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Member since: Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:13 PM
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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

Turkish human rights record will keep it out of the European Union

Anyone who reads the international news about such things knows that Turkish President Erdogan's recent big victory at the polls was immediately preceded by a crackdown on (and arrests of) many of his political opponents, especially journalists. While that alone would raise eyebrows in EU human rights circles, the current mass, violent arrests of anti-government demonstrators and the Turkish military occupation of parts of Northwestern Iraq only further diminish Turkey's hopes to soon become a member state of the European Union.

Police use pepper spray against demonstrators during a protest over the arrest of journalists in Ankara, Turkey, November 27, 2015 (Reuters)

'No human rights policy discount for Turkey' declares top German civil liberties official

Turkey must improve its human rights record before it can justify admission to the EU, claims Germany’s Human Rights Commissioner Christoph Strässer, adding that under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the situation in the country has "deteriorated" drastically.

Asked whether the EU will make any concessions for Ankara's membership, Strässer replied: “This concern drives me. There can be no human rights policy discount for Turkey. We must not be generous towards Turkey just because presently we cooperate more with it. The EU must stick to its crystal-clear strict rules with respect to human rights and press freedom,” he told Germany's N24 news website. Turkey first sought EU membership back in 1987, but its bid has made little progress since then, with key issues like fundamental freedoms and the future of Cyprus proving to be major obstacles.

“It seems to me that Turkey is trying to use the situation in Syria and its geopolitical tussle with Russia in order to bring this potential EU membership back on the agenda,” journalist Bryan MacDonald noted, sharing his opinion on Turkish membership in the EU with RT. “However, I think it is ‘pie in the sky’ - it is just kind words they are getting from the EU because they are useful to NATO and the EU at the moment. I don’t see any possibility that 80 million Turks who are Muslims in a largely Christian EU will ever be allowed to join the organization,” he added.


Erdogan’s regime used “state security” as an excuse to cover up its smuggling of arms into Syria and persecute the journalists who revealed it, the imprisoned editor-in-chief of the Turkish Cumhuriyet newspaper, Can Dundar, wrote in the Guardian on Tuesday. “Turkey’s regime not only smuggled guns into Syria, it used ‘state security’ as an excuse to imprison the journalists who reported it,” Dundar wrote.


Read more at: https://www.rt.com/news/327533-germany-turkey-eu-membership/

Posted by another_liberal | Thu Dec 31, 2015, 01:41 PM (5 replies)

Even the IMF changing its lending rules is not enough to save Ukraine's failing ecomomy.

After taking a hard line with EU and NATO member Greece over its debt repayments, the IMF suddenly became all warm and fuzzy toward Ukraine's failure to repay its billions in arrears. They actually went so far as to throw their rulebook out the window, so as to allow more loans to the financially troubled Ukrainian government. According to German news publication DWN, as stunning a show of premeditated bias as this clearly is, it will likely still not be enough to halt the Ukrainian economy's slide into disaster and default.

A pensioner begs for money in central Kiev, Ukraine (AP)

IMF Tricks Did Not Save Ukraine From Economic Collapse – German Newspaper

Ukraine may face complete economic failure as inflation progresses and foreign loans are unable to save the country's economy. Kiev should admit that its plans to join the EU were unsuccessful, German newspaper Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (DWN) reported. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has done a lot to contribute to the rehabilitation of Ukraine, but the threat of hyperinflation is still urgent, while the country itself is close to bankruptcy, the newspaper wrote.

According to the National Bank of Ukraine, inflation in the country reached 44 percent this year compared to 24.9 percent last year. Chaotic economic policies, corruption and civil war in the eastern regions of the country have put Ukraine on the brink of national bankruptcy, the article said. The IMF tried to stop the destruction of the Ukrainian economy using various legal tricks. In order to help Ukraine which still has not repaid its debt to Russia, the IMF hastily changed its rules and can now provide loans to insolvent countries.

Just this year alone, Ukraine has received about ten billion dollars in loans from the IMF and other international donors. The financial aid, however, failed to improve the state of the country’s economy.

If the devaluation continues at the current pace, Kiev will not only run out of money, but also lose the trust of its Western partners. At the moment, Ukraine is actually living on the money of European and American taxpayers. Sooner or later, European countries may stop "pumping" their finances into the economically desperate state, the article said.


