Archive | Ukraine

Peace Accords or Political Surrender? Latin America, the Middle East, Ukraine

NOVANEWS
 
2000px-Peace_dove.svg

Over thirty year ago a savvy Colombian peasant leader told me, “Whenever I read the word ‘peace accords’ I hear the government sharpening its knives”.

In recent times, ‘peace accords’ (PAs) have become a common refrain across the world. In almost every region or country, which are in the midst of war or invasion, the prospects of negotiating ‘peace accords’ have been raised. In many cases, PA’s were signed and yet did not succeed in ending murder and mayhem at the hands of their US-backed interlocutors.

We will briefly review several past and present peace negotiations and ‘peace accords’ to understand the dynamics of the ‘peace process’ and the subsequent results.

The Peace Process

There are several ongoing negotiations today, purportedly designed to secure peace accords. These include discussions between (1) the Kiev-based US-NATO-backed junta in the west and the eastern ‘Donbas’ leadership opposed to the coup and NATO; (2) the Saudi US-NATO-armed terrorists in Syria and the Syrian government and its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies; (3) the US-backed Israeli colonial regime and the Palestinian independence forces in the West Bank and Gaza; and (4) the US-backed Colombian regime of President Santos and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC).

There are also several other peace negotiations taking place, many of which have not received public attention.

Past and Present Outcomes of Peace Accords

Over the past quarter century several PAs were signed – all of which led to the virtual surrender of armed anti-imperialist protagonists and popular mass movements.

The Central-American PA’s, involving Salvador and Guatemala, led to the unilateral disarmament of the resistance movement, the consolidation of oligarchical control over the economy, the growth and proliferation of narco-gangs and unfettered government-sponsored death squads. As a consequence, internal terror escalated. Resistance leaders secured the vote, entered Congress as politicians, and, in the case of El Salvador, were elected to high office. Inequalities remained the same or worsened, and murders matched or exceeded the numbers recorded during the pre-Peace Accord period. Massive numbers of immigrants, often of internal refugees fleeing gang violence, entered the US illegally. The US consolidated its military bases and operations in Central America while the population continued to suffer.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations did not lead to any accord. Instead ‘negotiations’ became a thin cover for increasing annexation of Palestinian land to construct racists ‘Jews-Only’ enclaves, resulting in the illegal settlement of over half a million Jewish settlers. The US-backed the entire farcical peace process, financing the corrupt Palestinian vassal-leaders and providing unconditional diplomatic, military and political support to Israel.

US-Soviet Union: Peace Accord

The Reagan/Bush-Gorbachev ‘peace accords’ were supposed to end the Cold War and secure global peace. Instead the US and the EU established military bases and client regimes/allies throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic and Balkans, pillaged the national assets and took over their denationalized economies. US-based elites dominated the vassal Yeltsin regime and virtually stripped Russia of its resources and wealth. In alliance with gangster-oligarchs, they plundered the economy.

The post-Soviet Yeltsin regime ran elections, promoted multiple parties and presided over a desolate, isolated and increasingly surrounded nation – at least until Vladimir Putin was elected to ‘decolonize’ the State apparatus and partially reconstruct the economy and society.

Ukraine Peace Negotiations

In 2014 a US-sponsored violent coup brought together fascists, oligarchs, generals and pro-EU supporters seizing control of Kiev and the western part of Ukraine. The pro-democracy Eastern regions of the Donbas and Crimean Peninsula organized resistance to the putsch regime. Crimea voted overwhelmingly to re-unite Russia. The industrial centers in Eastern Ukraine (Donbas) formed popular militias to resist the armed forces and neo-Nazi paramilitaries of the US backed-junta. After a few years of mayhem and stalemate, a ‘negotiation process’ unfolded despite which the Kiev regime continued to attack the east. The tentative ‘peace settlement” became the basis for the ‘Minsk agreement’, brokered by France, Russia and Germany, where the Kiev junta envisioned a disarming of the resistance movement, re-occupation of the Donbas and Crimea and eventual destruction of the cultural, political, economic and military autonomy of the ethnic Russian East Ukraine. As a result, the “Minsk Agreement” has been little more than a failed ploy to secure surrender. Meanwhile, the Kiev junta’s massive pillage of the nation’s economy has turned Ukraine into a failed state with 2.5 million fleeing to Russia and many thousands emigrating to the West to dig potatoes in Poland, or enter the brothels of London and Tel Aviv. The remaining unemployed youth are left to sell their services to Kiev’s paramilitary fascist shock troops.

