Archive | February 27th, 2016

Scotland’s Anti-Colonial Struggle

NOVANEWS
By Craig Murray 

I have a meeting today in London with the Ambassadors of Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Ecuador to brief them on Scotland’s continuing struggle for Independence. These nations have been at the forefront of the international movement against colonialism, and know all about the sharp end of neo-Imperialism and the evil-doing of the CIA and other western security agencies.

The test of the Independence of a state is nothing to do with domestic or regional government, or even with bilateral arrangements with the state from which it secedes. The test of Independence is, purely and simply, whether or not you are recognised by other states as independent. That is the very clear cut position in international law. For this reason, it is essential that Scotland reaches out, not just within the EU but to the entire international community. Ultimately we need these people to vote and lobby for us in the United Nations and other international institutions.

Frankly, the SNP is rubbish at this. I am doing this meeting because the hierarchy of the SNP spurned the approach from the Ambassadors, as previously detailed on this blog. This reluctance seems part of the hierarchy’s effort to be NATO friendly and thus CIA friendly. The Ambassadors would far rather be meeting with an official SNP representative than a nobody like me. Unfortunately the SNP won’t do it. That is a disgrace.

I can increasingly foresee, as Westminster governments move ever further to the right and encroach more and more on civil liberties, a situation arising where Scotland wishes to claim its independence without the consent of Westminster. In that situation, we will need all the international support we can get, just as the Palestinians have been making headway in UN institutions. Work needs to be put now into laying the foundations for that support. Personally I would characterise Scottish Independence as an anti-colonial struggle; use of Scots as British cannon fodder and integration of the Scots elite into the Metropolitan elite does not make Scotland any less a colony. Rome had an African Emperor, but still her African possessions were colonies.

But even for those who do not accept that analysis, there is no doubt that Scottish Independence would have a highly beneficial impact on the global balance of power. The weakening of the USA’s most powerful sidekick; the lessening of the UK’s ability to participate in illegal neo-imperial invasions and to host weapons of mass destruction; the re-opening of the question of the undemocratic Security Council structure at the UN.

Then there is also the positive role Scotland can play as a major contributor to UN Peacekeeping Forces, and a voice for sanity, reason, human rights and the pre-eminence of international law. An independent Scotland as a state party will be able to request the International Criminal Court to lay war crime charges against Blair and Straw for the illegal invasion of Iraq, which would be a powerful deterrent to future aggressive war.

I am but one man and a private individual. Everything I can do, I shall.

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Combating BDS Act of 2016

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Congress Moves against BDS

By Lawrence Davidson

It was bound to happen – an attempt by the U.S. Congress to sanction the attacks on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement already taking place in some states and municipalities. The strategy is to legitimize an increasingly standard approach to undermining the boycott of Israel, an approach wherein the investment of any state funds, including pension funds, in any business or organization that boycotts the Zionist state is forbidden.

Bipartisan pairs of senators – Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) – and Congressional Representatives – Robert Dold (R-IL) and Juan Vargas (D-CA) – introduced into both houses the “Combating BDS Act of 2016” (S.2531 and H.R.4514). We can be sure that all four of them are doing this at the coordinated behest of Zionist special interests to which they are financially tied. In other words, acting in their official capacity, their behavior on things that touch on Israel-Palestine is a payback for money and other forms of assistance offered by the Zionists to facilitate the politicians’ elections and reelections. Sadly, this is the way the U.S. campaign system works. Unless you are very wealthy, you are constantly scrounging for money. Under such circumstances one’s pathway to success is made easier if you don’t know the difference between ethics and your elbow.

Our four sponsors of the “Combating BDS Act” would, of course, deny any such tainted motives. Rather, they would insist that theirs is an effort to weigh in against anti-Semitism and defend the integrity the “only democracy in the Middle East.” If they really believe this is so, the kindest thing that can be said for these legislators is that they are profoundly ignorant about Israel and its true character. It is also possible that they know the truth about their patron, but really don’t care. It is all about the money.

Intimations of the Real Israel

For instance, are Senators Kirk and Manchin and Representatives Dold and Vargas aware that the Israeli legislature, the Knesset, recently voted down a bill to include the principle of equality among citizens in the wording of the country’s “Basic Law” on Human Dignity and Liberty? Basic Laws stand in for a constitution in Israel. The bill was introduced by one of the few Arab-Israeli MKs (members of the Knesset) , Jamal Zahalka, who noted that “All constitutions in modern countries begin with stressing the principle of equality amongst their citizens.” That did not matter to a majority of the Knesset who, following inherently discriminatory Zionist ideals, do not believe in equality between Jewish and non-Jewish citizens. Yet to Israel’s supporters in Washington the Zionist state remains a “democracy” much like the United States. Such an unquestioning assumption, so wide of the mark, displays a level of closed-mindedness that ought to require intensive remedial critical-thinking training before allowing someone to stand for office.

Are Senators Kirk and Manchin and Representatives Dold and Vargas aware that the Knesset “Ethics Committee” has suspended three Arab-Israeli MKs, including Mr. Zahalka, from participating in legislative sessions because they met with families whose members had been killed while violently resisting Israeli occupation? The aim of the meeting was to assist the families in recovering from Israeli authorities the bodies of their slain relatives. The Israelis refuse to recognize the truism that the violence of the oppressed will eventually reach the level of the violence of the oppressor. Instead, any violent blowback occurring in response to their own violence is conveniently characterized as “terrorism.”

In order for the action of the Arab MKs to make sense to most Israeli Jews and their Zionist supporters abroad, there has to be recognition of the historically established fact that the occupation of Palestinian land is real. This the Zionists will not do, and apparently, part of their deal with the U.S. politicians in Congress is that they too must echo that same denial.

Are Senators Kirk and Manchin and Representatives Dold and Vargas aware that the respected human rights organization Amnesty International has recently released a report accusing Israeli forces of using “intentional lethal force” against Palestinians in situations where such force was “completely unjustified”? Amnesty spokesman Philip Luther asserted that the Israelis had “ripped up the rulebook” by “flouting international standards” when it came to the use of force. For the politicians in Washington who have made their pact with the Zionists, such behavior, if noted at all, is rationalized as self-defense on the part of the Israelis. However, suppression of resistance to illegal occupation cannot not be judged self-defense either legally or logically. Who in Congress is aware of the Fourth Geneva Convention?

There are many other practices and policies of the State of Israel that must be ignored (including Israel’s support of al-Qaeda in Syria) if Senators Kirk and Manchin and Representatives Dold and Vargas are to carry on with clear consciences. But this might be based on a false assumption that these politicians have a conscience to which they pay attention. After all, our system of politics, which all but demands submission to special interests, may well select for amoral personalities.

Ignoring the Question of Constitutionality

The apparent indifference of Senators Kirk and Manchin and Representatives Dold and Vargas goes beyond Israel’s flouting of international law. It carries over to these politicians’ own disregard for the U.S. Constitution, which each gentleman has sworn to uphold.

Ever since the early 1980s the Supreme Court has regarded domestically initiated boycotts as a legitimate form of political speech. There is little excuse for our four defenders of Israel not to know this. And what are we to say of them if they do in fact know? Only that they, like their patrons, are willing to “rip up the rulebook.” They are willing to act as if what is unconstitutional is, after all, acceptable when it protects the interests of a foreign rogue state on whose payroll they happen to be. Just how long can they get away with this? Is the answer really just as long as the Zionist money keeps coming?

