Monday, September 1, 2014

Ukraine: Rumors Of War




Dragging Us Into War


The EU yesterday (in yet another definition of democracy) picked its new president. They chose Polish PM Donald Tusk, which may seem a bit strange since Tusk doesn’t speak a word of either English or French, and he comes from a nation that is not even in the Eurozone, yet he will now now get to chair meetings that concern the euro. But Tusk is a hawk on Russia, and therefore suspiciously convenient to the inner core of Washington and Brussels’ control apparatus. He’s said more bad and ugly things about Russia and Putin than just about anyone recently, and that’s saying something.

The US and EU have worked for years to see their desire to take over Ukraine come to fruition. They’ve come a long way, but they wanted Crimea and the Donbass region most of all, and those they still don’t have. Still, they’ve so far shown themselves more than willing to assist first in killing thousands of eastern Ukrainians to get what they want, and now they are prepared to start a war over it.
The well-prepared, built-up step by step, storyline in the western press is the threat of Russia’s expansionary drift. Hence this Reuters piece:

Polish President Warns Germany Of Putin’s ‘Empire’ Ambitions

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said that Vladimir Putin is trying to build a new Russian empire for Moscow and that the region now had to choose whether it wanted “a Cossack Europe or a democratic one”. “Russia has carried out an invasion in Ukraine,” the Polish head of state told German public radio. Komorowski said Putin was quite open about his ambitions to “rebuild the empire”. The Polish president is an ally of Prime Minister Donald Tusk. “I hope Germans are sufficiently mindful of what a Soviet empire meant for Europe,” Komorowski told Deutschlandradio Kultur and Deutschlandfunk, warning against any reprise of the pre-World War Two “appeasement policy of yielding to Hitler”.


Huh? Did I see that right? You try to scare the Germans by referring to a Russia that by now has been history for almost 25 years, a Russia that was instrumental in saving Europe from the Third Reich and lost 20-30 million people in the process, by reminding them of an 80-year old policy of appeasement to Hitler? The Germans?


When we look at what has actually happened over the past decade, and what we can prove when it comes to expansion drift, that is without a doubt a painfully hollow story. Since what we actually do know, what is not mere conjecture, is that it has instead been the west, through NATO, that has been in expansion mood.
Despite solid agreements not to move NATO’s borders eastward, the alliance has done nothing but move east, and is now planning to put even more troops and new army bases right on Russia’s doorstep. The narrative to justify this NATO expansion that breaches those former agreements, which we can see time and again, is that Russia is moving west, for which there is no proof, only accusations, and that NATO territory is inviolable, but Ukraine is not a NATO member.

No NATO territory is under threat of being violated, other than inside the narrative. Moreover, while voices in Europe increasingly claim that the threat to Ukraine is a threat to Europe (i.e. the EU), Ukraine is no more an EU member than it is a NATO member. Brussels seems to want it to be, but that’s where the narrative ends. So it’s simply being changed on the fly and has now become: “Ukraine is fighting a war on behalf of all Europe”, according Lithuanian leader Dalia Grybauskaite.

The entire conflict could be solved in a heartbeat if Kiev would simply tell the Donbass leadership that they can be autonomous. But that’s not what Poroshenko wants, or Yatsenyuk, and certainly not Washington and Brussels. Because the Donbass is by far the richest region in Ukraine. Which however happens to be home to people who don’t want to be ruled by the present Kiev leadership. Well, so you kill a bunch of them and instill fear in the rest, right?






Russian President Vladimir Putin today sharply raised the stakes in the Ukraine conflict by calling for the first time for statehood to be considered for the restive east of the former Soviet state. Mr Putin’s defiant remarks came just hours after the EU gave Moscow – which the bloc accuses of direct involvement in the insurgency – a week to change course or face new sanctions. “We need to immediately begin substantive talks… on questions of the political organisation of society and statehood in southeastern Ukraine … ”



Commenting on the new batch of sanctions against Russia threatened by western countries, Putin advised his counterparts to think again about what they are advocating. “What are the so-called European values then? Support for an armed coup, suppression of opponents with armed forces – so these are ‘European values’? I believe our colleagues should be reminded of their own ideals … ”


In the meantime, the rumors and allegations don’t just continue, they get stronger. Evidence hasn’t been a factor is this game for a long time, and it is not now. Just today, I’ve seen 2 Russian ladies who say 100 Russian troops died in a battle earlier this month, Kiev claiming that Russian tanks ‘flattened’ an entire village, and Ukraine soldiers saying their comrades who were given safe passage after being trapped, were shot at.


