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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

France aims to facilitate Greece-euro zone talks

Source: Reuters

Reuters) - French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on Wednesday France wanted to facilitate talks between Greece's new leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the rest of the euro zone, and would meet his Greek counterpart in Paris on Monday. France's Socialist government "is well placed to be the link between the Europe we belong to, the Europe of budgetary seriousness, which wants to see commitments enforced, and the south of Europe, and in particular Greece, which suffers today and needs to find a different path from the one it has had to go back to growth and hope," Sapin said.

Tsipras, who opposes the terms of Greece's international bailout, threw down a challenge to international creditors by halting privatization plans agreed under the deal, prompting a third day of losses on financial markets on Wednesday. Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said earlier on Wednesday he planned to meet European counterparts to try to work out a deal to replace the bailout program, saying this could be done without a "duel" with Europe.

It is in the new Greek government's interests "to find with us, with all European governments, the right way forward to meet the upcoming deadlines and look towards the future, including by striking new deals on new programs," Sapin said, adding "no one is talking about debt cancellation."

Paris has said it would be open to talks on making Greece's debt burden more sustainable and Tsipras is expected to meet President Francois Hollande before an EU summit on Feb. 12. France, the euro zone's second-largest economy, has itself repeatedly missed deadlines to rein in its budget deficit to within EU norms and has been saying for months that policy should focus more on growth and less on austerity.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/28/us-greece-politics-france-idUSKBN0L129O20150128

Will the wealthy and powerful have to give up their lucrative "austerity" policies and let a little go back to the poor, cold and hungry who have been sacrificing for years? I know it sounds like fantasy; still, with France looking to lessen the burden of its own debts in the future, Greece has a powerful ally who wants to set a precedent of exception to German backed, unbending austerity.
Posted by another_liberal | Wed Jan 28, 2015, 11:06 PM (6 replies)

Just propaganda, or evidence of massive Ukrainian losses in Donbas fighting?

If what the group "Cyber-Berkut" claims to be official documents hacked from a Ukrainian government source are indeed authentic, Kiev may have recently suffered its worst defeat yet in a string of almost unmitigated military setbacks. Were this to prove true, it would help explain a series of rather frantic efforts by the Kiev government lately to get World opinion behind blaming another "Russian invasion" for their troops' failure to achieve announced goals.

Leaked document. Image from http://www.cyber-berkut.org/

Blitzkrieg turned mayhem: Hacktivists claim they reveal Ukrainian troops’ annihilation

Ukraine's subversive hacker group CyberBerkut has published documents allegedly exposing dreadful situation with the Kiev's troops attacking separatist forces in the East: war crimes, tremendous loss of lives and wholesale desertion of entrapped troops. The anti-government activists claim they have hacked personal computer of Ukraine’s Judge Advocate General and copied a number of classified documents. These documents are allegedly exposing some dark secrets of Kiev’s authorities regarding the real state of things in the zone of the so-called ‘anti-terrorist operation’ in the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions of the country.

The price of the warfare resumed by President Petro Poroshhenko in the east is terrifying. The hacked documents claim at least 1,100 servicemen of the Ukrainian army have lost their lives over the period of the last two weeks. Many dozens Ukrainian soldiers gave up to separatist forces. Ukrainian army has lost over 100 tanks and the armored vehicles.

This information comes into collision with the latest reports by Kiev generals about “no losses”, “defeated enemy” and “thousands of eliminated terrorists”.

The explanation to this is simple: according to the documents allegedly hacked, Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) has officially forbidden the Defense Ministry to reveal true casualties among servicemen.


Read more, including a translation of the document pictured above, at: http://rt.com/news/227071-ukraine-troops-hide-losses/

Posted by another_liberal | Wed Jan 28, 2015, 12:58 PM (155 replies)

Greek government rebels at EU move to blame Russia.

It would appear that Greece is not only telling EU austerity-masters to back off, they (as well as several other EU countries) are also telling the war-mongering bureaucrats of that organization they will no longer agree that the U.S./NATO campaign against Russia is being carried out in their name. This is the kind of thing which could quickly catch on with the people of a continent ever more weary of Western military expansionism!