Congressmen and senators tied to Zionist special interests will eventually have to rethink these alliances. Their connection with a state that has no compunction about violating international law has led them to become accomplices in the undermining of U.S. law. Thus, the actions of politicians such Kirk, Manchin, Dold and Vargas act as a barometer indicating the degree to which under-regulated special interests have corrupted the U.S. government. Those involved are walking a path that can lead only to on-going ethical decline and policy failures.

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“The connections between the United States and Daesh are there for all to see”

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Brandon Turbeville: “The connections between the United States and Daesh are there for all to see”

Interview by Mohsen Abdelmoumen 

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: Do you think that the agreement on a ceasefire in Syria that the US has got to Russia is not intended to give a new breath the terrorist groups to enable them to reorganize, but also to erase the traces of links between the United States and Daesh? Some information from various intelligence sources reveal that Daesh elements were exfiltrated further to Russian bombardments, what do you think?

Brandon Turbeville: I think the major reason behind the ceasefire was an attempt on the part of the Western powers, particularly the United States, to buy time for the terrorists in Syria who are now on the run because of the Russian assistance being provided to the SAA. The connections between the United States and Daesh are there for all to see – from the “ineffective” bombing campaign, the links between virtually all other groups fighting against the Syrian government to al-Qaeda and Daesh, and the leaked DIA documents that revealed the creation of a “Salafist principality” was actually the desire of the U.S. and its allies. So simply eliminating specific elements of the terrorist groups would not necessarily erase the clear connections between the United States and Daesh. Remember, Daesh is merely the progression of a series of name changes made by al-Qaeda and al-Nusra, not some mystery army that appeared in the middle of the desert without warning. It is true enough that allowing groups designated as ISIS proper to be eradicated might satisfy the curiosity of some but it would also eliminate the justification for direct American involvement in Syria also and it is not likely that the NATO powers want to see that happen. Also remember, this is a pattern we have seen since the Syrian military began launching a series of successful counter-offensives a few years ago and even more so since the Russian involvement. By this I mean that, whenever the terrorists (call them what you will – “ISIS,” “Nusra,” or “moderate rebels,”) begin to gain ground, the Western powers scream for Assad to step down. Then, there is no negotiation. But, when the Syrian military gains ground, we hear incessant calls for “peace” and “ceasefires.”

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: How you explain the commitment in Syria of the Saudi army which is massacring in all impunity in Yemen in full sight of the planet. Don’t you think that Saudi Arabia sends reinforcement to Daesh?

Of course Saudi Arabia sends reinforcements to Daesh! Saudi Arabia has been one of the main financial backers of the group long before it was named “ISIS” in the Western media. Saudi Arabia has long been known as a major financial backer, supporter, and commander of terrorism. As far as their commitment to Syria, I would suggest that any direct Saudi or, for that matter, Qatari forces inside Syria are no more than decoys and proxy deterrents for the Russians and Syrians. The whole world has seen that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are paper tigers when it comes to military force. Neither country would stand a chance against any opponent in the Syrian theatre. But they can function as a state actor on the ground that would justify greater NATO involvement if bombed by the Russians or the Syrians. The Gulf forces would thus be much more than mere reinforcements for ISIS and other related terror organizations. They would be “untouchables” committing acts of war against Syria, supporting terrorists, and daring the Russians or Syrians to hit them with the possible repercussions being an American or NATO military response.

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: You mentioned 36 reasons why Hillary Clinton should not be president. No more than 36? How do you explain the mediocrity of the presidential debates?

There were many more than 36 but, at some point, a book has to come to an end if it is to be released before the primary elections which was the goal. By far, Hillary Clinton is the most odious Presidential candidate in the race. Her ties to Wall Street, Foundations, NGOs, oligarchs, and treacherous think tanks are too numerous to mention. Her support for every single war since she was first lady, her assault on Constitutional rights, and her numerous scandals should disqualify her from being legitimately considered as a candidate for President.

I think the candidates appear mediocre because every single one of them represents the continuation of the present system. For instance, can you name one who does not support war in some form? Can you name one that has a modicum of respect for Constitutional rights? You can’t! Even the more seemingly radical candidates like Sanders and Trump are supportive of “safe zones” in Syria, essentially direct military invasion. Both are selective in their support for Constitutional rights with Trump demonstrating a willingness to clamp down on the First Amendment and Sanders willing to crack down on the Second.

It is also important to note that the Establishment here in the United States appears to favor Hillary Clinton as its figurehead. Thus, we see a major push by the American oligarchs to install her as President. Hence, we see the air of inevitability given her by the Republicans and mainstream media, Sanders’ weakness when debating and campaigning against her, and the possibility that Republican candidates like Donald Trump are actually working with her on the Republican side of the field.

Essentially, the candidates are mediocre because American political discourse is mediocre. The oligarchs in the United States have made sure that truly original ideas or those that do not reflect the position of the oligarchy never make it through in a political debate.

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: There was the show of the COP 21 where the major powers have said that it was a success and that the agreements would be respected. Do you think that with a carnivorous capitalism and a criminal imperialism, it is possible to lead to any agreement for environment?

I don’t see the COP 21 meeting as positive in any way. Particularly because the solutions to environmental degradation are based upon the idea of Anthropogenic Man-Made CO2-based Global Warming and amount to nothing more than genocidal austerity measures that drastically reduce the living standards of the First World and condemn the Third World to remain in its current conditions. The tragedy is that it does not have to be this way. The world’s people are very much able to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to higher living standards, development, and a clean environment. However, an obsession with faulty “climate science” that blames CO2 for everything under the sun and a world corporatist system that would sooner eliminate every tree from the planet if it meant increasing profits are combining to provide the worst of both worlds – austerity and corporate feudalism.

My suggestion to people of good will is to abandon the CO2 alarmism and focus on real world solutions to real world problems like deforestation, fracking, radioactive contamination, genetically modified crops, and the like. Ending imperialist wars would also go great lengths to providing an opportunity to tackle environmental issues. Focusing on true environmentally friendly development and the repair of damage already done should be the focus of the world community. Money is already available for this from any nation that has the courage to nationalize its central bank and use credit stimulus for the purpose of research and implementation.

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: About the Zika virus, one speaks of a great manipulation which serves the interests of industrial groups and various lobbies. What is your opinion?

Zika Virus represents a potential world health emergency but it also represents the possibility that certain lobbies – medical, pharmaceutical, vaccine, and many others – are attempting to generate panic for increased profits. It is also possible that certain elements within the ruling elite are helping push the concern over Zika for the purpose of distraction or even the eventuality where many societies may see a government crackdown on their civil liberties under the guise of a public health emergency. Remember, only months ago, Ebola was touted as the disease that would kill us all. We saw preparations for vaccines, quarantines, and virtual martial law. In February, 2016, few Americans even remember the Ebola scare.

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: What is your assessment of both Obama mandates, and is he free from the arguments of the neocons?