It just never stops, or so it seems. We’ve been subject so far to a tsunami of allegations and accusations, and 99%+ of them have come with zero evidence. But now we risk being pulled into a outright war despite the lack of evidence. Really, it’s come to this: we’re asking for just one piece of evidence for all the accusations we’ve been made party to. Just the one!

Essentially, the western leadership is saying that if the ‘Donbass rebels’, and Russia, won’t let the Ukraine army do just what it wants in east Ukraine, there will be war. But it’s not our leaders who are going to be the boots on the ground. And because Obama has pledged no US military involvement in Ukraine – though CIA, Blackwater and who knows who else, are present anyway -, it will have to be European boots on the ground in Ukraine.

The west says that the war in east Ukraine is caused by Russia’s support for the rebels. Just like the overriding narrative today is that the west reacts to what Russia does, while in reality it’s the other way around.

But our western leadership is simply too trigger happy for comfort. Based on only hints and allegations. There’s a NATO conference in Wales this week; Obama, Merkel, they’ll all be there. I suggest you just watch and listen what comes out of that. It won’t be pretty. Peace will not be a commonly used term there. While for all of us, and all the civilians in the Donbass, that’s all we want.


But these clowns are dragging us into war. And yes, maybe it would be a good idea for you to tell them that you don’t want them to. Before your kids, or their friends, their neighbors, start dying in some far away ugly theater they should never have been part of.









Demands guns, tanks, drones and NATO troops be deployed
The New York Times describes the regime in Kiev installed by a violent coup d’├ętat and led in part by fascists and xenophobic nationalists as “one of us” and demands the U.S. arm the regime in its war in eastern Ukraine.



“The West needs to be honest with Ukraine. We talk as though this country were one of us — as if, one day, it will become a member of the European Union and the NATO alliance. That is Kiev’s wish, but the West is not giving Ukraine the means to fight this war,” writes Ben Judah.


That is only the wish of some of the people of Ukraine. 96% of Crimeans voted to break away from the regime in Kiev earlier this year. In the oblasts of Donetsk, Odessa, Luhansk and elsewhere in Ukraine large Russian minorities want to sever relations with a government that includes members of Svoboda and others – Pravy Sektor, Patriots of Ukraine, Trizub, and Ukrainian National Self Defense – who advance radical Russophobic rhetoric. The leader of Svoboda, Oleh Tyahnybok, has called for liquidating “the Moscow-Jewish mafia” ruling Ukraine.


“The uncomfortable truth is that a sizable portion of Kiev’s current government — and the protesters who brought it to power — are, indeed, fascists,” Andrew Foxall wrote in March.
“For the first time since 1933, the followers of a movement that valorizes Adolf Hitler and preaches anti-Semitism has entered a European government,” adds Justin Raimondo. “The German Nazis, too, were part of a ‘coalition’ government, the other members of which thought they could contain or even ‘tame’ them and prevent a Communist takeover. They were tragically wrong – and the United States and its European allies are taking the same road in backing Hitler’s heirs in Ukraine.”



All of this is ignored by the establishment media as it portrays the resistance in eastern Ukraine as a Russian invasion.


“What’s actually happening is a civil war between the government of Western Ukraine (which no longer rules the east in any definable way) and the Russian population of Eastern Ukraine,” writes Dmitry Orlov.
Russia does not recognize the Lugansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic – two areas of in eastern Ukraine that have decided by referendum to break away from the government in Kiev – and it “has withheld all military support, limiting itself to providing humanitarian supplies to the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been destroyed by artillery and rocket fire coming from the Ukrainian forces,” notes Orlov.

