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"It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have." James A. Baldwin

Journal Archives

Big contrasts in how Moscow and Kiev treat their prisoners.

When Russian anti-Kiev volunteers are captured by Ukraine they are charged with crimes, very serious ones relating to "aiding terrorism." When Ukrainian regulars cross the border fleeing combat and capture, they are fed and given medical attention, then allowed safe passage back to their own territory.

Over 60 Ukrainian troops cross into Russia seeking refuge

A group of 62 Ukrainian troops have crossed into Russia’s Rostov Region seeking shelter to save their lives amid an intensified counteroffensive recently launched by anti-Kiev militia in southeastern Ukraine.

“Today, 62 servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces turned to Russian border guards asking to let them into the Russian territory near Russia’s settlement of Shramko, Matveyevo-Kurgansky district, with the aim to save their lives,” the spokesman for the FSB's border guard office in the Rostov Region, Nikolai Sinitsyn, told Itar-Tass news agency on Wednesday. They were allowed to cross and provided with a transit corridor on the principles of humanism, but only after they left their weapons on the Ukrainian side of the border, Sinitsyn added.

This case became the latest in a series of similar incidents where a total of over 500 Ukrainian troops crossed into Russia since July seeking refuge and medical help. Earlier this week, Ukraine released videos showing alleged Russian paratroopers captured on Ukrainian territory. Russian Defense Ministry sources were saying that they probably crossed the border by mistake during a routine patrol of an area which wasn’t manned. President Putin, when asked about the issue said he hoped it won’t be blown out of proportion, since Ukrainian troops regularly cross into Russian territory, sometimes in armored vehicles and were never charged with anything and always allowed to return to Ukraine freely.

Kiev’s renewed accusations of Russian military’s alleged operations on Ukrainian territory are “nothing new,” says Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, adding that Russia regularly refutes such reports. Meanwhile Kiev says it has launched a preliminary investigation into the detained men on suspicion of “aiding terrorist groups.”


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/183240-ukraine-troops-russia-border/
Posted by another_liberal | Thu Aug 28, 2014, 07:22 AM (2 replies)

WHO withdraws staff from Sierra Leone Ebola lab after doctor became infected.

Source: The Independent.

The World Health Organization has withdrawn staff from a laboratory testing for Ebola at Kailahun in eastern Sierra Leone after one of its medical workers there was infected during the worst ever outbreak of the disease, a WHO spokesperson said.

"It's a temporary measure to take care of the welfare of our remaining workers," WHO spokesperson Christy Feig said. "After our assessment, they will return."

The WHO has sent nearly 400 people from its own staff and partner organisations to fight the outbreak in West Africa. It said on Sunday that a foreign health worker it had deployed in Sierra Leone had been infected.

Read more: http://www.independent.ie/world-news/africa/who-withdraws-staff-from-sierra-leone-ebola-lab-after-doctor-became-infected-30538487.html

Is it common for so many health workers to become infected in one of these outbreaks? One would think they should have the least chance of any who might come into contact with infected people, due to their training and use of sterile gloves and suits. Pardon me if I am missing something, but this string of doctors and their assistants who have come down with the current Ebola strain is rather troubling.
Posted by another_liberal | Tue Aug 26, 2014, 07:11 PM (4 replies)

Russian Federation prepares to send second relief convoy to Donetsk and Lugansk.

Russian Federation Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has announced his country plans to send a second truck convoy of relief supplies to eastern Ukraine. He cited international law as justification for the planned effort, and expressed hopes the humanitarian needs of people under siege in Donetsk and Lugansk areas would be a prominent topic at the international talks on Ukraine which are scheduled to begin tomorrow.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Lavrov: Russia to send another humanitarian convoy to Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has announced plans for a second humanitarian convoy to be sent to eastern Ukraine, urging foreign actors and agencies to participate in continuing efforts at relieving the crisis. Failure to do so would constitute a violation of international law, he warned.

“Anyone in need of aid shall receive it,” the FM said, stressing that it is important to learn from the mistakes of the first attempt and to look forward to closer cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities this time around. He stressed that as the indiscriminate shelling of areas such as Lugansk continues, the humanitarian need for water and food grows. This has been acknowledged by humanitarian agencies and international actors at large.

The distribution of aid is currently underway, and is headed by the ICRC. The FM also added that the shelling of schools, hospitals, kindergartens and other vulnerable institutions and structures can no longer be excused by claims of “wrongful shooting” or be written off as "accidental."

