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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

Future Ukrainian prisoner swaps in doubt due to Kiev's failure to release real militia fighters.

It appears that many of the so-called "militia fighters" so far traded by Kiev for its own militia-held soldiers have not been actual prisoners taken during the recent fighting. Especially in the latest swaps most if not nearly all of the men Government forces exchanged with Separatist militias have been everyday eastern Ukrainians who had no part in the fighting. Despite the fact Separatists have produced lists of the government soldiers they hold, Ukraine has repeatedly refused to provide an accounting of the individuals they still hold as prisoners.

A Ukrainian soldier (C) stands guard as rebel captives wait to be exchanged, north of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, September 28, 2014. (Reuters)

Prisoner swaps on shaky ground in Ukraine as Kiev accused of foul play

Prisoner swaps in Ukraine are in danger of stalling as rebels say they will no longer tolerate Kiev’s practice of producing random people for exchange instead of actual members of militia and political prisoners. Prisoner exchanges are a crucial part for consolidating the shaky truce in eastern Ukraine. The peace deal signed in Minsk, Belarus, on September 5 states that all captives must be eventually set free. So far the OSCE-monitored swaps had been done on a one-for-one basis, and Kiev is apparently lacking genuine rebel captives to offer and is substituting them with whoever it can procure.

But the rebels say they won’t have it anymore. “We don’t reject further trade, but the rules of the game have changed now. The Ukrainian side will have to deliver lists and IDs of our supporters they offer in advance,” prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, told Interfax. “We will be checking the people brought for exchange against those lists. If they try to send us wrong people, we would reject them and would hold a corresponding number of their military.”

On Friday last week the rebels said they would suspend all exchanges unless Kiev stops sending them people who have nothing to do with the militias. Despite the threat, a new trade did happen on Sunday, as Kiev offered 60 prisoners in exchange for 30 army soldiers captured by the rebels. The willingness to double the number of released captives may indicate that Kiev is trying to make concessions. But the Sunday trade may have been the reason for the latest demand, as some of those released by the Ukrainian government insisted that they had never been combatants, RIA Novosti reported.

One of the prisoners, who introduced himself as Aleksandr from the city of Kharkov, said he was just snatched from the street near his home. “I came out for a smoke. Gunmen in a police car drove by, dragged me in took to a police station,” he told the Russian news agency. “They beat me and made me confess of murdering several people. Told me that I was a terrorist. I could barely comprehend what was happening.” He added he wouldn’t go home because he fears he would be arrested again.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/191448-ukraine-prisoner-exchange-foul/

This situation is doubly troubling because of the gruesome discoveries being made on ground recently retaken from government control by militia forces. The possibility that these two stories may be linked in the worst way imaginable is plain to see.

A Donetsk People's Republic militiaman is at the site of the graves discovered near Mine 22 "Kommunar" outside Donetsk.

4th mass grave found in E. Ukraine, self-defense forces report

One more mass grave has been found in a village in eastern Ukraine, say self-defense forces. The site was located days after OSCE mission confirmed the discovery of three mass burial sites in areas recently abandoned by Kiev forces.

The new site of the suspected murders is near Nyzhnia Krynka village, not far from the town of Makeevka, self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Purgin told ITAR-TASS. The number of bodies and their identities have yet to be determined. “Another grave discovered ... How many bodies and how these people died will be established during the exhumation,” Purgin said.

In the meantime, a group of international experts have already arrived at the area of mass burials in the village, a source from the DPR told RIA Novosti. “About 10 international observers are currently working at the site of mass graves near the village of Nyzhnia Krynka,” said the source, adding that the group includes experts from Russia and France.

Several weeks ago, before a ceasefire was agreed, this area of Ukraine was under the control of the Ukrainian army and the National Guard’s Aidar battalion. Earlier this month, an Amnesty International report has confirmed that war crimes including abductions, executions and extortion were committed by this particular Ukrainian battalion.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/191364-new-mass-grave-ukraine/

Posted by another_liberal | Mon Sep 29, 2014, 07:38 AM (13 replies)

Illegal immigrants to be recruited for service in U.S. military.