The New York Times and the establishment are now calling for an intensification of this destruction of lives and property in eastern Ukraine. The “logic” contrived by the establishment characterizes the resistance as a Russian invasion and “demands that we send Western military advisers to Kiev, and give the Ukrainians full intelligence and satellite support. And we must ship them guns, tanks, drones and medical kits by the ton. We must even be ready to deploy NATO troops if Russian tanks roll toward Crimea, as many fear they will, to build a land bridge to the mainland of southern Russia,” writes Judah. “American and British special forces should be dispatched to plant the flag and protect the airports of Kiev and Odessa.”


In short, the U.S. should immediately engage in military brinkmanship and risk another world war.
This is the sort of insanity currently operative in the United States. The financial elite in control of foreign policy are determined to confront Russia on its own border. Soros NGOs and other foundations are busy at work not only on Russia’s periphery but inside the country itself.
The New York Times is a trusted propaganda asset. It played a significant role in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq and later Libya. It has supported the effort to topple the al-Assad government in Syria using al-Qaeda. It has championed the economic declaration of war against Russia and is now calling for actions that risk staring a nuclear war.








While the U.S. reels from the triple bombshells of this week that have left the Superpower nearly impotent to act, an astonishing occurrence is taking place in diplomatic circles as Washington no longer feels it has the authority to simply impose economic sanction on Russia, but must beg to Europe to stand with them in a move where they hope will allow them to restrict the use of the SWIFT system by Russia.
Earlier this week, the U.S. faced three critical events in which President Obama appeared stunned and without the fortitude to act against.  First, Russia placed several more chips on the table by cracking the decades long petro-dollar system, and will now allow for oil to be purchased directly in the markets with either Roubles or Yuan.  Secondly, the President was cornered by the media on what the U.S. intends to do regarding ISIS, and what plans Obama is ready to implement to contain or destroy the Muslim Caliphate.  In a press conference where Obama wore a taupe suit and grey tie instead of his normal blue power suit and red ensemble, the leader of the free world acknowledged that they had no plan ready to go, and as yet have no idea on how to confront the Muslim terrorists.



Finally, the worst fears for NATO and the U.S. appear to have happened as Ukrainian soldiers failed in their attempts to crush the Eastern rebels, and signs indicate that Russia is now going on the offensive to shut off Kiev from their vital energy links and ports by seeking control over Mariupol.
And with all these things crashing down simultaneously on Barack Obama, the American President is reaching out to the one partner he thinks he can rely upon to implement a financial bomb towards Russia in response to their cracking of the global reserve currency.
Europe.



The U.K. will press European Union leaders to consider blocking Russian access to the SWIFT banking transaction system under an expansion of sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, a British government official said.


“Blocking Russia from the SWIFT system would be a very serious escalation in sanctions against Russia and would most certainly result in equally tough retaliatory actions by Russia,” said Chris Weafer, a senior partner at Moscow-based consulting firm Macro Advisory. “An exclusion from SWIFT would not block major trade deals but would cause problems in cross-border banking and that would disrupt trade flows.” 

Unfortunately for both Europe and the United States, any attempted restrictions on Russia through the use of the international SWIFT system is now relatively short-sighted, and a little late to the party.  Russia has already been anticipating this move by the West for sometime, and this is why they paved the way for trade agreements outside the dollar which negates any potential harm that may come from cutting them off from the dollar and international trade.


The U.S. has had nearly all of their financial weapons de-fanged in the past few months, and all that remains in their arsenal is their strong military.  However, with troops and missions already spread out in Iraq, Syria, the South China Sea, and in and around the Hormuz Straits, fomenting a head to head conflict, or even a much smaller proxy war against Russia and their major ally China, is something both Europe and the U.S. are ill prepared for, despite calls now from France and Britain to usher in World War III due to the coming collapse of their domestic economies.








