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Name: Catherina
Gender: Female
Member since: Mon Mar 3, 2008, 02:08 PM
Number of posts: 34,318

About Me

\"Indeed, in my four-plus decades in journalism, I have never seen a more thoroughly biased and misleading performance by the major U.S. news media. Even during the days of Ronald Reagan – when much of the government’s modern propaganda structure was created – there was more independence in major news outlets. There were media stampedes off the reality cliff during George H.W. Bush’s Persian Gulf War and George W. Bush’s Iraq War, both of which were marked by demonstrably false claims that were readily swallowed by the big U.S. news outlets. But there is something utterly Orwellian in the current coverage of the Ukraine crisis, including accusing others of “propaganda” when their accounts – though surely not perfect – are much more honest and more accurate than what the U.S. press corps has been producing. There’s also the added risk that this latest failure by the U.S. press corps is occurring on the border of Russia, a nuclear-armed state that – along with the United States – could exterminate all life on the planet. The biased U.S. news coverage is now feeding into political demands to send U.S. military aid to Ukraine’s coup regime. The casualness of this propaganda – as it spreads across the U.S. media spectrum from Fox News to MSNBC, from the Washington Post to the New York Times – is not just wretched journalism but it is reckless malfeasance jeopardizing the lives of many Ukrainians and the future of the planet.\" Robert Parry, Ukraine, Through the US Looking Glass, April 16, 2014 http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/04/16-6

Journal Archives

US Provokes Russia, Acts Surprised to Get a Nasty Reaction

US Provokes Russia, Acts Surprised to Get a Nasty Reaction

How crazy will Americans get over Ukraine?

by William Boardman / March 5th, 2014

If too many people get sucked in by the current, distorted media coverage of events unfolding now in Ukraine, then there’s a good chance life will get very ugly for a lot of innocent people, since one of the logical end points is the use of nuclear weapons. Everyone in power knows that’s a potential reality, but the urge to demagogue the Russians is presently overwhelming honesty and caution.

Ukraine is NOT a real place. Ukraine has never been a real place, not in the sense that Madascar or Cuba are both undeniably real places with real edges. Ukraine has no real edges, just lines on a map imposed by some treaty or army over the past several thousand years. To speak, as the more pompous do, of Ukraine’s “territorial integrity” is to speak of an imaginary construct, useful for blurring people’s minds for political purposes.

Ukraine in recent years has been what the power brokers of the disintegrating Soviet Union decided to let it be in 1991. Ukraine has no coherent history as a nation. First inhabited some 44,000 years ago, most of the region’s history is as occupied territory.

Russia’s history of maintaining a military presence in Crimea is older than United States history. The Russian Black Sea Fleet has been based in Sevastopol in Crimea continuously since 1783. For the Russians, this is a crucial warm water port, currently leased from Ukraine till 2042.

To understand what this means to the Russians, it probably matters more to them than the United States would care if the Cubans decided to threaten the Naval Base at Guantanamo, and we know that wouldn’t have a happy ending.


Read more>> http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/03/us-provokes-russia-acts-surprised-to-get-a-nasty-reaction/

Adding another pic that goes well with this article

Senate Ukraine Draft Measure Said to Include IMF Change

Source: Bloomberg

By Kathleen Hunter 2014-03-10T16:04:11Z

Senate Democrats may boost International Monetary Fund resources in an aid package they’re preparing for Ukraine, potentially setting up a dispute with the U.S. House.

The IMF assistance, requested by President Barack Obama and the Treasury Department, is included in a draft version of Ukraine aid legislation, said a congressional aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because the measure isn’t yet public.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, is crafting the measure with the panel’s top Republican, Bob Corker of Tennessee, to rebuke Russia for its incursion into Ukraine and to assist the Ukrainian government. The committee is scheduled to vote on the measure tomorrow.


The U.S. is delaying implementation of a 2010 agreement by all IMF member countries to double the fund’s lending capacity to about $733 billion. The plan would give emerging markets such as China more clout at the institution, which was set up at the end of World War II to help ensure the stability of the global monetary system.


Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-10/senate-ukraine-draft-measure-said-to-include-imf-change.html

PNAC in the State Department messing with Ukraine. Let. That. Sink. In.