Young men and women who have entered the U.S. illegally will soon be able to become legalized citizens through contributing their "special skills" to a branch of our armed forces. On the one hand there may be more than a few young women and men eager to take the pentagon up on its offer, on the other hand, however, this is unsettlingly reminiscent of how the late Roman Empire filled its depleted legions with foreign fighters.

AFP Photo

Illegal, but fit to serve: Pentagon to recruit undocumented immigrants

The Pentagon is to start recruiting undocumented immigrants who came into the US as minors and possess valuable skills like speaking Persian and Chinese. The program offering the opportunity is capped at 1,500 recruits per year. The new policy revealed by the DoD on Thursday expands the existing pilot program called Military Accessions Vital to National Interest, or MAVNI. It has been tried since 2008, offering positions in the US armed forces to foreigners living in America legally as refugees or under a temporary visa.

Starting next fiscal year, MAVNI will also apply to illegal residents who came to US with their parents before age 16, reports the Military Times. The potential recruits would be selected from those eligible for the 2012 Obama administration policy known as Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, or DACA. Getting a DACA illegal immigrant status involves a background check by the Homeland Security Department.

The Pentagon recruits some 5,000 foreigners each year, most of them ‘green card’ holders. The MAVNI program may account for up to 1,500 recruits annually, although the military services are not required to accept them. In practice the Army has been the only service to accept a significant number, while the Navy and Marine Corps are not seeking applicants under it.

A recruit must meet higher-than-usual standards and have certain skills valued by the US military to get a position. Those include medical training and language expertise. Speakers of Arabic, Chinese, Pushtu, Korean, Russian, Urdu, Hindi and Hungarian are among those in demand. The expansion of the program to illegal residents adds between 1.2 million and 2.1 million children, teenagers and young adults to the potential talent pool. The recruits would be offered an expedited path to US citizenship as an extra incentive to serve.


Read more at: http://rt.com/usa/190856-pentagon-undocumented-immigrants-recruit/

Posted by another_liberal | Sun Sep 28, 2014, 12:22 PM (37 replies)

"Washington rejects UN principle that all states are equal."

Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, had some poignant comments today for the masters of "American foreign policy." In his address to the UN General Assembly today, Mr. Lavrov was moved to call things what they are in regard to how our nation tries to treat the rest of the World.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York September 27, 2014. (Reuters)

Lavrov: Western bloc headed by Washington rejects UN principle that all states are equal

The US-led Western block rejects the principle of the equality of sovereign states secured by the UN Charter while advocating democracy in the international arena, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov addressing the UNGA. "The US-led Western alliance, while acting as an advocate of democracy, rule of law and human rights in individual countries, is acting in the international arena from the opposite position, rejecting the democratic principle of the sovereign right of states enshrined in the UN Charter and trying to decide for others what is good and what is bad," Lavrov said at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Saturday.

The Russian foreign minister elaborated that there was an “increasingly obvious contradiction between the need for collective action by partners to produce proper responses to common challenges and some countries' drive for dominance and revival of the archaic bloc mentality based on barrack-like discipline and flawed 'us and them' logic". Lavrov added that Russia was willing to compromise and ready to balance interests only based on mutual respect and if the dialogue is “honest, respectful and equal”.

According to the minister the “policy of ultimatums, the philosophy of superiority and domination” run counter to the needs of the 21st century, including the formation of a “polycentric and democratic world order”. Lavrov stressed that the creation of new dividing lines is unacceptable in Europe saying that “no one has a monopoly on the truth” and no one can customize global and regional processes to “suit their needs."

Joint efforts can only be built on the principles of mutual respect and mutual consideration of interests, as it is done in the framework of BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), G20 or the UN Security Council, said Lavrov. The results of such efforts can be seen in the positive progress of the Iranian nuclear program and the successful completion of the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/191216-lavrov-us-rejects-principle/
Posted by another_liberal | Sat Sep 27, 2014, 07:18 PM (15 replies)

RT News correspondent receives death threats for reporting.