Russia is “practically in a state of war against Europe,” with the crisis in Ukraine rapidly approaching “the point of no return,” EU leaders warned Saturday night.
At a summit in Brussels, they met to discuss toughened economic sanctions on Moscow, specifically targeting Russia’s finances, oligarchs linked to Vladimir Putin and the country’s vast mineral wealth.
Dalia Grybauskaite, Lithuania’s president and a staunch critic of Mr. Putin, called on the EU to get serious as Russia’s war in the Ukraine menaced peace in Europe for the first time in decades.
“Russia is in a state of war against Ukraine, and that is against a country which wants to be part of Europe. Russia is practically in a state of war against Europe,” she said.
Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, said that the EU was prepared for new sanctions and pleaded with the Russian president to step back from the brink of outright war with Ukraine.
“We are in a very serious – I would say dramatic – situation. We may see a situation where we reach the point of no return. If the escalation of the conflict continues, this point of no return can come,” he said after a meeting with Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s president.










US President Barack Obama will arrive in Europe with his NATO allies anxious to see him send a shot across the Kremlin's bow on Ukraine, after Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Sunday for immediate talks on the "statehood" of southern and eastern parts of the country.
Mr Putin's spokesman later said that this did not mean Moscow now endorsed rebel calls for independence for territory they have seized.
The Kremlin leader's remarks, two days after a public appearance in which he compared the Kiev government with Nazis and warned the West not to "mess with us", came as Europe and the United States prepared possible further sanctions to halt what they say is direct Russian military involvement in the war in Ukraine.


There is a perception in Eastern Europe and in the Baltics that Putin poses not just a threat to Ukraine, but he does actually pose a long-term threat to NATO, because his long-term strategic goal in this view is to undermine the US alliance system in Europe, or to show that it's hollow," said Thomas Wright, of the Brookings Institution.
"The best way of doing that is to show that Article Five is hollow . . . If he can prove that in one instance, he basically discredits Article Five for NATO for as a whole, and he would discredit NATO as a whole."
The US welcomed the EU's decision to prepare more sanctions against Russia and is working closely with the bloc and other partners to "hold Russia accountable for its illegal actions in Ukraine, including through additional economic sanctions," Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said in a statement today.
The administration called on Russia "to immediately" remove its military from Ukraine and end supporting the separatists, according to the statement. Russia denies that it's involved in the fighting in the neighbouring country.








After vehemently pushing to arm extremist militants in Syria, Senator John McCain is now calling on Washington to give weapons to Ukrainian forces that include ultra right-wing neo-nazis.

During an appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation, McCain was asked if the introduction of more weapons to the region would improve or worsen the situation. The Senator responded, “For God’s sake can’t we help these people defend themselves, this is not an incursion this is an invasion,” with McCain adding that Russia had committed an act of war.
“It’s a conflict that requires our participation not through American ground troops but our participation and our help and our leadership and that is what seems to be missing,” asserted McCain, adding, “Give them the weapons they need. Give them the wherewithal they need. Give them the ability to fight.”
Democrat Robert Mendez, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also told CNN, “We should provide the Ukrainians with the type of defensive weapons that will impose a cost upon Putin for further aggression.”
Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, echoed similar sentiments, telling Fox News, “If we don’t provide ‘small and effective’ now, you’re going to get very big and very ugly later.”
Rogers’ “very big and very ugly later” warning is chillingly ironic given that it was the United States’ policy of bolstering extremist radicals in Syria, many of whom defected to ISIS, that led to the rise of the Islamic State.
McCain’s rhetoric about Libya collapsing into a failed state due to lack of prolonged U.S. intervention is also a stunning piece of logical gymnastics given that it was the Obama administration’s policy to fund and arm radical jihadists in Libya in the effort to overthrow Gaddafi that led directly to the country being overtaken by warlords and jihadists, many of whom later crossed into Syria.
McCain’s call to arm Ukrainian forces would see weapons transferred directly into the hands of what Foreign Policy magazine calls the “fascist defenders of freedom,” including the Azov Battalion, an “openly neo-Nazi unit has suddenly found itself defending the city against what Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called a Russian invasion.”
After once being derided as “Kremlin propaganda,” the fact that neo-nazi fighters are openly aligned with and fighting alongside the NATO-backed regime in Kiev is now brazenly admitted.
As the Telegraph reported earlier this month, Kiev is now deliberately working with armed neo-nazi paramilitaries on the front lines of the battle with pro-Russian rebels, men who proudly display SS tattoos on their necks in honor of the feared Waffen SS – the armed wing of Hitler’s Nazi party.
The same fighters who McCain wants to arm to the teeth also march under the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) symbol and proudly espouse white supremacist doctrines while praising Hitler and denying the holocaust.
When the Ukrainian government was asked about their policy of supporting and using neo-nazis in battle, Kiev’s Anton Gerashchenko was unrepentant, commenting, “The most important thing is their spirit and their desire to make Ukraine free and independent.”




