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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

No more Russian cash to Kiev for Sevastopol docking rights.

The Russian Duma Parliament has voted to end payments to our puppet, "interim government" in Kiev for allowing the Black Sea Fleet to operate out of port facilities in Sevastopol, Crimea. After Crimea's vote to join with the Russian Federation, it was likely to happen anyway, but with this vote it is certain Kiev will get no more rental fees or debt write-offs.

Russian Duma denounces Black Sea Fleet deal with Ukraine

Russia’s lower chamber of parliament, the State Duma, has voted to denounce the Russian-Ukrainian agreements on the Black Sea Fleet. The MPs voted to halt the rent payments to Kiev for Sevastopol naval base and to cease writing off Ukraine’s debt. The State Duma censured a total of four agreements on the status of the naval base in Sevastopol on Monday. These include the 1997 agreements between Moscow and Kiev, according to which Russia officially received a part of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet and started renting the naval base of Sevastopol from Ukraine, as well as the 2010 agreement prolonging the rent of the naval base till 2042, with an option of extending it by a further five years.

As part of the agreements, Russia annually paid the Ukrainian government $526.5 million for the base, as well as writing off $97.75 million of Kiev’s debt for the right to use Ukrainian waters and radio frequencies, and to compensate for the Black Sea Fleet’s environmental impact. The Russian Navy was allowed to station up to 25,000 troops, 24 artillery systems, 132 armored vehicles and 22 military planes on the territory of Crimea in addition to the vessels. Crimea’s accession into Russia de facto terminated the deal, with Russia no longer obliged to pay the rent, the MPs decided.

As a result of the March 18 agreement, which marked the Black Sea region’s joining the Russian Federation, “the subject of the Russian-Ukrainian agreements ceased to exist,” said the head of the Duma Committee on the Affairs of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Leonid Slutsky. “From now on the status and the conditions of the Black Sea Fleet stationed in the city of Sevastopol will be regulated within the constitutional framework of the Russian Federation,” Slutsky said, calling the vote “historic.”

A total of 443 out of 450 MPs voted in favor of the move, far exceeding a simple majority of 226 votes. However, according to Russian law, such a law must first be voted on by the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, before coming into power. A vote on the issue is scheduled for Tuesday, April 1, and an extraordinary session of the Federation Council will be held.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/duma-denounces-blackseafleet-deal-401/
Posted by another_liberal | Mon Mar 31, 2014, 05:14 PM (19 replies)

Russia has big plans for the Crimean economy.

Unlike the West's plans for Ukraine, economic strategies being put forward for Crimea by authorities in Moscow do not seem to include crippling loan agreements and wholesale austerity demands. They intend to use what appears to be a very different approach.

Crimea to be special economic zone with tax breaks.

Moscow will make Crimea a special economic zone with tax breaks to attract investors, Russian Prime Minister has announced at a government session in Crimea’s capital Simferopol. “We made a decision to make Crimea a special economic zone,” Medvedev said. “Today the state duma began reviewing this legislation.” Companies that make investments with the authorities of Crimea and Sevastopol could be given tax breaks, Prime Minister said “We have to ensure swindlers don’t take advantage of this state in transition,” Medvedev said. “It is our purpose to make the peninsula as attractive as possible for investment.” The Prime Minister described the development of Crimea as a national priority and compared the importance of the region to that of the Far East.

Earlier, Medvedev drew parallels between Crimea and another Russian region that’s geographically separated from Russia. He said Crimea could acquire the status of a special economic zone similar to the one enjoyed by Russia's western Kaliningrad region. "As well as in the case of Kaliningrad, a specific law is required which allows tax privileges to all large investors, ready to put money into the region," Medvedev said last week.

Speaking in Simferopol on Monday, the Prime Minister said Crimea was ready to be integrated into the Russian monetary system. “For fully fledged integration of Crimea into the ruble zone, Russian currency has been delivered in sufficient volumes to the peninsular,” he announced. Medvedev said the ruble has already started circulating in the region. “Now, our main task is to expand the Russian banking network to Crimea,” he added.

The Crimean parliament approved switching to the Russian currency earlier in March. The MPs decided to also keep the Ukrainian hryvnia as a second official currency until 2016, to make the transition to the ruble less painful.

