If Argentina were in a high-stakes chess match, the country’s actions this week would be the equivalent of flipping over all the pieces on the board. – David Dayen, Fiscal Times, August 22, 2014

Argentina is playing hardball with the vulture funds, which have been trying to force it into an involuntary bankruptcy. The vultures are demanding what amounts to a 600% return on bonds bought for pennies on the dollar, defeating a 2005 settlement in which 92% of creditors agreed to accept a 70% haircut on their bonds. A US court has backed the vulture funds; but last week, Argentina sidestepped its jurisdiction by transferring the trustee for payment from Bank of New York Mellon to its own central bank. That play, if approved by the Argentine Congress, will allow the country to continue making payments under its 2005 settlement, avoiding default on the majority of its bonds.

Argentina is already foreclosed from international capital markets, so it doesn’t have much to lose by thwarting the US court system. Similar bold moves by Ecuador and Iceland have left those countries in substantially better shape than Greece, which went along with the agendas of the international financiers.

The upside for Argentina was captured by President Fernandez in a nationwide speech on August 19th. Struggling to hold back tears, according to Bloomberg, she said:

When it comes to the sovereignty of our country and the conviction that we can no longer be extorted and that we can’t become burdened with debt again, we are emerging as Argentines.

. . . If I signed what they’re trying to make me sign, the bomb wouldn’t explode now but rather there would surely be applause, marvelous headlines in the papers. But we would enter into the infernal cycle of debt which we’ve been subject to for so long.

The Endgame: Patagonia in the Crosshairs

The deeper implications of that infernal debt cycle were explored by Argentine political analyst Adrian Salbuchi in an August 12th article titled “Sovereign Debt for Territory: A New Global Elite Swap Strategy.” Where territories were once captured by military might, he maintains that today they are being annexed by debt. The still-evolving plan is to drive destitute nations into an international bankruptcy court whose decisions would have the force of law throughout the world. The court could then do with whole countries what US bankruptcy courts do with businesses: sell off their assets, including their real estate. Sovereign territories could be acquired as the spoils of bankruptcy without a shot being fired.

Global financiers and interlocking megacorporations are increasingly supplanting governments on the international stage. An international bankruptcy court would be one more institution making that takeover legally binding and enforceable. Governments can say no to the strong-arm tactics of the global bankers’ collection agency, the IMF. An international bankruptcy court would allow creditors to force a nation into bankruptcy, where territories could be involuntarily sold off in the same way that assets of bankrupt corporations are.

For Argentina, says Salbuchi, the likely prize is its very rich Patagonia region, long a favorite settlement target for ex-pats. When Argentina suffered a massive default in 2001, the global press, including Time and The New York Times, went so far as to propose that Patagonia be ceded from the country as a defaulted debt payment mechanism.

The New York Times article followed one published in the Buenos Aires financial newspaper El Cronista Comercial called “Debt for Territory,” which described a proposal by a US consultant to then-president Eduardo Duhalde for swapping public debt for government land. It said:

[T]he idea would be to transform our public debt default into direct equity investment in which creditors can become land owners where they can develop  industrial, agricultural and real estate projects. . . . There could be surprising candidates for this idea: during the Alfonsin Administration, the Japanese studied an investment master plan in Argentine land in order to promote emigration.  The proposal was also considered in Israel.

Salbuchi notes that ceding Patagonia from Argentina was first suggested in 1896 by Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement, as a second settlement for that movement.

Another article published in 2002 was one by IMF deputy manager Anne Krueger titled “Should Countries Like Argentina Be Able to Declare Themselves Bankrupt?” It was posted on the IMF website and proposed some “new and creative ideas” on what to do about Argentina. Krueger said, “the lesson is clear: we need better incentives to bring debtors and creditors together before manageable problems turn into full-blown crises,” adding that the IMF believes “this could be done by learning from corporate bankruptcy regimes like Chapter 11 in the US”.

These ideas were developed in greater detail by Ms. Krueger in an IMF essay titled “A New Approach to Debt Restructuring,” and by Harvard professor Richard N. Cooper in a 2002 article titled “Chapter 11 for Countries” published in Foreign Affairs(“mouthpiece of the powerful New York-Based Elite think-tank, Council on Foreign Relations”). Salbuchi writes:

Here, Cooper very matter-of-factly recommends that “only if the debtor nation cannot restore its financial health are its assets liquidated and the proceeds distributed to its creditors – again under the guidance of a (global) court” (!).

In Argentina’s recent tangle with the vulture funds, Ms. Krueger and the mainstream media have come out in apparent defense of Argentina, recommending restraint by the US court. But according to Salbuchi, this does not represent a change in policy. Rather, the concern is that overly heavy-handed treatment may kill the golden goose:

. . . [I] n today’s delicate post-2008 banking system, a new and less controllable sovereign debt crisis could thwart the global elite’s plans for an “orderly transition towards a new global legal architecture” that will allow orderly liquidation of financially-failed states like Argentina. Especially if such debt were to be collateralized by its national territory (what else is left!?)

Breaking Free from the Sovereign Debt Trap

Salbuchi traces Argentina’s debt crisis back to 1955, when President Juan Domingo Perón was ousted in a very bloody US/UK/mega-bank-sponsored military coup:

Perón was hated for his insistence on not indebting Argentina with the mega-bankers: in 1946 he rejected joining the International Monetary Fund (IMF); in 1953 he fully paid off all of Argentina’s sovereign debt. So, once the mega-bankers got rid of him in 1956, they shoved Argentina into the IMF and created the “Paris Club” to engineer decades-worth of sovereign debt for vanquished Argentina, something they’ve been doing until today.

Many countries have been subjected to similar treatment, as John Perkins documents in his blockbuster exposé Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. When the country cannot pay, the IMF sweeps in with refinancing agreements with strings attached, including selling off public assets and slashing public services in order to divert government revenues into foreign debt service.

Even without pressure from economic hit men, however, governments routinely indebt themselves for much more than they can ever hope to repay. Why do they do it? Salbuchi writes:

Here, Western economists, bankers, traders, Ivy League academics and professors, Nobel laureates and the mainstream media have a quick and monolithic reply: because all nations need“investment and investors” if they wish to build highways, power plants, schools, airports, hospitals, raise armies, service infrastructures and a long list of et ceteras . . . .

But more and more people are starting to ask a fundamental common-sense question: why should governments indebt themselves in hard currencies, decades into the future with global mega-bankers, when they could just as well finance these projects and needs far more safely by issuing the proper amounts of their own local sovereign currency instead?

Neoliberal experts shout back that government-created money devalues the currency, inflates the money supply, and destroys economies. But does it? Or is it the debt service on money created privately by banks, along with other forms of “rent” on capital, that create inflation and destroy economies? As Prof. Michael Hudson points out:

These financial claims on wealth – bonds, mortgages and bank loans – are lent out to become somebody else’s debts in an exponentially expanding process.  . . . [E]conomies have been obliged to pay their debts by cutting back new research, development and new physical reinvestment. This is the essence of IMF austerity plans, in which the currency is “stabilized” by further international borrowing on terms that destabilize the economy at large. Such cutbacks in long-term investment also are the product of corporate raids financed by high-interest junk bonds. The debts created by businesses, consumers and national economies cutting back their long-term direct investment leaves these entities even less able to carry their mounting debt burden.

Spiraling debt also results in price inflation, since businesses have to raise their prices to cover the interest and fees on the debt.

From Sovereign Debt to Monetary Sovereignty

For governments to escape this austerity trap, they need to spend not less but more money on the tangible capital formation that increases physical productivity. But where to get the investment money without getting sucked into the debt vortex? Where can Argentina get funding if the country is shut out of international capital markets?

The common-sense response, as Salbuchi observes, is for governments to issue the money they need directly. But “printing money” raises outcries that can be difficult to overcome politically. An alternative that can have virtually the same effect is for nations to borrow money issued by their own publicly-owned banks. Public banks generate credit just as private banks do; but unlike private lenders, they return interest and profits to the economy. Their mandate is to serve the public, and that is where their profits go. Funding through their own government-issued currencies and publicly-owned banks has been successfully pursued by many countries historically, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, China, Russia, Korea and Japan. (For more on this, see The Public Bank Solution.)

Countries do need to be able to buy foreign products that they cannot acquire or produce domestically, and for that they need a form of currency or an international credit line that other nations will accept. But countries are increasingly breaking away from the oil- and weapons-backed US dollar as global reserve currency. To resolve the mutually-destructive currency wars will probably take a new Bretton Woods Accord. But that is another subject for a later article.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 200+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com.

Nazis Splitting With Kiev Regime?

August 25th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

After months of denying the new regime in Kiev installed in the wake of the so-called “Euromaidan” had any significant ties to Nazism and regiments of Neo-Nazi militants found fighting in eastern Ukraine, the BBC in an article titled, “Ukraine crisis: Russian aid convoy arrives at border,” reported that:

…the leader of the ultra-nationalist Right Sector threatened to withdraw volunteers fighting on the government side. 

Dmytro Yarosh said Right Sector would launch a “campaign in Kiev” if its demands, including the release of detained members, were not met within 48 hours. 

He called on President Petro Poroshenko to “immediately bring order” to the Interior Ministry, which he accused of harbouring “revanchist forces”.

For Right Sector’s threats of withdrawing support from Kiev to have any meaning, a significant number of Nazi militants would have to be fighting under the banner of Right Sector in the first place, contradicting months of claims across Western media claiming otherwise.

The admission across the Western media of this apparent “falling out” between Right Sector and the regime in Kiev comes amid increasing public awareness of Neo-Nazis spearheading Kiev’s military operations in eastern Ukraine. The London Telegraph would report in its article titled, “Ukraine crisis: the neo-Nazi brigade fighting pro-Russian separatists,” that:

As Ukraine’s armed forces tighten the noose around pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, the western-backed government in Kiev is throwing militia groups – some openly neo-Nazi – into the front of the battle.

The Azov battalion has the most chilling reputation of all. Last week, it came to the fore as it mounted a bold attack on the rebel redoubt of Donetsk, striking deep into the suburbs of a city under siege.

The article would also admit:

Azov, with several thousand men under their command, are officially under the control of the interior ministry but their financing is murky, their training inadequate and their ideology often alarming.

The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) symbol on their banner and members of the battalion are openly white supremacists, or anti-Semites.

Quite obviously, the Azov Battalion is far from a “fringe group,” being raised by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry itself and with its directorates issued by Kiev. With the West’s admission that Right Sector too, is working directly with the NATO-backed regime in Kiev, betrays months of propaganda trying to obfuscate and spin the regime’s ties to Nazism. The BBC would attempt to spin the development by claiming:

Ukraine’s government seems to have made a devil’s bargain, by allowing the formation of loosely-controlled paramilitary groups to fight in the country’s east.

That some of these volunteers are ultranationalists, far-right extremists and sometimes even neo-Nazis seemed to be worth the gamble. Anyone who was willing to risk his life to defend Ukraine at this critical juncture was welcome.

Possible Ploy to Establish Plausible Deniability  

Despite the BBC’s attempts to portray the prevalence of Nazism as insignificant among forces fighting on behalf of the NATO-backed regime, Right Sector and the Azov Battalion are not apparitions. Rather, they are a representation of both the ultra-right Nazism that pervaded and indeed led the “Euromaidan,” and the “volunteers” lining the ranks of Kiev’s militant forces fighting now in eastern Ukraine.

The problem with lining one’s military forces with Nazis is that the general public will eventually begin to notice. Upon noticing, the Western media appears to have begun a two-pronged strategy. First they are doing precisely what the BBC above is doing – playing down the significance of entire battalions of Nazis fighting in eastern Ukraine on behalf of Kiev. Second, is the possibility that there is no falling out at all between Kiev and Right Sector and this recent development is instead an attempt to distance literal armed Nazis fighting in the east from their political fronts back west.

Indeed, while Right Sector has made boisterous threats against the regime in Kiev, the implications cannot go beyond speculation until the regime is in fact in demonstrable danger due to this “devil’s bargain.”

The need for Kiev to maintain plausible deniability is multifaceted. In order to continue receiving financing, arms, political, and even military support from NATO, the regime must do whatever it can to portray its struggle as the “defense of Ukraine’s territorial integrity” rather than ideological-driven, Nazi-inspired ethnic cleansing. There is also the increasing brutality of Kiev’s military operations in eastern Ukraine to contend with. The ability to blame the worst atrocities on Nazis that have publicly “broken ties” with Kiev would be a convenient and useful tool to manage public perception both inside Ukraine and internationally.

Assessing the “Break” 

In the coming days and weeks, the veracity of these claims of Right Sector breaking away from Kiev will soon be known – as will the nature of the ploy should Right Sector not make good on its threats. Anything short of Right Sector carrying out completely its threats against the regime in Kiev will indicate that indeed this was feigned to maintain plausible deniability between Kiev and the Nazi forces carrying out atrocities in eastern Ukraine on its behalf.

Should Right Sector begin a campaign of destructive infighting centered around Kiev, these initials reports will indeed prove plausible. If Right Sector does not withdraw its forces from eastern Ukraine, and maintains merely rhetorical attacks on Kiev, it will indicate this is yet another attempt to manipulate public perception and mitigate otherwise untenable and indefensible policy both in Kiev, and among the Western nations backing the regime.

Nazis Fight For Kiev 

There is the possibility that Right Sector, or at least part of it, is at odds with Kiev. But Right Sector is not the only militant front espousing Nazism. As mentioned before, there is also the Azov Battalion, and many more for Kiev to arm and send east.

Whether the development is feigned, or Kiev is indeed collapsing in a mess of infighting against Right Sector, the recent development indicates that Nazi militants do indeed constitute a significant amount of the fighters going east to conduct armed military operations against fellow Ukrainians. Whether there are so many Nazis fighting east that Kiev decided to create a political ploy to create “distance” between itself and the forces fighting on its behalf, or one of its Nazi militant wings is in fact turning on it, and threatening Kiev’s grip on power – the Nazi menace the Western media has worked so hard to hide is now coming out into the open.

Clearly, what was deemed “Kremlin propaganda” for months, has turned out to be verified truth. Those armed elements waving Nazis flags in the middle of Kiev during the “Euromaidan,” seizing political opposition offices, defacing them with Nazi symbology, and expelling their opponents from power through force and intimidation, are now heavily armed with military hardware and killing in eastern Ukraine.

As the BBC attempts to create a narrative to explain how those in good conscience could possibly align themselves with the toxic ideology of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi legions, the world bears witness to a global order once again aligning itself with the absolute worst of humanity while simultaneously claiming it is fighting for what is absolutely best. From backing Al Qaeda across the Muslim World, to backing Nazis in Eastern Europe, it would appear that the West, not Russia, constitutes the gravest threat to global stability, peace, and prosperity. While symbolic, politically-convenient bombings are conducted against terrorist hordes in Iraq even as billions flow into the hands of the same terrorists on the other side of the border in Syria, and Right Sector Nazis threaten to march on Kiev, the vector sum of the West and its various proxies around the globe is a march toward regression, tragedy, and greater conflict.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Physicists Say Fukushima Reactors Pose Eternal Threat to Humanity

August 25th, 2014 by Global Research News

MOSCOW – The three molten cores at Fukushima plant, each weighing a hundred tons, are so radioactive, that no one can approach them, including robots, which melt down immediately, Dr. Helen Caldicott, the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, physician and anti-nuclear advocate, states in an interview to Radio VR:

“And no one ever will, and the contamination will go on for hundreds of years,” Ms. Caldicott cites top physicists as saying.

Initially, TEPCO, the Japanese power provider wanted to erect an ice wall around the perimeter of the Fukushima complex, as ground water the underneath the reactor is absorbing radiation and then flowing into the ocean.

An ice wall is a silly idea given the circumstances, remarks the expert, as it would have to last at least a hundred years. Moreover, you would have to have electricity running all the time to keep the ground frozen, explains Ms. Caldicott.

Surprisingly enough, TEPCO is not consulting with anyone, says the expert, neither with Russia, after it survived the Chernobyl catastrophe, nor Bechtel, a US major engineering company. It is, conversely, “saving money, using paper coming from homeless shelters”, and the Japanese mafia Yakuza is hiring people to do this work.

The expert stresses they are witnessing an absolute catastrophe: 300-400 tons of radioactive water pour daily into the Pacific, and this has been going on for over three years now contaminating the ocean and its ecology.

Radiation cannot be diluted, as many isotopes, namely strontium, are concentrated in food chains, in algae for instance. The contamination then passes one to bigger fish typically caught on the east coast from Fukushima. Radiation in the ocean and its ecology has been detected as far away as the America West Coast. TEPCO has stated more than once, the expert says, that they know radioactive water is seeping into the ocean, however, they keep assuring that it is not at levels high enough to cause a significant threat.

Another VR expert, Thomas Drolet, who is Chairman, CEO and President at GreenWell Renewable Power Corporation, sounds less pessimistic, stating the radiation can essentially be done away with as time passes:

“As a technician and nuclear reactor engineer I can say that they will eventually succeed.”

Conditions on the site are difficult, though, he adds. Two big problems arose from the very start: for one thing, there’s water that originated in the reactor, which flowed through the damaged fill and went to the lower levels. Secondly, there is the ground water that naturally flows from higher elevations to the west, through the ground system, picks up radioactivity around the basement areas of the damaged reactors and flows on to the sea and to the bottom parts of the damaged reactors, Mr. Drolet says.

“The way it can eventually be solved is that of removing the water that is in the basement areas of the turbine building (and they are working on unit 2 right now) and getting it pumped out,” points out Mr. Drolet citing sophisticated filtration systems now being employed. “They can absorb the radiation and hold it.”
Engineer brigades are currently aiming to block a particular pass so that work could be done inside the building to get the contaminated water sucked out.

Still, the complex radiation fields make the surrounding environment hard enough to handle, with people at all times wearing thick suits to protect them from “external radiation inhalation”. This further complicates specialists’ day to day life on the site. Mr. Drolet clearly differentiates between the site as is and the exclusion zone, comprised of small towns and roads lying nearby, within 18 kilometers from the place. The latter can be cleaned up in the next several years, the expert argues. The work consists in finding hot spots in terms of increased radiation, taking off the top layer of the soil, in other words, “taking down some of the radioactivity near the surface and on the surface” and rehabilitating that exclusion zone.

The reactor itself is by far “the most difficult issue,” Mr, Drolet states. Each of the three damaged reactors has two main areas of broken fuel: in the spent fuel base, which is up high, and the reactor core. “Slowly and identically they have to remove that fuel, some of it damaged, some of it whole”, using the robotic equipment to a great extent, and move it off site to the repository. Only once the excessive fuel is removed can they move to what the expert calls “nitty gritty of decommissioning” of the reactors themselves, which might span for another decade, before the engineers could turn the site to the so-called brown field condition. As compared to the green field condition, it means the area is safe, clean and cannot be reused, the expert concludes.

A 9.0 magnitude earthquake swept across the Japanese coast in March 2011, triggering a devastating tsunami and killing more than 15,000 people and injured 6,000. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant consequently faced meltdowns at three reactors heavily damaged in the tsunami, which led to masses of contaminated water pouring into the ocean.

Is this one of those rare occasions where policymakers self-critically correct a gigantic blunder? Or is it a cold turn-about guided by pure self-interest? On August the 15th, the Foreign Ministers of EU-countries gathered in Brussels and decided that each would henceforth be free to supply arms to Kurdish rebels fighting Sunni extremists of ISIS in the North of Iraq. Even Germany which in the past had been unwilling to furnish military supplies to warring parties  in ‘conflict zones’, is now ready to provide armoured vehicles and other hardware to the Kurds opposing ISIS’ advance. The decision of Europe’s Foreign Ministers may surprise some, for barely a year and four months ago, in April of 2013, the European Union had lifted a previously instituted ban on all imports of Syrian oil (1). Moreover, the lifting of this boycott was quite explicitly intended to facilitate the flow of oil from areas in the North-East of Syria, where Sunni extremist rebel organisations had established a strong foothold, if not overall predominance over the region’s oil fields (2). ISIS was not the only Sunni extremist organisation disputing control over Syrian oil fields. Yet there is little doubt but that the fateful decision the EU took last year has helped ISIS consolidate its hold over Syrian oil resources and prepare for a sweeping advance into areas with oil wells in the North of Iraq (3).

The outcome of the recent Brussels’ meeting thus appears to over-turn a disastrous previous decision. To underline the point it is useful to briefly describe the extent to which Sunni extremist rebels have meanwhile established control over oil extraction and production in both Syria and Iraq. The Syrian oil fields are basically concentrated in Deir-ez-Zor, a province bordering on Iraq. Whereas oil extraction in Syria has always been very limited in size if measured as a percentage of world supplies, – control over the Syrian oil wells plus its refinery has become crucial towards the financing of ISIS’ war efforts.  In neighbouring Iraq, oil reserves are not concentrated in one single geographic region as they are in Syria. The bulk of the oil wells are to be found in the country’s South, at great distance from ISIS’s war theatre in the North. Only a seventh of Iraq’s oil resources are said to be located in areas controlled by ISIS on the one hand, and Kurdish fighters on the other. Nevertheless, recent reports indicate that ISIS controls at least 7 major oil wells in Iraq alone. Using expertise gathered after it established control over  wells in Syria, the Sunni extremist organisation is able to draw huge profits from the smuggling and sale of oil. It is ISIS’s oil-backed armed strength amassed in two adjacent civil wars that has now sent shivers throughout the Western world.

If the EU’s April 2013 decision appears to have helped trigger ISIS’s current success, the situation created is historically novel. To my knowledge, never before has a rebel force fighting a civil war in the Global South been able to base its war aspirations on control over oil. True, in most of the civil wars that have rocked Africa over the last thirty years, access to raw materials has been key. Witness the cases of Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo (DRC) and Sudan. It is also true that oil exports have been a specific mode of war financing, for instance in Angola and the Sudan. Yet in those cases the state remained in command of the oil wealth. In Angola, the rightwing rebel movement UNITA heavily relied on smuggling rough diamonds towards financing its war, while the country’s oil fields were located at great distance from UNITA’s war theatre. In Sudan, oil fields are concentrated in the country’s South, i..e. close to and in the region which was disputed by the South’s rebel movement. But the regime of Al-Bashir pursued an inhuman policy of depopulation  through aerial bombardments, massacring hapless villagers and forcing survivors to flee. In the selfsame process the rebels were deprived of access to people and oil. Hence, strictly speaking there is no precedent for the oil-fuelled civil wars waged by Sunni rebels in Syria and Iraq.

Now, in turning from de facto supporters to opponents of ISIS, – Europe’s Foreign Ministers have followed the US’s lead, for the US had just initiated bombardments of ISIS position in Iraq’s North. Though loudly defended on grounds of ISÏS’ relentless persecution of minorities, the US’s renewed military intervention is not devoid of self-interest. Uppermost in the minds of Pentagon officials is the nexus between oil and arms. Shortly after Obama announced the withdrawal of US occupation forces from Iraq in October 2011, – the US clinched a huge deal for the sale of F-16 fighter planes and other armaments to Iraq’s military, valued at 12 Billion US Dollars. At least 4 in 5 top US military corporations are beneficiaries of Iraqi purchases. Coincidentally, around the time when the US-Iraq agreement on arms’ sales was sealed, the extraction of Iraqi crude was back to old level, crossing the threshold of 3 million barrels per day in 2012. As the Iraqi government’s income from oil extraction and exports rose exponentially, American and competing Russian arms’ manufacturers both lined up to bag the orders. And there is robust confidence that the oil-and-arms nexus can be sustained. For according to euphoric projections of the I.E.A., the body of Western oil consumer nations, Iraq holds the key to future increases in world production of crude!

Western policymakers are feverishly espousing the cause of Muslim Shias, Christians and Yezidis, who are persecuted in areas of Iraq controlled by ISIS, and yes, there is no doubt that the Sunni extremist force is guided by a Salafi ideology that severely discriminaters against religious minorities, – whether Muslim or non-Muslim. But tell us: at what point in the past have Western states consistently defended religious minority rights in the Middle East? The idea seems to have emerged as an afterthought of the illegal US invasion of Iraq. But are Muslim and Christian Arabs in Israel, Muslim Shias in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain – to name just some of the groups mistreated by the West’s close allies – likely to be charmed by the West’s resolve to save the Yezidis of Iraq?  In any case, it is high time the policy reversals in Brussels be questioned. To recall: a turnabout in relation to the twin civil wars in Syria/Iraq was staged twice. First, in September 2011, a general prohibition on investments in and exports of oil from Syria was imposed, affecting both Assad’s government and Syria’s opposition. Then, in 2013 the European Union shifted de facto towards a position favourable to Syria’s Sunni extremist rebels. And although the EU’s Foreign Ministers now appear to have realized their sin, – the damage can no longer be repaired without a complete overhaul of EU-policymaking towards the Middle East.

Dr. Peter Custers is internationally reknowned as Bangladesh and South Asia specialist. He is a theoretician on the production/exports of arms and the world economy, and the author of ’Questioning Globalized Militarism’ (Merlin Press/Tulika, 2007)

References

(1) see e.g. Juergen Baetz, ‘EU Lifts Syria Oil Embargo to Bolster Rebels’, Associated Press, Luxemburg, April 22, 2013 -http://news.yahoo.com/eu-lifts-syria-oil-embargo-bolster-rebels-165940152.html ;also: ‘EU Lifts Ban on Oil Exports by Syrian Opposition’ – http://www.al-monitor/2013/05/the-role-of-oil-in-syrian-revolution ;

(2) see eg. Julian Borger and Mona Mahmood, ‘’EU Decision to Lift Syrian Oil Sanctions Boosts Jihadist Groups’ , The Guardian, Manchester, May 19, 2013;

(3) see e.g. Nayla Razzouk, ‘Militants Hold Seven Iraq Oil Fields After Syria Blitz, IEA Says’  - http://www.businessweek.com/2014-08-12 ; also As-Safir, ‘Who Controls Syria’s Oil?”’- http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/2014/07  .

The Islamic State (ISIS) and Israel are Allies

August 25th, 2014 by Press TV

Syria’s ambassador to the UN says Israel allows the free flow of weapons and ISIL militants into the occupied Golan Heights and then into the rest of Syria.

Bashar Ja’afari told Press TV on Friday that the ISIL Takfiri terrorists have an undeclared alliance with Israel and are engaged in a secret agreement with the  regime.

The Israelis help the Takfiris infiltrate into the separation line on the Golan Heights from Jordan, where their training camps are located, the Syrian diplomat said.

The remarks came after the UN Security Council on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the ISIL terrorist activities in Syria and Iraq.

The Syrian ambassador to the UN also stated that “everybody knows that Jordan is hosting secret training camps.”

Amman has not commented on this yet.

The UN resolution is aimed at cutting off funding and the flow of foreign militants to the ISIL. The 15-member Security Council called for action against the terrorists, who, it said must “disarm and disband with immediate effect.”

ISIL militants now control large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria. They also have several oil fields under control.

Iraq, which has the world’s fifth-biggest crude reserves, came under a massive blitz by the ISIL Takfiri militants in early June.

Ja’afari reminded the UN Security Council that Damascus had repeatedly warned of the Takfiri threat for three years.

He went on to say that if the UN had not ignored the terrorist activities in Syria, ISIL militants would not be able to create chaos in Iraq today.

Ja’afari also said the Syrian government plays a major role in the campaign against terrorism.

On Friday, Chilean congressman Hugo Gutierrez (Communist Party) filed a lawsuit against the Israeli Prime Minister for “crimes against humanity”. He was accompanied by the Palestinian Federation of Chile.

The congressman noted that various international organizations, such as the United Nations, have already described the Israeli attacks as “crimes against humanity”.

No one should be able to commit crimes against humanity without believing that they could be judged for them, he argued. “Thats why I find myself invoking the principle of universal jurisdiction in regard with these crimes,” he explained.

The principle of universal jurisdiction was used by Spain in the case of Augusto Pinochet, while the dictator was in London, and according to Gutierrez, by Israel for detaining and judging the Nazi Adolf Einschmann.

According to international humanitarian law, a military strike is illegal if it kills civilians, except if the death toll is judged proportionate to the concrete and direct military advantage the strike provided.

Yesterday, Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro also criticized Israel, calling the PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, a “Herod of today”, citing the number of children in Palestine who have been killed.

Current US military space policy is primarily geared toward two countries, China and Russia.

In May 2000 the Washington Post published an article called “For Pentagon, Asia Moving to Forefront.” The article stated that, “The Pentagon is looking at Asia as the most likely arena for future military conflict, or at least competition.” The article said the US would double its military presence in the region and essentially attempt to manage China.

Missile-Defense-How-it-would-workThe Pentagon’s missile system.

The Pentagon has become the primary resource extraction service for corporate capital. Whether it is Caspian Sea oil and natural gas, rare earth minerals found in Africa, Libya’s oil deposits, or Venezuelan oil, the US’s increasingly high-tech military is on the case.

President Obama’s former National Security Adviser, Gen. James Jones had previously served as the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. In 2006, Gen. Jones told the media,

“NATO is developing a special plan to safeguard oil and gas fields in the [Caspian Sea] region…. Our strategic goal is to expand to Eastern Europe and Africa.”

In a past quadrennial National Intelligence Strategy report, former U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair claimed that Russia “may continue to seek avenues for reasserting power and influence in ways that complicate U.S. interests…[and] China competes for the same resources the United States needs, and is in the process of rapidly modernizing its military.”

Using NATO as a military tool, the US is now surrounding Russia and easily dragged the supposedly European-based alliance into the Afghanistan war and Libya attack. The US is turning NATO into a global military alliance, even to be used in the Asian-Pacific region.

ENERGY & MISSILE OFFENSE

In mid-March of 2009 the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) held a conference in Washington. At that meeting Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) stated, “Missile defense is an important element of our nation’s defense. For example, it is a high priority to field effective defenses for our forward-deployed forces against the many hundreds of existing short- and medium-range missiles.”

patriot

Patriot missiles.

The Obama administration is currently deploying “missile defense” (MD) systems in Turkey, Romania, Poland and on Navy destroyers entering the Black Sea. The NATO military noose is tightening around Russia.

Russia has the world’s largest deposits of natural gas and significant supplies of oil. The US has recently built military bases in Romania and Bulgaria and will soon be adding more in Albania. NATO has expanded eastward into Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, right on Russia’s border. Georgia, Ukraine, Sweden and Finland are also on the list to become members of the cancerous NATO.

An Indian journalist observes,

“The arc of encirclement of Russia gets strengthened. NATO ties facilitate the [eventual] deployment of the US missile defense system in Georgia. The US aims to have a chain of countries tied to ‘partnerships’ with NATO brought into its missile defense system – stretching from its allies in the Baltic to those in Central Europe. The ultimate objective of this is to neutralize the strategic capability of Russia and China and to establish its nuclear superiority. The National Defense Strategy document, issued by the Pentagon on July 31, 2008, portrays Washington’s perception of a resurgent Russia and a rising China as potential adversaries.”

Just as we have seen the balkanization of Yugoslavia, Libya, and Iraq by US-NATO it appears that the same strategy has been developed for Russia. With NATO’s continuing military encirclement of Russia the plan appears to be to draw Moscow into a military quagmire in Ukraine that will weaken that nation. The Rand Corporation has studies that call for the break-up of Russia into many smaller pieces thus giving western corporations better access to the vast resource base available there.

The recent announcement by BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) that they have created a $100 billion international development bank to rival the IMF and World Bank has angered western corporate controlled governments who don’t want any challenge to their management of the global economy. Directly after the BRICS announcement we witnessed an escalation of the US-NATO funded and directed civil war in Ukraine.

The Harper government is now recommending that Canada join the US missile defense program. Canadian military corporations are itching to open the flood gates to the national treasury – the profits from a junior partnership with the US in an arms race in space are too much to pass up. But first more cuts must be made to the Canadian national health care program and other valuable social welfare programs. In the US the military industrial complex has targeted the “entitlement programs” – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what is left of “welfare” for defunding to help pay for the expensive military space technology agenda.

Canada has also undertaken the construction of “armed combat vessels” at the Irving Shipyard in Halifax. This $25 billion program, the largest military appropriation in Canadian history, was supported by every political party in the country. Why does Canada need such a monumental war ship building program?

THE NAVY’S EXPANDING ROLE

As ice melts in the Arctic, the US Navy anticipates that it will have to increase its presence in the region to “protect shipping”. Over the past 25 years, the Arctic has seen a 40% reduction in ice as a result of global warming. Maine’s Independent Senator Angus King recently wrote “gas and oil reserves that were previously inaccessible” will soon be available for extraction. Last spring Sen. King took a ride on a US nuclear submarine under the Arctic ice. Also along for the ride was Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, who told the New York Times: “We need to be sure that our sensors, weapons and people are proficient in this part of the world,” so that we can “own the undersea domain and get anywhere there.”

aegis

A new Navy report called “US Navy Arctic Roadmap: 2014-2030” states: “Ice in the Arctic has been receding faster than we previously thought…and offers an increase in activity.” The Arctic region holds a plethora of undiscovered fossil fuels and natural resources, including an estimated 90 billion barrels of oil, 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, the roadmap says.

The report warns that the Navy will face serious logistical challenges and will need to examine ways to distribute fuel in the region to “air and surface platforms”. Operating bases will be needed to host deployed military personnel. Partnerships with nations that border the Arctic and more warships will be needed to ensure that the undersea resources are kept in the hands of US-NATO and away from competitors like Russia.

US Secretary of War Chuck Hagel stated in late 2013 that, “By taking advantage of multilateral training opportunities with partners in the region, we will enhance our cold-weather operational experience, and strengthen our military-to-military ties with other Arctic nations.”

SCUPPERING PEACE

President Obama has in the past called for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The Russians, watching an advancing NATO and MD deployments near their borders, are telling the world that any real hopes for serious nuclear weapons reductions are in jeopardy.

images9J5XIP4U

Russia and China attempt to prohibit space weapons at the United Nations.

Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev delivered the opening address at the “Overcoming Nuclear Dangers” conference in Rome on April 16, 2009. He noted, “Unless we address the need to demilitarize international relations, reduce military budgets, put an end to the creation of new kinds of weapons and prevent weaponization of outer space, all talk about a nuclear-weapon-free world will be just inconsequential rhetoric.”

The entire US military empire is tied together using space technology. With military satellites in space the US can see virtually everything on the Earth, can intercept all communications on the planet, and can target virtually any place at any time. Russia and China understand that the US military goal is to achieve “full spectrum dominance” on behalf of corporate capital.

Using new space technologies to coordinate and direct modern warfare also enables the military industrial complex to reap massive profits as it constructs the architecture for what the aerospace industry claims will be the “largest industrial project” in Earth history.

TARGET: ASIA

The deployment of Navy Aegis destroyers in the Asian-Pacific region, with MD interceptors on-board, ostensibly to protect against North Korean missile launches, gives the US greater ability to launch preemptive first-strike attacks on China.

The US now has 30 ground-based MD interceptors deployed in South Korea. Many peace activists there maintain that the ultimate target of these systems is not North Korea, but China and Russia.Europian_Missile_Defense

Europe’s leaders are complicit in Full Spectrum Dominance.

The current US military expansion underway in Hawaii, South Korea, Japan, Guam, Okinawa, Taiwan, Australia, Philippines and other Pacific nations is indeed a key strategy in this offensive “pivot” to control China.

An additional US goal is to have the “host” countries make significant contributions toward helping the Pentagon cover the cost of this massively expensive escalation.

For many years the US Space Command has been annually war gaming a first-strike attack on China. Set in the year 2017 the Pentagon first launches the military space plan that flies through the heavens and unleashes a devastating first-strike attack on China’s nuclear forces – part of the new “Global Strike” program.

In the war game China then attempts to launch a retaliatory strike with its tens of nuclear missiles capable of hitting the west coast of the continental US. But US “missile defense” systems, currently deployed in Japan, South Korea, Australia, Guam and Taiwan, help take out China’s disabled nuclear response. base protest

Peaceful protestors, Japan.

Obama’s former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ comments were quite revealing in 2009 when he said, “We’re converting more Navy Aegis ships to have ballistic missile defense that would help against China.”

Missile defense, sold to the public as a purely defensive system, is really designed by the Pentagon to be the shield after the first-strike sword has lunged into the heart of a particular nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Living in Bath, Maine, I have a special perspective on this US-China military competition. In my town, the Navy builds the Aegis destroyers that are outfitted with MD systems. Congressional leaders from my state maintain that more Pentagon funds for Aegis shipbuilding are needed to “contain” China.

Renowned author Noam Chomsky says US foreign and military policy is now all about controlling most of the world’s oil supply as a “lever of world domination.” One way to keep Europe, China, India and other emerging markets dependent on the US and in sync with its policies is to maintain control of the fossil fuel supply they’re reliant on. Even as the US economy is collapsing, the Pentagon appears to be saying, whoever controls the keys to the world’s economic engine still remains in charge.

China, for example, imports up to 80% of its oil on ships through the Yellow Sea. If any competitor nation was able to militarily control that transit route and choke off China’s oil supply, its economy could be held hostage.

One is able to see how the Pentagon will use the South Korean Navy base on Jeju Island, now being constructed despite a seven-year determined non-violent campaign opposing the base, to support fallujahthe potential coastal blockade of China.

Victim of Anglo-American nuclear weapons: Fallujah, 2004.

CONCLUSIONS

For many years Russia and China have introduced resolutions at the UN calling for negotiations on a new treaty that would ban weapons in space.

Since the mid-‘80s every UN member nation has supported the “Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space” (PAROS) resolution, with the exception of the US, Israel, and Micronesia.

This was true during the Clinton presidency as well as during the reign of George W. Bush and now under Obama as well.

hiroshimaVictim of US nuclear weapons: Hiroshima, 1945.

A full-blown arms race between the US, Russia and China will be a disaster for the world and would make life on Earth less secure. At the very time that global resources are urgently needed to deal with the coming harsh realities of climate change and growing poverty, we can hardly afford to see more money wasted on the further militarization of space and greater superpower conflict.

The Pentagon actually has the largest carbon boot print on the planet. The US insisted that the Pentagon be excluded from the Kyoto climate change protocols and refused to sign the agreements unless the Pentagon was exempted.

As the US undertakes arming the world to the benefit of corporate globalization our local communities have become addicted to military spending. As we oppose the aggressive US military empire overseas we must also talk about the job issue back at home. Calling for conversion of the military industrial complex, demanding that our industrial base be transformed to create a renewable energy infrastructure for the 21st century, helps us come into coalition with weapons production workers who must now support the killing machine if they hope to feed their families.nuclear explosion

Image: UK Ministry of Defence warns of new technologies’ potential to trigger a ‘doomsday scenario’

Studies have long shown that conversion from military production to creating needed systems like rail, solar or wind turbines not only help deal with the challenges of climate change but also create many more jobs.

It’s ultimately a question about the soul of the nation – what does it say about us as a people when we continue to build weapons to kill people around the world so workers can put food on the table back home?

What is needed now more than ever is unified global campaigning across issue lines. Peace, social justice, environment, labor and other movements must work harder to link our issues and build integrated grassroots movements against the destructive power of the corporate oligarchies that run most of our western governments. The rush to privatize social welfare and the privatization of foreign and military policy must be challenged if we are to successfully protect the future generations.

 Bruce K. Gagnon is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and is author of the book Come Together Right Now: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire. He lives in Bath, Maine.   www.space4peace.org

Independent Media Delivers Truth and Accountability

August 25th, 2014 by Global Research

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The World is at a dangerous Crossroads.

The Western military alliance is in an advanced state of readiness. And so is Russia.

Russia is heralded as the “Aggressor”. US-NATO military confrontation with Russia is contemplated.

Enabling legislation in the US Senate under “The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA) has “set the US on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine.” 

Any US-Russian war is likely to quickly escalate into a nuclear war, since neither the US nor Russia would be willing to admit defeat, both have many thousands of nuclear weapons ready for instant use, and both rely upon Counterforce military doctrine that tasks their military, in the event of war, to preemptively destroy the nuclear forces of the enemy. (See Steven Starr, Global Research, August 22, 2014)

The Russian Aggression Prevention Act (RAPA) is the culmination of more than twenty years of US-NATO war preparations, which consist in the military encirclement of both Russia and China:

From the moment the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the United States has relentlessly pursued a strategy of encircling Russia, just as it has with other perceived enemies like China and Iran. It has brought 12 countries in central Europe, all of them formerly allied with Moscow, into the NATO alliance. US military power is now directly on Russia’s borders.  (Steven Kinzer, Boston Globe, March 3, 2014, emphasis added)

NATO's top commander in Europe General Philip Breedlove (AFP Photo / John Thys)

NATO’s top commander in Europe General Philip Breedlove (right) (AFP Photo / John Thys)

On July 24, in consultation with the Pentagon, NATO’s Europe commander General Philip Breedlove called for “stockpiling a base in Poland with enough weapons, ammunition and other supplies to support a rapid deployment of thousands of troops against Russia”.(RT, July 24, 2014). According to General Breedlove, NATO needs “pre-positioned supplies, pre-positioned capabilities and a basing area ready to rapidly accept follow-on forces”:

“He plans to recommend placing supplies — weapons, ammunition and ration packs — at the headquarters to enable a sudden influx of thousands of Nato troops” (Times, August 22, 2014, emphasis added)

Breedlove’s “Blitzkrieg scenario” is to be presented at NATO’s summit in Wales in early September, according to The London Times.  It is a “copy and paste” text broadly consistent with the  Russian Aggression Prevention Act (RAPA) which directs President Obama to:

“(1) implement a plan for increasing U.S. and NATO support for the armed forces of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, and other NATO member-states; and

(2) direct the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO to seek consideration for permanently basing NATO forces in such countries.” (S.2277 — 113th Congress (2013-2014))

More generally, a scenario of military escalation prevails with both sides involved in extensive war games.

In turn, the structure of US sponsored military alliances plays a crucial role in war planning. We are dealing with a formidable military force involving a global alliance of 28 NATO member states. In turn, the US as well as NATO have established beyond the “Atlantic Region” a network of bilateral military alliances with “partner” countries directed against Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

File:Map of NATO countries.png

Major US-NATO Naval Exercises

War preparations are invariably accompanied and preceded by major military exercises.

US-NATO multi-warfare naval exercises are to be conducted off the Florida coastline under operation FLEETEX, with the participation of the US, Canada, Germany and Turkey.

The underlying premise of these war games is “global warfare”. All four NATO member states are adjacent to strategic sea corridors, which are contiguous to Russian maritime areas, respectively the Bering Sea and straits (US), the Arctic Ocean (Canada), the North Sea (Germany) and the Black Sea (Turkey).

The Florida war games are predicated on multi-country integration and coordination of naval operations directed against an unnamed enemy:

FLEETEX are multi-warfare naval exercises designed to promote force integration and test multiple war fighting skill sets. Ships from the U.S., Canadian, German and Turkish navies will participate in the exercises. This port visit and FLEETEX are part of a series of training exercises in which SNMG2 will participate during its deployment to the Western Atlantic. This is the first time in several years that a NATO task force has conducted transatlantic operations in North America. These events offer multiple opportunities for training at the highest levels of maritime operations.

FLEETEX will feature anti-air, anti-submarine, live fire and ship handling scenarios designed to provide high-end warfare training and valuable experience through integrated task group training. SNMG2, CSG8 and Canadian forces will train together as a force to learn how to work as a cohesive unit in response to a variety of threat scenarios.

SNMG2 ships currently deployed to North America include the U.S. flagship, USS LEYTE GULF (CG 55), the German ship FGS NIEDERSACHSEN (F 208), and the Turkish ship TCG KEMALREIS (F 247).

….

During the port visit, SNMG2 will coordinate with representatives from the Canadian navy and Carrier Strike Group 8 (CSG8) to prepare for the exercises…

“Any opportunity we have to train with multiple NATO navies simultaneously is extremely valuable,” said Rear Adm. Brad Williamson, Commander SNMG2. “This period will allow us to build integration and teamwork, and I’m excited to train with and share experiences between Allied shipmates.”

SNMG2 is permanently available to NATO to perform a wide range of tasks, from real world operations to exercise participation. Composition of the force varies as allied nations contribute assets on a rotational basis. SNMG2 will be led by a U.S. Navy admiral and flagship until June 2015. (For further details see North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Allied Maritime Command HQ MARCOM Public Affairs Office, http://www.aco.nato.int/snmg2-is-in-florida-to-prepare-for-fleetex.aspx,  August 18, 2014, emphasis added)

Black Sea War Games

It is worth noting that FLEETEX is one among several US-NATO naval war games directed against an unnamed enemy. In July, NATO conducted naval exercises in the Black sea, in an area contiguous to Russia’s maritime borders.

NATO’s “Breeze” formally hosted by Bulgaria took place from July 4 to July 13, with the participation of naval vessels from Greece, Italy, Romania, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S.

The underlying scenario was the “”destruction of enemy ships in the sea and organization of air defense of naval groups and coastal infrastructure.”

The exercises were “aimed at improving the tactical compatibility and collaboration among naval forces of the alliance’s member states…” (See Atlantic Council , see also Russia, U.S. ships sail in competing Black Sea exercises, July 7, Navy Times 2014)

Ironically, NATO’s July Black Sea games started on exactly the same day as those of the “unnamed enemy”[Russia], involving its Crimea Black sea fleet of some 20 war ships and aircraft:

Russia has made it clear they don’t welcome NATO’s presence in the Black Sea. Russia’s navy let it be known that it is following the exercises with reconnaissance aircraft and surveillance ships.

“The aviation of the Black Sea Fleet is paying special attention to the missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf which, though not formally the flagship of the ‘Breeze’ exercises, effectively is leading them,” a Russian naval source told NTV. (Ibid)

Deployment of Ground Forces in Eastern Europe

Since 2006, the US has been building up its weapons arsenal in Poland on Russia’s Western border (Kalingrad). The deployment of US forces in Poland was initiated  in July 2010 (within 40 miles from the border), with a view to training Polish forces in the use of US made Patriot missiles. (Stars and Stripes, 23 July 2010).

In recent developments, the Pentagon announced in early August the deployment of US troops and National Guard forces to Ukraine as part of a military training operation. US-NATO is also planning further deployments of ground forces (as described by NATO General Breedlove) in Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania as well as in Georgia and Azerbaijan on Russia’s southern border.

These deployments which are envisaged in the draft text of the “Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA) (S.2277 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)) are also part of a NATO “defensive” strategy in the case of a “Russian invasion”:

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine have alarmed Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania – like Ukraine, former Soviet republics with Russian-speaking minorities.

NATO’s 28 leaders are expected to discuss plans to reassure Poland and the Baltics at a summit in Wales on Sept. 4-5.

Germany’s Angela Merkel, during a short visit to Latvia on Monday, pledged NATO would defend the Baltic states, although it would not send permanent combat troops.

“Any country, including the Baltic states, also Poland, have to strengthen their infrastructure … so they can host additional troops for training and crisis situations,” Latvia’s Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis told Reuters.

In Latvia’s case that would mean investments in Adazi base for ground troops, Lielvarde air base and Liepaja naval base, he said, adding he hoped NATO would contribute to the spending.

Latvia and Lithuania spend respectively just 0.9 and 0.8 percent of GDP on defense but have pledged to meet the alliance’s target of 2.0 percent by 2020.

“There is no direct military threat at the moment, but we have to develop our armed forces, we have to create infrastructure, we have to be ready to host representatives of NATO countries if there suddenly is a military aggression,” the minister said. Baltics and Poland need more military infrastructure. (Reuters, August 22, 2014)

Deployments on Russia’s South Border with Azerbaijan and Georgia

Deployment on Russia’s Southern border is to be coordinated under a three country agreement signed on August 22, 2014 by Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan:

Following the trilateral meeting of Azerbaijani, Turkish and Georgian defense ministers, Tbilisi announced that the three countries are interested in working out a plan to strengthen the defense capability.

