NATO's chief on Thursday reported a sizeable Russian military buildup on the border with Ukraine that he said would enable pro-Moscow separatists to launch a new offensive with little warning.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia has substantially stepped up supplies to the rebels, as well as providing them with advanced training and equipment like drones, despite a cease-fire.
Making an accusation of their own, Russian officials said U.S. military instructors were training Ukrainian national guardsmen in urban fighting techniques in the same eastern regions where Ukrainian forces and separatists have been fighting for the past year.
In Washington, the U.S. State Department rejected the Russian claim of U.S. trainers in eastern Ukraine, saying all the activity was in western Ukraine near the border with Poland.
"We've been doing this for about 20 years now," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters, calling the Russian statement "ridiculous."
Stoltenberg said the reported Russian moves undermine the cease-fire declared in eastern Ukraine and violate the Minsk agreements entered into by Moscow. He said more than 1,000 pieces of Russian military equipment have been moved over the past month, including tanks, artillery and air defense units.
Stoltenberg said this "gives reason for great concern" and would enable the separatists to go on the offensive again with little warning.
He said the U.S.-led defense alliance is not certain about the intentions of Moscow and the pro-Russian rebels, "but we are certain about the capabilities."
The claim from Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Gen.-Maj. Igor Konashenkov that U.S. trainers are active in disputed areas of eastern Ukraine came one day after the U.S. State Department accused Russia of deploying air-defense systems in eastern Ukraine and combined Russia-separatist forces of maintaining artillery and rocket launchers in violation of the shaky cease-fire deal.
Konashenkov denied those claims, and said U.S. military instructors are working in the vicinity of the cities of Mariupol, Artemivsk and Volnovakha.
U.S. paratroopers last week arrived in western Ukraine to train national guard units.
The Middle East is facing a burgeoning arms race which in 2015 is expected to include weapons purchases totaling $18 billion, the Guardian reported Thursday.
According to the report, based on data gathered and published by IHS Jane’s and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Western nations are selling an increasing amount of weaponry to the region’s top military buyers, which include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Algeria.
The arms sold include various aircraft, missiles and armored vehicles.
As the West says it seeks to foster peace and stability in the region, the report notes, it is increasingly providing the Middle East’s major players with more and more tools with which to make war.
Nations such as the US, France, Canada and the UK are pursuing such arms exports due to a combination of foreign interests — supporting Saudi Arabia’s campaign in Yemen, supporting the coalition against Islamic State — and internal economic interests. But analysts warn that the flood of weapons could have unforeseen consequences.
“(The) Saudi-led military operations in Yemen (are) the latest manifestation of Arab interventionism, a trend that has been gaining momentum in the Middle East since the uprisings of the Arab spring,” Tobias Borck, an analyst at the UK’s Royal United Services Institute told the Guardian. “Middle Eastern countries appear to be increasingly willing to use their armed forces to protect and pursue their interests in crisis zones across the region.”
Undisclosed Cash Flowed To Clinton Foundation As Russians Pressed To Control One Fifth Of U.S. Uranium
The headline in Pravda trumpeted President Vladimir Putin’s latest coup, its nationalistic fervor recalling an era when the newspaper served as the official mouthpiece of the Kremlin: “Russian Nuclear Energy Conquers the World.”
The article, in January 2013, detailed how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.
But the untold story behind that story is one that involves not just the Russian president, but also a former U.S. president and a woman who would like to be the next one.
At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.
Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of U.S. government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Hillary Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.
And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
At the time, both Rosatom and the U.S. government made promises intended to ease concerns about ceding control of the company’s assets to the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show.
The New York Times’ examination of the Uranium One deal is based on dozens of interviews, as well as a review of public records and securities filings in Canada, Russia and the United States. Some of the connections between Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation were unearthed by Peter Schweizer, a former fellow at the right-leaning Hoover Institution and author of the forthcoming book “Clinton Cash.” Schweitzer provided a preview of material in the book to The Times, which scrutinized his information and built upon it with its own reporting.
Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown. But the episode underscores the special ethical challenges presented by the Clinton Foundation, headed by a former president who relied heavily on foreign cash to accumulate $250 million in assets even as his wife helped steer U.S. foreign policy as secretary of state, presiding over decisions with the potential to benefit the foundation’s donors.
U.S. political campaigns are barred from accepting foreign donations.
Either way, the Uranium One deal highlights the limits of such prohibitions. The foundation will continue to accept contributions from foreign individuals and businesses whose interests, like Uranium One’s, may overlap with those of foreign governments, some of which may be at odds with the United States.
Uranium. Much in the news these days. Who has it? Who wants it? Who do we not want to have it?
Uranium. You may recall that it was listed, down toward the bottom, on that funny looking "Periodic Chart of the Elements" on the wall in your high school chemistry class. (It was so long ago when I went to high school, the chart in my chemistry class only had three items -- water, rocks, and dirt!)
Anyway, Iran wants some. We don't want them to have any, and, by golly, on June 30, we are going to tell them so! But in the meantime, the issue has become more complicated. As usual, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin is involved.
This week, the New York Times revealed that leaders of the US-Canadian mining industry, major donors to the Clinton Foundation, sold to the Russians a company known as , giving the Russians control of one fifth of all the uranium mined in the US. A headline in Pravda boasted, "Russian Nuclear Energy Conquers the World."
Not too surprisingly, to expedite the deal, chairman made four donations to the Clinton Foundation totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had with the Obama White House to publicly identify all Clinton Foundation donors. In addition, shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank that was promoting stock.
