. This group was alternately called “Doves,” “realists,” or, in a rather less flattering term, “Russia understanders,” but ever since the annexation of Crimea they have virtually disappeared from the halls of power. To suggest engagement with the Kremlin now is somewhat akin to suggesting accommodation with ISIS. Russia is now politically toxic in a way few other countries are.
But while the West has been in virtual unanimity in its rhetoric about Ukraine and its searing condemnations of Russia, its actions have been… well, rather less impressive.

Complete story at - Who’s Going to Foot the Bill for Ukraine? | Russia! Magazine

Putin: The Only World Leader Speaking Sense on Syria & The Migrant Crisis

The only world leader speaking sense on the migrant crisis is the same one who is also subject to an international demonization campaign.

Russia’s President Putin has presented the unadulterated truth on the migrant crisis to the world, saying the following:

“I think the crisis was absolutely expected. We in Russia, and me personally a few years ago, said it straight that pervasive problems would emerge, if our so-called Western partners continue maintaining their flawed … foreign policy, especially in the regions of the Muslim world, Middle East, North Africa, which they pursue to date.“

Putin highlighted the necessity to find out “what is happening, and what to do next“, while branding Western policies as “shortsighted“. He also noted that the U.S. was not feeling any impact at all from the current crisis, despite playing a huge role in creating it.

Speaking specifically on Syria, Putin said “Of course, we know that there are different approaches to Syria. By the way, people are running away not from the regime of Bashar Assad, but from Islamic State, which seized large areas in Syria and Iraq, and are committing atrocities there. That is what they are escaping from. They kill hundreds and thousands of people, burn them alive or drown them, cut off people’s heads. How are people supposed to live there? Of course, they run away.“

Complete story at - Putin: The Only World Leader Speaking Sense on Syria & The Migrant Crisis

IMF head is "extremely encouraged" by the economic disaster in Ukraine - New Cold War: Ukraine and Beyond

New Cold War.org, Sept 7, 2015

Ukraine’s economy is in a severe freefall. GDP is expected to contract this year by nine per cent. GDP fell by 14 per cent in the first six months of the year. Inflation is projected at 47 per cent for 2015. In 2014, the economy retracted by seven per cent and inflation was 24 per cent.

Exports from Ukraine to the European Union collapsed by 35 per cent in the first six months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. The drop in exports to Russia was even sharper. The country’s debt to GDP ratio is rising. The government in Kyiv is cutting spending on pensions, medical care and health care while it is sharply increasing its military spending. It has recently told its non-government debtors that 20 per cent of the money they are owed will not be paid to them, a so-called ‘haircut’ which they must swallow.

According to the enclosed news report by AFP, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund finds something “encouraging”, nay, “extremely encouraging” in all of this. What Christine Lagarde means by her bizarre pronouncement is that the deal with creditors to lop 20 per cent off of what they are owed means that the Ukrainian government has avoided going into default AND it gains a longer repayment period for the $11.5 billion in new loans which the IMF promised to Ukraine in March 2015. Translating that into IMF-speak, it means that Ukraine continues to hand over its economic sovereignty to the imperialist financiers in the IMF and other Western-controlled financial institutions. The 20 per cent “haircut” has bought bought short-term avoidance of default, but its terms will tighten even further the control by foreigners over Ukraine’s budget.

The government’s next magic act is to figure out what to do with the $3 billion loan it owes to Russia, payment of which is due in December and which, to make an understatement, it does not have the funds to pay. That debt is “official debt”, meaning it was contracted with another government. According to IMF rules, failure to meet the payments of official debt automatically means the delinquent country enters into default and is disqualified from further IMF loans (aka further financial ensnaring).

Complete story at - IMF head is "extremely encouraged" by the economic disaster in Ukraine - New Cold War: Ukraine and Beyond

Cyber Berkut's Latest Hack May Reveal UAF deliberately targeted Schools - Fort Russ

We, # CyberBerkut, finally have undeniable evidence of the use of artillery against women and children troops, controlled by Ukrainian Government! This is from back in March.

