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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

Maybe it is all about the money and nothing much else?

Could it be that the whole media blitz panic about Russia taking over Europe country-by-country, and the new "Cold War" such fears seem to have inspired are just a cynical effort by arms makers (with their lobbyists and generals) to sell a lot weapons to people who need many other things far more than they do war-making equipment? I wonder if the poor and unemployed people of Greece and Spain think combating the supposed "Russian threat" is the first thing their money should go toward?

Eurofighter Typhoon.(Reuters)

‘All about money’: NATO spending debate focuses on ‘Russian threat.'

NATO member-states unwilling or unable to help boost the military spending are being accused of ignoring the “Russian threat,” that has re-emerged as the core of the alliance’s agenda to boost arms sales. A report saying one of major NATO funding contributors, the UK, could fail to fulfil the commitment to spend 2 percent of its GDP on the alliance in 2015 came as a bombshell for some of the West’s military elite. The head of the US army, General Raymond Odierno, told the Telegraph he was “very concerned” about Britain’s possible defense cuts. “Odierno warned that, while the US was willing to provide leadership in tackling future threats, such as Russia and ISIL [the Islamic State, aka IS or ISIS], it was essential that allies such as Britain played their part,” the British daily wrote.

Former MI6 chief, Sir John Sawers, called for a rise in defense spending, also mentioning the “threat” coming out of Russia “not necessarily directly to the UK, but to countries around its periphery. The level of threat posed by Moscow has increased and we have to be prepared to take the defensive measures necessary to defend ourselves, defend our allies - which now extend as far as the Baltic States and Central Europe,” Sawers said, according to the Guardian. Russia's Defense Ministry has consistently denied all reports of its personnel or hardware being involved in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, calling NATO's allegations “groundless.” Among “proof” of the “Russian aggression” there have been fake photos of the Russian tanks, which eventually turned out to have been taken in a different place at a different time, a supposed Russian airplane in British airspace, that turned out to be Latvian, and mysterious “Russian submarines” in Swedish waters - which never were found.

“Demonizing” Russia plays well into the hands of the military, believes former NATO intelligence analyst, Lt Cdr Martin Packard. “I think this is a period when everybody is trying to get more money out of their exchequers for upping the rearmament,” Packard told RT’s ‘In the Now’. “So that seems to be so in Britain, probably in America too. Military forces in a way need to have an enemy. It suits them to have an enemy.”

Germany does not feel like increasing the military budget at any cost. Minister of Finance, Wolfgang Schäuble, has recently agreed there was a need to spend more on defense, but said that Berlin was not going to do it at least before 2017, Bild am Sonntag reported. Germany has earlier voiced its concern over increasing defense spending to 2 percent of GDP. "Germany believes that the 2 percent requirement is unsuitable as an assessment criterion to determine the loyalty of a member state to the alliance,” a German Defense Ministry spokesman said in the wake of NATO’s September summit in Wales. “We should talk less about percentages of defense budgets and and more about smart ways to obtain better capabilities."


Read more, and view video, at: http://rt.com/news/236701-nato-baltic-boost-spending/

Posted by another_liberal | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 08:18 AM (16 replies)

Poll shows most Americans agree, "Don't arm the Kiev government!"

The American people are persistent. Despite a year worth of the most intense fear-mongering, pro-war mass media push since the run up to George W.'s Iraq invasion, they still want their leaders to understand one simple message: "It's all the wars you keep starting, Stupid!"

A Ukrainian soldier who fought at Debaldsevo leaves for home (Reuters)

According to a poll conducted by the US think tank Pew Research Center, more than half of US citizens oppose arms deliveries to Kiev.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Some 53 percent of US residents are against sending weapons to Ukraine, according to a poll carried out by the US think tank Pew Research Center.

Last week, the US Senate urged Secretary of State John Kerry to provide Ukraine with "defensive" weapons. Kiev troops have been fighting independence militias in the country's South-East since April 2014. The West accuses Russia of providing military aid to the pro-independence fighters, which Moscow denies.

The number of those who oppose arms deliveries to Kiev decreased by 9 percent comparing to 2014, the think tank said. People, who favor US lethal support to the country, currently comprise 41 percent, comparing to 30 percent in April 2014, when Kiev's military assault on the South-East had just begun. Almost a half of those surveyed said they would like the United States to train Kiev’s soldiers, while 46 percent opposed the idea, the pollster said.