Russia Today News reporter, Paula Slier, says she has received death threats in response to her reporting from the war zones in eastern Ukraine. One of the few international correspondents to actually report from the front lines in eastern Ukraine, Slier has brought images of combat and the faces and voices those caught up in the Ukrainian civil war to us in stark, powerful style, representative of the best traditions of her profession. Yet this is how she was treated at a symposium regarding the risks and dangers she and her colleagues face on the job?

RT's Paula Slier

‘Death threats on Facebook, Twitter for my reports’

RT correspondent Paula Slier faced strong anti-Russian bias during an OSCE panel on the freedom of journalism. She was invited to speak about her experience as a reporter while covering the situation in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine. Slier was attending a panel entitled ‘Professional Journalist: How to escape a deadly danger’ in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday, where she wanted to share her impressions that journalists nowadays have become targets.

“I mentioned that I receive death threats on Facebook and Twitter for my reports on RT, that my colleagues have been – and continue to be – denied entry into Ukraine,” Slier said later to RT. She added that despite repeated requests, RT “continues to be refused ‘ATO [Anti-terrorist operation] accreditation’ which means that RT crews cannot film in areas controlled by the Ukrainian Army. Unfortunately for the most part delegates were not open to hearing my point of view. They kept repeating that Russian media is propaganda and that we tell lies. When I challenged them on this, they were unable to support their claims," Slier said.

One speaker at the panel claimed that people in eastern Ukraine are afraid to speak to Russian Television. He added that “many RT workers” quit because they “didn’t want to lie or to take part in the manipulations.”

“I am talking to people in eastern Ukraine who are suffering a humanitarian crisis, who are losing their family and friends, fathers and sons and who feel that their stories are not told by Western media, who speaks with one voice,” Slier responded to one harsh remark. She raised the point that people from eastern Ukraine were afraid to talk to RT “because it was the Ukrainian Army they feared, and they believed it would target them for telling the truth, as they saw it, to a Russian channel.” She said that only two RT journalists had quit on-air, not “many of them,” as the speaker claimed. And there are many more RT journalists “who continue to work for the channel and are proud to do so,” she added, “The point is that viewers have their own prejudices when consuming news and because someone didn’t like what Russian media was reporting, was not reason enough to accuse it of being propaganda.” According to Slier, many in the Western media are covering events in Ukraine from "the safe haven" of the United Kingdom, United States or Kiev.


Read more, and view videos of Slier's reporting, at: http://rt.com/news/190808-osce-panel-slier-rt/

Posted by another_liberal | Sat Sep 27, 2014, 07:30 AM (70 replies)

Ukrainian forces trapped at Donetsk airport using artillery to shell residential areas.

The forces loyal to Kiev (thought to be foreign mercenaries) trapped by Separatist self-defense fighters in the Donetsk international airport are using artillery and rocket mortars to shell residential areas of the city itself. Casualties are increasing and damage to services is hampering attempts to contain fires.

Black smoke ascends around the Donetsk's International Airport as shelling continues between pro-Russian forces and the Ukrainian army on September 14, 2014.(AFP)

16:45 GMT:

The shelling of a residential area in Donetsk has been witnessed by a member of Russia's Presidential Council of Human Rights, Maksim Shevchenko. "We were in a car with the 'Press' marking on it, with a police car escorting us through Donetsk, when five to six mortar strikes hit the area," Shevchenko said, adding that it was a densely populated part of the city, containing no military equipment. According to the official, a police officer escorting the group and several civilians were killed in the attack.

Shevchenko told Rusisa’s Itar-Tass news agency that he would report the event to higher ranking officials, including the president, as he considered it "a violation of the cease-fire by Kiev and a military crime."

14:56 GMT:

Dozens of houses have been destroyed in the Donetsk Region, eastern Ukraine, the Defence Ministry of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk said in a statement. "We can exactly speak of five people dead… among the victims is a 15-year-old,” the ministry said. According to Donetsk authorities, Ukrainian troops fired artillery shells from the city’s airport.