Obama was rushed to office in 2008 in what could almost be deemed a color revolution. There were certainly elements of a well-funded personality cult. 2012 seemed to represent more of a fear of Romney on the part of the electorate than support for Obama, who, for some, still retains his personality cult superstardom. I would be careful of calling it a mandate, however.

As for the neocons, Obama is no different than a neocon. His policies are essentially the same as George W. Bush and one could scarcely point to one that is different. Only in implementation are differences visible. For instance, Bush’s years were marked with direct military invasion while Obama’s involved “humanitarian bombing” and proxy forces but the overarching agenda of imperialism continued. The crackdown on domestic civil liberties has continued at an increasing speed. Neocons themselves are still visible in the Obama cabinet. All this is a demonstration of the fact that the office of the President has become a mere puppet post, where a dominant elite changes figureheads every four to eight years. The agenda of that elite simply moves forward under a different brand. Mark my words, regardless of who is elected, 2016-2020 will be no different.

Interview realized by Mohsen Abdelmoumen

——————–

 

Who is Brandon Turbeville?

Brandon Turbeville is an author and a writer who resides in Florence, South Carolina.  He is – article archive here – the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2,The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria,and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Brandon joined Anti-Media’s team as an independent journalist in July of 2014. He has written over 700 articles dealing with the Middle East, Geopolitics, Syria, Economics, Health, government corruption, and Civil Liberties. Turbeville has been interviewed by a number of media outlets in the alternative media as well as the independent and mainstream. He has been interviewed by PRESS TV, al-Etejah, FOX, ITAR-TASS, LPR, and Sputnik International. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.

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FATWA: BOYCOTT NAZI GOOD ‘1’

Imam Syed Ali Khamenei
(Islamic Republic of Iran)

“The purchase of any item which helps strengthen Zionism is not permissible …”

 

The following Fatwas are from www.khamenei.de:

Fatwa No 12798 ( 15th May.2001 )

Regarding the purchase of Zionist goods:

The purchase of any item which helps strengthen Zionism is not permissible unless it reaches the point of necessity.

 

Fatwa 8822 (from Leaders Office, Qum, Iran)

Date: 27 Feb 2002

Question:
1) Is it permissible to buy products from the United States of America or american products?

2) Is it permissible to buy goods from companies that allocate parts of their profits to support USA or support USA?

3) Is it permissible to buy goods from companies that spread immorality (unislamic atmosphere) and support immorality (unislamic atmosphere)?

Answer:
1&2) Any transaction with a company which ist profit is for helping the enemies of Islam and Muslims or for supporting the Zionism regime is not permissible.

3) If buying goods from these companies would support them and assist them in spreading corruption and immorality, it is impermissible.

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FATWA: BOYCOTT NAZI GOOD ‘2’

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Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadhlullah

 

“The least effort we could make … is to boycott all those who support the enemy … We should boycott American goods whenever possible, and you should boycott all Israeli goods as well as all the companies that help Israeli companies financially”

 

In the name of Allah the Compassionate the Merciful

Ramadan 2 1421H /November 28, 2000 CE

In his fatwa to all the Muslims of the world, Sayyid Mohammad Husayn Fadlallah calls for a boycott of all Israeli & American companies.

Allah The Most Exalted has ordained that every Muslim should care about the affairs of all other Muslims and defend their causes by all possible means in order to preserve their strength and dignity. The Prophet Mohammad (P) says:

“Whosoever does not care about Muslims’ affairs is not a Muslim”

Thus Islam is an intellectual, emotional and practical state in the Muslim’s personality that interacts with Muslims’ affairs at all levels and therefore we cannot be indifferent to their causes. The Prophet (P) also said:

“Whosoever hears Muslims calling for help without answering that call is not a Muslim.”

And this implies that answering a Muslims’ calls for help, either as an individual or as a community, is an integral part of Islam, an Islam that would be lost to any Muslim who did not answer such a call.

The Prophet Mohammad (P) also said:

“Whoever sees a wrong he should change it with his hand but if he can’t with his tongue and if he can’t then in his heart which is the weakest sign of faith.”

You all know what happened to our brothers in Palestine. Their lands were occupied, they were thrown out of their country, their women, children and elderly were killed, their homes were destroyed and bombed and the Aqsa Mosque has been profaned and there are plans to destroy it. They are fighting the enemy and confronting it with nothing but their bare flesh, stones and light arms. They are defending themselves, their families, their livelihood, their land and their independence and they have been crying out for international protection and support from the Muslim states and peoples to no avail. Some of these states that reconciled with the enemy did not even decide to boycott the enemy politically or even to withdraw their ambassadors. They found it sufficient to join the Organization of the Islamic Conference in its condemnation and protest with no political consequences. They are all afraid of America who supports the enemy with all its political, military and economic might. They even prevent the Security Council and all the states under their influence from condemning the brutal crimes of Israel.

The least effort we could make in order to defend Muslims against the political, economic and military wrongs and aggression is to boycott all those who support the enemy and who maintain its expansion and strength. Especially the United States of America which is the biggest enemy of all Muslims. We should boycott American goods whenever possible and you should boycott all Israeli goods as well as all the companies that help Israeli companies financially. You should also put pressure on your governments to stop putting funds into American banks, as they will be used to support Israel. All Muslims remember Allah saying:

“Your nation is but one”

And also saying:

“All believers are brothers”

In addition the Prophet (P) said:

“A Muslim is the brother of his fellow Muslims. He does not wrong him, surrender him (to the enemy) or let him down”.

Allah The Most Exalted wants you to be dignified strong and free and this cannot be achieved other than by taking a free and strong stand that emphasizes the unity of the nation and its effectiveness in all its great causes through a Jihad at all levels by sacrificing one’s life, one’s work, one effort or at the very least one’s material comfort.

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ISRAELI CHILDREN ARE A BUSINESS – TV REPORT SHOWS WELFARE ABUSE

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ISRAELI CHILDREN ARE A BUSINESS - TV REPORT SHOWS WELFARE ABUSE
Israeli Children are being taken from their homes at a profit to private institutions – a damning report shows how children have become big business.

Activists who protest, blog and write about the Welfare Ministry have faced investigations, arrests and prosecutions. They are a small voice screaming loudly that the children of Israel are in danger – from their OWN government.

This week the topic finally made mainstream news, with an article published on Channel 10 in prime time. The reporters also faced similar reactions as activists from one such institution. The officials threatened to call the police, despite the fact filming was taking place in a public area. They made a complaint and refused even to listen to the reporter.

In the article, one young woman returns from Turkey to face her past and visit the institution she spent time in against her will. She is one of thousands who were wrenched from parents – a staggering 10,000 a year.

As lawyers continue to fight, experts in the field such as Yossi Silman, ex CEO of the welfare admits huge mistakes are being made. One example given is the emergency centres. These are places children are taken to when first removed from home. The law states children cannot be held more than 3 months, yet Mr. Silman admits that over 60% are held much longer, and after 3 months the damage is already done to the child. What is widely known is in divorce, the children can be used as pawns, with the outcome of a child eventually being stolen by the social workers. In the emergency centre, drugs are administered to children as young as 3 without parental consent.