Read more at: http://sputniknews.com/europe/20151230/1032491754/epic-fail-ukraine-collapse.html

Posted by another_liberal | Wed Dec 30, 2015, 10:21 AM (0 replies)

Stratfor predicts Turkey will attempt a major invasion of Syria and Iraq in 2016

The Texas-based think tank, Stratfor (often called the "Shadow CIA" has released a prediction that President Erdogan's Turkey will stage a major invasion and occupation of Syrian territory sometime next year. The right wing intelligence company is also of the opinion that the United States military will facilitate the Turkish efforts. I guess if the Pentagon can't get Americans to support their desire to invade Syria, they will just get someone else to do it for a salary.

Turkish President Erdogan (Reuters)

'Shadow CIA' 2016 Forecast: Turkey Set to Make a 'Military Move' Into Syria

Having tightened its grip on power this fall, the AKP, Turkey's ruling party, will become increasingly assertive in its foreign policy in 2016. Ankara's resurgence, according to Stratfor, will be reflected in a military operation in northern Syria, as well as a widening rift with Russia - a direct result of Erdogan's policies.

"This is the year when Turkey, nervous but more politically coherent than it was last year, will likely make a military move into northern Syria while trying to enlarge its footprint in northern Iraq," the Texas-based think tank noted in its forecast for 2016.

The intelligence company maintains that Washington will likely "facilitate" Ankara's predicted "heavy air campaign" in Syrian provinces bordering Turkey.

"Turkey will emphasize its intent to rely principally on Sunni Turkmen and Arab rebel proxies to clear and hold the Islamic State-infested territory, but Ankara will also have a contingency plan ready in case it needs to deploy ground forces," the think tank noted.


Read more at: http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20151229/1032447003/turkey-syria-airstrikes-campaign.html

Posted by another_liberal | Tue Dec 29, 2015, 08:43 AM (16 replies)

"Bashing" President Putin has become the norm for Western mass media.

This subject really needs no introduction. Whether one reads print news or just watches it reported on television, it is impossible to miss the subjective and biased slant of any story even remotely referencing Russia or, especially, Russian President Putin. What is behind this lock-step adherence to anti-Russia/Putin reporting? American political analyst Gilbert Doctorow is certain this uniformity is completely intentional: "Ask how much they are benefiting in terms of grants, professional promotions and access to the high and mighty in Washington for publicly supporting the propaganda lines of State Department handouts."

Russian Federation President Putin meets the press (Sputnik)

Western Media Bigotry: US, UK Pundits Obsessive About Bashing Putin

Although Washington claims it welcomes freedom of thought, it obviously does not when it comes to President Vladimir Putin: incredible as it may seem, there is a startling absence of diverse opinions on the Russian leader in the Western press, US political analyst Gilbert Doctorow observes.

There are a large number of American and British scholars and pundits who are remarkably lopsided in their bias against President Vladimir Putin and Russia, US political analyst and historian Gilbert Doctrow notes, adding that their blatant propaganda has recently reached its climax.

"The US establishment writers on Russia are one and all 'presstitutes' and when you put their writings together, back to back, in 40 pages or so as Johnson's Russia List has so kindly done in its Christmas Eve issue, the result is an astounding propaganda barrage… The count was 14 articles or transcripts of video events slamming Russia and Putin to zero articles holding any other view," Doctorow writes in his latest piece for Consortiumnews.com.

Embarrassingly for reputable media outlets, they view the Russian foreign and domestic policy issues solely through the prism of Vladimir Putin's personality. Furthermore, they have become especially obsessive about bashing the Kremlin. "This is entirely in keeping with the ad hominem argumentation that has become the norm in political discussions generally in the US. Joseph Stalin, with his 'no man, no issue' philosophy of governance must be chuckling, wherever he is, over how this view has caught on in what passes today for polite society," the political analyst remarks with heavy irony.


Read more at: http://sputniknews.com/politics/20151228/1032418392/western-media-obsessive-about-bashing-putin-russia.html

Posted by another_liberal | Mon Dec 28, 2015, 01:53 PM (221 replies)

Maybe President Assad didn't "Gas his own people" after all?

Despite the West's decision to blame Syria's government for the notorious sarin gas attack on a suburb of Damascus in 2013, it may have been entirely different regional actors who were behind that crime against humanity. There is disturbing information coming out of Turkey which suggests that Turkish sources supplied precursor chemicals to buyers from ISIS (later known as Islamic State or Daesh). According to Eren Erdem, a member of the Turkish Parliament, the hope was a chemical weapon attack on civilians would cause so much public uproar that the West would act to overthrow Syria's government. This outspoken Turkish politician has since been arrested for his accusations and charged with treason for publicly calling for an investigation.