European Council President Donald Tusk.(Reuters)

New Greek govt furious over EU 'unequivocal' anti-Russia statement

The new Greek government has spoken out against the EU partners over the statement that lays the blame for Saturday’s fatal attack on the Ukrainian city of Mariupol on Russia. Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria voiced similar objections earlier. The government, headed by Prime Minister Alexis Tripras, said in a press release on Tuesday that “the aforementioned statement was released without the prescribed procedure to obtain consent by the member states, and particularly without ensuring the consent of Greece. In this context, it is underlined that Greece does not consent to this statement,” Tsipras added. He voiced his “discontent” in a phone call to EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini.

The EU statement was published on Tuesday morning, saying that all 28 EU leaders had agreed that Russia bears “responsibility” for a rocket attack on the city of Mariupol that left 30 people dead on Saturday. Brussels objected that the Greek government had been informed about the statement on Russia and Ukraine, but no one had contradicted it until Tuesday. European Council President Donald Tusk initiated the EU statement, and claimed he had called Tsipras and the “sherpas” - top officials taking care of EU issues in each leader's office.

One EU diplomat reportedly said that Greece had attempted to remove the line blaming Russia for the Mariupol killing. Also, Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia tried, and failed, to “water down” the communiqué, the EU Observer website stated. It’s the first time that such a situation - a retroactive abjuration of an EU line - has happened, EU Council official stressed.

Foreign affairs analyst Serja Trifkovich told RT that other countries might follow suit and oppose Brussels’ policies on the Ukrainian crisis. “It’s very difficult in the EU to break the ranks. Now that Greece has made a move, I confidently expect that the Hungarians in particular, but perhaps also Slovakia and Cyprus, will the courage to say no to the dictate from Brussels.”


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/226947-greece-russia-statement-ukraine/

Posted by another_liberal | Wed Jan 28, 2015, 06:46 AM (8 replies)

Ukraine raises stakes, calls on World to declare Russia "Aggressor State."

Ukraine is mincing words again. Why don't they just cut to the chase and demand everyone declare war on the Russian Federation, with the precaution of sending all NATO heads of State to their protective bunkers first, it goes without saying. Seriously though, isn't Ukraine getting a little too apocalyptic in its stance toward the Russians? Are we really going to let this gang of fascists and bankers' stooges take the Twenty-first Century into a general European war?

Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Parliament (RIA Novosti)

Ukrainian MPs call on UN, NATO & PACE to recognize Russia as ‘aggressor state’

The Ukrainian parliament has addressed UN, NATO and other international organizations to recognize Russia as “an aggressor state” in the Ukrainian conflict. The majority of MPs voted in favor of the move. The initiative was supported by 271 out of 289 deputies present at the vote in the Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday.

The deputies issued a statement, addressed to the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the GUAM Parliamentary Assembly and international parliaments. "Legal recognition as an aggressor state entails consequences as provided for under the 1974 UN resolution and the UN charter," said Oleg Lyashko, Radical Party leader and a member of the governing coalition. The UN's 1974 resolution, which defines the act of aggression, stresses that the definition isn't binding under international law and is just guidance that the UN Security Council isn’t obliged to follow.

MPs also recommended Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to submit a parliamentary motion on “declaring a state of war and implementation of martial law on the entire territory of Ukraine until the cessation of Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine.” The Ukrainian MPs blamed Moscow for supporting terrorism and jeopardizing international security by blocking the activities of the UN Security Council. They also urged Ukraine’s Western backers to put more pressure on Russia “through the introduction of new sectoral restrictions and sanctions in order to stop the Russian aggression and force the Russian leadership to fully implement the Minsk agreements; end the illegal occupation of the Crimea; release all the hostages and people illegally detained on the Russian territory.”

In the statement, the MPs addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to restrict Russian delegation’s powers in the PACE until Moscow stops ignoring “demands of the democratic community.” They called on foreign partners to provide Ukraine’s with military assistance to strengthening its defense capabilities and humanitarian assistance for the affected civilian population and internally displaced people.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/226743-ukraine-russia-aggressor-state/

Posted by another_liberal | Tue Jan 27, 2015, 06:05 PM (26 replies)

Kiev declares "State of Emergency" in Donbas region.