Imagine that, an economic policy intended to help the whole economy, not just a handful of international bankers. Will wonders never cease?

Read more at: http://rt.com/business/crimea-zone-tax-break-345/
Posted by another_liberal | Mon Mar 31, 2014, 08:47 AM (13 replies)

Now EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is denouncing "Right Sector."

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has come out with criticism of the destabilizing effects of the ultra-nationalist "Right Sector" party's continuing protests against the "interim government" in Kiev:

‘Against democratic principles’: EU’s Ashton denounces nationalists’ pressure on Ukraine parliament.

The lawless actions of Ukraine's nationalists have finally caught attention of the intl community, with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton denouncing Right Sector for its ‘pressure’ and ‘undemocratic’ demand of the interior minister’s resignation. A day after neo-Nazi activists who helped bring the acting government in Kiev to power turned against it, Ashton has issued a statement condemning the “pressure by activists of the Right Sector who have surrounded the building of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.”

This “intimidation” the EU foreign policy chief believes, stands against all “democratic principles and rule of law,” as Ashton called on the ultra-right group “to refrain from the use or threat of violence.” Ashton stressed the need to “hand over any unauthorised arms to the authorities immediately.” At the same time she welcomed the “impartial and credible investigation into the circumstances of the death of Aleksandr Muzychko,” whose death in a police shootout led to the latest showdown outside the parliament in Kiev.

The US Embassy in Kiev and the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine also issued a statement 'condemning' the Right Sector tactics at the Verkhovna Rada. “We welcome the statements of Pravy Sector’s leadership that they intend to keep their actions 'within the framework of the law." We urge all political forces to distance themselves from extremists, who undermine the efforts to stabilize Ukraine and to protect its sovereignty,” the joint statement read.

On Wednesday night, several hundred neo-Nazi activists from the Right Sector and their supporters besieged the parliament building, pressuring lawmakers to sack the newly appointed Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. The Right Sector believes that Avakov is personally responsible for ordering what they call a political assassination of one of their leader, Aleksandr Muzychko, who was killed in a special operation in a city of Rovno on Tuesday.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/ukraine-right-sector-condemned-997/
Posted by another_liberal | Sat Mar 29, 2014, 09:48 AM (5 replies)

For a second day far right wing Unkrainian Nationalists are besieging the Ukrainian Parliament.

Followers of the "Right Sector" party are again trying to intimidate Ukrainian Rada Parliament leaders and demanding the resignation of prominent members of the "interim government" in Kiev:

Masked 'Right Sector' nationalists besiege Ukrainian Parliament.

The Ukrainian parliament is witnessing a second day of picketing, as hundreds of Right Sector activists pressure MPs to sack the interior minister. Earlier other protesters tried to force their way into Kiev’s Rada to stop a vote on austerity measures. Just a month after street protests forced President Viktor Yanukovich from the country, Ukrainian capital faces a new wave of anti-government demonstrations.

The worst action against the authorities is staged by the Right Sector, an umbrella organization of radical activists, who played the key part in the February bloody stand-off. At least a thousand of the activists are standing guard around the Verkhovna Rada building on Friday demanding that the MPs vote on sacking the freshly-appointed interior minister.

The protesters accuse Arsen Avakov of ordering what they call a political assassination of one of their leaders, Aleksandr Muzychko. The notorious Right Sector brute, who made media waves in Ukraine thanks to videos of him bullying officials and threatening to hang Avakov, was gunned down in a police raid aimed at arresting him. Right Sector vowed revenge for their comrade’s death and for a second day are attempting to pressure Ukrainian lawmakers into sacking Avakov. A draft bill to that effect has been filed with the parliament on Friday by an independent MP, a move which may have stopped a planned siege of the building by the radicals.

The legislators do not appear to be happy with the protest rally at their doorstep. Speaker Aleksandr Turchinov, who was also appointed acting president of Ukraine, branded the Right Sector’s actions a provocation. “The Ukrainian parliament is the foundation of the legitimate Ukrainian power. Without this foundation there would be no power at all,” he said.


Read more (and view videos of the action) at: http://rt.com/news/kiev-parliament-protest-resurge-873/
Posted by another_liberal | Fri Mar 28, 2014, 12:32 PM (38 replies)

EU support for serious sanctions against Russia looking weaker.

