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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

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)

Ukrainian censorship of Russian media becomes a complete ban.

The Ukrainian government is apparently so sensitive about alternate or critical views concerning its domestic policies (including an on-going "anti-terror operation" in separatist regions) that it has decided to hand out fines and license revocations to any cable providers who still dare to carry Russian-produced media.

Kiev orders crackdown on Ukrainian providers broadcasting Russian TV channels.

Ukrainian cable providers could face heavy fines or have their licenses revoked if they broadcast leading Russian channels – including RT – which were earlier “suspended” by a series of court orders.

“Ukraine is a sovereign state and must defend its media space from outside aggression from Russia, which is purposely inciting hatred between different groups of Ukrainians within the country,” said interior ministry adviser Anton Geraschenko in a statement on his Facebook page. Kiev has promised “total monitoring” of all outlets, including “hotels, sanatoriums and hospitals” which have been instructed to switch off their Russian feeds “before officers of the law pay a visit.”


Geraschenko said that if Russia attempted to install retransmitters that would allow its channels to be received in the border regions, Ukraine would activate its Soviet-era jammers, used decades ago to prevent Western media outlets such as BBC from reaching the USSR.

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović criticized the initial bans as “repressive” and “a form of censorship without legal basis.” About a third of Ukrainians consider Russian their native language, including the majority of those in Donetsk and Lugansk regions, and while some Ukrainian channels broadcast in Russian, Moscow-based outlets have enjoyed enduring popularity in the country.

Read more at: http://rt.com/news/181440-ukraine-bans-russian-tv/

Posted by another_liberal | Tue Aug 19, 2014, 07:23 PM (13 replies)

Israel Bars Amnesty International & Human Rights Watch from Entering Gaza, Hindering Investigations

Source: Independent

Israel has been preventing Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch workers from entering Gaza to investigate allegations of war crimes and human rights violations, a media report supported by group members’ statements claims, Russia Today has learnt. However, human rights groups have been failing in their attempt to get permission from the regional Civil Administration to enter Gaza since July 7, Israeli media outlet Haaretz reports. Israeli authorities gave two reasons for their refusal to grant appropriate permits: the closure of the Erez border crossing, situated between Israel and the Gaza Strip, and that neither group features a list of aid groups approved by Israel’s Ministry of Social Affairs.

But an Israeli newspaper stressed that the Erez border crossing was in fact opened to "journalists, UN employees and Palestinians in need of medical care" during Operation Protective Edge, which was launched July 8. The newspaper also says that according to the Israeli COGAT (coordinator of government activity in the territories) guidelines, exceptions can be made for organizations that are not included on the list. The authority claims that unrecognized groups "may submit an exceptional request that will be considered in light of the prevailing policy based on the political-security situation".

HRW representatives have been barred from entering Gaza through the Erez crossing since 2006, while Amnesty’s representatives have been not allowed to cross since June 2012. The two organizations were able to use Egypt’s Rafah border crossing to enter Gaza until Mohamed Morsi’s government was toppled by the country’s armed forces in 2013. Since then, Egypt has not issued a clear response as to why it has closed its own border, though its military has been active in the Sinai, RT notes.

While both HRW and Amnesty International have made active attempts to obtain permission from Israel to enter the Strip, their requests have been refused on seemingly bureaucratic grounds.

Read more: http://www.independent.mk/articles/8427/Israel+Bars+Amnesty+International++Human+Rights+Watch+from+Entering+Gaza,+Hindering+Investigations

The death through military action of at least fifteen hundred civilians, four hundred of them children, requires no investigation. Israel killed them, so the massacre must have been justified, or so the rest of humanity is apparently supposed to believe.
Posted by another_liberal | Tue Aug 19, 2014, 07:39 AM (14 replies)

Kiev government has little control over right wing, ultra-nationalist militias.

Fascist militias, armed at the expense of Ukraine's super-wealthy "oligarchs," are dangerously independent of government control. They have threatened to actually withdraw from fighting separatists and march against Poroshenko if demands they recently made are not agreed to by the government.

Foreign ministers Pavlo Klimkin of Ukraine, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany and Sergei Lavrov of Russia (L-R) go for a walk in a park ahead of their talks in Berlin, August 17, 2014. (Reuters)

West has more influence than Kiev on oligarchs’ armies in Ukraine – Lavrov.

Moscow believes the West has more influence on various paramilitary forces in Ukraine - sponsored by local oligarchs - than Kiev does, Russian FM said citing the latest bickering between Right Sector and the Interior Ministry.

“The authorities in Kiev are not in control of the numerous paramilitary forces, including Right Sector, which, we estimate, comprises a large portion of the National Guard. The demarche of Right Sector towards the Ukrainian Interior Minister speaks for itself,” Sergey Lavrov said, adding that existence of armed groups sponsored by Ukrainian oligarchs, such as the Azov and Dnepr battalions, poses a great security threat. “We work with our Western partners in Europe and the United States who can really influence those paramilitary units that don’t answer to the central government in Kiev. We know the West has such influence,” he added.

Lavrov was referring to the weekend ultimatum of the far-right group, which threatened to pull out its troops from eastern Ukraine and march on Kiev unless President Petro Poroshenko fires several police officials, including a deputy interior minister. The group later reduced its demands, saying that the release of its activists previously arrested by the police was sufficient.