Are we really going to let this happen? Are we going to do nothing to halt this reckless adventurism? Is this head-long death ride to continue with our blessing? Is the United States really going to allow our greed and pride over control of Ukraine to take the World into a full-blown East/West war in Europe? I don't want to believe it, but it appears to be happening anyway.

A man walks near a damaged residential building in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine January 19, 2015 (Reuters)

Kiev introduces state of emergency in Donbass, high alert across Ukraine

The Ukrainian government has introduced the state of emergency in the war-torn south-eastern Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, and put all other territories on high alert, Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk announced. "In accordance with the Ukrainian Code of Civil Protection, the Cabinet of Ministers has adopted a decision to recognize an emergency situation at a state level. The Ukrainian government has decided to impose the state of emergency in the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions," Yatsenyuk is cited as saying by Interfax-Ukraine.

According to the PM, the move is aimed at providing the most efficient coordination of all government agencies in order to ensure civil protection and the safety of the population. The statement was made after the field meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, which took place at the headquarters of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Kiev on Monday. Yatsenyuk also said that the state of emergency in the southeast will be overseen by a special government commission. It will be headed by the PM himself, with Deputy-PM Gennady Zubko and Emergencies Minister Sergey Bochkovsky being his deputies.

Kiev’s troops and Donbass militia forces are locked in renewed hostilities in southeastern Ukraine after a shaky ceasefire reached by the sides in September utterly collapsed. Ukrainian forces launched a massive offensive in mid-January, but failed to gain any ground despite employing tanks, artillery and aviation.

On Saturday, a residential area in the port city of Mariupol, which has remained relatively insulated from violence throughout the majority of the conflict, was shelled. The Kiev forces and the militias have been trading blame for the incident, which took the lives of at least 30 people and saw another 100 injured.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/226315-ukraine-state-emergency-alert/

Posted by another_liberal | Mon Jan 26, 2015, 02:04 PM (0 replies)

"Golden Dawn" to have eighteen seats in Greek Parliament.

Syriza's victory appears to have come just in time! If EU-imposed austerity has made things so bad for Greeks that they would give this bunch of neo-fascists third place in the recent elections, then it is most definitely time for a change in government and in economic policy.

Supporters of the far-right Golden Dawn party cheer for a party lawmaker during a pre-election rally in Athens May 23, 2014 (Reuters)

Far-right Golden Dawn party takes third place in Greece elections

Greece’s far-right radical party Golden Dawn is expected to come third in the parliamentary election. The anti-immigrant party with Nazi roots is showing remarkable staying power, despite most of its members and lawmakers facing criminal charges.

News of Golden Dawn’s all-but-official success comes as the far-left Syriza and the Independent Greeks parties, which came in first and second, reached an agreement on the formation of a coalition government. Golden Dawn has secured its place in the parliament with over 6 percent of votes. If victorious, they’ll be contributing 18 MPs to the 300-member parliament.

Leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos and several senior figures in the party are either behind bars or under house arrest. Mihaloliakos posted a congratulatory recorded message for his party colleagues, saying “we achieved this great victory despite the fact that we could not be guaranteed an equal and so-called democratic election as the regime likes to call it, shunned by all (media), facing mudslinging and slander from all sides ... having to campaign through a payphone. We have a fresh mandate ... everyone fought to keep Golden Dawn away and they lost. Golden Dawn won."

Such popularity is nothing new for the far-right. This takes place as rampant anti-immigrant violence grips Greek streets amid a steep rise in the radicalization of poor disenfranchised youths, as the EU’s stringent austerity policies take greater effect. However, the party also gained prominence by providing the poor with social services in these difficult times for Greece.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/226207-golden-dawn-greece-election/

Posted by another_liberal | Mon Jan 26, 2015, 07:51 AM (0 replies)

Rebels launch 'intense' attacks on Ukraine government troops: Kiev military

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) - Pro-Russian rebels launched new attacks against Ukrainian government positions on Sunday, the Kiev army said, as Western countries threatened more sanctions against Moscow for backing a new separatist offensive.