Wife of PNAC co-counder, Victoria Nuland, says US invested $5 Billion in 'The Development of Ukrainian "Democratic Institutions"'

“Since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the United States has ... invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine.... The reforms that the IMF insists on are necessary for the long-term economic health of the country. A new deal with the IMF would also send a positive signal to private markets ... it would be a huge shame to see five years’ worth of work and preparation go to waste if the AA is not signed in the near future. So it is time to finish the job.” -- Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department, wife of PNAC co-founder Robert Kagan

This is the same woman who was running back and forth to Ukraine passing out cookies to the violent protesters and egging them in in the finest Florida Bush-mob tradition. This picture was snapped before the intercepted phone call on unsecure cell phone between her and the US Ambassador in Ukraine discussing which of their rent-a-mob leaders should take the reins later and "fuck the EU" if they didn't like it because we'll get the UN to glue it all together for us.)

Victoria Nuland handing out cookies to protesters in Kiev

Here's her claptrap propaganda at a recent event sponsored by Chevron, ExxonMobil, Monsanto and stacked with Freedom House, NED types.

Thursday, 19 May 2011
The strange appointment of Victoria Nuland as State Department Spokesperson
By Patricia H. Kushlis

Update: 7/12/2013 - Toria grilled about Benghazi role at Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing today for her next high level position: Assistant Secretary of State for Europe
Is Hillary asleep at the switch? What is going on here?

Earlier this week, Josh Rogin at FP and Eric Martin at Progressive Realist both flagged the curious appointment of Victoria Nuland as the next State Department Spokesperson to fill P.J. Crowley’s shoes.
Martin questions whether this has foreign policy implications, in particular the replacement of an anti-torture appointee with someone who served as Principal Deputy National Security Advisor to Vice President Cheney.

Rogin doesn’t directly raise potential administration policy shifts but does point out that once upon a time Nuland was Strobe Talbott’s Chief of Staff when he was Deputy Secretary of State during the Clinton Administration and that Talbott had thought very highly of her at the time and still does. In fact, he, according to Rogin, praised her to the hilt in an interview about the pending appointment. So the seemingly amoral Nuland, we’re led to believe, can and will do anyone’s bidding and do it well – in short, a consummate career diplomat.


But why would Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration agree to appoint to this politically sensitive position someone who willingly served such a controversial figure in suppporting and implementing the “war on terror” and all the baggage that comes with it? Furthermore, how reliable is a Talbott reference anyway? After all, I understand that he just helped his friend Robert Kagan, Nuland’s neocon husband, get a job at Brookings and Talbott is also a friend of neocon writer Marc Gerecht, the husband of Diane Zeleny who also just latched onto a likely sweetheart deal sort of appointment as Head of External Relations and Congressional Affairs at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). Whether Zeleny deserves or is qualified for the position or not.

From what I know about the Department, an FSO doesn’t just get detailed to the staff of a highly charged and ideological Vice President unless that detailee agrees to follow the boss’s dictates. Cheney’s were all too often forceful and odious. Furthermore, does anyone really think that Cheney –with his penchant for super loyalty and secrecy - would have ever accepted Nuland (or anyone else) for the position without some kind of loyalty test?
Surely the State Department under Hillary Clinton could have found equally (or likely even better) qualified career candidates who do not carry Nuland’s political baggage.

Behind the scenes trade off?
......Continued at the Link.....


Taken from http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024461021#post2

Let. That. Sink. In.

The Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun

The Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun
March 6, 2014 | Categories: Articles & Columns | Tags: EU, European Union, Russia, Ukraine, | Print This Article Print This Article

The Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun

Paul Craig Roberts

This supporter of the Ukraine joining the EU has received her reward: a 50% cut in her pension.

According to a report in Kommersant-Ukraine, the finance ministry of Washington’s stooges in Kiev who are pretending to be a government has prepared an economic austerity plan that will cut Ukrainian pensions from $160 to $80 so that Western bankers who lent money to Ukraine can be repaid at the expense of Ukraine’s poor. http://www.kommersant.ua/doc/2424454 It is Greece all over again.