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, does not appear ready to put her country's economy on the line to "punish" Russia for her annexation of Crimea. It would appear that the recent comments by two former German Chancellors critical of Western responses in this situation were fairly in line the German government's actual position in regard to the crisis over Ukraine:

Merkel not ready to back economic sanctions against Russia

The West has not yet reached a stage where it will be ready to impose economic sanctions on Russia, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, stressing that she hopes for a political solution to the stalemate over Ukraine crisis. The chancellor said she is “not interested in escalation” of tensions with Russia, speaking after Wednesday meeting with the South Korean president in Berlin. “On the contrary, I am working on de-escalation of the situation,” she added, as cited by Itar-Tass.

Merkel believes that the West “has not reached a stage that implies the imposition of economic sanctions” against Russia, advocated by US President Barack Obama. “And I hope we will be able to avoid it,” she said. Berlin is very much dependent on economic ties with Russia with bilateral trade volume equaling to some 76 billion euros in 2013. Further around 6,000 German firms and over 300,000 jobs are dependent on Russian partners with the overall investment volume of 20 billion euros.

Germany is currently the European Union’s biggest exporter to Russia. German car manufacturing companies are likely to suffer first if sanctions against Russia become more substantial, as about half of German exports to Russia are vehicles and machinery. Volkswagen, BMW, and lorry maker MAN all have Russian operations, with VW willing to inject another €1.8 billion in its Eastern European segment by 2018, the Local reports. Opel, a German car maker which sold over 80,000 cars in Russia in 2013, last week said that the company was “already feeling the stresses and strains from the changing course of the ruble,” Karl-Thomas Neumann, boss of car makers Opel, told Automobilwoche magazine.

On the retail side, German Metro stores wanted to take its Russian subsidiary public this year, but the plan is now imperiled, Der Spiegel reported. Earlier this month Germany's KfW development bank canceled a contract with Russia's VEB bank worth €900 million in investment initiatives for mid-sized companies. Under the deal Germans were to have invested €200 million in Russia. In addition, Germany is heavily dependent on Russian energy with around 35 percent of its natural gas imports coming from Russia.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/merkel-sanctions-russia-impact-497/

Posted by another_liberal | Thu Mar 27, 2014, 07:10 AM (5 replies)

Former German chancellor Schmidt criticizes West's Russia policy.

Source: Xinhua English News

BERLIN, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt has criticized the West for its Russia policy of imposing sanctions and stopping cooperation in the G8 amid the Ukraine crisis, according to media reports on Wednesday. Schmidt told German newspaper Die Zeit that sanctions adopted by the European Union and the United States against Russia were "nonsense", saying further economic sanctions would fail to achieve their goal. Economic sanctions mainly have symbolic meaning and would also hit Western countries, he noted.

The ex-chancellor also criticized the decision to suspend cooperation with Russia in the framework of the G8. "It would be ideal to get together now," he said. The situation in Ukraine, Schmidt said, is "dangerous" because the West is "terribly upset," which leads to the same reaction in Russia.

As for the policy of the German government, the 95-year-old politician praised Chancellor Angella Merkel's caution while handling the Ukraine issue. Schmidt, who served as chancellor from 1974 to 1982 in what was then West Germany, is one of the most respected statesman in Germany.

Criticism of EU's Ukraine policy also came from former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder. He said the EU made "a mistake" by putting Ukraine, a culturally divided country, in an "either/or" situation with an association agreement, noting that sanctions would hurt Germany more than other countries.

Read more: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2014-03/27/c_126320586.htm

I wonder why we haven't seen much mention of this on CNN, CNBC or in the New York Times? Guess it just doesn't fit very well with someone's predetermined script for how to report on the sanctions regime which we are pushing so hard right now.
Posted by another_liberal | Wed Mar 26, 2014, 06:58 PM (39 replies)

Pro-Russian Ukrainians attacked by "uniformed vigilantes" in eastern Ukraine.

Incidents of anti-Russian violence seem to be on the rise in eastern Ukraine, with vigilantes attacking pro-Russian protesters and even Russians who were only traveling across Ukraine on passenger trains. This kind of lawlessness and brutality just plays into the hands of those who seek further violations of Ukrainian territory.