Colombia: Peace Accord or Graveyard?

Any celebration of the Colombian FARC – President Santos’ ‘Peace Accord’ would be premature if we examine its past incarnations and present experience.

Over the past four decades, Colombian oligarchical regimes, backed by the military, death squads and Washington have invoked innumerable ‘peace commissions’, inaugurated negotiations with the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) and proceeded to both break off negotiations and relaunch full-scale wars using ‘peace accords’ as a pretext to decimate and demoralize political activists.

In 1984, then-President Belisario Betancur signed a peace accord with the FARC, known as the ‘Uribe Agreement’. Under this agreement, thousands of FARC activists and supporters demobilized, formed the Patriotic Union (UP), a legal electoral party, and participated in elections. In the 1986 Colombian elections, the UP candidates were elected as Senators, Congress people, mayors and city council members, and their Presidential candidate gained over 20% of the national vote. Over the next 4 years, from 1986-1989, over 5,000 UP leaders, elected officials and Presidential candidates were assassinated in a campaign of nationwide terror. Scores of thousands of peasants, oil workers, miners and plantation laborers were murdered, tortured and driven into exile. Paramilitary death squads and landlord-backed private armies, allied with the Colombian Armed Forces, assassinated thousands of union leaders, workers and their families members. The Colombian military’s ‘paramilitary strategy’ against non-combatants and villagers was developed in the 1960’s by US Army General William Yarborough, Commandant, US Army Special Warfare Center and ‘Father of the Green Beret’ Special Forces.

Within five years of its formation, the Patriotic Union no longer existed: Its surviving members had fled or gone into hiding.

In 1990, newly-elected President Cesar Gaviria proclaimed new peace negotiations with the FARC. Within months of his proclamation, the president ordered the bombing of the ‘Green House’, where the FARC leaders and negotiating team were being lodged. Fortunately, they had fled before the treacherous attack.

President Andrés Pastrana (1998-2001) called for new peace negotiations with the FARC to be held ‘in a demilitarized zone’. Peace talks began in the jungle region of El Caguan in November 1998. President Pastrana had made numerous pledges, concessions and reforms with the FARC and social activists, but, at the same time he had signed a ten-year multi-billion dollar military aid agreement with US President Clinton, known as ‘Plan Colombia’. This practice of ‘double-dealing’ culminated with the Colombian Armed Forces launching a ’scorched earth policy’ against the ‘demilitarized zones’ under the newly elected (and death-squad linked) President Alvaro Uribe Velez. Over the next eight years, President Uribe drove nearly four million Colombian peasants into internal exile. With the multi-billion dollar funding from Washington, Uribe was able to double the size of the Colombian Armed Forces to over 350,000 troops, incorporating members of the death squads into the military. He also oversaw the formation of new paramilitary armies. By 2010 the FARC had declined from eighteen thousand to under ten thousand fighters – with hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties and millions rendered homeless.

In 2010 Uribe’s former Minister of Defense, Juan Manual Santos was elected President. By 2012 Santos initiated another “peace process” with the FARC, which was signed by the end of 2016. Under the new ‘Peace Accord’, signed in Cuba, hundreds of officers implicated in torture, assassinations and forced relocation of peasants were given immunity from prosecution while FARC guerillas were to face trial. The government promised land reform and the right to return for displaced farmers and their families. However, when peasants returned to claim their land they were driven away or even killed.

FARC leaders agreed to demobilize and disarm unilaterally by June 2017. The military and their paramilitary allies would retain their arms and gain total control over previous FARC- liberated zones.

President Santos ensured that the ‘Peace Accord’ would include a series of Presidential Decrees – privatizing the country’s mineral and oil resources and converting small family farms to commercial plantations. Demobilized peasant-rebels were offered plots of infertile marginal lands, without government support or funding for roads, tools, seed and fertilizer or even schools and housing, necessary for the transition. While some FARC leaders secured seats in Congress and the freedom to run in elections unmolested, the young rank and file FARC fighters and peasants were left without many alternatives but to join paramilitary or ‘narco’ gangs.

In summary, the historical record demonstrates that a series of Colombian presidents and regimes have systematically violated all peace agreements and accords, assassinated the rebel signees and retained elite control over the economy and labor force. Before his election, the current President Santos presided over the most deadly decade when he was Uribe’s Defense Minister.