“The representatives of the governments of these three countries start to think about working out a plan to strengthen the defense capability,” Alasania said, adding that this is in the interests of Europe and NATO.“Because, this transit route [Baku-Tbilisi-Kars] is used to transport the alliance’s cargo to Afghanistan,” he said.

Alasania also noted that these actions are not directed against anyone. (See Azeri News, August 22, 2014, emphasis added)

Russia and Obama’s “Pivot to Asia”

In the Far-east, Russia’s borders are also threatened by Obama’s “Pivot to Asia”.

The “Pivot to Asia” from a military standpoint consists in extending US military deployments in the Asia-Pacific as well as harnessing the participation of Washington’s allies in the region, including Japan, South Korea and Australia. These countries have signed bilateral military cooperation agreements with Washington. As US allies, they are slated to be involved in Pentagon war plans directed against Russia, China and North Korea:

Japan and South Korea are also both part of a grand U.S. military project involving the global stationing of missile systems and rapid military forces, as envisioned during the Reagan Administration. (Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Military Alliance: Encircling Russia and China, Global Research, October 5, 2007)

This Pentagon strategy of military encirclement requires both centralized military decision making (Pentagon, USSTRATCOM) as well coordination with NATO and the various US regional commands.

While Russia is formally within the jurisdiction of US European Command (USEUCOM), US war plans pertaining to Russia are coordinated out of US Strategic Command Headquarters (USSTRATCOM) in Omaha, Nebraska, which in turn is in liaison not only with US European Command (USEUCOM) but also with USPACOM and USNORTHCOM, both of which would play a key strategic role in the case of war with Russia.

Source: historyfuturenow.com

US-Australia Military Agreement

On August 12, the US and Australia signed a military agreement allowing for the deployment of US troops in Australia. This agreement is part of Obama’s Pivot to Asia:

The U.S. and Australia signed an agreement Tuesday [August 12] that will allow the two countries’ militaries to train and work better together as U.S. Marines and airmen deploy in and out of the country.

“This long-term agreement will broaden and deepen our alliance’s contributions to regional security,” U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday. He described the U.S.-Australia alliance as the “bedrock” for stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

Since 2011, the number of Marines there has grown from about 250 to more than 1,100 now. Australian Defense Minister David Johnston said the northern territory looks forward to the Marine presence growing to the 2,500 limit.

Ironically, coinciding with the announcement of the US-Australia agreement (August 12), Moscow announced that it would be conducting naval exercises in the Kuril Islands of the Pacific Ocean (which are claimed by Japan):

“Exercises began involving military units in the region, which have been deployed to the Kuril Islands,” Colonel Alexander Gordeyev, a spokesman for Russia’s Eastern Military District, told news agency Interfax. (Moscow Times, August 12, 2014)

The Dangers of a Third World War

While this renewed East-West confrontation has mistakenly been labelled a “New Cold War”, none of the safeguards of The Cold War era prevail. International diplomacy has collapsed. Russia has been excluded from the Group of Eight (G-8), which has reverted to the G-7 (Group of Seven Nations). There is no “Cold War East-West dialogue” between competing superpowers geared towards avoiding military confrontation. In turn, the United Nations Security Council has become a de facto mouthpiece of the U.S. State Department.

US-NATO will not, however, be able to win a conventional war against Russia, with the danger that military confrontation will lead to a nuclear war.

In the post-Cold war era, however, nuclear weapons are no longer considered as a  “weapon of last resort” under the Cold War doctrine of “Mutual Assured Destruction” (MAD).  Quite the opposite. nuclear weapons are heralded by the Pentagon as “harmless to the surrounding civilian population because the explosion is underground”. In 2002, the U.S. Senate gave the green light for the use of nuclear weapons in the conventional war theater.  Nukes are part of the “military toolbox” to be used alongside conventional weapons.

When war becomes peace, the world is turned upside down.  In a bitter irony, nukes are now upheld by Washington as “instruments of peace”.

In addition to nuclear weapons, the use of chemical weapons is also envisaged.

Methods of non-conventional warfare are also contemplated by US-NATO including financial warfare, trade sanctions, covert ops, cyberwarfare, geoengineering and environmental modification technologies (ENMOD). But Russia also has  extensive capabilities in these areas.

Western leaders in High office are Involved in a Criminal Undertaking which Threatens the Future of Humanity

The timeline towards war with Russia has been set. The Wales NATO venue on September 4-5, 2014 is of crucial importance.

What we are dealing with is a World War III Scenario, which is the object of the Wales NATO Summit, hosted by Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron. The agenda of this meeting has already been set by Washington, NATO and the British government. It requires, according to PM David Cameron in a letter addressed to heads of State and heads of government of NATO member states ahead of the Summit that:

“Leaders [of NATO countries] must review NATO’s long term relationship with Russia at the summit in response to Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine. And the PM wants to use the summit to agree how NATO will sustain a robust presence in Eastern Europe in the coming months to provide reassurance to allies there, building on work already underway in NATO.” (See PM writes to NATO leaders ahead of NATO Summit Wales 2014)

It is essential to undermine the “military timeline”, namely to:

1) block the holding of the upcoming NATO Summit meeting at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales (image right) on September 4-5, through political pressure and mass protest. The objective of this NATO venue, is to “build a political consensus” for a war directed against the Russian Federation, which could potentially lead the World into a Third World War. It is therefore essential to break this “political consensus”.

2) In addition to the 28 NATO member states, represented by their respective heads of State and heads of government, NATO “partner” countries will also be represented. In all, the governments of 60 countries will be in attendance. It is therefore crucial to initiate a vast Worldwide antiwar campaign in all 60 countries to stall the NATO Summit meeting in Wales.*

3) block the adoption of the “The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA) in the US Congress, through pressure on senators and members of Congress, it should be understood that the text of the NATO Summit communique (which already exists in draft form) is broadly similar to that of “The Russian Aggression Prevention Act”. RAPA is currently blocked at the committee level. Whether it is adopted or not, the substance of the proposed legislation is what is important because it sets the stage for establishing a ”political consensus”.  

4) initiate a broad anti-war debate and protest movement throughout the US and NATO member states.

5) undermine the legitimacy of the US-NATO-Israel military agenda through counter-propaganda directed against mainstream media coverage;

World public opinion must be made aware of these impending war plans.

Spread the word far and wide.

Note

*Further details: Summit Meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government, Newport, Wales, United Kingdom – 4-5 September 2014

Gaza : Da che parte sta l’Italia

August 24th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Intervenendo alla Camera sulla «crisi a Gaza», la ministra degli esteri Federica Mogherini ha invitato il parlamento e l’opinione pubblica italiana a «non cedere alla logica della partigianeria, all’idea che ci si debba dividere tra amici di Israele e amici della Palestina, che si debba scegliere da che parte stare nel conflitto». In realtà l’Italia ha da tempo già scelto, istituzionalizzando sotto forma di legge (con larga intesa bipartisan) la cooperazione militare con Israele.

Il memorandum d’intesa sulla cooperazione militare italo-israeliana, ratificato nel 2005 dal Senato (grazie ai voti del gruppo Democratici di sinistra-Ulivo schieratosi con il centro-destra) e dalla Camera, è divenuto Legge 17 maggio 2005 n. 94. La cooperazione tra i ministeri della difesa e le forze armate di Italia e Israele riguarda «l’importazione, esportazione e transito di materiali militari», «l’organizzazione delle forze armate», la «formazione/addestramento». Sono previste a tale scopo «riunioni dei ministri della difesa e dei comandanti in capo» dei due paesi, «scambio di esperienze fra gli esperti», «organizzazione delle attività di addestramento e delle esercitazioni», «partecipazione di osservatori alle esercitazioni militari». La legge prevede anche la «cooperazione nella ricerca, nello sviluppo e nella produzione» di tecnologie militari tramite «lo scambio di dati tecnici, informazioni e hardware». Vengono inoltre incoraggiate «le rispettive industrie nella ricerca di progetti e materiali» di interesse comune.

Con questa legge,  le forze armate e l’industria militare del nostro paese sono state coinvolte in molte attività di cui nessuno (neppure in parlamento) viene messo a conoscenza. La legge stabilisce infatti che esse sono «soggette all’accordo sulla sicurezza» e quindi segrete. Poiché Israele possiede armi nucleari, alte tecnologie italiane possono essere segretamente utilizzate anche per potenziare le capacità di attacco dei vettori nucleari israeliani.

In tale quadro, l’Italia sta fornendo a Israele i primi dei 30 velivoli M-346 da addestramento avanzato, costruiti da Alenia Aermacchi (Finmeccanica), che possono essere usati anche come caccia per l’attacco al suolo in operazioni belliche reali. Gran parte del costo (400 milioni su un miliardo di dollari) viene anticipata a Israele da un consorzio formato da Unicredit e da un fondo pensione collegato. A sua volta l’Italia si è impegnata ad acquistare da Israele (con una spesa di oltre un miliardo di dollari) il sistema satellitare ottico ad alta risoluzione Optsat-3000, che serve a individuare gli obiettivi da colpire, più due aerei Gulfstream 550 che, trasformati dalle Israel Aerospace Industries, svolgono la funzione di comando e controllo per l’attacco in distanti teatri bellici. Questa è solo la punta dell’iceberg di un accordo, non solo militare ma politico, attraverso cui l’Italia aiuta nei fatti Israele a soffocare nel sangue il diritto dei palestinesi, riconosciuto dall’Onu, di avere un proprio stato sovrano.

Manlio Dinucci

Il vero disastro dei Tornado

August 24th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

La collisione tra due caccia Tornado, che ha provocato la morte dei quattro membri di equipaggio e avrebbe potuto avere conseguenze ancora più gravi, ci pone di fronte a una realtà che la politica ufficiale si guarda bene dal chiamare col suo vero nome: guerra. Uniformandosi a tale «regola», l’Aeronautica militare informa che i Tornado, velivoli da combattimento acquisiti a partire dal 1982, vengono oggi usati essenzialmente per le «operazioni di risposta alle crisi con finalità strumentali alla vocazione pacifica del nostro Paese».

Questi cacciabombardieri – ricorda l’Aeronautica  – furono impiegati nel Golfo Persico nel 1990/91 (ossia nella prima guerra contro l’Iraq). Quindi dal 1993 nei Balcani, ossia nella serie di operazioni Nato culminate nella guerra contro la Jugoslavia, nella quale i Tornado effettuarono insieme ad altri aerei  1440 missioni di attacco. Successivamente sono stati usati in Afghanistan, dove dal novembre 2009 sono stati avvicendati dai caccia Amx. Infine, nel 2011, sono stati usati nella guerra contro la Libia, nella quale in oltre sette mesi i velivoli dell’Aeronautica militare hanno condotto oltre 1900 missioni di attacco, lanciando centinaia di bombe e missili. Nel corso di tali operazioni – informa l’Aeronautica  – «l’efficacia dei Tornado è stata accresciuta dall’acquisizione di sistemi d’arma d’avanguardia». Tra i più recenti, due nuovi armamenti Usa di precisione, l’Advanced Anti Radiation Guided Missile (Aargm) e la Small Diameter Bomb (Sdb), che permettono ai cacciabombardieri di sopprimere le difese aeree nemiche e colpire gli obiettivi terrestri. Non a caso i due  Tornado precipitati volavano a bassissima quota, tecnica usata per questo tipo di attacco condotto in profondià in territorio nemico.

I due caccia – impegnati in una missione addestrativa propedeutica ad un’esercitazione Nato in programma nel prossimo autunno – erano decollati da Ghedi (Brescia), base del 6° Stormo. Lo comunica l’Aeronautica. Non dice però che Ghedi-Torre è, insieme ad Aviano,  il sito in cui sono depositate 70-90 bombe nucleari statunitensi B-61.  Ciò emerge dal rapporto U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe, presentato all’Assemblea  parlamentare della Nato. Le bombe nucleari sono tenute in speciali hangar insieme a cacciabombardieri statunitensi F-15 e F-16 e Tornado italiani,  pronti per l’attacco nucleare.

Lo spiegamento delle armi nucleari statunitensi in Europa è regolato da accordi segreti, che i governi non hanno mai sottoposto ai  rispettivi parlamenti. Quello che regola lo schieramento delle armi nucleari in Italia stabilisce il principio della «doppia chiave», ossia prevede che una parte di queste armi possa essere usata dall’Aeronautica italiana sotto comando Usa. A tal fine – rivela il rapporto – piloti italiani vengono addestrati all’uso delle bombe nucleari. Quello che ufficialmente si sa è che le B-61 saranno trasformate da bombe a caduta libera in bombe «intelligenti», che potranno essere sganciate a grande distanza dall’obiettivo. Le nuove bombe nucleari B61-12 a guida di precisione, che avranno una potenza media di 50 kiloton (circa quattro volte la bomba di Hiroshima), «saranno integrate col caccia F-35 Joint Strike Fighter». I piloti italiani – che oggi vengono addestrati all’uso delle B-61 con i caccia Tornado, saranno quindi tra non molto preparati all’attacco nucleare con gli F-35 armati con le B61-12. In tal modo l’Italia continuerà a violare il Trattato di non-proliferazione, che vieta agli stati in possesso di armi nucleari di trasferirle ad altri (Art. 1) e a quelli non-nucleari di riceverle da chicchessia (Art. 2).

Il disastroso incidente dei due Tornado nei pressi di Ascoli Piceno dovrebbe dunque suonare come un campanello d’allarme, non solo riguardo alla sicurezza degli abitanti sulla cui testa gli aerei si esercitano alla guerra, ma sulla guerra che ci minaccia tutti.

 Manlio Dinucci

I «salvatori» dell’Iraq

August 24th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

I primi cacciabombardieri Usa, che in Iraq hanno attaccato l’8 agosto obiettivi nella zona controllata dall’Isis, sono decollati dalla portaerei battezzata «George H. W. Bush», in onore del presidente repubblicano autore nel 1991 della prima guerra contro l’Iraq. Continuata da suo figlio,  George W. Bush, che nel 2003 attaccò e occupò il paese, accusando Saddam Hussein (in base a «prove» rivelatesi poi false) di possedere armi di distruzione di massa e sostenere Al Qaeda. Dopo aver impiegato nella guerra interna in Iraq oltre un milione di soldati, più centinaia  di migliaia di alleati e contractor, gli Stati uniti ne sono usciti sostanzialmente sconfitti, non riuscendo a realizzare l’obiettivo del pieno controllo di questo paese, di primaria importanza per la sua posizione geostrategica in Medio Oriente e le sue riserve petrolifere. Entra a questo punto in scena il presidente democratico (nonché Premio Nobel per la pace) Barack Obama, che nell’agosto 2010 annuncia l’inizio del ritiro delle truppe Usa e alleate e il sorgere in Iraq di una «nuova alba». In realtà un’alba rosso sangue, che segna il passaggio dalla guerra aperta a quella coperta, che gli Usa estendono alla Siria, confinante con l’Iraq. In tale quadro si forma l’Isis (Stato islamico dell’Iraq e della Siria) che, pur dichiarandosi nemico giurato degli Stati uniti, è di fatto funzionale alla loro strategia. Non a caso l’Isis ha costruito il grosso della sua forza proprio in Siria, dove molti suoi capi e militanti sono arrivati dopo aver fatto parte delle formazioni islamiche libiche che, prima classificate come terroriste, sono state armate, addestrate e finanziate dai servizi segreti Usa per rovesciare Gheddafi. Unitisi a militanti in maggioranza non-siriani – provenienti da Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cecenia e altri paesi – sono stati riforniti di armi con una rete organizzata dalla Cia, e infiltrati in Siria soprattutto attraverso la Turchia per rovesciare il presidente Assad. Da qui l’Isis ha iniziato la sua avanzata in Iraq, attaccando in particolare le popolazioni cristiane. Ha così fornito a Washington, rimasto finora ufficialmente a guardare esprimendo al massimo «forti preoccupazioni», la possibilità di iniziare la terza guerra dell’Iraq (anche se Obama, ovviamente, non la definisce tale). Come ha dichiarato lo scorso maggio, gli Stati uniti usano la forza militare in due  scenari: quando loro cittadini o interessi vengono minacciati; quando si verifica una «crisi umanitaria» di proporzioni tali che è impossibile stare inerti a guardare. Dopo aver provocato in oltre vent’anni, con la guerra e l’embargo, la morte di milioni di civili iracheni, gli Stati uniti si presentano ora agli occhi del mondo come i salvatori del popolo iracheno. Si tratta – ha precisato Obama –  di «un progetto a lungo termine». Per la nuova offensiva aerea in Iraq, il Comando centrale Usa (nella cui «area di responsabilità» rientra il Medio Oriente) dispone già di 100 aerei e  8 navi da guerra, ma può usare molte altre forze, compresi 10mila soldati Usa in Kuwait e 2mila marines imbarcati. Gli Stati uniti rilanciano così la loro strategia per il controllo dell’Iraq, anche per impedire alla Cina, che ha stretto forti legami con Baghdad tramite il premier iracheno Nouri al-Maliki, di accrescere la sua presenza economica nel paese. In tale quadro è interesse  di Washington la spartizione di fatto del paese in tre regioni – curda, sunnita e sciita – più facilmente controllabili. Su questa scia, significativamente, la ministra degli esteri Mogherini promette «sostegno anche militare al governo curdo», ma non a quello centrale di Baghdad.

 Manlio Dinucci

Murder in America’s Streets, Why is Michael Brown a Martyr?

August 24th, 2014 by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Michael Brown is dead. Eighteen years old, a young man gunned down—not just shot–by police in his neighborhood in Ferguson, Missouri.

Brown’s experience earns international attention not because he is dead, but because of sustained outrage, first by his grieving family, then over video available from bystanders, then by people in his community denied answers, then by shocked citizens around the county.

Extrajudicial killing of Black Americans, especially our young men, is common today. Many pass unnoticed. So, why the attention to this murder?

First, police refused to permit anyone near Brown’s body lying in the street. That ban included the boy’s own mother. She was turned back by the police, the lifeless body of her child in sight.

Second, residents alerted the media that Brown was lying in the road, guarded by police for more than four hours. No medics arrived to attend him.

Third, a companion of Brown during the confrontation with the killer policeman testified Brown was unarmed, with his hands up in surrender when he was murdered.

Fourth, the community’s call for explanations of the killing went unanswered. For almost a week, Ferguson police chief refused to release the name of the officer who’d killed Brown (with 6 gunshots!). Finally when public outrage grew and civic protests began, reinforced police arrived to repel them armed with assault rifles and armored vehicles. They placed snipers around the area and deployed rubber bullets and tear gas against peaceful demonstrators. Journalists were among those mistreated by police and arrested. This wasn’t Gaza or Baghdad; this was hometown, USA.

As protests continue you’ll hear leaders shout, “Thank you Michael Brown”. Brown is a martyr. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson remarked on the killing of another young Black American, Trayvon Martin in 2012, “We find our way from the light that comes from the martyr.” Many associate Brown’s fate with too many other killings here (http://time.com/3136685/travyon-sybrina-fulton-ferguson/). A quiescent people become mobilized.

Why do we view Michael Brown as a martyr? Because his death serves to expose these routine American injustices:– shooting Black unarmed citizens, unreasonable suspicion of Black and Brown people; disrespecting the dead and their families (perhaps the way US troops do in Afghanistan and Iraq). Our authorities exhibit fear and violence rather than empathy and patience. (Perhaps many of these policemen are veterans who shot their way through Iraqi and Afghan villages). Finally this incident confronts us with how shamelessly warlike our community policing is. We’re accustomed to watching such images in movies and in news coverage of foreign wars. Now we understand how widespread military tactics are across the USA.

Although they’re rarely telecast so widely. Normally hidden from public scrutiny, they’re confined to minority neighborhoods and to suspect immigrants. ‘Swat’ teams regularly charge into American homes, rifles ready, to arrest mainly Black citizens. Muslim Americans too experienced this. Abuse of young Black people by police is endemic; detention often goes unchallenged. Multiple shots fired at an unarmed suspect is not new.

Why is Michael Brown a martyr? Because his death helped to bring these everyday injustices to the fore. Because his death became a national spectacle. Because his death rightfully shames USA. Brown’s death says: this is what American is; it challenges the leadership to prove otherwise. His death is a not just a legal matter; it’s a moral issue we cannot turn away from.

Thank you Michael Brown.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) shot down an Israeli spy drone over the Iranian sky before the unmanned Israeli aerial drone reached Iran’s Natanz civilian nuclear energy facility.

Is Israel trying to ignite a regional war that could quickly escalate into a broader nuclear world war involving the US, the United Kingdom, Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, Georgia, France, Germany, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan, India and China as different conflicts converge?

What does the United Nations and international community have to say about this reckless and dangerous Israeli move that jeopardizes world peace and international security?

The IRGC’s Aerospace Force has intercepted and shot down an Israeli spy drone, the IRGC announced in a statement on Sunday.

It added that the stealth and radar-evading spy drone intended to reach the nuclear facility in Natanz, but was targeted by a surface-to-air missile before it reached the area.

“This mischievous act once again reveals the adventurist nature of the Zionist regime [of Israel] and added another black page to this fake and warmongering regime’s file which is full of crimes,” the IRGC statement said.

The statement emphasized that along with other Armed Forces, the IRGC is fully and strongly prepared to defend the Islamic Republic’s territory and airspace against any aggression and reserves the right to respond in kind to such moves.

Iran’s nuclear facilities have always been a regular target for espionage activities by US and Israeli secret services, which have at times used drones for this purpose. However, all efforts made to this end have been successfully thwarted by the Iranian military forces.

On December 4, 2011, the Iranian military’s electronic warfare unit announced that it had successfully downed the American RQ-170 reconnaissance and spy drone in the eastern part of Iran with minimal damage.

The RQ-170, an unmanned stealth aircraft designed and developed by the Lockheed Martin Company, had crossed into Iran’s airspace over the border with Afghanistan.

The drone was one of America’s most advanced spy aircraft and its loss was considered a major embarrassment for Washington.

Desde el derrocamiento del gobierno de Yanukóvich en Ucrania a finales de febrero de 2014, los medios de comunicación dominantes han intentado, masivamente, encubrir el carácter del actual gobierno ucraniano. Esto ha ocurrido incluso en algunos sitios web y publicaciones progresistas, una muestra es una serie reciente, en dos partes, publicada en Rabble.ca.

Inmediatamente después de que el gobierno tomara el poder, el New York Times se refirió a este como una nueva ola de democracia, y esto marcó la pauta para los medios de comunicación occidentales. Aunque aquí y allá a veces se dice que Svoboda (Libertad), partido miembro del gobierno de coalición, “en algún momento tuvo inclinaciones cuasi-fascistas”, es lo único que mencionan. Todo lo demás sobre Svoboda y el Sector Derecho paramilitar queda dentro del marco de la censura.

Esto no quiere decir que nadie en Internet haya hecho comentarios sobre el carácter de Svoboda. A favor de ellos un número importante de observadores calificados no han tenido problemas en detallar que Svoboda tiene una sólida base fascista neonazi, y no solamente “inclinaciones” hacia estas creencias. Consideremos, por ejemplo, los puntos de vista de Max Blumenthal, Profesor Stephen F. Cohen, Profesor Francis Boyle, Profesor Michel Chossudovsky, Dr. Inna Rogatchi, David Speedie, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Oleg Shynkarenko, Andrew Foxall y Oren Kessler.

En lugar de simplemente alegar no saber nada sobre la magnitud de las creencias fascistas de la membresía de Svoboda, lo menos que los medios dominantes pudieron haber hecho fue mencionar que el Parlamento Europeo dio un paso inusual en diciembre de 2012 al aprobar una resolución de preocupación sobre el carácter desagradable de Svoboda. La resolución #8 del Parlamento plantea lo siguiente:

“[El Parlamento Europeo] está preocupado por el creciente sentimiento nacionalista en Ucrania, expresado en el apoyo al partido Svoboda, el cual, como resultado, es uno de los dos nuevos partidos que entraron a la Rada Verkhovna (Rada Suprema, Parlamento); recuerda que actitudes racistas, antisemitas y xenófobas van en contra de los valores y principios fundamentales de la UE y por lo tanto apela a los partidos prodemocráticos de la Rada Verkhovna a no asociarse, refrendar o formar coaliciones con este partido.”

Svoboda se fundó en 1991 como el Partido Nacional de Ucrania – su nombre es indudablemente una referencia intencional al Partido Nacional Socialista de Adolfo Hitler; el partido empleó el logo nazi Wolfsangel el cual se asemeja mucho a una esvástica. En 2004, con la llegada de Oleh Tyahnybok como líder, el partido cambió su nombre por el de Svoboda para un tanto moderar su imagen mientras mantenía su esencia neonazi. Y también para suavizar su imagen cambió el logo nazi por un estilizado saludo con tres dedos.

Desde sus inicios como Partido Nacional Social, Svoboda ha idolatrado a Stepan Bandera, un colaborador nazi que creó la Organización de Nacionalistas Ucranianos (ONU) y organizó la División Gallega SS Waffen Ucraniana – de los 82 000 voluntarios ucranianos iniciales, los nazis entrenaron solamente 13 000 para el combate. En su momento, la división fue enviada a pelear contra el ejército soviético ruso y ucraniano, pero el cuerpo fue diezmado en la Batalla de Brody de 1944, quedando solo 3 000 que continuaron formando el núcleo de una división SS reconstruida y que más tarde se convertiría en el centro del Ejército Insurgente Ucraniano (EIU).

Aparte de luchar contra el ejército soviético,  las fuerzas de Bandera asistidas por los neonazis, exterminaron, de buen agrado, a decenas de miles de polacos y judíos, y participaron activamente en la masacre de Babi Yar y en el Holocausto en general. Aunque Bandera tuvo algunas discrepancias con los nazis y fue hecho prisionero durante un tiempo, él y sus seguidores nunca discreparon con la política judía nazi en Ucrania, la cual al final asesinó a más de 1,5 millones de judíos ucranianos.

Bandera tenía la idea errónea de que si los ucranianos ayudaban a los Nazis a luchar contra las fuerzas soviéticas y de que si los nazis ganaban la guerra y conquistaban la URSS, él tendría la forma de establecer una “Ucrania libre”, independiente del régimen nazi. Esto fue un error total, que ignoraba el objetivo Lebensraum de Hitler, así como el hecho de que los nazis consideraban a todos los eslavos como seres humanos inferiores (untermenschen).

A pesar de esto, el líder actual de Svoboda, Oleh Tyahnybok, no se arrepiente en lo absoluto. En 2004, en un discurso en la tumba de un comandante del EPU, exhortó a los ucranianos a luchar contra la “mafia moscovita-judía” y alabó a la Organización de Nacionalistas Ucranianos de la Segunda Guerra Mundial por haber luchado contra “moscovitas, alemanes, judíos y otras escorias que querían borrar a nuestro estado ucraniano.” El segundo de Tyahnybok, Yuri Mikhalchishin, un ideólogo de Svoboda,  ha fundado un tanque pensante llamado Centro de Investigaciones Políticas  Joseph Goebbels. También ha traducido y publicado artículos sobre los “clásicos” del régimen de Hitler y ha denominado al Holocausto como un “periodo brillante” de la historia europea.

Es digno de observación el hecho de que lo que separa a Alemania de los nacionalistas de Bandera en Ucrania es que Alemania ha asumido la responsabilidad por las atrocidades que cometieron. Contrastemos esto con Lviv, Ucrania, donde sobrevivientes miembros de las SS Gallegas de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, participantes obsecuentes del genocidio, todavía desfilan en los días festivos, mostrando con orgullo las medallas otorgadas por el Tercer Reich Alemán. En julio de 2013 el partido Svoboda organizó una concentración para celebrar el 70mo aniversario de la fundación de la 14ma División Waffen SS. Y el 1ro de enero de 2014, para conmemorar el cumpleaños 105 de Bandera, cerca de 15,000 partidarios de Svoboda marcharon a través de Kiev, y algunos llevaban puestos uniformes del ejército Waffen de las SS Nazis.

Es por estos indiscutibles hechos que el Parlamento Europeo dio el paso inusual de aprobación de una resolución de preocupación por el carácter alarmante de Svoboda. Recientemente, una reconocida publicación estadounidense, Foreign Policy, expuso:

“La verdad incómoda es que una porción considerable del actual gobierno de Kiev – y los manifestantes que lo llevaron al poder – son, realmente, fascistas… El líder del partido, Oleh Tyahnybok, se ha quejado públicamente porque su país es controlado por una ‘mafia moscovita-judía,’ mientras su segundo se burlaba de la estrella de cine nacida en Ucrania  Mila Kunis como una ‘judía sucia.’ A los ojos de Svoboda, los gays son pervertidos y los negros incapaces de representar la nación en Eurovisión, no vaya a ser que los televidentes se queden pensando que Ucrania está en algún lugar al lado de Uganda.”  Yuri Syrotyuk, hablando en nombre de Svoboda, hizo otro comentario fascista: “Millones de telespectadores verán que Ucrania está representada por una persona que no pertenece a nuestra raza.”

Los medios de comunicación dominantes no solo evitan tratar las creencias fascistas subyacentes de Svoboda, la mayoría extienden el encubrimiento señalando, con mucha palabrería, que los partidos derechistas existen en varios países europeos, por lo que esto no es nada del otro mundo. Al hablar del asunto, los medios se esfuerzan en evitar revelar que en todos estos países los partidos de derecha están totalmente excluidos de cualquier papel en los gobiernos, pero este no es el caso actualmente en Ucrania. Por primera vez desde la era nazi, un movimiento básicamente fascista ha entrado en un gobierno europeo y mantiene posiciones clave de poder. Curiosamente, hasta este momento no se le ha echado un vistazo a lo planteado por el Parlamento Europeo, el cual, recientemente (como se citó anteriormente) exhortó a la Rada Ucraniana “a no asociarse, refrendar o formar coaliciones con este partido.”

 

Dmitry Yaroch (centro), líder del Sector Derecho

Aunque muchos en los medios rechazan al Sector Derecho (Pravy Sektor) por ser insignificante, este cuerpo se formó en 2013 como organización aglutinadora de varios grupos, incluyendo paramilitares como la Asamblea Nacional Ucraniana-Autodefensa Nacional Ucraniana (ANU-ADNU) cuyos miembros visten uniformes inspirados en las SS Waffen de Hitler y han estado luchando contra Rusia durante años, incluyendo a Chechenia.

Desde el 22 de Marzo de 2014, todos estos grupos individuales se fusionaron dentro del Sector Derecho y se han declarado como partido político oficial, con Dmytro Yarosh como candidato presidencial en las elecciones venideras. Mientras tanto, Rusia a puesto a Yarosh en una lista internacional de buscados y lo ha acusado por incitar el terrorismo después de haber exhortado al líder terrorista chechenio Doku Umarov a lanzar ataques contra Rusia por el conflicto ucraniano. Yarosh también ha amenazado con destruir los gasoductos rusos en territorio ucraniano.

Al tratar de restarle importancia y rol a Svoboda y al Sector Derecho, los medios de comunicación usualmente señalan que Svoboda tiene solo un 8 por ciento de los escaños en la Rada y que el Sector Derecho no tiene ningún miembro electo, haciendo así que parezca que estos partidos tienen poca trascendencia. Llama la atención el hecho no revelado de que Svoboda tiene siete miembros dentro de un gabinete de 21 miembros, por lo que estos forman un tercio del gabinete – todos en puestos clave y poderosos. Por otra parte, el Sector Derecho también posee un rol en el gobierno; su líder, Dmytro Yarosh, está a cargo de la policía como Secretario del Ministerio de Seguridad Nacional.

En sentido estricto, a estos dos partidos neonazis se las han confiado posiciones clave que les garantizan de facto el control de las fuerzas armadas, la policía y la seguridad nacional. No hay dudas de que esta información es de suma importancia – pero prácticamente nunca se menciona en los medios. ¿Por qué es así? Esencialmente, al reportar este ejemplo típico se hace pública una imagen de propaganda muy favorable al gobierno provisional. En realidad, al hacer pública la propaganda, lo que no se dice, a menudo es absolutamente tan importante como lo que se dice. Por lo menos esto es información errónea y perjudicial.

Como el asunto del papel de Svoboda en el gobierno de Ucrania es tan importante, veamos la composición del gabinete.

Alexander Sych – Viceprimer Ministro, parlamentario de Svoboda, principal ideólogo del partido y violento activista antiabortista.

Ihor Tenyukh – Ministro de Defensa, miembro del consejo político de Svoboda y antiguo comandante de la marina ucraniana pero que fue destituido de su cargo cuando trató de ayudar a Georgia con ataques militares en Osetia del Sur lo cual Rusia rechazó rápidamente.

Andri Parubiy – Secretario de la Seguridad Nacional y del Comité de Defensa Nacional (RNBOU), cofundador del Partido Nacional Social de Ucrania (Svoboda). Este es un cargo clave que supervisa al Ministerio de Defensa, las Fuerzas Armadas, Cumplimiento de la Ley, Seguridad Nacional e Inteligencia. El RNBOU es un cuerpo para la toma de decisiones a nivel central. Mientras este está formalmente dirigido por un presidente, es operado por un Secretariado con una plantilla de 180 personas incluyendo expertos de la defensa, la inteligencia y la seguridad nacional. Parubiy fue el jefe “kommandant” de las fuerzas del Sector Derecho de Maidán y dirigió a los hombres armados enmascarados que enfrentaron a la policía.

Oleh Makhnitsky – Fiscal General, miembro del parlamento por Svoboda. Con este nombramiento Svoboda controlará el proceso judicial.

Ihor Shvaika – Ministro de Agricultura, un agro-oligarca y miembro de Svoboda. Como uno de los hombres más ricos del país, sus inversiones masivas en la agricultura pudieran ser señal de un ligero conflicto de intereses.

Andriy Moknyk – Ministro de Ecología, Vicepresidente del Partido Svoboda y miembro de su Consejo Político, ha sido enviado de Svoboda a otros partidos fascistas europeos.

Serhiy Kvit – Ministro de Educación, miembro destacado de Svoboda, es conocido por sus esfuerzos por glorificar a los que inspiraron a los fascistas de Bandera en la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Dmytro Yarosh – Segundo Jefe del Consejo de Seguridad Nacional, a cargo de la policía. Yarosh es fundador líder del “Sector Derecho” paramilitar, y junto con Parubiy dirigieron las manifestaciones en Maidán. Años atrás, Yorash luchó al lado de los islamistas chechenios, y con orgullo asegura que él mismo asesinó un gran número de soldados rusos.

Por tanto, aunque Svoboda tiene solo el 8 por ciento de los miembros del parlamento ucraniano, ellos, junto con el Sector Derecho, forman más de un tercio del gabinete de gobierno, incluyendo algunos puestos clave. De ahí que tienen una participación en el poder totalmente desproporcionada, y para que se exacerbe el problema, Svoboda no tiene miembros electos de todo el sudeste ucraniano, el cual tiene más de la mitad de la población de Ucrania.

Un problema adicional es que al parecer hay pocos miembros, por no decir ninguno, del sudeste ucraniano en todo el gabinete. En sentido estricto, más de la mitad de la población tiene poca o ninguna representación en el gabinete del gobierno interino, por lo que sobre la base de estos hechos, este carece de legitimidad.

Como indicio de cómo este gobierno de inspiración fascista funcionaría, un día después de llagar al poder su primerísima acción fue aprobar un proyecto de ley para revocar la muy tolerante ley lingüística multicultural de Ucrania. En efecto, el proyecto de ley prohibió el uso del ruso, el húngaro, el moldavo y el rumano en cualquier puesto oficial. El proyecto de ley también incluye una disposición para prohibir todos los medios de comunicación en lengua rusa en Ucrania. Inmediatamente después el Parlamento Europeo aprobó una resolución llamando al nuevo régimen de Ucrania a respetar los derechos (y las lenguas) de su población minoritaria. Siguiendo esta protesta y condena, el Presidente Interino Alexander Turchinov vetó el proyecto y pidió que este fuera reescrito para hacerlo más aceptable.

Pero el daño estaba hecho y esta acción con bríos de mezquindad alertó a todos los grupos minoritarios sobre lo que el futuro traería, especialmente desde que algunos miembros de Svoboda amenazaron con prohibir el idioma ruso completamente e incluso quitarles la ciudadanía ucraniana a los rusoparlantes de la nación.  Por otra parte, se ha avanzado en un proyecto de ley adicional que anularía una ley que impide “negar o perdonar los crímenes del fascismo.” Todo esto es, de manera segura, una señal del un posible futuro de discriminación contra grupos minoritarios.

Para que el asunto sea visto de manera objetiva por los canadienses, imaginemos que un gobierno instalado recientemente en Ottawa repentinamente prohibiera el uso del francés como lengua oficial de Canadá. ¿Cuanto tiempo tomaría para que Québec convocara a un referendo y luego procediera a separarse de Canadá? En realidad, esto es exactamente lo que sucedió en Crimea, donde la mayor parte de la población habla ruso. Estos convocaron a un referendo y el 16 de marzo, con un número de votantes de más del 80 por ciento, hubo un voto del 97 por ciento a favor de la separación de Ucrania. Si se tiene en cuenta que la etnia rusa forma solo el 58 por ciento de la población, esto significa que la mayor parte de los ucranianos y los tártaros de Crimea también votaron por la separación de Ucrania.

En Ucrania alrededor de 8,3 millones de personas, casi una quinta parte de la población, se autodefinieron en el último censo como miembros de la etnia rusa. Sin embargo, el idioma ruso lo habla al menos un cuarto de la población y quizás hasta un 40 por ciento. Los rusoparlantes se concentran particularmente en las zonas sur y este de Ucrania. Con respecto al predominio de la lengua rusa, el Dr. Vitali Chernetsky, profesor de lenguas eslavas de la Universidad de Kansas, ha descrito que si se observa un típico puesto ucraniano de venta de periódicos, se encontrará que alrededor del 90 por ciento de las publicaciones son en ruso, incluso en áreas donde la mayoría  de la población habla ucraniano. “El idioma ruso también domina la radio”, dijo. “El único segmento de los medios donde el idioma ucraniano predomina es el de los canales nacionales de televisión.” De ahí que el nuevo gobierno haya impuesto restricciones drásticas sobre los medios rusos y el idioma es una medida estrambótica y fanática.

Volviendo al tema de cómo se formó este gobierno, invariablemente parece que hubo una transferencia legítima de poder a finales de febrero. Usualmente se señala que Víctor Yanukóvich fue acusado por delito con un voto unánime de 328-0, o por el 37 por ciento de los deputados de la Rada Verkhovna ucraniana. Lo que rara vez se revela es que la constitución ucraniana estipula que se requiere de un voto del 75 por ciento de los miembros de la Rada para acusar legítimamente a un presidente. Dado esto, aunque Yanukóvich fue destituido de su cargo, se hizo violando la constitución ucraniana, y como tal no fue una acusación legal – fue simple y llanamente un golpe de estado. Además, lo que precedió este vote fue un semi-disturbio en la Rada provocado por una invasión de manifestantes armados del Sector Derecho. Es por esto que más de un cuarto de los miembros de la Rada huyeron, temiendo por sus vidas – de ahí el número insuficiente del voto de acusación por delitos cometidos por el presidente en el desempeño de sus funciones.

Una cuestión que pocas veces se menciona es el acuerdo del 21 de febrero, con Alemania, Francia y Polonia como intermediarios, entre el gobierno de Yanukóvich y los manifestantes para poner fin al largo enfrentamiento de tres meses. El acuerdo lo firmaron el Presidente Yanukóvich y tres líderes opositores: Arseny Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko y Oleh Tyahnybok. El acuerdo convocaba a elecciones parlamentarias y presidenciales, al regreso a la constitución de 2004 y a la formación de un gobierno temporal de unidad nacional. Si se hubieran realizado elecciones anticipadas, seguramente el gobierno de Yanukóvich habría sido derrotado.

Cuando se les anunció el acuerdo a los manifestantes en la Plaza Maidán, los líderes del Sector Derecho paramilitar armado inmediatamente rechazaron un convenio pacífico, y decidieron continuar con su protesta armada. A pesar de esto, Yanukóvich, erróneamente, le ordenó a la policía, de manera inexplicable, retirar la custodia de los edificios del parlamento y del gobierno, y él mismo voló a una reunión concertada de antemano en la ciudad de Járkov. De tal modo el acuerdo para un convenio pacífico del asunto no duró ni un día – el 22 de febrero, el grupo armado del Sector Derecho irrumpió en los edificios del gobierno dando un golpe de estado en el parlamento. Y como se dice, el resto es historia.

Extrañamente, no hubo protestas de los gobiernos de Alemania, Francia y Polonia en nombre de sus emisarios, que habían organizado una transición pacífica de poder en Ucrania. En su lugar, el obvio golpe de estado nunca fue reconocido y el gobierno impuesto con el golpe ha sido aceptado como legal, y la inserción de elementos fascistas en un gobierno europeo por primera vez desde los tiempos de Hitler dejó el escenario sin causa de alarma aparente. Y después se habla de la advertencia del Parlamento Europeo de “no asociarse, refrendar o formar coaliciones con este partido (Svoboda).” Y parece que incluso el Sector Derecho… es correcto.

Como era de esperar, muchos en los medios ridiculizan la idea de que Estados Unidos jugó su papel ayudando a fomentar las manifestaciones que llevaron al derrocamiento de un gobierno corrupto, pero legalmente electo. Como plantea Diana Johnstone en un artículo reciente:

“La Subsecretaria de Estado norteamericano para Europa y Eurasia, Victoria Nuland, ha alardeado abiertamente que Estados Unidos ha gastado cinco mil millones de dólares para obtener influencias en Ucrania –en realidad, con el objetivo de alejar a Ucrania de Rusia y atraerla a la alianza militar estadounidense.”

Realmente los medios dominantes han sido tan eficaces que, como plantea la Sra. Johnstone “gran parte de la opinión pública parece aceptar la idea de que el villano de esta historia es el presidente ruso, a quien se le acusa de entablar una agresión no provocada contra Crimea – incluso aunque Putin respondía a una de las más flagrantes provocaciones de la historia.”

En el momento de la desintegración de la URSS, los EUA le aseguraron a Gorvachov que la OTAN nunca se extendería hacia cualquiera de los estados neutrales limítrofes con Rusia. Esta promesa se violó casi inmediatamente y la OTAN se ha expandido hacia estos estados limítrofes, excepto Ucrania, hasta ahora.

Sería una ingenuidad extrema asumir que la Revolución Naranja de 2004 y la reciente estratagema estadounidense guiada por Victoria Nuland no estuvieran dirigidas a traer a Ucrania, incluyendo la principal base naval rusa en Sebastopol, a la órbita de la OTAN. Esto es así a pesar del hecho de que encuestas en Ucrania en su totalidad muestran que un 70 por ciento de la población está en contra de ingresar en la OTAN. La función estratégica de ubicar misiles en Ucrania sería para suministrarle a Estados Unidos una hipotética capacidad para atacar primero a Rusia y destruir su arsenal nuclear. Putin no es tonto y es por eso que tomó ventaja del abrumador deseo del pueblo de Crimea de separase de Ucrania.

Los medios de comunicación le han restado importancia al asunto de la matanza con francotiradores en la Plaza Maidán – con excepción de The Guardian y el canal de televisión RT, inicialmente no se mencionó la conversación telefónica interceptada entre el Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Estonia y el jefe de asuntos exteriores de la Unión Europea. El Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Estonia refirió que se le había dicho que los francotiradores responsables por la matanza de policías y civiles en Kiev el último mes eran provocadores del movimiento de protesta más que partidarios del entonces presidente Yanukóvich. Esta es una información de vital importancia, pero de alguna forma todos los medios estadounidenses la ignoraron. Fue solo después que Rusia le hizo un llamamiento a la Unión Europea para que se investigara quién era el responsable de la matanza (que incluyó policías y manifestantes) que el nuevo gobierno ucraniano dio un paso para iniciar las investigaciones. Hasta este momento nada ha se ha dicho excepto la versión original que de había sido ordenada por Yanukóvich, con la sugerencia más reciente de que todo fue labor de agentes rusos.

¿El asunto plantea el problema quid prodest? La matanza ocurrió el 21 de febrero, el mismo día en que emisarios europeos trataban de elaborar una solución pacífica para el movimiento de protesta de ya tres meses de duración. ¿Por qué Yanukóvich o Rusia querrían sabotear la posibilidad de una solución pacífica? Por otra parte, lo último que el fuertemente armado grupo paramilitar fascista del Sector Derecho quería era una solución pacífica – estos continuaron demandando el derrocamiento del gobierno. Además, estas eran las personas que empuñaron rifles de asalto y ocuparon y controlaron la mayoría de los edificios altos que rodean la plaza – edificios desde los cuales se ejecutaron los disparos. ¿Cómo podría ser posible que la policía de Yanukóvich o los agentes rusos, armados con rifles de asalto, pasaran inadvertidos a través de la multitud de manifestantes y entraran en los edificios ocupados por los propios manifestantes?

La matanza con francotiradores cambió completamente la tónica del movimiento de protesta. Si las protestas habían sido violentas con anterioridad, después de la matanza la violencia se intensificó. Fue en este momento que los líderes parlamentarios le anunciaron a la enfurecida turba que se había llegado a un acuerdo con el gobierno para celebrar elecciones y que las protestas debían terminar. Estos líderes fueron abucheados y  Dmytro Yarosh, jefe del Sector Derecho, juró continuar hasta que el gobierno fuera derrotado. Al día siguiente, con la policía fuera del terreno, la turba armada se apoderó de todos los edificios gubernamentales y del parlamento. Y el resto lo conocemos – un gobierno electo legalmente (no importa que fuera corrupto) fue derrocado con un golpe de estado. Pero el término “golpe de estado” está prohibido en todos nuestros medios, con la única excepción de RT, el cual está dispuesto a llamar las cosas por su nombre.

En lo que respecta a las investigaciones por la matanza con francotiradores, irónicamente, Dmytro Yarosh, líder y fundador del Sector Derecho es ahora ¡viceministro a cargo de la policía! Andriy Parubiy era el “kommandant” oficial de las fuerzas del Sector Derecho y la persona responsable de todos los edificios altos ocupados alrededor de la Plaza Maidán… pero ahora es el jefe de la Seguridad Nacional y Cumplimiento de la Ley. Pero supuesto habrá una investigación meticulosa sobre la matanza con francotiradores…

Con Ucrania teniendo ahora el primer gobierno de Europa desde los tiempos de Hitler con fascistas ocupando puestos en el gabinete que son preponderantes para la vida del país, podríamos preguntarnos cómo su presencia afecta el funcionamiento del gobierno. El mismo día en que este gobierno “acusó” a Yanukóvich (sin validez legal ya que la Rada carecía del quórum apropiado para hacerlo), este vídeo muestra el escándalo y la intimidación que tuvieron lugar en el parlamento ucraniano en ese momento. Un vídeo adicional muestra el decoro y el comportamiento de este nuevo elemento en las funciones del gobierno. En un parlamento regional no identificado un “sicario” del Sector Derecho entró con una Kalashnikov y sermoneó a los miembros, diciendo, “¿Quién quiere llevarse mi ametralladora, mi pistola, mis puñales?” La escena fue filmada y el vídeo se convirtió en un virus, acumulando mas de 50, 000 vistas en los primeros tres días.

Otro vídeo del Sector Derecho muestra a uno de sus miembros, Alexander Muzychko, como entraba sin llamar en la oficina de un fiscal de Rovno Óblast y procedía a amenazar y darle una paliza al funcionario, muy parecido a los Camisas Marrones de Hitler en una época diferente.

Figura prominente de Svoboda, Muzychko ha jurado públicamente luchar “contra la escoria judía, comunista y rusa” mientras viva. Y finalmente, y del mismo modo siniestro, el 18 de marzo varios miembros de Svoboda en el parlamento, incluyendo al segundo jefe del comité ucraniano de libertad de expresión, irrumpieron en las oficinas del presidente de la Compañía Ucraniana de Televisión y después de darle una paliza al funcionario lo obligaron a renunciar.