Before anything approaching stability and legitimacy has been obtained for the puppet government put in power by the Washington orchestrated coup against the legitimate, elected Ukraine government, the Western looters are already at work. Naive protesters who believed the propaganda that EU membership offered a better life are due to lose half of their pension by April. But this is only the beginning.

The corrupt Western media describes loans as “aid.” However, the 11 billion euros that the EU is offering Kiev is not aid. It is a loan. Moreover, it comes with many strings, including Kiev’s acceptance of an IMF austerity plan.


According to a report in Kommersant-Ukraine, the finance ministry of Washington’s stooges in Kiev who are pretending to be a government has prepared an economic austerity plan that will cut Ukrainian pensions from $160 to $80 so that Western bankers who lent money to Ukraine can be repaid at the expense of Ukraine’s poor. http://www.kommersant.ua/doc/2424454 It is Greece all over again.


The corrupt Western media describes loans as “aid.” However, the 11 billion euros that the EU is offering Kiev is not aid. It is a loan. Moreover, it comes with many strings, including Kiev’s acceptance of an IMF austerity plan.




Paul Craig Roberts has had careers in scholarship and academia, journalism, public service, and business. He is chairman of The Institute for Political Economy.

Scholarship & Academia

Dr. Roberts has held academic appointments at Virginia Tech, Tulane University, University of New Mexico, Stanford University where he was Senior Research Fellow in the Hoover Institution, George Mason University where he had a joint appointment as professor of economics and professor of business administration, and Georgetown University where he held the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy in the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He has contributed chapters to numerous books and has published many articles in journals of scholarship, including the Journal of Political Economy, Oxford Economic Papers, Journal of Law and Economics, Studies in Banking and Finance, Journal of Monetary Economics, Public Choice, Classica et Mediaevalia, Ethics, Slavic Review, Soviet Studies, Cardoza Law Review, Rivista de Political Economica, and Zeitschrift fur Wirtschafspolitik. He has entries in the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Economics and the New Palgrave Dictionary of Money and Finance.

He has contributed to Commentary, The Public Interest, The National Interest, Policy Review, National Review, The Independent Review, Harper’s, the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Fortune, London Times, The Financial Times, TLS, The Spectator, The International Economy, Il Sole 24 Ore, Le Figaro, Liberation, and the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. He has testified before committees of Congress on 30 occasions.

Dr. Roberts was associate editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal and columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He was a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate in Los Angeles. In 1992 he received the Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism. In 1993 the Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of the top seven journalists in the United States.


Dr. Roberts was awarded the Treasury Department’s Meritorious Service Award for “his outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy.”

In 1987 the French government recognized him as “the artisan of a renewal in economic science and policy after half a century of state interventionism” and inducted him into the Legion of Honor.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/pages/about-paul-craig-roberts/ & http://www.countercurrents.org/roberts070314.htm

Heh, and the looting has barely even started. Greece is still getting MORE IMF austerity conditions added to their package.

How was it an uprising of "the people of Ukraine" when there were never more than 50,000 on streets?

So all the people who disagreed with them and stayed home? They don't get a vote according to these rewritten neo-democratic principles of staggering hypocrisy?

Maybe this is where Occupy went wrong. Maybe it should have gotten billions of dollars worth of funding from other countries and sent our entire government packing. But that wouldn't have been democratic because everyone, as witnessed right here at DU with our more conservative members, everyone didn't agree with their Occupy's principles and we, throughout our worst years (8 years of Bush!) remained civilized enough to do things democratically.

And that loathsome little neonazi putchmeister, as was pre-planned, is going to ram through IMF austerity before the Ukrainian people even know what hit them.

Today they got a whiff of what's to come- 50% reduction in their pensions.

It's funny how according to the warped, corporate beholden Western press, the only voices in Ukraine that count are the voices of the few people who violently seized power in Ukraine right before the MAY elections because they knew there was no way the Ukrainian people would endorse this at the ballot box.

I'm betting that the Ukrainians that risked their lives didn't intend to see their pensions cut in half.

Remember now, gullible Ukrainians participated in the protests that were used to overthrow their elected government, because they believed the lies told to them by Washington-financed NGOs that once they joined the EU they would have streets paved with gold. Instead they are getting cuts in their pensions and an IMF austerity plan.
The austerity plan will cut social services, funds for education, layoff government workers, devalue the currency, thus raising the prices of imports which include Russian gas, thus electricity, and open Ukrainian assets to takeover by Western corporations.
Ukraine’s agriculture lands will pass into the hands of American agribusiness.