According to the February poll, which featured over 1,500 adults in the United States, some 70 percent of Americans have a negative opinion of Russian President Vladimir Putin, with four in 10 surveyed expressing their view as very unfavorable. Every sixth person in the United States supports further anti-Russia sanctions, whereas 34 percent are against it, according to the poll.


Read more at: http://sputniknews.com/us/20150224/1018665925.html

Posted by another_liberal | Tue Feb 24, 2015, 08:26 AM (14 replies)

Exposing the West's "Reverse Blame" game.

Who is driving the current effort to blame the Russian Federation for Ukraine's crisis, and trying to cover-up their own complicity in the process? A group of prominent academics have pooled their thoughts and observations in a new book concerning who is driving the Ukrainian civil war, who stands to gain from promoting conflict with Russia and how Western Media is cooperating with their efforts.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, hands out food to pro-Western protesters in Kiev (AP Photo)

How 'Reverse Blame' Works: New Book on Ukraine Crisis Exposes US Geo-Scams

One year since the bloody uprising in Kiev, world’s leading political analysts look into the background of what grew into one of the gravest geopolitical crises; they've put their thoughts together in a book, “Flashpoint in Ukraine”, which, of course, went unnoticed by the US and European mainstream media. Sputnik got hold of one of the copies.

According to the accepted narrative of the Western mainstream media, the crisis begun when the so-called fresh-faced young pro-democracy activists overturned what they believed was a brutal Russian-backed dictatorship which stood in Ukraine's way, keeping it from joining the European family of nations and sharing in its prosperity. This led to the claimed Russia's incursion into Ukraine and what they called "its annexation of Crimea." However, 22 analysts with impeccable credentials were able to review the events that led up to the current crisis in Ukraine, and an entirely different story emerges.he authors reveal the true aims of the backers of the military conflict and what they were willing to do in order to achieve their goals.

In his chapter "The new Cold War’s Ukraine Gambit", Michael Hudson, a world-famous research professor of economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City explains what the conflict is actually all about. "The object is the same as that of military conquest: appropriation of land and basic infrastructure, and the rents that can be extracted as tribute," he writes. "In today’s world this is taken mainly in the form of debt service and privatization. That is how neoliberalism works, subduing economies by indebting their governments and using unpayably high debts as a lever to pry away the public domain at distress prices."

"It is what today’s New Cold War is all about. Backed by the IMF and European Central Bank (ECB) as knee-breakers in what has become in effect a financial extension of NATO, the aim is for US and allied investors to appropriate the plums that kleptocrats have taken from the public domain of Russia, Ukraine and other post-Soviet economies in these countries, as well as whatever assets remain."


Read more at: http://sputniknews.com/analysis/20150223/1018617115.html
Posted by another_liberal | Mon Feb 23, 2015, 09:39 AM (23 replies)

UK lawmakers criticize their government regarding Ukraine crisis.

Judging by what is coming out of London this morning, someone finally got out from under Victoria Nuland's thumb. Especially note that the House of Lords' report on the causes and future of the civil war in Ukraine states: "For the Russians NATO is seen as a hostile military threat, and successive rounds of NATO’s eastern enlargement have, as the Russians see it, brought it threateningly close to the Russian border." Wish I'd said that (chuckle).

France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (L), Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin (R), Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (2nd R) and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (Reuters)

EU ‘sleepwalked’ into Ukraine crisis due to poor understanding of Russia - UK Lords

The EU ‘sleepwalked’ into the Ukrainian crisis after a failure to address Moscow’s concerns over Western policies, a UK parliamentary report says. Europeans suffer from poor analytic capacity when it comes to Russia. The scathing report on the causes and the future of the Ukrainian debacle and Russia-West divide was prepared by the House of Lords, European Union Committee tasked with considering UK’s participation in EU matters. The report identified policies in both Russia and EU and its member states that prevented them from engaging in dialogue and building trust between each other. Europeans are particularly guilty of lacking analytical capacity to properly understand Russia and predict its responses to EU’s actions.