12:41 GMT:

Heavy fighting has been reported in the area around Donetsk airport, where a group of armed men of unknown nationality has been holed up for weeks. The armed men trapped in the airport are firing using conventional artillery and multiple rocket launch systems. Some private homes have reportedly been damaged near the airport. “It appears the defenders [of the airport] are using all firepower they have at their disposal,” the Defense Ministry of the Donetsk People’s Republic said.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/152680-eastern-ukraine-army-operation/
Posted by another_liberal | Sun Sep 14, 2014, 01:06 PM (28 replies)

Second Russian overland relief convoy returning from Lugansk.

The second road convoy of trucks carrying relief supplies from Russia to the people of Lugansk has delivered its cargo and returned to Russian territory. One hopes this so far torturous process for providing much needed aid will soon become easier, swifter and more common place.

Unloading of Russian humanitarian aid in the city Lugansk in south-eastern Ukraine.

E.Ukraine’s Lugansk to start distributing Russian aid Monday, trucks return home

The last truck from Russia’s second humanitarian aid convoy to the Eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk has returned home after delivering its cargo. All vehicles had reached the Ukrainian-Russian border without incidents and the last of them crossed the border in the direction of Russia at around 6:30 pm local time (2:30 pm GMT). Early on Saturday, a convoy of 245 trucks colored in white paint crossed the border and headed to Lugansk to bring much needed relief supplies to the residents of the war-torn city.

The 2,000 tons of Russian humanitarian aid include food, power generators, water purification systems, medicine and blankets. The convoy was welcomed by the population of Lugansk as people lined up on the sides of the roads and waved Russian flags. After unloading in Lugansk, the trucks made their way back to Russia’s Rostov region, which is bordering Ukraine.

The second Russian convoy has arrived just in time as the city almost ran out of first batch of humanitarian aid delivered on August 22, Valery Potapov, deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, said. “The supplies from the first convoy have almost ended. We still have a small amount of canned meat, but we had to use our own stock to provide people with sugar and cereal,” Potapov told RIA-Novosti news agency. The handout of the aid to the people will begin in Lugansk on Monday, he said.

Potapov added that its “more or less calm [in Lugansk] because of the so-called the cease-fire” and “people began returning (to their homes) en masse”, which makes it difficult to predict how long the aid will last. Meanwhile, Ukraine claimed that the second Russian humanitarian aid convoy entered the country illegally. Ukrainian border officials were not allowed to inspect the cargo, Col. Andrey Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine's National Security Council, said. But Russia’s Federal Security Service has denied the claims, saying that it offered full cooperation to the Ukrainian side.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/187620-russia-second-convoy-lugansk/
Posted by another_liberal | Sat Sep 13, 2014, 06:11 PM (2 replies)

Russia is not my cause, and they are responsible for their own crimes . . .

I am primarily concerned that we in the United States now own the blame for a resurgence of ultra-nationalist fascism in Ukraine. We have literally cultivated that movement's members as reliably violent, even murderous pawns in our ceaseless efforts to expand the American political and economic empire. Driven by greed and lust for power our economic, military and political leaders (with a little help from some of our allies) have practically ruined the nation known as Ukraine.

In their hurry to finish the job of stealing a sovereign country from its democratically elected government, our leaders have actually condoned, even encouraged, the formation of heavily armed, openly fascist fighting units within the Ukrainian army. That alone is a serious crime against all of mankind.

My purpose is to help ensure that kind of odious interference in the internal affairs of other nations is not done any more by the Untied States, and, hopefully, that those responsible for us doing such things now are punished.
Posted by another_liberal | Sat Sep 13, 2014, 04:46 PM (1 replies)

Second Russian aid convoy enters eastern Ukraine.

Despite continued Ukrainian delaying tactics, intended to keep up the pressure on civilians in besieged Separatist enclaves, a second convoy of much needed Russian relief supplies is finally moving westward across the border.

A Russian convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine are parked by the side of a road near Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Rostov Region, September 12, 2014 (Reuters)

First trucks of Russia’s second Ukraine aid convoy cross border

The first 70 trucks in Russia’s 2nd convoy carrying long-awaited humanitarian aid for the devastated areas of eastern Ukraine have crossed the border after weeks of delays, despite an agreement on relief corridors as part of Minsk ceasefire deal.