Minister Lavrov emphasized that Russia is willing and ready to participate in full in any type of negotiations on ending hostilities in the east, and expressed hope that Tuesday’s meeting in Minsk will include a focus on the crisis in Ukraine. “We certainly expect that tomorrow’s meeting in Minsk will feature a discussion on the humanitarian crisis,” Lavrov said. “We express hope that all participants will urge for the removal of any obstacles to smooth aid delivery to those who are most in need of it.”


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/182556-ukraine-russia-lavrov-/

Posted by another_liberal | Mon Aug 25, 2014, 08:46 AM (0 replies)

Anti-Kiev separatists score major successes against loyal forces near Donetsk.

Though flatly denied by the Poroshenko government in Kiev, reports are surfacing that a major reversal was suffered yesterday and this morning by Ukrainian forces attempting to complete an encirclement of separatist held Donetsk. If true, this would be a serious setback for the Kiev leadership, especially coming as it does just at the eve of Ukraine's "Independence Day" celebrations, and less than a week before an important international conference on Ukraine.


(Google Maps)

Anti-govt forces ‘circle 1000s of Kiev troops, capture 2 tank battalions’ in E.Ukraine.

After sustained defensive combat against Ukrainian troops in the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk during August, rebels are now reporting of entrapping two large groups of Kiev troops and seizing military hardware in a counteroffensive.

The main headquarters of the DPR army has made a decision to stop operations in small groups and form full-bodied independent military units, the anti-Kiev forces say in a summary of their operations filed on Sunday. They also say they are blocking a large “punitive force” near Alekseevskoe, Blagodatnoe, Voykovsky, Kuteinikovo, Ulyanovskoe and Uspenka.

Some 5,000 Kiev troops “with military hardware” including some 50 tanks, over 200 armored vehicles and 50 artillery rocket systems (including Grad) are trapped in the area, the DPR claims. “DNR’s army has surrounded the staff headquarters of the 8th army corps, 28th and 30th mechanized brigades, 95th air mobile brigade of the army of Ukraine, and also punitive battalions ‘Aidar’, ‘Donbass’ and ‘Shakhtersk’,” the document claims.

2,000 more Kiev troops, armed with 30 tanks, over 80 armored vehicles and more than 60 artillery pieces and mortars, have been engaged and are currently being eliminated near Olenovskoye, the anti-Kiev forces said.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/182404-donetsk-forces-trap-hardware/


12:16 GMT:

Donetsk self-defense troops have force-marched dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war along the main street of the rebel-held town in east Ukraine.

People shouted “fascists” at the group, who walked with heads bowed, reports Reuters citing eyewitnesses. The captives were largely unshaven, disheveled and dressed either in combat fatigues or civilian clothes.

Supporters of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk threw plastic bottles and eggs at the group, which comprised of about 50 captive soldiers, reports the Ukrainian Ostrov news website.

08:50 GMT:

Kiev will spend 40 billion hryvnas (around $3 billion) on weapons and army modernization in 2015-2017, President Poroshenko promised, speaking at the military parade marking Ukraine’s Independence Day. He announced it will be a “modest beginning.”

Poroshenko also said that some of the military personnel engaged in the parade, as well as a portion of the new weaponry on display, will be sent straight to the military zone in the country’s east after the celebration.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/eastern-ukraine-army-operation-680/


See video of the much discussed display of captured Kiev troops by separatists in Donetsk. Note the size of the crowd of civilians which came to see the prisoners. It is far larger than the "few dozen" which Western media is reporting attended the event:


Posted by another_liberal | Sun Aug 24, 2014, 09:11 AM (114 replies)

German support for a negotiated resolution of the Ukrainian civil war.

Finally a hint of some positive news regarding Ukraine and the end to Poroshenko's brutal civil war of an "anti-terror operation." Maybe soon no more fifteen-year-old girls will be getting their pathetic little arms blown off by Ukrainian Grad rocket batteries?


Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (R) meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Kiev August 23, 2014. (Reuters)

Merkel supports Ukraine power decentralization

German Chancellor Angela Merkel upholds the idea of the decentralization of power in Ukraine as a path to resolving the ongoing conflict in the east of the country, she said while on a visit to Kiev Saturday. Merkel said that Berlin backs the Kiev-proposed plan on decentralization as an important step needed to let Ukraine’s Russian speaking population feel more involved in the country’s affairs.

