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Hometown: Saskatchewan
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Journal Archives

It's the End of the World as we know it, and I Feel Fine!

Seeking the Truth about Ukraine

February 20, 2015, marks the one-year anniversary of the heinous slaughter of protesters and police by neo-Nazi snipers who transformed a relatively peaceful protest against Ukraine’s democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, into a violent anti-Russia coup. To this day, the illegitimate regime ruling in Kiev has done virtually nothing to bring their sniper allies to justice.

Writing in the September/October 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs, Mary Elise Sarrote noted that, at their meeting on February 10, 1990, Kohl assured Gorbachev that, in return for Moscow’s permission to begin the reunification of Germany, “naturally NATO could not expand its territory to the current territory of .” “In parallel talks, Genscher delivered the same message to his Soviet counterpart, Eduard Shevardnadze, saying, ‘for us, it stands firm: NATO will not expand itself to the East.’”

According to Professor Sarrote, “After hearing these repeated assurances, Gorbachev gave West Germany what Kohl later called ‘the green light.’” Kohl “held a press conference immediately to lock in his gain.” However, he did not mention the quid pro quo — no eastward expansion of NATO.

(The Soviet Union lost some 27,000,000 men, women and children before defeating Nazi Germany in World War II. By comparison, the U.S. lost some 400,000 during that war. Consequently, permitting the reunification of Germany in return for West Germany’s assurance of no NATO expansion eastward was an enormous concession by Gorbachev.)

In 1997, Zbigniew Brzezinski — who later became a foreign policy advisor to the Obama administration – published a book titled, The Grand Chessboard , which was “translated into Russian and is part of everyday political discussion” (Sakwa, p.215). According to Mr. Brzezinski, “Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.”

Walter C Uhler


Walter C. Uhler served in the U.S. Army Security Agency (a branch of the National Security Agency) from late 1966 to early 1971. He received BA’s in Political Science and Russian Language, as well as a certificate in Russian Area Studies, from the Pennsylvania State University in 1973. As a graduate student and teaching assistant, he studied Russian History at Penn State under Sergei Vasilievich Utechin during 1973-76. He received an MPA from Penn State in 1992. His Master’s Essay compared the weapons acquisition process in the United States and the Soviet Union.

From 1976 until his retirement in March 2008 he was employed as a weapons acquisition executive in the Department of Defense. His negotiations with defense contractors saved DOD hundreds of millions of dollars. He also was quite successful in his efforts to foster diversity and equal employment opportunity in the workplace .

For more than thirty years, he has been an independent scholar specializing in Russian and military history, the Cold War, and international security. His numerous articles, op-eds, and reviews have been published in The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, Russian History, the San Francisco Chronicle, Moscow Times, St. Petersburg Times (Russia), Philadelphia Inquirer, Defense News, the Naval War College Review, Journal of Slavic Military Studies (London) and Russkaya Evropa (St. Petersburg) among other journals magazines and newspapers. His article, “National Missile Defense and Russian-American Relations,” remains posted on the website of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and his article, “Democracy or dominion?” was republished in a college textbook (Annual Editions: World Politics 05/06) in 2005. The Summer 2005 issue of Slavic Review published an obituary of his mentor, Sergei Vasilievich Utechin, which he was honored to write.


Rejecting Austerity, Greece Squares Off with Its Creditors & Risks Future in Eurozone

By Paul Mason and Amy Goodman
Source: Democracy Now
February 19, 2015

Less than a month after the anti-austerity Syriza party swept to victory in Greece, a major dispute has broken out between Greece’s new leaders and European finance ministers. On Monday, talks between Greece and its European creditors collapsed amid disagreement over the future of German-backed austerity. Greek negotiators rejected a deal to extend the terms of the current bailout scheme with no alterations to the austerity terms. Greece is reportedly now planning to submit a request to the eurozone to extend a “loan agreement” for up to six months, but Germany says no such deal is being offered and that Athens must stick to the terms of its existing international bailout. Lawmakers from the ruling Syriza party say Greek voters had rejected the terms of the bailout and that Greece would not be intimidated into accepting them. The breakdown in talks has raised fears Greece may be on the verge of leaving the eurozone. We are joined by British journalist Paul Mason, who has closely covered Greece’s economic crisis for years.


