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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

Young Ukrainians try to evade 100,000 man military draft.

Fighting in a civil war can be confusing and uninspiring. Fighting a civil war in the middle of Winter is even worse. Some Ukrainian draftees want no part of it.

Posted by another_liberal | Sat Jan 31, 2015, 01:46 PM (4 replies)

Ukrainian volunteer battalion protests at word of its planned disbandment.

After weeks of highly excited claims of "Russian invasions" and calls for NATO countries to take up arms against the on-rushing eastern hordes, at least the military leadership in Kiev seems to be coming to its senses. Yesterday the Chief of Staff of the Ukrainian Army admitted publicly that his troops were not in combat with any regular Russian units, and now we learn that the Ukrainian military is going to disband the notorious fascist volunteer battalions who have been charged with the bulk of Ukraine's ceasefire violations and human rights abuses in the Donbass. Members of those far right units are to be split-up and incorporated into other army units, if, that is, they don't begin an open rebellion against the Kiev government first.

Ukraine’s Aidar battalion fighters besiege military HQ in Kiev.

Fighters of the notorious paramilitary battalion Aidar have rallied in Kiev against their disbandment, attempting to storm the Ukraine Defense Ministry’s HQ and accusing the regular army of deliberately shelling Aidar’s own positions with heavy artillery. Ukraine’s most infamous volunteer squad, the Aidar battalion – condemned by Amnesty International for its unmatched brutality in eastern Ukraine – allegedly came under Grad and Smerch rocket fire by the regular military near the town of Schastya in Lugansk region.

“[Ukrainian] artillery is working against Aidar battalion’s positions,” said Aidar commander and MP representing Ukraine’s Radical Party, Sergey Melnichuk, during a protest outside the Defense Ministry’s building in Kiev. Citing his own fighter, Melnichuk claimed that Kiev’s artillery targeted the battalion’s positions “15-20 times.” Melnichuk and his fighters called the rally outside the country’s military headquarters on Friday, after the volunteer battalion was disbanded – or "rebranded" – according to the Defense Ministry.

“The battalion was disbanded three days ago. It does not exist according to documents. The Minister of Defense and the Head of the General Staff say that they have not signed such an order. However, documents confirming that such a unit does not exist as well as the seal of a new unit have already been delivered to the frontline,” Melnichuk told Apostrophe publication. According to the battalion’s press secretary, Yuliya Evdokimova, the voluntary units are being disbanded “because it is detrimental to have voluntary battalions at the frontline.” All voluntary battalions will be “re-formatted into other organizations, merged with other brigades or other units, and thoroughly purged,” she told Ukrainian Pravda.

However, the next day, the Facebook page of the battalion refuted the disbandment of the fighting force, claiming that Evdokimova does not represent the volunteer fighters. The confusion on the status of the battalion continued on Friday, as some 50 Aidar fighters rallied to show their “under-appreciation” by their own command. Formally, all volunteer territorial battalions are detachments of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense. Melnichuk said that his squad “will not leave the frontline, no one will leave positions even if our own will storm us, and we have such instances,” as quoted by NTV channel.


Read more, and see video of the protest, at: http://rt.com/news/228083-aidar-battalion-defense-ministry/

Posted by another_liberal | Sat Jan 31, 2015, 09:04 AM (4 replies)

Ukrainian Chief of Staff denies allegations of a "Russian invasion."

The Chief of Staff of the Ukrainian Army has admitted that his country's armed forces, "Are not engaged in combat operations against Russian units.” If the Chief of Staff is telling the truth, and knows what he is talking about, then all of the heated claims of a "Russian Invasion" were actually wishful thinking on the part of some badly deluded war-mongers and Russophobes. The justification for new sanctions against the Russian Federation also just disappeared.

Members of the armed forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic drive a tank on the outskirts of Donetsk, January 22, 2015. (Reuters)

Ukraine chief of staff ‘thwarts Western allegations’ by admitting no combat with Russian troops

The Ukraine army’s chief of staff has admitted that Kiev troops are not engaged in combat with Russian units, thereby thwarting all Western allegations of Moscow's “military invasion,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

“Yesterday afternoon the Chief of the General Staff – Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – Viktor Muzhenko officially acknowledged during a briefing for foreign military attachées that Russian troops are not involved in the fighting in the country's southeast,” Konashenkov said on Friday.

Given the fact that Muzhenko directly supervises military operations in the southeast, “his statement is a legal fact, which thwarts numerous accusations made by NATO and Western states” concerning Russia's alleged “military invasion” in Ukraine, the spokesman added. The Russian Defense Ministry, however, was puzzled by a statement from Muzhenko's subordinate, Sergey Galushko, made several hours later. According to Galushko – an employee of the Department of Information Technology – Russian troops are located in the so-called “second echelon.”