De manera violenta declararon que era una traición que la compañía nacional de televisión mostrara al presidente ruso Putin firmando un proyecto de ley que convertía a Crimea en parte de Rusia. Esto equivaldría a que los miembros del parlamento canadiense forzaran al presidente de la CBC a renunciar. En lugar de protestar por este comportamiento fascista, el Primer Ministro canadiense Harper visitó Kiev recientemente para ofrecer el apoyo total de Canadá a un régimen que incluye neonazis.

Hay muchas otras cuestiones importantes que los medios de comunicación dominantes han ignorado. Para ver estos temas de manera bien objetiva, aquí tenemos algunos puntos notables de Katrina vanden Heuvel, editora de The Nation:

“La decisión de Yanukóvich de posponer el acuerdo de asociación con la Unión Europea no era irracional. Esto habría forzado a Ucrania a decidir entre Rusia y la Unión Europea, rechazando rotundamente la oferta de Putin de crear un acuerdo tripartito que le permitiría al país mantener sus nexos con Rusia. Independientemente de la oferta hecha por Putin en diciembre para un rescate financiero, Ucrania, en un alto grado, depende económicamente de Rusia, que le suministra y subsidia gran parte de su energía y es su más grande socio comercial. La Unión Europea y los Estados Unidos, con toda su bravuconería, no están listos para reemplazar esta profunda conexión con ayuda comercial occidental… Incluso buscando lazos más cercanos con Europa, Ucrania no puede permitirse el lujo darle la espalda a su gran vecino del este. Para empezar, Ucrania obtiene más de la mitad de su gas natural de Rusia. La Unión Europea no podría ayudar mucho si Rusia cerrara el grifo –aunque es poco probable que lo haga, ya que Rusia envía gas a Europa Occidental a través de los gasoductos ucranianos. Ni tampoco la Unión Europea pude repentinamente absorber los  15 mil millones de dólares en hierro, acero, granos y otros productos que anualmente Ucrania le vende a Rusia, su mayor socio comercial. Y a pesar de toda la retórica antimoscotiva escuchada durante las recientes protestas, los dos países tienen profundos nexos históricos y culturales.”

Es importante observar que algunos de los principales ministros del gobierno interino también fueron ministros en gobiernos anteriores y participaron en las políticas que condujeron al desastre económico actual. Durante todos estos años han fracasado al tratar de poner freno a la corrupción galopante o al enfrentar la ineficiencia económica. De hecho, la Unión Europea le ha proporcionado a Ucrania 19,1 mil millones de dólares en subsidios y préstamos desde 1991, y junto con el FMI y otras ayudas el monto se eleva a más de 30 mil millones de dólares. Y a pesar de la actual retórica antagónica ucraniana, el país ha recibido ayuda masiva de Rusia mediante el descuento de gas natural –un subsidio que totaliza entre 200 mil millones y 300 mil millones de dólares desde 1991. Entonces, ¿a dónde ha ido a parar todo ese dinero? “A los bolsillos de una élite política y una oligarquía increíblemente corruptas,” según Emily Holland, especialista en política energética del Consejo Europeo de Relaciones Exteriores en Berlín. Y con todo el revuelo sobre la corrupción por el moviendo de protesta, el nuevo régimen machado de fascismo ha nombrado a algunos de los perores oligarcas para puestos clave en los gobiernos regionales del este ucraniano. Entonces, ¿cuáles son las posibilidades reales para este fracasado estado?

Sobre la base de la constante agitación política en el país recae el hecho de que Ucrania está compuesta fundamentalmente por dos regiones diferentes – la zona oriental y la zona occidental. Una posible solución sería la creación de una confederación flexible con dos regiones autónomas. Una región autónoma tendría la libertad de conectarse económicamente con la Unión Europea y la otra con Rusia. Además de otros defensores de tal solución, un tanto sensible, irónicamente esta propuesta ha sido planteada por el Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Rusia Serguei Lavrov, quien, el 20 de marzo, dijo:

“…debería realizarse una reforma constitucional, para que los intereses de todas las regiones y de todos los ciudadanos ucranianos sean respetados. Esta es la única base para formar autoridades legítimas, tanto legislativas como ejecutivas, centrales y regionales… estamos convencidos de que la situación en el país puede estabilizarse solo mediante la creación de un estado federal en Ucrania.”

Un acertado comentario final sobre este complejo asunto se encierra en las palabras de Katrina vanden Heuvel:

“Se le podría aconsejar al presidente [estadounidense] investigar si la Unión Europea, Rusia y los Estados Unidos pueden unirse para preservar la unidad territorial de Ucrania; apoyar lecciones nuevas y libres; y permitirle a Ucrania formar parte tanto de la Unión Europea como de la unión aduanal rusa, a la vez que asegure la promesa de que la OTAN no se extenderá hasta Ucrania. Es hora de reducir las tensiones y crear posibilidades, no de mostrar el poderío retórico y echarle leña al fuego de la locura.”

John Ryan

Texto original en inglés :

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-medias-disinformation-campaign-on-ukraine-there-are-no-neo-nazis-in-the-interim-government/5376530

Global Research, Abril 03, 2014

Traducido al español por Profesor Vladimir Molina Raad 

John Ryan, Ph.D, Profesor Retirado de Geografía y Especialista Adjunto, Universidad de Winnipeg. Durante sus estudios de doctorado en McGill, el Dr. Ryan se especializó en economía y geografía políticas de la URSS. Impartió cursos sobre la URSS por más de 30 años en la Universidad de Winnipeg. Se puede contactar en [email protected]

Guam, an Island nation of 160,000 people has been a victim of Imperialism dating back to the 16th century.  More than 65,000 of the population are called the Chamorro people, an indigenous population originally from the Mariana Islands.  Many of the Chamorro people also live in the Northern Mariana Islands, another U.S. territory.  Guam’s fate with imperial powers from the West began with Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, who represented the King of Spain landed in Guam around 1521. Spanish General Miguel López de Legazpi claimed Guam for the Spanish throne in 1565. It eventually resulted in the Spanish-Chamorro War which lasted 25 years. Then it was followed by Japan’s brutal occupation during World War II.  U.S. won a decisive battle against Japanese forces known as the Battle of Guam in 1944.  However, the U.S. still remains in Guam.  They never left.  

Over the years, the U.S. Military-Industrial complex has become the Island’s main economic engine besides the tourism industry.  With geopolitical developments in recent years, the U.S. is now in the stage of “rebalancing” its Pacific forces to prepare for a possible future war with China and North Korea.

On August 19th, the Department of Defense News (DOD News) stated that “Guam, because of its military bases, Army anti-ballistic missile system and location 3,300 miles west of Hawaii is an increasingly important strategic hub for the U.S. Asia-Pacific rebalance, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said today.”

The article’s title ‘Work: Guam is Strategic Hub to Asia-Pacific Rebalance’ Clarifies the plan to rebalance U.S. military forces in the Pacific or to what the Obama administration would call the “pivot to Asia” with the goal of developing US military alliances and strategic partnerships to counter China and North Korea’s military. “As the undersecretary of the Navy,” he told them, referring to his 2009-2013 term in that office, “I was here when we first started thinking about rebalancing to the Pacific.” The article clearly states that Guam is central to Washington’s Imperial agenda. Work defines how Washington views Guam as an important part of their military strategy in the region, “We didn’t call it that at the time, but Guam has always been a central part of our plans. Certainly a central part of the Navy’s plans but now a central part of the entire Department of Defense’s plans.” It is a move that would allow Washington to form a military and economic alliance with Tokyo and Seoul. Australia is on board with Washington’s agenda since it is part of the “Five Eyes”, an intelligence alliance that includes Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S. The U.S. is partnering with Japan, South Korea and Australia to prepare for a possible confrontation with China and/or North Korea. In any case, the US will be prepared to take action if China and Japan’s tension escalate into a possible war over the South-China Sea dispute which involves several countries, a matter that should be settled among the countries involved without Western interference.

It is important to note that Washington is moving at least 8,000 US Marines from Okinawa to Guam after decades of protests by the Okinawan people. The US has been in Okinawa since 1945. More than 85% of Okinawans want the US military to leave. There has been hundreds of cases where victims as young as 12 years-old have been either raped or sexually violated by US military personal.  In any case, the US military has released hundreds of sex offenders without charges. There have been anti-American demonstrations taking place in Okinawa for decades because of US policies towards its civilian population. Back in 2008, a well known case involving a rape of a child.  Okinawans protested at a baseball stadium the injustices they suffer at the hands of the U.S. military as the Associated Press reported that “banners demanding the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops ringed the makeshift stage.” And that the “problems with base-related accidents, crowding and crime are endemic.” A troubling account of what actually has taken place in Okinawa between 1972 and 1995 is the fact that an estimated 4,716 crimes were committed by members of the US military. More than 75% of all U.S. forces in Japan are located in Okinawa. The U.S. and Japan has finally decided to move troops out of Okinawa since the end of World War II.

However, Japan’s tensions with China over the South-China Sea with Washington’s support. Under Prime Minister Shinzu Abeis, Japan is on the path to becoming a military power in the Pacific.  The Abe government has made a decision to “reinterpret” the country’s constitution so that the Japanese military can participate in any future military conflict with its allies. In a speech this past July, Prime Minister Abe told the Australian Parliament his government and Australia are cooperating on the “the transfer of defence equipment and technology” which means that Japan is in the process of building its military capabilities. Abe also mentioned how Japan, Australia and the U.S. will “Join Hands” to build an “International Order”:

So far as national security goes, Japan has been self-absorbed for a long time. Now, Japan has built a determination. As a nation that longs for permanent peace in the world, and as a country whose economy is among the biggest, Japan is now determined to do more to enhance peace in the region, and peace in the world. 

Ladies and gentlemen, it is to put that determination into concrete action that Japan has chosen to strengthen its ties with Australia. Yes, our countries both love peace. We value freedom and democracy. And we hold human rights and the rule of law dear. Today is the day that we bring life to our new special relationship. To make its birthday today, I should have brought a huge cake to share a piece with every one of you. There are many things Japan and Australia can do together by each of us joining hands with the United States, an ally for both our nations 

Japan is now working to change its legal basis for security so that we can act jointly with other countries in as many ways as possible. We want to make Japan a country that will work to build an international order that upholds the rule of law. Our desire is to make Japan a country that is all the more willing to contribute to peace in the region and beyond. It is for this reason that Japan has raised the banner of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” 

While Japan is strengthening its military power, South Korea on the other hand is already home to the US Military since 1947 which faces North Korea. The United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) is an important location for the U.S. in the Pacific region. The U.S and South Korea has had a military alliance since 1953 after the stalemate that ensued after the Korean War between South Korea and US forces and North Korea who had military support from China and the Soviet Union. The Department of Defense News who has been following the developments closely between U.S. and South Korean officials published an article called ‘Work Highlights Importance of U.S.-South Korea Alliance’ signified the strategic importance of a U.S/South Korea alliance:

The deputy secretary highlighted the importance of the U.S.-South Korea alliance and thanked the South Korean leaders for their support. 

“It’s important that we’re transparent, that we work through issues together as an alliance,” the official said, “because both sides recognize the importance of a strong U.S.-Korea alliance, especially in the current situation on the peninsula with North Korea” 

China and North Korea are the belligerents in the Asia-Pacific region, at least in Washington’s eyes. Guam is going to play an important part for US forces if and when a war was to take place.

Guam, a Victim of Imperial Powers

Guam was ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Paris which ended the Spanish American War in 1898. Guam was purchased along with Puerto Rico and the Philippines from Spain for $20 million in 1899. The population of Guam grew to over 10,000 inhabitants during that time. The US government then placed Guam under a military government under Captain R. P. Leary who was appointed the island’s first U.S. Governor under U.S. President William McKinley by an executive order.  Guam was now governed under the administration of the Department of Navy. Then during World War II, Japan invaded and occupied Guam which began on December 10th, 1941. Guam surrendered to Japan’s South Seas detachment forces after a defensive struggle by the island’s Insular Force Guard and a small number of U.S. marines. Guam was renamed “Omiya Jima” by Japanese Imperial forces. For 31 months, the people of Guam were subjected to inhumane hardships by the Japanese military.

Although some measure of religious freedoms and business activities were permitted, atrocities, such as rape and murder were common. Concentration camps were established and approximately 600 Chamorro’s were executed. Some Chamorro’s were even beheaded. Both Guam and China were victims of Imperial Japan, the irony now is that Guam hosts US military bases to “keep an Eye” on China’s emerging economic power and to dominate the entire Asia-Pacific region. US Allies in the region were once political enemies of Washington at some point in history including the Philippines (1900), Vietnam (1964) and Cambodia (1969).  Now they are proxy states used to counter China’s growing economic and political power. In an interesting and informative article published by Global Research and The Asia-Pacific Journal, Japan in Focus in 2010 called ‘American Military Bases on Guam: The US Global Military Basing System’ By Prof. Catherine Lutz accurately describes the colonial situation in Guam:

It is colonial even as many of Guam’s residents take their US citizenship seriously and want to make claims to full citizenship on the foundation of the limited citizenship they now have. It is colonial even as Guam’s many military members – those born on Guam and those born in the 50 United States – can and do see themselves as doing their duty to the US civilian leadership who deploy them to bases here and around the world. It is colonial even as many of Guam’s citizens have been acting in the faith that they should be able to make and are making their own choices about whether Guam becomes even more of a battleship or not. But social science will call it nothing more than colonial when a people have not historically chosen their most powerful leaders and have been told to background their own national identity in favor of that of the power which has ultimate rule. The US presence in Guam is properly called imperial because the US is an empire in the strict sense of the term as used by historians and other social analysts of political forms.

Besides colonialism, another concept relevant to Guam’s situation is militarization. It refers to an increase in labor and resources allocated to military purposes and the shaping of other institutions in synchrony with military goals. It involves a shift in societal beliefs and values in ways that legitimate the use of force (Ferguson 2009). It helps describe the process by which 14 year olds are in uniform and carrying proxy rifles in JROTC units in all of Guam’s schools, why a fifth to a quarter of high school graduates enter the military, and why the identity of the island has over time shifted from a land of farmers to a land of war survivors to a land of loyal Americans to a land that is, proudly, “the Tip of the Spear,” that is, a land that is a weapon. This historical change – the process of militarization or military colonization – has been visible to some, but more often, hidden in plain sight

The DOD news report on August 19th specifically states what Mr. Work’s plans for the Asia-Pacific region involving Guam are:

Work explained the realignment in another way to the troops here. “As far as the Asia-Pacific goes, Marines are being distributed around the Pacific — 5,000 Marines are going to come here to Guam, 2,500 Marines are going to Australia, some Marines are going back to Hawaii [and] about 3,500 Marines are going up to Iwakuni, [Japan],” the deputy secretary said. The Army will be active in the Asia-Pacific too, he said, noting that seven of the world’s largest armies are in the Asia-Pacific region, and soldiers would be good at contributing to training capacity building in the region.

Another part of the defense buildup on Guam began in April 2013, when arrangements began to move a ballistic missile defense system called a terminal high-altitude area defense battery, or THAAD, and soldiers to run the system, onto Andersen Air Force Base.

Threats from North Korea prompted the move, which because of the limited number of THAAD systems yet built was said to be temporary. But the senior defense official said Gov. Calvo and Rep. Bordallo have publicly asked that the system be kept on the island permanently

Washington’s crumbling empire is preparing for war against China. At the same time, the U.S. is planning for war against Russia, Iran and now Syria which is back on its radar due to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria also known as ISIS.  ISIS in Syria is a convenient excuse for Washington to reposition its military in the Middle East.  An article published by the Japan Times in 2013 called ‘On Guam liberation day, ‘colonial’ U.S. riles: Rule of island contrary to democratic principles: locals’ after its 69th anniversary from its liberation of Japan’s military dictatorship by U.S. forces. The only problem is that Guam never liberated itself from U.S. forces.  It’s been now 70 years of U.S. colonial rule over Guam. The president of the University of Guam and a former delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives Robert Underwood was asked about the parade held to mark the anniversary at the historic Marine Corps battles with Japanese forces in the capital and several war memorial activities that took place throughout Guam and said “(But) it’s not total liberation. It’s only liberation from the Japanese.” Guam was under Japanese rule from 1941 to 1944. Then from 1944 to the present, the U.S. government has made Guam a strategic military location. According to the Japan Times, the governor of Guam Eddie Calvo said “It’s been 69 years since our liberation. Seven decades since our parents and grandparents survived the worst of war. They were slaves, forced to work; they were starving, beaten, raped and murdered.” The report also stated how locals feel about the U.S. presence in Guam since the war had ended:

Antonio Sablan, a resident of the island, said that July 21, 1944, was not just the day when his family was freed from Japanese rule but also the day when U.S. forces recaptured the island. According to Sablan, American forces seized private property and land, including that of his family. And he is upset that Guam remains practically a U.S. colony. “If I was liberated, how come you have my kitchen and my living room? How come you have my house?” Sablan asked, citing the U.S. military’s ownership of about a third of the island

The report also stated:

Guam’s official political status is that of an “unincorporated territory” of the United States, “where fundamental rights apply as a matter of law, but other constitutional rights are not available,” meaning residents cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections if they are based on the island, despite their American citizenship. “Guam is a colony. The federal government has the final say on everything. It’s a colonial relationship,” Underwood said. “Of course, in the end it’s not healthy”

Guam has the same political similarities with Puerto Rico “By agreeing with the U.N. classification of Guam as a “nonself-governing territory,” the United States, as a signatory to the U.N. Charter, recognizes that the island’s indigenous people, the Chamorros, deserve the right to self-determination, Guam Sen. Vicente Pangelinan said in an interview.” Guam has been a military colonial possession of the United States government with a small population that has been in one form or another colonized. But there are many residents, especially the indigenous Chamorros “desiring political self-determination.” There is a movement for independence on the island-nation. “Gov. Calvo has impaneled the Guam Commission on Decolonization to determine which status people would prefer: independence, integration, or a relationship based on the Compact of Free Association pact, which would turn Guam into an associate state of the U.S.” However, there has been an effort to collect signatures for the Decolonization Registry as “Pangelinan said that so far, only 8,000 or so people have signed up for the Decolonization Registry, which requires 20,000-plus signatories.”

It will be difficult since the people depend on government benefits provided by Washington. “He added that many underprivileged people, Chamorros in particular, benefit from government subsidies for health care and education and thus prefer not to become actively involved in seeking change to the status quo.” 

It is a difficult economic situation to overcome, especially when Guam’s main industry is dependent on the tax-payer funded U.S. military-Industrial Complex and tourism. Proactive residents like Sablan, however, said reform is still possible as The Japan Times reported.  “I believe that no matter how long it takes, even if it’s just a little man with a small chisel or ice pick to break an iceberg, as long as he continues chipping, maybe not in my lifetime, but in the future, something will happen,” Sablan said, urging his fellow residents to “decolonize” their way of thinking.”

I absolutely agree with Mr. Sablan. Decolonizing the way people think would be an ultimate defeat for the ruling elite in the West. However, Washington is in high gear to pursue a world war that will involve many nations. The Engine behind this drive to war is the United States, Europe (NATO), Israel and several nations that Washington dominates. Guam is a colony. It is a country that is forced to rely economically on Washington’s war agenda in the Asia-Pacific region. Guam is a victim of Washington, not an accomplice. Guam is a country, not a colony.  Any form of decolonization can only occur if the population thinks differently about an Imperial power occupying their land.  The U.S. government is not in Guam for altruistic reasons, only to dominate their neighbors under a Unipolar world.

Russia’s Humanitarian ‘Invasion’

August 24th, 2014 by Ray McGovern

Official Washington’s war-hysteria machine is running at full speed again after Russia unilaterally dispatched a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian supplies to the blockaded Ukrainian city of Luhansk, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Before dawn broke in Washington on Saturday, “Ukrainian pro-Russian separatists” – more accurately described as federalists of southeast Ukraine who oppose last February’s coup in Kiev – unloaded desperately needed provisions from some 280 Russian trucks in Lugansk, Ukraine. The West accused those trucks of “invading” Ukraine on Friday, but it was a record short invasion; after delivering their loads of humanitarian supplies, many of the trucks promptly returned to Russia.

I happen to know what a Russian invasion looks like, and this isn’t it. Forty-six years ago, I was ten miles from the border of Czechoslovakia when Russian tanks stormed in to crush the “Prague Spring” experiment in democracy. The attack was brutal.President Barack Obama meets with his national security advisors in the Situation Room of the White House, Aug. 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama meets with his national security advisors in the Situation Room of the White House, Aug. 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Once back in Munich, West Germany, where my duties included substantive liaison with Radio Free Europe, I experienced some of the saddest moments of my life listening to radio station after radio station on the Czech side of the border playing Smetana’s patriotic “Ma vlast” (My Homeland) before going silent for more than two decades.

I was not near the frontier between Russia and southeastern Ukraine on Friday as the convoy of some 280 Russian supply trucks started rolling across the border heading toward the federalist-held city of Luhansk, but that “invasion” struck me as more like an attempt to break a siege, a brutal method of warfare that indiscriminately targets all, including civilians, violating the principle of non-combatant immunity.

Michael Walzer, in his War Against Civilians, notes that “more people died in the 900-day siege of Leningrad during WWII than in the infernos of Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki taken together.” So the Russians have some strong feelings about sieges.

There’s also a personal side for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was born in Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg, eight years after the long siege by the German army ended. It is no doubt a potent part of his consciousness. One elder brother, Viktor, died of diphtheria during the siege of Leningrad.

The Siege of Luhansk

Despite the fury expressed by U.S. and NATO officials about Russia’s unilateral delivery of the supplies after weeks of frustrating negotiations with Ukrainian authorities, there was clearly a humanitarian need. An International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) team that visited Luhansk on Aug. 21 to make arrangements for the delivery of aid found water and electricity supplies cut off because of damage to essential infrastructure.

The Ukrainian army has been directing artillery fire into the city in an effort to dislodge the ethnic Russian federalists, many of whom had supported elected President Viktor Yanukovych who was ousted in the Feb. 22 coup.

The Red Cross team reported that people in Luhansk do not leave their homes for fear of being caught in the middle of ongoing fighting, with intermittent shelling into residential areas placing civilians at risk. Laurent Corbaz, ICRC head of operations for Europe and Central Asia, reported “an urgent need for essentials like food and medical supplies.”

The ICRC stated that it had “taken all necessary administrative and preparatory steps for the passage of the Russian convoy,” and that, “pending customs checks,” the organization was “therefore ready to deliver the aid to Luhansk … provided assurances of safe passage are respected.”

The “safe passage” requirement, however, was the Catch-22. The Kiev regime and its Western supporters have resisted a ceasefire or a political settlement until the federalists – deemed “terrorists” by Kiev – lay down their arms and surrender.

Accusing the West of repeatedly blocking a “humanitarian armistice,” a Russian Foreign Ministry statement cited both Kiev’s obstructionist diplomacy and “much more intensive bombardment of Luhansk” on Aug. 21, the day after some progress had been made on the ground regarding customs clearance and border control procedures: “In other words, the Ukrainian authorities are bombing the destination [Luhansk] and are using this as a pretext to stop the delivery of humanitarian relief aid.”

‘Decision to Act’

Referring to these “intolerable” delays and “endless artificial demands and pretexts,” the Foreign Ministry said, “The Russian side has decided to act.” And there the statement’s abused, plaintive tone ended sharply – with this implied military threat:

“We are warning against any attempts to thwart this purely humanitarian mission. … Those who are ready to continue sacrificing human lives to their own ambitions and geopolitical designs and are rudely trampling on the norms and principles of international humanitarian law will assume complete responsibility for the possible consequences of provocations against the humanitarian relief convoy.”

Despite all the agreements and understandings that Moscow claims were reached earlier with Ukrainian authorities, Kiev insists it did not give permission for the Russian convoy to cross its border and that the Russians simply violated Ukrainian sovereignty – no matter the exigent circumstances they adduce.

More alarming still, Russia’s “warning” could be construed as the Kremlin claiming the right to use military force within Ukraine itself, in order to protect such humanitarian supply efforts – and perhaps down the road, to protect the anti-coup federalists, as well.

The risk of escalation, accordingly, will grow in direct proportion to the aggressiveness of not only the Ukrainian armed forces but also their militias of neo-fascists who have been dispatched by Kiev as frontline shock troops in eastern Ukraine.

Though many Russian citizens have crossed the border in support of their brethren in eastern Ukraine, Moscow has denied dispatching or controlling these individuals. But now there are Russians openly acknowledged to have been sent by Moscow into Ukraine – even if only “pilots” of “Russian military vehicles painted to look like civilian trucks,” as the White House depicted the humanitarian mission.

Moscow’s move is a difficult one to parry, except for those – and there are many, both in Kiev and in Washington – who would like to see the situation escalate to a wider East-West armed confrontation. One can only hope that, by this stage, President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and the European Union realize they have a tiger by the tail.

The coup regime in Kiev knows which side its bread is buttered on, so to speak, and can be expected to heed the advice from the U.S. and the EU if it is expressed forcefully and clearly. Not so the fanatics of the extreme right party Svoboda and the armed “militia” comprised of the Right Sector. Moreover, there are influential neo-fascist officials in key Kiev ministries who dream of cleansing eastern Ukraine of as many ethnic Russians as possible.

Thus, the potential for serious mischief and escalation has grown considerably. Even if Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wants to restrain his hardliners, he may be hard-pressed to do so. Thus, the U.S. government could be put in the unenviable position of being blamed for provocations – even military attacks on unarmed Russian truck drivers – over which it has little or no control.

Giving Hypocrisy a Bad Name

The White House second-string P.R. team came off the bench on Friday, with the starters on vacation, and it was not a pretty scene. Even if one overlooks the grammatical mistakes, the statement they cobbled together left a lot to be desired.

It began: “Today, in violation of its previous commitments and international law, Russian military vehicles painted to look like civilian trucks forced their way into Ukraine. …

“The Ukrainian government and the international community have repeatedly made clear that this convoy would constitute a humanitarian mission only if expressly agreed to by the Ukrainian government and only if the aid was inspected, escorted and distributed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). We can confirm that the ICRC is not escorting the vehicles and has no role in managing the mission. …

“Russian military vehicles piloted by Russian drivers have unilaterally entered the territory controlled by the separatist forces.”

The White House protested that Kiev had not “expressly agreed” to allow the convoy in without being escorted by the ICRC. Again, the Catch 22 is obvious. Washington has been calling the shots, abetting Kiev’s dawdling as the supply trucks sat at the border for a week while Kiev prevented the kind of ceasefire that the ICRC insists upon before it will escort such a shipment.

The other issue emphasized in the White House statement was inspection of the trucks: “While a small number of these vehicles were inspected by Ukrainian customs officials, most of the vehicles have not been inspected by anyone but Russia.” During a press conference at the UN on Friday, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin took strong exception to that charge, claiming not only that 59 Ukrainian inspectors had been looking through the trucks on the Russian side of the border, but that media representatives had been able to choose for themselves which trucks to examine.

Regardless of this latest geopolitical back-and-forth, it’s clear that Moscow’s decision to send the trucks across the border marked a new stage of the civil war in Ukraine. As Putin prepares to meet with Ukrainian President Poroshenko next week in Minsk – and as NATO leaders prepare for their summit on Sept. 4 to 5 in Wales – the Kremlin has put down a marker: there are limits to the amount of suffering that Russia will let Kiev inflict on the anti-coup federalists and ethnic Russian civilians right across the border.

The Russians’ attitude seems to be that if the relief convoys can be described as an invasion of sovereign territory, so be it. Nor are they alone in the court of public opinion.

On Friday at the UN, Russian Ambassador Churkin strongly objected to comments that, by its behavior, Russia found itself isolated. Churkin claimed that some of the Security Council members were “sensitive to the Russian position – among them China and the countries of Latin America.” (Argentina and Chile are currently serving as non-permanent members of the Security Council.)

The Polemic and Faux Fogh

Charter members of the Fawning Corporate Media are already busily at work, including the current FCM dean, the New York Times’ Michael R. Gordon, who was at it again with a story titled “Russia Moves Artillery Units Into Ukraine, NATO Says.”  Gordon’s “scoop” was all over the radio and TV news; it was picked up by NPR and other usual suspects who disseminate these indiscriminate alarums.

Gordon, who never did find those Weapons of Mass Destruction that he assured us were in Iraq, now writes: “The Russian military has moved artillery units manned by Russian personnel inside Ukrainian territory in recent days and was using them to fire at Ukrainian forces, NATO officials said on Friday.”

His main source seems to be NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who famously declared in 2003, “Iraq has WMDs. It is not something we think; it is something we know.” Cables released by WikiLeaks have further shown the former Danish prime minister to be a tool of Washington.

However, Gordon provided no warning to Times’ readers about Rasmussen’s sorry track record for accuracy. Nor did the Times remind its readers about Gordon’s sorry history of getting sensitive national security stories wrong.

Surely, the propaganda war will be stoked by what happened on Friday. Caveat emptor.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  As an Army officer and CIA analyst, he worked in intelligence for 30 years.  He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Just over the past five days, 22,000 have left Donetsk and Slavyansk.  These numbers have been quoted by the UN. The number of people that leave their homeland due to non-stop shelling by Ukraine forces is on the rise.

Those who for some reasons were unable to leave (in Lugansk there still are 200,000 residents) ended up in catastrophic conditions – no electricity, no drinking water.  According to the UN, the number of Ukrainians who cross the Russian-Ukrainian border is mounting. In our country [Russia], there are about 730,000 displaced people from south-eastern Ukraine.

Refugees get to the border on their own, everyone using their own means.  From the border, the get help and move further inland.

In Russian regions, conditions are being prepared for the refugees so that they could live in peace, bring up their children, work, and, most importantly, forget the nightmare they had to go through.

They feel lucky to be able to have left the war zone and stay alive.  Their journey was long, and horror is still lingering in their eyes.

Temporary dorms are already waiting for them – enough for about 700 people.  Elena has recently arrived with her children.  She is trying to adjust to the new place.  She says that she fears the most for her parents, who were left behind in Donetsk.

The canteen staff are trying to prepare a 3-course meal.  Dinner is followed by a visit to a psychologist, who is helping them to relieve their pain through speaking.  Some people come smiling, but during the conversation they suddenly break down.

“This is psychological protection.  It’s normal because emotions have to come out,” says psychologist Yana Demyanova.

Natalia and Vladimir came from Donetsk.  Now they are busy trying to make cosy their room at a sanitarium where they were temporarily put up.

Refugees in Kemerovo are helped by volunteers.  They deliver humanitarian aid and are helping with resettlement.

In the Altai Region, locals offer accommodation.  Some locals are paying rent for several families without asking anything in exchange.

The total number of refugees who have come to [Southern] Siberia since the beginning of this year is unknown – many of them are living with their relatives and have not yet applied for registration. However, around 600 people have already got citizenship.

By  the end of the year, Siberia will have accepted more than 30,000 refugees.  These people only include those who have been brought here in groups from areas that  are close to Ukraine’s border.  But a lot of people come independently, with families.  That is why Russia’s Ministry of Emergency, FMS and local authorities are thinking about ways to provide newcomers with accommodation and work.

Where a displaced person will go depends on his/her education and major. Miners are referred to Kuzbass, farmers – to the Altai Region.  People with a university degree – teachers and doctors – are advised to go to Novosibirsk.  All settlers will not be staying in the city – they will be settling around the areas in the region that are experiencing a shortage of workforce.

Elena Makarova


[Russian original]

Точное число беженцев, приехавших в сибирские регионы с начала года, назвать невозможно, многие живут в квартирах родственников и пока не оформили временную регистрацию. Однако около 600 человек уже получили гражданство.

До конца года Сибирь примет у себя более 30 тысяч беженцев, это только тех, кого везут сюда организованными группами из приграничных с Украиной регионов. Но многие приезжают самостоятельно целыми семьями. Поэтому уже сейчас сотрудники МЧС, ФМС и местные власти продумывают, как в осенний период обеспечить всех нуждающихся жильем и работой.

Куда человек поедет, зависит от его образования и специальности. Шахтеров направляют в Кузбасс; тем, кто связан с сельским хозяйством, предлагают Алтайский край, людей с высшим образованием: ученых, педагогов и медиков – везут в Новосибирск. Всех переселенцев в городе не оставят, будут расселять по области, где есть необходимость в рабочих руках.

 Временные общежития для них уже готовы, это около 700 мест. Елена с детьми приехала недавно. Пытается освоиться на новом месте. Говорит, что сейчас больше всего боится за родителей, которые остались в Донецке.

В столовой стараются приготовить и первое, и второе, и полдник. После обеда – на прием к психологам. Здесь им помогают высказаться. Причем некоторые приходят с улыбкой, а во время беседы неожиданно начинают плакать.

“Это психологическая защита. Но это нормально, потому что эмоции должны выходить”, – отмечает психолог Яна Демьянова.

 Наталья и Владимир приехали из Донецка. Сейчас стараются создать уют в комнате санатория, где их временно разместили.

В Кемерово помогают беженцам волонтеры, они доставляют гуманитарную помощь и помогают обустраиваться.

В Алтайском крае местные жители предлагают им комнаты, кто-то даже снимает отдельное жилье для нескольких семей сразу и не просит ничего взамен.

До приграничных территорий беженцы добираются сами, кто как может. Оттуда им помогают уехать вглубь страны. В российских регионах для вынужденных переселенцев готовят условия, чтобы они могли спокойно жить, воспитывать детей, работать и самое главное – забыть о том кошмаре, через который им пришлось пройти.

Они рады тому, что остались живы и уехали далеко от войны. И пусть дорога была долгой, ужас в глазах людей до сих пор остается.

Временные общежития для них уже готовы, это около 700 мест. Елена с детьми приехала недавно. Пытается освоиться на новом месте. Говорит, что сейчас больше всего боится за родителей, которые остались в Донецке.

В столовой стараются приготовить и первое, и второе, и полдник. После обеда – на прием к психологам. Здесь им помогают высказаться. Причем некоторые приходят с улыбкой, а во время беседы неожиданно начинают плакать.

“Это психологическая защита. Но это нормально, потому что эмоции должны выходить”, – отмечает психолог Яна Демьянова.

Наталья и Владимир приехали из Донецка. Сейчас стараются создать уют в комнате санатория, где их временно разместили.

В Кемерово помогают беженцам волонтеры, они доставляют гуманитарную помощь и помогают обустраиваться.

В Алтайском крае местные жители предлагают им комнаты, кто-то даже снимает отдельное жилье для нескольких семей сразу и не просит ничего взамен.

Точное число беженцев, приехавших в сибирские регионы с начала года, назвать невозможно, многие живут в квартирах родственников и пока не оформили временную регистрацию. Однако около 600 человек уже получили гражданство.

До конца года Сибирь примет у себя более 30 тысяч беженцев, это только тех, кого везут сюда организованными группами из приграничных с Украиной регионов. Но многие приезжают самостоятельно целыми семьями. Поэтому уже сейчас сотрудники МЧС, ФМС и местные власти продумывают, как в осенний период обеспечить всех нуждающихся жильем и работой.

Куда человек поедет, зависит от его образования и специальности. Шахтеров направляют в Кузбасс; тем, кто связан с сельским хозяйством, предлагают Алтайский край, людей с высшим образованием: ученых, педагогов и медиков – везут в Новосибирск. Всех переселенцев в городе не оставят, будут расселять по области, где есть необходимость в рабочих руках.

Елена Макарова

On the evening of Monday, August 18, the US Army commenced unannounced military exercises in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. MH-60 variant Black Hawk helicopters buzzed through the downtown and residential areas of the two Midwestern cities.

The ominous exercises, which took place over three days, were led by the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security in close collaboration with the local police. They were carried out without public warning, despite the fact that they included late-night low flyovers of residential districts by thunderous war equipment.

Hundreds of stunned residents placed emergency phone calls in the hours after exercises began as several black helicopters weaved in between skyscrapers of both cities and swept through areas at low altitudes and high speeds. It was only after the widespread response that the police and military acknowledged what was taking place. (Video of part of the exercises can be found here.)

“We understand the concern and confusion these activities may have created for the public,” said St. Paul Police Department spokesman Howie Padilla as he defended the exercises.

St. Paul Police Federation Dave Titus responded to these safety concerns by proclaiming, “Controlled practices like these ultimately save lives and make a safer environment for everyone.” The helicopters that flew over the two Minnesota cities are designated for stealth operations ranging from support and reconnaissance to attack missions in various settings. They are generally armed with machine guns and can fly at speeds of up to 300 km/h.

The helicopters were piloted by teams from the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, whose combat nickname is the “Night Stalkers.” The regiment, based out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, has participated in a wide range of imperialist interventions, ranging from Mogadishu, Somalia to the war in Iraq.

Major Allen Hill, speaking for the regiment, claimed that the exercises were for “training” purposes. He attempted to downplay the significance of the exercises, noting that they take place “ten to 15 times a year throughout the country.” Hill said cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul “[provide] our pilots an unfamiliar environment—an area [the soldiers] are not accustomed to. Towns like Minneapolis, St. Paul, Dallas, Phoenix, Houston, they’re all great hosts. The cities invite us.”

Tonya Tennessen, spokesperson for St. Paul’s Democratic Party Mayor Chris Coleman, confirmed that Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges (also a Democrat) did invite the military to perform combat training over residential neighborhoods and refrained from notifying the public about the exercises.

“In a post-9/11 world, this is how homeland security happens,” Tennessen said. “These exercises are taking place in cities all over the country.”

Indeed, similar incidents have been reported in the previous two years around the US as part of “urban operations training” exercises. Minneapolis and St. Paul hosted similar military helicopter exercises in 2012, though on that occasion police notified the public of the exercises three days before they began.

The increasing regularity of urban warfare training involving military forces in the United States should be seen as a sharp warning to the working class. They are part of a number of steps directed at preparing for the use of these forces in operations within the country—directed at social and political opposition.

In April 2013, police placed the city of Boston, Massachusetts under de facto martial law after the city’s marathon race was bombed by Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

This month, the population of Ferguson, Missouri has also been placed under effective police rule. Peaceful protesters who sought to express their frustration with the police murder of an unarmed youth were met with tear gas and rubber bullets from police officers armed with combat equipment. Journalists reporting on the events in Ferguson faced similar treatment.

Police forces throughout the country are not only equipped with military gear, they have direct relationships with the military—as the Minneapolis warfare exercises make clear.

These preparations line up with the military plans put forward in the recently-released US Army Strategic Studies Group paper titled “Megacities and the United States Army: Preparing for a complex and uncertain future.”

The document makes the case for urban warfare against domestic opposition: “Failing to prepare for military operations in dangerous megacities could leave a future president without the means to do something that he or she considers to be in the national interest,” it reads. Among the cities cited in exercises for urban combat is New York City.

The training exercises in Minneapolis and St. Paul are not isolated events—they are part and parcel of preparations by the American ruling class for imperialist war abroad and for an intensified attack on the democratic rights of the population domestically.

by Dyah Swastantika

After releasing the video of the beheading of American photographer James Foley, the Islamic State terrorist group – formerly known as ISIS – has begun psychologically terrorizing Indonesia.

The group has pledged to destroy the Borobudur Temple in the country’s Central Java Province, although its motive was not stated in detail.

The 1,200-year-old Borobudur temple, which is home to hundreds of Buddhist statues, is the largest Buddhist temple in the world.  Indonesia is home to the largest population of Muslims in the world.

The threat was revealed through a post on the Facebook page “We Are the Islamic State,” which is believed to be the Islamic State’s official page.

ISIS threatens to destroy world's largest Buddhist temple

The army commander of Central Java, Major General Sunindyo, said that anyone in the country would feel awful if the threat was actually carried out and has asked all citizens to work together to prevent the IS’s plan from becoming a reality.

Security forces have been tasked with keeping Borobudur safe. The community has also been “invited to take part in maintaining the temple,” according to Sunindyo.

Kosovo: The Hidden Growth of Islamic Extremism

August 24th, 2014 by Ida Orzechowska

The recent arrest of 40 alleged Islamic radicals in Kosovo together with the arrest of one of the Kosovo Imams suspected of being an inspirer of jihad in the region brought serious questions about the radicalisation of Islam and terrorism in Kosovo, in the Balkans and in Europe. Even though the issue of Kosovo Albanian volunteers or mercenaries fighting alongside the anti-Bashar forces in Syria and supporting the radical leadership of the Islamic State (earlier the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has been present in the public debate in Kosovo for at least a year, the debate itself was rather shallow and trivial.

The constant development of Islamic influences in Kosovo remained unnoticed for a long time by most observers. But it was not invisible. The ignorance perfectly represents the power of discourse and clichés in the politics in the Balkans. Kosovo has always been perceived as a secular state with a liberal Muslim majority. Kosovo Islam was meant to be moderate. Kosovo was supposed to be the example of a Muslim state in the middle of Europe that does not struggling with religious and cultural challenges. Kosovo may have problems with trafficking, organised crime and corruption; but not Islam.
 Kosova independence Vienna 17-02-2008 b
Kosovo Albanian Islam is different both from the Arab Gulf Islam, the Islam of the East Bank of the Mediterranean See and Islam in the other Balkan states. It was strongly influenced by the Yugoslav ideas and values, evolved under both socialism and cosmopolitism and is deeply mixed with the Albanian culture, a culture very different from the surrounding Slavic cultures in the region. Until the 1980s, religion in Kosovo was a private thing. Under pressure from the Slobodan Milošević regime, it transformed into a nation-building and freedom-fighting issue.

Finally after 1999, and especially after the 2008 independence, Kosovo Albanian Islam once again became private and non-political. The evolution makes the Kosovo Islam very difficult to frame and control, the changes are happening at the kitchen tables inside homes, just as – in Jeffrey Goldfarb’s words – the dismantling of the Soviet bloc was run by “the politics of small things” initiated in discussions around kitchen tables in Warsaw, Prague and Bucharest.

The growth of importance of religion in Kosovo is happening casually en passant and on a very grassroots level; and so is the social base for recruitment of potential Islam fighters. Several years ago, the holy month of Ramadan was unnoticeable in Kosovo’s capital, Pristina. Today the group of people fasting from dawn to dusk is clearly visible in the city. The usually full cafeterias and restaurants in the main boulevard, boulevard of Mother Theresa, are empty during the day, the city becomes peaceful and quite until the Iftar dinner time comes. The status of traditional Albanian national heroes like Mother Theresa or Skandenberg is now being questioned, as they were Catholics not Muslims. Unlike just a few years ago covered women and men with a beard wearing pants above his ankles is a common sight nowadays in Pristina, not to mention the conservative cities and regions such as Kaçanik or Hani i Elezit.

It’s becoming common practice to pay people in their initial phase of religiosity for regular visits to mosques, wearing a hijab or a beard. Several hundreds of euros are frequently donated to parents, or even more preferably to single mothers, for their daily expenses or education of their kids as a payoff for making the children follow the ahadith, the traditions.

As fasting and hijabs are clearly apparent, the recruitment of volunteer freedom fighters to Syria and the Islamic State remains out of sight. The recruitment and indoctrination is happening deep in the society, mostly in its lower classes and among people who are often unaware of the process they are participating in. Recent arrests show that the authorities are capable of identifying individuals who have already been actively involved in the Middle East conflicts, but they do very little in order to fight the cause of the problem. In March 2014, the Kosovo Assembly passed a draft law on the prohibition of Kosovo citizens of joining armed conflicts outside Kosovo; however the dissolution of the Parliament in May, early elections held in June and the inability of the political parties to form a new government undermine the future of the bill.

The specific number of Kosovo Albanians fighting in Iraq and Syria is unknown, the authorities claim to have information about several dozen of them, but most analysts suggest that the number definitely exceeds 100. Until now 16 of them died in combat. The ones arrested last week are accused of supporting the Islamic State and the al-Nusra Front, and together with the arrests a significant number of weapons, explosives and electronic equipment have been confiscated. Even though these are men who constitute the vast majority of “freedom fighters”, women are sent from the Balkans to the Middle East in order to “fulfil their duty in Jihad Al-Nikah – thesex jihad”.

The recruitment process itself is rather flexible and also therefore difficult to track down. The crucial part of the process is the selection of potential candidates and identification of individuals vulnerable and susceptible to influence. Even though the economic situation in Kosovo is bad and the unemployment rate is almost 50 per cent of the whole population, and over 70 per cent among the youth, the economic promises seem not to be a decisive factor.

The bad economic situation should be regarded, rather, as an indirect factor which creates an advantageous environment for recruitment. The lack of opportunities, lack of occupation and simply an excess of free time are some of the reasons that push young people into the radicals’ arms. Another crucial reason – an identity crisis – is a more complex one. Kosovo Albanians, or Kosovars, experience trouble with defining who they are. They are not emotionally attached to the blue and yellow Kosovo flag, so they use the Albanian red flag with a silhouetted black double-headed eagle in the centre. They are Albanians but they feel distinguished from the Albanians in Albania. They fought for independence and sovereignty, but they feel their country is run by foreign embassies. Religion offers a clear identity and a sense of belonging.

There is still a strong belief in the Kosovo society that religion and state should be separated. When the Macedonian Albanians were protesting in July against the authorities in Skopje, the protests enjoyed strong support from the Kosovo Albanians, but faced a critique regarding the strong religious component of the protest, including the use of the green Muslim flags and organisation of the demonstrations in front of mosques. At the same time, terrorism has a long tradition in Kosovo and it is difficult to distinguish Islamic terrorism from the general phenomenon of terrorism in the country executed by paramilitary organisations or other politically driven groups.

The unexpectedness of the developments is personified by the self-declared commander of the ethnic Albanian fighters in the Islamic State, Lavdrim Muhaxheri, who used to work in Camp Bondsteel, the Kosovo base for the US Military, and later joined the American mission in Afghanistan. Today, he is fighting in the Middle East, streaming his call for jihad in Arabic on YouTube and posting photos of him cutting off a man’s head on Facebook.

So far, this is a phenomenon in the Kosovo society. The role of the new government and the international community in Pristina will be to not let it turn into a widespread societal process of religious radicalisation. “This land has been created by warriors and poets, and various gods,” sang Bajaga, a famous Yugoslav singer, back in 1993. There is a space in Kosovo for various gods, but there cannot be space for extremism.

Ida Orzechowska is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Political Science of the University of Wroclaw, Poland, obtaining a degree in political science. Her main research interests relate to international security, the Western Balkans and conflict studies

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG), Center for Constitutional Rights, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Arab Lawyers Union, and American Association of Jurists (Asociacion Americana de Juristas) sent a letter [https://www.nlg.org/sites/default/files/Letter%20to%20ICC%20Prosecutor%20Gaza%20FINAL.pdf] on Friday, August 22 to Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), urging her to initiate an investigation of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity committed by Israeli leaders and aided and abetted by U.S. officials in Gaza. Under the Rome Statute, the ICC has the power to hold individuals criminally accountable for the most serious of crimes.

“In light of the extreme gravity of the situation in the occupied Gaza Strip, in particular the large number of civilian casualties and large scale destruction of civilian property, including schools, mosques and hospitals, and the ongoing incitement to genocide perpetrated by Israeli political figures and leaders, the [NLG] and endorsing organizations strongly urge the Office of the Prosecutor to use its power under Article 15 of the Rome Statute to initiate a preliminary investigation” of crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction.

 “[Under the Rome Statute, an] individual can be convicted of a war crime, genocide or a crime against humanity  . . . if he or she ‘aids, abets or otherwise assists’ in the commission or attempted commission of the crime, ‘including providing the means for its commission’,” the letter reads.

“By transferring financial assistance, weapons and other military aid to Israel, members of the U.S. Congress, President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have aided and abetted the commission of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity by Israeli officials and commanders in Gaza.”