By getting rid of the very corrupt, but democratically elected government, they have opened up the country to be thoroughly exploited by the same bankers that are currently raping the middle class of southern Europe.
When you consider this, and the fascists now in power in Kiev, does it surprise you that Crimea and some parts of eastern Ukraine want to secede?


The IMF has consistently said that Ukraine's economic policies would create unsustainable large external and fiscal imbalances. It has called on Kiev to cut its large fiscal deficit, phase out energy subsidies, strengthen the banking sector, and allow the exchange rate to fall. A freely floating hryvnia currency and higher domestic gas prices are unpopular steps previously rejected by the Kiev government. Similar conditions are expected to be attached to any new IMF bailout.


As for the left being represented in the revolution/coup, that is highly questionable.

The tiny handful of revolutionary socialists who were present, intent on trying to present a working-class and socialist alternative to Ukrainian and Russian capitalism to workers who had legitimate grievances against government corruption, violence, and the selling of Ukraine to the highest bidder, included a few Ukrainian members of the Fourth International. They and other socialists were run off the streets, their flyers torn to shreds.


FAIR: Denying the Far-Right Role in the Ukrainian Revolution

Denying the Far-Right Role in the Ukrainian Revolution
By Jim Naureckas

Some commentators on the Ukraine crisis seem so convinced that it must be a struggle between good guys and bad guys that they're willing to ignore evidence that there's anything problematic about their chosen side.

Nationalist flags fly over an anti-government protest in Kiev. (cc photo: Antanana/Wikimedia)

In the US press, this generally means whitewashing the opposition that overthrew the government of President Viktor Yanukovych, since Yanukovych had the support of official enemy Russia. To maintain a simple good vs. evil framework, the fact that Ukraine's neo-fascist movement had a significant role in that opposition–and in the new government that replaced Yanukovych–was downplayed or even outright denied.

Photo illustrating Timothy Snyder's New York Review of Books piece (by Jerome Sessini)

Take Timothy Snyder's widely circulated piece from the New York Review of Books (3/1/14), "Ukraine: The Haze of Propaganda." Snyder is a professor of history at Yale; I've read one of his books, The Reconstruction of Nation: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569–1999, and thought it was excellent. But his piece on the Ukraine crisis illustrates that being a gifted historian does not automatically convey the ability to write about events in one's own time in a clear-eyed fashion.

Complaining that "from Moscow to London to New York, the Ukrainian revolution has been seen through a haze of propaganda," Snyder cited claims by both Russian and former Ukrainian officials that "Ukrainian protesters were right-wing extremists" and that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych had been ousted by "right-wing thugs." "Interestingly," Snyder wrote,

the message from authoritarian regimes in Moscow and Kiev was not so different from some of what was written during the uprising in the English-speaking world, especially in publications of the far left and the far right. From Lyndon LaRouche's Executive Intelligence Review through Ron Paul's newsletter through The Nation and the Guardian, the story was essentially the same: little of the factual history of the protests, but instead a play on the idea of a nationalist, fascist or even Nazi coup d'état.

In other words, not only Russian and ex-Ukrainian officials, but also various Western media outlets–with the most oddball and marginal listed first–are putting forth the "propaganda" claim that Yanukovych was overthrown by the far right.

Given this introduction, you would expect the article to go on to debunk the idea that the people who overthrew the Ukrainian government were fascists. Instead, Snyder spends the next 20 paragraphs arguing that Yanukovych's government was bad and undemocratic. It need hardly be said, of course, that bad, undemocratic governments can have fascist opponents; if they could not, his opposition to Stalin would disqualify Hitler as a fascist.

Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok (cc photo: Marco Residori)

So it isn't until the 23rd paragraph that Snyder begins to address the claims made by "the far left and the far right" about fascists overthrowing Yanukovych. And he starts, surprisingly enough, by acknowledging that there's an element of truth to them: "The Ukrainian far right did play an important part in the revolution," he writes. That's maybe something he could have mentioned some 1,800 words earlier; it seems an important qualifier to the assertion that talk of "right-wing extremists" is mere "propaganda."