For brokering the peace of the graveyard for scores of thousands of Colombian peasants and activists, President Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In Havana, FARC leaders and negotiators were praised by Cuban President Raul Castro, President Obama, Venezuelan President Maduro and the vast majority of ‘progressives’ and rightists in North and South America and Europe.

Colombia’s bloody history, including the widespread murder of Colombian civil rights activists and peasant leaders, has continued even as the documents finalizing the Peace Accords were being signed. During the first month of 2017, five human right activists were murdered by death squads – linked to the oligarchy and military. In 2015, while the FARC was negotiating over several clauses in the agreement, over 122 peasant and human rights activists were murdered by paramilitary groups who continued to operate freely in areas controlled by Santos’ army. The mass media propaganda mills continue to repeat the lie that ‘200,000 people were killed by the guerillas (FARC) and the government’ when the vast majority of the killings were committed by the government and its allied death squads; a calumny, which guerilla leaders fail to challenge. Prominent Jesuit researcher Javier Giraldo has provided a detailed factual account documenting that over three quarters of the killings were committed by the Army and paramilitary.

We are asked to believe presidential regimes that have murdered and continue to murder over 150,000 Colombian workers, peasants, indigenous leaders and professionals are suddenly transformed into justice-loving partners in peace. During the first three months of this year, activists, sympathetic to the peace agreement with the FARC, continue to be targeted and killed by supposedly demobilized paramilitary murderers.

Social movement leaders report rising political violence by military forces and their allies. Even peace monitors and the UN Human Rights Office admit that state and paramilitary violence are destroying any structure that President Santos could hope to implement the reforms. As the FARC withdraws from regions under popular control, peasants seeking land reform are targeted by private armies. The Santos regime is more concerned with protecting the massive land grabs by big mining consortiums.

As the killing of FARC supporters and human rights activists multiply, as President Santos and Washington look to take advantage of a disarmed and demobilized guerilla army, the ‘historic peace accord’ becomes a great deceit designed to expand imperial power.

Conclusion: Epitaph for Peace Accords

Time and again throughout the world, imperial-brokered peace negotiations and accords have served only one goal: to disarm, demobilize, defeat and demoralize resistance fighters and their allies.

‘Peace Accords’, as we know them, have served to rearm and regroup US-backed forces following tactical setbacks of the guerrilla struggle. ‘PA’s are encouraged to divide the opposition (’salami tactics’) and facilitate conquest. The rhetoric of ‘peace’ as in ‘peace negotiations’ are terms which actually mean ‘unilateral disarmament’ of the resistance fighters, the surrender of territory and the abandonment of civilian sympathizers. The so-called ‘war zones’, which contain fertile lands and valuable mineral reserves are ‘pacified’ by being absorbed by the ‘peace loving’ regime. This serves their privatization programs and promote the pillage of the ‘developmental state’. Negotiated peace settlements are overseen by US officials, who praise and laud the rebel leaders while they sign agreements to be implemented by US vassal regimes . . . The latter will ensure the rejection of any realignment of foreign policy and any structural socio-economic changes.

Some peace accords may allow former guerilla leaders to compete and in some cases win elections as marginal representatives, while their mass base is decimated.

In most cases, during the peace process, and especially after signing ‘peace accords’, social organizations and movements and their supporters among the peasantry and working class, as well as human rights activists, end up being targeted by the military and para-military death-squads operating around government military bases.

Often, the international allies of resistance movements have encouraged them to negotiate PAs, in order to demonstrate to the US that ‘they are responsible’— hoping to secure improved diplomatic and trade relations. Needless to say, ‘responsible negotiations’ will merely strengthen imperial resolve to press for further concessions, and encourage military aggression and new conquests.

Just ‘peace accords’ are based on mutual disarmament, recognition of territorial autonomy and the authority of local insurgent administration over agreed upon land reforms, retaining mineral rights and military-public security.

PA’s should be the first step in the political agendas, implemented under the control of independent rebel military and civil monitors.

The disastrous outcome of unilateral disarmament is due to the non-implementation of progressive, independent foreign policy and structural changes.

Past and present peace negotiations, based on the recognition of the sovereignty of an independent state linked to mass movements, have always ended in the US breaking the agreements. True ‘peace accords’ contradict the imperial goal of conquering via the negotiating table what could not be won through war.