We, #CyberBerkut!, continue to denounce the Ukrainian fascist regime. This time, from computer networks of the General staff of the Armed Forces of # Ukraine, we extracted the package tactical documents. Among the large number of encrypted messages about moving and reconnaissance troops of the Ukrainian State, there were # documents that contained data about the objectives on the territories of the# DPR and # LPR, and orders their immediate suppression by artillery fire.

Nevertheless, given the fact that operational maps the numbering of the squares of X and Y is always applied in a chaotic manner with the aim of concealing information about the attacker's purposes – until the last moment we could not determine the real goals that Kiev gave the order to destroy.

However, in early September 2015 we finally managed to get shots of several operational maps, which "deployed" the artillery of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the winter of 2014-2015.

Complete story at - Cyber Berkut's Latest Hack May Reveal UAF deliberately targeted Schools - Fort Russ

• Middle East •

Half a million refugees gather in Libya to attempt perilous crossing to Europe | World news | The Guardian

Up to half a million refugees are gathering in Libya to attempt the crossing to Europe on the deadly boats that have killed thousands already.

The toll of misery was revealed by senior Royal Navy officers leading Britain’s Mediterranean rescue mission off the Libyan coast. Britain’s amphibious assault ship HMS Bulwark has helped save around 4,000 refugees before they drowned having set sail in unseaworthy boats.

The ship’s 350-strong company of sailors and Royal Marines is bracing itself to rescue a further 3,000. Captain Nick Cooke-Priest said: “Indications are that there are 450,000 to 500,000 migrants in Libya who are waiting at the border.”

As he spoke, intelligence reports were warning Bulwark’s crew, which is among about 11 rescue vessels in the central Mediterranean, of thousands more migrants in the water. Britain is working with the Italian navy on Operation Weald to rescue migrants who have fallen prey to people smuggling gangs in Libya.

Complete story at - Half a million refugees gather in Libya to attempt perilous crossing to Europe | World news | The Guardian

Refugee Crisis: What The Media Is Hiding -- Youtube - SyrianGirlpartisan

There are a few things you should know about the refugee crisis which Syrian Girl answers
Its being used to justify bombing the country the refugees are running from
The war was started by the US, and those now crying about the refugees in the first place
The majority of the refugees are not Syrian, but the media are calling them all Syrian anyway.
The Gulf Arab states won't let Syrians in, they don't see them as Arab and they'd rather give the money to ISIS
Why doesn't Israel accept refugees?
Syrians want to go home, you can't relocate them all.
Syrians had a great life before the war began
Syria is the birth place of civilization

Complete story at - RefugeeCrisis: What The Media Is Hiding

• EU Death Watch •

Sovereign Debt as Weapon: Subverting Democracy in Greece

At this 4th World Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, on placing democracy at the service of peace, sustainable development and building the world that people want, I stand before you and among you, as President of the recently dissolved Hellenic Parliament to address you with a call for solidarity to the Greek people and to Greece: The place where democracy was born and where it is now being bluntly attacked and violated.

Greece and its people have been victimized during the last five years by policies purported to provide a sustainable solution to the country’s over-indebtment and a way out of the economic crisis
These policies, contained in agreements called “Memoranda of Understanding” and concluded by the Greek governments and a trio of international institutions (namely the IMF, the EC and the ECB) known as the TROIKA and acting as Greece’s creditors, have resulted to severe violations of human rights, especially social rights, fundamental freedoms and the very rule of law.

What has been presented as “bail-out” loan agreements has resulted to misery, unemployment at unprecedented rates (72% among young women and 60% among young men), hundreds of thousands of young people emigrating, an explosion of suicides, the marginalization of the young, the old, the weak, the poor, the immigrants the refugees, half of the country’s children living under the poverty line, a situation amounting to a humanitarian crisis and documented in the UN Independent Experts’ on Debt and Human Rights reports and public statements, as well as in a series of international court decisions and findings.

Complete story at - Sovereign Debt as Weapon: Subverting Democracy in Greece

• Empire Watch •

ZCommunications » Media Rubbish about Venezuelans Who Have Left to Live Abroad

Girish Gupta of Reuters wrote in a recent article

“Around 5 percent of Venezuela’s population of 30 million has left the country since [the late President] Chavez came to power in 1999, said Caracas-based sociologist Tomas Paez, who has published papers and books on migration.”