Last week, Russia announced an game changing shift for energy in which they are now allowing the sale of oil and natural gas to be done in both Roubles and Yuan, bypassing the dollar and cracking the 40 year old petro-dollar system. And on Aug. 31, Dr. Jim Willie reported during an interview with TFMetals Report that this break away from U.S. hegemony over the purchasing of oil is not being limited to just Russia, but that the foundational country of petro-dollar origin, Saudi Arabia, is in talks with the Eurasian energy giant to join them in a partnership that will also disconnect the Arab Kingdom from the dollar, and open energy sales within the OPEC nations to be done in Roubles, Yuan, and perhaps even the Euro.


The days of the petro-dollar being the sole currency for energy and commodity transactions is quickly coming to a close, and as such, the U.S. is not going to go down without a fight. And the more policies that come out of Washington which threaten the global financial system through economic sanctions and attempted 'red lines' that have far reaching effects for trade and sovereign economies, the faster the world will flee the old system, and more further into Russia and China's camp which is outside the dollar, and dedicated towards a new free trade foundation.



Russia’s foreign minister believes that the peace plan offered by the Ukrainian president is “unrealistic” and calls of the US and the EU to persuade Kiev to stop using heavy artillery and airstrikes against the civilian population in the country’s east.
We assume that the most important thing is for Washington and Brussels to demand Kiev do the same thing they demand in any other conflict: stop using heavy artillery, aviation against the cities, against civilians; not to destroy schools, hospitals,” Sergey Lavrov said on Monday, addressing students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
Moscow hopes that the Monday peace talks in Minsk will primarily be devoted to agreeing on “an immediate unconditional ceasefire” in eastern Ukraine.
Lavrov stressed there would be "no military intervention by Russia into the conflict in Ukraine".
The peace plan offered by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is hardly implementable, according to the Russian Foreign Minister.

They have to sit down and talk, and not insist on unrealistic demands of laying down arms and let
ting themselves be killed. This whole peace plan by Petro Poroshenko is about that,” Lavrov said.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Israel To Expand Settlements In West Bank: U.S., Palestinians Protest




State Seizes 1,000 Acres In West Bank


The state has announced plans to appropriate about 1,000 acres of land in the West Bank, close to the spot where three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped in June, the military said Sunday.
“On the instructions of the political echelon… 4,000 dunams at (the settlement of) Gvaot is declared as state land,” the army department charged with administering civil affairs in occupied territory said, adding that concerned parties have 45 days to appeal.
Critics said the move to expropriate the land near Gvaot in the Gush Etzion region, south of Jerusalem, was “a stab in the back” for the Palestinian leadership.


Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Major-General Yoav Mordechai said that the move comes “as the continuation of the political leadership’s directives given at the end of Operation Brothers’ Keeper.”
The Israeli army declared that there was no claim of Palestinian ownership on the land in question, the Ynet news site reported.
Israel accused Hamas of being behind the June 12 abduction and killing of Naftali Fraenkel, 16, Gil-ad Shaar, 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19. The three were last seen at a hitchhiking post outside the settlement of Alon Shvut in the Etzion Bloc south of Jerusalem.
The abduction sparked Operation Brother’s Keeper, a massive search to locate the teenagers and a crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank, with hundreds arrested. The bodies of the three teens were found near Hebron on June 30, and a number of Israeli hardliners set up unauthorized West Bank outposts in reaction.