“There has been a decline in Member States’ analytical capacity on Russia. This has weakened their ability to read the political shifts and to offer an authoritative response. Member States need to rebuild their former skills,” the report said. “There is also a reduced emphasis on the importance and role of analytical expertise in the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK’s Foreign Ministry). The FCO should review how such skills could be renewed and how analysis can feed into decision-making processes,” the report added.

As a result,“an element of ‘sleep-walking’ was evident in the run-up to the crisis in Ukraine, and important analytical mistakes were made by the EU. Officials in Brussels as well as Member States’ embassies all participate in the EU foreign policy process, but all seem to have missed the warning signs.”

The Lords say Western policies towards Russia didn’t acknowledge the genuine concern about the enlargement of NATO. “For the Russians NATO is seen as a hostile military threat, and successive rounds of NATO’s eastern enlargement have, as the Russians see it, brought it threateningly close to the Russian border. EU enlargement, as it has become conflated with NATO enlargement, has also taken on the aspect of a security threat,” the document said.


Read more at: http://rt.com/uk/234023-house-lords-ukraine-report/

Posted by another_liberal | Fri Feb 20, 2015, 07:37 AM (15 replies)

Opposition political parties under assault in Ukraine.

First the Communist Party of Ukraine had its representatives in Parliament expelled, then over three hundred of its members were accused of what amounts to treason for opposing Kiev's war on east Ukrainian Separatists and now Judges who were pressured to issue indictments of Communist Party members are resigning as a group from the case because of strong-armed government tactics used to influence them. Other political parties outside the governing coalition are also experiencing intimidation. It may be only a matter of time before one party rule by the oligarchs of the war party and their fascist allies becomes a reality.

Supporters of the Communist Party of Ukraine (RIA Novosti)

Kiev court judges refuse to take part in Communist Party banning case.

Judges at an administrative court in Kiev have refused to try a case banning the activities of the Communist Party of Ukraine, after police conducted a search and seizure operation in the office of one their colleagues. Judge Valery Kuzmenko, who was presiding over the Justice Ministry’s suit against the Communist Party, withdrew from the case on Wednesday, the Interfax news agency reports. All the other judges in the Kiev District Administrative Court have also filed applications to be excused from hearing the case, Kuzmenko said.

The judge explained the move by saying that the prosecutors and police searched his office and seized his computer, with working materials on the Communist Party case and others. He said he views the law enforcement officials’ actions as an attempt to put pressure on the court. According to the prosecutors, Monday’s search and seizure was performed as part of the criminal case, launched over the “abuse of power or position" and "forgery" by the judges, RIA-Novosti reports.

The Communist Party has been speaking against Ukraine’s new authorities since the coup in February 2014, which saw President Viktor Yanukovich ousted. However, the persecution of the Communists Party began in April, shortly after Kiev launched a military operation against the country’s south-eastern regions. Communist leader, Pyotr Simonenko, said the military campaign is Kiev’s war against its own people, stressing that if he was the head of state, he “would immediately recall all the troops.” He openly accused the Ukrainian authorities of the “slaughter of civilians and mass murder,” saying they had labeled the 7 million people in Donetsk and Lugansk as “terrorists."

In June, Ukraine’s justice minister, Pavel Petrenko, announced a lawsuit to ban the Communist Party in Ukraine. In mid-summer, the Communist faction was dissolved by the Ukrainian parliament, with the official explanation for the move being an insufficient number of MPs in the party. Ukraine’s security service, the SBU, said that 308 criminal cases had been launched against members of the Communist Party, with its leaders accused of supporting Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation and backing the creation of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as financing the rebels. In November, a group of MPs introduced a draft law to the parliament, making any dissemination of Communist ideology in Ukraine illegal and proposing punishment of up to 10 years in prison for the perpetrators.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/233559-ukraine-communist-ban-judges/

Posted by another_liberal | Wed Feb 18, 2015, 09:31 PM (2 replies)

Yes! Now peace really has a chance!

At last the Kiev government has begun withdrawing its military forces from the Debaltsevo pocket. The Ukrainians can call it a planned withdrawal and the Separatists can call it a surrender, none of that even matters compared to the fact that it is finally happening! With that literal and metaphorical "roadblock" removed, peace now has a far better chance of taking hold in their tortured and divided nation.