I wrote to Gupta arguing that the claim that 1.5 million Venezuelans have left since 1999 is far-fetched. In his reply Gupta accused me of “cherry picking” a “tangential” piece of his article. Presumably, if he found the claim tangential, he would not have mentioned it. I’ve since discovered the claim to be even more ridiculous than I thought.

Before addressing that, one should note that Venezuela has twice as many immigrants as it has emigrants according to the World Bank figures cited below. Also, according to the UNHCR, about 200,000 Colombians are living as refugees in Venezuela. Less than 237 Venezuelan refugees are in Colombia. People who believe the international media would assume it is the other way around. Venezuela has long been depicted as a hell from which people are desperate to escape, Colombia as an oasis of human rights and prosperity, or at least a country where nothing particularly bad is happening. An Aug. 23 Financial Times op-ed, for example, claimed that Colombia has “emerged as a superstar economic performer.” I’ve written before about the gruesome way Colombia really stands out in the region.

Returning to the claim that 1.5 million Venezuelans have left since 1999, the U.S. has been widely reported as the top destination for Venezuelans who have left their country. The U.S. government has the resources to produce reliable statistics on Venezuelan immigrants and has no incentive to produce underestimates. Combining U.S. Census Bureau with Homeland Security data, it is clear that about 100,000 Venezuelans immigrated to the United States from 2000-2011 and that, overwhelmingly, they have either done so legally or obtained legal residency very quickly. As of 2013, according to U.S. Homeland Security, about 9,500 Venezuelans per year were getting legal residency, suggesting no recent change in the average number arriving. Judging by overseas voting statistics from 2013, it appears that about a third of Venezuelan immigrants live in the U.S. Assuming one out of every three Venezuelans who left since 1999 came to the U.S., the data above would yield an estimate of 392,000 leaving Venezuela by 2013, or about 28,000 per year from 1999-2013.

Complete story at - ZCommunications » Media Rubbish about Venezuelans Who Have Left to Live Abroad

• Miscellaneous •

Uruguay To Withdraw From Free Trade Deal on Services | News | teleSUR English

Jose Pepe Mujica, who initiated the negotiations when president, supports the new president’s decision as the BRICs are excluded from the deal. Uruguay’s president eventually ceded Monday to the pressure of his progressive coalition Broad Front, which voted on Saturday to withdraw the country from negotiations on an international free-trade deal.

“President Tabare Vazquez took responsibility for Broad Front's resolution (not to participate in the negotiations) and asked the Minister of Foreign Relations Rodolfo Nin Novoa to inform the withdrawal of Uruguay from the negotiations of TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement),” said Minister of Tourism Liliam Kechichian after the weekly Council of Ministers.

Senator and former President Jose “Pepe” Mujica commented shortly after that he would have supported Vazquez' decision which does “not give as much importance to the negotiations of TiSA as it has been given.”

The negotiations stopped bearing importance to him when the BRICs countries’ demand to be part of them was denied. “This represents the exclusion of half of humanity, which is a powerful sign,” he added. “This is another trick of the main powers like the United States to contain the Chinese competitivity in the world economy,” said the former president, recalling that China was the main economic partner of Uruguay.

Complete story at - Uruguay To Withdraw From Free Trade Deal on Services | News | teleSUR English

China intends to oust dollar from oil trade — RT Business

China is planning to launch its own oil benchmark in October, similar to Brent and WTI, striving for a more important role in establishing crude prices. Unlike the Western benchmarks, the Chinese contracts will be nominated in the yuan, not the US dollar. Shanghai International Energy Exchange sent a draft futures contract to market players in August, Reuters reported quoting sources.

Oil futures will be the first Chinese contract to permit direct participation of foreign investors. However, this is not the first step for greater oil market openness in China. In July, Beijing allowed private companies to import crude. Previously importing was only done by state-run majors such as Sinopec, China National Petroleum Corporation and China National Offshore Oil Corporation, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Complete story at - China intends to oust dollar from oil trade — RT Business

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