Snyder makes an argument that Yanukovych, by not repressing his fascist opponents as much as he did liberal democrats, was actually using them to bolster his claim to power–imputing to Yanukovych a sort of association with fascism for failing to be antifascist enough. Snyder sees no need, on the other hand, for the anti-Yanukovych movement to apologize for actually including fascists in its coalition; in fact, he depicts the participation of fascist militia in the overthrow of Yanukovych's government in what can only be described as a heroic light:

The radical youth of Svoboda fought in considerable numbers, alongside of course people of completely different views. They fought and they took risks and they died, sometimes while trying to save others.

Svoboda's original logo evoked the swastika, and even more closely resembled a symbol used by Nazi SS units.

Svoboda is a far-right party launched in 1991; its original name (the Social-National Party) and logo (a swastika-like superimposed I-N, standing for "Idea Natsii," or "Idea of the Nation") were deliberate echoes of Nazism. It supposedly purged neo-Nazi elements in 2004, but its ostensibly more moderate leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, is notorious for his attacks on the "Moscow/Jewish mafia ruling Ukraine" and "the Moskali (Russians), Germans, Kikes and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state" (Channel 4, 12/16/13). Yuri Mykhailyshin, one of Tyahnybok's top advisers, set up something called the Joseph Goebbels Political Research Centre in 2005 (OSW Commentary, 7/4/11]). Did some of the people these far-right extremists fought alongside have "completely different views"? One should hope so.

Though not all of them do; another group that played a large role in the violent clashes was Right Sector, an ultra-nationalist movement that has criticized Svoboda for its "pacifism" (Nation, 1/21/14). While disclaiming racism and antisemitism, Right Sector describes itself as "nationalist, defending the values of white, Christian Europe against the loss of the nation and deregionalization" (Le Monde Diplomatique, 3/14). Snyder calls Right Sector "the group to watch" as "the radical alternative to Svoboda," but suggests that it, too, is nothing much to worry about, and possibly even represents a constructive stabilizing force: Its leaders tell Jews and Russians "that their goal is political and not ethnic or racial," and since the government's overthrow, "they have not caused violence or disorder. On the contrary, the subway runs in Kiev." But do the trains run on time?

Snyder insists that "the transitional authorities were not from the right," and that the "new government, chosen by parliament…is very similar in its general orientation." This is simply false; Snyder mentions a couple of political figures who are not fascists, but passes over in silence a number of bonafide far-right extremists who have been given powerful positions.

Andriy Parubiy (cc photo: Sasha Maksymenko/Wikimedia)

The new deputy prime minister, Oleksandr Sych, is from Svoboda; National Security Secretary Andriy Parubiy is a co-founder of the neo-Nazi Social-National Party, Svoboda's earlier incarnation; the deputy secretary for National Security is Dmytro Yarosh, the head of Right Sector. Chief prosecutor Oleh Makhnitsky is another Svoboda member, as are the ministers for Agriculture and Ecology (Channel 4, 3/5/14). In short, if the prospect of fascists taking power again in Europe worries you, you should be very worried about Ukraine.

Forbes' Greg Satell

Snyder's piece inspired a much less informed screed in Forbes (3/4/14) making an even more sweeping denial of the role of the extreme right in the new Ukrainian government. Forbes contributor Greg Satell wrote:

There has also been completely unfounded accusations that Ukraine's interim government is "Neo-Nazi" and "Ultranationalist." Timothy Snyder has done a wonderful job debunking these claims.

Satell's link, of course, goes to Snyder's "Haze of Propaganda."

"Are there Neo-Nazis in Ukraine?" writes Satell. "Sure, just as there are in Chicago and every other major American city. Are some politically active? Yes, as is David Duke in our own country. Do they have any power to shape policy or events? Categorically no." Unless you count leading the fighting that overthrew the government as shaping events, or getting to run the military and justice system as affecting policy.

Satell has the nerve to call his utterly ignorant article "How the Western Press Is Getting It Terribly Wrong in Ukraine."

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director.