It is difficult to believe that a welfare ministry can so callously remove children against the will of both the child and the parents. To give a reason of the child in danger is a nonsense if only one or two children are taken away from a family, or only one child is left with the parent as happens regularly. If a parent is so dangerous, it would make more sense to remove all children from the home immediately. Not so. Parents are controlled by the threat of losing their kids one by one. They are also allowed to have home visits, often unsupervised, once a child gets into the system. The children have become a business, and are a profit centre for the private institutions.

It is well known the social workers can take a child merely on hearsay, and not evidence. Despite the protestations, it is also known that judges rubber stamp the papers from social workers so a child can be removed without due checking and process.

In the show, one psychiatrist discusses how reports are ignored and children are not returned to parents, against the professional views. Currently one mother has been camped on the street in Jerusalem campaigning for the return of her own son, with evidence of a false psychiatric report made. The psychiatrist in question never met the child, yet signed off on a report for the social workers. It works both ways, but the children lose every time.

The programme only touched the tip of the iceberg. Helping families in financial need is not on the list of priorities. Taking the children away from needy families is the goal.

Many articles have been written and evidence is overwhelming that the Welfare Ministry needs reform. Since privatisation, abuse is rampant – of the young and the old.

So why are people not marching in the streets demanding the return of their children? Why do they passively accept such abuse?

The welfare works in a systematic way and has the police working in co operation with them, not the other way around. People are afraid. The Revaha (welfare in Hebrew) wields massive powers. There are no independent ombudsmen for the people to approach; public officials cannot be investigated or challenged. The insidious way they work means a parent becomes paralysed by events and has no due process to work with. There is often no pattern to how children are removed. Sometimes it is from a rumour, perhaps a disgruntled ex or neighbour. Other times it is known that a family are ‘marked’ and become the lifetime target of social workers.

Protests of more than 3 people require police permission. Any application to protest against the Revaha is likely to be refused.

The practices of the social workers goes against all the requirements by the UNCRC of the right of the child. The lack of reasoning in the social workers separating children from siblings on the grounds of unproven risks is a tragedy in Israeli society.

The Welfare Ministry do not have measures to help families who may suffer financial hardship – the first option is to remove children causing untold damage. With poverty at almost 40% in Israel, it is no surprise that the ex CEO claims one third of a million children are at risk. But, signing a ”needy” warrant to get help really means the children can be taken by the State. It is no wonder people do not consider the welfare a safe place to turn.

But, the world remains silent, and funding is channelled into keeping the profits rolling in. Where is the help going to come from? Until the social media activism gets fully into the mainstream, thousands of families are heading for destruction and permanent ruin. People are turning to the UN for help, but unfortunately there are no signed treaties by Israel giving them an avenue, so instead they are preparing lawsuits to file in the USA.

It can happen to anyone in Israel – rich or poor. The main targets are the poorer, who have it hard enough. Their love is not any less valuable to their children than the rich. Sometimes, it is their children who keep them going. Suicide rates can be reduced if there are reforms and real help provided to families who are struggling to survive and fear the very organisation they should be turning to for support.

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Naziyahu demands anti-Nazi posters be removed from London Underground

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President Reuven Rivlin (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) cast as Nazis by an online user (YouTube screenshot)

Naziyahu of I$raHell

Benjamin Naziyahu has reportedly asked the UK government to have hundreds of posters protesting Israeli occupation of Palestine removed from the Tube.

Zionist Haaretz newspaper reported Tuesday that the ‘Israeli’ prime minister himself had asked that the posters, which may have been posted in their hundreds, be removed.

The posters appeared on Sunday as part of a mass fly-posting effort to mark the annual Nazi Apartheid Week.

The posters on the London Underground trains hit out at a number of targets, including controversial UK private military firm G4S, which is involved in the running of Nazi prisons.

Transport for London (TfL) said that the posters would be taken down.

“It is flyposting and therefore an act of vandalism, which we take extremely seriously,” A TfL spokesman told the Evening Standard.

“Our staff and contractors are working to immediately remove any found on our network,” the spokesman added.

Some Jewish community groups said that the posters amounted to “smears” against ‘Israel’.

“These posters are awful smears that do nothing to contribute to peace and dialogue, placing significant strains on inter-community relations across London,” a London Nazi Jewish Forum spokesman told Haaretz.

“They are an act of vandalism, seeking to undermine the UK’s relationship with Israel and designed to foster discomfort. We welcome Transport for London’s commitment to quickly remove them.”

The posters were reported Monday as the Palestinian envoy to the UK Manuel Hassassian told the Independent newspaper that the decision to invite Israeli parliament speaker Yuli Edelstein to address an event held in the UK Parliament risked legitimizing Israeli expansionism, given Edelstein’s background.

“Mr Edelstein lives on an illegal Israeli settlement built on Palestinian land and he publicly opposes Palestinian statehood,” Hassassian said.

Edelstein is due to address the British Group Inter-Parliamentary Union in March.

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Obama admits US-ISIS terror link

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Image result for OBAMA CARTOON
By Finian Cunningham

Call it a Freudian slip, but US President Barack Obama appears to have come clean, for once, on the connection between American foreign policy and the so called Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.

In an address earlier this week to the leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), gathered in California, Obama was answering questions from news reporters on various international topics. On the matter of terrorist groups expanding their foothold in Libya, the president said the following: “With respect to Libya… we will go after ISIS wherever it appears, the same way we went after al Qaeda wherever they appeared.”

In casual parlance the phrase “go after” can mean “to destroy”. But the more literal meaning and perhaps the one that Obama inadvertently let slip is simply “to follow”–as in a partnered way.

In that case, what Obama is referring to is the actual foreign policy function of ISIS and its related al Qaeda terror network. Wherever these groups appear, then Washington appoints itself to follow them under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

This pretext works very efficiently to nullify problems of international law. When the US sends its military into a foreign country to ostensibly combat terrorism then it is untrammeled by legal objections that it is violating other countries’ sovereignty. What would normally be seen as a gross violation –a military invasion by the US –is neatly transformed into an “anti-terror”operation. And if the incumbent foreign government complains about the “benevolent US assistance” then it can be toppled because it is “siding with the terrorists”.

This is, of course, the whole rationale behind the so-called War on Terror that Washington crafted in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Just uttering the phrase War on Terror gives Washington license to invade and ransack any foreign state it chooses, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, where more than one million people were killed by US forces “hunting down terrorists”.

Before that, the official pretexts were “War on Communism”or “War on Drugs”. But with the collapse of the “Evil Soviet Empire”, the first of these pretexts became redundant. Although, Washington and its NATO allies are trying their best to revive the “Russian Scare” by demonizing Vladimir Putin as the “new Hitler in Europe”. As for the War on Drugs, it didn’t quite have the required kick to pump up the Pentagon’s $600 billion annual budget, or to enthuse the American public, many of whom rather enjoy drugs anyway.

But the War on Terror, now that is, or at least was, a satisfying wheeze. It also has the added benefit of allowing federal authorities to crack down on civil rights and make all sorts of invasive controls over individual liberty, as in the latest controversy of the FBI demanding that Apple give them a digital key for unlocking phones and computers.

The primary function, however, remains: the terror groups, whether they go by the name of al Qaeda or ISIS, give Washington the convenient cover to militarily invade any country on the globe. The real agenda being regime change or commandeering the natural resources of the target country for the gratification of Wall Street banks and other American corporations –in the exact same scam that pertained in the old days of Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, who later confessed to being a henchman on behalf of US capitalism, by overthrowing governments in Central America and the Caribbean during the early 1900s.