Residents of war-ravaged eastern Ukraine are living for many weeks on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. The aid delivery is crucial as parts of the country remain blocked by government troops limiting food supplies, while the infrastructure destroyed in shellings left the residents of Lugansk without electricity and drinking water.

The first trucks had passed through Russia’s ‘Donetsk’ checkpoint into the buffer zone shortly before midnight on Friday, local customs spokesman Rayan Farukshin told RIA Novosti. Trucks then had to wait for some five hours to get clearance from Russian customs officers and their Ukrainian collegues for further movement.

This is the second Russian shipment of humanitarian relief for Ukraine, and just like with the first shipment of goods, the Ukrainian authorities are being over-scrupulous in letting the aid in, keeping it at the border. The aid delivery has been delayed because Kiev did not fulfill the preliminary plan coordinated with Russia three weeks ago, Stepanov said. “We've been waiting for Kiev's response,” he said on Thursday. He described the convoy as carrying about 2,000 tons of foods, medicine, water purification equipment, and power generators and other consignments, all donations from various regions of Russia.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/187460-russian-aid-convoy-ukraine/

Posted by another_liberal | Fri Sep 12, 2014, 10:26 PM (13 replies)

One hundred Islamic State trained fighters feared to be in Germany.

As the news update below suggests, there may now be as many as one hundred Islamic State terrorists in Germany. According to our new anti-terror doctrine, which justifies attacking IS fighters inside other Sovereign States (with or without their permission) will the citizens of Hamburg, Essen and Berlin now need to keep an eye out for American F-18s? If "anywhere they hide" applies to Syrian territory, why not German as well?

Germany bans Islamic State to prevent recruitment, attacks

Germany has banned the Islamic State in order to prevent the militants from recruiting young jihadists in Germany or from using fighters returning to Europe to carry out attacks. “The terrorist organization Islamic State is a threat to public safety in Germany as well,” Reuters quoted Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere as saying. Over 400 Germans have reportedly joined IS in Iraq and Syria and about 40 have died, some in suicide attacks. More than 100 jihadists are back in Germany including “some with combat experience who have learned to hate,” the minister said.


Posted by another_liberal | Fri Sep 12, 2014, 06:56 PM (0 replies)

Turkey and Jordan say no to attacking IS in Syria.

Perhaps we should listen to the concerns of our allies who border on Syria? Might it not be a good idea to hold off on bombing another sovereign nation's territory without its permission? That kind of unprovoked, unilateral action is generally classified as "An Act of War."

Turkish soldiers stand guard on the Turkish-Syrian border in the town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province (Reuters)

ISIS neighbors have cold feet over US bombing plans

Key US allies, Turkey and Jordan are thought to backing away from US calls for a 'bomb ISIS' coalition. After President Obama’s declaration of a campaign against the IS militants, who took over swaths of Syria and Iraq in a bid to create a fundamentalist Islamist state, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Saudi Arabia to drum up support from 10 key Arab nations and Turkey for the effort.

A notable absentee among the nations that signed a joint communiqué after the meeting and vowed to contribute “as appropriate” is Turkey. The NATO member borders both Syria and Iraq from the north, but it will not allow to use its facilities in operations against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), government official in Ankara told AFP. “Turkey will not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations,” the official said on condition of anonymity. He added that Ankara would not even supply weapons to whoever would fight against the IS. The position is reminiscent of the 2003 US invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, when Turkey refused to allow the US station 60,000 in the country or use its airfields to launch sorties on Iraq.

The official explained that Turkey’s hands on the matter are tied because the IS militants hold hostage 49 Turkish citizens, including diplomatic staff and their families. The Turks were captured by the extremists in a consulate in Mosul, when the Iraqi city was captured in a lighting offensive in June.


The inflow of arms, which would be part of the US-led anti-IS campaign is a matter of concern for another neighbor of both Syria and Iraq, Jordan. The Arab ally of Washington is concerned with the plans to arm and train more fighters of the Free Syrian Army, a supposedly moderate militant force fighting against the Syrian government.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/187220-us-isis-coalition-turkey/

Posted by another_liberal | Fri Sep 12, 2014, 07:12 AM (9 replies)
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