Ukraine is About Oil. So Was World War I

Ukraine is About Oil. So Was World War I
by Robert Freeman

Pro-Russian supporters wave Russian flags to welcome the Russian Black Sea Fleet flagship, the missile cruiser Moskva, entering Sevastopol bay in September 10, 2008. (Photo: AFP)

Ukraine is a lot more portentous than it appears. It is fundamentally about the play for Persian Gulf oil. So was World War I. The danger lies in the chance of runaway escalation, just like World War I.

Let’s put Ukraine into a global strategic context.

The oil is running out. God isn’t making any more dinosaurs and melting them into the earth’s crust. Instead, as developing world countries aspire to first-world living standards, the draw-down on the world’s finite supply of oil is accelerating. The rate at which known reserves are being depleted is four times that at which new oil is being discovered. That’s why oil cost $26 a barrel in 2001, but $105 today. It’s supply and demand.

Oil recalls that old expression: “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” In industrial civilization, the nation that controls the oil is king. And 60% of the known oil reserves are in the Persian Gulf. That’s why the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003: to seize control of the oil. Alan Greenspan told at least one truth in his life: “I hate to have to admit what everybody knows. Iraq is about oil.”

But the U.S. lost the war in Iraq. Remember? The U.S. was going to install a democracy and 14 permanent bases there. They’re not there. The U.S. was run out after proving unable to pacify the Islamic jihad it had unleashed under the pretext of searching for non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Instead, Iraq allied itself with Iran, its Shi’ite comrade-in-arms in the Muslim Wars of Religion.

So today, the battle for the Persian Gulf is being carried out through its two regional powers, Saudi Arabia, the champion of Sunni Islam, and Iran, the torch carrier for Shi’ite Islam. Think of the Wars between the Protestants and Catholics in the 1500s. The U.S. backs Saudi Arabia, as it has done since 1945, when Roosevelt cut a deal with Ibn Saud to protect his illegitimate throne in exchange for the House of Saud only selling oil in dollars.

Iran, of course, is implacably hostile to the U.S. after the U.S. overthrew Iran’s democratically elected president, Mosaddegh, in 1953 and installed its own fascist puppet, the Shah of Iran. The Iranians overthrew the Shah in 1979 and installed a fundamentalist theocracy that continues to this day.

Iran’s main ally in the region is Syria, which the U.S. has been trying to overthrow for three years by helping the al-Qaeda-linked rebels that are attacking Syria. Syria’s chief military patron is Russia, which conveniently bailed Obama out of his childish “red line” declaration last year, a declaration he had neither the military nor political nor diplomatic capacity to carry out.

So, the upheaval in Ukraine is really about the U.S. trying to weaken Syria’s patron, Russia. If Russia is weakened, Syria is weakened. If Syria is weakened, Iran is weakened. If Iran is weakened, the U.S. has a better chance of seizing control of the world’s largest reserves of oil. That is the Great Game that is going on here.

The problem is the risk of escalation. It’s not at all fanciful to imagine some ambitious Ukrainian colonel firing at Russian forces. Russia fires back, decisively. This puts Ukraine at risk for its European suitor, the EU. So NATO intervenes to try to intimidate Russia. Russia retaliates to blacken NATO's nose. And before anyone knows it, the U.S. is dragged into a shooting war where no one can understand how it ends. This is almost exactly how World War I started.

The Germans were gunning for Persian Gulf oil via their relationship with the Ottoman Empire. But this would have given Germany a choke hold on England, which had only just converted its navy to oil. So, England reversed its historical rivalry with France, in 1904, and with Russia, in 1907, to try to contain Germany. But a minor, unanticipated dust-up in the Balkans in the summer of 1914 escalated into The Greatest War The World Had Ever Known.

In a freak event, a Serbian teenager killed the heir-apparent to the Austrian-Hungarian throne. So Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia. Russia couldn’t stand idle as its sole Balkan ally, Serbia, was humiliated. So it mobilized on Austria-Hungary, an effective declaration of war.

Germany moved to defend its ally, Austria-Hungary, by attacking Russia’s ally, France. England, France’s ally, responded by declaring war on Germany. Within less than one month of a minor incident in a minor region of the continent, all the major powers of Europe were at war.