A U.N. chemical weapons expert holds a plastic bag containing samples from the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus, August 29, 2013 (Reuters)

Turkish ‘traitor’ MP’s revelations on sarin transfers must be probed, reported to UNSC

Russia has expressed hope that a joint OPCW-UN investigation of deadly sarin attacks in Syria will not ignore reports from a Turkish MP, who faces charges of treason for exposing Ankara’s alleged role in hiding ISIS-bound shipments of gas precursors. The so-called Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) consolidated the efforts of the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) with a mandate to identify people involved in the use of chemicals weapons in Syria under the Security Council resolution 2118.

“This specialized mechanism should thoroughly investigate the information provided by the Turkish parliamentarian in accordance with its mandate, and report back to the UN Security Council,” Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

The parliamentarian in question – Eren Erdem of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) – was accused of “betrayal” by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after telling the media that the Islamic State terrorists in Syria received all necessary materials to produce deadly sarin gas via Turkey.

Erdem revived concerns regarding a possible cover-up following the sudden termination of a local criminal case in Adana into the illegal shipments. Furthermore, Erdem argued that the West purposefully blamed the government of Bashar Assad for the August 2013 chemical attack in Ghouta that was used as part of the pretext to make US military intervention in Syria possible.


Read more at: https://www.rt.com/news/327122-syria-sarin-isis-investigation/

Posted by another_liberal | Sat Dec 26, 2015, 09:25 AM (114 replies)

Our invasions and occupations created Daesh (ISIS)

The following is an interview with two-tour Iraq war veteran, Vincent Emanuele. He offers an eloquent argument against any future American imperialistic adventures of the kind he helped conduct as a Marine in Iraq. The costs, he explains, are far too high for both American foreign policy and the American people. An excellent audio version of this interview is linked in the article.

U.S. Marines in Western Iraq (AFP)

Former US Marine: 'Death and Destruction We Caused in Iraq Created Daesh'

The destruction caused by the US during its military intervention in Iraq was doomed to result in the rise of terrorism all over the world. Tortures and killings of innocent people expectedly led to a "blow-back" in the face of Daesh and other radical groups, former US marine Vincent Emanuele told Sputnik. The veteran confessed that US invasion of Iraq and actions of American soldiers in the country have led to the creation of the jihadist group. According to the former soldier, many of those who were deployed in Iraq ten years ago understood that the US military operation would have horrific consequences for the whole world.

"The death and destruction we've caused the people of Iraq would not go silently. [We knew] that there would be a response — and it would be a violent response — and that the more and more we stayed there, the more people we tortured, the more people we killed, the more innocent people, whose lives we destroyed, would eventually come back in the form of blow-back, unintended consequences and terrorism," Emanuele said.

Emanuele believes that the activities of Daesh terrorists are a logical outcome of the US intervention in the Middle East. Anyone whose relatives were tortured and killed would most likely respond to the violent actions of an aggressor in the same way, he argued.

"What would you do if you are in the position of Iraqi people being treated like this: having your mother slapped around, having your father tortured and killed, having your brother run over by a Humvee. How would you respond to that? " he asked, adding that this is exactly the way how such organizations as Daesh are created.


Read more, and hear audio version, at: http://sputniknews.com/us/20151223/1032206074/former-us-marine-death-destruction-iraq-daesh.html

Posted by another_liberal | Thu Dec 24, 2015, 08:50 AM (28 replies)

Feral cat update.

As I type this comment the kitten of a young feral cat I adopted a little over a year ago is playing at my feet. It is a bit odd to call him a kitten anymore, he is almost eight months old. Still, despite being nearly twice his tiny mother's size, he is very much a kitten through-and-through. We call him "Harper" and he is transitioning well to spending his nights inside (days he prefers to be out and about in the yard). He has a new black collar and silver tag for "bling."

The mother has also tamed to a degree, allowing a brief pat or two as she is being fed, but she remains essentially a feral animal. It was a real adventure to capture and contain her long enough to get her to a vet for shots and spaying. The little thing nearly burst right through the latched door of our cat carrier (it was necessary to carry it on it's end to keep her inside for the trip to the vet). The surgery went well and O. C. (pronounced "Oh-see," for Outside Cat) seems as active and healthy as ever.

I would like to thank once again everyone here who offered advice and encouragement. Yes, with patience and perseverance it is possible to tame a feral kitten, even to protect a feral adult cat without adding to the explosion of such animals living wild.