Admittedly, sometimes the terrorists do get whacked by the Pentagon. No doubt about it that Obama and his generals have killed numerous al Qaeda-linked operatives with assassination drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Many more innocent civilians have also been murdered along the way by US drones.

The assassination of terror cadres by Washington may seem like a contradiction to the overall argument here that there is a mutual connection between the two. However, we shouldn’t think of Washington as a monolith. There are no doubt people within the US establishment who are dedicated to genuinely fighting terrorism, and sometimes they succeed.

But that doesn’t negate the central point that the US has covertly created these same terrorist groups to expedite its own foreign policy and geopolitical ambitions. We can’t go into the full history here, but it is well documented that the CIA engendered, mobilized and weaponized al Qaeda “the database” to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the 1980s. It wasn’t just the CIA. British MI6, French DGSE and Pakistani ISI were involved, as were the Saudi regime who provided the billions of dollars of finance and fundamentalist Wahhabi ideology that perversely empowers cadres to kill anyone –men, women and children –whom is designated an “infidel”. In other words, perfect proxy killers for the powers-that-be.

Despite the propaganda pumped out in the Western mainstream media of a US-led coalition “fighting terrorism” in Syria, the hard fact is that al Qaeda, ISIS and a plethora of other terrorist mercenary brigades were sent into Syria by the same US-led coalition for the purpose of regime change against the Russian and Iranian-allied government of President Bashar al-Assad. Readers can look up the candid admission of Lt General Michael Flynn, the former chief of US Defense Intelligence Agency as to the cynical calculations that Washington made in unleashing the terrorists on Syria.

If the US were really fighting terrorism in Syria then how do you explain this headline from McClatchy News referring to the huge discrepancy in Russian bombing raids compared with American. “Russia hit 1,888 targets in Syria in a week; the US count? Just 16”.

Face it. Until Russia intervened last September, the ISIS terror network had proliferated under US “bombing” to such an extent that Syria was in danger of being overthrown (as according to Washington’s plan).

Having failed in that mission largely because of Russia’s military intervention over the past five months, the fallback option provided by the terror groups is that they could be used to justify an outright military invasion of Syria by the US-led coalition, in the form of NATO-member Turkey and Saudi Arabia along with the other American-Arab puppet-regimes.

As Obama let slip at the ASEAN summit this week: “Wherever ISIS or al Qaeda appears, we will go after them.”

Well said Mr President. For once, you told the plain truth.

PS. The ASEAN venue where Obama was speaking at in Sunnylands, California is called “Rancho Mirage”. Kind of appropriate, don’t you think?

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on Obama admits US-ISIS terror link

Would Russia Use Nukes to Defend Khmeimim?

NOVANEWS
Week Nineteen of the Russian Intervention in Syria
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The past week saw no decrease in the tense confrontation between Turkey and Russia over Syria. While Russia’s position is simple – ‘we are ready to fight’ – the Turkish position is much more ambiguous: Turkish politicians are saying one thing, then the opposite and then something else again. At times they make it sound like an invasion is imminent, and at times they say that “Turkey plans no unilateralinvasion”. Since a UN authorized invasion of Syria will never happen, this means some kind of “coalition of the willing”, possibly NATO. The problem here is that the Europeans have no desire to end up in a war against Russia. At the same time, the US and France refuse to allow a UN Resolution which would reaffirm the sovereignty of Syria. Yup, that’s right. The US and France apparently think that the UN Charter (which affirms the sovereignty of all countries) does not apply to Syria. Go figure…

There are persistent rumors that top Turkish military commanders, categorically oppose any attack on Syria and that they want no part in a war with Russia. I don’t blame them one bit as they understand perfectly well two simple things: first, Turkey does not need a war, only Erdogan does; second, when Turkey is defeated, Erdogan will blame the military. There are also signs of disagreements inside the USA over the prospects of such a war, with the Neocons backing Erdogan and pushing him towards war just as they had done with Saakashvili while the White House and Foggy Bottom are telling Erdogan to “cool it”. As for the Turks themselves, they have shelled Kurdish and Syrian positions across the border and, on at least two occasions, a small military force has been seen crossing the border.

From a purely military point of view, it makes absolutely no sense for the Turks to mass at the border, declare that they are about to invade, then stop, do some shelling and then only send a few little units across the border. What the Turks should have done was to covertly begin to increase the level of readiness of their forces then and then attacked as soon as Russians detected their preparations even if that meant that they would have to initiate combat operations before being fully mobilized and ready. The advantages of a surprise attack are so big that almost every other consideration has to be put aside in order to achieve it. The Turks did the exact opposite: they advertised their intentions to invade and once their forces were ready, they simply stopped at the border and began issuing completely contradictory declarations. This makes absolutely no sense at all.

What complicates this already chaotic situation is that Erdogan is clearly a lunatic and that there appears to the at least the possibility of some serious infighting between the Turkish political leaders and the military.

Furthermore, there appears to be some very bad blood between the USA and the Erdogan regime. Things got so bad that Erdogan’s chief adviser, Seref Malkoc, said that Turkey might deny the US the use of Incirlik Air Base for strikes against ISIL if the US does not name the YPG as a terrorist group. Erdogan later repudiated this statement, but the fact remains that the Turks are now directly blackmailing the USA. If Erdogan and his advisors seriously believe that they can publicly blackmail a superpower like the USA then their days are numbered. At the very least, this kind of irresponsible outbursts shows that the Turks are really crumbling under the pressure they themselves have created.

Still, the fact that Turkey has not invaded yet is a tiny minute sign that maybe, just maybe, the Turks will give up on this crazy notion or that they will limit themselves to a ‘mini-invasion’ just a few miles across the border. The military would probably prefer such a minimal face saving option, but what about Erdogan and the crazies around him?

Maybe the Turkish military ought to realize that the country is ruled by the madman and do something about it?

Still, the Russians are taking no chances and they have put all their forces into high alert. They have very publicly dispatched a Tu-214r – her most advanced ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) aircraft. You can think of the Tu-214R as an “AWACS for the ground”, the kind of aircraft you use to monitor a major ground battle (the regular Russian A-50Ms are already monitoring the Syrian airspace). In southern Russia, the Aerospace forces have organized large-scale exercises involving a large number of aircraft which would be used in a war against Turkey: SU-34s. The Airborne Forces are ready. The naval task forces off the Syrian coast is being augmented. The delivery of weapons has accelerated. The bottom line is simple and obvious: the Russians are not making any threats – they are preparing for war. In fact, by now they are ready.

This leaves an important question to be asked: what would the Russians do if their still relatively small force in Syria is attacked and over-run by the Turks? Would the Russian use nuclear weapons?

At least one reporter, Robert Perry, as written the following: “A source close to Russian President Vladimir Putin told me that the Russians have warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow is prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to save their troops in the face of a Turkish-Saudi onslaught”. Is that really possible? Would the Russians really use nuclear weapons of things get ugly in Syria?