Opposition Leaders Issued a Statement to Signal the Launch of Foiled Coup in Venezuela

by The Real News Network (TRNN) / February 17th, 2015

Lucas Koerner, journalist in Caracas for Venezuelanalysis.com discusses what know thus far about the alleged foiled coup in Venezuela.



Which Way Venezuela?

By Eva Golinger

February 17, 2015

Michael Albert interviews Eva Golinger.

1. How do you understand the motives of the Venezuelan opposition, and of their support from the US?

The Venezuelan opposition is led by an elite, super-rich class that ruled the country for decades, and accumulated much of their wealth through corrupt business practices and siphoning oil industry profits, leaving a majority of the country in poverty and the country’s infrastructure in tatters. When Hugo Chavez was first elected in 1998, a four decade rule of the elite, represented by two main political parties, was ruptured. Had Chavez bowed to powerful U.S. interests and the country’s business elite, the opposition would be very different today, but he didn’t. Chavez led a profound transformation of Venezuela’s core establishment, restructuring the oil industry, which had been nationalized in 1976 but was functioning like a private corporation, making the rich richer and the poor poorer. He redistributed the wealth, created widespread, effective social programs and advanced the economy and investment in infrastructure and domestic production. His policies reduced poverty by over fifty percent, rebuilt much of the interior of the country, placed Venezuela on the map internationally, diversifying Venezuela’s foreign trade partners, and he created a new, flourishing middle class. But all this was done by shutting out much of the traditional ruling class that had governed in line with U.S. interests. Chavez also took nationalizations further, in order to guarantee essential strategic and natural resources were in the hands of the state and not those who could abuse them or use them as a threat. He forged relations with governments adversarial to the U.S. and he inspired the continent-wide shift to the left, and led the formation of regional entities, like ALBA, UNASUR and CELAC, that exclude the United States. When Chavez’s policies on the international stage first affected oil prices, in 2001 when Venezuela assumed the presidency of OPEC, a coup d’etat was planned against him, backed by Washington and executed by the former elite in the country. When that later failed and Chavez took his policies further towards socialism, the opposition radicalized and became intrenched in an unrealistic desire to take power back and destroy everything that had changed in the country since Chavez’ first election. The opposition, along with U.S. policymakers, consistently underestimated the importance of the social, political and economic changes that had taken place in the country through the Bolivarian Revolution. They always treated it as populism, and failed to understand the fundamental role millions of Venezuelans had played in the changes. This was their revolution, their homeland, built by them, and they were not going to let it be destroyed by the same groups that had marginalized and excluded them before.

In essence, the motives of the opposition in Venezuela today, along with Washington, are the same. They still want to control Venezuela’s massive oil resources for their own gain, they still want to destroy the Bolivarian project and any sign of socialism and social justice, and they want to privatize as much industry and resource in the country as possible, for their own benefit. The leadership of the opposition in Venezuela views the government of Nicolas Maduro and that before him of Hugo Chavez, as illegitimate. Despite democratic elections (some of the most transparent and fraud-proof in the world since 2004, when Venezuela implemented a new electoral system), and checks and balances, the opposition refuses to recognize the government’s authority. Their actions continue to exceed constitutional bounds, and they believe they are justified. To this opposition, and its Washington backers, anything they can do to get Maduro out of power and destroy the Bolivarian Revolution is on the table. The end game and the big motive is oil and power. Control Venezuela, and they can control Latin America. As Henry Kissinger once said, if Washington can’t control Latin America, how can they control the world?

2. This is not the first coup attempt in Venezuela. What are the similarities and differences, particularly in methods from the past? What do you anticipate in the future?

One of the most consistent components of the ongoing destabilization in Venezuela has been, and continues to be, multi-million dollar funding of anti-government NGOs and political parties from U.S. agencies such as USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). During the April 2002 coup against Chavez, the NED played a key role in funding all of the “civil society” groups involved: the political parties, the NGOs, the corrupted workers federation, the chamber of commerce, and even private media outlets. Subsequent to that coup’s failure, USAID came on the scene with an “Office for Transition Initiatives” (OTI) and channeled in over $50 million during the following years to help keep the opposition alive. USAID’s funding went to creating hundreds of small NGOs that feed the conflict in the country and served as facades to funnel dollars to anti-government initiatives. This funding has continued to date, despite its prohibition in Venezuela. Just like in the U.S., it’s illegal for organizations engaged in political activities to receive funding from foreign governments, yet the U.S. continues to violate this law in Venezuela, as do the entities receiving the funding. Just this year, President Obama authorized a special $5.5 million dollar fund to finance anti-government groups in Venezuela through the State Department. This is in addition to USAID, NED and other U.S. agency funding to those groups.