Posted by another_liberal | Mon Dec 21, 2015, 07:22 AM (31 replies)

Iraq says: "We've had enough of your 'help' already."

In response to the U.S. military's offer to give Iraq Apache attack helicopters and accompanying advisers to assist them in liberating Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, Iraqi government officials have declined, sighting negative impact yet more American military presence would have on the people of Iraq. Though the rejection was couched in diplomatic language, there is little doubt the sentiment behind it is one of, "No thanks, you've done enough damage."

AH 64D "Apache" attack helicopter flies over Iraq.

Thanks But No Thanks: Iraq Rejects US Attack Helicopters in Ramadi Fight

The Pentagon indicated that the US would be willing to supply Iraq with attack helicopters to help combat terrorism, but the Iraqi government has respectfully declined the offer. Last week, the US announced plans to give the Iraqi Army a fleet of Apache attack helicopters to be used in Baghdad’s fight against Daesh, also known as ISIL/the Islamic State.

The United States is prepared to assist the Iraqi Army with additional unique capabilities to help them finish the job, including attack helicopters and accompanying advisers, if circumstances dictate and if requested by Prime Minister Abadi," US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter stated in an address before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week. But after a Wednesday meeting between US and Iraqi officials, Baghdad appears uninterested in the aircraft package.


Earlier this month, the Iraqi government criticized a Pentagon plan to deploy additional troops to Iraq, stressing that an increased American presence could only harm Baghdad’s anti-terror effort.

"First, it will lead to a split among Iraqis, and so the division of their positions in fighting Daesh," Ammar Tu’ma, Iraqi lawmaker and leader of the Al-Fadhila Party, told Sputnik. "Second, it will empower the terrorist organizations – the number of young people in their ranks will increase. The young people will fight foreign forces, [as] invaders on their lands. Hence, I think that [such a decision] would bring more problems than solutions."


Read more at: http://sputniknews.com/us/20151217/1031929858/iraq-rejects-us-helicopters.html

Posted by another_liberal | Thu Dec 17, 2015, 05:56 PM (23 replies)

Four Syrian Soldiers Killed in US-Led Coalition Airstrike

Source: Sputnik News

DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — Four Syrian army soldiers were killed and some 13 were wounded in a US-led coalition airstrike in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province, sources told Sputnik Monday.

According to the sources, two tanks and an ammunition depot in Deir ez-Zor that belonged to the Syrian army were also destroyed in the airstrike.

Syrian military has so far refused to confirm or deny this information.


Read more: http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20151207/1031337733/us-coalition-airstrike-kills-syrian-soldiers.html

This report, though yet unverified, may well be true. Such a thing could all too easily happen, and we aren't all that good at not hitting unintended targets. I do, however, hope the report is completely inaccurate.

Posted by another_liberal | Sun Dec 6, 2015, 09:04 PM (20 replies)

Iraq will go to the UNSC if Turkish troops are not withdrawn

Since Turkish troops crossed into Iraqi territory a couple of days ago a number of different cover stories have been floated to try and justify their invasion. They have been said to be "establishing a safe zone" for refugees from the fighting; or they were there to train the soldiers of Turkey's hated enemy, the Kurds; or (my personal favorite) that the Iraqi government actually invited them to come! Not surprisingly, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi is not particularly impressed by Turkey's attempts to alter reality.

Turkish Army tanks (AP)

Iraq to Turn to UNSC if Turkey Fails to Withdraw Troops Within 48 Hours

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Baghdad may use all the available options, including an address to the UN Security Council, if Turkey fails to withdraw its troops from northern Iraq within 48 hours, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi said Sunday.

Numerous reports suggest that on Friday Turkey sent approximately 130-150 soldiers to northern Iraq. Turkish forces, deployed near the city of Mosul, are allegedly tasked with training Peshmerga, which has been involved in the fight against Daesh, also known as ISIL.

"Iraq has the right to use all available options, including resorting to the UN Security Council in the absence of the withdrawal of these forces within 48 hours," Abadi said in a statement following the National Security Council meeting.

According to the prime minister, the deployment of hundreds of Turkish servicemen on the Iraqi territory without the consent and knowledge of the Iraqi authorities is a violation of sovereignty and a breach of the principles of good neighborliness.


Read more at: http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20151206/1031332490/iraq-turkey-unsc-troops-abadi.html

Posted by another_liberal | Sun Dec 6, 2015, 03:18 PM (0 replies)
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