The letter states that on July 20, 2014, in the midst of criminal behavior, Israel requested, and the U.S. Defense Department then authorized, the transfer to Israel of ammunition from the War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition. And in August 2014, Congress overwhelmingly approved, and Obama signed, a $225 million payment for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

“Israel’s clearly disproportionate use of force against the 1.8 million residents of Gaza appears to have little to do with any claim of security,” the organizations wrote, “but seems to be calculated to exact revenge against Palestinian civilians.” The letter quotes statements of Israeli officials advocating vengeance against “the entire Palestinian people “and “calling for the internment of Palestinians in concentration camps in Sinai and the destruction of the civilian infrastructure in Gaza.”

 Allegations of War Crimes

The letter lists the following war crimes, and cites supporting factual allegations for each crime:

 -willful killing (over 2,000 Palestinians, 80% civilians)

-willfully causing great suffering or serious injury (wounding nearly 10,000 Palestinians, 2,200 children)

-unlawful, wanton and unjustified extensive destruction and appropriation of property (tens of thousands of Palestinians lost homes, severe damage to infrastructure)

-willful deprivation of fair trial rights (450 Palestinians held without charge or trial); -intentional attacks against civilians or civilian objects or humanitarian vehicles, installations and personnel (bombing of numerous schools, UN places of refuge, hospitals, ambulances, mosques)

-intentionally launching unjustified attacks, knowing they will kill or injure civilians, damage civilian objects, or cause long-term and severe damage to the natural environment (use of ‘Dahiya Doctrine’ to apply “disproportionate force” and cause “great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilian populations,” as defined in UN Human Rights Council [Goldstone] Report)

(Israel virtually flattened town of Khuza’a).

Allegations of Genocide

Article 6 of the Rome Statute defines “genocide” as the commission of any of the following acts with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group: (a) killing members of the group; (b) causing serious bodily harm to members of the group; or (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its destruction in whole or in part.

 The letter says, “In light of the fact that Palestinians in Gaza had no ability to flee for safety, it must be assumed the responsible Israeli officials knew that huge casualties and destruction of civilian property and infrastructure were certain during the massive bombardment by land, air and sea of the occupied Gaza Strip.” The letter also lists “the repeatedly inciting public statements made by Israeli officials before and during the course of Operation Protective Edge and the history of Israel’s repeated bombardment of Palestinian refugee camps and populations in Lebanon and in Gaza” as evidence that “Israeli officials may be implementing a plan to destroy the Palestinian population, at least in part.”

 Allegations of Crimes against Humanity

Article 7 of the Rome Statute defines “crimes against humanity” as the commission of any of the following, when part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack: (a) Murder; (b) Persecution against a group or collectivity based on its political, racial, national, ethnic or religious character; or (c) The crime of apartheid (inhumane acts committed in the context of an institutional regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another racial group, with the intent to maintain that regime).

 The letter states, “Israeli forces have killed, wounded, summarily executed and administratively detained Palestinians, Hamas forces and civilians alike. Israeli forces intentionally destroyed the infrastructure in Gaza.” It also says Israel keeps Palestinians caged in “the world’s largest open air prison,” and “controls all ingress and egress to Gaza, and limits … access to medicine and other essentials.” Finally, the letter cites arbitrary arrest and administrative detention; expropriation of property; destruction of homes, crops and trees; separate areas and roads; segregated housing, legal and educational systems for Palestinians and Jews; the illegal barrier wall encroaching on Palestinian territory; hundreds of illegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian land; and denying the right of Palestinians to return to their homeland because they are not Jews.

The signatories to the letter conclude that “[t]he initiation of an investigation would send a clear message to all involved either in committing or in aiding and abetting of the aforementioned crimes that they stand to be held personally accountable for their actions.”

It remains to be seen whether the ICC will exercise jurisdiction in such a case since neither Israel nor the United States is a party to the Rome Statute. But if the ICC determines that Palestine can accede to the Rome Statute, the ICC could take jurisdiction over crimes committed by Israelis and Americans in Palestinian territory.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is also deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the U.S. representative to the American Association of Jurists (Asociacion Americana de Juristas). Her next book, ‘Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral and Geopolitical Issues,’ will be published in September 2014.

Muslim Leaders Worldwide Condemn ISIS

August 24th, 2014 by Washington's Blog

Many Americans Want to Know Why Muslims Aren’t Condemning ISIS

ABC News’ Laura Ingraham, Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Fox & Friends and other U.S. media commentators say that Muslims are silent and complicit in the barbarian crimes of ISIS.  Fox News host Andrea Tantaros said that all Muslims are the same as ISIS, and implied that all Muslims should be met “with a bullet to the head”.

Why don’t we hear Muslims condemning the barbarian ISIS terrorists?

Turns out they are loudly condemning ISIS … but our press isn’t covering it.

Father Elias Mallon of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association explains:

“Why aren’t Muslims speaking out against these atrocities?” The answer is: Muslims have been speaking out in the strongest terms, condemning the crimes against humanity committed by ISIS (or, as it is increasingly called, IS) and others in the name of Islam.

Father Mallon is right …

Vatican Radio – an official Vatican news site – reported last month:

Two of the leading voices in the Muslim world denounced the persecution of Christians in Iraq, at the hands of extremists proclaiming a caliphate under the name Islamic State.

The most explicit condemnation came from Iyad Ameen Madani, the Secretary General for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the group representing 57 countries, and 1.4 billion Muslims.

In a statement, he officially denounced the “forced deportation under the threat of execution” of Christians, calling it a “crime that cannot be tolerated.” The Secretary General also distanced Islam from the actions of the militant group known as ISIS, saying they “have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, kindness, fairness, freedom of faith and coexistence.”

Meanwhile, Turkey’s top cleric, the spiritual successor to the caliphate under the Ottoman Empire, also touched on the topic during a peace conference of Islamic scholars.

In a not-so-veiled swipe at ISIS, Mehmet Gormez declared that “an entity that lacks legal justification has no authority to declare war against a political gathering, any country or community.” He went on to say that Muslims should not be hostile towards “people with different views, values and beliefs, and regard them as enemies.”

***

Gormez said death threats against non-Muslims made by the group, formerly known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), were hugely damaging. “The statement made against Christians is truly awful. Islamic scholars need to focus on this (because) an inability to peacefully sustain other faiths and cultures heralds the collapse of a civilization,” he told Reuters in an interview.

The Independent noted last month:

Muslim leaders in Britain have condemned the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), expressing their “grave concern” at continued violence in its name.

Representatives from both the Sunni and Shia groups in the UK met at the Palace of Westminster and relayed their message that the militant group does not represent the majority of Muslims.

***

Shuja Shafi, of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, said: “Violence has no place in religion, violence has no religion.

100 Sunni and Shiite religious leaders from the U.K. produced a video denouncing the Islamic State, saying they wanted to “come together to emphasise the importance of unity in the UK and to decree ISIS as an illegitimate, vicious group who do not represent Islam in any way.”

Breitbart noted earlier this month:

Two prominent Muslim leaders are urging Muslim men not to join the radical jihadists.

“The public have to be critical. This is not about [establishing] a Caliphate [Islamic State]; but [a group] working for its own cause and gains from a sectarian issue,” said Nahdlatul Ulama executive council chair, Slamet Effendy Yusuf.

The Nahdlatul Ulama is one of the largest Islamic organizations in the world and concentrates on traditional Islam.

***

Muhammadiyah, an organization with 29 million members, is more modern, well-known for educational activities, and avoids politics. Secretary Abdul Mu’ti said ISIS does not represent Islam.

“That’s my point, this [movement] is not in the context of religion [Islam],” Abdul said. “We all need to question the group’s goals. Don’t just follow radicals who tried to win their own wars in other countries; we will be the ones to suffer losses.”

***

These men are not the first Muslim leaders to denounce the Islamic State. The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) spoke out against IS’s expulsion of Christians in Mosul. The group claimed the rejection served to “violate Islamic laws, Islamic conscience and leave but a negative image of Islam and Muslims.”

Al Arabiya News reports that the Arab League Chief denounced acts committed by the Islamic State in Iraq as “crimes against humanity,” demanding that they be brought to justice, and he:

Strongly denounced the crimes, killings, dispossession carried out by the terrorist (ISIS) against civilians and minorities in Iraq that have affected Christians in Mosul and Yazidis.

The Daily Star writes that Egypt’s highest religious authority – Al-Azhar’s Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam -  denounced the Islamic State as a threat to Islam and said that the group violates Islamic law:

[They] give an opportunity for those who seek to harm us, to destroy us and interfere in our affairs with the [pretext of a] call to fight terrorism.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – the largest Muslim group in the U.S. – called ISIS un-Islamic and morally repugnant,” noted that the Islamic State’s “human rights abuses on the ground are well-documented,” called the Islamic State “both un-Islamic and morally repugnant” and called the killing of American journalist James Foley “gruesome and barbaric”.  See this, this and this.

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) – the largest Muslim organization on the continent -  released a statement denouncing the Islamic State “for its attacks on Iraq’s religious minorities and the destruction of their places of worship.” ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid said, “ISIS actions against religious minorities in Iraq violate the Quranic teaching, ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion’  … ” adding, “Their actions are to be denounced and are in no way representative of what Islam actually teaches.”  INSA condemned the vicious execution of Foley at the hands of the terrorist group ISIS, terming it as “un-Islamic behaviour”, and said:

ISIS actions have never been representative nor in accordance to the mainstream teachings of Islam. This act of murder cannot be justified according to the faith practiced by over 1.6 billion people.

The head Shia religious leader in Iraq and Sunni religious leaders in Iraq have all condemned – and called for war against – ISIS.

Al Jazeera reports:

Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority has condemned the armed groups Islamic State and al-Qaeda as apostates and labelled them the “number one enemy of Islam”.

***

“Extremist and militant ideas and terrorism which spread decay on Earth, destroying human civilisation, are not in any way part of Islam, but are enemy number one of Islam, and Muslims are their first victims” ….

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) released a statement condemning “the barbaric execution of American Journalist James Foley by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).” MPAC urged “all people of conscience to take a stand against extremism” and offered condolences to Foley’s family. MPAC also noted the importance of countering ISIS and other extremist groups by working “to empower the mainstream and relegate extremists to the irrelevance they deserve.”

ISIS and Al Qaeda Are FAKE Muslims

The 9/11 hijackers used cocaine and drank alcohol, slept with prostitutes and attended strip clubs … but they did not worship at any mosque. See this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this. Hardly the acts of devout Muslims.

Huffington Post reports:

Can you guess which books the wannabe jihadists Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed ordered online from Amazon before they set out from Birmingham to fight in Syria last May? A copy of Milestones by the Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb? No. How about Messages to the World: the Statements of Osama Bin Laden? Guess again. Wait, The Anarchist Cookbook, right? Wrong.

Sarwar and Ahmed, both of whom pleaded guilty to terrorism offences last month, purchased Islam for Dummies and The Koran for Dummies. You could not ask for better evidence to bolster the argument that the 1,400-year-old Islamic faith has little to do with the modern jihadist movement. The swivel-eyed young men who take sadistic pleasure in bombings and beheadings may try to justify their violence with recourse to religious rhetoric – think the killers of Lee Rigby screaming “Allahu Akbar” at their trial; think of Islamic State beheading the photojournalist James Foley as part of its “holy war” – but religious fervour isn’t what motivates most of them.

In 2008, a classified briefing note on radicalisation, prepared by MI5′s behavioural science unit, was leaked to the Guardian. It revealed that, “far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could . . . be regarded as religious novices.” The analysts concluded that “a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation“, the newspaper said. [Here's the Guardian report.]

For more evidence, read the books of the forensic psychiatrist and former CIA officer Marc Sageman; the political scientist Robert Pape [Pape found that foreign occupation - and not religion - made certain Arabs into terrorists; the CIA's top Bin Laden hunter agreed]; the international relations scholar Rik Coolsaet; the Islamism expert Olivier Roy; the anthropologist Scott Atran. They have all studied the lives and backgrounds of hundreds of gun-toting, bomb-throwing jihadists and they all agree that Islam isn’t to blame for the behaviour of such men (and, yes, they usually are men).

Instead they point to other drivers of radicalisation ….

When he lived in the Philippines in the 1990s, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, described as “the principal architect” of the 11 September attacks by the 9/11 Commission, once flew a helicopter past a girlfriend’s office building with a banner saying “I love you”. His nephew Ramzi Yousef, sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, also had a girlfriend and, like his uncle, was often spotted in Manila’s red-light district. The FBI agent who hunted Yousef said that he “hid behind a cloak of Islam”. Eyewitness accounts suggest the 9/11 hijackers were visiting bars and strip clubs in Florida and Las Vegas in the run-up to the attacks. The Spanish neighbours of Hamid Ahmidan, convicted for his role in the Madrid train bombings of 2004, remember him “zooming by on a motorcycle with his long-haired girlfriend, a Spanish woman with a taste for revealing outfits”, according to press reports.

And alleged Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a pothead. And his brother Tamerlan looked more like an ego-driven hustler than a devout Muslim (that’s his Mercedes in the background).

I agree with Bill O’Reilly when he said that it is unfair to call the Norwegian mass murderer a “Christian”.  Likewise, we shouldn’t call Arab terrorists “Muslims”.

Postscript:  I am not a Muslim.  I am, however, American.  And knee-jerk hatred of any group of people based on their religion – including Christians, Jews or Muslims,  – is deeply anti-American.

And the most crazed, radical Islamic terrorists would never have gained power if the U.S. and our allies hadn’t overthrown the more moderate Arab leaders.

The following letter calling on scholars and librarians within Middle East studies to boycott Israeli academic institutions was submitted in the name of the below signatories to Jadaliyya on 6 August 2014.]

We, the undersigned scholars and librarians working on the Middle East, hold that silence about the latest humanitarian catastrophe caused by Israel’s new military assault on the Gaza Strip—the third and most devastating in six years—constitutes complicity. World governments and mainstream media do not hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law. We, however, as a community of scholars engaged with the Middle East, have a moral responsibility to do so. 

Neither the violation of international law nor the destruction of Palestinian life in Gaza, however, began or will end with the current war. Israel has maintained an illegal siege on the Gaza Strip for seven years. It has limited the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza, rationing Palestinian calorie intake at just above subsistence levels.[1] Moreover, the suffering of Palestinians is not limited to Gaza: the occupation and dispossession in East Jerusalem, the Naqab (Negev), and the West Bank; the construction of walls and fences around the Palestinian population, the curtailment of Palestinian freedom of movement and education, and the house demolitions, all have long histories and no apparent end in sight. They will continue unless people around the world act where their governments have failed.

As employees in institutes of higher learning from around the world, we have a particular interest in and responsibility to respond to the obstacles to the right to higher education that the Israeli state has created for Palestinians both inside Israel and in the occupied territories. In the past two months alone, Israeli forces have raided Al Quds University in Jerusalem, the Arab American University in Jenin, and Birzeit University near Ramallah.[2] In the current attacks, Israeli aerial bombardment has destroyed the Islamic University of Gaza. More generally, the Israeli state discriminates against Palestinian students in Israeli universities;[3] and it isolates Palestinian academia by, among other tactics, preventing foreign academics from visiting Palestinian institutions in Gaza and the West Bank.[4] We are also alarmed by the long history of confiscations of Palestinian archives and the destruction of libraries and research centers.[5]

The ongoing Israeli massacres in Gaza have been ghastly reminders of the complicity of Israeli academic institutions in the occupation and oppression of Palestinians. Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar Ilan University, Haifa University, Technion, and Ben Gurion University have publicly declared their unconditional support for the Israeli military.[6] More generally, there are intimate connections between Israeli academic institutions and the military, security, and political establishments in Israel.[7]  To take but one example: Tel Aviv University is directly implicated, through its Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), in developing the Dahiya Doctrine,[8] adopted by the Israeli military in its assaults on Lebanon in 2006 and on Gaza today. The Dahiya Doctrine advocates the extensive destruction of civilian infrastructure and “intense suffering” among the civilian population as an “effective” means to subdue any resistance.[9]

Our colleagues in the Israeli academy have been silent, by and large, in the face of such violence and injustice. We applaud the few dozen Israeli academics who have protested against their government, and the several dozen who signed a petition calling for an end to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.[10] Alarmingly, they have faced disciplinary measures from their own universities.[11] We stand by these academics and support them in what is our joint struggle.

As Middle East scholars and librarians, we feel compelled to join the growing number of academics in Israel and around the world who support the Palestinian call to boycott Israeli academic institutions. This call responds to Palestinian civil society organizations’ long-standing appeal for the comprehensive implementation of boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS) of Israel, and is supported by the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE).

Following in the footsteps of the growing number of US academic associations that have endorsed boycott resolutions,[12] we call on our colleagues in Middle East Studies to boycott Israeli academic institutions, and we pledge not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or to attend conferences and other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel. We call for doing so until such time as these institutions end their complicity in violating Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law, and respect the full rights of Palestinians by calling on Israel to:

  1. End its siege of Gaza, its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967, and dismantle the settlements and the walls;
  2. Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and the stateless Negev Bedouins to full equality; and
  3. Respect, protect, and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

[**Academics and librarians interested in signing this statement should visit http://tinyurl.com/MEscholarsboycott(recommended) or email [email protected] with their name, title, and affiliation.]

[For media inquiries, please contact Professor Jens Hanssen via [email protected] or +1-416- 9783143]

[This statement has now been signed by more than 475 scholars and librarians. Click here to read the complete list of signatories]

 Now that almost all mainstream political and media mind managers have responded, in horror, sympathy or skepticism, to the most recent – as this is written – police killing of an unarmed black man, it is time to consider radical action for social change as opposed to the usual reactionary individual reform.

The attention given this latest outrage has been greater than ever before, which is good no matter what form it takes. Most often it has been understandably critical of the police action, though not many will publicly shout “great” at any alleged racially motivated killing unless they are brain dead, or racists, or more likely both.

The specific facts of the case are not known to anyone but the deceased, who cannot speak, and the killer, who would only be believed or doubted by those whose minds were already made up. We know that the dead man was unarmed and that he was shot six times. We also know that he was young, big and may have been angry, but there is nothing in the constitution that says you get the death penalty for being a big black man who may be angry. Or, for that matter a dumb white man in a position of authority. In fact, if being a dumb white man in a position of authority were a capital offense, our government would be the site of an ongoing blood bath of executions. Sarcasm aside, what is to be done?

Another in a dreadful series of murders of unarmed black men by police officers frequently dressed and equipped like an invading colonial army in a foreign country – what they often are – should not only invite anger but also concern for society in general and not just the community in which this killing took place.

Police officers sometimes commit violent acts based on individual racist ignorance, the last two words being synonymous. But far more often they act for the social ignorance of their employers, to do dirty work in communities many Americans who vacation in foreign countries have never seen except on the TV news.

Who wants to visit ghettos where poor, often darker skinned people live, and without hotels, restaurants, museums and gift shops welcoming to tourists? And given class realities which trump alleged differences in race, how many affluent professionals who accept being designated as “people of color” live in or visit such communities? So the rest of us can think we are personally clean, we employ the police to do the socially dirty work in keeping order among people who have every right to occasionally act disorderly because of the often wretched conditions of their lives. This depraved social situation prevails regardless of the mental or moral cleanliness of any individual police officer’s mind.

While we spend trillions on a warfare state that murders foreigners while maintaining military bases all over the world, and tens of billions on the care and feeding of our pets, and billions to prop up an apartheid state in the middle east that makes us party to mass murders and leads to our being increasingly despised by people all over the world, we tolerate communities of tragic poverty, blatant economic inequality, low income and high crime which are the result of political horrors having little to do with the police officers we employ as veritable colonial armies.

Blaming the police for the bigotries of class, poverty and racism endemic to our system is as stupid as blaming the military for wars. And if you believe that soldiers are responsible for war, whether you are a person of color, no color, or more likely, no brains, be glad there is no death penalty for being stupid.

Even our ruling media corporations are unable to deny some unmistakable facts that can no longer be hidden about our economy:

Inequality is written into the market system under control of private profiteers. It must have vast oceans of poverty to maintain the mountain from which a relatively small number of incredibly wealthy people look down on the rest of us. The increased human suffering this system brings is compounded by what is being done to the natural environment which investment capital treats as just another profit making commodity. That is not simply an aspect of the police, the military, parking lot attendants, school teachers or any other group of workers but rather the necessary social outcome of the system they, and we, are part of and suffering from, until and unless we bring about systemic change that ends that endemic inequality, injustice and human suffering.

Prosecuting one cop who kills a person probably innocent of any crime other than being angry will socially accomplish what all other prosecutions of individual killers do: Nothing!

As long as we lavish hundreds of billions of dollars on producing, selling and using weapons, and compound the moral felony of profit for some at loss for most others by maintaining separations based on skin color, national origin or other divisions created to keep us a mass of minorities controlled by a tiny group of plantation masters who own what we call our democratic homeland, we can prosecute individuals for war crimes and continue killing one another until we run out of scapegoats and face the need to stop the war.

While an idiotic governing group threatens war with Russia over the Ukraine and spreads fanatic hatred in the Middle East with a bombing campaign to supposedly bring democracy and peace while creating death, destruction and refugees, the degradation of inequality, poverty and racism grows much worse at home.

Life is getting worse in communities where almost everyone is either poor, low income or living with minimal choices if any at all by comparison to what passes for those available to a diminishing group living above poverty. Those former working class members rebranded as “middle” as they went into debt to purchase what they could not afford, have in recent years expanded to include more varied skin tones and ethnic integration, but are in decline as wealth grows only for the minority at the top. As life becomes more dangerous for those formerly believing they were affluent, it becomes more miserable for those never more than barely surviving.

With ugly race and ethnic barriers used to keep divisions among people, the class barriers which are the burden of all need to be understood and fought in order to achieve a democratic system that affords social justice, and equality to all and not just some.

Ferguson is another cancer sore in a nation facing a terminal condition if it insists on simply removing one or another blemish while allowing the organism to continue its deterioration. The personal tragedy suffered in suburban St.Louis needs to be seen and acted upon as a national disorder not limited to one community, and certainly not one aspect of the system of private profits and public loss that reduces us all to accept false identitarian divisions when we most need democratic unity. And real democracy, as opposed to the sham we have that disgraces its name, demands radical action to change the system, not just one or another of its component parts.

Back in 2003, Tony Blair stated that Saddam Hussein could hit Britain with a missile within 45 minutes. He also said that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The national security of Britain was said to be under threat. Subsequently, Britain took part in an invasion that had been planned long before the evidence had been cooked up to fit the policy, and over a million Iraqis lost their lives. Let’s not forget, before that Britain was complicit in applying sanction that led to the deaths of around 500,000 children under five.

Fast forward over a decade and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said that Iraq Islamic State militants are turning large swathes of Iraq and Syria into launch pads to stage terror attacks on Western nations. In an article in the Sunday Times, he said that with the “barbaric ideology” of the Sunni insurgents, “sooner or later they will seek to strike us on British soil.”

 He went on to attack the British jihadist who allegedly killed US journalist Bernard Foley for undermining the values which British people stand for:

“It is horrifying to think that the perpetrator of this heinous act could have been brought up in Britain. It is an utter betrayal of our country, our values and everything the British people stand for.”

Hammond and other government ministers have stated the threat from the Islamic State militants could last for several years.

The day before Hammond spoke, Home Secretary Theresa May announced she was preparing new laws to tackle Islamist militants at home and to stop them going abroad to fight. May went quite a bit further than Hammond by saying that that Britain faced a long struggle against a deadly extremist ideology that could take even decades. She added that new powers would be designed to restrict the militants’ behaviour in Britain, ban involvement in groups preaching violence and require prisons, broadcasters, schools and universities to take a greater role in combating the radicalization of Muslims.

Foley video: A timely outpouring of outrage and fake morality

The alleged murder of US journalist James Foley captured on video is causing a timely outpouring of anger in Britain. Such sentiment is being ignited courtesy of senior British politicians who it seems can always be relied on to beat the war drums on cue from Washington.

Hammond’s statements are designed to garner mass support for a resurgence of Western military intervention across the Middle East, most notably possible direct intervention in Syria, which Washington has wanted for some time. What Hammond or May will not tell the British public is that the US has failed in its aim to use ISIS and other groups to defeat Assad and that Washington wants air strikes to weaken Assad under the pretext of destroying ISIS, the monster it created. Indeed, the US’s top general, Martin Dempsey, has noted that ISIS could not be defeated without attacking their base in Syria.

We saw in Libya how NATO illegal air strikes and ‘mission drift’ allowed a path to be bombed to Tripoli to help its proxy forces oust Gaddafi. Tens of thousands lost their lives and Libya’s social and political infrastructure now lies in ruins. US air strikes could this time open the path to Damascus for its (trained and bussed-in) militant forces in Syria, again, as in Libya, under the guise of rooting out barbarism and protecting lives.

What Hammond and May will also not tell the British public is that Western special forces on the ground have been directing the war against Syria and that the US, Turkey, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have for a long time been heavily arming militants along both Syria’s border with Turkey in the north and with Jordan in the south. Tony Cartalucci’s recent article shows this to be the case and draws our attention to a number of news articles [http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-begins-selling-syria-intervention-using-isis-pretext/53969741].

 First, the Daily Telegraph’s March 2013 article titled “US and Europe in ‘major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels through Zagreb’” reported that 3,000 tons of weapons dating back to the former Yugoslavia had been sent in 75 planeloads from Zagreb airport to the rebels, largely via Jordan. The shipments were allegedly paid for by Saudi Arabia at the bidding of the US, with assistance on supplying the weapons organised through Turkey and Jordan.

Second, the New York Times March 2013 article “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With CIA Aid” stated that, with help from the CIA, Arab governments and Turkey had sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters. This aid included more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes.

Third, the Washington Post’s September 2013 article ”U.S. weapons reaching Syrian rebels” reported that the CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration.

Where did all the equipment and money go to? Cartalucci provides details of how the West and its allies have been instrumental in organizing and funding the war in Syria and implies it is no coincidence that we now have a well-equipped and organised ISIS.

What Philip Hammond or Theresa May will not tell the public

However, Hammond and May would never inform the public that the West funded and created ISIS to do its bidding in Syria and also to put pressure on an increasingly independently-acting government in Iraq, which refused the US to allow its troops to remain in the country with immunity from prosecution.

Sensationalist videos of decapitations of westerners serve a purpose. They manipulate public sentiment, stir up anti-Islamist sentiment and get a war-fatigued public to support even more wars of empire under the lie of protecting civilians, a bogus ‘war on terror’ or rooting out barbarism and evil.

 In turn, Muslims in Britain face further demonisation. Politicians and the media say their communities should be ‘monitored’ in the name of ‘secularism’ and ensuring liberal democratic ‘freedoms’ (while at the same time stripping away such freedoms, not least by mass surveillance of the entire British population and the over application of stringent anti-terror laws). Those who advocate this often tend to narrowly focus on issues of multiculturalism and Muslims’ failure to adopt to ‘our’ way of life, while neatly sidestepping why it is that Muslims have become a such a key focus of concern in Britain: it is in Muslim lands that the machinations of empire and imperialist wars of occupation and intervention are being played out.

 Hammond and May would not wish to draw the public’s attention to the actual reasons as to why the US, Britain and other allied countries have actually attacked Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or Syria. They will spin the public a yarn about women’s rights or a war on terror in Afghanistan, removing despots from power in Libya or Syria or protecting human life – while then going on to attack or help destabilize countries, resulting in the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives.

Not for a moment will they tell the public that their taxes are really being used to help rich, powerful corporations gain even greater riches and power by using emotive videos and the language of fear as a pretext to grab natural resources and  destabilize regions and countries in order to do so.

 Not for a minute would they admit that Washington and London’s aim is to balkanise Iraq and to attack and weaken Iran and its allies in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and across the region. Then after getting rid of Putin’s allies in the region, proxy forces will be used to destabilise Russia via its borders to the south, just as is happening now to the north in Ukraine (under the lie of Russian aggression!)

Not for a moment will they tell the public that Britain has been involved in destabilizing countries or reveal the full extent to which it has helped in inflicting mayhem and terror on innocent populations via supplying arms, covert operations or direct military intervention. Not for a moment will they draw attention to the hypocrisy of huge arms deals Britain carries out with its despot allies (the kind it says it despises) in the Middle East which enriches (taxpayer-subsidized) British arms companies.

Keeping the public confused and ignorant

Part of the battle for the public’s hearts and minds is to keep people confused, to play on their ignorance and confusion by lying to them about what is happening and to ensure they continue to live in fear of a threat to ‘national security’. Most of the public remains blissfully ignorant and easily manipulated by the psych-ops directed at them through the corporate media.

Hammond talks of ‘British values’ and how heinous, barbaric acts betray such values. What does Hammond perceive ‘British values’ to be?

The opposite of barbarity: compassion, caring, the compulsion to ‘do the right thing’.

How best to assess values than by actions? Given the narrative thus far, we might conclude that the actions of Britain as a state have very little to do with ‘compassion’ or doing ‘the right thing’.

Moreover, if ordinary members of the British public think that Hammond or May really ultimately have their welfare or best interests at heart, they should think again.

BP, Goldman Sachs, General Electric, Bank of America, Chevron, Barclays, etc, are the ones that really set Anglo-US policy agendas via Brookings Institute, Council on Foreign Relations, International Crisis Group, Chatham House, etc. Ultimately, they are Hammond and May’s constituents, not the voters.

 The rich and powerful have off-shored millions of jobs as well as their personal and company tax liabilities to boost their profits and have bankrupted economies. They are driving the ‘globalisation’ agenda. There is little or no care for the plight of ordinary folk either at home or abroad.

What has this agenda resulted in? Austerity, unemployment, powerlessness, privatization, deregulation, banker control of economies, corporate control of food and seeds, the stripping away of civil liberties, increased mass surveillance, wars to prop up the US dollar.

Who has benefited? Monsanto, Occidental Petroleum, JP Morgan, Boeing and the rest of the corporate cabal centred on Wall Street and the City of London.

It’s the ability to maximise profit by shifting capital around the world that matters to powerful corporations, whether on the back of distorted free trade agreements, which open the gates for plunder, or through coercion and militarism, which merely tear them down. Whether it is the structural violence of neoliberal economic policies or actual military violence, the welfare of ordinary folk does not enter into the equation. They are regarded as mere fodder and minds to be manipulated for the greater good of profit for the few.

Local people, local economies and self-sufficiency are being swept aside via a system based on high-energy input production, consumption and distribution that relies on oil. For example, small organic-based family farms are being be cast aside in favour of giant agritech concerns where petro-chemical inputs are used on corporate-owned seeds for monoculture crops or commodities grown for shipment over long distances or for export. Oil is central. And this process is symptomatic of an environmentally unsustainable model of ‘growth’ and ‘development’ that seeks to ‘structurally adjust’ agriculture and economies by taking away control from people at the local, community level. It is also symptomatic of the fact that in a world of plenty, local food self sufficiency is being eroded and almost one billion people are undernourished because the bottom line is corporate profit, power, control and ultimately oil to fuel the system. And global capital’s sacrificial pawns, whether small farmers, the hungry billion or ordinary families just trying to live and get by in geopolitically strategic locations like Syria, Gaza or Iraq are regarded as collateral damage.

In an oil-thirsty, oil-dependent, increasingly war-driven system of corporate-driven ‘globalisation’, the other bottom line is that ordinary folk do not count.

So we should not be fooled by made-for-media outpourings of fake concern for our safety or fake morality about good and evil that are designed to create fear, outrage and support for militarism. The result will be more war and slaughter for pipelines and power. The result will be further repression under the guise of preventing terror at home.

Politicians and government agencies should be held to account for their actions, for their funding of militant groups, for their wars, destabilizations and covert wars. Instead they try to get us to fall into line, to remain ignorant of their deeds, to believe ‘there is no alternative’ to ‘what is’ or to accept a pack of lies, deceptions and crimes under the guise of globalization or democracy.

US social commentator Walter Lippman once said that ‘responsible men’ make decisions and have to be protected from the ‘bewildered herd’ – the public. He added that the public should be subdued, obedient and distracted from what is really happening. Screaming patriotic slogans and fearing for their lives, they should be admiring with awe leaders who save them from destruction.

Hammond, May and politicians like them play their role well.

Whet will prevent this leadership of the “free world” from attacking their own citizens or denying those citizens humanitarian aid when they are in need? For them, the Ukraine is just practice.

For weeks now, all involved parties have known of the humanitarian crisis in the Donbass region of Ukraine. The Ukraine’s Kiev government created the crisis by attacking its own citizens, a process that began on July 1 at the order of the United States agent and puppet, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) declared the situation a humanitarian emergency and outlined the aid required.

Russia put together a 280-truck convoy of needed aid and headed for the border with Ukraine. Ukraine border guards halted the convoy. They accused Russia of planting weapons in the trucks. When Russia offered inspections and ride along privileges to Ukraine officials, along with ICRC and EU representatives, nothing changed. It was clear to Russia that the delays by the Kiev government were a ploy to allow further attacks on the millions living in and around Donetsk and Lugansk, millions in desperate need of water, food, medical supplies and power. (Image: Donetsk citizens hide from Kiev government bombardment. Colonel Cassad English)

Russia finally had enough and told the convoy to proceed across the border. The statement below makes clear the rationale. (Full statement below) The other point that is perfectly clear is this: if the convey is attacked, the attackers will be held responsible. That should be taken as a threat to decimate any Ukraine forces that are held responsible.

U.S. State Department spokesperson, Caitlin Hayden, reached a new low for hypocrisy and moral deviance when she outlined the response to the Russians doing what had to be done, moving through the deliberate delays by delivering aid: Caitlin Hayden, National Security Council

The Ukrainian government and the international community have repeatedly made clear that this convoy would constitute a humanitarian mission only if expressly agreed to by the Ukrainian government and only if the aid was inspected, escorted and distributed by the International Committee of the Red Cross ” Caitlin Hayden, (ICRC). National Security Council spokesperson, Aug 22

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen claimed that Russia was firing artillery shells into Ukraine, a charge echoed by the U.S. NATO commander. As usual, these sources offered no evidence for their claims.

The need for humanitarian aid in Donetsk and Lugansk is beyond even the slightest doubt. There is no doubt that the U.S. and European Union countries failed to pressure the Kiev government from its days of delay in allowing the aid to pass through the checkpoint.

The leadership of the “free world” world conspires with their creation the neo-Nazi riddled Kiev government, in a process that denies vital aid to people starving, injured, and at risk due to lack of the basics required to live – food and medicine.

Ukraine is hundreds of miles away from the EU countries and thousands of miles from the United States. However, citizens of the U.S., Germany, France, the United Kingdom, etc. need to watch and heighten awareness. The U.S.-EU leadership supported a violent revolution that overthrew an elected government and replaced it with fanatics. The U.S and EU leadership supported the Kiev fanatics when they began an attack on their own people. The U.S.-EU leaders knew full well that the fanatic Kiev regime targeted civilians in towns and cities through indiscriminate bombardment. Knowing all this, the U.S.-EU leaders continue their support for the Kiev fanatics.

The question we need to ask ourselves is a stark one.

Whet will prevent this leadership of the “free world” from attacking their own citizens or denying those citizens humanitarian aid when they are in need? For them, the Ukraine is practice. Michael Collins

 


RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT ON THE START OF THE DELIVERY OF HUMANITARIAN RELIEF AID TO SOUTHEASTERN UKRAINE


Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(image by Russian Federation)

The endless delays hampering the initial deliveries of the Russian humanitarian relief aid to southeastern Ukraine have become intolerable. A lorry convoy with many hundreds of tonnes of humanitarian relief aid, urgently needed by the people in these regions, has been standing idle for a week now on the Russian-Ukrainian border. Over this period, the Russian side has made unprecedented efforts in all areas and at all levels in order to complete the required formalities. We have met all conceivable and inconceivable demands of the Ukrainian side and have submitted to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) exhaustive lists of food, drinking water, medications, essential items and diesel generators due to be delivered to Lugansk, where they are urgently needed by women, children and the elderly. These people are experiencing the horrors of daily artillery attacks and air strikesthat have resulted in an increasing number of killed and wounded and destroyed the entire vital infrastructure in the area. Time and again, we met requests to check and recheck the shipment route, to coordinate procedures for the shipment’s delivery, and have signed the required documents with the ICRC. We have provided all essential security guarantees and have ensured similar guarantees on the part of the self-defense forces. These guarantees apply to the Russian convoy as well as other humanitarian relief aid being sent to Lugansk by the Kiev authorities.

At the same time, Kiev has delayed granting its formal consent required by the ICRC for several days, while repeatedly inventing new pretexts and stepping up attacks on Lugansk and Donetsk that involve military aircraft and heavy-duty armored vehicles, targeting residential areas and other civilian facilities. Over the past few days, the Ukrainian side has been launching ballistic missiles, including the deadly Tochka-U missiles, ever more frequently.

On 21 August, the situation appeared to have been resolved when the Ukrainian authorities finally informed the ICRC of their readiness to start clearing humanitarian shipments for prompt delivery to Lugansk. The Ukrainian side officially confirmed its unconditional consent for the convoy to start moving during a phone conversation between the Foreign Affairs Ministers of Russia and Ukraine. On 20 August, customs clearance and border control procedures were launched at the Donetsk checkpoint. On 21 August, however, this process was stopped, with officials citing much more intensive bombardment of Lugansk. In other words, the Ukrainian authorities are bombing the destination and are using this as a pretext to stop the delivery of humanitarian relief aid.

It appears that Kiev has set out to complete its “cleansing” of Lugansk and Donetsk in time for the 24 August Independence Day celebrations. It seems increasingly credible that the incumbent Ukrainian leadership is deliberately delaying the delivery of the humanitarian relief aid until there is nobody left to deliver this aid to. Quite possibly, they hope to achieve this result prior to the planned 26 August meetings in Minsk.

Russia is outraged by the blatant external manipulation of the international experts involved in preparing this operation. An endless succession of contradictory and mutually exclusive signals and messages we have been receiving is a true indication of behind the scenes games for purposes that have nothing to do with accomplishing a set humanitarian objective. Those who are holding the reins and hampering efforts to save human lives, to mitigate the suffering of sick and wounded people neglect the basic principles of society. We have called on the UN Security Council to promptly declare a humanitarian armistice, but these proposals are being invariably blocked by those who pay lip service to universal human values. Last time, this happened on 20 August, when the United States and some Western members of the UNSC declined to issue a statement in support of a ceasefire during the delivery of humanitarian relief aid to Lugansk by Russian and Ukrainian convoys.

We hereby state once again: All the required security guarantees regarding the passage of the humanitarian convoy have been provided. The ICRC has officially recognised these guarantees. The delivery routes are known, and they have been checked by an ICRC mission. The documents have been drawn up. The shipments have long been ready for inspection by Ukrainian border guards and customs officers who have been waiting at the Donetsk checkpoint in the Rostov Region for a week now. The capitals that display heightened concern for the situation in southeastern Ukraine are well aware of this. The endless artificial demands and pretexts have become unconscionable.

It is no longer possible to tolerate this lawlessness, outright lies and inability to reach agreements. All pretexts for delaying the delivery of aid to people in the humanitarian disaster zone have been depleted. The Russian side has decided to act. Our humanitarian relief convoy is setting out towards Lugansk. Naturally, we are ready to allow ICRC officials to escort the convoy and to take part in distributing aid. We hope that representatives of the Russian Red Cross Society will also be able to take part in this mission.

We are warning against any attempts to thwart this purely humanitarian mission which took a long time to prepare in conditions of complete transparency and cooperation with the Ukrainian side and the ICRC. Those who are ready to continue sacrificing human lives to their own ambitions and geopolitical designs and who are rudely trampling on the norms and principles of international humanitarian law will assume complete responsibility for the possible consequences of provocations against the humanitarian relief convoy.

We are once again calling on the Ukrainian leadership, as well as the United States and the European Union, which are exerting their influence on Kiev, to promptly launch negotiations in southeastern Ukraine and start complying with the accords formalised in the 17 April 2014 Geneva Statement by Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the EU on stopping the use of force, mitigating the humanitarian situation and immediately launching nationwide dialogue that would involve all Ukrainian regions.

Finally, a little-known aspect of the crisis in Ukraine is receiving some international attention.  On July 28, the California-based Oakland Institute released a report revealing that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), under terms of their $17 billion loan to Ukraine, would open that country to genetically-modified (GM) crops and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture.  The report is entitled “Walking on the West Side: the World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict.” [1]

In late 2013, the then president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, rejected a European Union association agreement tied to the $17 billion IMF loan, whose terms are only now being revealed.  Instead, Yanukovych chose a Russian aid package worth $15 billion plus a discount on Russian natural gas.  His decision was a major factor in the ensuing deadly protests that led to his ouster from office in February 2014 and the ongoing crisis.

According to the Oakland Institute,

“Whereas Ukraine does not allow the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, Article 404 of the EU agreement, which relates to agriculture, includes a clause that has generally gone unnoticed:  it indicates, among other things, that both parties will cooperate to extend the use of biotechnologies.  There is no doubt that this provision meets the expectations of the agribusiness industry.  As observed by Michael Cox, research director at the investment bank Piper Jaffray, ‘Ukraine and, to a wider extent, Eastern Europe, are among the most promising growth markets for farm-equipment giant Deere, as well as seed producers Monsanto and DuPont’.” [2]

Ukrainian law bars farmers from growing GM crops.  Long considered “the bread basket of Europe,” Ukraine’s rich black soil is ideal for growing grains, and in 2012 Ukrainian farmers harvested more than 20 million tonnes of corn.

Monsanto’s Investment

In May 2013, Monsanto announced plans to invest $140 million in a non-GMO corn seed plant in Ukraine, with Monsanto Ukraine spokesman Vitally Fechuk confirming that ‘We will be working with conventional seeds only” because “in Ukraine only conventional seeds are allowed for production and importation.” [3]

But by November 2013, six large Ukrainian agriculture associations had prepared draft amendments to the law, pushing for “creating, testing, transportation and use of GMOs regarding the legalization of GM seeds.” [4] The president of the Ukrainian Grain Association, Volodymyr Klymenko, told a Nov. 5 press conference in Kiev that “We could mull over this issue for a long time, but we, jointly with the [agricultural] associations, have signed two letters to change the law on biosecurity, in which we proposed the legalization of the use of GM seeds, which had been tested in the United States for a long time, for our producers.” (Actually, GM seeds and GMOs have never undergone independent, long-term testing in the U.S.)

The agricultural associations’ draft amendments coincided with the terms of the EU association agreement and IMF/World Bank loan.

The website sustainablepulse.com – which tracks GMO news worldwide – immediately slammed the agricultural associations’ proposal, with director Henry Rowlands stating: “Ukraine agriculture will be seriously damaged if the Ukrainian government legally allows GM seeds in the country.  Their farmers will find their export markets reduced due to consumers’ anti-GMO sentiments both in Russia and the EU.”  Rowlands said that Monsanto’s investment in Ukraine “could rise to $300 million within several years.  Does Ukrainian agriculture want to totally rely on the success or failure of one U.S.-based company?” [5]

On December 13, 2013, Monsanto’s Jesus Madrazo, Vice President of Corporate Engagement, told the U.S.-Ukraine Conference in Washington, D.C. that the company sees “the importance of creating a favorable environment [in Ukraine] that encourages innovation and fosters the continued development of agriculture.  Ukraine has the opportunity to further develop the potential of conventional crops, which is where we are currently concentrating our efforts.  We also hope that at some point biotechnology is a tool that will be available to Ukrainian farmers in the future.” [6]

Just a few days before Madrazo’s remarks in Washington, Monsanto Ukraine had launched its “social development” program for the country, called “Grain Basket of the Future.” [7] It provides grants to rural villagers so they can (in Monsanto’s words) “start feeling that they can improve their situation themselves as opposed to waiting for a handout.”

Actually, the real “handout” is the one going to Big U.S. Agribusiness through the terms of the IMF/World Bank loan, which besides opening the country to GM crops, will also further lift the ban on the sale of Ukraine’s rich agricultural lands to the private sector. [8]

As Morgan Williams, president and CEO of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, told International Business Times in March, “Ukraine’s agriculture could be a real gold mine.” [9] But he added that there are “many aspects of the [Ukraine] business climate that need to be changed.  The major item would center around getting the government out of business…”

The WikiLeaks Cables

In August 2011, WikiLeaks released U.S. diplomatic cables showing that the U.S. State Department has been lobbying worldwide for Monsanto and other biotechnology corporations like DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer and Dow.  The U.S. non-profit Food & Water Watch, after combing through five years of these cables (2005-2009), released its report entitled “Biotech Ambassadors: How the U.S. State Department Promotes the Seed Industry’s Global Agenda” on May 14, 2013. [10]  The report showed the U.S. State Department has “lobbied foreign governments to adopt pro-agricultural biotechnology policies and laws, operated a rigorous  public relations campaign to improve the image of biotechnology, and challenged commonsense biotechnology safeguards and rules – even including opposing laws requiring the labeling of genetically-engineered (GE) foods.”

According to consortiumnews.com (March 16, 2014), Morgan Williams is at the nexus of Big Ag’s alliance with U.S. foreign policy.” [11] Besides being president and CEO of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, Williams is Director of Government Affairs at private equity firm SigmaBleyzer, which touts Williams’ work with “various agencies of the U.S. government, members of Congress, congressional committees, the Embassy of Ukraine to the U.S., international financial institutions, think tanks and other organizations on U.S.-Ukraine business, trade, investment and economic development issues.”

The U.S.-Ukraine Business Council’s 16-member Executive Committee is packed with U.S. agribusiness companies, including representatives from Monsanto, John Deere, DuPont Pioneer, Eli Lilly, and Cargill. [12] The Council’s twenty “senior Advisors” include James Greene (Former Head of NATO Liason Office Ukraine); Ariel Cohen (Senior Research Fellow for The Heritage Foundation); Leonid Kozachenko (President of the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation); six former U.S. Ambassadors to Ukraine, and the former ambassador of Ukraine to the U.S., Oleh Shamshur.

Shamshur is now a senior advisor to PBN Hill + Knowlton Strategies – a unit of PR giant Hill + Knowlton Strategies (H+K).  H + K is a subsidiary of the gargantuan London-based WPP Group, which owns some dozen big PR firms, including Burson-Marsteller (a long-time Monsanto advisor).

Hill + Knowlton Strategies

On April 15, 2014 Toronto’s The Globe & Mail newspaper published an op-ed piece by H+K assistant consultant Olga Radchenko, [13] The piece railed against Russian President Vladimir Putin and “Mr. Putin’s PR machine” and stated that “Last month [March 2014 - a month after the coup], a group of Kiev-based PR professionals formed the Ukraine Crisis Media Centre, a voluntary operation aimed at helping to communicate Ukraine’s image and manage its messaging on the global stage.”

The PBN Hill + Knowlton Strategies website states that the company’s CEO Myron Wasylyk is “a Board member of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council,” and the company’s Managing Director/Ukraine, Oksana Monastyrska, “leads the firm’s work for Monsanto.”  Monastyrska also formerly worked for the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.

According to the Oakland Institute, the terms of the World Bank/IMF loan to Ukraine have already led to “an increase in foreign investment, which is likely to result in further expansion of large-scale acquisitions of agricultural land by foreign companies and further corporatization of agriculture in the country.” [14]

Meanwhile, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated in April:  “We don’t have a goal of developing GM products here or to import them.  We can feed ourselves with normal, common, not genetically modified products.  If the Americans like to eat such products, let them eat them.  We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food.” [15]

Hill + Knowlton, with its Kuwait “incubator babies atrocities” falsehood, was instrumental in getting the American public to back the first Gulf War on Iraq in the early 1990s.  Now the company is involved in fomenting a Cold War 2 or worse, and on behalf of Monsanto – recently voted the “most evil” corporation on the planet.  That’s something to recall in the midst of the extensive mainstream media demonizing of Putin.

Joyce Nelson is an award-winning Canadian freelance writer/researcher and the author of five books, including Sultans of Sleaze: PR & the Media.    

Notes 

[1] http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/press-release-world-bank-and-imf-open-ukraine-western-

[2] Ibid.

[3] Reuters, “Monsanto plans $140 ml Ukraine non-GM corn seed plant,” May 24, 2013.