“What we mean by federalism is called decentralization in Ukraine. And that is what President wants,” she told a joint media conference following the meeting with the Ukrainian leader. “It’s an important step to make the Russian population feel part of Ukraine and stay within Ukraine,” she said, as cited by RIA Novosti. In Merkel’s view, Ukraine should proceed with the decentralization plan. However, she noted, appealing to Germany’s experience would be wrong as there are certain difficulties. What Germans understood by federalism was seen very differently in Ukraine where it was linked to a greater degree of independence “that we don't want at all,” she said, according to Reuters.

Merkel’s comments came shortly after her Vice Chancellor, Social Democrat Sigmar Gabriel, spoke out for federalization to be introduced in Ukraine once the conflict in the east of the country is settled.

“The territorial integrity of Ukraine can only be maintained if an offer is made to the areas with a Russian majority,” Gabriel said in an interview with the Welt am Sonntag newspaper which coincided with Merkel’s visit to Kiev. “A clever concept of federalization seems to be the only practicable way,” the politician said. However, he added, a ceasefire should first be agreed.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/182356-merkel-visit-poroshenko-kiev/
Posted by another_liberal | Sat Aug 23, 2014, 01:53 PM (0 replies)

White House seeks Congressional Mandate to use American military in Iraq again.

I'm sorry to say so, but it looks like all of those poor, worn-out, PTSD-suffering multiple combat tour veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are about to be ordered to "mount up" once again. The Pentagon is going back to war where they like doing war the best, in those oil-rich deserts of the Middle East!

Militant Islamist fighters on a tank take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province (Reuters)

US considers broad military action against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

As the US has acknowledged that the Islamic State group is a greater threat than Al-Qaeda, the White House is reportedly seeking domestic legal justification at home to use unlimited military force against the Sunni extremists in Iraq and Syria. On Friday, the Obama administration said that the killing of American journalist James Foley by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants amounts to a direct terrorist attack on the United States.

"We have seen them posing a threat to our interests in the region, to our personnel and facilities in the region, and clearly the brutal execution of Jim Foley represented an affront, an attack - not just on him, he's an American - and we see that as an attack on our country, when one of our own is killed like that," said Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.

This comes a day after US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stressed that the IS terrorist organization is so well funded and managed, that it “is beyond anything that we've seen. So we must prepare for everything.”

Now the White House is considering seeking domestic approval for military action and a mandate from Congress would do just fine, a senior administration official told the Washington Post.


Read more at: http://rt.com/usa/182280-us-threat-isis-syria/



Posted by another_liberal | Sat Aug 23, 2014, 08:28 AM (83 replies)

The first Russian aid convoy trucks have reached separatist Lugansk.

The first several truckloads of Russian donated relief supplies have now reached the besieged city of Lugansk, capital of the self-proclaimed "Peoples Republic of Lugansk."

Trucks of a Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine, August, 22, 2014 (RIA Novosti)

First trucks with Russian aid reach Lugansk, E. Ukraine.

Moscow has accused Kiev of placing political interests above humanity, adding that it is confident it made the right decision to order a convoy with Russian humanitarian aid to proceed to the conflict zone without waiting for further Ukrainian permission. The first trucks in the Russian humanitarian convoy have arrived in Lugansk, leaders of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Lugansk confirmed to RIA Novosti. Earlier, the LifeNews TV channel and Interfax agency also reported that several Russian vehicles carrying aid to the conflict zone made it to their final destination.

On Friday morning, several dozen Russian trucks crossed the Ukrainian border and started moving towards Lugansk, after Moscow ordered the convoy to proceed, without waiting for further permission from Kiev. By 10:30 GMT on Friday, 145 vehicles from the 280-truck Russian aid convoy had crossed into Ukraine, reported RIA Novosti, citing the Ukrainian border guard service.

Moscow has accused Kiev of deliberately holding up the delivery of Russian humanitarian aid to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine, according to the statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry. “Our convoy with humanitarian aid is starting to move in the direction of Lugansk,” the Foreign Ministry's statement reads. “We are of course ready for it to be accompanied by Red Cross representatives and for their participation in the aid’s distribution.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is not escorting the convoy. “That’s because of the problems with security,” Galina Balzamova of the ICRC told RT. “Lugansk was shelled all night long. We believe we did not get sufficient guarantees of safety from all the parties to the conflict to start escorting the convoy.”


Read more, and view videos, at: http://rt.com/news/182088-kiev-delay-humanitarian-aid/

Posted by another_liberal | Fri Aug 22, 2014, 12:50 PM (8 replies)

WHO says 70 die from hemorrhagic illness in DRC; denies outbreak is Ebola

Source: Al Jazeera America

At least 70 people have died in northern Democratic Republic of Congo from an outbreak of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, denying that the illness was Ebola. A WHO report dated Thursday and seen by Reuters said that 592 people had contracted the disease, of whom 70 died. Five health care workers, including one doctor, are among the dead. "This is not Ebola," a WHO spokesman said in an email to Reuters on Thursday.