World War I would inflict 27 million casualties through the industrialization of human slaughter. It destroyed four great empires, more than had expired in any single event, ever. Eleven new nations were created in its aftermath, including Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. It was the event that shifted the locus of global power from Europe to the U.S., where it has resided ever since. It rearranged the architecture of global power more than any event of the last thousand years.

So the portent of Ukraine is a global strategic order hanging in the balance. The U.S. must subdue Russia to gain control of the world’s oil. It is the same strategic objective that is driving the U.S.’s subversion of the democratically elected government in Venezuela: it sits on one of the world’s largest reserves of oil. Indeed, all of the U.S.’ aggressions on Iran, Syria, and Venezuela, and its subversion of the democratically elected government of Ukraine, can be understood in this context.

The wild card in the whole fracas is China. China is the biggest customer of Iranian oil, and the largest international investor in Venezuela. These represent some of China’s moves to counter the U.S. attempt to control the world’s oil. The potential escalation from Ukraine as the U.S. pressures Syria, Iran, and Venezuela, inescapably involves China. If China becomes involved, trying to defend its allies and its supply of oil, it is anybody’s guess where it ends. But it won’t be pretty.

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

Robert Freeman is the author of The Best One-Hour History series which includes World War I and The Vietnam War. He is the founder of the national non-profit One Dollar For Life which helps American students build schools in the developing world from their contributions of one dollar


Editing to OP to add some stuff from History 101 that they used to teach in school:

Oil was already of huge importance for WWI. Germany, then the UK, were converting navies to oil

In 1911 Churchill started converting the British Navy to oil from coal and securing oil rights in Persia to assure British naval supremacy (by 1908 Churchill had already secured, from the Shah of Persia (Iran), a 51 per cent controlling interest in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, for the UK, for £2.2 million for that very purpose). Airplanes and tanks were already eing introduced to modern warfare and they needed oil to run.

Archduke Ferdinand wasn't assassinated until 1914.

Churchill's conversion of the British Navy from coal to oil from coal was a high risk strategy because England had loads of coal but no oil. The Baghdad rail link Germany was working on was viewed in London as a threat to UK's oil security and securing large oil reserves became a national security priority for the UK.

Germany had been modernizing its fleet since 1903 and was challenging Britain's hegemony of the seas, by shifting from from coal to oil powered. No way was the UK going to let Germany eclipse it. It was about oil even back then. Germany started working on the Berlin-Baghdad Railway in 1903 to bring oil to their country, for their navy. It bypassed the Suez Canal and was a huge threat to the UK. Before even that, in the 1890s, Germany worked on the the Anatolian Railway and in 1902 the Ottoman government granted a German firm the concession to lay new track eastward from Ankara to Baghdad. By 1888, Germany had permission from the Turks to begin work on the Anatolian Railway Company, and by 1896, they had already completed a major railway line from Angora to Konya.

As a spoil of war, British forces secured all the oilfields in Mesopotamia under the Versailles Treaty in their new League Protectorate called Iraq.

And for information from a random link (there are thousands more out there):

Welsh coalfields produced steam coal, a type of coal that both packed full of energy and quick to heat, by far the best fuel for coal-powered battleships (Updated). But these miners had been engaged in a wave of strikes and unrest from 1910-1914, which led Winston Churchill, then in charge of the admiralty, to switch the navy to oil. Whereas Britain had very small discovered deposits of oil (large discoveries in the North Sea would come much later), oil had different physical characteristics than coal. It could be drilled, and easily shipped through pipelines and oil tankers, thus rendering it far less vulnerable to labor slowdowns and sabotage.


Robert Parry: The 'We-Hate-Putin' Group Think

The 'We-Hate-Putin' Group Think

The only foreign policy show on the U.S. media dial this past week has been the endless bashing of Russian President Putin over the Ukraine crisis – with an occasional slap at President Obama for ever having worked with Putin on issues like Syria and Iran.
by Robert Parry

The U.S. political-media elites, which twisted themselves into a dangerous “group think” over the Iraq War last decade, have spun out of control again in a wild overreaction to the Ukraine crisis. Across the ideological spectrum, there is rave support for the coup that overthrew Ukraine’s elected president – and endless ranting against Russian President Vladimir Putin for refusing to accept the new coup leadership in Kiev and intervening to protect Russian interests in Crimea.