The comments from the top Russian diplomat came as he reported on the progress achieved during the Sunday meeting with his counterparts from Ukraine, Germany and France. The roundtable produced no concrete agreements, but the parties involved said some progress was made on the issues of humanitarian aid and border control.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/180972-ukraine-west-influence-army/
Posted by another_liberal | Mon Aug 18, 2014, 07:08 AM (2 replies)

Ukrainian government recognizes Russian aid convoy as humanitarian effort.

The government in Kiev has declared the long-awaited and desperately needed Russian relief convoy is humanitarian in nature. It appears they have dropped their earlier demand that all the supplies be inspected and transferred to different trucks before they could cross the Ukrainian border. Now it will only be necessary that a sampling of the trucks be inspected before the convoy can finally proceed, or so one hopes.

A driver walks past Russian convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine at a camp near Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Rostov Region, August 15, 2014. (Reuters)

Ukraine officially recognizes Russian aid convoy as humanitarian

Ukraine Minister of Social Policy Lyudmila Denisova has signed an order officially recognizing the Russian convoy stuck at the border as humanitarian aid cargo of the International Committee of the Red Cross. "In accordance with Articles 4 and 5 of the Law of Ukraine 'On Humanitarian Aid' considering the initiative of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on receiving humanitarian aid within the framework of international humanitarian missions under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to recognize the cargo as humanitarian aid,” the document reads.

Russian and Ukrainian officials have agreed on Sunday to proceed with the inspection of the first group of 16 Russian trucks of the humanitarian convoy, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said. The ICRC will be supervising the delivery of the aid and will go ahead after it receives security guarantees from the warring sides in Ukraine.

The Russian aid shipment consists of 12 types of goods weighting 1856.3 tons according to an official letter from the Red Cross received by the Ukrainian ministry on Saturday, which complies with the cargo declared by Russia. “The recipient of humanitarian aid is the mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Ukraine. The cargo will be moved into Ukraine by the ICRC through the 'Donetsk' checkpoint,” Kiev cited the ICRC letter.

Kiev granted Russian cargo humanitarian aid status after the Red Cross sent a petition to Kiev to allow the Russian humanitarian aid to enter eastern Ukraine, after the Russian cargo was held at the Ukrainian border since August 14. “There remains one, of course, major challenge: we absolutely need security guarantees from all parties concerned before we can start moving,” Red Cross official Pascal Cuttat told the media on Saturday.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/180844-ukraine-recognizes-russia-humanitarian-aid/

Posted by another_liberal | Sun Aug 17, 2014, 11:23 AM (6 replies)

Right Sector fascist militia threatens to "March on Kiev."

This is what happens when someone who craves power in his country's government decides it's convenient to encourage neo-Nazi groups by giving them arms and official status. Ukrainian leaders should have known better, and our diplomats should have told them if they didn't know. Now it may be too late.

Right Sector threatens armed march on Kiev unless police drop charges against supporters.

The far-right Ukrainian group Right Sector has threatened its armed forces will raid Kiev unless authorities release all its members and end all criminal investigations against them. They accused the police of being “anti-Ukrainian.” In a statement published on Right Sector’s website, the group’s leader, Dmitro Yarosh, and the commander of the its volunteer battalion, Andrey Stempitsky, accused Deputy Interior Minister General Vladimir Yevdokimov of heading “a criminal police group of separatist stooges and a Moscow puppet.”

Right Sector also accused the Interior Ministry of “unlawful detentions, arrests, beatings, confiscation of arms taken in battle” in moves targeting dozens of fighters of Right Sector’s volunteer battalion, which was formed with the stated goal of fighting armed militias in the east of the country.

The far-right group called on President Petro Poroshenko to fire Yevdokimov and his men from the service and investigate them for “their criminal activities.” As for detained members of Right Sector, all of them should be released and criminal cases launched against them must be closed, Yarosh demanded. “Unless our demands are met within 48 hours, we will be forced to call off all our units on the front line, start a general mobilization of reserve battalions and launch a march on Kiev to enact a ‘swift reform’ of the Interior Ministry. The columns of the Right Sector will march in full gear,” the statement said.

The movement called on other volunteer paramilitary groups supporting the government’s military campaign in the east of Ukraine to support their demands and oust “the helpers of the terrorists in police uniforms from the Ukrainian land.”


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/180876-nationalists-threaten-kiev-raid/
Posted by another_liberal | Sun Aug 17, 2014, 07:49 AM (13 replies)

White House: Russia has no right to send vehicles, persons into Ukraine.

Source: Yahoo News (Reuters)

EDGARTOWN Mass. (Reuters) - The White House said on Friday it could not confirm reports that Ukraine had disabled vehicles in a Russian convoy inside Ukraine and warned Moscow that any intervention into Ukraine without Kiev's permission was unacceptable.

"Even as we work to gather information, we reiterate our concern about repeated Russian and Russian-supported incursions into Ukraine," White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.

"Russia has no right to send vehicles, persons, or cargo of any kind into Ukraine, under any pretext, without the government of Ukraine's permission."

Ukraine said its artillery destroyed part of a Russian armored column that entered its territory overnight and said its forces came under shellfire from Russia on Friday in what appeared to be a major military escalation between the ex-Soviet states. Russia's government denied its forces had crossed into Ukraine.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-russia-no-send-vehicles-persons-ukraine-223344836.html

Looks like much of the heated reporting coming out of eastern Ukraine yesterday was not much more than wishful thinking on the part of some. At the very least, those reports have incorporated claims which now appear less than certainly true.
Posted by another_liberal | Fri Aug 15, 2014, 11:31 PM (36 replies)
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