But all that was peanuts compared to the donation just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized when the Clinton Foundation received another windfall: a $31.3 milliondonation from shareholder, Frank Giustra—a gift that had remained secret until just last month. And Mr. Giustra has more recently pledged an additional $100 million. So important is Mr. Giustra to the Clinton Foundation that a separate financial entity, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, has been established.
Maybe now we can better understand why presidential candidate Clinton has announced that the Clinton Foundation would continue to receive foreign donations during her candidacy, and–if elected—probably through her presidency, as well!
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.
And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown. But the episode underscores the special ethical challenges presented by the Clinton Foundation, headed by a former president who relied heavily on foreign cash to accumulate $250 million in assets even as his wife helped steer American foreign policy as secretary of state, presiding over decisions with the potential to benefit the foundation’s donors.
From the New York Times article: Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation as Russians Pressed for Control of Uranium Company
If you looked at the U.S. economy under a microscope, what you’d see is a gigantic cancerous blob of cronyism surrounded by tech startups and huge prisons. If you zeroed in on the cancerous tumor, at the nucleus you’d see a network of crony institutions like the Federal Reserve, intelligence agencies, TBTF Wall Street banks and defense contractors. Pretty close to that, you’d probably find the Clinton Foundation. A veritable clearinghouse for cronyism masquerading as a charity.
This year has seen a great deal of investigative work on the shadiness of the Clinton Foundation, much of which has been highlighted here at Liberty Blitzkrieg. Here’s the tally so far:
Hillary Clinton Exposed Part 1 – How She Aggressively Lobbied for Mega Corporations as Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton Exposed Part 2 – Clinton Foundation Took Millions From Countries That Also Fund ISIS
Clinton Foundation’s Deep Financial Ties to Ukrainian Oligarch Who Pushed for Closer Ties to EU Revealed
This is How Hillary Does Business – An Oil Company, Human Rights Abuses in Colombia and the Clinton Foundation
Somehow the New York Times failed to mention the Ukrainian coup. I won’t hold my breath for a correction.
The path to a Russian acquisition of American uranium deposits began in 2005 in Kazakhstan, where the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra orchestrated his first big uranium deal, with Mr. Clinton at his side.
Here’s Frankie boy again.
The two men had flown aboard Mr. Giustra’s private jet to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where they dined with the authoritarian president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev.
Mr. Clinton handed the Kazakh president a propaganda coup when he expressed support for Mr. Nazarbayev’s bid to head an international elections monitoring group, undercutting American foreign policy and criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, his wife, then a senator.
Naturally, now that the Clintons have been caught, they are going to refile five years of taxes ahead of the release of Mr. Schweizer’s book. Standard operating procedure.
The Clinton campaign left it to the foundation to reply to questions about the Fernwood donations; the foundation did not provide a response.Mr. Telfer’s undisclosed donations came in addition to between $1.3 million and $5.6 million in contributions, which were reported, from a constellation of people with ties to Uranium One or UrAsia, the company that originally acquired Uranium One’s most valuable asset: the Kazakhstan mines. Without those assets, the Russians would have had no interest in the deal: “It wasn’t the goal to buy the Wyoming mines. The goal was to acquire the Kazakh assets, which are very good,” Mr. Novikov, the Rosatom spokesman, said in an interview.Amid this influx of Uranium One-connected money, Mr. Clinton was invited to speak in Moscow in June 2010, the same month Rosatom struck its deal for a majority stake in Uranium One.The $500,000 fee — among Mr. Clinton’s highest — was paid by Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin that has invited world leaders, including Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, to speak at its annual investor conference.
The use of Israeli military force against Iran’s nuclear facilities would be an act of “last resort,” Israel’s air force commander said Thursday, but part of his role is to ensure that the air force has “the genuine capacity to get the job done” if ordered to do so.
Major-General Amir Eshel, in his first television interview in the three years since he took command of the Israeli Air Force, told Israel’s Channel 10 news Thursday that an Iran with a nuclear capability “would have grave significance for the whole Middle East, not just for Israel.”
Asked why the air force had not been ordered to strike at Iran in the way that it destroyed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osiraq in 1981 and, according to foreign reports, a Syrian reactor in 2007, Eshel said that Israel “has a range of tools” for grappling with threats. “The solution is through the use of a combination of these tools.”
The TV report, which was cleared for broadcast by Israel’s military censors, said that Israel has invested “immense resources” in preparing for a possible strike on Iran. “The Israeli Air Force has been building the capacity to attack Iran for more than a decade,” it said.
Speaking of the Russian-made S-300 air defense system, which Moscow has indicated it may supply to Iran, and which Israel has said it also fears could find its way to Syria, Eshel said its deployment would present “a significant challenge” but one that the Israeli air force could meet. “The S-300 is a very sophisticated system,” he said. “It uses long-range missiles with very impressive capabilities. But there is no challenge that cannot be cracked. It’s not a wall that blocks you and you cannot clear.” He said the air force had been “developing our capabilities — our technology and methodology” for some time to meet the challenge.
The TV report filmed Eshel in the course of a drill, preparing for a “war situation” in which the air force could carry out thousands of missile strikes per day. Eshel said the force has more than trebled some of its offensive capabilities.
The TV crew was also allowed to film in the control room of the Eitan unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, which he said could operate “in any area you can imagine” and which is reported to be be capable of reaching Iran.