Some of the other striking similarities between these coup attempts include the role of media to discredit the Venezuelan government internationally, therefore justifying any action against it. We have seen a coordinated campaign in major U.S. and international media calling for and discussing the Maduro government’s downfall, distorting the reality in the country and portraying Venezuela as a failed state. This type of severe media campaign goes well beyond normal, and legitimate, criticism. Sources cited on Venezuela are always opposition voices, presented as neutral and credible, while reports omit important facts that present the government in a favorable light.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/which-way-venezuela/

If You Think Ukraine's Border War with Russia Is Bad, Check Out Its Fight with International Lenders

The Ukraine-IMF debt negotiation shows is why finance has become the preferred mode of geopolitical warfare.

By Michael Hudson / CounterPunch February 16, 2015

The fate of Ukraine is now shifting from the military battlefield back to the arena that counts most: that of international finance. Kiev is broke, having depleted its foreign reserves on waging war that has destroyed its industrial export and coal mining capacity in the Donbass (especially vis-à-vis Russia, which normally has bought 38 percent of Ukraine’s exports). Deeply in debt (with €3 billion falling due on December 20 to Russia), Ukraine faces insolvency if the IMF and Europe do not release new loans next month to pay for new imports as well as Russian and foreign bondholders.

Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko announced on Friday that she hopes to see the money begin to flow in by early March.] But Ukraine must meet conditions that seem almost impossible: It must implement an honest budget and start reforming its corrupt oligarchs (who dominate in the Rada and control the bureaucracy), implement more austerity, abolish its environmental protection, and make its industry “attractive” to foreign investors to buy Ukraine’s land, natural resources, monopolies and other assets, presumably at distress prices in view of the country’s recent devastation.

Looming over the IMF loan is the military situation. On January 28, Christine Lagarde said that the IMF would not release more money as long as Ukraine remains at war. Cessation of fighting was to begin Sunday morning. But Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh announced that his private army and that of the Azov Battalion will ignore the Minsk agreement and fight against Russian-speakers. He remains a major force within the Rada.

How much of Ukraine’s budget will be spent on arms? Germany and France made it clear that they oppose further U.S. military adventurism in Ukraine, and also oppose NATO membership. But will Germany follow through on its threat to impose sanctions on Kiev in order to stop a renewal of the fighting? For the United States bringing Ukraine into NATO would be the coup de grace blocking creation of a Eurasian powerhouse integrating the Russian, German and other continental European economies.

Full article: http://www.alternet.org/world/if-you-think-ukraines-border-war-russia-bad-check-out-its-fight-international-lenders?akid=12803.44541.0Kc8E7&rd=1&src=newsletter1032048&t=21

Egypt Makes Libya the New Front in Anti-ISIS War, 4 Years After NATO Left Chaos Behind


Four years after the U.S.-led bombing campaign toppled Muammar Gaddafi’s government, Libya is in a state of crisis. On Monday, Egypt bombed Islamic State targets in Libya after the group released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. Egypt claims it hit ISIS targets "precisely," but at least seven civilians, including three children, were reportedly killed in the coastal city of Derna. The attacks come as Libya faces what the United Nations calls "the worst political crisis and escalation of violence" since the U.S.-backed overthrow of Gaddafi in 2011. Two different governments claim power, each with their own parliaments and armies. A number of militant groups, including the Islamic State affiliate, are scattered in between. Will foreign governments intervene in Libya again? We are joined by Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who is just back from a reporting trip in Libya, and Vijay Prashad, a professor of international studies at Trinity College and author of several books, including "Arab Spring, Libyan Winter."