[4] http://en.interfac.com.ua/news/press-conference/173536.html

[5] http://sustainablepulse.com/2013/11/05/sustainable-pulse-slams-ukraine-agri-associations

[6] http://monsantoblog.com2013/12/19/monsanto-and-its-commitment-to-ukraine/

[7] http://monsantoblog.com/2013/12/13/monsanto-ukraine-launching-social-development-pr

[8] http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-secretive-neo-nazi-military-organization-involved-i

[9] http://ibtimes.com/westerners-know-very-little-about-ukraine-qa-us-ukraine-business-co

[10] http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/biotech-ambassadors/

[11] http://www.printfriendly.com/print/new?url-http%3A%2F%2Fconsortiumnews.com%F

[12] http://www.usubc.org/site/u-s-ukraine-business-council-usubc-executive-committee

[13] http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/in-the-battle-of-hearts-and-minds-kiev-is

[14] http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/press-release-world-bank-and-imf-open-ukraine-western

[15] http://rt.com/news/154032-russia-gmo-food-ban/

Deputy State Duma speaker Sergey Neverov has called for various international organizations to create a joint group to assess the US authorities’ handling of the ongoing protest in the town of Ferguson.

Neverov, who also chairs the majority United Russia caucus in the Lower House, has told reporters that the international community must not remain indifferent to the crisis situation in the United States – the country that presents itself as a model for democracy. “The events in Missouri have demonstrated that the United States have serious problems based on racial discrimination,” Neverov noted in a comment to the Russian daily Izvestia.

The politician said that United Russia wanted to set up a special commission manned with representatives of the UN, PACE and other international groups that would make contact with participants of the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and investigate the lawfulness of the actions of US authorities and law enforcers.

Police detain a demonstrator during a protest against the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri August 18, 2014. (Reuters / Joshua Lott)Police detain a demonstrator during a protest against the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri August 18, 2014. (Reuters / Joshua Lott)

Neverov added that the chairman of the Lower House committee for international relations MP Aleksei Pushkov (United Russia) could head the Russian part of the international commission.

In mid-August, Pushkov denounced the use of tear gas and rubber bullets in Ferguson as “a sign of dictatorship and an excessive use of force” by posting a message on his Twitter.

Izvestia quoted a source in the United Russia party saying they wanted the Russian part of the commission to be manned by MPs, who now participate in the Russian delegation in the PACE.

On Thursday a member of the Presidential Council for Human Rights suggested sending a peacekeeping mission of rights activists to Ferguson in order to stop the violence. Igor Borison told the ITAR-TASS news agency that the measure would prevent “a full scale genocide against its own population” in the United States.

Earlier this week, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s envoy for Human Rights, Konstantin Dolgov, said that the unrest in Ferguson was a vivid demonstration of the extreme tensions that exist in modern American society. Dolgov called the curfew, the violent dispersing of rallies and the deployment of the National Guard to the area “a repetition of the race cataclysms” that have shaken the United States in the past.

While demanding that other countries guarantee the freedom of speech and stop suppressing anti-government protests, at home the US authorities never show any leniency towards those who actively express their discontent with inequality, de-facto discrimination, and the position of second class citizens. As we have all seen, reporters who perform their professional duty also get their share of ill treatment,” read the comment posted on the ministry’s website.

Tensions remain in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson where the Missouri governor announced on Monday that he had ordered National Guard troops to be deployed to protect the area from “deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent attacks on lives and property.” The clashes resumed during the week as police used tear gas to disperse protesters. Law enforcers also used live ammunition against the crowd.

The initial protests were prompted by the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man who was shot and killed by white police officer, Darren Wilson, on August 9.

As an out-of-control, power-mad, US-supplied, Israeli army blows up residential tower blocks in Gaza in an unprecedented exhibition of undisciplined, criminal action against a civilian population, that treats the internationally agreed Geneva Conventions with utter contempt, the world waits to see what other atrocities the Israeli government will perpetrate with its American F-16 warplanes, bombs and missiles.

The United Nations General Assembly should now pass a resolution, in plenary session, suspending membership of the Israeli state and authorising a worldwide trade boycott against the Netanyahu government.

The Resolution should also recommend the indictment of those responsible for commissioning and carrying out such civilian killings, and their appearance – as soon as possible – before the International Criminal Court, in The Hague, on charges of war crime.

Israeli Major-General Giora Eiland has urged that all food and water be cut off to Gaza’s nearly 1.8 million Palestinian residents – a major war crime and precisely the “starve or surrender” policy which the United States has condemned when used in Syria.

Eiland, the Israeli government’s former national security advisor, argues that Gaza should be considered an enemy “state.”

“Since Gaza is in fact a state in a military confrontation with us, the proper way to put pressure on them is to bring to a full stop the supplies from Israel to Gaza, not only of electricity and fuel, but also of food and water,” he wrote in a Hebrew-language op-ed on Mako, a website affiliated with Israel’s Channel 2 television.

“A state cannot simultaneously attack and feed the enemy, while he is shooting at you, because this gives the other country a breathing space – and again I am referring to Gaza as a country, because the regime there is supported by its people,” Eiland adds.

A Palestinian boy stands in his family’s damaged home as people inspect the remains of another house, destroyed by an Israeli air strike in the central Gaza Strip, 23 August. (APA images / Ashraf Amra)

Israel legally obliged to supply Gaza population

Eiland appears to believe that the fiction that Gaza is a sovereign “state” would somehow lessen culpability for what would amount to massive war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Under Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, “the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate.”

Under international law, Israel’s 2005 “disengagement” from Gaza has not ended its military occupation of the territory because Gaza remains under the “effective control” of Israel.

Yet Israel has long violated its obligation by deliberately restricting the basic needs of Gaza’s population and deliberately destroying their food sources including agricultural land, poultry and dairy farms.

While Eiland’s proposal calls to cut all food and water, strictly regulating the food intake of Palestinians in Gaza to achieve political ends, has long been the Israeli occupation’s actual policy.

Israel’s deliberate attacks on Gaza’s civilian infrastructure has created a “water disaster,” already depriving every single person of access to a safe and secure supply of water.

Israel’s brutal siege is precisely what the Palestinian resistance in Gaza is currently fighting to end.

Possible genocidal intent

Eiland recently argued in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s largest newspaper, that because they elected Hamas, the people of Gaza as a whole “are to blame for this situation just like Germany’s residents were to blame for electing Hitler as their leader and paid a heavy price for that, and rightfully so.”

General Eiland’s call – which may amount to incitement to genocide – as well as to war crimes and crimes against humanity – is only the latest exterminationist proposal from an Israeli leader.

Moshe Feiglin, deputy speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, for instance, recently called for the population of Gaza to be moved to concentration camps and then expelled so that Gaza could be resettled with Jews.

“Starve or surrender” mirrors Syria policy

The United States government, Israel’s chief sponsor, has not expressed any criticism of Eiland’s proposals, nor done anything to end Israel’s siege. However, it views “starve or surrender” as a grave crime when used against opposition-held areas by the government in Syria.

This has been the case in several areas including Yarmouk refugee camp where, Amnesty International has said, the Syrian government is “using starvation as a weapon of war to achieve its ends.”

Last month, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution demanding that “all Syrian parties to the conflict,” including the government and the opposition, “shall enable the immediate and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance directly to people throughout Syria,” immediately “removing all impediments to the provision of humanitarian assistance.”

By contrast, the so-called “international community,” led by the United States, has supported and justified Israel’s siege of Gaza for almost eight years.

The Rwanda Youth for Leadership and Change Initiative (RY4LCI) strongly condemns the United States of America (USA) for its inconsistent and fallacious behavior opposing the long-lasting pacification of the Great Lakes Region of Africa by SADC (Southern African Countries Development Community) initiative and FDLR (Democratic Forces for Liberation of Rwanda) bravery to peacefully finding solutions through negotiations with Rwandan dictatorial regime led by war criminal and genocidaire President Paul Kagame.

Following the recent speech of President Obama’s special envoy to central Africa Russell Feingold at the USA president’s summit with African leaders in Washington; “We have to get rid of the FDLR, not so much because of their military capacity, but because of what they represent and the destabilizing effect that they have with regard to relations with Rwanda. That is our top priority,” he said. “I’ve been involved with efforts to communicate to them that it’s time for them to surrender. That they will be attacked militarily if they don’t. That there will be no political dialogue,” he also added.

The latter utterances show that the USA is undermining the values of democracy, freedom and peace in Africa as well as worldwide by supporting the malicious ideas and acts of dictatorship in Africa where it denies political dialogue between FDLR and Kigali dictatorial regime of president Paul Kagame. It appears bizarre for the USA which urged Democratic Republic of Congo to have political talks with the defeated M23 rebels who were fully supported by Rwanda and Uganda, and now it denies the political dialogue between Rwanda and FDLR for regional pacification.

This is a shame on the USA to intimidate the FDLR by continuing to help the Rwandan regime to exterminate these Hutus refugees, survivors of Rwanda RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front) regime massacres in its systematic extermination of Hutu ethnic group people. These are abandoned refugees by international community in the forests of Democratic Republic Congo and when they found they were to be completely exterminated by the RPF army, they formed FDLR (Democratic Forces for Liberation of Rwanda) a politico-military party in order to protect themselves against these RPF systematic and sponsored massacres against Hutus, and also to find how to help to return these refugees in their home country with dignity.

FDLR does not advocate for only these refugees hunted by Tutsis RPF regime in the forests of DR Congo for over two decades but also for other Hutus refugees scattered in African countries like the Central African Republic, Congo Brazaville, Zambia, Malawi, Uganda, Mozambique, Zimbabwe… as well as worldwide in general. These refugees are living in plight conditions with no international aid for basic subsistence, health or education. They are abandoned and everyone knows that the Rwandan regime has extensively propagandized that these Hutus are genocidaires and that they don’t deserve any international help. Instead they must return in Rwanda to be tortured, oppressed, imprisoned and killed.

It is a shame on the International community to have abandoned Rwandans and partnered with the dictatorial regime of President Kagame, hence helping him to make Rwanda increasingly divisive, oppressive, bloodstained and totalitarian than any other regime in its history.

For over the last 20 years, the UN and different human rights organizations have released many documented reports on how the President Kagame’s regime has committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide against Hutus inside and outside Rwanda, and against Congolese where more than 6 million people perished. Those reports were half released, hidden, thrown in the cupboards of UN Offices or probably suppressed because the current regime in Rwanda is backed by USA and UK who are allied Kagame clique’s system instead of partnering Rwandans which is in contrary to what USA president Obama preaches where he said that “Africa does not need strong men, it needs strong institutions”.

Based on the recent change of Rwandan Genocide’s name to Genocide against Tutsis, this emphasizes that the International Community (UN) behavior towards Rwanda is very crooked and corrupted by President Kagame’s regime. This is absolutely senseless. The 1994 Rwandan genocide recorded victims to be more than 800,000. These victims were not Tutsis only; the majority of them were Hutus and Twas, therefore to rename it as if it was against Tutsis only, this is to discriminate Hutus and Twas victims of that genocide. This is too foolish that the world is writing wrong history. This is the product of impunity because the RPF after 1994 continued a genocide against Hutus and Congolese people until now and the perpetrators were never brought to book; instead they continue to commit atrocities against Hutus.

Disregard of the Hutus massacred in 1994 and before, aftermath until now more than 1 million Hutus in Rwanda and Congo were exterminated by the Tutsi RPF regime and no justice for them. More than 6 million Congolese Bantus were perished in great lakes region. The UN Mapping report released in 2010 explains more on these systematic extermination and ethnic cleansing by the RPF/RPA regime. The USA knows all these but as Nelson Mandela once said; “it doesn’t care for human atrocities, as it is visible to everyone.”

The Rwandan regime is dictatorial, there are no basic fundamental human rights; rights to freedom, rights to speak your mind, rights of peaceful assembly, rights to mourn Hutus massacred by RPF, rights to equal justice, etc. There is no democracy, no equality, and no reconciliation, there is no rule of law. With lack of all these qualities, USA and other supporters of this clique ruling Rwanda want no negotiations for regional pacification. This is so absurd that USA supported M23 rebel’s talks with DR Congo and now it encourages UN peace keepers to kill these refugees that FDLR tried to protect. Let’s have an overview of how Hutus are actually living inside Rwanda where USA wants these Hutus refugees to go without negotiations with Rwanda.

Apartheid and Genocide against Hutus is ongoing in Rwanda

Extreme discrimination against Hutus (Apartheid)

To understand the reasons of FDLR and any other opposition parties to claim the peaceful negotiations with Rwanda dictatorial regime, one must know how the current fascistic regime of Kigali is, and how horrendous Rwandan people especially Hutus are mistreated, systematically discriminated, intimidated, imprisoned, killed and persecuted in their own country. They live as slaves, they live as beggars, they live humiliated in their native country and no body to raise a voice to defend or advocate for them and anyone who tries is killed if not accused of genocide ideology, to cause country security threat, and country or president defamation… The example of Madam Victiore Ingabire who is in jail from 2010 and was sentenced for 15 years for forged accusations because she challenged the Kigali regime on democracy, freedom and when she was at Kigali memorial center, she said that the Hutus must also be allowed to mourn their families perished in genocide and other massacres. Hutus inside Rwanda are extremely miserable, starving, called genocidaire, called to kneel in front of Tutsis and beg them for pardon that their ethnic group killed Tutsis as it is the case of the NDI UMUNYARWANDA framework designed by RPF system to know exactly the number of Hutus and where they are in government services or elsewhere so that they can know how to shorten their number as low as they can.

The Hutu survivors inside Rwanda are living in bestial life conditions, they are totally discriminated in all government services; no education, no health services, no jobs neither in public nor in private sectors, in agriculture where most the Rwandan population gain the subsistence crops. The regime banned them to cultivate their preferred food crops hence they starve and in some areas they systematically expropriate them and burn their plants without indemnity. They are extremely humiliated more than enough, the Hutus children are called genocidaire while most of them are orphans, survivors of RPF systematic massacres; they can’t get government support for example in education sponsorship, while their fellow Tutsis who were even born after 2010 are called Tutsi genocide survivors and gain more than enough; the latter (Tutsis) are grouped and trained from primary level to university level; they make sure they know each other one by one and in holidays they are gathered in camps for training to know the domination values as Tutsis and are thought that Hutus are their enemies, that they have to work hard and learn hard in order to dominate Hutus in the future; hence Hutus will become their slaves. On the secondary and university level, Tutsis are given holiday jobs like in National statistics institute, working in censuses, data collections, working in call centers and in any mass employment institutes or companies, etc… they are systematically selected in their groups and when one institutions need workers they are ordered to approach those so called Tutsis genocide survivors associations because they have enough baggage of knowledge needed as they are first gainers of country’s wealth.

This Tutsis led regime has gone too far in segregation against Hutus to the extent now in Rwanda, there are many Tutsis

colleges and academies well sponsored by the government or called private to masquerade as is the example of the Gashora girls school, Green Hills academy of First Lady Jeannette Kagame Nyiramongi, FAWE girls school, Riviera High School, etc.

All the Tutsis in Rwanda at all levels are grouped in their associations, clubs and government commissions like IBUKA, AERG (Associations des étudiants rescapés du genocide), FARG ( Fonds pour Assistance des Réscapés du Genocide), AVEGA AGAHOZO, CNLG (Commission National de Lutte Contre le Genocide), Pro-Femmes Twese Hamwe, BARAKABAHO, NEVER AGAIN and many more. They are encouraged to group themselves in many more associations to get more international aid through different NGOs. The big associations hire different experts in different domains to create more marketable projects for the small Tutsis associations countrywide and those big ones are there to fund the small ones looting the government people’s money and to find international sponsorship using those projects. They find international scholarship for them; advocate for them at all levels to make sure the domination of Tutsis in all levels is met as it is on the Tutsi RPF system agenda.

In this case we can give an example of Imbuto Foundation; this is the first lady Jeannette Kagame Nyiramongi’s initiative which loots the people’s money in government to sponsor the Tutsis associations and also advocates for them worldwide to get more funds not only for them but also for Kagame’s family profits.

In the pictures above Imbuto Foundation ends training camp cessations of more than 300 Tutsi girls from AERG (Students Association of Genocide survivors) on 30 May 2014. Note that no Hutus are mixed with all these ladies and Rwandan government spread lies that no ethnic division in Rwanda. The problem USA, UK and the other Kigali dictatorial regime of Kagame allies close their eyes to see the truth because of their looting interests in great lakes region where Kagame regime is proxy to them and most those allies are conspirators of the wars and genocides waved the great lakes region.

 

In below pictures, the Imbuto Foundation of the first lady Jeannette Kagame was celebrating the end of retreat of more than 400 Tutsi girls in AERG university student girls retreat on 6 October 2013.

They also invite various government and Tutsi associations’ organs to mentor them, they use government resources to instill this discrimination against Hutus, and they teach hatred against Hutus, they teach them dominance against Hutus, etc. They teach them that Hutus are genocidaires that they killed their relatives and still want or plan to kill them, that they must not get married with them, that they cannot get associated with them in any way in ordinary life that they must fight them if Hutus say they want to mourn their relatives massacred by RPF regime.

For people deceived by the corrupted western media this appears bizarre for they know that in Rwanda there is reconciliation as preached by Rwandan dictator with his cronies. There is no reconciliation at all in Rwanda but more hatred, more division, more intolerance, more injustice, more oppression, more human rights abuses and more evils as one can imagine.

It is absolute truth because what the regime preaches in public and in international media is in contrast of what is there; they say that no more ethnic groups in Rwanda after RPF took power in 1994, that all Rwandans are regarded as Rwandans without any discrimination, that all Rwandans have equal opportunities in their countries, that all Rwandans are judicially equal, that in Rwanda there is a democracy: freedom’ transparency, accountability, that and that and that…but this is totally wrong. If there is no ethnic segregations and persecution, how can you manage to gather such numbers of Tutsis only in country? The entire country’s wealth is in the hands of Tutsi clique and Kagame’s cronies. Remember these marginalized Hutus make more than 80 % of the entire Rwandan population.

The images below show president Kagame Paul mentoring the Tutsi youth at the Amahoro small stadium on 26/11/2012 who were ending the camping of AERG students association retreat and all the president was emphasizing is the hatred where he tells them to know who they are (Tutsis), where they are coming from, that the Hutus are born evils and with genocide ideology so that the Hutus must beg them the pardon, and that they must fight the genocidaires as the Kagame regime has set all means and resources available for them to fight these genocidaires (Hutus). Hutus in Rwanda and worldwide live in daily harassment, humiliation, hunt and persecution of all levels. Note that all the youths here are Tutsis only.

This is beyond imagination to some foreign people but Rwandans, whether Hutus, Tutsis and Twa, know their reality even if they are silenced by the ruling regime clique. The RPF regime hired and corrupted the Western and international media to praise the Kigali regime with its dictators that Rwanda has made a great pace of progress after genocide of 1994, the regime backed by USA and UK, corrupted almost all UN organs where the UN is working as a mercenary of president Kagame Paul’s regime to help spread lies and abuse Human rights in great lakes region. The UN commissions like UNHCR strongly abuse the Hutu refugees worldwide, especially in Africa where it suspended all help like rations, education support and many more granted by refugees. They are deprived their all fundamental rights as refugees and nobody cares for their vulnerability.

When foreigners first set foot in Rwanda they are falsely told how far Rwanda has progressed after the Hutus massacred Tutsis, they compel them to visit different genocide memorial sites and they are told that all skulls and skeletons remains there are Tutsis only while more than 50 % of them claimed to be Tutsis are Hutus remains massacred by RPF and collected in those memorial centers for international show and business. Because all the laws in Rwanda curb Hutus at all levels, no one can speak out on his story. Hutus are not allowed to mourn their beloved ones, the RPF regime system can’t allow foreigners traveling freely without spy squad behind them to prevent and frighten the Hutus to meet with them and tell their plight life and grievances. In the embassies or international NGOs they make sure the regime get Tutsis RPF spy agents there so that Hutus are banned everywhere in the life of country and when one tries is killed. No Hutus who can make an association or high business without Tutsis RPF consult. When you have a very good and money gaining project, they make sure Tutsi RPF get shares in it and RPF ends owned the entire project and Hutus dismissed.

There is mass killings in Rwanda: ongoing genocide against Hutus

From 1990 when RPF junta invaded Rwanda backed by Uganda, USA and its allies RPF had a clear plan to exterminate Hutus, Twa and Tutsis who did not want to join them in the forests, it considered any Tutsi who didn’t join it as part of Hutus and Twa. From then until now the RPF is still implementing their dirty plan (hidden agenda) to exterminate all Hutus wherever they are worldwide. More than two millions Hutus have perished so far and RPF is still on its pace to exterminate Hutus. To understand how furious and systematic Hutus extermination is, Tutsis RPF regime has nowadays chosen a plan to blaze prisons and more than thirty thousand (30,000) Hutus perished in this process of prisons blaze where they were abducting prisoners to massacre in name of transfers to other prisons so that other fellow prisoners cannot question what happening and try to claim. The recent prisons set on fire are two prisons of Muhanga central prison in Gitarama and Nyakiriba prison in Rubavu (Gisenyi) respectively on 5 June 2014 and 7 July 2014, i e within one month. This happened following 1 or 2 months more than sixteen thousand (16,000) Hutus massacred in Northern West province in Nyabihu district and the RPF regime said they don’t know their whereabouts, and simply said that they disappeared.

The above picture is Muhanga prison in Gitarama set on fire on 5 June 2014 and this happen alongside the slow systematic massacres of these Hutus prisoners where they are daily beaten, killed abducted, starved and poisoned. More than 80% of Hutus who terminated their sentence when they come out for normal life, consequently they cannot pass 1 or 2 years alive, they die.

The picture above shows the Hutus daily plight life in prisons. These are prisoners in Gitarama central prison, hung cuffed and crucified.

The above picture is Rubavu central prison in Nyakiriba, Gisenyi set on fire on 7 July 2014.

These came after the president of Rwanda Paul Kagame on his visit in Nyabihu district, Northern West province on 5 June 2014 pledged to kill anyone who criticize his regime, “Those who talk about disappearances… we will continue to arrest more suspects and shoot them in broad daylight and those dissidents who intend to destabilize our country” he said amid applause, in the response to human rights organizations and United States who are deeply concerned of spate arrests and disappearances of Rwandan citizens inside and outside the country.

After this speech many people (Hutus) were shot to death by the police, others killed strangled or chopped in their houses by Tutsi RPF regime death squad.

From last year, 2013, many Hutu students were denied from getting government sponsorship and claimed to have equal opportunity in education system as their fellow Tutsis, some were arrested and forced to go to fight to the defeated then M23 rebels where many were killed, other disappeared and others now are in prison wrongly accused to incite strikes and state terrorism.

Nowadays, the Hutus deaths escalate to the extent if nothing imminently done these Hutus are going to perish in big mass more than it was in 1994 and after.

It is so sad that now the USA seeks to intimidate and kill more than 250,000 Hutu refugees abandoned by the international community and living in bestial conditions in the tropical forests of Congo. This USA fallacy, genocide conspiracy and human rights undermining must be fought against by all the people who defend human rights because the USA for over 2 decades conspired in this genocide against Hutus and Bantus people in great lakes region by sponsoring Rwanda RPF regime and Uganda led by USA proxy super-dictators president Paul Kagame and president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni respectively.

Briefly, Hutus inside Rwanda are subjected to daily torture, humiliation, harassment, imprisonment, killings and persecution of all levels. What happening in Rwanda is apartheid and genocide against Hutus. The international community must wakeup to stop these acts of genocide against Hutus for over two decades and urge the Rwandan dictatorial regime to stop it, and bring to book all perpetrators.

The following documentary film entitled 24 years of genocide against Hutus horror, shows an overview of that genocide against Hutus.

CONCLUSION

Following the brief overview of the plight life of Hutus, extreme discrimination (apartheid against Hutus), ongoing genocide against Hutus in Rwanda and outside especially in DR Congo, the impunity in great lakes region, etc… We, the Rwanda Youth for Leadership and Change Initiative (RY4LCI) make the following statements:

-          Strongly denounces the USA government statement through President Barak Obama’s special envoy to central Africa Russell Feingold speech at the USA president’s summit with African leaders in Washington which denies the peaceful negotiations between FDLR as well as other opposition parties and Rwanda dictatorial regime.

-          RY4LCI instead calls United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), SADC, ICGLR and all other human rights defenders, and friends of peace in the great lakes region to come together to urge Rwanda dictators to have negotiations with FDLR and other opposition political parties for the rebuilding of peace and human dignity in the great lakes region.

-          RY4LCI calls International Community to compel Kigali’s totalitarian regime to stop the ongoing genocide and apartheid against Hutus in Rwanda as well as in the region.

-          RY4LCI demand the immediate release of Madam Victoire Ingabire and other political prisoners so that they can contribute in rebuilding of democracy, freedom, reconciliation, unity and human rights dignity in Rwanda.

-          We demand UN to make an independent investigation into ongoing apartheid and genocide against Hutus in Rwanda

-          We also demand the UN to set up an independent tribunal court for Great Lakes Region of Africa to bring to book all perpetrators in order to eradicate chronic impunity and human rights abuses in this region.

On behalf of Rwandan youth, RY4LCI profits this opportunity to strongly thank FDLR as well as SADC and democratic republic of Congo for the enthusiastic peaceful initiative to find solution through negotiations with Rwanda. This is a great opportunistic step for Africans to find their own way of conflicts resolution through dialogue because we are the one who suffer from conflicts violence and wars, let us be victorious to end this myth that African leaders can’t resolve their own problems without relying on Westerns. We have learnt from our ancestral heroes that we can, let’s the spirit of our continent heroes like Nelson Mandela’s legacy to resolve problems without violence and live in harmony one another live in us and future generations.

Done on 20th August 2014

For Rwanda Youth for Leadership and Change Initiative (RY4LCI)

Michel MUSHIMIYIMANA, Founder and Executive Director

Finding a celebrity with a cause is about as easy as finding a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, but they are thin on the ground for the refugees fleeing the Ukrainian civil war.

“Is there a time for keeping a distance
A time to turn your eyes away
Is there a time for keeping your head down
For getting on with your day?”

U2, Miss Sarajevo, 1995

Where’s Bono? George Clooney? Even Madonna?

They could be having a communal conclave in a pub near the U2 frontman’s Dublin home, or be chewing on Margarita’s at the ER star’s Lake Como pile, but one thing these celebrity activists are not doing is commenting on a horrific refugee crisis in Europe. Given that they have rarely seen a cause they couldn’t sponsor or a bandwagon they couldn’t leap onto, something is amiss.

In the 90s, the mere mention of Bosnia (slowly pronounced BOS-KNEE-AH for emphasis) was enough to get Bono in a tizzy about human rights and displaced persons. So much so that he wrote a rather good song about it and roped in the late Luciano Pavarotti to add gravitas. Madonna was falling over herself a few years ago about Malawi, and Clooney took Sudan so seriously that he led a ‘Save Darfur’ rally in Washington.

However, despite around three-quarters of a million Ukrainians fleeing to Russia alone this year, the celebs have placed their pulpits in storage and have absolutely nothing to say. Notwithstanding the reputation of its ladies, it appears Ukraine just isn’t sexy enough for the superstar lobbyists.

Starved of the oxygen real star-power can grant, pro-Kiev movements have had to reach for the Z list for empathy. Instead of Brangelina, backers include Carl Bildt (looks too much like an accountant), Zbigniew Brzezinski (helped create Al Qaeda), The Scorpions (last top 10 hit in 1991) and Lithuanian punk-rocker Andrius Mamontovas (who?).

Even the domestic (I wish there was a letter after Z) list just aren’t playing ball with the cuddly Poroshenko-ites, who formerly were Yuliya-ites and will probably soon be God-knows-what-ites. The most photographed Ukrainian celeb in foreign media, Valeria Lykyanova (AKA the ‘human barbie’), answered Maidan’s call by going on holidays in the new Russian province of Crimea. She told GQ magazine: “The next step is to cut off Ukraine entirely, because all I get there is shit. Why waste myself on this?”

People walk in front of a building damaged by, what locals say, was recent shelling by Ukrainian forces in Donetsk August 20, 2014 (Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)

People walk in front of a building damaged by, what locals say, was recent shelling by Ukrainian forces in Donetsk August 20, 2014 (Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)

Impossibly proportioned ladies aside, the only Hollywood luminary to touch on the subject so far appears to be Milla Jovovich who was born in Kiev and might be expected to have strong opinions. Initially, Milla seemed concerned, tweeting in January: “My heart hurts when I see what’s happening in the Ukraine! I believe in my amazing people and know they will find a peaceful solution.”

However, as the initially peaceful Maidan protests were hi-jacked by far-right nutters and the blood lust began, Jovovich became silent. Recently, she’s restricted herself to tweeting pictures of her trip to Cannes and Antibes in France, a world away from the horror of her birthplace. Milla’s only other intervention thus far has been to lend support to two Russian journalists detained by pro-Kiev forces in May – the #saveourguys campaign. With that photo, the screen siren broke the hearts of Ukrainian Nationalists who believed she just might have been one of them.

Milla had earlier tweeted in response to ‘patriotic’ trolls: “I’m Russian and Montenegrin! But have been living in the US since I was 5!” – pretty much clarifying where her sympathies lie.

Another movie star, who at first sympathized, was Austrian strong-man Arnold Schwarzenegger. In January, he sent a video message in support of Maidan but, then again, ‘Arnie’ moonlights as a Republican Party politician and was ‘Governator’ of California fo*r two terms. He shares the same political allegiance as John McCain and backed the Arizona senator in the 2008 US presidential election and it’s here that I think I’ve found the problem – the Kiev cause is too closely associated with McCain and McCain is just not ‘cool’ enough. In fact, McCain is to street cred what The Essential Barry Manilow album is to hipsters.

His position on Iran (or I-ran as he insists on calling it) plus his advocacy of the US staying in Iraq for “one hundred years” means being photographed with the ‘White Tornado’ is as appealing in Tinseltown as being pictured with Syrian terrorists. Incidentally, the failed White House candidate has actually been snapped in the company of Syrian terrorists. He also chose a running mate who claimed to be a foreign policy expert because she could “see Russia from my window.”

Ukrainian refugees who arrived in the Novosibirsk Region are greeted by the Emergency Situations Ministry staff and social workers at the Novosibirsk-Glavny railway station (RIA Novosti / Alexandr Kryazhev)

Ukrainian refugees who arrived in the Novosibirsk Region are greeted by the Emergency Situations Ministry staff and social workers at the Novosibirsk-Glavny railway station (RIA Novosti / Alexandr Kryazhev)

Once McCain stood on Maidan with Kiev’s ‘revolutionary’ leaders it seems they became Dire Straits in the eyes of Hollywood, and Dire Straits are about as trendy as calling ‘The Holidays’ Christmas.

Of course, there is a very serious matter behind the frivolity. This week the United Nations agency for refugees (UNHCR) confirmed that over 730,000 Ukrainians have fled to Russia this year with a further 117,000 displaced inside the failed state. Around 750 have applied for asylum in the EU, which is supposed to be their ‘friend’ – with friends like that, indeed.

The biggest movement of Europeans – in a period of months – since World War Two is an appalling tragedy and needs to be urgently highlighted. However, with the vast majority of Western media slavishly toeing the NATO line, no matter how dreadful Kiev’s atrocities, don’t hold your breath waiting for Hollywood to intervene. For the moment, the celebrity world stands with John McCain and his fellow neo-con travellers and Ukraine’s victims aren’t box-office yet.

That said, U2 have a new album slated for release this fall and, with his lectures on Africa becoming tedious, Bono might be looking for a new cause. Miss Donetsk, anyone? Cadence might be a problem but as the Dubliner’s favorite poet, Seamus Heaney, wrote “hope and history don’t rhyme.”

Bryan MacDonald is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and teacher. He wrote for Irish Independent and Daily Mail. He has also frequently appeared on RTE and Newstalk in Ireland as well as RT.

And so the latest propaganda ploy against Russia comes to an abrupt, anti-climatic end.

Sick and tired of Kiev’s stalling games and Western media war lies, the enormous Russian aid convoy has just returned to Russia after successfully delivering their cargo of food and medical supplies to the besieged population of Lugansk, victims of an ethnic cleansing program whose real nature has been shamelessly twisted by Ukrainian and Western leaders, and the MSM presstitutes acting as government stenographers, calling the convoy’s entry into Ukraine an “invasion”.

It’s unclear whether or not Kiev gave its final approval. I’d like to think the Russians just said, “Hell with this, let’s roll!”

russian aid convoy

© ANDREY KRONBERG/AFP/Getty
Russia’s 280-truck aid convoy parks in Russia.

I recommend reading the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release on their decision to just deliver the aid and be done with it. Predictably, the Western press has all but ignored this statement, preferring to parrot psychopathic fantasy and imply that it’s in any way factual.

First there’s this little gemfrom NATO sock puppet war lord-in-chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen:

… [NATO] had observed an alarming build-up of Russian ground and air forces in the vicinity of Ukraine.

“We have also seen transfers of large quantities of advanced weapons, including tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery to separatist groups in eastern Ukraine,” Rasmussen said in a statement.

Rasmussen said Russia continued to escalate the crisis in eastern Ukraine and that this could lead to further isolation of Moscow.

If this is true, then please, for Fogh’s sake, show us some evidence!

The West – the U.S. in particular – has been making similar claims for months, none of them substantiated by anything remotely resembling proof. If such claims were true, the all seeing eye of U.S. intel would have the evidence and it would be easy to distribute. They could provide numerous high-quality satellite photos of the alleged military build-up, not to mention the “large quantities” of weapons entering Ukraine. But they haven’t, ergo, there is no evidence, because it never happened. In contrast, when Russia makes claims, they provide real evidence, with satellite data, accurate time stamps, and other verifiable information, as it did in the weeks after the downing of MH17. They even pointed out that the U.S. had one of its satellites positioned to be able to observe what really happened to the flight. Where is that data?

Russia’s response to Rasmussen was glorious:

“We’ve stopped paying attention to Mr. Rasmussen’s empty talk and his press secretary. There is no point commenting on them. There is no proof there except Twitter,” official representative of Russia’s Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov stated.

Who needs facts when there’s “social media and common sense“?!

Rasmussen even had the chutzpah to say this, reported by the Washington Post:

The disregard of international humanitarian principles raises further questions about whether the true purpose of the aid convoy is to support civilians or to resupply armed separatists.

Say what?! Kiev makes it impossible for the humanitarian aid to enter Ukraine and Rasmussen has the gall to say that Russia disregards humanitarian principles? And actually delivering the aid, in spite of Kiev’s stonewalling, somehow implies that Russia’s true purpose is not humanitarianism? The world Rasmussen inhabits, where logic is perverted and facts twisted to serve whatever political ends are convenient in the moment, bears no resemblance to objective reality. By the way, the White House has issued a similar statement, saying the movement of the convoy raises the likelihood that the convoy serves as a pretext for invasion. I guess I can stop wondering who writes Rasmussen scripts…

Displaying a similar deficit in brain function, U.S. puppet Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Ukrainian national TV:

It’s clear that Russia is not planning to conduct any humanitarian mission . We need to use all methods to stop Russian military aggression.

No comment needed there. Black is white, war is peace, and Yatsenyuk really is a seasoned politician who knows his arse from his elbow.

Then there’s ‘elected’ president Poroshenko, who called the border crossing a “flagrant violation of international law.” This from someone whose troops deliberately kill unarmed civilians! It’s little wonder, though: what genocidal maniac would welcome humanitarian aid to the people he’s hellbent on destroying?

The Post makes sure to point out that the International Committee of the Red Cross would not accompany the convoy, implying that they were probably aware of some nefarious Russian plans. What they don’t mention is that the reason the ICRC reneged on their agreement to supervise the convoy in Ukraine was that Kievwould not guarantee its safety. And their reason? The continued shelling of Lugansk, which Kiev is responsible for! As the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs put it:

On 21 August, the situation appeared to have been resolved when the Ukrainian authorities finally informed the ICRC of their readiness to start clearing humanitarian shipments for prompt delivery to Lugansk. The Ukrainian side officially confirmed its unconditional consent for the convoy to start moving during a phone conversation between the Foreign Affairs Ministers of Russia and Ukraine. On 20 August, customs clearance and border control procedures were launched at the Donetsk checkpoint. On 21 August, however, this process was stopped, with officials citing much more intensive bombardment of Lugansk. In other words, the Ukrainian authorities are bombing the destination and are using this as a pretext to stop the delivery of humanitarian relief aid.

German leader Angela Merkel may have had something to do with the convoy finally getting through. She’s currently in Kiev where she promised Poroshenko half a billion euros to rebuild the Donbass… which was destroyed by the same puppet regime she assented to violently taking power back in February. Go figure.

Throughout this hysterical aid convoy episode, Merkel has been on-song with Obama, calling Russia’s humanitarian gesture “a dangerous escalation”. (But then, as Chancellor of Germany, she has to be.) It’s an utterly absurd suggestion, and she damn well knows it. The only thing Russia is “escalating” is the growing chasm between the West’s heartless barbarity and very real disregard for humanitarian principles, and Russians’ commitment to international law, justice, and providing assistance to the oppressed.

Zack Beauchamp and Max Fisher of Vox parroted NATO’s unsubstantiated allegations, referring to the mission as an “aid convoy” (their quotation marks, implying it was not really an aid convoy). They also repeated last week’s equally unsubstantiated report alleging that Russia had inexplicably sent an armored column into Ukraine, the majority of which was “destroyed” by Kiev’s troops. Again, no evidence, no cigar, and as it turned out, the Kiev regime was forced to retract the claim. Can we call the liars now?

The way in which that particular lie spread was instructive: Roland Oliphant of the British Telegraph, together with Shaun Walker of the British Guardian tweeted a photograph of a Russian military truck somewhere on the Russian side of the border, along with their claim that they saw a convoy of military vehicles cross over into Eastern Ukraine; somebody back at The Guardian offices in London then reported as fact that “our reporters on the ground witnessed a convoy of Russian military vehicles cross into Ukraine”; Poroshenko’s office in Kiev then seized this ‘gift’ to claim it had “destroyed a convoy of Russian military vehicles that had illegally crossed into Ukraine.” Such is how wars start, if you want them to. It’s all “social media and common sense”, see?

So did Russia really “invade” Ukraine, as rags like the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, AP, and Reuters have been reporting? Under the heading “What we know”, Vox‘s Beauchamp and Fisher list the following: that NATO says Russian artillery has crossed into east Ukraine and is being used by rebel forces there; that the U.S. and NATO are “condemning” this but not yet calling it an “invasion”; that the “humanitarian convoy … seems pretty military”, called a “stealth invasion” by Kiev; that the rebels “appeared” to have shot down MH17; that the annexation of Crimea was a “stealth invasion”, after a “fraud-ridden referendum”; that rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko boasted of receiving “30 tanks and 1,200 troops from Russia”.

All of which is complete and utter bullshit. There’s no evidence for Russian artillery entering Ukraine except for Kiev’s and the U.S.’s unverified statements (anyone remember Iraq’s WMDs?). There’s nothing to suggest the aid convoy was anything but what it claimed to be; all claims that it was a pretext for military invasion are mere slanderous suggestion. Despite Russia fulfilling all their legalistic and bureaucratic obligations, and inspections from the Red Cross and OSCE, no violations were discovered. The trucks contained what the inventories said they contained. End of story.

There’s also no evidence the rebels had anything to do with downing MH17, but quite a bit of evidence pointing towards Kiev. As for the Crimean referendum being “fraud-ridden”, that’s a bald-faced lie. And regarding Zakharchenko’s statement, he never stated the tanks and troops were coming “from Russia”, but that they were being transported between the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics.

Rather than point out that these are mere allegations (or outright lies), Voxand the entire Western media operates on the presumption that they may be true. At least they include the following under “What we don’t know”:

- Whether Russian tanks crossed into Ukraine on August 14. If so, that would be a major escalation from the past practice of sending small numbers of unmarked troops, and a big step toward an overt war.

[Which suggests it's nonsense. - HK]

- Whether Ukraine is actively firing back at Russian-flagged forces. Ukraine described firing back at the August 14th “incursion,” which Russia denies exists. Now that Russian forces appear to be in Ukraine more overtly, if Ukraine returns fire this may provide Moscow with an excuse to more fully invade.

[Ukraine has already violated Russia's border, firing missiles at checkpoints in the Rostov region, and yet Russia has not retaliated. In other words, the above is BS. - HK]

- Whether the Russian aid convoy is part of a secret invasion force. That’s what Ukrainian officials say, and the fact that the trucks appear to be empty is highly suspect, but it’s still not clear whether or not the 280-truck convoy is part of some secret plot or just there deliver humanitarian supplies, as Moscow says.

[It's not "highly suspect". Some trucks are half empty in order to take on the load of any trucks that break down. - HK]

- What Russia does next. Again assuming the incident Ukraine described happened, it’s totally unclear how Russia would respond. Will they escalate to full warfare with Ukraine? That remains to be seen.

[Indeed, what will Russia do next? That's the big question. But it's unlikely they will 'invade'. That's exactly what NATO wants them to do. - HK]

- Could Russia try to annex eastern Ukraine? That’s what they did in Crimea, and Russia has been backing separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine for months. But that would be a big step, and even riskier than the Crimea annexation.

- How will the US and Europe respond? American and European leaders have ratcheted up economic sanctions on Russia to deter it from invading, but have been hesitant to directly arm or supply Ukraine, for fear of getting sucked into a war. It’s not clear how they’ll respond if open war breaks out between Russia and Ukraine.

The double standards in the official discourse re: Russia and the U.S./Ukraine are mind-numbing. The U.S. is allowed to wage brutal proxy wars in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and umpteen other countries, but Russia cannot support its own brothers and sisters fighting a war against genocidal Nazis without hysterical responses from the West. The U.S. can orchestrate an illegal coup d’etat and finance the illegitimate new regime, but material support to the resistance in Novorossiya is verboten. The U.S. can invade other countries with bombs and call it ‘humanitarianism’; Russia ‘invades’ Ukraine by providing real humanitarian aid. If only more countries followed suit! And people still think we don’t live in a unipolar world dominated by the American Empire.

In a sense, Russia is acting ‘aggressively’ and ‘invading’ Ukraine. They are standing up for what is right and saying ‘NO!’ to the genocidal terrorist operation being conducted by Kiev. In the end, what the people of Eastern Ukraine will remember is that Putin helped them. The people in Lugansk (and other Novorossiyan regions and cities) have no water, no electricity, and little food. Over 2,000 are already dead, and 750,000 have fled to Russia for safety. No, Russia has not forgotten their brothers and sisters in the east of Ukraine. While the current political climate may prevent them from aiding the rebels militarily, they can provide humanitarian aid to those in need. The heart-breaking thing is that it’s nowhere near enough. The people in the breakaway republics are facing a long, cold winter with insufficient supplies…

Putin is ‘invading’ all right: invading the borders of public opinion by making it clear Russia is the only country that gives a damn about the people being massacred by the Nazis running Kiev and their paymasters in Washington, London and Berlin. When Putin makes Kiev look bad, of course they’re going to flip out and complain about how ‘aggressive’ Russia is. If all ‘invasions’ were as peaceful and popularly supported by the ‘invaded’ population, it would provide a welcome respite from the type of invasions the world has been experiencing at the hands of pathocracies like the U.S. for decades.

Remember, all the BS to the contrary is brought to you by the same mainstream media that accused Russia of shooting down MH17 and ‘invading’ Crimea. Every accusation made by Western media has proven to be false. The propaganda is getting so bad, you literally cannot believe anything that comes from Western media. So I suggest you simply stop doing so.

Harrison Koehli hails from Edmonton, Alberta. A graduate of studies in music and performance, Harrison is an editor for Red Pill Press and the Dot Connector Magazine, and has been interviewed on several North American radio. 

Sergeant Dan Page of the St. Louis County Police Department was caught earlier this week participating in what seemed like a staged CNN broadcast in Ferguson where he shoved reporter Don Lemon while standing with peaceful protesters.

YouTube activist The Black Child noticed the encounter on CNN and quickly identified Page and exposed his radical views in the video below. The Black Child pulled clips from a 2012 lecture given by Sergeant Page where he gives detailed plans of a military police state takeover of America.

CNN has now confirmed the officer pretending to manhandle reporter Don Lemon is indeed Dan Page in that 2012 lecture. Page has been suspended for his ideology and will be forced to undergo psychiatric evaluation. Of course, they still pretend that Page wasn’t a CNN-paid provocateur in that ridiculous sidewalk scene.

Lemon uses the opportunity to smear the Oath Keepers as sharing Page’s views. However, they report Oath Keeper’s response that Page is not a member of their organization and was only invited to lecture about the police state.

This is the second time in a week that an activist journalist got a thug removed from the Ferguson protest. Three days ago a police officer pointed an assault rifle in the face of a peaceful citizen journalist and said “I will f*cking kill you”. When the livestreamer asked for his name the officer replied “Go f*ck yourself!”

The officer was removed from Ferguson the following day and suspended. Activist journalists have done more to enforce police accountability this week than authorities seem to have done in a span of years.

It’s a very interesting world we live in.

Less than a week after a highly suspicious video many are dismissing as a fake surfaced the British government is announcing plans to implement more tyranny.

The video, described as too graphic for Youtube and Twitter, does not show the beheading of photojournalist James Foley by ISIS. Despite this, the corporate media and the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom characterize the video as a grotesque snuff film deserving a violent military response and the violation of Syria’s national sovereignty.


From the Irish Times today:

Home secretary Theresa May said she was preparing new laws to tackle Islamist militants at home and to stop them going abroad to fight, adding that Britain faced a long struggle against a “deadly extremist ideology”.

We will be engaged in this struggle for many years, probably decades. We must give ourselves all the legal powers we need to prevail,” May wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

While details are yet to be confirmed, Ms May said the new powers would be designed to restrict the militants’ behavior, ban involvement in groups preaching violence and require prisons, broadcasters, schools and universities to take a greater role in combating the radicalization of Muslims.

In other words, the British government will decide what is appropriate behavior, what groups Britons may join, what can be broadcast over the media and discussed in schools and universities.

The proposed law will augment Britain’s Section 44 Terrorism Act. It allows police to decide who is a terrorist and grants them the authority to search and detain citizens. The law is used on a regular basis against peaceful and lawful protesters.

Britain has enacted a number of successively restrictive laws. In 2000, before the 9/11 attacks in America and the July, 2005 attacks in London, the UK passed the Terrorism Act 2000 which makes it an offense to collect or possess information likely to be used by a terrorist. The Terrorism Act 2006 makes it an offense to “glorify” terrorism.

The UK has used a D-Notice system for over a hundred years. The notices are used to censor the press on the grounds of national security. D-Notices are routinely used for political reasons. For instance, in October, the British Prime Minister threatened to use D-Notices against newspapersthat did not show the appropriate degree of “social responsibility” in reporting on the NSA and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ for short.

Eric Margolis: Beware of Suspicious Foley Beheading Video

The UK is merely the first country to exploit the alleged beheading of James Foley for domestic political purposes. Others, including the United States, will undoubtedly follow suit. The U.S. is using the questionable incident to announce it will soon begin military operations against ISIS in Syria.

On Saturday a former Toronto Sun journalist, Eric Margolis, questioned the Foley incident.

“Was Foley’s head really cut off? Hard to tell. We have been fed so much fake government war propaganda in recent decades – from Kuwaiti babies thrown from incubators to Saddam’s hidden nukes – that we must be very cautious,” Margolis writes.

The journalist asks if “the orchestrated outrage over Foley [is a] media prelude to direct US intervention in Syria where the jihadists backed by Washington are losing. It’s all very confusing. In Iraq, ISIS are demon terrorists. But across the border in Syria, they are on our side, fighting against the ‘terrorist’ regime of Basher Assad.”