Ukrainian servicemen ride on military vehicles as they leave an area around Debaltsevo, eastern Ukraine near Artemivsk, February 18, 2015 (Reuters)

Kiev says troops withdrawn from Debaltsevo, rebels claim military ‘surrender en masse’

Kiev troops surrounded in the city of Debalstevo have started to surrender en masse, Ukrainian rebels have said. President Poroshenko announced a complete withdrawal from the contested city. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed in a video statement that he has given an order to withdraw troops from Debaltsevo on Wednesdsay. “We stated and proved that Debaltsevo was under our control and that there was no encirclement. Our units withdrew according to plan in an organized manner. They took military hardware with them – tanks, APCs, artillery pieces, tow-tracks, cars,” the president said. He added that some 80 percent of the troops have already left the city.

Reuters cited a witness who saw the troops, some of them injured, arriving in Artemyevsk, a city northwest of Debaltsevo, through which a road leading to Kiev-controlled areas goes. Poroshenko will visit eastern Ukraine later in the day and chair a security council session in the evening, Ukrainian media reported.

Earlier Semen Semenchenko, MP and commander of one of Kiev’s volunteer battalions, reported that the troops were being withdrawn from the contested city. He added that Kiev should now attack in other parts of the frontline, which had been weakened by the rebels to lay siege on Debaltsevo. “They are empty and we have troops. One strike and the frontline would crumble,” he assured, adding that withdrawal is “beyond comprehension.”

Meanwhile Maksim Leshchenko, a senior official in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, told journalists on Wednesday that the Ukrainian troops are laying down their arms “in their hundreds.” Earlier on Tuesday, Eduard Basurin, a military spokesperson for the rebels, confirmed taking some 300 soldiers prisoner.


Read more, and view videos of the withdrawal, at: http://rt.com/news/233363-ukraine-debaltsevo-surrender-withdrawal/

Posted by another_liberal | Wed Feb 18, 2015, 08:05 AM (14 replies)

United Nations Security Council unanimously adopts Russian resolution on Ukraine.

The Russian Federation is that power some on these boards and elsewhere have chosen to label an "Aggressor Nation," a nation which they claim has launched an "Invasion" of Ukraine. The same Russian Federation, however, has just pushed through the UNSC a resolution which calls for the implementation of a closely monitored end to all fighting in eastern Ukraine, pulling back of long range weapons and expulsion from Ukraine of all mercenaries and foreign combatants? That doesn't even sound like the same country. Such a resolution is hardly what one would expect from an expansionist power bent on conquest of Ukraine, now is it?

Russian Federation United Nations Envoy, Vitaly Churkin (RT)

Russian draft resolution on Ukraine passed by UN Security Council

The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to approve a Russia-drafted resolution to support the Minsk agreements, reached by the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine last week. The resolution was submitted to the UNSC by Russia on February 13, a day after the Minsk deal was agreed on. It is aimed at endorsing and executing the Minsk agreements. The document also expresses concern over the continuing violence in eastern Ukraine, and stresses the importance of resolving the conflict peacefully.

“After the unprecedented diplomatic efforts last week, Ukraine has a chance to turn a dramatic page in its history,” said Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin, who expressed “gratitude” towards the other parties for endorsing the document. Moscow would aid “in full” the realization of the agreement, he added.

The resolution calls for a “total ceasefire” and a “political solution” that respects the “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine”. Despite the unanimous vote on the resolution, a number of UN Security Council delegations keep selectively interpreting the new Minsk agreement, Churkin said. “We are disappointed with the discussion, because some of our colleagues have gone on the usual rhetoric route, often the rhetoric was not harmless. Especially harmful in the present circumstances is an attempt to rewrite the Minsk agreement,” the Russian diplomat told the council.

Churkin urged the warring parties in Ukraine to create proper security conditions for the OSCE monitoring mission in the conflict zone and Debaltsevo, in particular. “It is because of the continued shelling of cities, that the Minsk Agreement of September did not last as originally planned. Indeed, the OSCE observers should work including in the area of Debaltsevo, but in order to do so, they must be provided with security. We all have to remember that these are unarmed people, although in armored vehicles, but still without certain security conditions, it is difficult to expect that they will be able to effectively control something there,” said Churkin.