A local priest who asked not to be named said that the illness had affected several villages and estimated that the death toll was over 100 people. Kinshasa sent its health minister, Felix Kabange Numbi, and a team of experts on Wednesday to the region after reports of several deaths.

The outbreak began in the remote jungle province of Equateur where the first case of Ebola was reported in 1976, prompting speculation that it was the same illness that has killed more than 1,350 people in West Africa and is continuing to spread. Symptoms of the two diseases are similar; they include vomiting, diarrhea and internal bleeding. But the fatality rate for this outbreak of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is much lower than the West Africa Ebola outbreak, at around 12 percent versus close to 60 percent.

The WHO, which sent representatives to the area on Wednesday together with the Congolese team of experts, said four samples would be flown from the town of Boende on Friday to the capital Kinshasa for further testing. Medical charity Doctors Without Borders said it had also sent a team to Equateur province to assess the situation. The group said it was too early to confirm what the disease was.

Read more: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/8/21/congo-who-disease.html

Are there two different epidemics happening at one time, or is this a mutation (thankfully much less lethal) of the original disease? The current strain of Ebola active in West Africa is also somewhat less lethal than earlier Ebola outbreaks had been. Are we seeing viral evolution, adaptation to a new host? At any rate, this new threat couldn't have chosen a worse time to emerge.
Posted by another_liberal | Thu Aug 21, 2014, 06:19 PM (7 replies)

A closer look at one victim of Ukraine's "anti-terror operation."

A fifteen year old year old girl was swimming with friends at a popular public beach. Then in an act of senseless savagery, Ukrainian artillery gunners began shelling the beach.

‘I never saw people die before’: Injured girl shares horrors of Donetsk shelling

Ukrainian army shelling has forever changed the life of a teenage girl near Donetsk. She is now lying in hospital with a shattered arm and shrapnel wounds. The teen saw several people, including children, being killed by falling bombs on the riverbank.

Government forces first bombed the village of Zugres in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine on August 14. Several shells hit a beach full of people relaxing by the river, with splinters piercing and killing some and severing the limbs of others. A total of fifteen people died in the attack, among them three children. Yana Fenenko was one of the lucky ones who survived that day.

“We were swimming in the river when lots of bombs started falling all at once. We left the water and I threw myself down on the ground. I was lying prone, but I was still hit by a bomb,” 15-year-old Yana told RT’s Ruptly agency from a hospital bed, "I had never seen how people die before,” she said. “The beach was filled with kids… A man got his hand blown off by one of the bombs. I saw it, he was laying right next to me. Also, one of the kids’ heads was blown off... It was very scary.”

Yana has been in the hospital for about a week and still has another month to go before she can be released. Doctors say her recovery will be very long and painful because of all the shrapnel in her right hand and the right side of her body. “She has a lot of shrapnel wounds in the right half of the body: the jaw area, all of her right hand, shoulder and forearm, right hip and right thigh,” one of her treating doctors told ANNA News.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/181756-injured-girl-kiev-shelling/

Posted by another_liberal | Thu Aug 21, 2014, 07:06 AM (0 replies)

Those Russian counter sanctions must be starting to hurt somebody . . .

It appears that EU countries who are "producers of fruits, vegetables, dairy products and meat" want so badly to continue exporting to Russia that they have actually contacted Switzerland to try and get their products shipped to the Russian Federation as if they originated in Switzerland instead.

Switzerland to EU: We don’t want to sidestep Russian food ban.

Switzerland has said it will not re-export European agricultural products to Russia that now can’t get access to the country’s market.

“We have had requests from European countries, including the producers of fruits, vegetables, dairy products and meat, but we didn’t give permission to have their products imported to Switzerland and then exported to Russia,” as ITAR-TASS quotes Jurg Jordi, a spokesman at the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture.

Swiss legislation requires certifying food exports for hygiene, which it can’t do if the products are processed outside its borders, Jordi told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The newspaper writes that Moscow’s embargoon imports of some food products from the EU, introduced early August, did not affect Switzerland as it did not apply wide sanctions against Russia.


Read more at: http://rt.com/business/181540-switzerland-rejects-russia-embargo/
Posted by another_liberal | Wed Aug 20, 2014, 08:44 AM (4 replies)
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