Margolis’ former colleagues, however, are dutifully pushing the government narrative that Foley was in fact beheaded, despite a nearly complete lack of evidence, and paving the way for yet another U.S. military intervention in the Middle East.

Part I

PART II: Geopolitical Application

It is now time to segue into the geopolitical applications of the RCSP. This section will begin with Northeast Asia and then proceed counterclockwise into exploring the dual approaches towards Central Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. It will then move on to Europe before looking at the Mideast/North Africa (MENA) and Latin America. It is only in Africa where the RCSP has yet to mature, although the possibilities most certainly are there for China to invite Russia’s balancing influence into the continent in the future and to influence regional leaders to expand their trade ties with Moscow. Finally, the conclusion will unify the article and demonstrate that the RCSP is truly the most important relationship of the 21st century and the definitive vehicle for multipolarity.

The reader is recommended to keep the following in mind while perusing this section: Each hand of the RCSP is intended to wash the other and complement its counterpart in regions/states where it may be at a relative disadvantage vis-à-vis its partner, with the end-game intent of establishing true global multipolarity. With that being stated, the geopolitical examination of the RCSP begins.

Northeast Asia

The essence of the RCSP in Northeast Asia is to carefully confront the US’ “unsinkable aircraft carrier” and neutralize its lethality. Both Russia and China had existing territorial disputes with Japan prior to the commencement of the RCSP, but Japan did not begin to aggravate these tensions until the early 2010s. The Japanese problem could more accurately be viewed as an American problem due to its occupation of and mutual security with the country, so via proxy, the RCSP is effectively faced with the hurdle of American obstruction over the process of Northeast Asian pacification. Tokyo always has the ‘opt-out clause’ of a normalization of ties with Moscow (which is in the national interests of both actors), but this does not seem to be on the horizon under Abe’s administration. The US occupation is too strong and influential for the country to break free in the near future, but should a stroke of luck occur breakout and movement towards true foreign policy independence transpire, it would place Moscow in a position to play a positive role in moderating Tokyo’s actions towards Beijing.

Openning Russia-China joint Navy exercises, May 2014

Openning Russia-China joint Navy exercises, May 2014

In the current environment, however, both Russia and China understand that Japan, not North Korea (which both countries engage in the multilateral de-nuclearization talks), poses the strongest risk of Northeast Asian destabilization due to its aggressive pursuit of territorial claims. This is aided and abetted by the US in order to create the optimal Lead From Behind partner in the region and sabotage the prospect of pan-regional cooperation. Thus, however unlikely it may seem at the moment, in the event that war breaks out, Russia and China could either military cooperate or one or the other would use the strongest diplomatic and political tools at its disposal to try to influence Japan to back down and halt hostilities as soon as possible.

Central Asia

A lot has been written about a supposed Russian-Chinese rivalry in Central Asia, but in actuality, this is not the case, and it is nothing more than wishful thinking by those intending to split up the RCSP and see Russia and China butting heads over the region. Russia is in the process ofpolitically and economically integrating with Kazakhstan and soon Kyrgyzstan under the auspices of the Eurasian Union, and it has mutual security commitments with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan under the CSTO (which also regularly partake in military drills). China, on the other hand, is more of a soft leader in Central Asia, having established lucrative business contacts in recent years and struck extremely strategic energy deals with most of the region’s members, first and foremost Turkmenistan.

The state of play in Central Asia is the following: Russia is consolidating its influence over the former Soviet sphere with states which it already has cultivated deep relations with, while China is moving in to fill the void in certain economic vectors. It is of the highest importance for China to be able to diversify its natural resource import routes in order to avoid the US-occupied and chokehold-prone Straits of Malacca, ergo its energy interest in Central Asia. It is through Russia’s implicit acceptance of China’s involvement here via the RCSP that it is able to proceed without a hitch, as it is also in Russia’s interest to have a strong and as energy independent as possible partner in China.

The meteoric expansion of China’s energy influence in Central Asia is also beneficial for Russia in a tangential way, however. The ties that it has fostered with Uzbekistan, which in the past few years has been moving away from Russia (it left the CSTO in 2012 and has plans to buy loads of NATO’sleftover military equipment from Afghanistan) and closer to becoming the US’ possible Lead From Behind partner post-Afghan withdraw, could be used to temper its regional policies. It is not to say that China can convince it to abstain from increased military cooperation with the US, but instead, it can exercise its impactful economic and energy influence over Uzbekistan to try to stave off a catastrophic military confrontation with Tajikistan that would likely involve Russia through its CSTO responsibilities.

Vladimir Putin meeting with Indian PM Narendra Modi, July 2014.

Vladimir Putin meeting with Indian PM Narendra Modi, July 2014.

South Asia

This is a region of the world where the RCSP takes on a very complex nature and can be exceedingly difficult to discern except for the most careful of observers. To lay out the political arrangements, Russia is India’s closest ally, with new Prime Minister Nahrendra Modi having recentlyproclaimed that “If you ask anyone among the more than one billion people living in India who is our country’s greatest friend, every person, every child knows that it is Russia. Everyone knows that Russia has always stood side by side with India during the toughest moments and without demanding anything in return.” This is a political relationship imbued with titanic global implications in its own right, but in the context of the RCSP, it allows Russia to exert a strong degree of influence over India in keeping the peace with China, especially as the latter has ratcheted up its border dispute rhetoric over the past couple years in an ironically similar style to what Japan has done to China. Unlike Japan, however, China indicated two months ago that it is willing to finally settle this dispute, thereby opening the role for Russia to play a behind-the-scenes stabilizing hand to make sure that neither party acts recklessly and endangers the talks.

Moving along, China has a very close strategic relationship with Pakistan, India’s mortal rival, and the two countries interact on a military and economic basis. China is interested in an energy conduit to the Indian Ocean that is firmly under its control, and Pakistan needs its larger northern neighbor to hedge against the Indian threat. This relationship obviously threatens India and sits atop the foreign policy considerations of the nation’s diplomatic elite, as does China’s String of Pearls naval strategy in the Indian Ocean. This is the name given to China’s policy of establishing preferential naval relationships with Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Myanmar to increase its reach in India’s backyard and secure its energy shipments through the region. With so much geopolitical rivalry ongoing between India and China, Russia’s role over both actors takes on critical importance in securing peace and stability, and unlike in Northeast Asia and with Japan, in South Asia, Russia runs the high probability of being able to influence the course of events to a greater and more impactful extent.

Continuing along with China’s String of Pearls strategy, this also opens up doors of opportunity for Russia as well. Due to Beijing’s relationship with Islamabad and the political sensitivities of weapons shipments to its partner, Russia was able to go in by proxy and sell combat helicoptersunder the pretense of anti-drug assistance to Pakistan. Although irking India, this is represents a “paradigm shift” in more ways than one: not only are Russia and Pakistan both snubbing the West, but Russia is able to use the trust it has with India to engender (however begrudging) Indian acceptance of this new military-customer relationship. This sale helps Pakistan as much as it helps China to balance against India by proxy (no matter how minor), and it also indirectly assists Russia with the post-2014 withdraw situation in Afghanistan. This monumental development was entirely due to Russia’s intercession, as should China have sold similar equipment to Pakistan, it could have preceded a crisis in bilateral relations with India and scuttled the possible talks on finalizing the border dispute between the two.

What’s more, on a tangential note, Russia could in the future use China’s preferential trade ties with its String of Pearls partners to assist with the economic diversification of its agricultural products, a goal that it has embarked on since the counter-sanctions were enacted at the beginning of August. This would merely be reciprocation for what Russia allowed China to do in Central Asia with its energy diversification, for example, so it makes sense within the structure of the RCSP for China to lend a helping hand to Russia to do this for its agricultural and low-level trade diversification in South Asia. As was underscored at the beginning of the second part of this article, Russia and China complementarily aid one another in all possible ways, as this is the backbone of the strategic partnership. If one of them can open the front door to cooperation with a certain state or region for its own benefit, then they will let the other in through that entrance as well, if not through the backdoor which is away from public scrutiny.

Southeast Asia

This region of the world is one of the weakest for the RCSP but it still has an opportunity for both states. China is currently embroiled in a bitter spat with its neighbors over claims in the South China Sea, particularly with Vietnam. It is here where the opportunity is present for Russia to fulfill the strategic balancer role and work towards furthering the grand partnership with China. Russia and Vietnam have a long and friendly relationship stretching back to the Soviet era, and Moscow currently supplies Hanoi with valuable submarines that have given it a relative peace of mind against China. Although not as fierce, the Chinese-Vietnamese rivalry in Southeast Asia can be somewhat structurally compared to the Indian-Pakistani one in South Asia, and in both instances, Russia can be the mediator in balancing between both due to its unique position.

It is ironic that the Russian-Vietnamese relationship, built during the Cold War to counter China, can now be used to help Beijing in a convoluted way. Russia and China, as mentioned before, need each other to remain strong and stable in order to achieve the long-term goal of global multipolarity, so thus, Russia’s weapons shipments to Vietnam should not be seen as trying to weaken China, but rather, to anchor Moscow’s influence in a country that has already proven troublesome for Beijing. Through this deepening influence, Russia can then affect the decisions of the Vietnamese political elite in working towards a constructive (or at the least, non-military) solution, even if this results in a ‘frozen conflict’ or prolongation of the current stalemate. Of course, there are other actors influencing Vietnam as well (notably the US), but Russian influence in Hanoi should not be underestimated, as both countries are even talking about enhanced economic cooperation within the Eurasian Union format, thereby showing that the Russia factor still holds weight in the Vietnamese capital.

169212146Europe

In light of the current tailspin in Russian-EU relations, there is practically nothing that Russia can do within the RCSP to help China, but China can in fact offer an opportunity for Russia. As it stands, one of China’s grand strategic designs is to facilitate expedited trade with the EU via a three-pronged approach: the New Silk Road (both land and maritime components), the Eurasian Land Bridge, and the Northern Sea Route. The last two paths run directly through Russian territory, be it land or maritime, thereby increasing Russia’s geopolitical prominence between Europe and China, whether the EU likes it or not. It doesn’t matter whether Europe reciprocates by transporting its goods through Russian territory or not since China is still highly forecasted to do so, which would still give Russia a stronger economic position and more tangible gains than it had before.

The Mideast and North Africa (MENA)

Ever since the 2011 Arab Spring Color Revolutions, MENA has been the focal point of intense Russian-Chinese political coordination. Sergei Lavrov declared in May 2011 after a meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister that “We have agreed to coordinate our actions using the abilities of both states in order to assist the earliest stabilization and prevention of the further negative unpredictable consequences there.” This was in obvious response to the West’s violation of UNSC 1973, when the Security Council resolution was blatantly abused to justify the NATO War in Libya and subsequent regime change there. Clearly, Russia and China understand that such a violation can one day occur even closer to their borders, and if they are perhaps confronting internal destabilization and relative state weakening by that time, then even within these countries themselves.

In the Mideast, one can also easily see both countries fulfilling their specific roles within the partnership. Russia’s interactions with Syria and Iran, and most recently Egypt, visibly demonstrate its role as a military and political balancer. China has deeply involved itself in the energy trade in MENA, with 60% of its oil coming from there. It is also embedding itself into the region’s non-energy economy, specifically within the UAE. Thus, besides the overall political coordination and absolute agreement between Russia and China in MENA, the region also serves to lay plain the distributive roles between them.

Latin America

This region, more so than even MENA, unquestionably shows the RCSP active in near-laboratory conditions. Latin America is far removed from the geopolitical intrigues of Eurasia, thereby making Russia and China’s cooperation here easy even for the unaccustomed eye to observe. In the past decade, Russia has returned to Latin America both in style and in substance. Its ships have called port here and held joint exercises with Venezuela, and Russian bombers have flown over andrefuelled there on occasion. Nicaragua is even supposed to host a Russian base to guard the Chinese-financed canal that is being built in the country. Gazprom has begun investing in Boliviaand Argentina, and Rosneft is active in Venezuela. Medvedev and Putin have even paid visits to the region, and it has been speculated that Russia agreed to reopen its Soviet-era spy base in Cuba during the latter’s last visit there in July. It can thus be argued that Russia is more influential in Latin America now than it ever was during the Cold War.

Major Chinese infrastructure project in Latin America -proposed transoceanic Nicaragua canal.

Major Chinese infrastructure project in Latin America -proposed transoceanic Nicaragua canal.

China, being the economic gateway that it is, is the fastest growing investor in Latin America and set to become itssecond-largest trading partner. As mentioned above, it is financing the revolutionary Nicaragua Canal, which will diversify trans-oceanic crossing away from the US’ Panamanian client state and invite more non-American investment and trade into the area. This is actually already happening even without the canal. Russia is capitalizing off of its past decade of re-established contact with Latin America to diversify its agricultural trade away from the West due to the recent counter-sanctions. This reveals a larger strategy on behalf of Russia, which is to break the West’s dominance on certain agricultural markets and provide producers with an attractive alternative option. Russia also wants to enhance its state sovereignty and thus has an impetus for lessening the West’s economic influence over its domestic economy, hence its trade expansion to non-Western markets in the past few weeks.

Altogether, Latin America is the most suitable rear base for advancing the Multipolar World in the backyard of the fading unipolar giant. Russia and China have absolutely no competing interests whatsoever in this theatre, thus unquestionably showing the grand strategic aims of the RCSP in general. Russian and Chinese involvement in the region is growing at a spectacular pace and in a multifaceted way, thus opening the possibility for a dramatic geopolitical transformation right on the doorsteps of the US. Latin America is in many ways to the US what Eastern Europe is to Russia – a region harboring intense dislike for its larger neighbor and therefore able to be flexibly managed from afar to partake in even more detrimental actions against its former hegemon.

Concluding Thoughts

The Russia-China Strategic Partnership (RCSP) is truly global in scope, having come to encompass the entire world to varying degrees. The axioms presented earlier must be restated in order to remind the reader of its essence:

Each hand of the RCSP is intended to wash the other and complement its counterpart in regions/states where it may be at a relative disadvantage vis-à-vis its partner, with the end-game intent of establishing true global multipolarity.

Russia is the Balancer and China is the Gateway. The further that one moves from these two, for example, to the Mideast and Latin America, the more they can see the pure multipolar objectives and close coordination between these states; likewise, the closer they get to these two Eurasian cores, the more complex the relationship appears and the more difficult it may be to understand.

With this always in mind, the RCSP is more easily grasped and its multipolar ambitions become more readily apparent. Returning back to the beginning of this composition where the detractors and distracters were mentioned, it is now shown that the distracters have been using smoke and mirrors to hide the obvious – the RCSP is a very real and tangible force all throughout the world.The detractors, on their end, were wrong when they alleged that this partnership is aggressive. It surely is challenging the Washington Consensus, but it is doing so through peaceful and political means, largely through the hand-in-hand approach of Russia’s military-diplomatic contacts and political balancing and China’s economic gateway role. Thus, it is indisputable that in the 21st century, the RCSP will continue to be the most dynamic partnership in constructing multipolarity all across the world and pushing back against the US’ desperate attempts to preserve its unipolar anachronism.

Andrew Korybko is the American political correspondent of Voice of Russia who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

As Israel continues its massive military aggression against the Gaza Strip, which has already cost the lives of more than 2,000 Palestinians, the international condemnation of the atrocities committed by the Tel Aviv regime and its cruel massacre of the unarmed citizens of the besieged Gaza grows steadily.

Just recently, a group of Jewish scholars, most of whom were born in the Occupied Territories and teaching at the Israeli universities, have signed a petition, calling on the government of Benjamin Netanyahu to stop its deadly incursion into the coastal territory.

A prominent anti-Zionist Israeli historian and intellectual, who is best known for his outspoken criticism of the Israeli government and his opposition to the occupation of Palestinian territories, believes that the Western mainstream media are giving a lopsided and unfair coverage to the war on Gaza, which has many different reasons, including the influence of the Israeli lobby and the fear of these media outlets of being branded anti-Semitist.

In an exclusive interview with Tehran Times, Prof. Ilan Pappé said that Zionism has reduced Judaism “into a narrow minded ethno-nationalism that depended on the success of a colonialist project.”

Ilan Pappé is a political activist, historian and professor at the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter, Britain. He is also the director of the university’s European Centre for Palestine Studies, and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies. From 1984 to 2007, he was a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa. A former member of Israel’s Hadash Party, he was the party’s candidate for the parliament (Knesset) elections in 1996 and 1999. In 2012, he published the book “The Bureaucracy of Evil: The History of the Israeli Occupation” that was released by the Oneworld Publications.

Prof. Pappé responded to our questions on the recent Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip and the historical, legal aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The following is the text of the interview.

Q: It was reported that Israel launched its military incursion into the Gaza Strip after Hamas allegedly kidnapped and killed three young Israeli settlers. So far, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been slaughtered in the month-long conflict. Do you consider this mass killing in such a broad extent, and the obliteration of the civilian infrastructure of the Gaza Strip a logical, proportionate and justifiable response to the kidnapping of three Israeli citizens, while there isn’t still reliable evidence showing that the abduction was done by Hamas?

A: No, of course not and the destruction of Gaza is not really a retaliation to the abduction and killing of the three settlers. The incident was a pretext for implementing a policy that was formulated long time ago towards the Gaza Strip; a geopolitical area of Palestine for which Israel has no clear policy. It manages, at least in its own eyes, quite successfully, the rest – 98 percent – of Palestine. It imposes harsh restrictions on the Palestinian minority inside Israel and colonial rule in the West Bank. These policies were also tried in the Gaza Strip but it was a risk to have settlers there and it was too full of refugees for to be seriously considered part of Israel. So it was ‘ghettoized’ with the hope that it would be domiciled in such a way. But Gaza resists and the only way Israel deems possible to react to this, is to use all its military might to crash that rebellion.

Q: Can we interpret the Israeli offensive into the Gaza Strip as an effort to ruin the newly-formed unity government in Palestine? Is Israel trying to delegitimize Hamas in the eyes of the people of Gaza Strip who voted unanimously in the 2006 legislative election to bring it to power, and to pretend that Hamas is not capable of providing security and welfare for them?

A: Indeed, there is also a more immediate reason for the particular timing of this assault. The Fatah-Hamas unity government and the Palestinian Authority decision to replace the ‘peace process’ with an appeal to international organizations endangers, in the eyes of the Israelis, their control over the West Bank. So the wish was for destroying Hamas politically in the West Bank and militarily in the Gaza Strip.

Q: It seems that a growing number of Israeli academicians, intellectuals, journalists and ordinary citizens on the streets are turning frustrated at the policies of Israel and its brutalization of the Palestinian citizens. I just read that a large group of Israeli university professors have signed a petition, calling on Tel Aviv to cease its military operations against the civilian population in Gaza. So, we see an emerging trend in opposition to the Israeli policies. What’s your take on that?

A: I would not exaggerate the number of dissenting voices inside Israel. There are of course such voices, but the society at large, 87 percent according to one poll, is not only behind the government’s policy in Gaza, but even demand a more brutal action over there. So I think we cannot rest our hopes for an end to the violence in Palestine on a change from within Israel. Only strong pressure from the outside can produce such a result.

Q: Do you think it’s possible to stop Israel from intensifying its assault on the Gaza Strip and violating the international law? Israel has hasn’t paid any attention to the UN bodies’ condemnations and calls for the cessation of hostilities. So, it sounds like international law doesn’t have any mechanism for obligating Israel to abide by its commitments as an occupying power under the international law. What do you make of it?

A: The only way of stopping Israel is adopting towards it the same attitude adopted against South Africa at the time of Apartheid.  For this to be effective, one would have hoped to see a change in the American position. This is not likely to take place soon. But also in the case of South Africa, the American position was an obstacle for an effective action against South Africa. The fall of the Soviet Union convinced the Americans that South Africa was not needed any more in the cold war. So something similar has to occur to change American positions. But in the meantime it is important to build the solidarity movement with the Palestinians on the basis of human and civil rights’ agenda.

Q: All of those Israeli politicians, diplomats, intellectuals and academicians who break the wall of silence and level some criticisms against the discriminatory practices and policies of the Israeli government with regards to the Palestinian people are immediately defamed as anti-Semites and self-hating Jews. Have you ever faced such charges? What’s your perspective on those who want to officially sanction any criticism of Israel under this pretext and obstruct the way to a meaningful dialog on what’s happening in that sensitive region of the world?

A: Yes a lot. Self-hating Jew is a common reference to me. But I have no problem with my Jewish identity. My conflict is with Zionism. I think Zionism reduced Judaism into a narrow minded ethno-nationalism that depended on the success of a colonialist project. This brought more misery to Jews around the world, rather than helping them to defeat anti-Semitism. I think now that the Jews are already a third generation in Palestine, they can be recognized as a separate ethnic group provided they are willing to share the land with the indigenous people and not strive to dispossess them.

Q: The United States government has offered its unconditional and unrestrained support to the Israeli government in its deadly operations in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Washington is the largest financial and military benefactor to Israel. Israel will never be held accountable if this approach continues. Does it mean that Israel, with its criminal record of murdering the Palestinians would always remain immune to accountability before the international community?

A: I think one should not take a deterministic view on this. First of all, the United States was not always pro-Israeli and the American public is not the same as its political elites. In fact, there is a far more significant change in the attitude towards Israel among young American, including many Jews, than in Israel. Secondly, America’s ability to impact world politics has seriously diminished. States such as Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa and China (the BRICS countries) have more influence than ever before. If they are recruited to the campaign to change the reality on the ground in Palestine, then there is a good chance for change and peace.

Q: In a September 2006 article, you referred to the Israeli policies in the Gaza Strip as an incremental genocide, and reiterated that its ongoing military assault on the caged people of Gaza represents the continuation of that lethal policy. Do you believe that Israel is carrying out a project of ethnic cleansing and is trying to kill as many Palestinians as possible so as to alter and distort the demographics of the region and realize its plan for establishing the Greater Israel?

A: I think it is a bit more nuanced. The Zionist project from its very beginning was having as much of Palestine as possible with as few Palestinians in it possible. The means for achieving it have changed with time. In 1948, the major effort to achieve it was attempted when half of the country’s indigenous people were expelled. More sophisticated means were used afterwards; military rule, discriminatory legislation and small scale ethnic cleansing operations. In Gaza all these means proved useless and therefore the idea was to ghettoize Gaza and hope that this would separate its people from Palestine. But when they resisted the reaction became genocidal.

Q: It’s understandable why the Israeli media are giving a lopsided and biased coverage to the war that Netanyahu and his entourage have inflicted on the empty-handed Palestinians. But why do the Western mainstream media, most of the times proudly boasting of their adherence to the codes of ethics and professionalism, follow the same path and don’t talk the truth and present the realities of this unjust carnage that is playing out in the beleaguered Gaza Strip?

A: An excellent question. There is no good reason for this biased Western coverage. I think it differs in explanation for different parts of the West. In the United State, there is a strong pro-Zionist, Jewish and Christian presence in the media which reflect both AIPAC and the Christian Zionist Churches’ point of view on Israel. The more liberal press, especially the New York Times, slowly become more critical on Israel but still has not walked the extra mile, maybe because of timidity. In Europe, I think the fear of being accused of anti-Semitism is still very strong, as well as financial consideration connected to pro-Zionist corporations. So they adopted the paradigm of balance and parity which continues to provide Israel with immunity.

Fighting Back Against Western Sanctions on Russia

August 23rd, 2014 by Ulson Gunnar

While the impact of sanctions leveled against Russia is being debated, one fact is perfectly clear; the dangerous interdependence cultivated by the concept of “globalization” leaves nations vulnerable amid a global order dominated by hegemonic special interests that use such interdependence as a weapon.

Two rounds of sanctions have been leveled against Russia targeting Russian banking, arms manufacturing, and oil industries. Even as the sanctions are marketed to the world as Russia “paying a price” for its role in “destabilizing” Ukraine, Russia has been busy cultivating ties and expanding markets that are increasingly found outside the West’s spheres of influence and therefore, beyond the reach of these sanctions. Russia is also looking inward to diversify its markets and seek socioeconomic independence.

Instead of viewing the sanctions as an impassable obstacle requiring capitulation to Wall Street and London, Russia has viewed them as a challenge to sever reliance on unstable markets. More so, Russia’s quest for alternative markets is a means of applying its own form of pressure back upon the West. While the West attempts to portray the sanctions as “cutting off Russia,” the restrictions do at least as much to isolate the West itself.

Multipolar World Vs Western Hegemony

In a unipolar world, supranational geopolitical blocs like the EU (European Union), the African Union, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), and regional free trade agreements serve to consolidate and open up the collective socioeconomic potential of the planet to those at the top of this international order. Currently, this constitutes the special interests on Wall Street, in the city of London, and among the special interests converging in Brussels. Interdependence is intentionally cultivated among the various members of individual blocs and between supranational blocs themselves. This ensures that leverage is constantly maintained over each individual national entity, making individual nations incapable of sidestepping collective initiatives of the blocs they are a part of.

In the European Union, this can be clearly seen as individual nations benefiting from ties with Moscow are attempting with limited success to rebel against broader EU sanctions against Russian industries.

The use of sanctions across several supranational blocs, including North America, the EU, and to a lesser extent, the West’s proxies in nations like East Asia’s Japan, had at one point critically threatened those nations targeted by them. Nations like Iran or Cuba who have suffered under Western sanctions for decades are clearly behind because of them. Behind, but not out.

As technology enables each individual nation to procure wealth on its own it once depended on trade with other nations for, the impact of sanctions is diminishing. The impact of sanctions is also undermined by a growing alternative international order outside of the West’s unipolar paradigm. BRICS, the nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, constitute the leading edge of the rise of the developing world. No longer satisfied with subservience to the Wall Street-London global order, nor eager to find themselves entangled beneath another global empire led by another global superpower, these nations are attempting to redefine international relations in more traditional, multilateral terms.

Becoming self-sufficient economically while redefining international ties in a less interdependent manner, appears to be the defining aspect of the emerging multipolar world BRICS is attempting to create. The creation of international trade outside the traditional framework of the IMF, the World Trade Organization, and other institutions created by the West, for the West, has gradually eroded the impact of sanctions, penalties, and monopolies empowered by Western domination over international finance and global trade.

More to Do

While Russia seems to be taking Western sanctions in stride, the fact that the United States and Europe are targeting Russia in the first place is a warning to all members of BRICS as well as to developing nations around the world. In the capitals of nations residing outside the Wall Street-London international order, the possibility that any one of them could be next should be at the center of economic planning and the future of their respective foreign policy.

Creating alternative markets outside this international order could be a short-term stop gap. In Russia’s case, growing ties with China in terms of energy exports ensures a lasting alternative market for Russian natural gas that is set only to grow in the future as the West attempts to cutoff and isolate both Moscow and Beijing.

Seeking to create economic opportunities and progress domestically could be a more long-term and lasting solution. Russia’s decision to ban the import of food products from nations targeting it with recent sanctions gives BRICS an opportunity to expand in the void left by European, American, and Australian agricultural industries. It also gives an opportunity for Russian producers to expand their operations domestically. In the immediate aftermath of Russia banning imports from the West, stocks in Russia’s agricultural industry soared. While such spikes are more due to speculation than an actual jump in value, the fact that these producers now have an incentive to expand may create long-term value to justify investor confidence today.

But rather than waiting for sanctions to begin disrupting the socioeconomic status quo of a nation residing outside Western hegemony, a disruption the sanctions are designed specifically to create, why shouldn’t BRICS and other developing nations begin the process of developing their domestic markets and alternative international trading regimes beforehand?

If Russia, the largest nation geographically, the ninth most populous, and with one of the most formidable conventional and nuclear military forces on Earth, can be targeted for sanctions aimed to cripple its economy, then any nation can be targeted. Russia, with its resources and leadership is able to cope and adapt to these sanctions and even perhaps come out stronger in spite of them. Other nations might not weather such adversity so gracefully. Across BRICS and other nations in the developing world, a concerted effort must be made to move away from the interdependence of globalization and back toward greater multilateral trade regimes and greater domestic economic self-sufficiency.

Ulson Gunnar is a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

A Russian humanitarian convoy crossed into Ukraine on Friday, drawing swift condemnations and threats from the Obama administration, NATO and the US client regime in Kiev.

Taking back roads to avoid a confrontation with Ukrainian armed forces, the convoy of several hundred trucks carrying food, water, sleeping bags, power generators and other supplies arrived without incident in Luhansk Friday morning. Distribution of aid from centers set up throughout the city is scheduled to begin today.

The convoy had been stalled at the Ukraine-Russia border for more than a week as the Kiev regime headed by President Petro Poroshenko sought more time to carry out its brutal assault on areas in the Donbass region held by pro-Russian separatists, including the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk. The convoy eventually crossed the border without approval from Kiev.

The UN estimates that more than 2,000 people have been killed and more than 400,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since the military assault on the east began in April.

Those who remain in Luhansk face catastrophic conditions, living without electricity or running water for nearly three weeks. Residential neighborhoods have been besieged by artillery shelling from Ukrainian armed forces for several weeks. Over the past several days, house-to-house street fighting between rebel groups and the Ukrainian army has been reported in some areas of the city.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he felt that any further delay of the convoy would have been unacceptable given the continued onslaught against Luhansk and Donetsk. “Given the obvious protractions by Kiev on the issue of the delivery of Russian aid to southeast regions of Ukraine, which are suffering a humanitarian catastrophe, a decision was made on sending the convoy,” Putin said.

The Obama administration released a statement Friday in which it condemned Russia’s actions and threatened “additional consequences” for violating Ukraine’s “sovereignty.” The White House called on Russia to immediately remove all of its vehicles and personnel from Ukrainian territory, claiming that the unilateral dispatch of humanitarian aid violated international law as well as previous agreements reached between Russia and the Western powers.

Using the deployment of the aid convoy as a pretext, the US and NATO are threatening new sanctions in addition to those already imposed on Russia.

Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen backed the campaign against Russia condemning the movement of the convoy into Ukraine as a “breach of Russia’s international commitment” and a “further breach of Ukraine’s sovereignty by Russia.”

Rasmussen provocatively accused Russia of waging a de facto war against Ukraine in support of the pro-Russian separatists by firing its artillery against Ukrainian armed forces, both across the border and from Ukrainian territory.

Rasmussen proceeded to raise the prospect of open war by accusing Russia of an “alarming” military buildup on the Ukrainian border and warned against any “further provocative actions.”

The head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, declared that the movement of the Russian trucks across the border was a “direct invasion” but that they would allow it to pass to avoid any provocations. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that Ukraine would refrain from attacking the convoy, but that pro-Russian separatists might take the opportunity to attack the convoy and place the blame on Kiev in order to provoke a full-scale invasion by Moscow.

On the eve of her visit to Kiev today German Chancellor Angela Merkel took a somewhat different line from the US and NATO in response to the convoy, seeking some sort of agreement between Ukraine and Russia.

According to a statement by her press secretary, in a phone conversation with Putin and Poroshenko, Merkel expressed her concern to both leaders that the entry of the convoy could lead to an escalation of the already tense situation on the ground and called for a prompt ceasefire and an agreement that would ensure the integrity of Ukraine’s borders.

The allegations from Washington and NATO that it is Russia that is engaged in “illegal” and aggressive actions are a cynical fraud. The US and its imperialist allies have been engaged in a series of reckless provocations in Ukraine aimed at inciting Russia. The American government organized a right-wing coup led by fascist forces in February and has since promoted a ruthless military campaign by the Kiev regime in the east aimed at crushing pro-Russian and anti-Kiev sentiment.

Any sign of resistance or reaction by Moscow to the imperialist maneuvers in Ukraine has been met with escalating economic sanctions against Russia and a buildup of NATO troops in Eastern Europe.

The campaign against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine is part of a scheme by the US and the EU to politically destabilize Russia through a series of economic sanctions, political provocations and military threats. Ultimately American imperialism aims to subordinate Russia completely by reducing it the status of a neocolonial protectorate, raising the prospect of war between the two nuclear-armed powers.

Attorney General Eric Holder, the head of the Department of Justice, returned to Washington Thursday from his tour of Ferguson, Missouri—which was this month put effectively under martial law—to announce a cash settlement with Bank of America over its role in helping cause the 2008 financial crisis by making billions selling fraudulent mortgage-backed securities.

The deal will cost the bank only about a third of the $16 billion the Justice Department claims as the size of the settlement. Like previous settlements, it effectively shields the bank from further prosecution and protects the bankers responsible for forcing more than ten million families from their homes.

The actual cash settlement is under $10 billion, of which the company will end up paying only about $5 billion because its fine is tax-deductible. The company’s stock rallied at the news. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan praised the deal, saying it “is in the best interests of our shareholders,” and puts its legal troubles behind it. “Of the big stuff, that’s really the one that’s left out there,” he concluded.

“The NYPD never choked a banker,” read a sign left at the impromptu memorial of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man strangled to death by the New York Police Department as they arrested him for selling loose cigarettes on the street. Indeed. No bank executive has been arrested, much less criminally charged, for crashing the economy in 2008.

The banks have merely received wrist-slap fines, amounting to a tiny fraction of the free money handed out to them over nearly six years of zero-interest-rate policies, bailouts, and “quantitative easing.”

The settlement follows similar deals over the speculation in mortgage-backed securities that sparked the 2008 crisis, including a $7 billion settlement with Citigroup in July and a $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase in November. In each of these cases, top executives were likewise shielded from prosecution as banks paid a small portion of their yearly profits in tax-deductible fines—a cost of doing business.

“We are here to announce a historic step,” said Holder, “to hold accountable those whose actions threatened the integrity of our financial markets and undermined the stability of our economy.” The deal, added Associate Attorney General Tony West, “achieves real accountability for the American people.”

Real accountability? As one financial analyst candidly told Dow Jones’s MarketWatch, “The people who committed the crimes suffer nothing, while the people harmed get nothing.”

Last year, Holder admitted in Congressional testimony that he believes it is impossible to hold the banks to account. Responding to questioning from Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who noted that there had been no major prosecutions of financial institutions or executives by the Obama administration, Holder said: “I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them, when we are hit with indications that if we do prosecute—if we do bring a criminal charge—it will have a negative impact on the national economy.”

This, in effect, was an admission that “accountability” for the people whose documented, provable violations of law spelled disaster for millions of people around the world is impossible. But, as Thomas Gordon, the great 18th-century Scottish political commentator wrote, “Impunity for past crimes is a warrant to commit more.”

The immunity from prosecution granted to the Wall Street bankers is just one expression of the politically and morally bankrupt character of the American state. Police officers who kill young people or the mentally handicapped are given suspensions with pay, otherwise known as vacations. Wars are started based on lies, hundreds of thousands are killed, and the liars and warmongers are paraded on national television to bray for more blood.

Earlier this month, Obama once again affirmed his defense of the CIA after it became known that the intelligence agency spied on the United States Senate and stole documents in order to cover up the Bush administration’s torture program. The fact that the CIA conducted torture, that “we did some things that were contrary to our values…needs to be understood and accepted,” Obama said at the time, but again no one is to be held to account.

He concluded, with a nauseating chumminess, “In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks.”

What else could Obama add? “We spied on some folks. We bombed some folks. We gave assault rifles to police so they could shoot some folks. We invaded some folks. We gave Israel weapons, and then they massacred some folks. We funded ISIS, and they beheaded some folks.”

“My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,” declared Shakespeare’s Richard III, with a bit more awareness than Obama, “And every tongue brings in a several tale, And every tale condemns me for a villain.”

All of the crimes of the American state have a common root: the fundamentally criminal and parasitic character of the American ruling class, of which the state and the political establishment are a wholly owned subsidiary. The financial elite obtains its living by plunder and fraud, by driving down workers’ wages, raiding pension plans, slashing benefits, dismantling factories, laying off workers and razing cities. All of this is the basis of the massive speculative run-up in the stock market, which is fueled by trillions in free government cash.

The position of this social layer is more and more secured by open violence. We have seen in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri an indication of the methods the ruling class is prepared to employ. The state is overseen by a military-intelligence-police apparatus that functions as a law unto itself.

Neither the looting of the economy, nor the constant string of police murders, nor the government’s daily violation of the Constitution, can be punished, let alone prevented under the present social order. All of these crimes are the crimes of capitalism. This social order must be torn out root and branch if anything is to change. It must be replaced with socialism: the conscious organization of society to meet social needs, not private profit.

By The Saker

It appears that the Russians got tired of waiting.  I suggest that you all carefully parse the Statement of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs I posted earlier today.  This is an interesting document because besides an explanation of the Russian decision to move it, it is also, potentially, a legal defense or an unprecedented Russian decision: to overtly violate the Ukrainian sovereignty.  Let me explain.

First, the case of Crimea was also a “special case”.  The Russian were legally present there and, in the Russian rationale, all the “Polite Armed Men in Green” did was to protect the local population to make it possible for the latter to freely express its will.  Only after that will was expressed did Russia agree to formally re-incorporate Crimea into Russia.  So from the legal Russian point of view, none of the Russian actions in Crimea included any form of  violation of Ukrainian sovereignty.  I know, most western analysts will not agree, but that is the official Russian stance.  And official stances are important because they form the basis for a legal argument.

Second, the aid which Russia has been sending to Novorussia has been exclusively covert.  Covert operations, no matter their magnitude, do not form the basis for a legal position.  The official position of Moscow has been that not only was there absolutely no military aid to Novorussia, but even when Ukie artillery shells landed inside Russia did the Kremlin authorize any retaliation, again in (official) deference to Ukrainian national sovereignty.

This time, however, there is no doubt at all that the Russians deliberately and officially chose to ignore Kiev and move in.  Now, in fact, in reality, this is clearly the logically, politically and morally right thing to do.  But in legal terms, this clearly is a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty.  From a legal point of view, the Ukies had the right to keep the Russian convoy at the border for another 10’000 years if they wanted and Russia had no legal right to simply move in.  What apparently happened this morning is that the Ukie officials did not even bother showing up, so the Kremlin just said “forget it!” and ordered the trucks in.

Not only did the Russians move in, but they did that without the ICRC whose personnel refused to go because of the lack of security guarantees from Kiev. The Russian response to that lack of security guarantees was

a) to order this unarmed convoy in and b) to clearly state in the official statement:

We are warning against any attempts to thwart this purely humanitarian mission which took a long time to prepare in conditions of complete transparency and cooperation with the Ukrainian side and the ICRC. Those who are ready to continue sacrificing human lives to their own ambitions and geopolitical designs and who are rudely trampling on the norms and principles of international humanitarian law will assume complete responsibility for the possible consequences of provocations against the humanitarian relief convoy.

Again, from a logical, political or moral point of view, this is rather obvious, but from a legal point of view this is a threat to use force (“complete responsibility for the possible consequences”) inside the putatively sovereign territory of the Ukraine.

The US and their main agent in Kiev, Nalivaichenko, immediately and correctly understood the threat: not only did this convoy bring much needed humanitarian aid to Lugansk, it also provided a fantastic political and legal “cover” for future Russian actions inside Novorussia.  And by “actions” I don’t necessarily mean military actions, although that is now clearly and officially possible.  I also mean legal actions such as recognizing Novorussia.  From their point of view, Obama, Poroshenko, Nalivaichenko are absolutely correct to be enraged, because I bet you that the timing, context and manner in which Russia moved into Novorussia will not result in further sanctions or political consequences.   Russia has now officially declared the Ukie national sovereignty as “over” and the EU will probably not do anything meaningful about it.

That, by itself, is a nightmare for Uncle Sam.

Furthermore, I expect the Russians to act with a great deal of restraint.  It would be stupid for them to say “okay, now that we violated the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and ignored its sovereignty we might as well bomb the junta forces and move our troops in”.  I am quite confident that they will not do that.  Yet.  For the Russian side, the best thing to do now is to wait.  First, the convoy will really help.  Second, it will become a headache for the Ukies (bombing this convey would not look very good).  Third, this convoy will buy enough time for the situation to become far clearer.  What am I referring to here?

The Ukie plan has been to present some major “victory” for the Sunday the 24, when they plan a victory parade in Kiev to celebrate independence day (yup, the US-controlled and Nazi-administered “Banderastan” will celebrate its “independence”… this is both sad and hilarious).  Instead, what they have is  a long streak of *very* nasty defeats during the past 5-6 days or so.  By all accounts, the Ukies are getting butchered and, for the first time, even pushed back (if only on a tactical level).  That convoy in Lugansk will add a stinging symbolical “f**k you!” to the junta in Kiev.  It will also exacerbate the tensions between the ruling clique in power, the Right Sector and Dmitri Iarosh and the growing protest movement in western Ukraine.

Bottom line: this is a risky move no doubt, probably brought about by the realization that with water running out in Luganks Putin had to act.  Still it is also an absolutely brilliant move which will create a massive headache for the US and its Nazi puppets in Kiev.

The Saker

PS: I heard yesterday evening that Holland has officially announced that it will not release the full info of the flight data and voice recorders of MH17.  Thus Holland has now become an official accomplice to the cover-up of this US false-flag operation and to the murder of the passengers of MH17. This is absolutely outrageous and disgusting I and sure hope that the Malaysian government will not allow this.

As for Kiev, it is also sitting on the recording of the communications between the Kiev ATC and MH17.  Finally, the USA has it all through its own signals intelligence capabilities.  So they all know and they are all covering up.  Under the circumstances, can anybody still seriously doubt “who done it”?

 The Obama Administration actively pressured Europe to impose harsh sanctions on Russia in order to defend the violent takeover (‘regime change’) in the Ukraine.  England, France, Germany and the rest of the European regimes gave in to Washington’s demands.  Russia responded by imposing reciprocal sanctions, especially on agriculture goods, and is establishing alternative trading partners and increasing trade with China, Iran, Latin America and Africa.

 The sanctions policies occur at a time when Europe’s economies are in deep economic crisis, exacerbating long-term stagnation and chronic recession.  This paper will identify and analyze the crisis and how US-led sanctions policy is fracturing the European Union. Secondly, we will analyze how Washington’s militarist imperial policies undermine Europe economically and destabilize the rest of the world militarily.  Thirdly, we will discuss how the European leaders are prodded by Washington, to put it crudely, through an aggressive ‘buggering process’, to surrender their economic sovereignty and how capitulation to the US project in the Ukraine will lead to their long-term decline and decay.  Finally, we will discuss the long-term perspectives for a re-aligned world economy where military conflicts can result in large-scale changes.

From Stagnation to Recession from Sanctions to Depression

Across Europe, without exception, recession stalks the economies.  The dominant countries, Germany, France and Italy are mired in recession, acutely exacerbated by the sanctions against Russia dictated from Washington.  From Nordic Finland, passing through the Baltic States to Central and Southern Europe, the Eurozone ‘recovery’ is ‘kaput’!  The ‘triple whammy’ of capitalist disinvestment, economic sanctions and wars has provoked a deepening economic crisis.

Germany:  Regime ‘Lick-Spittle’ Scares Industry and Financial Sectors

The German financial market’s confidence is collapsing as a result of  Chancellor Merkel’s support for economic sanctions against Russia and President Putin’s reciprocal response. Several hundred thousand German industrial jobs are at risk; imports of Russian oil and gas are in danger; large-scale, long-term German investments and lucrative export markets are at stake.  These fears and uncertainties have led to declining investment and an unprecedented negative growth of 0.2% in the German economy in the second quarter of 2014.  The recession in Germany ripples throughout Europe – especially affecting Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Southern Europe.

Merkel’s servile capitulation to the US President’s command to sanction one of Germany’s major trade partners, Russia, may seriously harm its economic future.  Germany’s  industrial exports to Russia amount to 36 billion Euros; there are 20 billion Euros in annual investments; and over 400,000 German workers are employed in companies exporting to Russia . . . Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens, pointedly argued that “political tensions posed serious risks for Europe’s growth this year and next”.  Sales in some sectors are down 15% since June 2014.  Germany’s economy was already facing stagnation even before the coup in Kiev . . .but  machinery exporters are especially concerned about losing the Russian market because other markets have declined.  For example, German sales to Brazil are down nearly 20%.

In addition, German farmers suffer:  Export of German meat and meat products to Russia amount to 276 million Euros or 21% of their non-EU exports.  German dairy farmers earned $160 million Euros from trade with Russia, 14% of total exports to non-EU countries.

Merkel knowingly sacrificed German industry, agriculture and employment by submitting to Obama’s policy of ‘buggering his European allies’.  On the other hand, Obama’s sanctions against Russia have virtually no impact on US economic interests.  Only the Europeans will feel the pinch.  Merkel’s support for the US-NATO coup in Kiev and the ongoing military assault against the anti-coup democrats in Eastern Ukraine is leading to a revival of the Cold War confrontational policies toward Russia, and has alienated the majority of German producers and exporters as well as the German public.

Italy:  Capitalist Crises and Sanctions

Italy is stuck in a half decade of profound recession continuing throughout 2014.  Its GDP fell by 0.2% in the second quarter, bringing the GDP below the level in the year 2000!  The sanctions against Russia have cost Italy over $1 billion in lost exports, hitting Northern Italy most acutely and provoking the ire of the conservative Northern League.  Big Italian energy companies, with major investments in Russia, face even bigger losses.  Italian farmers, from Tuscany to Sicily, are experiencing major losses in agricultural exports.  In other words, with sanctions Italy’s chronic sick economy has lost any chance for recovery and will likely pass from recession into depression.

France:  From Zero Growth to Recession

France has entered a period of perpetual regression:  Unemployment exceeds 11%, underemployment and ‘make work’ exceeds 20% . . . GDP hovers at recession levels, between zero and 0.5% . . . Austerity, involving large-scale cuts in social programs and tax write-offs for business, has eroded consumer spending without increasing capitalist investment. And Obama’s sanctions against Russia will further damage French exporters, especially its agricultural sector and weapons manufacturers.  And ‘Hyper-Militarist-Socialist’ President Hollande has exacerbated France’s balance of payments and budget problems by sending the air force and ground troops to intervene on three continents.  This has caused over 82% of French voters to choose alternative parties, propelling the nationalist right party, National Front, to the lead.   

The ‘Backside of Europe’:  Spain, Greece and Portugal

Deeply buried in a near decade-long depression with unemployment ranging from 26% in Greece and Spain to 16% in Portugal, Russia’s reciprocal sanctions against agricultural exports has hit their agro-export sectors most severely, causing mountains of grapes, tomatoes and other perishables to rot in the fields.  Tons of Southern Europe’s produce will end up as compost.  Tens of thousands of farmers face even greater problems and more will be forced into bankruptcy because of Washington’s dictates.

Spanish farmers stand to lose 158 million Euros from the sanctions against their fresh fruit and nuts, or 22% of their total exports to non-EU countries; Greek farmers will lose 107 million Euros, 41% of exports to non-EU countries.  Spanish meat exporters will lose 111 million Euros or 13% of their non-EU markets.

The European Union, for its part, offers meager relief – expecting thousands of hard-pressed farmers to submit to Obama’s demands. In the meantime, as Russia establishes alternative markets in Latin America, the EU has sent its emissaries overseas to beg the Latin American governments to reject multi-billion dollar agro-business deals with Russia and comply with the US-EU sanctions.  So far, every country in Latin America has rejected the EU’s ‘charm’ offensive.  Ecuadorean President Correa heaped scorn on the EU: “We do not have to ask anyone’s permission to export to friendly nations.  As far as I know, Latin America is not part of the European Union”.  Egypt and Turkey are stepping in to replace the farmers of Europe and the US by exporting their agricultural produce to Russia.

Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Denmark and the Netherlands

Hungary’s President Viktor Orban rages at the sanctions and threatens to break ranks, as Budapest tallies up its losses in exports, and the threat to its energy-dependent country.  Bulgaria’s compliant President caved into Brussels’ pressure and reneged on a $40 billion dollar pipeline deal signed between Russia and local Bulgarian business leaders precipitating a major banking crisis and the collapse of its second largest bank – Corbank.  The deposits of hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians were frozen or just disappeared.  When Brussels buggers the Bulgarians, they bankrupt their own banks.