Hiroshima Survivors Sue Over 'Black Rain' That Followed Atomic Bombing

Over 40 survivors of bombing demand aid from Japan for severe health impacts

bySarah Lazare, staff writer

Atomic bomb mushroom clouds over Hiroshima (left) and Nagasaki (right). (Photo: Charles Levy/Public Domain)

Over 40 survivors of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan are preparing to file a class action lawsuit demanding their government provide them health coverage for the ongoing health impacts of exposure to radioactive "black rain."

The Japanese publication Mainichi reports:

The A-bomb survivors — all residents of Hiroshima Prefecture — are currently not receiving assistance under the Atomic Bomb Survivors' Assistance Law as they were outside the black rain area recognized by the government. They will apply to the Hiroshima prefectural and municipal governments for A-bomb survivors' certificates as early as next month. They expect to be rejected, and plan to file suit seeking a nullification of those rejections.

The survivors say they developed severe health problems, including cancer and heart disease, as a result of their exposure to the black rain—the precipitation, darkened by nuclear fallout, that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki following the U.S. bombings in 1945.

Over 200,000 people perished as a result of the nuclear weapons attacks and the radiation poisoning and sickness that followed.

Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/02/16/hiroshima-survivors-sue-over-black-rain-followed-atomic-bombing

It's the Little Lies That Torpedo the News Stars - As Brian Williams Has Found to His Cost Last Week

Embellishment and bravado are often punished more harshly than the untruths that cause wars


The exposure of fake or exaggerated tales of journalistic derring-do by Brian Williams, the anchor of NBC Nightly News now suspended without pay, will ignite a small glow of satisfaction in the breasts of many foreign correspondents. The arrival of anchors, editors or “celebrity” correspondents in the middle of a crisis, war, or at any other time, has always been the bane of reporters on the ground. I remember a friend on Time magazine, in the days when it was a power in the land 40 years ago, vainly trying to explain to his bosses why he was having difficulty arranging their fact-finding tour of Kuwait in the middle of Ramadan.

Williams’s credibility first began to disintegrate when he was challenged on his claim that he had been in a Chinook helicopter that was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in the Iraq War of 2003. In fact, the missile hit a Chinook flying half an hour ahead of his own. But he wasn’t the only journalist to be carried away by the idea that his life was in imminent danger at that time. I was then in Irbil, the Kurdish capital, and used to enjoy visiting a hotel called, so far as I recall, the Irbil Tower. Fox News was based on an upper floor of the hotel, the entrance to which, opposite the lift, was protected by a sandbag emplacement though not a shot was fired in Irbil during the conflict. In fact, the Fox team really was in some danger – a nervous receptionist at the front desk told me – because the weight of the sandbags was such that it might lead to the collapse of the shoddily built hotel.

Journalists very seldom lie about their war exploits, because, among other reasons, they are likely to be exposed by their colleagues. Usually, there is no reason to lie because almost any story can be given an appearance of truthfulness by judicious selection of the facts. My father, Claud Cockburn, an author and journalist, got into trouble for attacking what he called “the heresy of the facts”, making the point that there are not a finite number of facts lying around like nuggets of gold ore in the Yukon until they are picked up by some journalistic prospector. He argued that, on the contrary, there are an infinite number of facts and it is the judgement of the journalist that decides which are significant or insignificant. He explained that, in a sense, all stories are written backwards, beginning with the writer’s “take” on what matters and only then proceeding to a search for facts that he or she judges to be important. All this seemed to my father to be a matter of common sense, and he was taken aback to be criticised for confusing decent truth-loving reporters with black-hearted propagandists who make up stories.

Of course, some stories are faked, such as the one in 1990 about babies in a Kuwait hospital being tipped out of incubators by invading Iraqi soldiers and left to die on the floor. But a good propagandist or even a journalist looking for a good story does not have to fabricate; a selective approach to the facts is all that is needed. I remember going to Libya in the early 1990s when there was some prospect of a US invasion. Absolutely nothing was happening and the scores of journalists who had arrived on the same mission as myself waited impatiently until they could go home.

Full article: http://www.unz.com/pcockburn/its-the-little-lies-that-torpedo-the-news-stars-as-brian-williams-has-found-to-his-cost-last-week/

The Secrets of Food Marketing

By Compassion in World Farming
Monday, Feb 16, 2015

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