Recent days have seen the worst fighting in eastern Ukraine since a September ceasefire, restarting a war that has already killed more than 5,000 people. Rebels have announced an offensive and launched an assault on Saturday on Mariupol, a major port of 500,000 people, where Kiev said thirty civilians were killed by shelling. Kiev officials said the offensive continued on Sunday along other areas in the front, which winds through two eastern provinces partially controlled by the separatists.

"Rebels are attacking the positions of anti-terrorist operation troops extremely intensively, using artillery, mortars, grenade launchers, tanks," military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said in a televised briefing. He said four Ukrainian servicemen had been killed and 17 injured in the past 24 hours and reported that rebel attacks on the town of Debaltseve, northeast of separatist-held Donetsk, had been particularly fierce. "Because of constant shelling in the past few days, there are dead and injured among local residents. Around 60 homes have been destroyed or damaged," he said without giving a figure for the number of casualties.

Rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko said on Saturday the separatists planned to encircle Debaltseve, which has a population of around 26,000.


Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/25/us-ukraine-crisis-idUSKBN0KY0PF20150125

This civil war gets worse every passing day. The suffering of civilians caught up amidst the fighting in the middle of winter has to be terrible. Yet our government is willing to announce plans for deploying more military equipment, as well as military advisers and trainers, to support our side in the fighting? Is encouraging a full-blow war in eastern Europe really to our advantage as a member of the community of nations?

Posted by another_liberal | Sun Jan 25, 2015, 12:51 PM (93 replies)

Kiev to increase its forces fighting Spearatists in east Ukraine.

President Poroshenko's makes calls for both sides to enforce the Minsk ceasefire agreement, but his Defense Minister, Stepan Poltorak, just announced an escalation in the number of Ukrainian troops engaged in the fighting. Is the government so divided that it's working at cross purposes during a crisis like this? On the other hand, is outside pressure on the military forcing it to act? Perhaps as the Separatist leader quoted below suggests, "It’s business for them in Washington."

Members of the Ukrainian armed forces drive armored vehicles in the town of Volnovakha, eastern Ukraine, January 18, 2015. (Reuters)

Ukraine military 'to boost forces in the east' as Poroshenko calls to stick to Minsk accord

Kiev “sees no alternative” to the Minsk ceasefire accords, President Petro Poroshenko said. However, the Ukrainian military is building up troops in the east to conduct “an adequate response” to the militia advancement, the Defense Ministry stated.

The violence in eastern Ukraine escalated recently with the ceasefire deal penned in Minsk last year finally shattering. Ukraine last week attempted to launch a massive offensive operation against militia positions, but it ended in failure. Their opponents have since pressed forward and gained ground, advancing in the direction of the port city of Mariupol in the south of the Donetsk region. Amid an apparent setback for the Ukrainian military, President Petro Poroshenko called for sticking to the Minsk accord. “The Minsk agreement is a priority for us, we don’t see any alternative to it. We will not allow it to be undermined. Everything relies on it. Now we must implement it comprehensively and accurately,” the Ukrainian president said.


As Poroshenko demonstrates a willingness to talk directly to the rebels, his military are building up troops in the east of the country. "To respond adequately to the actions of the 'terrorist' groups, we are continuing to build up reserves in practically all sectors where combat action is being conducted,” Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said on Sunday.

The militia said they no longer trusted Poroshenko and his calls for peace after months of the ceasefire. “Poroshenko is cynical beyond all limits. For us the Minsk process was a question of life for our civilians. For Kiev it was a cover for preparing the offensive,” Denis Pushilin, a Donbass representative in Minsk, told Interfax. “Why do they pretend in the US and Europe that they don’t see Kiev’s aggressive policies? It’s business for them in Washington, and we are being killed here,” he added.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/226043-ukraine-minsk-agreements-poroshenko/

Posted by another_liberal | Sun Jan 25, 2015, 11:24 AM (0 replies)

RT is the Devil's news service!

Well he didn't exactly say that, but he might be inspired to add that accusation later. At any rate, what our new chief of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Andrew Lack, did charge was something almost as ludicrous when he began his new tenure by equating RT News with the two worst terrorist groups currently active in the World. I guess there is only one acceptable "Point of view," the American one, and any news source which doesn't adhere to our government's line on all events of the day is just plain equivalent to people who kidnap children en-masse, murder helpless prisoners and film beheadings for their propaganda value? Right?