The “we-hate-Putin” hysteria has now reach the point that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has deployed the “Hitler analogy” against Putin, comparing Putin’s interests in protecting ethnic Russians in Ukraine with Hitler citing ethnic Germans in Eastern Europe to justify aggression at the start of World War II.


Who Were the Snipers?

There is also new evidence suggesting that the sniper shootings in Kiev — a pivotal moment in the uprising to overthrow President Viktor Yanukovych — may have been the work of neo-Nazi provocateurs trying to foment a coup, not the police trying to stop one.

... (paragraphs about Ashton/Paet call)

And to take a contradictory view of this conventional wisdom marks you as “crazy.” When Yanukovych and Putin raised questions about who actually opened fire, the U.S. news media dismissed their suspicions as “conspiracy theories” and proof of “delusional” thinking. It is now a virtual consensus across the U.S. news media that Putin is “unstable” and “disconnected from reality.”

The Washington Post called Putin’s Tuesday news conference “rambling.” However, if you read the transcript, it is anything but “rambling” or “delusional.” Putin comes across as quite coherent, expressing a detailed understanding of the Ukraine crisis and the legal issues involved.



For your viewing pleasure, I've attached the video that goes with the embedded transcript. I recommend reading Parry's whole article, not just the snips.

international law, sovereignty, territorial integrity and.... resources!

But Obama’s rhetoric was more combative than of late and he accused Russia of not just “violating sovereignty and territorial integrity” of the Ukraine but of “stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people”.

“In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders,” added Obama.


I can't believe the jokes coming out of Washington right now. This is what happens when you have a bunch of neocons and neolibs infesting your administration and recycling their lies.

“Stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people”? That's too rich coming from the same people forcing the IMF on Ukraine, after pouring in $5 billion to destabilize it, and ramming the IMF down their throats with the complicity of a rump Parliament and an interim coupster right before the upcoming elections that these bozos had no chance of winning.

US Legislators: To Punish Putin, Frack More

US Legislators: To Punish Putin, Frack More
Some legislators are pushing for LNG exports to weaken Russia's energy grip on Ukraine
- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

As the crisis in Ukraine continues, some U.S. legislators have pushed for exporting the nation's natural gas to be used as a "weapon" or leverage point to weaken Russia and President Vladimir Putin's influence on the region.

Yet others charge that this is an idea "untethered from reality."

Ukraine is now heavily dependent for natural gas on Russia's state-owned Gazprom, though it has cut off that supply at times, most recently in 2009, while the fracking boom has made the U.S. the biggest natural gas producer.

Some on The Hill are saying that the U.S. should send off all this fracked gas via liquified natural gas (LNG) exports to loosen Russia's grip, and that the Department of Energy should expedite approval of pending permits for LNG exports.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), for example, said that exporting more natural gas could "strengthen our economy here and our security here and abroad," and that the "the only thing standing in the way are the bureaucrats in the Department of Energy."

"Expediting approval of natural gas exports is one clear step the U.S. can take to stand by our allies and stand up to Russian aggression, while creating American jobs at the same time," Boehner also said.

Democratic Colorado Sen. Mark Udall added, "The situation in Ukraine shows the urgent need for Colorado and the nation to export more natural gas," and urged quick approval of pending liquefied natural gas terminals, introducing legislation on Wednesday to make that happen.

Republican Congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas) introduced similar legislation on Wednesday as well.

But exporting LNG is expensive, and, as Politico reported:

Even if the pressure from Congress prods the Energy Department to move faster, the practical effect anytime soon would be nil. The U.S. has no currently operating plants that could ship liquefied natural gas overseas, and probably won’t until late 2015 at the earliest. And Ukraine has no plants that could convert the liquid fuel back into gas for use in furnaces or power plants.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz stressed this point, telling Politico. "The fact is <that pouring U.S. gas into Europe> is just physically not going to happen."

On All In on Wednesday, Chris Hayes and his guests radio host Sam Seder and Dan Dicker, CEO of wealth management group MercBloc, take apart this push for LNG exports as means to neutralize Russian power over Ukraine as well. Aside from climate impacts from increased fracking, it is unrealistic, they say, to think that pushing for more LNG exports would have any effect on the current crisis at all:

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


Frack baby frack!
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