The Russian Military Doctrine is very clear on the use of nuclear weapons by Russia. This is the relevant paragraph:

27. The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use against her and (or) her allies of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, as well as in the case of aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons in a way which would threaten her very existence as a state. The decision to use nuclear weapons is taken by the President of the Russian Federation.

There is no ambiguity here. Unless Russia is threatened as a state she will not use nuclear weapons. Some will, no doubt, say that the official military doctrine is one thing, but the reality in Syria is another one and if the Turks overrun Khmeimin Russia will have no other option than to use nukes. There is a precedent for that kind of logic: when the US deployed the 82nd Airborne in Saudi Arabia as part of Desert Shield the Pentagon fully understood that if the much larger Iraqi army invaded Saudi Arabia the 82nd would be destroyed. It was hoped that the USAF and USN could provide enough air sorties to stop the Iraqi advance, but if not it was understood that tactical nuclear weapons would be used. The situation in Syria is different.

For one thing, the Russian task force in Syria is not an infantry tripwire force like the 82nd in Iraq. The terrain and the opposing forces are also very different. Second, the Russian contingent in Syria can count on the firepower and support of the Russian Navy in the Caspian and Mediterranean and the Russian Aerospace Forces from Russia proper. Last but not least, the Russians can count in the support of the Syrian military, Iranian forces, Hezbollah and, probably, t he Syrian Kurds who are now openly joing the 4+1 alliance (Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah) turning it into a 4+2 alliance I suppose.

There is one important feature of this 4+2 alliance which ought to really give the Turks a strong incentive to be very careful before taking any action: every member of this 4+2 alliance has an extensive military experience, a much better one than the Turkish military. The modern Turkish military is much more similar to the Israeli military in 2006 – it has a great deal of experience terrorizing civilians and it is not a force trained to fight “real” wars. There is a very real risk for the Turks that if they really invade Syria they might end up facing the same nightmare as the Israelis did when they invaded Lebanon in 2006.

In the meantime, the Russian backed Syrian forces are still advancing. Since the beginning of their counter-offensive the Syrians have succeeded in recapturing all of the strategic locations in western Syria in slow and incremental steps and they are now threatening Raqqa. See for yourself:

The bottom line is this: the size and capabilities of the Russian task force in Syria has been expanding and the level of collaborations between the elements of the 4+2 alliance has been increasing. Add to this the capability to deploy a regimental-size (and fully mechanized) Airborne force in Latakia if needed, and you will begin to see that the Turks would be taking a major risk if they attacked Russian forces even if Russia does not threaten the use of tactical nukes. In fact, I don’t see any scenario short of a massive US/NATO attack under which Russia would use her tactical nuclear weapons.

Frankly, this situation is far from resolved. It is no coincidence that just when a ceasefire was supposed to come into effect two terrorist attacks in Turkey are oh-so-conveniently blamed on the Kurds. It sure looks like somebody is trying hard to set Turkey on a collision course with Russia, doesn’t it?

Making predictions about what the Turks and their Saudi friends will do makes no sense. We are clearly dealing with two regimes which are gradually “losing it”: they are lashing out at everybody (including their US patrons), they are terrified of their own minorities (Kurds and Shia) and their propensity for violence and terror is only matched by their inability in conventional warfare. Does that remind you of somebody else?

Of course! The Ukronazis fit this picture perfectly. Well, guess what, they are dreaming of forming an anti-Russian alliance with the Turks now. Amazing no? Just imagine what a Ukrainian-Turkish-Saudi alliance would look like: a real life “Islamo-Fascist” gang of thugs combining hateful fanaticism, corruption, incompetence, violence, strident nationalism and military incompetence. A toxic combination for sure, but not a viable one.

Posted in RussiaComments Off on Would Russia Use Nukes to Defend Khmeimim?

Broken Ukraine

NOVANEWS

Death Shrine, Maiden Square, Kiev.

Death Shrine, Maiden Square, Kiev.

I hadn’t even changed money when a guy in a military jacket approached me for a donation for Ukraine’s war efforts, and he was quite persistent too. This happened inMaidan Square, now turned into a deathshrine, with photos of sacrificed soldiers scattered all over. Of different sizes, many were draped with rosary beads and/or accompanied by a flag, flowers, votive candles and/or pine twig. Many of the dead had faded or bled smearily. Some posed with pets, guns or cars. In his tent, a red bearded, smiling dude gave a thumb up. A chubby, bespectacled man hugged a tree, while a suited fellow appeared to be singing karaoke. Baby faced or wizened, all these men and a few women have died in a hopeless war with no objective save the American imperative to harass Russia.

As for their government, it is US-installed and seeded throughout with foreigners. Remember the tie-biting President of Georgia? He contributed 2,000 troops to the US invasion of Iraq then, egged on by Bush, decided to trade blows with Russia over South Ossetia, with predictably calamitous results. Mikheil Saakashvili is now head of Ukraine’s International Advisory Council on Reforms, as well as the Governor of Odessa Oblast, having been granted Ukrainian citizenship just the day before. Only a wrecked nation would recruit the wrecker of another to join its wrecking crew. Mikheil was plucked right out of Brooklyn, where he was moping to escape prosecution back home. The just-resigned Minister of Economy and Trade, Aivaras Abromavicius, was born in Lithuania and does not speak Ukrainian. Minister of Finance Natalie Jaresko retains her American citizenship, wisely, it must be said, so she can quickly jump off this sinking ship.

Taking the bus from Leipzig to Kiev, I crossed all of Poland and half of Ukraine. This took nearly 24 hours of sitting stiffly, with over 2 spent at the Polish/Ukrainian border. All of the 61 passengers but me and two others were Ukrainian. One was a World Bank financial advisor in her 60’s. Half Russian by blood and born in Tennessee, Carol, not her real name, has spent most of her adult life in Europe, working in Frankfurt, Moscow and now Kiev, with brief assignments to Manila and Banjul. Her father was a chemist on the Manhattan Project.

Out the windows, villages passed by, their houses humble and somewhat dilapidated, though a few were quite grand. Colorful churches cheered up the grim winter landscape, as did decorated wooden crucifixes. Here and there, a Madonna shrine. Stores and hotels also stood out. A cheeky motel mimicked a castle with turrets. Peddling seven heads of cabbage, a forlorn man displayed them on the hood of his rusty Lada. I spotted vehicles I didn’t know were still extant. Inside cement bus stops, well-bundled folks waited stoically. One shelter had a painted helicopter. Black coated women under flowery babushkas waddled down frozen paths. I even saw three horse-drawn carts. “You’ll see more off the main road,” Carol informed. “You know Adidas has saved many lives here. Their clothes and shoes often have these reflectors. Before, you had all these people getting run over because they were walking on these dirt roads at night, drunk.”

“This highway is in pretty good shape, though.”

“Turkish contractors had to be brought in,” she laughed. “The locals couldn’t finish it. They were so corrupt!”

As for Ukraine’s political and societal dire straits, Carol pinned it all on Putin. He wants to invade the Baltic nations and the rest of Ukraine. He is causing unrest all over Europe by supporting extremists on both the left and right. Putin is destabilizing Bosnia and buying off Hungary’s Viktor Orban.