Andrew Lack.

RT equated to ISIS for ‘daring to advocate a point of view’

Following comments from the US overseas broadcasting chief listing RT as a challenge alongside the Islamic State and Boko Haram, critics said the outlet was singled out for “daring to advocate a point of view,” as well as for “competing for viewership.” On Wednesday, the new chief of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Andrew Lack, told the New York Times that RT posed a significant challenge – putting the broadcaster in a list alongside the Islamic State and Boko Haram terror groups.

The comments have since been denounced on social networks and across the media spectrum. Speaking to RT, legal analyst and media commentator Lionel said the channel was being outrageously singled out and equated to the Islamic State for “daring to advocate a point of view. In the history of incoherent statements, this might be the granddaddy of them all. In reading this, he alleges that Russia Today pushes… ‘a point of view,’” he told RT’s Ameera David.

Georgetown University journalism professor Chris Chambers added that Lack’s words were “supremely silly and careless,” especially considering his media background. Lack previously worked for NBC, Bloomberg, and Sony Music. “This is a guy who has some media savvy, supposedly, even though he’s moved around a lot – maybe this is one reason he’s moved around,” Chambers told RT. “But this was a very careless and silly thing to say considering the prevalence of corporate media here in the United States, and the purpose of BBG’s constitutes like Voice of America, who are supposed to put out all kinds of views.”

While Lack’s comments were roundly criticized, Steven Ellis of the International Press Institute said he was right in one way. “Mr. Lack could have phrased his comments more carefully: RT does indeed pose a challenge to US international broadcasting in terms of competing for viewership,” he said. Asked about the issue on Friday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki distanced the US government from Lack’s comments, saying it doesn’t agree with the statement.


Read more, and see videos of RT's coverage of the story, at: http://rt.com/usa/225819-rt-isis-point-view-competition/

Posted by another_liberal | Sat Jan 24, 2015, 09:10 AM (90 replies)

How many current foreign wars will this be? Does anyone even know?

I guess some in our government think we can never be involved in enough foreign wars, even though we have yet to be attacked by any of the many countries whose citizens we are either killing or training others to kill? Just how many foreign civil wars, particularly, must we get entangled in before the Pentagon and MIC are satisfied?

The commander of the US Army in Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges during press-conference in Kiеv.

American instructors to train Ukrainian troops this spring – US general

US soldiers are to be deployed to Western Ukraine to train the country’s National Guard, said the commander of the US Army in Europe during a news conference in Kiev. The US also intends to sponsor the production of Ukrainian light armored vehicles. The exact number of American troops heading to Ukraine is still to be determined, said Lieut. Gen. Ben Hodges on Wednesday.

The instructors will be working at the 40,000 square kilometer Yavoriv Training site close to the Polish-Ukrainian border. This is the largest military firing range in Europe near the western Ukrainian city of Lvov. The announcement by General Hodges confirms a report in Global Research in November that the US was planning to deploy instructors to the Yavoriv Training Area.

The US is reportedly ready to spend $19 million to train the Ukrainian National Guard. The money will come from the Global Security Contingency Fund (GSCF), requested by the Obama administration in the 2015 fiscal budget to provide training and apparel for the armed forces of American allies worldwide, which has already been approved by Congress.

The newly announced training comes within the framework of the US State Department initiative "to assist Ukraine in strengthening its law enforcement capabilities, conduct internal defense, and maintain rule of law," (said) Defense News Pentagon’s spokeswoman Lt. Col. Vanessa Hillman. Washington has also agreed to finance production of Ukrainian-made SRM-1 Kozak Light Armored Vehicle with a price tag of $189,000 each. The first prototype of the Kozak for use with the Ukrainian border guard was delivered on Monday, the US Embassy in Ukraine reported.


Read more at: http://rt.com/usa/225499-us-military-instructors-ukraine/

Posted by another_liberal | Fri Jan 23, 2015, 12:56 PM (2 replies)
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