Vigilantes harass pro-Russian ribbon wearers in Ukraine

A group of Ukrainian vigilantes have been hunting out people they accused of being "pro-Russian thugs", according to a video which surfaced on YouTube. The "thugs" were detained, frisked, roughed up and handed over to police. The video was shot in Dnepropetrovsk in eastern Ukraine and shows a group of people wearing paramilitary uniform – some of them masked – run after and catch several people. Judging from the comments heard, those caught are suspected of trying to stage a pro-Russian picket of a police station.

At least two of the people, whom the hunters brand as ‘titushki’, or hired thugs, were caught and frisked. Both had St. George ribbons on them, a common pro-Russian symbol associated with the Soviet Union's contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany. On discovering the ribbons the attackers apparently start to treat those caught more violently. One of them is threatened with a knife while another one gets punched in the face.

It appears the footage was taken and uploaded by the vigilantes themselves. In addition to the activists the video shows what appears to be a television crew covering the hunt, complete with a cameraman, his assistant and a couple of female reporters.


Last week Russian passengers on a train going from Russia to Moldova through Ukraine were reportedly robbed by members of the local ultra-nationalist Insurgent Army. There were also several high-profile incidents of apparent anarchy taking reign, including a night takeover of a Kiev bank by armed civilians and a raid on a liquor plant. Eastern Ukraine remains divided. Many people there are opposing the new authorities and call for greater autonomy for their regions. Several activists have been taken into custody on orders from Kiev accused of separatism. Street protests in eastern Ukraine turned violent on several occasions over the past week, with at least one case of unidentified attackers shooting at a group of pro-Russian activists and injuring one of them.

To read more, and to see video of the attack, go to: http://rt.com/news/pro-russian-picket-ukraine-397/
Posted by another_liberal | Wed Mar 26, 2014, 12:51 PM (76 replies)

Coup-instaled authorities begin charge those opposing their "interim government."

The coup-installed "interim government" in Kiev has begun to charge those Ukrainians who oppose their seizure of power and those who supported Russia's annexation of Crimea as enemies of the new Ukrainian State:

Crimean chief prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya ‘wanted’ by Ukraine's security service

Ukrainian national security service has put Crimea’s chief prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya on its wanted list. She is charged of taking actions aimed at the violent overthrow of constitutional order and takeover of government power. Poklonskaya took the office as Crimea defied the coup-imposed government in Kiev and sought independence from Ukraine. After the peninsula joined the Russian Federation, she was appointed as Crimea's acting chief prosecutor by Russia’s General Prosecutor Yury Chaika. The Ukrainian National Service for Security and Defense accuse her of violating article 109 of the Criminal Code, which deals with overthrow of the government.

Poklonskaya became somewhat of an internet sensation due you relative youth, attractive appearance and emotional media conferences. A number of anime-style drawings of the official are currency circulation on the web, with many supporters calling her ‘kawaii prosecutor’ after the Japanese term for cuteness.

The now-wanted in Ukraine officer of the law is somewhat irritated with her web popularity, she told the media, because it undermines the serious nature of her job.

Last week the Ukrainian security service said it was investigating 22 alleged cases under Article 109. Seven of the alleged ‘separatists’, as Kiev calls them, are under arrest. Among those charged are several leaders of protests in eastern Ukraine, which defied the new authorities.

Read more at: http://rt.com/news/prosecutor-poklonskaya-wanted-crimea-349/
Posted by another_liberal | Wed Mar 26, 2014, 07:27 AM (28 replies)

"Deep inside the Fourth World War."

The following is an excerpt of a fascinating article authored by Claudio Gallo, "A journalist, currently working as a Culture editor at La Stampa, where he also was foreign desk editor and London correspondent." He is clearly a ground-breaking theorist in the field of international power politics. His interpretation of the meaning and impact of our current East/West confrontation is thought-provoking, at the very least:

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia: Symbolic stage of current World War."

If we jump for a minute out of the ever-flowing river of the news, we might realize our being deep inside the Fourth World War. It started in 1989 with the fall of Berlin Wall that marked the end of the Third one, aka the Cold War. The last chapter of WW4 is obviously the failed attempt to expel Russia from Crimea, but up to now its more symbolic stage remains the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia that started on March 24, 1999, exactly 15 years ago. It was a war against Slobodan Milosevic, but also a war to shift eastward NATO influence and boundaries.