Read more, and view video of the UNSC vote, at: http://rt.com/news/233243-un-council-resolution-ukraine/
Posted by another_liberal | Tue Feb 17, 2015, 07:21 PM (35 replies)

German TV airs faked "Russian tanks in Ukraine" film clip.

I guess this is what we can expect to be seeing a lot of now that the war-mongers are getting desperate to assure we at least begin weapons shipments to our puppet government in Kiev. Even so, film of Russian tanks in South Ossetia during the 2008 hostilities there is a pretty clumsy effort to offer "evidence" of Russian units in eastern Ukraine. I suppose it is indicative of the degree of respect Western war-supporting media have for our intelligence.


German TV channel under fire over fake ‘Russian tanks in Ukraine’ footage

A citizen’s media group has lodged a complaint against German television channel ZDF for airing a photograph of Russian tanks in eastern Ukraine, which in reality were Russian tanks on patrol in South Ossetia in 2008.

Just days after a US politician presented on the Senate floor falsified images of Russian tanks purported to be taken in eastern Ukraine, one of Germany’s largest broadcasters appears guilty of the very same error. The German media watchdog group, known as the Permanent Open Committee of Media Monitoring, has issued a complaint against federal channel Zweiten Deutschen Fernsehens (ZDF) over false reporting on the situation in eastern Ukraine, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten has reported.

The complaint involves a photograph that purports to show Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine, a claim that Moscow has denied on numerous occasions. The news segment aired by ZDF featured a photo with the caption "Russian armored vehicles moved through Isvarino in the Lugansk region, February 12, 2015," citing "Ukrainian army spokesman Andrei Lysenko." However, there is one glaring problem with the photograph in question: it shows Russian tanks in South Ossetia, not Ukraine.

The media watchdog determined that the photograph, which RT believes is dated from the 2008 Russian-Georgian conflict in South Ossetia, was already used in a Korean blog posting from 2009. Meanwhile, the timing of the erroneous news segment – on the very same day the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine were meeting in Minsk in an effort to broker a Ukrainian ceasefire – could not have been less propitious.


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/232963-germany-russia-tanks-ukraine/
Posted by another_liberal | Tue Feb 17, 2015, 08:09 AM (79 replies)

Constitution change for east Ukraine will be hard: Latvia

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) - Assuming a ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels in the east holds, the implementation of a special constitutional status for the region is likely to be very difficult, according to Latvia's foreign minister. The deal agreed by Russia and Ukraine in Minsk on Thursday calls for fighting to cease from Sunday; the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line; and constitutional reform to give eastern Ukraine more autonomy.

Edgars Rinkevics, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, said the special status of the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions could present particular problems, as could the extent of constitutional reform. "We see that a serious issue will be the constitutional reform of Ukraine with some decentralization elements," Rinkevics told Reuters late on Friday. "The special, regional status of the Russian language might be one of issues."

"Indisputably, the practical implementation will be very problematic," added Rinkevics. "It is a success of diplomacy. But now starts the biggest difficulty – finally these agreements have to be implemented, so to say, on the ground." Fighting intensified in eastern Ukraine on Saturday ahead of the ceasefire, with separatists pressing government forces in the strategic town of Debaltseve, and shelling killing at least one person in the rebel-held city of Donetsk. The United States and Europe have threatened further sanctions against Moscow if the rebels seize more territory. Rinkevics said a package of steps were being considered by the European Union.

"I would like to stress that sanctions is not our aim. Our aim is that this agreement would be implemented," said Rinkevics. Latvia, which only gained independence from Moscow in 1991, has been among the sanctions hawks. "Of course, if the situation improves, we set aside this package. If situation worsens, we will review this package."

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/14/us-ukraine-crisis-latvia-idUSKBN0LI0NT20150214

The Latvian Foreign Minister thinks it likely the Separatists might be allowed to speak their native language as part of the "constitutional reforms to give Eastern Ukraine more autonomy." If that is the real extent of autonomy the European Union President can envision for Ukraine's Separatists, the prospect of Donetsk and Lugansk remaining part of Ukraine is less certain than I had imagined.

Posted by another_liberal | Sun Feb 15, 2015, 11:57 AM (0 replies)
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