On Thursday, Muzhenko said “the Ukrainian army is not engaged in combat operations against Russian units.” He added, however, that he had information about Russian individuals fighting in the country’s east. He also said the Ukrainian army has everything it needs to drive off armed units in Donbass. His speech was aired by Ukraine's Channel 5 television, owned by President Petro Poroshenko.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/228043-ukraine-conflict-army-russia/

Posted by another_liberal | Fri Jan 30, 2015, 09:08 PM (0 replies)

Russia to the rescue?

The Russian Federation is offering to loan Greece the cash it needs to hold off international creditors and prevent yet worse "austerity" as demanded by the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. This injection of Russian money could halt some long feared actions, such as wholesale sell-off of properties owned by the Greek government. "But how can Russia afford that," one may ask, "aren't the Russians broke because of our sanctions?" No, actually they are nothing of the sort; in fact, the Russian government still holds one of the largest reserves of foreign currency in the World. It's everyone else in Europe who is suffering losses due to anti-Russian sanctions.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. (RIA Novosti)

Russia might bailout Greece – finance minister

Greece hasn’t outright asked Russia for a loan, but Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Moscow wouldn't rule it out. His statement comes days after Greece openly opposed further economic sanctions against Russia.

"Well, we can imagine any situation, so if such [a] petition is submitted to the Russian government, we will definitely consider it, but we will take into account all the factors of our bilateral relationships between Russia and Greece, so that is all I can say. If it is submitted we will consider it," Siluanov told CNBC in an interview in Moscow on Thursday.

The new left-wing Syriza government in Greece won a majority at last Sunday’s election on the promise to renegotiate the country’s €317 billion debt and end austerity. Greece needs to negotiate with EU policymakers by February 28 in order to receive the next tranche of bailout funds. If Athens doesn’t get the money it will have difficulty servicing its debt. Two bailouts were paid in 2010 and 2014 totaling €240 billion. The new government was quick to show support for Moscow, and has openly called for an end to Russian sanctions, and may veto any future sanctions.

Siluanov applauded Greece’s stance on sanctions as “pragmatic” and “economically justified.” On Thursday the European Commission decided to extend sanctions against Russia through September 2015, but did not add any broader economic measures. A spokesperson for the new PM Alexis Tsipras said Greece didn’t approve of any further restrictive measures. Between announcing it doesn’t intend to pay off its €317 billion debt in full and blocking Russia sanctions, Greece has emerged as a wild card among the 29 countries of the EU.


Read more at: http://rt.com/business/227751-russia-greece-financial-aid/


Greece won’t cooperate with ‘troika,’ rejects aid extension

The new left-wing Greek government has said that it will not cooperate with the ‘troika’ of international lenders, and does not plan to seek an extension for its aid package which is set to expire at the end of February.

Without the aid, Greek banks could face being shut off from European Central Bank funding.

“This position enabled us to win the trust of the Greek people,” Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Friday during a joint press conference with Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the eurozone finance ministers’ group.

The meeting between Varoufakis and Dijsselbloem is to lay the groundwork for visits by newly-elected Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the finance minister to London, Paris, and Rome next week. The new Greek leadership has voiced its intention to attempt to loosen the terms of the massive €240 billion (US$271 billion) bailout.

Read more at: http://rt.com/news/228031-greece-troika-varoufakis-bailout/

Posted by another_liberal | Fri Jan 30, 2015, 08:22 AM (96 replies)

France aims to facilitate Greece-euro zone talks

Source: Reuters

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

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

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

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

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

Will the wealthy and powerful have to give up their lucrative "austerity" policies and let a little go back to the poor, cold and hungry who have been sacrificing for years? I know it sounds like fantasy; still, with France looking to lessen the burden of its own debts in the future, Greece has a powerful ally who wants to set a precedent of exception to German backed, unbending austerity.
Posted by another_liberal | Thu Jan 29, 2015, 12:06 AM (6 replies)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Posted by another_liberal | Wed Jan 28, 2015, 01:58 PM (163 replies)

Greek government rebels at EU move to blame Russia.

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

European Council President Donald Tusk.(Reuters)

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

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

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

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

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


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

Posted by another_liberal | Wed Jan 28, 2015, 07:46 AM (8 replies)

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

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

Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Parliament (RIA Novosti)

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

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

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

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

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


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

Posted by another_liberal | Tue Jan 27, 2015, 07:05 PM (26 replies)

Kiev declares "State of Emergency" in Donbas region.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Posted by another_liberal | Mon Jan 26, 2015, 03:04 PM (0 replies)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Posted by another_liberal | Mon Jan 26, 2015, 08:51 AM (0 replies)
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