Operation Allied Force, as NATO called it, consisted of 78 days of bombing Milosevic’s Yugoslavia with a progressive intensity, passing from military to civilian infrastructures targets. About 200 Serb civilians died as collateral damage (against about 300 who died in Kosovo, mainly ethnic-Albanian), while NATO had virtually no casualties during operations, only a few soldiers dying in alleged incidents. It was the Perfect War. British Military historian John Keegan repented almost theatrically on the Daily Telegraph for his initial old faith in foot soldiers: “There are certain dates in the history of warfare that mark real turning points (…) Now there is a new turning point to fix on the calendar: June 3, 1999, when the capitulation of President Milosevic proved that a war can be won by airpower alone.”

A very clean war with a lot of smart bombs capable to split hair over Serbia and strike only the bad boys, as suggested by the drumming propaganda. To present to Western public opinion such a war of aggression inside Eastern Europe as a Just War was not an easy task in the beginning. But the Hidden Persuaders had on their side the experience of George H. W. Bush’s Gulf War. If the Gulf War was the first televised war, seen through the kind choice of CNN cameras, Yugoslavia was the first internet war.

They had to find a symbolic triggering. This was the Racak massacre, a Kosovo village in which 45 ethnic Albanians were killed by Serbian Army in response to the shooting of four Serb policemen. The NATO narrative was that the bombing was a consequence of Serbian ethnic cleansing, but the truth was, on the contrary, that was NATO intervention to trigger some operations against Kosovo population, in the contest of the war against the separatists of KLA, supported by the US and Germany.


Read the remainder of this provocative article at: http://rt.com/op-edge/nato-bombing-yugoslavia-785/

Posted by another_liberal | Tue Mar 25, 2014, 07:11 AM (2 replies)

"Time to grab guns and kill damn Russians!"

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, has been caught on tape apparently urging her fellow ethnic Ukrainian supporters of the "interim government" in Kiev to take up arms and kill ethnic Russians! She also seemed to suggest nuclear weapons are the means by which to deal with the eight million ethnic Russians still living in Ukraine:

Time to grab guns and kill damn Russians – Tymoshenko in leaked tape

Ukrainians must take up arms against Russians so that not even scorched earth will be left where Russia stands; an example of former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko’s vitriol in phone call leaked online. Tymoshenko confirmed the authenticity of the conversation on Twitter, while pointing out that a section where she is heard to call for the nuclear slaughter of the eight million Russians who remain on Ukrainian territory was edited. She tweeted “The conversation took place, but the '8 million Russians in Ukraine' piece is an edit. In fact, I said Russians in Ukraine – are Ukrainians. Hello FSB. Sorry for the obscene language.” The former Ukrainian PM has not clarified who exactly she wants to nuke.

Shufrych's press service flatly contradicted Tymoshenko, slamming the tape as fake. The press release reads "The conversation didn't take place," as quoted by korrespondent.net.The phone conversation with Nestor Shufrych, former deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, was uploaded on YouTube on Monday by user Sergiy Vechirko. The leaked phone call took placed on March 18, hours after the Crimea & Sevastopol accession treaty was signed in the Kremlin.

While Shufrych was “just shocked,” Tymoshenko was enraged by the results of the Crimean referendum. “This is really beyond all boundaries. It’s about time we grab our guns and kill go kill those damn Russians together with their leader,” Tymoshenko said. The ex-pm declared if she was in charge “there would be no f***ing way that they would get Crimea then.”


“I hope I will be able to get all my connections involved. And I will use all of my means to make the entire world raise up, so that there wouldn’t be even a scorched field left in Russia," she promised. Despite being incapacitated by spinal disc hernia the ex-PM stressed she’s ready to “grab a machine gun and shoot that m*********er in the head.” But Tymoshenko, who plans to run in Ukraine’s presidential election, expressed confidence that she would have found "a way to kill those a*****es.”


Read more, and hear an audio recording of the taped conversation at: http://rt.com/news/tymoshenko-calls-destroy-russia-917/

Posted by another_liberal | Mon Mar 24, 2014, 07:27 PM (0 replies)
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