Apartment Blocks in Ukraine

Apartment Blocks in Ukraine

Before reaching Kiev, we paused in Lviv, Rivne and Zhytomir. I had seen enough concrete, Communist-era apartment blocks in Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, but the Ukrainian ones seemed even more dismal. They contrasted quite grotesquely with the faux utopia of advertising billboards, where all faces were ecstatic, all bodies trim and fashionable and all products, even the most banal, lickably sexy. In Lviv, there’s a spiffy shopping mall called King Cross Leopolis. Over the next week, I would spot many more references to landmarks from that mythically prosperous Europe that most Ukrainians will never experience.

Shop Window near the center of Kiev.

Shop Window near the center of Kiev.

The outskirts of the capital were basically more of the same dispiriting Communist urban planning, but here and there rose new high rises that were not unattractive. I was surprised, though, by how beautiful and sophisticated the center of Kiev was. With much of the country’s wealth parked here, brand name shops were everywhere, but all were bedecked quite stridently with large SALE signs of up to 90% off. Whatever that was wrong with Ukraine before the Euromaidan demonstrations, it was clearly making progress, for otherwise there wouldn’t be all these shops for all budgets. Now, thousands of salesclerks and store owners stand around all day to look pleadingly at every passerby. As I strayed into the meat and fish section of the vast Besarabsky Market, each stall owner shouted a torrent at me to buy a just-killed piece of something, so that I had to wade through a sea of incomprehensible words just to get out.

Such a gem of a city would normally be swarmed with tourists, but I saw almost none. Taking the subway several times each day for a week, I was clearly the only alien, with the lone exception a black man who didn’t look all that comfortable. I heard no foreign languages on these extended rides far underground, and the Kiev subway is bizarrely deep. I wondered why most people did not hurry up or down the endless escalators, but those long, angled tubes were indeed soothing. A man sat down on a grooved, steel step.

Near Lisova Station, Kiev.

Near Lisova Station, Kiev.

Near Lisova Station, at the end of the red line, I found over a hundred businesses selling used clothes and shoes. Folks rummaged through enormous mounds, looking for suitable bargains. At one stall, one could even choose second hand skis and skates. Appropriate to their wares, these complexes were mostly shabby, with corrugated tin or plastic walls. Often, I walked on planks or dirt under tarps through poorly lit passages. Among the merchants, there were Black Africans, Arabic speakers and Vietnamese.

Vietnam’s only (publicly known) billionaire, 47-year-old Phan Nhat Vuong, had his start as an instant noodle magnate in Ukraine. Carol, “I ate Mivina noodles too. Everyone did. After the Fall of Communism, people had very little money.” There’s a Kiev high school named Ho Chi Minh. There are also North Koreans in Ukraine. They do some of the hardest agricultural works, such as picking onions.

Taxi Bar diner, Center of Kiev.

Taxi Bar diner, Center of Kiev.

Kiev restaurants that serve foreign foods, whether Japanese, Thai or Turk, etc., are almost always owned and run by Ukrainians. Sushi is hugely popular, with even chains like Burger Club and Mafia offering it. There are 22 Sushiyas, 17 Eurasias and 15 Murakamis. There’s a Chinese joint, Bruce Lee, one of only a handful. There are 32 McDonald’s, with one seemingly outside each subway station. At Minska, there are two. Taxi Bar, a 50’s styled American diner, is like a Day-Glotableau from Grease.

Neighborhood Bar, Holosiivskyi, Kiev.

Neighborhood Bar, Holosiivskyi, Kiev.

Though its war and sinking economy have chased or kept foreigners away, Ukraine’s culture is intensely outward looking, with international references everywhere. Cigarette stands have images of New York or London. Inside a Kiev shopping center, there’s a gigantic English styled phone booth, with a Sherlock Holmes scaling it. At the same mall, there are fake cactuses and two effigies of Mexicans, one dozing, one climbing onto a ledge, as if breaking in. Kiev night clubs have names like Pink Freud, Rout 66, Carribean and even Franklin, with a huge picture of Ben towering over pedestrians. An American flag hangs in a neighborhood bar in Holosiivskyi. Ukraine, it is clear, wants very much to belong to the wider world, even as it’s receding in everyone’s rear view mirror. At least a million Ukrainians have already fled the country, and this number will only multiply as its human crisis deepens. In the warzone, many are starving or have committed suicide. Europe has another refugee crisis coming.

Begging Woman, Kiev Subway Station

Begging Woman, Kiev Subway Station

As of October 2015, the average net wage in Ukraine is only $136 a month, among the lowest in Europe. On Kiev sidewalks, people sell whatever they can, with, say, three plucked chickens on a piece of cardboard. In trendy Podil, a woman picked up her bare, stiff fowl at dusk and marched away in frustration, while behind plate glass windows, hipsters sipped drinks in fancy cafés. I saw a boy of about 14 stand stoically behind some beets, onions and garlics. On subway trains, wandering, clearly desperate people tried to push calendars, toys, candies or icons, etc. Riders looked away as they delivered their sad pitches. With nothing to offer, many begged with a sign and/or a sustained yet exhausted plea. Inside stations, some stood in silence with heads bowed. Plopped next to her crutches, a woman stuck her destroyed foot out. Instead of toes, there was but a bloody stub. A one-eyed woman had a cardboard sign around her neck. Outside in all weathers, many beggars prostrated most abjectly. On magnificent and still glittering Shreshchatyk, a crone was bunched up like a gianttoad, face hidden, with a hand on the cold pavement and a cane next to her. Near Vokzalna Station, a black-clad, young and blonde beauty knelt under an umbrella while holding a sign with a photo of her son. Sleet was slanting down.

One shouldn’t be surprised by the obscene contrast in Kiev between comfortable, even affluent normalcy with stark destitution as largely caused by the war. As long as people are not dodging bullets or bombs, they will carry on like the rest of us, and if they can afford it, they will eat sushi and savor martinis. There were large ads in Kiev for a concert by the Japanese jazz pianist, Keiko Matsui, and Scorpions, a German heavy metal band, was also coming. The megastar Red Hot Chili Peppers will be in town in July.

Even in places of enjoyment, though, there are nods towards the war. In Kupidon, a hugely popular bar on Pushkinskaya, there’s a pork dish called “Crimea is Ours,” and a 75 cent pint of Lvivske 1715 is listed as “we drink so that Moscals won’t get it.” On the door of Baraban, a joint popular with journalists, there’s a notice below the MASTERCARD and VISA sign, “Dear Friends, you should know that by spending money in Bar Baraban you support Ukrainian Army and National Guardia, which fights international terrorism in the eastern Ukraine. We spend 25% of our turnover to provide necessities for our military.”

Inside, I met quite by chance Dmytro Potekhin. Son of a diplomat, former advisor to the Japanese embassy in Kiev and occasional journalist, Potekhin is best known as a US-funded and trained activist from even before the Orange Revolution. On August 7th, 2015, he was captured by Russian separatists in Donetsk and jailed for 48 days. Potekhin, “You know, I’ve visited Dachau, and the concentration camp in Donetsk is worse than Dachau.” He said that to me. Publicly, he has accused his captors of feeding him cold soup twice a day and hitting him hard once in the head. He claimed others were beaten bloody. As for Russians being terrorists, Potekhin declared on Ukrainian TV shortly after his release, “Russia annexed the Crimea and Russia is helping the terrorists in Donetsk, and Russia itself is a terrorist organization basically. We still for some reasons call it ‘country,’ for some reasons this organization has its diplomats in the UN Security Council, and here in Kyiv, but actually they are not diplomats, they are representing Russia, but they are representing not a country, they are now representing terrorist organization called Russia.”