Finland, once the poster-child of the ‘Third Way’ ideologues, is in a long-term depression.  Its economy has shrunk for the past 4 consecutive years and even regime optimists estimate that they will need 10 years to recover.  Finnish Prime Minister, Alex Stubbs, a free market ideologue, is a staunch supporter of sanctions against Russia although these will drastically cut into agricultural exports (dairy goods, meat, fish, etc.).  Stubbs defends his catastrophic capitulation to NATO’s power grab in the Kiev by proclaiming that “our principles (sic) are not for sale; we believe in international institutions; we believe in the rule of law”. Finland, under its ‘law-abiding’ President, will lose at least 253 million Euros this year or 68% of its exports to non-EU countries.  In other words this political marionette has sacrificed the welfare of hundreds of thousands of Finnish dairy farmers and growers to support a NATO-imposed regime in Kiev, which has been sending units of neo-Nazis to slaughter Ukrainian resistance fighters and civilians.

Poland’s billion dollar agricultural export trade with Russia has collapsed, causing Warsaw to beg Washington and Brussels for emergency subsidies and pleading with the apple-exporting Americans to ‘eat Polish apples’.  Polish fruit growers will lose 317 million Euros in sales or 61% of their exports to non-EU countries.  Their meat exporters will lose 162 million Euros, 20% of its trade with non-EU countries.  Dairy farmers will lose 142 million Euros, 32% of exports to non-EU countries.

The Poles, who at every turn have assumed the most reactionary Russophobic posture and were deeply implicated in organizing and training the neo-fascist gangs which overthrew the elected Ukraine government, are now pushing carts down the streets of Warsaw peddling apples and sausages, instead of stocking the supermarket shelves of Russia – and whining that New Yorkers should forsake Upstate apples to take up the slack!

Lithuania will lose 308 million Euros in fresh fruit exports to Russia or 81% of their exports to non-EU countries; dairy farmers will lose 161 million Euros in sales or 74% of non-EU exports.  Denmark and Holland will lose over 800 million Euros in agro-exports to Russia –deepening their recession.

Conclusion

While the ever-persuasive con-man in Washington, President Obama has buggered EU leaders into pushing their own economies even deeper into recession, so he can launch a new Cold War with Russia, the US plunges deeper into military confrontations in Iraq, Ukraine and Syria.  Obama appears to have lost control over military aid programs in the chaos:  Netanyahu’s Zionist allies in Congress managed to by-pass the White House and State Department and approve additional shipments of Pentagon arms to Israel, undercutting any administration leverage over the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza.

Japan joins the US-EU sanctions against Russia exacerbating its own economic crisis:  In 2014 Japan experienced its worst contraction since 2009, with a 7.1% drop in the second quarter.  The increasingly unpopular, Japanese Prime Minister Abe is committed to a military build-up.  More Japanese politicians visit Yasukuni Shrine, the militarist temple honoring its war criminals, re-awakening the horrific memories of Imperial Japan’s victims.  There are increasingly bellicose Japanese confrontations with China over disputed piles of rock in the South China Sea . . .  As Obama’s military pivot to Asia increases, so Japan’s economy sinks.

No European country can benefit from embracing the failed regime in Kiev. . . Ukraine’s currency is in free-fall – ranking below soiled toilet paper.  Its major industries, totally dependent on trade with Russia, are bankrupt or have been bombed by the NATO-putsch regime in Kiev.  Its agricultural exports are devastated.  Meanwhile Ukrainian families are advised to chop their own wood or dig their own coal in anticipation of a winter totally cut off from Russian gas because the oligarchs in Kiev have been unable or unwilling to pay the huge energy debt.  .  For their staunch support of this bankrupt regime, ruled by a ‘Billionaire Oligarch’ in Kiev, for upholding the ‘principles’ so lauded by Finnish President Stubbs, one million European farmers will bury their own apples, pour their own milk in the streets and dump their grapes, oranges and tomatoes in rotting heaps. . . And this is so their leaders, Obama, Cameron, Merkel and Hollande can uphold their real ‘principles’ of territorial expansion, extend their military operations to the borders with Russia and posture as warriors while destroying their countries productive economies, bankrupting their farmers and manufacturers, driving millions more into unemployment and deepening the pains of recession.

Ukraine will join a growing list of countries, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, that Washington and NATO have “saved” (to paraphrase an American general)  . . . by being destroyed.

Once again the US military-driven empire-building policy trumps economic development: Destructive wars and sanctions destroy viable markets and impoverish entire sectors of the economy.  Imposing sanctions abroad invites retaliation – the boomerang effect cripples domestic producers. As world trade and investment shrink, internal stagnation becomes endemic, recessions deepen and recovery becomes a distant chimera.  The financial press, the Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times, which have become megaphones for the western warlords, no longer publish paeans to the free market but unleash vitriolic screeds crying for war and sanctions….. which close markets and destroy investor confidence.

Buggered by Obama, European bootlickers bankrupt their own economies and then pass around the begging cup.

Italy faces the reality of a decade of stagnation.

Portugal’s economy crashes and crawls.

Germany’s manufacturing machinery grinds to a halt.

Finland’s ‘principled’ brown-nosing boomerangs.

England is converted into a money-laundering bankers’ city-state where one-third of its children live in poverty.

Poland consumes itself, drunk with weapons and rotting apples.

In a word, by submitting to Washington’s doctrine of permanent wars, Europe eschews the only road out of permanent crisis: peaceful co-existence.  The mega-buggers in Washington and the bootlickers in Europe have chosen sanctions over trade and destruction over prosperity.  They are paying a price:  domestic unrest, displacement from markets by emerging economies and the ascendancy of chaos as a way of life in Western Europe.

 

On August 8, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Australia and Belgium signed a non-disclosure agreement pertaining to data obtained during the investigation into the causes of the crash of Malaysian Airlines MH17

Результаты следствия гибели Боинга-777 засекретили.

Live Journal, original Russian

edited by Global Research

In the framework of the 4-country agreement signed on 8 August between Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia, information on the progress and results of the investigation of the disaster will remain classified.

This was confirmed at a briefing in Kiev under the auspices of the office of the Prosecutor General Yuri Boychenko. In his words, the results of the investigation will be published once completed only if a consensus agreement of all parties that have signed the agreement prevails.

Any one of the signatories has the right to veto the publication of the results of the investigation without explanation.

Following the signing of this agreement, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine ratified the agreement and allowed for the participation of  Malaysian staff to participate in the investigation.

International experts admit that for the survey of the wreck Malaysian Boeing 777 will take several weeks.

The second phase will involve searches pertaining to the remains of the victims of the crash of flight MH17.

Thus, it is safe to assume the results of the investigation are actually classified and the final expert opinion will not be released. (or only after a few years, when the political causes of the disaster will lose their relevance).

The conclusion is simple – the intermediate results of the investigation directly prove the innocence of Russia and/or the Donesk militia.

References in Russian

http://gordonua.com/news/mh17crash/Rada-progolosovala-soglashenie-s-Malayziey-o-rabote-inostrannyh-ekspertov-na-meste-krusheniya-Boeing-777-36038.html

http://gordonua.com/news/mh17crash/Rukovoditel-missii-Obsledovanie-mesta-krusheniya-Boeing-777-mozhet-zanyat-neskolko-nedel-34698.html

http://gordonua.com/news/mh17crash/Reshenie-o-vtoroy-faze-poiskov-na-meste-avarii-MH17-primut-na-sleduyushchey-nedele-35306.html

http://gordonua.com/news/mh17crash/GPU-Rezultaty-rassledovaniya-krusheniya-Boeing-777-budut-obnarodovany-po-soglasiyu-storon-sledstviya-36089.html

http://www.unian.net/politics/950394-dannyie-rassledovaniya-katastrofyi-boinga-budut-oglashenyi-pri-soglasii-storon-gpu.html

 

Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko’s upcoming summit in Minsk will be the first in-depth meeting between the leaders of Russia and Ukraine in six months. During that period Ukraine has become embroiled in a civil war and teeters on the verge of an economic meltdown – but officials in Kiev continue to blame everything on Russia. Is there any point in holding a meeting with a hostile Poroshenko?

On August 26 Minsk will host a summit between the leaders of the Customs Union (soon to be known as the Eurasian Economic Union) and the president of Ukraine. Putin, Lukashenko, and Nazarbayev will meet with Petro Poroshenko, who will not arrive on his own, but will be accompanied by representatives of the European Union.

Instead of European Commission President Barroso, those representatives will consist of three European Commissioners, led by Baroness Ashton, the European diplomatic leader. The agenda has yet to be announced – but during a time of war (a hot one in Ukraine and a cold one between Russia and the West), it would obviously be ridiculous to limit the discussions to the purely economic issues stemming from the new association between Ukraine and the EU. Especially since this will literally be the first opportunity for Poroshenko and Putin to meet – that 15-minute quadrilateral meeting with Merkel and Hollande in Normandy can hardly be considered an in-depth encounter. Even if no separate bilateral meeting is held in Minsk, negotiations between the Eurasian troika and Poroshenko will make it possible for everyone to look one another right in the eye and state exactly what it is they really want. What will the presidents of Russia and Ukraine talk about? Will they be able to reach any kind of agreement? And if not – what is the point of such a meeting?

Ukraine considers itself to be in a state of war against Russia – if not legally, then in fact. “We are defending ourselves against Russian aggression” is the position of the Ukrainian government and a sentiment shared by a majority of the Ukrainian population. And Kiev is requesting help – financial, military, and also political – from the West, claiming that the aggression from Moscow was provoked by the European leanings of the Ukrainian people.

Poroshenko is threatening Russia with sanctions from Ukraine and demanding that Western sanctions against Russia be beefed up in order to force Moscow to withhold support from the insurgents in eastern Ukraine.

Kiev cannot eradicate the rebels on its own – after flexing its military muscle for over three months, the only result is that the civil war in Ukraine can now unequivocally and conclusively be labeled a protracted and bloody affair. But Kiev cannot abandon its military operation because the personal interests of the ruling elite, as well as the position of the United States, encourage attempts to resolve the issue by force. Poroshenko does not run the country single-handedly – but in some manner he seems to personify the entire nation.

It’s no use talking about Ukraine with the one entity – Washington – upon which the government in Kiev is truly dependent. The US will not acknowledge its own momentous influence on Poroshenko, and it is easy to see that America will not only make no move to dampen Kiev’s bellicose fervor, but, on the contrary, is diligently fanning it. Given this environment, Russia can only speak with two of Washington’s vassals – the EU and Kiev. But it would be wrong to refuse to engage in a conversation even of this nature. War is war and talks are talks. Besides, it’s worth it, if only to remind Kiev once again what awaits them in the near future.

29386_600What will Poroshenko hear from Putin in Minsk? That the Ukrainian state stands poised between life and death. By spurning peace talks with Novorossiya, Kiev is digging its own grave. By committing herself to an armed response, Ukraine will not only be unable to preserve the unity of the country, she is destroying the last chances for her nation to be resurrected in any guise.

Continuing down her path toward integration with Europe, which the Ukrainian parliament should conclusively ratify in September, will deal a mortal blow to the Ukrainian economy that is collapsing as a result of the war and the decline in trade with Russia.

Even before the war began, we warned you that if you signed this agreement we would defend our markets. Ukraine is threatening us with sanctions? Are you trying to put the kiss of death on your export trade to Russia? And where are you going to sell your products? You think help will come from overseas? No, they don’t have that kind of money (so claim the European Commissioners with utter dejection). You’re threatening to block the passage of our gas into Europe, while at the same time preparing to have it shipped to you via Slovakia? How will you feed your people this fall, President Poroshenko?

And this is just a small sample of what Putin might say to Poroshenko – and what if he brings up the thousands of dead residents of Donetsk and Luhansk? After all, there must ultimately be some reckoning for all those Ukrainian citizens who have died and for the civil war.

Obviously Putin will be treated to a response citing Crimea and a demand for the return of the former border, or else … However, Poroshenko will be perfectly well aware that his proclamations are absolutely meaningless even as he speaks them – he can only recite his lines perfunctorily, for in fact he has no answers to Putin’s questions. No money, no country, and no exit strategy from this crisis that has already turned into such a calamity. He has nothing – except the hope of victory in his “anti-terrorist operation.” But if that does not materialize – and if Poroshenko finally figures that out from the look on Putin’s face – what can he do? There is no backup plan to rescue the country. Unless one counts the hope that the US and EU will help Kiev out by coming up with one – after all, we (pro-European Ukrainians) go joining them, or to be more precise, they come and fetch us.

And what could the US do? Contacts with Russia have for all practical purposes been severed, new sanctions won’t help, and the attempt to isolate Russia has come to naught. Europe wants only one thing – to wrap up this Ukrainian misadventure as quickly as possible and arrange a ceasefire with the Russians. Poroshenko’s belligerence will soon become an irritant for Europe – and even though she will remain submissive to the United States, EU leaders in many countries will find it increasingly difficult to curb the discontent of their national elites and the general public. In addition, at some point even Berlin will realize that the situation at the front in Novorossia could rapidly change in an extremely dangerous way for Kiev. And Poroshenko has poorly timed the new elections – at that point no one will have any idea who is in charge in Kiev. Putin will just wait for Ukraine to disintegrate and then move in and snatch up everything – that’s the fear in Europe. And they’re right – and that means that they themselves will push Kiev into talks to reach an agreement on a ceasefire at least, if nothing else.

The main question is whether Kiev has already perceived the full extent of the threat or whether they will continue to place their hopes in the West. If Poroshenko has already grasped the whole picture and will not wait for a disaster on the eastern front in order to recognize the necessity of negotiating – that means Putin’s reminders could serve as the final straw that brings Kiev back to reality. If not – that means we should soon expect to see serious losses at the front, the further decline of the hryvna (Ukrainian currency), the meltdown of the economy, and coercion from Berlin. And there’s no chance that Moscow will just sit idly by and wait.

Source in Russian: VZ.RU

The grand jury process in the United States is rigged for the prosecutor. There is an old saying among lawyers “A prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich.” Of course, the reverse is also true; the prosecutor can also prevent an indictment. The prosecutor controls the grand jury process which is conducted in secret without even a judge present. The prosecutor decides what witnesses to call and there is no opportunity for a defense lawyer or attorney for the family to participate.

Further, the make-up of the grand jury which comes from St. Louis County (not the city of St. Louis) where Ferguson is located is heavily dominated by whites as it represents the make-up of the county which is 70% white and 23% African American. In the specific grand jury investigating the killing of Michael Brown the jurors were selected by Missouri Circuit Judge Carolyn Whittington (the prosecutor does not select the jurors), there are 9 whites on the jury and 3 blacks; 7 are men 5 are women. It takes 9 jurors to agree to indict the police officer. A majority decision is not required. The racial make-up is particularly important since the views of white and blacks on this incident are radically different.

There has been a lot of reporting on concerns about the prosecutor for St. Louis County. A local bar association, the Mound City Bar Association of St. Louis has called on Robert McCulloch to recuse himself. Mount City Bar President Kendra Howard said in a press release:

“The community is gravely concerned about the lack of transparency and lack of candor that St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch has openly displayed about the way in which this case should be handled. Mr. McCulloch has shown that he is emotionally invested in protecting law enforcement, and therefore should immediately step aside and allow the Justice Department to investigate the death of Michael Brown. The only way we can ensure trust is for the Justice Department to take over the investigation. Whatever investigation has been conducted is not transparent as no details of the shooting have been released. The only information released has been irrelevant and aggravated a tense situation, thereby violating the public trust that the community has a right to rely on.”

Governor Jay Nixon refused to remove County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch from the case and the prosecutor announced he will not recuse himself.  McCulloch has appointed two attorneys to handle the grand jury who will be reporting to him.

The community feels McCulloch has a long standing pro-police bias. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that:

“McCulloch is from a family with deep roots in police culture, including his father, a police officer who was killed in the line of duty by an African-American suspect. In both his prosecutorial decisions and public comments, critics say, he has shown a clear bias toward police in cases where officers’ actions are in question.”

Missouri state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, who has led an online petition drive that has gathered 70,000 signatures demanding McCulloch’s removal told CNN: “He doesn’t have the fortitude to do the right thing when it comes to prosecuting police officers. His cousin is a police officer. His mother works for the police department. His uncle is a police officer, and, again, we think that his judgment will be clogged as a result of all of those occurrences.”

The grand jury process is important to understand to realize how much control the prosecutor has over the outcome.  The grand jury orchestrated by the prosecutor who dominates the room. There is no judge, no bailiff and no attorney for the target or victim of the crime in the room.  The only other person who will be in the room is a witness who is providing testimony. While grand juries have the power to call witnesses or question them, they rarely do so.  The prosecutor decides what evidence to put before the grand jury.  In Missouri, the witnesses are usually police officers who read a summary of the witness report, as hearsay is admissible, rather than the actual witness to the event. The only argument the grand jury will hear will come from the prosecutor who also decides what charges the grand jury should consider.  The grand jury was originally intended to be a citizen check on the tremendous power of prosecutors to indict someone, they have become a rigged system that empowers prosecutors even further.

Police and prosecutors work together closely and constantly so there is a strong relationship between them and in St. Louis County, as noted above, the elected prosecutor has multiple family ties to the police. Already we have seen the police taking action to protect the police officer, e.g. delaying identifying him, when they identified him releasing a video of an alleged theft involving Michael Brown, not providing a police report of the incident despite repeated requests from the media.

The videotape of Darren Wilson after the shooting shows the officer pacing at the scene and talking with another officer. What was racing through his mind? He knows he has just killed an unarmed man. He does not look injured in the video but rumors swirled that he was taken to the hospital with an eye injury. Michael Brown’s body was on the street for four hours? Why didn’t an ambulance come? Why was Brown’s body taken to the morgue by a police SUV rather than to the hospital? Where is the police report on this killing? Was there a police report? If so, why has it not been made public?  Some describe all of this as leading to one conclusion: a police cover-up. If so, what do the prosecutors know about it? Have they seen an incident report?


The grand jury will be considering this case until October. This will allow time for the emotions of the moment to calm down and for the police to be prepared if there is an angry response from residents of Ferguson.

The federal government has decided to take action and that investigation is more likely to result in justice than the grand jury in St. Louis County.  Reportedly, 40 FBI agents are already working on the case and Attorney General Holder has visited Ferguson, including meeting with Michael Brown’s family.  Attorney General Holder has promised to do all he can to ensure justice in the case saying “the full resources of the Department of Justice are being committed to our federal civil rights investigation into the death of Michael Brown.”

Holder’s record on police abuse is mixed. Under Holder the Department of Justice “has filed a record number of criminal police-misconduct cases and aggressively used civil laws to force reform at police departments across the country” according to the National Law Journal.  But, his record as the chief prosecutor for Washington, DC is not hopeful for those who want justice against police violence. USA Today reports:

“As the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1993 to 1997, Holder was in charge of policing the local police. When police violence spiraled out of control, he did little to protect Washington residents from rampaging lawmen.

“The number of killings by Washington police doubled between 1988 and 1995, the year 16 civilians died due to police gunfire. Washington police shot and killed people at a higher rate than any other major city police department, as a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post investigation revealed in late 1998. The Post reported that ‘Holder said he did not detect a pattern of problematic police shootings and could not recall the specifics of cases he personally reviewed.’ Holder declared: ‘I can’t honestly say I saw anything that was excessive.’”

“There was such a dearth of oversight from Holder’s office that Washington police failed to count almost a third of the people killed by their officers between 1994 and 1997. Even when police review boards ruled that shootings were unjustified or found contradictions in officers’ testimony, police were not prosecuted. In one case, a police officer shot a suspect four times in the back when he was unarmed and lying on the ground. But Holder’s office never bothered interviewing the shooter.”

The family should not wait until the grand jury decision or rely completely on the US Department of Justice. The family of Michael Brown should take their own steps to ensure justice for their son as quickly as possible. The avenue the family can pursue is to file a civil suit in federal court.  Such litigation will allow the family to seek all relevant documents, including the unreleased police report, as well as videotapes related to the killing of Michael Brown. It will also allow them to question witnesses under oath, including police officers who arrived at the scene. The court hearings in a civil suit will be public so everyone can see all the evidence.

Waiting for a rigged grand jury system that favors the prosecutors, who work hand in glove with the police; or waiting for a slow Department of Justice investigation whose leader has a mixed record on police abuse, is waiting for injustice when the family can act now to ensure justice for Michael Brown.

Kevin Zeese is an organizer with Popular Resistance and the Attorney General for the Green Shadow Cabinet.

The Russian Aggression Prevention Act”, introduced to Congress by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), will set the US on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine.

Any US-Russian war is likely to quickly escalate into a nuclear war, since neither the US nor Russia would be willing to admit defeat, both have many thousands of nuclear weapons ready for instant use, and both rely upon Counterforce military doctrine that tasks their military, in the event of war, to preemptively destroy the nuclear forces of the enemy.

RAPA provides de facto NATO membership for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova via RAPA

The Russian Aggression Prevention Act, or RAPA, “Provides major non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova for purposes of the transfer or possible transfer of defense articles or defense services.” Major non-NATO ally status would for practical purposes give NATO membership to these nations, as it would allow the US to move large amounts of military equipment and forces to them without the need for approval of other NATO member states. Thus RAPA would effectively bypass long-standing German opposition to the US request to make Ukraine and Georgia part of NATO.

Germans rightly fear placing US/NATO troops and US Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) in Ukraine, given the profound and long-standing Russian objections against the expansion of NATO (especially to Ukraine and Georgia) along with deployment of European US/NATO BMD.  Germany is acutely aware of the distinct possibility that the civil war raging in Ukraine could evolve into a Ukrainian-Russian war. Under such circumstances, deployment of US/NATO forces in Ukraine would make it virtually inevitable they would come into fight with Ukraine against Russia. 

RAPA would accelerate the “implementation of phase three of the European Phased Adaptive Approach for Europe-based missile defense . . . by no later than the end of calendar year 2016.”  In 2012, Russia’s highest ranking military officer stated that Russia might consider a pre-emptive strike against such BMD deployments “when the situation gets harder.”

RAPA “Directs DOD [US Department of Defense] to assess the capabilities and needs of the Ukrainian armed forces” and “Authorizes the President, upon completion of such assessment, to provide specified military assistance to Ukraine.”  RAPA would have the US quickly supply Ukraine with$100 million worth of weapons and equipment, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, crew weapons, grenade launchers, machine guns, ammunition, and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.

RAPA requires the Obama administration to

“use all appropriate elements of United States national power…to protect the independence, sovereignty, and territorial and economic integrity of Ukraine and other sovereign nations in Europe and Eurasia from Russian aggression.” This includes “substantially increasing United States and NATO support for the armed forces of the Republics of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia,” and “substantially increasing the complement of forward-based NATO forces in those states.”

Consequently, RAPA would produce significant buildups of US/NATO forces into Poland and the Baltic States, accelerate the construction of US BMD systems in Eastern Europe, and authorize substantial U.S. intelligence and military aid for Ukrainian military forces that continue to lay siege to the largest cities in Eastern Ukraine. If RAPA did not result in the deployment of US forces to Ukraine, it would certainly position them for rapid deployment there, in the event that the Ukrainian civil war escalates into a Ukrainian-Russian conflict.

RAPA intensifies support for ethnic cleansing in Eastern Ukraine

In Russia, Putin now is under intense domestic political pressure to send Russian forces into Eastern Ukraine, in order to stop the attacks by the Ukrainian military on the cities there, which were once part of the Soviet Union.These attacks have created an absolute humanitarian catastrophe.

On August 5, 2014, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that 740,000 Eastern Ukrainians had fled to Russia. They go there because Russia is close, and because most of the refugees are ethnic Russians, a fact that explains why the Russophobes in Kiev have been quite willing to indiscriminately bombard their cities.

What is taking place in Eastern Ukraine amounts to “ethnic cleansing,” the forced removal of ethnic Russians from Eastern Ukraine. This is a process that is fully supported by the US; RAPA would greatly enhance this support.

Ukrainian military forces have surrounded Donetsk – a city of almost one million people – and have for weeks conducted daily attacks against it using inaccurate multiple-launch rockets, heavy artillery fire, ballistic missiles carrying warheads with up to 1000 pounds of high explosive, and aerial bombardments. Water supplies, power plants, train stations, airports, bridges, highways, and schools have all been targeted, along with the general population. In Lugansk, a city of more than 440,000 people, a humanitarian crisis has been declared by its mayor, because the siege of the city has left it with little medicine, no fuel,intermittent power, and no water since August 3 (three weeks at the time of this writing).

After the separatists of Eastern Ukraine demanded autonomy from Kiev, and then reunion with Russia, the government in Kiev branded them as “terrorists”, and sent its military forces against them in what they euphemistically call an “anti-terrorist operation.” Framing the conflict this way makes it politically acceptable to refuse to negotiate with the separatists, and easier to justify in the US and Europe, which have grown accustomed to “the War on Terrorism.” However, the thousands of Ukrainians being killed and hundreds of thousands of being driven from their homes are just ordinary people, trying to live ordinary lives.

The New York Times reports the Ukrainian military strategy has been to bombard separatist-held cities and then send paramilitary forces to carry out “chaotic, violent assaults” against them. Many of the Ukrainian paramilitary forces were recruited from ultra-nationalist, neo-Nazi political parties; the Azov battalion flies the “Wolfs Hook” flag of Hitler’s SS divisions. Considering that more than 20 million Russians died fighting the Nazis during World War II, the presence of openly Nazi militias attacking ethnic Russians in Ukraine creates extreme anger in Russia.

RAPA supports plans in Kiev for an attack on Crimea

The Russian Aggression Prevention Act demands that Russia “withdraw from the eastern border of Ukraine,” which is by definition, the Russian border.  In other words, RAPA provocatively demands that Russia remove its own military forces away from its own borders, while Ukrainian military forces are meanwhile massed on the other side, attacking predominantly Russian cities.

RAPA also demands that “Russian forces must have withdrawn from Crimea within seven days of the enactment of the Act.” Not likely to happen, given that

(1) Crimea was part of the Russian empire from 1783 until 1954,

(2) withdrawal from Crimea would require Russia to abandon its only warm water port at Sevastopol, where Russian forces have been based, by internationally recognized treaty, since 1997, and

(3) more than three-quarters of all Crimeans voted “yes” to reunify with Russia, a vote which Russia accepted by its subsequent annexation of Crimea.

Thus, in the eyes of Russia, the requirement to “withdraw from Crimea” amounts to a US demand that Russia surrender Russian territory. Putin has just taken the entire Russian Duma (the Russian House of Representatives) to Crimea, to address them there and strongly make the point that there will be no withdrawal from Crimea.

RAPA, however, stipulates that the US does not recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea, and creates sanctions and legal penalties for anyone who does. RAPA therefore provides both military and political support for Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s stated goat that Ukraine will retake Crimea.

This goal was recently echoed by the Ukrainian defense minister, who was applauded by the Ukrainian Parliament when he told them that the Ukrainian army will “have a victory parade in Sevastopol“. These statements are taken seriously in Moscow, where they are viewed as a promise to attack Russia. Thus, Putin’s advisers are telling him he must fight today in Eastern Ukraine, or tomorrow in Crimea.

Any Russian military intervention in Eastern Ukraine would certainly be described in the West as Russian aggression in pursuit of empire, which would trigger deafening demands that US/NATO forces act to support Ukraine. Should NATO intervene, subsequent Russian military action against any NATO member would trigger the alliance’s Chapter 5 mutual defense clause, committing it to war with Russia.

Any major Ukrainian attack upon Crimea would make war with Russia inevitable. Ukraine appears to be preparing for such an assault by drafting all men of ages 18 to 60 years, in a forced mobilization of its armed forces, which also includes calling up its active reserves of one million men, and bringing more than 1000 battle tanksout of storage.  Putin is being told by his close advisers that Ukraine will have an army of half a million men in 2015.

RAPA would provide hundreds of millions of dollars to train and arm the rapidly expanding Ukrainian armed forces, and position US/NATO forces for rapid intervention on the side of Ukraine in the event of a Ukrainian-Russian war. Thus, the many political and military provisions of RAPA would certainly act to fully encourage Ukraine to carry out its stated policy to retake Crimea. The Republic of Georgia attacked Russian forces in 2008 with far fewer US promises of aid. Of course, RAPA would also arm Georgia, too.

RAPA moves the US towards nuclear war with Russia

A US/NATO-Russian war would instantly put US and Russian nuclear forces at peak alert, with both sides anticipating a nuclear first-strike from the other. Both the US and Russia have changed their nuclear war-fighting plans to include the use of preemptive nuclear first-strikes; both nations have “tactical” nuclear weapons designed for battlefield use.

The US has 180 B61 nuclear bombs deployed on six military bases of five other NATO states, which would be released to these NATO members in the event of a US/NATO-Russian war. Russia also has at least 1300 tactical nuclear weapons, and Russian war doctrine specifies their use against overwhelming conventional (NATO) forces. Any use of “tactical” or “battlefield” nuclear weapons, by either side, would likely trigger an equal or greater response from the other.

During the first Cold War, the US studiously avoided any direct military confrontation with Russia, because it was widely thought that such a war would inevitably escalate to become a nuclear war – which would utterly destroy both nations. However, there seems to be little thought or discussion of this in the US today, despite the fact that both the US and Russia appear to be preparing for such a war.

In May, the increasing tensions in Ukraine led both nations to almost simultaneously conduct large nuclear war games.  Long-range Russian nuclear bombers tested US air defenses16 times in a ten day period (July 29 – August 7). US and Russian leaders are either unaware or choose to ignore the fact that such “games” and “tests” are a dress rehearsal for human extinction.

Peer-reviewed scientific studies predict the environmental consequences of a war fought with only a fraction of US and/or Russian strategic nuclear weapons would likely wipe out the human race. Scientists predict that even a “successful” US nuclear first-strike, which destroyed 100% of Russia’s nuclear forces before they could be launched, would create catastrophic changes in global weather that would eliminate growing seasons for years. Most humans and large animals would starve to death.

Nuclear war is suicide for humans, but our leaders still have their fingers on the nuclear triggers. There seems to be absolutely no awareness, either in our Federal government or in the American public, of the existential danger posed by nuclear war. Such ignorance is embodied by The Russian Aggression Prevention Act, which if enacted will put us on a direct course for nuclear war with Russia.

Steven Starr, Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility

 

How the Pentagon Militarized the US Police Force

August 22nd, 2014 by Benjamin Dangl

“Have no doubt, police in the United States are militarizing, and in many communities, particularly those of color, the message is being received loud and clear: ‘You are the enemy,’” writes Tom Nolan, who worked for 27 years in the Boston Police Department. “Many communities now look upon police as an occupying army, their streets more reminiscent of Baghdad or Kabul than a city in America.”

This is no coincidence; much of the equipment used by police forces on the streets of America today is in fact directly from the US military.

From a weaponization bonanza enabled by a little-known Pentagon program, to an escalation in SWAT team deployments, the militarization of the US police force poses an increasing threat to the American public, as recently exhibited in Ferguson, Missouri.

Behind this militarization is the Pentagon’s “1033 program,” created in the National Defense Authorization Act for 1997, which enables the Defense Department to provide surplus military equipment at a highly reduced cost to local police departments. The program was expanded after 9/11, and has led to the distribution of $4.2 billion in equipment. Police departments across the country now utilize some 500 military aircraft, 93,763 assault weapons and 432 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected military vehicles – which cost around $700,000 new, and are being sold to police departments for as low as $2,800.

An example of the program cited by The Guardian pointed to a Richland County sheriff in South Carolina obtaining a tank with 360-degree rotating machine gun turrets. The tank was named “The Peacemaker.”

Such unnecessary equipment is being utilized in cities and small towns across the country without sufficient oversight, proper training, or public input.

Following the outcry over police violence in Ferguson, the Pentagon still maintains that the weapon-selling program is for the public good. As Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told Newsweek, “This is a useful program that allows for the reuse of military equipment that would otherwise be disposed of, that could be used by law enforcement agencies to serve their citizens.”

However, rather than serving citizens, this militarization of the police force has contributed to unnecessary violence, primarily against people of color and under the pretext of the so-called war on drugs.

In June of this year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a comprehensive report entitled “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing,” which concludes that the US police force has become “excessively militarized through the use of weapons and tactics designed for the battlefield” and that this alarming trend “unfairly impacts people of color and undermines individual liberties, and it has been allowed to happen in the absence of any meaningful public discussion.”

While this escalation is ostensibly aimed at protecting the population from violent threats, the ACLU found that 62% of the SWAT raids examined were used to search for drugs, while only 7% were used for “for hostages, barricade, or active shooter scenarios.”

The use of SWAT teams has been skyrocketing over the past 45 years, according to Professor Peter Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University’s School of Justice Studies. In the 1970s, they were used only a few hundred times a year; now they’re deployed about 50,000 times annually, Kraska estimates. In some cases, they’ve even been used to break up illegal poker games, unlicensed barber shops and under-age drinking. In the case of Jesus Llovera, a suspected organizer of cockfights in Maricopa County Arizona, in 2011 a SWAT team took over the man’s living room, and drove a tank into his yard, killing his dog and over 100 of his chickens.

Highlighting the fact that this militarization is part of a wider assault of people of color in America, Alex Kane points out in Alternet that this violence is tied to the “war on undocumented immigrants.” Kane cites the ACLU’s report on Arizona’s infamously anti-immigrant sheriff Joe Arpaio, who, in addition to acquiring five armored vehicles and ten helicopters, has “a machine gun so powerful it could tear through buildings on multiple city blocks.”

One step in the right direction following police violence in Ferguson would be to demilitarize the US police force. As an unnamed Ferguson resident recently told the BBC about his city’s police officers: ”It’s power. They have the power, they feel we don’t. That’s why they do the things that they do. What they did to young Michael Brown, that’s unnecessary. That’s overkill.”

Benjamin Dangl’s latest book Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America (AK Press) is on contemporary Latin American social movements and their relationships with the region’s new leftist governments. He is editor of TowardFreedom.com, a progressive perspective on world events, and UpsideDownWorld.org, a website on activism and politics in Latin America. Email BenDangl(at)gmail(dot)com.

Mobile Phones: Ringing Up the Danger

August 22nd, 2014 by Global Research News

Mobile Phone Dangers
Source: CheapNurseDegrees.com

 

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Ringing Up the Danger — Is Your Mobile Phone Killing You?

Not only is it dangerous to use your phone while doing other things (driving, for instance), there are other side effects of constant attachment to your mobile devices.

Americans Love Their Gadgets

91% of adults have a cell phone (1)
55% of adults have a smartphone (1)
32% of adults own an e-reader (1)
42% of adults own a tablet computer (1)

Health Effects of Gadget Use

While the jury is still out on whether or not your smartphone can give you cancer, there are some harmful side effects that have been proven, particularly for those who use their mobile phones frequently: (2)
Dry eyes
Tense neck muscles
Tense shoulder muscles
Tense facial muscles
Headaches
Sore eyes
Blurry vision
Depleted melatonin, which can affect sleep patterns
Dizziness
Sore hands and forearms from texting
Hearing damage from use of earbuds
Nomophobia, the fear of having to go without your cell phone
Phantom cell phone vibration syndrome, feeling a buzzing as if a new notification has arrived when it hasn’t
67% of mobile phone users say they check their phone even if they haven’t noticed it ringing or vibrating (1)
44% of users have slept with their phone next to their bed to ensure they didn’t miss calls, texts or other updates (1)
29% of cell owners say they can’t imagine living without their phones (1)

Keep Yourself Healthy

Here are ways to combat the negative effects of overuse of technology: (2)
Take breaks from staring at a screen every 20 minutes or so
Do neck stretches
Avoid reading on smartphones for long periods of time

cellphonedangers

SOURCES
1. http://www.pewinternet.org
2. http://www.bostonglobe.com

The endless delays hampering the initial deliveries of the Russian humanitarian relief aid to southeastern Ukraine have become intolerable.

A lorry convoy with many hundreds of tonnes of humanitarian relief aid, urgently needed by the people in these regions, has been standing idle for a week now on the Russian-Ukrainian border. Over this period, the Russian side has made unprecedented efforts in all areas and at all levels in order to complete the required formalities. We have met all conceivable and inconceivable demands of the Ukrainian side and have submitted to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) exhaustive lists of food, drinking water, medications, essential items and diesel generators due to be delivered to Lugansk, where they are urgently needed by women, children and the elderly. These people are experiencing the horrors of daily artillery attacks and air strikes that have resulted in an increasing number of killed and wounded and destroyed the entire vital infrastructure in the area. Time and again, we met requests to check and recheck the shipment route, to coordinate procedures for the shipment’s delivery, and have signed the required documents with the ICRC. We have provided all essential security guarantees and have ensured similar guarantees on the part of the self-defense forces. These guarantees apply to the Russian convoy as well as other humanitarian relief aid being sent to Lugansk by the Kiev authorities.

At the same time, Kiev has delayed granting its formal consent required by the ICRC for several days, while repeatedly inventing new pretexts and stepping up attacks on Lugansk and Donetsk that involve military aircraft and heavy-duty armored vehicles, targeting residential areas and other civilian facilities. Over the past few days, the Ukrainian side has been launching ballistic missiles, including the deadly Tochka-U missiles, ever more frequently.

On 21 August, the situation appeared to have been resolved when the Ukrainian authorities finally informed the ICRC of their readiness to start clearing humanitarian shipments for prompt delivery to Lugansk. The Ukrainian side officially confirmed its unconditional consent for the convoy to start moving during a phone conversation between the Foreign Affairs Ministers of Russia and Ukraine. On 20 August, customs clearance and border control procedures were launched at the Donetsk checkpoint. On 21 August, however, this process was stopped, with officials citing much more intensive bombardment of Lugansk. In other words, the Ukrainian authorities are bombing the destination and are using this as a pretext to stop the delivery of humanitarian relief aid.

It appears that Kiev has set out to complete its “cleansing” of Lugansk and Donetsk in time for the 24 August Independence Day celebrations. It seems increasingly credible that the incumbent Ukrainian leadership is deliberately delaying the delivery of the humanitarian relief aid until there is nobody left to deliver this aid to. Quite possibly, they hope to achieve this result prior to the planned 26 August meetings in Minsk.

Russia is outraged by the blatant external manipulation of the international experts involved in preparing this operation. An endless succession of contradictory and mutually exclusive signals and messages we have been receiving is a true indication of behind the scenes games for purposes that have nothing to do with accomplishing a set humanitarian objective. Those who are holding the reins and hampering efforts to save human lives, to mitigate the suffering of sick and wounded people neglect the basic principles of society. We have called on the UN Security Council to promptly declare a humanitarian armistice, but these proposals are being invariably blocked by those who pay lip service to universal human values. Last time, this happened on 20 August, when the United States and some Western members of the UNSC declined to issue a statement in support of a ceasefire during the delivery of humanitarian relief aid to Lugansk by Russian and Ukrainian convoys.

We hereby state once again: All the required security guarantees regarding the passage of the humanitarian convoy have been provided. The ICRC has officially recognised these guarantees. The delivery routes are known, and they have been checked by an ICRC mission. The documents have been drawn up. The shipments have long been ready for inspection by Ukrainian border guards and customs officers who have been waiting at the Donetsk checkpoint in the Rostov Region for a week now. The capitals that display heightened concern for the situation in southeastern Ukraine are well aware of this. The endless artificial demands and pretexts have become unconscionable.

It is no longer possible to tolerate this lawlessness, outright lies and inability to reach agreements. All pretexts for delaying the delivery of aid to people in the humanitarian disaster zone have been depleted. The Russian side has decided to act. Our humanitarian relief convoy is setting out towards Lugansk. Naturally, we are ready to allow ICRC officials to escort the convoy and to take part in distributing aid. We hope that representatives of the Russian Red Cross Society will also be able to take part in this mission.

We are warning against any attempts to thwart this purely humanitarian mission which took a long time to prepare in conditions of complete transparency and cooperation with the Ukrainian side and the ICRC. Those who are ready to continue sacrificing human lives to their own ambitions and geopolitical designs and who are rudely trampling on the norms and principles of international humanitarian law will assume complete responsibility for the possible consequences of provocations against the humanitarian relief convoy.

We are once again calling on the Ukrainian leadership, as well as the United States and the European Union, which are exerting their influence on Kiev, to promptly launch negotiations in southeastern Ukraine and start complying with the accords formalised in the 17 April 2014 Geneva Statement by Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the EU on stopping the use of force, mitigating the humanitarian situation and immediately launching nationwide dialogue that would involve all Ukrainian regions.


Scientists are pushing the panic button. Since it is reasonable to assume the advent of more humanitarian misery due to increased wealth differences. Yet nothing happens to prevent this; mainly because ethical language has lost its popularity among politicians when the economy is concerned. Hence this attempt to revitalize the ethical argument.

It has been known for a while, but since the French bestseller economist Thomas Piketty and likewise British bestseller epidemiologists Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, virtually no critical thinker can deny it anymore. The slowly evolved coup d’état the financial world carried out since the beginning of the 1980s and onwards, leads inevitable to humanitarian disaster – for everyone involved, the rich and the poor. But in the meantime no one does anything to prevent this cultural disaster from happening. It makes you wonder:

“Who will create for mankind one system of interpretation, valid for good and evil deeds, for the unbearable and the bearable, as they are differentiated today?”

This unanswered ethical question Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) once expressed when he accepted his Nobel Prize back in the 1970s – remains valid to this date. However, change is on its way. The ethical argument is about to make its comeback in cultural discourse, especially when one talks about economic issues. Although, it must be said, at present this seems quite inconceivable – nevertheless there are good reasons to expect that change is heading in our direction.

Cultures flourish from time to time, just as plants and flowers do – and according to the British Nobel Laureate and philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) who studied history, this often occurs in between periods of strict morality and moral decadence. So don’t think that the decadent ‘free’ market paradigm, in which life revolves around competition, consumption and manipulation is forever engraved in cultural stone. The free market is ripe for a bit of morality; since this one-sided focus on economic growth hinders increasingly the culture to bloom and flourish.

First, to make things clear: a paradigm or worldview is a web of ideas, usually transmitted through upbringing, education, media and politics, with which the individual gives meaning to the experience his existence (of his emotions, instincts, intuitions and rationalizations). A good understanding of what this concept means, is important; since there is a tremendous psychological, almost magical power hidden in paradigmatic ideas; mostly because virtually everyone unconsciously accepts these ideas.

In our timeframe most people accept the idea that the possession of products, especially of they are rare and make life comfortable, determines whether someone deserves reverence and love. And who doesn’t want to experience love? Therefore most people work themselves towards, so to speak, a burnout to eventually be able to get that stuff on which ‘happiness’ seems to rely. Ironically, in doing so, they often neglect those moments (or choices) that are priceless for one’s own development. But seen from an economic perspective, this is precisely what is needed. Because the more isolated one becomes and the greater the lack of self-love one has, the greater the appetite for goodies to compensate for this inner emptiness – as also the marketing industry clearly knows.

Meanwhile, nothing happens without consequences. The idea that the value of people depends on the amount of products they own creates all kinds of side effects. It explains for instance the social acceptance of a bank manager to bankrupt his bank (at the expense of the community) and afterwards to pursue his career like nothing has happened; while someone from the lowest ranks of society who commits, lets say, a 1000-dollar fraud, risks a jail sentence.

If a society is more and more one-sidedly focused on material goods, it starts to neglect those items that are intangible in nature, like in this example the decay of social justice. But also the importance of things like compassion, solidarity and cooperation are neglected within the materialistic and competitive worldview; what is increasingly emerging is a mind-set of “it’s every man for himself” that goes hand in hand with a cynical attitude; as if the faith in the inherent goodness of mankind is slowly disintegrating to make place for a much darker picture of human nature. And while this cynical attitude (considering the circumstances) is understandable, it generates passivity to actually stand up for the interests of the community as a whole; and this could make things worse, especially if a self-filling prophecy is at work here.

All in all, it cannot be ruled out that what has been set in motion is a vicious circle of cultural decline. Recent research by the British epidemiologists Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson stresses this notion as well. People turn out to be far more inwardly interconnected than it seemingly looks like on the surface of the material worldview. To be more precise, as hierarchy in society increases (and with it the differences between the rich and the poor), people are more and more valued based on their ‘stuff’ instead of who they really are as a human beings.

Psychologically this is experienced as an increase in internal pressure since one has to keep up one’s appearance all the time – a mindset known for its health risks. Hence, in countries with large wealth differences, and now it comes – both, among the rich as well as among the poor – an increase is observed in stress related illnesses, in mutual distrust, in mental disturbances such as depression, in addictions, in the pressure to succeed – that in itself leads to an increase in school drop-outs, and furthermore in a decrease in average life expectancy among other things. Actually, many academic argue now, that the only personality type that thrives in the neo-liberal world is: the psychopath, someone who is naturally inclined to experience less stress and inner pain.

This cannot continue forever, thought none other than the Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. He warned at the time for cold materialism that would erode both communism as Western neoliberalism from the inside out – mainly due to the lack of inspiration and vitality society generates in and of itself.

This situation, however, is far from static. There are of course many parameters involved here – but based on the human ability to reason and the insight that one faces a joint problem, means that sooner or later the immaterial values will return in the heart of public debate; especially when it comes to the economy. What is needed is only a symbolic tipping point (a too-big-to-fail falling bank for example or a mass protest movement) and the overall reappraisal of the ethical argument can become a reality; and don’t even be surprised if this argument is defended by republicans (since it happened before): if the rules of the game change, anything is possible.

In the meantime the dominant worldview of the last thirty years is slowly collapsing under the heavy burden of the current crisis. More and more people have serious doubts – even down to Wall Street, where firms like Standard Poor’s are now openly warning for the consequences of increased wealth differences. Who knows – The first signs of a booming and flourishing culture may already there.

Israeli False Pretences for Renewal of Gaza Offensive

August 22nd, 2014 by Global Research News

The Ministry of Health Gaza abhors the ongoing massacres of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by Israeli military forces, in which 65 people have been killed and 220 injured since the collapse of the ceasefire agreement on Tuesday – a collapse that lies squarely at the feet of the Israeli regime.

Former Israeli Attorney General Michael Ben Yair today admitted that the Israelis staged the alleged Hamas breach on Tuesday in order to assassinate Al Qassam leader Mohammed Deif.

This deceitful outrage continues to be used as an excuse to carry out massive attacks on Gazan civilians – according to Israeli news agency ynet a few tons of explosives were used to destroy the building in which Mohammed Abu Shamala, Raed al-Attar and Mohammed Barhoum were killed in Rafah, killing at least five and injuring at least 50 additional civilians and completely destroying dozens of homes, leaving a crater the size of a residential block in their place – and the Gaza health services to pick up the pieces.

This deceitful outrage even served as an excuse to bomb preparations for a funeral in a graveyard, killing four people.

This deceitful outrage, and the ongoing murder and mutilation of scores of Gazans under its cover, is proof positive of the complete lack of good faith of the Israeli party in the Cairo negotiations for a lasting ceasefire.

The Ministry of Health Gaza cannot and should not be expected to mop up after gross Israeli excesses, which blatantly contravene international and humanitarian law, and fundamental human rights.

We demand the international community take immediate and concrete action to end the bloody carnage being wrought in Gaza by the lying and murderous Israeli regime.

We demand immediate steps be taken to end Israeli impunity for its clear and ongoing war crimes, leaving a trail of dead and injured from every part of the Gaza Strip to the doors of each and every overloaded emergency room still operational.

We demand an immediate end to the illegal, unjustified and crippling blockade that impairs the proper functioning of our health sector at the best of times, but that in times of crisis such as these, causes widespread and completely avoidable, unjustifiable and unnecessary pain, suffering and death to our people.