The Etzion settlements council welcomed Sunday’s announcement, and said it was the prelude to expansion of the current Gvaot settlement.
It “paves the way for the new city of Gvaot,” a statement said.
“The goal of the murderers of those three youths was to sow fear among us, to disrupt our daily lives and to call into doubt our right to the land,” it said. “Our response is to strengthen settlement.”
Yariv Oppenheimer, the head of dovish group Peace Now, strongly criticized the move and accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of having no real diplomatic plan.
“The expropriation is a stab in the back for [Palestinian leader] Mahmoud Abbas and the moderates in the Palestinian Authority, proving again that violence delivers Israeli concessions while nonviolence results in settlement expansion,” Oppenheimer said. “The Israeli government has once again proven that Netanyahu has no diplomatic horizon.”







The US has called for Israel to cancel its plan to appropriate about 1,000 acres of land in the West Bank, close to the spot where three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped in June.
“We have long made clear our opposition to continued settlement activity,” a US official told Reuters. “ This announcement, like every other settlement announcement Israel makes… is counterproductive to Israel’s stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians.”

“We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision,” the official said in Washington.
Earlier Sunday, The Palestinian Authority decried Israel’s announcement, with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called for diplomatic action against Israel.

“The Israeli government is committing various crimes against the Palestinian people and their occupied land,” he told AFP.
“The international community should hold Israel accountable as soon as possible for its crimes and raids against our people in Gaza and the ongoing Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”
PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said the announcement would cause the situation in the region to deteriorate further, and added that settlements in general are illegal, Israel Radio reported.


The Israeli army declared that there was no claim of Palestinian ownership on the land in question, the Ynet news site reported.











Washington says Israel's decision to assign land in Gush Etzion as state land is “counterproductive”.

The United States on Sunday condemned Israel over its decision to assign about 4,000 dunams (988 acres) of land in Judea and Samaria, mostly in Gush Etzion, as state land.
Officials in Washington quoted by the Reuters news agency said that the U.S. sees Israel’s announcement as “counterproductive” to peace efforts.
“We have long made clear our opposition to continued settlement activity,” a State Department official said.

“This announcement, like every other settlement announcement Israel makes, planning step they approve and construction tender they issue is counterproductive to Israel's stated goal of a negotiated two-state solutionwith the Palestinians,” the official added.
“We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision,” the official said.
Sunday’s decision is one of Israel's responses to the kidnapping and murder of Israeli teens Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel, and Gilad Sha'ar. The three were kidnapped in Gush Etzion and their bodies were found several weeks later in a field near Hevron.







Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a Fatah conference in Ramallah that if Israel did not agree to negotiate over a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, he would join international bodies, including the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Israel Radio reported.

“Is the Palestinian nation so trivial in our eyes?” he asked.

Abbas also repeated his criticism of Hamas for refusing to accept a ceasefire in Gaza, causing the deaths of thousands of Palestinians.

On Friday, the International Criminal Court prosecutor said that Palestine was now eligible to join the Rome Statute and file war crimes charges against Israel.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on August 29 wrote an op-ed in the British newspaper The Guardian to answer charges that the ICC has avoided opening an investigation into alleged war crimes in Gaza due to political pressure.
The Palestinian Authority sought to join the court in May 2009. After three years of research and analysis, the ICC Prosecutor’s Office determined in April 2012 that since Palestine was an “observer entity,” it could not sign on to the Rome Statute.
Several months later, in November 2012, Palestine’s status was upgraded in the United Nations to “non-member observer state,” which gives it legitimacy to join the Rome Statute, Bensouda told The Guardian.
Membership in the ICC would grant Palestine the right to file war crimes against Israel and Israeli figures with the court.
“I have made it clear in no uncertain terms that the office of the prosecutor will execute its mandate, without fear or favor, where jurisdiction is established and will vigorously pursue those — irrespective of status or affiliation — who commit mass crimes that shock the conscience of humanity. My office’s approach to Palestine will be no different if the court’s jurisdiction is ever triggered over the situation,” Bensouda wrote.