Putin Toilet Paper on Sale in Kiev Gift Shop

Putin Toilet Paper on Sale in Kiev Gift Shop

In Kiev gift shops, they’re selling Putin toilet paper. According to Potekhin, it’s not Ukraine that’s disintegrating, but Russia. He explained that with the embargo and cratering oil prices, Russia has been forced to dip into its cash reserves, so it can last another six months maybe, maybe a year. As for the war, “We can easily take those provinces back militarily, but the bigger challenge is to prove to those people that we have a better model and future. When they see that Putin can’t take care of them, but we’re improving, they will want to come back.”

Che Guevara Image in Kiev Bar

Che Guevara Image in Kiev Bar

On the bar, there were two remote controltanks, one called “POWER KING,” in front of the Ukrainian and European Union flags. On the walls were two images of CheGuevara and one of Bob Marley. It was ridiculous to see Che idolized since Ukrainian nationalism is supposed to be anti-Communist, but such is the power of Western pop culture. Agreeing with me, Potekhin added that the bar owner had studied in the US. The music on the sound system, Cab Calloway, Roy Orbison, Gogol Bordello, Van Morrison, Otis Redding, B.B. King and Carl Perkins, etc., showed his musical taste. Beneath a photo of a pensive Miles Davis were these scrawls, “NEVER be bought never be SOLD” and “PAIN IS TEMPORARY BUT PRIDE IS FOREVER.”

Hearing American music everywhere, much of it black, I can’t help but conclude how greatly Uncle Sam has benefited from driving his black population into the deepest despair or half mad, for whether they moan most pathetically (blues), blather ecstatically or even incoherently (jazz), or lash out obscenely (rap,) the United States does not lose but gain billions of admirers. Blacks, then, are a huge component of Uncle Sam’s soft power.

Nearly each night, there’s a pianist at Bar Barbaran, and I was lucky enough to catch the inspired performances of Elena, then Anton Ryzhenko, who also had a snare drummer. Playing driven, obsessive jazz, the stern Elena kept her black, faux fur-trimmed hooded coat on and unleashed gorgeous runs although practically no one was paying any attention to her. Done, she took her small payment from the barmaid and left sorrow-faced.

A television host got off the couch to say hello to Potekhin, then turned to me, “We haven’t gotten anywhere. We’re still at the same place.”

“So what’s the solution?”

“Stay calm and carry on.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t stay calm?”

“We tried that the last time!”

Nothing makes me happier than being in a novel place, and though a distressed Kiev was still magical, I could feel no elation, for everywhere there were signs of grim endurance or outright despair, so that I was constantly reminded of how our small lives can be so casually destroyed by unseen hands. Men are most belligerent when they risk nothing. Born in a devastated country, I could see in Kiev more than enough of myself, so I cursed, if only under my breath, those who have reduced such a beautiful and dignified people to such a condition. Rushing up to me, a woman blurted, “Help me!” At dusk, at least two dozen ordinary, well-dressed citizens lined up in Maidan Square for a mobile soup kitchen. Surely many Ukrainians must know they’re being used. During the Soviet years, they suffered the Holodomor (in which up to 7.5 million starved to death) and Chernobyl on top of daily Communism. Now, they’re bankrupt and dying. To be unmolested for any stretch of time is a rare respite for any small nation.

For six nights in Kiev, I paid less for a room than one night in NYC, and my hotel was right on Maidan Square. An excellent and varied hot breakfast was part of the deal. One morning, I heard American English spoken behind me, the first time in several days. Before I could turn around and ask, “Where are you folks from?” I heard the woman’s hesitant voice. It was clear she wasn’t a native speaker. They weren’t Mr. and Mrs. Balanchuk visiting from Chicago. As they left the breakfast room, I could see a middle-aged man in a sweatshirt with “TOKYO” on it, and she was a young blonde who belonged in a glossy magazine. He’s probably convinced he’s saving her, the way Victoria Nuland has saved Ukraine.

For nearly three years, I was a regular commentator for Iran’s Press TV. On March 8th, 2014, I was supposed to debate Taras Kuzio, once the Head of Mission of the NATO Information and Documentation Center in Kiev. Our TV tussle never got off the ground, however, as Kuzio became enraged at hostess Marzieh Hashemi’s very first question. After a gruff response, Kuzio terminated the live feed and simply disappeared. I have never seen anything like it. One would think a US-trained and funded mouthpiece would be more eager to broadcast.

On April 19th, 2014, I gave Press TV another Ukraine commentary. Rereading the transcripts, both available online, I stand behind every word, so here’s the second, more succinct statement:

America brings ruination to each country it interferes with. Just look at Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Ukraine. Just look at the continuing war in Syria. While posing as a force of good and democracy, the US brings nothing but destruction and death. My fear is that America will become even more violent as it collapses.

The US has instigated this entire crisis, but it is blaming everything on Russia each step of the way.

After it staged a violent and illegal coup against the Kiev government, it accused Russia of fomenting unrest in the Eastern and Southern parts of the country, but it is only natural that ethnic Russians in these regions would want to be reabsorbed back into Russia. They don’t want to be second class citizens in a country that’s wrecked by American economic manipulation, and they don’t want to be a pawn in a dangerous game of provocation against Russia, maybe even war against Russia, whom they identify with. Ukraine is being used by the US to disrupt the economic integration of Russia and Europe. The US is trying to prevent both Russia and China from becoming vital economic partners of Europe, because this would leave no room for the United States.

You have to be insane or an American policy maker to think Russia would let go of its seaport in the Black Sea (Sevastopol) or Mediterranean (Tartus), and that’s why Putin had to put the kibosh on Uncle Sam’s hubris in both Ukraine and Syria.

Before leaving Kiev, let’s have one final cup of coffee. I had just gotten off the metro at Teremky, the end of the blue line. Negotiating the ice, snow and slush covered sidewalk, I noticed a strange bus painted with cupcakes, cakes and a large cup of coffee. On its roof were pine branches and fake presents.

Image of Times Square in interior of refreshment bus, Kiev.

Image of Times Square, interior refreshment bus, Kiev.

Inside were lace curtains, seats lovingly upholstered in geometric patterns and an image of Times Square. The ceilingwas fringed with plastic snowflakes and pasted with smiley faces and reflective hearts. A calendar said, “The TREE of Life.” Stevie Wonder was wailing, “I just called to say I love you.” The owner of this trippy establishment was a burly man of about fifty.

For more than an hour, I was his only customer, and I would be very surprised if he got more than a handful the rest of the day. Though he knew I couldn’t understand him, the man would say this and that and look in my direction. Though obviously friendly, not once could he muster up a grin or smile, the way strangers often do, especially when they don’t share a language. From seeing so many other empty businesses in Kiev, including a vast bowling alley nearby, I think I have a pretty good idea where he’s coming from.

The most laughter I heard in Ukraine was on the bus leaving it. The Milky Way expanded as soon as we entered Poland.

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