Contacts:

Dr Yousef AbuAlrish, Deputy  Minister of Health                                +972 597 918 339

Dr Medhat Abbas, Director General, Ministry of Health                       +972 599 403 547

 

To: all the heads of states of NATO countries, and of Russia and Ukraine, to Ban-Ki Moon and the heads of states of countries on the UN Security Council

At this very moment in history, when so many people and nations around the world are acknowledging the 100th Anniversary of our planet’s hapless stumble into World War I, great powers and their allies are ironically once again provoking new dangers where governments appear to be sleepwalking towards a restoration of old Cold War battles. A barrage of conflicting information is broadcast in the various national and nationalistic media with alternative versions of reality that provoke and stoke new enmities and rivalries across national borders.

With the U.S. and Russia in possession of over 15,000 of the world’s 16,400 nuclear weapons, humanity can ill-afford to stand by and permit these conflicting views of history and opposing assessments of the facts on the ground to lead to a 21st Century military confrontation between the great powers and their allies. While sadly acknowledging the trauma suffered by the countries of Eastern Europe from years of Soviet occupation, and understanding their desire for the protection of the NATO military alliance, we the signers of this global call to action also note that the Russian people lost 20 million people during WWII to the Nazi onslaught and are understandably wary of NATO expansion to their borders in a hostile environment. Russia has lost the protection of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which the US abandoned in 2001, and warily observes missile bases metastasizing ever closer to its borders in new NATO member states, while the US rejects repeated Russian efforts for negotiations on a treaty to ban weapons in space, or Russia’s prior application for membership in NATO.

For these reasons, we the peoples, as members of Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organizations, and global citizens, committed to peace and nuclear disarmament, demand that an independent international inquiry be commissioned to review events in Ukraine leading up to the Malaysian jet crash and of the procedures being used to review the catastrophic aftermath. The inquiry should factually determine the cause of the accident and hold responsible parties accountable to the families of the victims and the citizens of the world who fervently desire peace and a peaceful settlement of any existing conflicts. It should include a fair and balanced presentation of what led to the deterioration of U.S. –Russian relations and the new hostile and polarized posture that the U.S. and Russia with their allies find themselves in today.

The UN Security Council, with US and Russian agreement, has already passed Resolution 2166 addressing the Malaysian jet crash, demanding accountability, full access to the site and a halt to military activity which has been painfully disregarded at various times since the incident. One of the provisions of SC Res 2166 notes that the Council “[s]upports efforts to establish a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines.” Further, the 1909 revised Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes adopted at the 1899 Hague International Peace Conference has been used successfully to resolve issues between states so that war was avoided in the past. Both Russia and Ukraine are parties to the Convention.

Regardless of the forum where the evidence is gathered and fairly evaluated, we the undersigned urge that the facts be known as to how we got to this unfortunate state of affairs on our planet today and what might be the solutions. We urge Russia and Ukraine as well as their allies and partners to engage in diplomacy and negotiations, not war and hostile alienating actions. The world can little afford the trillions of dollars in military spending and trillions and trillions of brain cells wasted on war when our very Earth is under stress and needs the critical attention of our best minds and thinking and the abundance of resources mindlessly diverted to war to be made available for the challenge confronting us to create a livable future for life on earth.

Why is this important?

It’s important because there is so much misinformation and disinformation in the media that we are careening towards a new cold war with Russia over this.

http://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/call-for-independent-inquiry-of-the-airplane-crash-in-ukraine-and-its-catastrophic-aftermath

Initial Signatories for petition:
(Organizations for Identification Only)

Hon. Douglas Roche, OC, Canada
David Swanson, co-founder, World Beyond War
Medea Benjamin, Code Pink
Bruce Gagnon,  Global Network Against Nuclear Power and Weapons in Space
Alice Slater, JD, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, NY
Professor Francis A. Boyle, University of Illinois College of Law
Natasha Mayers, Union of Maine Visual Artists
David Hartsough, co-founder, World Beyond War
Larry Dansinger, Resources for Organizing and Social Change
Ellen Judd, Project Peacemakers
Coleen Rowley, Women Against Military Madness
Lisa Savage, Code Pink, State of Maine
Brian Noyes Pulling, M. Div.
Anni Cooper, Peaceworks
Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance
Leah Bolger, CDR, USN (Ret), Veterans for Peace
Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance
Gloria McMillan, Tucson Balkan Peace Support Group
Ellen E. Barfield, Veterans for Peace
Cecile Pineda, author. Devil's Tango: How I Learned the Fukushima Step by Step 
Jill McManus
Steve Leeper, Visiting professor, Hiroshima Jogakuin University, Nagasaki University, Kyoto University of Art and Design
William H. Slavick, Pax Christi Maine 
Carol Reilly Urner, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom 
Ann E. Ruthsdottir
Raymond McGovern, former CIA  analyst, VA
Kay Cumbow
Steven Starr, Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Tiffany Tool,  Peaceworkers
Sukla Sen, Committee for Communal Amnity, Mumbai India
Felicity Ruby
Joan Russow, PhD, Coordinator, Global Compliance Research Project
Rob Mulford, Veterans for Peace, North Star Chapter, Alaska
Jerry  Stein,  The Peace Farm, Amarillo , Texas
Michael Andregg, professor, St. Paul, Minnesota
Elizabeth Murray,  Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council, ret.: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, Washington
Robert Shetterly, artist,  “Americans Who Tell the Truth,” Maine
Katharine Gun, United Kingdom
Amber Garland, St. Paul, Minnesota
Beverly Bailey, Richfield, Minnesota
Stephen McKeown, Richfield, Minnesota
Darlene M. Coffman, Rochester, Minnesota
Sister Gladys Schmitz, Mankato, Minnesota
Bill Rood, Rochester, Minnesota
Tony Robinson, Editor Pressenza
Tom Klammer, radio host, Kansas City, Missouri
Barbara Vaile, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Helen Caldicott, Helen Caldicott Foundation
Mali Lightfoot, Helen Caldicott Foundation
Brigadier Vijai K Nair, VSM [Retd] Ph.D. , Magoo Strategic Infotech Pvt Ltd, India
Kevin Martin,  Peace Action
Jacqueline Cabasso,  Western States Legal Foundation, United for Peace and Justice
Ingeborg Breines, Co-president International Peace Bureau
Judith LeBlanc,  Peace Action
David Krieger, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)
J. Kirk Wiebe, NSA Senior Analyst (ret.), MD 
William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Sana Hassainia, a New Democratic Party (NDP) MP, has quit the party parliamentary bloc over what she felt was an excessively pro-Israel stance on the current war on Gaza.

Hassainia was critical of NDP Leader Tom Mulcair in a blog post that appeared online yesterday, noting that she had been forced to stay quiet over her views on the Middle East.

“Today, I have the courage to make a significant gesture, to take a weight off my shoulders and stand by my convictions,” she said.

The 39-year old MP, of Tunisian origins, said that she would continue her term in the parliament as an independent until the upcoming elections slated next year.

Responding to Hassainia’s remarks, Mulcair said his party “has a long-standing position in favour of the two-state solution in the Middle East.”

A child next to a picture of Nelson Mandela at a pro-Palestinian rally in Cape Town. August 9, 2014 / Photo by AP

The following text is the statement of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, published by Haaretz. 

“It calls for a global boycott of Israel and urges Israelis and Palestinians to look beyond their leaders for a sustainable solution to the crisis in the Holy Land.”

The past weeks have witnessed unprecedented action by members of civil society across the world against the injustice of Israel’s disproportionately brutal response to the firing of missiles from Palestine.

If you add together all the people who gathered over the past weekend to demand justice in Israel and Palestine – in Cape Town, Washington, D.C., New York, New Delhi, London, Dublin and Sydney, and all the other cities – this was arguably the largest active outcry by citizens around a single cause ever in the history of the world.

A quarter of a century ago, I participated in some well-attended demonstrations against apartheid. I never imagined we’d see demonstrations of that size again, but last Saturday’s turnout in Cape Town was as big if not bigger. Participants included young and old, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, blacks, whites, reds and greens … as one would expect from a vibrant, tolerant, multicultural nation.

I asked the crowd to chant with me: “We are opposed to the injustice of the illegal occupation of Palestine. We are opposed to the indiscriminate killing in Gaza. We are opposed to the indignity meted out to Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks. We are opposed to violence perpetrated by all parties. But we are not opposed to Jews.”

Earlier in the week, I called for the suspension of Israel from the International Union of Architects, which was meeting in South Africa.

I appealed to Israeli sisters and brothers present at the conference to actively disassociate themselves and their profession from the design and construction of infrastructure related to perpetuating injustice, including the separation barrier, the security terminals and checkpoints, and the settlements built on occupied Palestinian land.

“I implore you to take this message home: Please turn the tide against violence and hatred by joining the nonviolent movement for justice for all people of the region,” I said.

Over the past few weeks, more than 1.6 million people across the world have signed onto this movement by joining an Avaaz campaign calling on corporations profiting from the Israeli occupation and/or implicated in the abuse and repression of Palestinians to pull out. The campaign specifically targets Dutch pension fund ABP; Barclays Bank; security systems supplier G4S; French transport company Veolia; computer company Hewlett-Packard; and bulldozer supplier Caterpillar.

Last month, 17 EU governments urged their citizens to avoid doing business in or investing in illegal Israeli settlements.

We have also recently witnessed the withdrawal by Dutch pension fund PGGM of tens of millions of euros from Israeli banks; the divestment from G4S by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and the U.S. Presbyterian Church divested an estimated $21 million from HP, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar.

It is a movement that is gathering pace.

Violence begets violence and hatred, that only begets more violence and hatred.

We South Africans know about violence and hatred. We understand the pain of being the polecat of the world; when it seems nobody understands or is even willing to listen to our perspective. It is where we come from.

We also know the benefits that dialogue between our leaders eventually brought us; when organizations labeled “terrorist” were unbanned and their leaders, including Nelson Mandela, were released from imprisonment, banishment and exile.

We know that when our leaders began to speak to each other, the rationale for the violence that had wracked our society dissipated and disappeared. Acts of terrorism perpetrated after the talks began – such as attacks on a church and a pub – were almost universally condemned, and the party held responsible snubbed at the ballot box.

The exhilaration that followed our voting together for the first time was not the preserve of black South Africans alone. The real triumph of our peaceful settlement was that all felt included. And later, when we unveiled a constitution so tolerant, compassionate and inclusive that it would make God proud, we all felt liberated.

Of course, it helped that we had a cadre of extraordinary leaders.

But what ultimately forced these leaders together around the negotiating table was the cocktail of persuasive, nonviolent tools that had been developed to isolate South Africa, economically, academically, culturally and psychologically.

At a certain point – the tipping point – the then-government realized that the cost of attempting to preserve apartheid outweighed the benefits.

The withdrawal of trade with South Africa by multinational corporations with a conscience in the 1980s was ultimately one of the key levers that brought the apartheid state – bloodlessly – to its knees. Those corporations understood that by contributing to South Africa’s economy, they were contributing to the retention of an unjust status quo.

Those who continue to do business with Israel, who contribute to a sense of “normalcy” in Israeli society, are doing the people of Israel and Palestine a disservice. They are contributing to the perpetuation of a profoundly unjust status quo.

Those who contribute to Israel’s temporary isolation are saying that Israelis and Palestinians are equally entitled to dignity and peace.

Ultimately, events in Gaza over the past month or so are going to test who believes in the worth of human beings.

It is becoming more and more clear that politicians and diplomats are failing to come up with answers, and that responsibility for brokering a sustainable solution to the crisis in the Holy Land rests with civil society and the people of Israel and Palestine themselves.

Besides the recent devastation of Gaza, decent human beings everywhere – including many in Israel – are profoundly disturbed by the daily violations of human dignity and freedom of movement Palestinians are subjected to at checkpoints and roadblocks. And Israel’s policies of illegal occupation and the construction of buffer-zone settlements on occupied land compound the difficulty of achieving an agreementsettlement in the future that is acceptable for all.

The State of Israel is behaving as if there is no tomorrow. Its people will not live the peaceful and secure lives they crave – and are entitled to – as long as their leaders perpetuate conditions that sustain the conflict.

I have condemned those in Palestine responsible for firing missiles and rockets at Israel. They are fanning the flames of hatred. I am opposed to all manifestations of violence.

But we must be very clear that the people of Palestine have every right to struggle for their dignity and freedom. It is a struggle that has the support of many around the world.

No human-made problems are intractable when humans put their heads together with the earnest desire to overcome them. No peace is impossible when people are determined to achieve it.

Peace requires the people of Israel and Palestine to recognize the human being in themselves and each other; to understand their interdependence.

Missiles, bombs and crude invective are not part of the solution. There is no military solution.

The solution is more likely to come from that nonviolent toolbox we developed in South Africa in the 1980s, to persuade the government of the necessity of altering its policies.

The reason these tools – boycott, sanctions and divestment – ultimately proved effective was because they had a critical mass of support, both inside and outside the country. The kind of support we have witnessed across the world in recent weeks, in respect of Palestine.

My plea to the people of Israel is to see beyond the moment, to see beyond the anger at feeling perpetually under siege, to see a world in which Israel and Palestine can coexist – a world in which mutual dignity and respect reign.

It requires a mind-set shift. A mind-set shift that recognizes that attempting to perpetuate the current status quo is to damn future generations to violence and insecurity. A mind-set shift that stops regarding legitimate criticism of a state’s policies as an attack on Judaism. A mind-set shift that begins at home and ripples out across communities and nations and regions – to the Diaspora scattered across the world we share. The only world we share.

People united in pursuit of a righteous cause are unstoppable. God does not interfere in the affairs of people, hoping we will grow and learn through resolving our difficulties and differences ourselves. But God is not asleep. The Jewish scriptures tell us that God is biased on the side of the weak, the dispossessed, the widow, the orphan, the alien who set slaves free on an exodus to a Promised Land. It was the prophet Amos who said we should let righteousness flow like a river.

Goodness prevails in the end. The pursuit of freedom for the people of Palestine from humiliation and persecution by the policies of Israel is a righteous cause. It is a cause that the people of Israel should support.

Nelson Mandela famously said that South Africans would not feel free until Palestinians were free.

He might have added that the liberation of Palestine will liberate Israel, too.

Desmond Tutu

Just a day after the Oregon Department of State Lands shot down a proposal to export 8.8 million tons per year of coal to Asia from the Port of Morrow in Boardman, Oregon, the Long Beach City Council achieved the opposite.

In a 9-0 vote, the Council voted “yay” to export both coal and petroleum coke(petcoke, a tar sands by-product) to the global market — namely Asia — out of Pier G to the tune of 1.7 million tons per year. Some have decried petcoke as “dirtier than the dirtiest fuel.“

More specifically, the Council determined that doing an environmental impact statement before shipping the coal and petcoke abroad was not even necessary.

decision originally made in June and then appealed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Communities for a Better Environment, the Council shot down the appeal at an August 19 hearing.

“We are very disappointed about the decision, but that does not diminish the amazing victory in Oregon,” Earthjustice attorney Adrian Martinez said in a statement provided to DeSmogBlog via email. “The decision in Long Beach just highlights the grasp that the fossil fuel industry has on the City’s leaders.”

The Earthjustice legal challenge and the the subsequent August 19 hearing was not about banning coal or petcoke exports. Rather, Earthjustice and its clients requested that the City of Long Beach do an environmental impact statement for two companies given contracts to export the commodities for 15-20 years.

One of those companies, Oxbow Carbon, is owned by the “Other Koch Brother,” William “Bill” Koch. Like his brothers David and Charles Koch, he has made a fortune on the U.S. petcoke storage and export boom. Also like his brothers, he is a major donor to the Republican Party.

Photo Credit: City of Long Beach

But the Long Beach City Council voted “nay” in unanimous fashion to do the environmental impact study. Earthjustice had argued it was required to do an environmental review under the legal dictates of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

“It’s disappointing that the City would turn a blind eye to even doing some basic analysis of the impacts of this decision to lock into 15 years of exporting dirty fuels abroad,” said Martinez.

“More than 100 residents showed up at the August 19 hearing to support pausing this deal and are deeply concerned about how climate change and pollution from exporting dirty fuels impacts them and future generations.”

Adding insult to injury, Sierra Club endorsed Vice Mayor and City Council member Suja Lowenthal in her Democratic Party primary race for State Assembly, which she recently lost.

The floodgates have been opened, then, to export massive amounts of coal and petcoke from the self-styled “Green Port.”

It comes at a time when numerous California refineries are retooling themselves to blend more tar sands diluted bitumen (“dilbit”), which gets to the Golden State mainly via rail.

Further, it happens at the same time critics say the Obama Administration is exporting climate change by exporting coal abroad — often to countries without any meaningful regulations — even as his administration regulates U.S.-based coal-fired power plants.

Union, Oxbow Representatives Oppose Enviro Review

While the majority of those who testified at the August 19 hearing before the Long Beach City Council voted spoke in favor of doing an environmental impact statement, several industry executives and union workers spoke out against it.

“First and foremost, you should know the facilities on Pier G are world-class operations that set the bar for environmental excellence in our industries. We are very proud of what we do here with the port,” Clayton Headley, Oxbow’s vice president of supply for the Pacific region stated at the hearing.

“The assets and operations of the Port of Long Beach…are known throughout the world as examples of how things ought to be…Like the Port, we take our environmental stewardship seriously.”

A few members of organized labor also took the side of the “Other Koch Brother” at the hearing.

Jesus Guzman, a unionized employee at Oxbow who has worked there for 18 years, said that Oxbow has a “great track record and everything has been for the better” since he began working there.

Jesus Guzman, Oxbow Employee; Photo Credit: City of Long Beach 

“I work 12 hours a day and I have a clean bill of health. I don’t have asthma, I’m not diabetic and [again] I work 12 hours a day,” said Guzman. “I’m here to say please allow me to be a sole provider for my family for 15 more years.”

Bobby Olvera, Jr., President of International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) Local 13, also spoke out against an environmental review at the hearing.

Bobby Olvera, Jr.; Photo Credit: City of Long Beach

“I can’t believe we have to come here”

On the other side of the debate, some citizens argued this is not a debate over jobs, it is a debate over having to follow basic bread-and-butter environmental law.

“I can’t believe all of us have to come here and practically beg you for a CEQAreview,” said Long Beach citizen Catherine Castro. “I must’ve been asleep at the wheel thinking our elected officials were watching over us. My fault. But now I’m not asleep anymore. Those of us who put you in office, you’re here to serve and protect us and the city.”

Another citizen, Jeff Miller, sang a similar tune.

“We had a couple of speakers who spoke about the economic benefits of this project and touted their community involvement, as well, and they sort of implied that 40-50 years of operating the way they have is reason enough to allow them to continue operating as they are because of these benefits. The implication is that these things will go away if they have to do the right thing. And I know we don’t believe that,” said Miller.

Jeff Miller; Photo Credit: City of Long Beach

“We’re not asking that these operators necessarily leave the port: they’re not going to do that. Every day I find a nice layer of film of dark, black dust on my porch,” Miller continued. “We breathe that dust,I don’t know how much of that is attributable to this operations or the port operations, but shouldn’t we find out? That’s what an environmental impact report will tell us.”

According to an NRDC blog post, Earthjustice and its clients (of which NRDC is one) are still in the process of figuring out what their next steps will be after the ruling.

Photo Credit: City of Long Beach

 

A long list of prominent individuals has signed, a number of organizations will be promoting next week, and you can be one of the first to sign right now, a petition titled “Call For Independent Inquiry of the Airplane Crash in Ukraine and its Catastrophic Aftermath.”

The petition is directed to “All the heads of states of NATO countries, and of Russia and the Ukraine, to Ban-ki Moon and the heads of states of countries on the UN Security Council.” And it will be delivered to each of them.

The petition reads:

“Set up an impartial international fact finding inquiry and a public report on the events in Ukraine to reveal the truth of what occurred.”Why is this important?”It’s important because there is so much misinformation and disinformation in the media that we are careening towards a new cold war with Russia over this.”

That’s not hyperbole. It’s the language of U.S. and Russian politicians and media.

Of course, there are undisputed facts that could change people’s understanding. Many Americans are unaware of NATO’s expansion or of what actions Russia views as aggressive and threatening. But when a particular incident appears to be set up as a proximate cause for war it is well worth our time to insist on an exposure of the facts.  Doing so is not to concede that any outcome of the inquiry would justify a war.  Rather it is to prevent the imposition of an unproven explanation that makes war more likely.

What if the Gulf of Tonkin had been investigated 50 years ago this month? What if the independent inquiry that Spain wanted into the USS Maine had been allowed? What if Congress hadn’t swallowed the one about the babies taken from incubators or that hilarious bit about the vast stockpiles of WMDs? Or, on the other hand, what if everyone had listened to John Kerry unskeptically on Syria last year?

When a Malaysian airplane went down in Ukraine, Kerry immediately blamed Vladimir Putin, but has yet to produce any evidence to back up the accusation. Meanwhile, we learn that the U.S. government is looking into the possibility that what happened was actually an attempt to assassinate Putin. Those two versions, the one initially announced with no apparent basis and the one reportedly now being investigated in secret, could hardly be more different.  That the second one is under consideration makes it appear very likely that any serious proof of the former claim has not been found.

Here’s a longer version of the petition:

“At this very moment in history, when so many people and nations around the world are  acknowledging the 100th Anniversary of our planet’s  hapless stumble into World War I,  great powers and their allies are ironically once again provoking new dangers where governments appear to be sleepwalking towards a restoration of old Cold War battles. A barrage of conflicting information is broadcast in the various national and nationalistic media with alternative versions of reality that provoke and stoke new enmities and rivalries across national borders. 

“With the U.S. and Russia in possession of over 15,000 of the world’s 16,400 nuclear weapons, humanity can ill-afford to stand by and permit these conflicting views of history and opposing assessments of the facts on the ground to lead to a 21st Century military confrontation between the great powers and their allies.  While sadly acknowledging the trauma suffered by the countries of Eastern Europe from years of Soviet occupation, and understanding their desire for the protection of the NATO military alliance, we the signers of this global call to action also note that the Russian people lost 20 million people during WWII to the Nazi onslaught and are understandably wary of NATO expansion to their borders in a hostile environment.   Russia has lost the protection of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which the US abandoned in 2001, and warily observes missile bases metastasizing ever closer to its borders in new NATO member states, while the US rejects repeated Russian efforts for negotiations on a treaty to ban weapons in space, or Russia’s prior application for membership in NATO. 

“For these reasons, we the peoples, as members of Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organizations, and global citizens, committed to peace and nuclear disarmament, demand that an independent international inquiry be commissioned to review events in Ukraine leading up to the Malaysian jet crash and of the procedures being used to review the catastrophic aftermath.  The inquiry should factually determine the cause of the accident and hold responsible parties accountable to the families of the victims and the citizens of the world who fervently desire peace and a peaceful settlement of any existing conflicts.  It should include a fair and balanced presentation of what led to the deterioration of U.S. –Russian relations and the new hostile and polarized posture that the U.S. and Russia with their allies find themselves in today.

“The UN Security Council, with US and Russian agreement, has already passed Resolution 2166 addressing the Malaysian jet crash, demanding accountability, full access to the site and a halt to military activity which has been painfully disregarded at various times since the incident.   One of the provisions of SC Res 2166 notes that the Council “[s]upports efforts to establish a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines.”  Further, the 1909 revised Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes adopted at the 1899 Hague International Peace Conference has been used successfully to resolve issues between states so that war was avoided in the past.  Both Russia and Ukraine are parties to the Convention. 

“Regardless of the forum where the evidence is gathered and fairly evaluated, we the undersigned urge that the facts be known as to how we got to this unfortunate state of affairs on our planet today and what might be the solutions.  We urge Russia and Ukraine as well as their allies and partners to engage in diplomacy and negotiations, not war and hostile alienating actions.   The world can little afford the trillions of dollars in military spending and trillions and trillions of brain cells wasted on war when our very Earth is under stress and needs the critical attention of our best minds and thinking and the abundance of resources mindlessly diverted to war to be made available for the challenge confronting us to create a livable future for life on earth.”

Here are initial signatories (organizations for identification only):
(Add your name.)

Hon. Douglas Roche, OC, Canada
David Swanson, co-founder, World Beyond War
Medea Benjamin, Code Pink
Bruce Gagnon,  Global Network Against Nuclear Power and Weapons in Space
Alice Slater, JD, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, NY
Professor Francis A. Boyle, University of Illinois College of Law
Natasha Mayers, Union of Maine Visual Artists
David Hartsough, co-founder, World Beyond War
Larry Dansinger, Resources for Organizing and Social Change
Ellen Judd, Project Peacemakers
Coleen Rowley, Women Against Military Madness
Lisa Savage, Code Pink, State of Maine
Brian Noyes Pulling, M. Div.
Anni Cooper, Peaceworks
Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance
Leah Bolger, CDR, USN (Ret), Veterans for Peace
Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance
Gloria McMillan, Tucson Balkan Peace Support Group
Ellen E. Barfield, Veterans for Peace
Cecile Pineda, author. Devil's Tango: How I Learned the Fukushima Step by Step
Jill McManus
Steve Leeper, Visiting professor, Hiroshima Jogakuin University, Nagasaki University, Kyoto University of Art and Design
William H. Slavick, Pax Christi Maine
Carol Reilly Urner, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Ann E. Ruthsdottir
Raymond McGovern, former CIA  analyst, VA
Kay Cumbow
Steven Starr, Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Tiffany Tool,  Peaceworkers
Sukla Sen, Committee for Communal Amnity, Mumbai India
Felicity Ruby
Joan Russow, PhD, Coordinator, Global Compliance Research Project
Rob Mulford, Veterans for Peace, North Star Chapter, Alaska
Jerry  Stein,  The Peace Farm, Amarillo , Texas
Michael Andregg, professor, St. Paul, Minnesota
Elizabeth Murray,  Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council, ret.: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, Washington
Robert Shetterly, artist,  “Americans Who Tell the Truth,” Maine
Katharine Gun, United Kingdom
Amber Garland, St. Paul, Minnesota
Beverly Bailey, Richfield, Minnesota
Stephen McKeown, Richfield, Minnesota
Darlene M. Coffman, Rochester, Minnesota
Sister Gladys Schmitz, Mankato, Minnesota
Bill Rood, Rochester, Minnesota
Tony Robinson, Editor Pressenza
Tom Klammer, radio host, Kansas City, Missouri
Barbara Vaile, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Helen Caldicott, Helen Caldicott Foundation
Mali Lightfoot, Helen Caldicott Foundation
Brigadier Vijai K Nair, VSM [Retd] Ph.D. , Magoo Strategic Infotech Pvt Ltd, India
Kevin Martin,  Peace Action
Jacqueline Cabasso,  Western States Legal Foundation, United for Peace and Justice
Ingeborg Breines, Co-president International Peace Bureau
Judith LeBlanc,  Peace Action
David Krieger, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)
J. Kirk Wiebe, NSA Senior Analyst (ret.), MD
William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Auto

With the US continuing to push its submissive European “allies” towards an ever more confrontational stance towards Russia over the crisis in Ukraine (a crisis initially provoked by the US itself through CIA and State Department actions that led to the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government), the world appears headed towards a dangerous renewed Cold War between the world’s two nuclear superpowers.

A central part of that campaign by Washington has been the effort to blame the downing of Malaysian Flight 17, which killed all 298 passengers and crew, on Russia, or  failing that, on pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.  This campaign has used innuendo, falsified evidence and, weirdly, spurious and sometimes absurd “evidence” circulating in various social media — all of which which people like Secretary of State John Kerry and president Obama himself have tried to say “prove” that Russia, or at least a Russian-provided high-altitude BUK anti-aircraft missile, was responsible for the downing.

But increasingly, critics, including analysts within the CIA, have been throwing cold water on that theory. Suspiciously, the US, which had a spy satellite located directly over the Malaysian plane at the very time of the shoot-down, and which certainly has detailed photographic images of exactly what happened, has offered no a single photo to prove its contention that a missile was fired from territory under rebel control.

Meanwhile, there are multiple claims that the CIA — and perhaps the National Security Agency too — have evidence that it was Ukrainian forces, not separatists, who shot down the plane, either using one of the several dozen BUK launchers that they are known to possess themselves, or by two Ukrainian attack fighters that were known to be tailing the Malaysian commercial jet shoot it down with machine gun fire and/or air-to-air missiles. Significantly, a Canadian investigator with the international team sent to collect and examine pieces of the crashed airliner, has said he saw holes that appeared caused by heavy 30 mm machine-gun fire –the type of ammunition used by the fighter jets — in a section of the front of the Boeing jet, as well as in both sides. Such holes in the nose and both sides of the doomed plane could not have all been caused by the projectiles released by a BUK missile, which would have all hit the plane from one direction — reportedly normally from a location beneath the plane.

A week ago, this reporter interviewed Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst with 27 years of experience at the agency, about the Ukraine crisis, on ThisCantBeHappening!’s weekly radio show that airs each Wednesday at 5 pm Eastern Time on the Progressive Radio Network (PRN.fm). McGovern says on that program that sources he knows who are still at the CIA say that the agency has refused to back the US claim that separatists or Russia were behind the shoot-down of Flight 17.

To hear analyst McGovern’s interview, go to ThisCantBeHappening!, the new uncompromising four-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, at: 

www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/2423

Iraq: Mainstream Media’s Biased Reporting on US-UK Bombing

August 22nd, 2014 by Interventions Watch

On August 8th 2008, the U.S. announced that they had started carrying out air strikes in northern Iraq. The major reason given for this was that the United States couldn’t stand idly by while the Islamic State killed, displaced and persecuted minority groups, with the fate of the Yazidis at the forefront of the justification.

Barack Obama was quoted as saying that:

‘when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye’.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/08/07/statement-president

Meanwhile, over the preceding 4 weeks, Israel had been busily massacring circa 2000 people in the Gaza Strip.

The Obama administration’s response to this was to block attempts at the U.N. to hold Israel accountable for war crimes, and to replenish the Israeli military’s arsenal. There were also some mildly critical statements from the U.S. towards Israel, particularly in regards to the bombing of U.N. schools sheltering refugees, but their actions demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that they generally supported and wanted to facilitate the massacre.

Despite this glaring double standard, an awful lot of corporate media reporting has taken Obama at his word. That the U.S. is indeed bombing Iraq to protect Yazidis, that their actions are well intentioned, and that they should be supported to this end.

On Friday 22nd August, The New Statesman published an article by Jonathan Rugman, the foreign correspondent at Channel 4 news, very much along these lines.

Here’s a few brief comments on why I think the article is problematic, and symptomatic of the shallow approach that currently dominates reporting of this conflict.

Rugman:

‘Britain and the US veered from over-intervening in Iraq to neglecting it’.

An illegal invasion, predicated on blatant lies and half-truths, which lead to500’000+ excess deaths and millions of displacements, is here airily dismissed by Rugman as ‘over-intervening’.

Within that phrase lie a multitude of sins, from the disproportionate and indiscriminate attack on Fallujah; to the systematic torture at Abu Ghraib; to the massacre at Haditha; to the use of fire bombs, cluster bombs and white phosphorous; to the general disregard for Iraqi lives inherent among their supposed liberators and now saviours.

This history is surely important in judging whether the U.S./U.K. can in any way be trusted to act in a humane and ethical manner in Iraq, but is airbrushed out entirely by Rugman.

The people primarily responsible for instigating the current carnage in Iraq are then accused of ‘neglecting’ it (that it might be a good thing if the U.S./U.K. et al left Iraq alone apparently doesn’t occur to Rugman).

It is ‘our’ duty and ‘our’ prerogative to ‘intervene’ – although perhaps the porridge has to be at just the right temperature . .  .

Rugman:

‘Now, there’s the inevitable talk of “mission creep” and being “sucked in” but at least we are trying to find a middle way: surveillance, arming the Kurds, air strikes, using special forces for whom discretion is the better part of valour’.

An interesting use of the word ‘we’ here, if only because it makes clear Rugman self-identifies as being on the same side as the people currently bombing Iraq.

Rugman:

‘Intervention came too late for 100,000 Assyrian Christians abandoning some of Christendom’s earliest outposts. And too late for the vast majority of Yazidis – but at least their exodus caught the world’s attention’.

A lot of reporting currently coming out of Iraq reads like the persecution of minority groups is a fairly recent development, including the above sentence. But this is far from being the case.

Amnesty International reported in 2011, for example, that:

‘Within weeks of the US-led invasion in 2003, members of religious and ethnic minority communities were targeted for violent attack, including abductions and killings’.

http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/iraq/background-religious-minorities-in-iraq-face-persecution

Human Rights Watch reported in 2009 how:

‘Minorities in Iraq find themselves in an increasingly precarious position as the Arab-dominated central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government vie for control of the disputed territories . . . Iraqi Christians, Yazidis, and Shabaks have suffered extensively since 2003 . . . Iraqi authorities, both Arab and Kurdish, need to rein in security forces, extremists and vigilante groups to send a message that minorities cannot be attacked with impunity’.

http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/11/10/iraq-protect-besieged-minorities

Nor is the ‘exodus’ of minority groups anything new. As Amnesty International again reported in 2008:

‘The displacement crisis caused by the US-led invasion of Iraq and the subsequent internal armed conflict has reached shocking proportions. Millions of people at risk – Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, Christians, Mandean-Sabeans, Palestinians and others – have fled their homes and most are now struggling to survive . . .

. . . the world’s governments have done little or nothing to help, failing both in their moral duty and in their legal obligation to share responsibility for displaced people wherever they are. Apathy towards the crisis has been the overwhelming response’.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE14/011/2008/en/43d5f798-3637-11dd-9db5-cb00b5aed8dc/mde140112008eng.html

As these reports make clear, the persecution and mass displacement of minority groups in Iraq was actually exacerbated by ‘intervention’ – namely the 2003 invasion – and the current phase of it is just a continuation of that.

Rugman arguing that ‘intervention has come too late’ to save minority groups in Iraq is, in a sense, a reversal of the truth; U.S./U.K. ‘Intervention’ in Iraq has been a major cause of the problem, rather than any kind of solution to it.

By neglecting to mention this history, Rugman is omitting some crucial context.

Rugman:

‘My reporting rarely changes anything but maybe the first pictures broadcast on Channel 4 News of desperate Yazidi refugees trapped on Mount Sinjar helped prick the conscience of reluctant policymakers. Anyway, that’s what I like to think’.

I’m sure that is what Rugman likes to think. But it is highly likely that the U.S. would have ‘intervened’ with or without his reporting. And i’m not sure that the ‘intervention’ is in any way motivated by the ‘consciences’ of the people planning it and executing it, ‘pricked’ or not.

It might – and I stress might there –  be more accurate to say the Rugman’s reporting has helped drum up public support for such an ‘intervention’, by highlighting the plight of the Yazidis, but stripping it of the historical context and critical commentary that might cause people to think twice about U.S./U.K. military ‘intervention’ as a solution.

What’s more, as someone who has followed events in Iraq fairly closely for years, I don’t remember much media clamour to ‘save’ Iraqi minorities during the U.S./U.K. occupation years, or much concern about their well being, even though their problems were just as grave.  As an issue it was covered, but it was never treated as pressing or urgent.

‘Apathy towards the crisis’ was ‘the overwhelming response’, as Amnesty International put it (just as now, as we speak, there is general media apathy about the ongoing ’hidden but horrific humanitarian and human rights crisis’ currently afflicting Afghanistan).

A cynic might say that this is because expressing concern about the plight of minority groups in Iraq wasn’t politically expedient back then (when ‘the surge’ was supposedly working, and a corner was being turned, and all of that palava).

It is politically expedient now though, as a pretext for the U.S., U.K. et al to ‘intervene’ in Iraq once again, for what are likely amoral economic and geo-strategic reasons.

But correspondents like Rugman apparently want us to believe that the same States which showed near total apathy towards the plight of displaced and persecuted Iraqi minority groups circa 2007 and 2008 – and which have killed Iraqis in such huge numbers since 1990 – now all of sudden care so deeply about them that they have no choice but to bomb.

As the saying goes, ‘It’s get bells on’.

Destruction in the Shujaiya neighborhood east of Gaza City, 19 August. (Mohammed Asad / APA images)

What would happen if Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas signs up to join the International Criminal Court (ICC)? The question has acquired a certain urgency amid the Israeli attack on Gaza and reports that the Palestinian political parties, including Hamas, are now committed to joining it.

The first thing to note is that since it began operations in 2002, the court hasn’t been much of a success. Each individual, including several heads of state indicted by the court, have so far been African, leading to condemnation that it is a tool of western neo-colonialism.

The flipside to this African focus has been a shift in the original US policy of militant opposition to the body towards a more nuanced relationship, where the US and the United Nations Security Council have seen the ICC as a useful tool in certain foreign adventures, for example, in Libya.

From the perspective of academics, activists and legal professionals, the record of the Office of the Prosecutor and the judges themselves has fed widespread frustration and significant concern that the institution does not have the capacity to make itself fit for purpose.

Underlying these concerns are financial and logistical problems. It’s not easy sending investigators to central Africa’s war zones to search for convincing evidence and witnesses to crimes that may have been perpetrated a decade previously. Nor, when the Security Council has decided to refer situations such as Darfur and Libya to the court, has it provided any financial or political support.

With new investigations opening up on a regular basis, including recently in Mali and Ukraine, and judicial decisions taking an incredibly long amount of time, the court’s future, in spite of — or perhaps because of — its ever increasing workload is far from certain.

Apart from the perpetual political pressure from Israel’s allies, Palestine is likely to prove a new challenge for the court in one significant respect. To date the prosecutor’s investigations, and the cases brought before the court have focused on specific incidents. The first of the court’s two convictions related to an individual, a rebel commander found guilty of recruiting and using child soldiers in Uganda; the second related to an attack on one specific village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, again by a rebel commander.

In Palestine, the court would need to confront not just specific or sporadic acts of violence such as the attacks against civilians and civilian objects reported in the UN-commissionedGoldstone report into Israel’s 2008-2009 assault on Gaza, but would also have to address the very nature and structure of Israel’s occupation.

Investigating war crimes related to the settlement project in the West Bank as well as apartheid as a crime against humanity will require the court to engage not just with the conduct of soldiers and rebels, but with the entire system of the occupation. In order to prosecute individuals responsible for these crimes the court must determine also theunlawfulness of Israeli state policies which underlie the overall system of settlement and of domination.

In a recent comment piece, Michael Merryman-Lotze clearly identifies this distinction between individual acts of physical violence and the “more pernicious legal and structural violence that defines Israel’s occupation and its ethno-chauvinistic and discriminatory policies.”

Jurisdiction

As a formally recognized state, Palestine has the right to go to the court. From the moment the recognized authorities of the state ratify the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty, the court will have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute individuals who commit crimes on Palestinian territory and over Palestinian nationals wherever they may commit crimes.

The option exists to grant the court retroactive jurisdiction, possibly as far back as 2002, but academic and professional lawyers remain divided as to when the “State of Palestine” as a legal entity came into existence, and as to whether the initial Palestinian Authority approach to the court in 2009 is valid or not.

The territory of the “State of Palestine” for the purposes of the court’s jurisdiction would be the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967, that is to say the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Complementarity

On ratification, Palestine can make a “self-referral” requesting the prosecutor to begin investigating the “situation” on its territory. The Palestinian judiciary cannot prosecute Israeli officials for the crimes of the occupation and the Israeli judiciary does not do so.

Alternatively, the Office of the Prosecutor can itself open an investigation into the “situation,” or the UN Security Council can request that it do so. If following a preliminary examination of a situation the prosecutor finds a “reasonable basis” to proceed with an investigation, she will go before a pre-trial chamber composed of three judges, and request authorization for a formal investigation.

The chamber examines the request to determine whether a “reasonable basis” exists, in which case it will authorize the investigation. Should the chamber deny authorization, the prosecutor can make subsequent requests based on new facts or evidence.

Gaza City’s al-Shaaf neighborhood, 18 August. (Ashraf Amra / APA images)

At this point the prosecutor notifies the concerned states as to the existence of the investigation. She may notify them confidentially, and retains freedom to limit what information she provides in order “to protect persons, prevent destruction of evidence or prevent the absconding of persons.”

Within one month’s receipt of such a notice, a state may inform the court that it currently is, or already has, undertaken the necessary criminal investigation within its own judicial system. In such a case the prosecutor may defer to the state’s own proceedings, since the ICC is supposed to “complement” or prompt national proceedings. If she thinks the state is genuinely unwilling or unable to investigate, she can return to the pre-trial chamber and request fresh authority to re-open an investigation.

As a court of last resort, any ICC investigation will defer to national proceedings, by reference to the principle of complementarity. In order then to protect its nationals from possible ICC prosecution Israel must itself undertake timely, genuine and independent investigations into the crimes of its nationals in the “State of Palestine.”

The court will also have power to prosecute those who attempt to incite people to genocide.

Settlements

There are two general approaches that the Office of the Prosecutor might adopt towards Palestine. On the one hand the court might focus on the spectacular violence of the various Israeli attacks against the people of the Gaza Strip, seeking to indict individuals who planned, ordered, assisted or incited the widespread attacks on Palestinian civilians.

On the other, the court could focus on the structural framework of the occupation, namely the settlement project in the West Bank and the accompanying policies and practices of apartheid. Given the court’s record it is difficult to envisage how it could manage to address all of the crimes committed since 2002. It will necessarily have to be selective, but the affirmation of the criminality of the occupation will be clear.

It was the explicit recognition of the criminal nature of the “transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” (Article 8.2.b.vii) which led Israel to vote in 1998 against the adoption of the Rome Statute.

Israel’s chief delegate at Rome, Eli Nathan, said “can it really be held that such an action as that listed in Article 8 above really ranks among the most heinous and serious war crimes, especially as compared to the other, genuinely heinous ones listed in Article 8?”

The 2013 report of a UN Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission confirmed that “The transfer of Israeli citizens into the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories], prohibited under international humanitarian law and international criminal law, is a central feature of Israel’s practices and policies,” and that Palestine’s ratification of the Rome Statute “may lead to accountability for gross violations of human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law and justice for victims.”

Israeli civilians are being transferred into settlements, whose seizure or construction gives rise to the applicability of two additional war crimes relating to Palestinian property rights, as noted in the Goldstone report.

Palestinians stand in front of a bus destroyed during an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, 20 August. (Ezz Zanoun / APA images)

These are the war crimes of “Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly” (Article 8.2.a.iv) and of “Destroying or seizing the enemy’s property unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war” (Article 8.2.b.xiii). It is difficult to see what defense any indicted Israeli political or military commanders can rely upon in the face of these charges.

While no one has ever been charged with the war crime of transfer of civilians into occupied territory, the ICC should have no difficulty addressing such charges. The court is supposed to focus on war crimes when they are being perpetrated as part of a plan or policy, indubitably the case with respect to settlements and settlers.

In February 2014, the UK Supreme Court had no problem considering, briefly, the meaning and scope of this crime. The case related to a protest action against an Ahava cosmetics store in London, where a defendant was charged with aggravated trespass.

The accused sought to rely on the defense that the Ahava store was acting in violation of international criminal law because it sold goods manufactured in unlawful West Bank settlements. With respect to “the war crime argument,” the Supreme Court accepted that if a person, including the shopkeeper company, had “aided and abetted the transfer of Israeli civilians into the OPT,” it might have committed an offense against” the UK’s 2001 Rome Statute Act.

Apartheid

No one has ever been charged with the crime of apartheidSouth Africa decided to avoid the criminal approach in coming to terms with its transition in the 1990s, relying instead on a truth and reconciliation approach.

There has been significant commentary as to the Israeli state’s responsibility for apartheid, and a developing academic critique of the criminal aspect.

The crime of apartheid refers to the commission of certain acts, such as torture or murder, “in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” Yet another UN Committee has already established that Israel’s policies and practices in occupied Palestine are in violation of the provision in the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination prohibiting apartheid.

In taking on the situation in Palestine it would be expected that the ICC prosecutor would act on the evidence and commentary readily available and begin examining the racist “systematic oppression” of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Individuals held to be responsible for the murder or torture of Palestinians within such a context may then be prosecuted for the crime of apartheid as a crime against humanity.

Gaza

Whether the court can investigate the attacks against Gaza depends on whether Palestine gives the court retroactive jurisdiction. On the face of it, evidence produced in studies such as the Goldstone report suggest overwhelming likelihood that individuals in Israel’s military and political elite ordered, or aided by other means, the commission of many war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The intensity and scale of the attacks against civilians in Gaza would probably mean that the court, as with the Goldstone report, would focus in on a selection of incidents rather than all the crimes of “Operation Cast Lead” or the ongoing “Operation Protective Edge” as a whole. The prosecutor, when choosing who to request arrest warrants for, would need to analyze the chain of command within the Israeli military and political decision-making bodies in order to determine who bears greatest responsibility.

Investigation into Palestinian resistance

Investigations would also focus on the actions of the armed Palestinian resistance. While Hamas spokespersons have stated their confidence in being able to defend any charges laid against them, two issues may be of particular significance during a criminal investigation.

The standard line being taken in the West, and elsewhere, has been that Hamas specifically, but armed Palestinian factions in general, have the aim of targeting civilians.

As The Guardian’s editorial of 13 July states, “Hamas would kill scores of Israeli civilians if it could. It’s just that its missiles don’t get through, while Israel’s do.”

This claim is contradicted by the Israeli military, which states that the Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted only 21 percent of the rockets fired into Israel during July/August 2014. (Even these claims are contested as highly exaggerated by various experts, but that does not alter the argument here.)

Further, in the latest round of fighting/criminality, Israel claimed to have suffered 67 fatalities from Palestinian fire, three of whom were civilians. Given these two sets of data, it would not appear that a strong criminal case against Palestinians for targeting civilians is a foregone conclusion.

Palestinians search for victims after an Israeli strike on Beach refugee camp in Gaza City, 4 August. (Naaman Omar / APA images)

Any investigation by the prosecution would need to establish where all the missiles landed, and whether there were military objectives in the areas which the Palestinians were aiming for. As things stand today it is extremely difficult to verify whether this was the case or not.

Israel’s military censor has a gag order in effect so it is extremely difficult to identify exactly, or even roughly, where the rockets fell.

Firing weapons which are incapable of making the distinction between combatant and civilian is itself criminal, so, depending on the evidence, the court could seek to prosecute Palestinians on account of the rockets being targeted at civilian areas, or failing to distinguish between military and civilian objectives. Finally, the court would need to consider allegations made against Palestinians of locating their military operations in civilian objects such as hospitals, as well as charges such as the use of human shields by Israeli soldiers (see Goldstone report paragraph 1925).

The Security Council

The key formal power which the Security Council could apply to an ICC investigation into the situation in Palestine is set out in Article 16 of the Rome Statute. In accordance with this provision the council can, in the interests of peace and justice, stall any investigation or proceedings for a period of twelve months.

This power is renewable, and while its use does not appear to have ever been seriously considered before, it might be a means by which Israeli allies on the council could stymie any action by the court.

Conclusion

Given that the ICC will need to investigate not just the crimes of individuals responsible for firing at civilians in hospitals, the demolition of homes, or the shooting of demonstrators, but also the long-term structural basis of the occupation as manifested in the settlement and apartheid projects, Palestine will represent an unprecedented challenge for the court.

The political pressure against the Office of the Prosecutor is likely to be immense and the task of asserting and retaining prosecutorial independence is something to be monitored very closely.

Unlike other situations where the prosecutor has investigated, Israel has in effect a public policy of occupation openly built upon the perpetration of repeated war crimes around settlements and around apartheid. Evidence of criminality, from the public statements and practices of individual Israeli military and political leaders, as well as the multitude of UN, state, nongovernmental, solidarity and other organizations which have monitored and reported on individual war crimes such as torture, deportation, murder, unlawful detention, incitement and so on will provide a further mass of evidence.

It is indefensible that the Palestinian leadership has so far treated the ICC as a political pawn, deferring ratification in return for Israeli half-promises: prisoners released only to be detained again.

A turn to the court, with a focus perhaps on challenging and breaking the structure of the occupation, rather than seeking justice for each and every person murdered, is possibly the most appropriate course which Palestinian advocates should see as a priority in their campaigning around the International Criminal Court.

Dr. Michael Kearney is lecturer in law at the University of Sussex, UK.