Posted in Middle East, UkraineComments Off on Peace Accords or Political Surrender? Latin America, the Middle East, Ukraine

What America’s Coup in Ukraine Did

NOVANEWS
Armée Ukraine USA

On March 23rd, Gallup headlined “South Sudan, Haiti and Ukraine Lead World in Suffering”, and the Ukrainian part of that can unquestionably be laid at the feet of U.S. President Barack Obama, who in February 2014 imposed upon Ukraine a very bloody coup (see it here), which he and his press misrepresented (and still misrepresent) as being (and still represent as having been) a ‘democratic revolution’, but was nothing of the sort, and actually was instead the start of the Ukrainian dictatorship and the hell that has since destroyed that country, and brought the people there into such misery, it’s now by far the worst in Europe, and nearly tied with the worst in the entire world.

America’s criminal ‘news’ media never even reported the coup, nor that in 2011 the Obama regime began planning for a coup in Ukraine, and that by 1 March 2013 they started organizing it inside the U.S. Embassy there, and that they hired members of Ukraine’s two racist-fascist, or nazi, political parties, Right Sector and Svoboda (which latter had been called the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine until the CIA advised them to change it to Freedom Party, or “Svoboda” instead), and that in February 2014 they did it (and here’s the 4 February 2014 phone call instructing the U.S. Ambassador whom to place in charge of the new regime when the coup will be completed), under the cover of authentic anti-corruption demonstrations that the Embassy organized on the Maidan Square in Kiev, demonstrations that the criminal U.S. ‘news’ media misrepresented as ‘democracy demonstrations,’ though Ukraine already had democracy (but still lots of corruption, even more than today’s U.S. does, and the pontificating Obama said he was trying to end Ukraine’s corruption — which instead actually soared after his coup there).

The head of the ‘private CIA’ firm Stratfor said it was “the most blatant coup in history” but he couldn’t say that to Americans, because he knows that our press is just a mouthpiece for the regime (just like it was during the lead-up to George W. Bush’s equally unprovoked invasion of Iraq — for which America’s ‘news’ media suffered likewise no penalties).

When subsequently accused by neocons for his having said this, his response was “I told the business journal Kommersant that if the US were behind a coup in Kiev, it would have been the most blatant coup in history,” As I pointed out when writing about that rejoinder of his, he had, in fact, made quite clear in his Kommersant interview, that it was, in his view “the most blatant coup in history,” no conditionals on that.

Everybody knows what Obama, and Clinton, and Sarkozy, did to Libya — in their zeal to eliminate yet another nation’s leader who was friendly toward Russia (Muammar Gaddafi), they turned one of the highest-living-standard nations in Africa into a failed state and huge source of refugees (as well as of weapons that the Clinton State Department transferred to the jihadists in Syria to bring down Bashar al-Assad, another ally of Russia) — but the ‘news’ media have continued to hide what Obama (assisted by America’s European allies, especially Poland and Netherlands, and also by America’s apartheid Middle Eastern ally, Israel) did to Ukraine.

I voted for Obama, partly because the insane McCain (“bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”) and the creepy Romney (“Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe”) were denounced by the (duplicitous) Obama for saying such evil things, their aggressive international positions, which continued old Cold-War-era hostilities into the present, even after the Cold War had ended long ago (in 1991) (but only on the Russian side). I since have learned that in today’s American political system, the same aristocracy controls both of our rotten political Parties, and American democracy no longer exists. (And the only scientific study of whether America between the years 1981 and 2002 was democratic found that it was not, and it already confirmed what Jimmy Carter later said on 28 July 2015: “Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members.” But yet our Presidents continue the line, now demonstrably become a myth, of ‘American democracy’, and use it as a sledgehammer against other governments, to ‘justify’ invading (or, in Ukraine’s case, overthrowing via a ‘democratic revolution’) their lands (allies of Russia) such as in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and maybe even soon, Iran.

Here are some of the events and important historical details along the way to Ukraine’s plunge into a worse condition than most African nations:

“Yanukovych’s Removal Was Unconstitutional”

“Obama Definitely Caused The Malaysian Airliner To Be Downed”

“War on Donbass was planned to ignite a major war in Europe.”

“Our ‘Enemies’ In Ukraine Speak”

“Meet Ukraine’s Master Mass-Murderer: Dmitriy Yarosh”

“Ukrainian Soldier Explains Why He Enjoys Killing Russians”

“Russia’s Leader Putin Rejects Ukrainian Separatists’ Aim To Become Part Of Russia”

“Gallup: Ukrainians Loathe the Kiev Government Imposed by Obama”

Please send this article to every friend who is part of the majority that, as a Quinnipiac University poll published on March 22nd reported, “A total of 51 percent of voters say they can trust U.S. intelligence agencies to do what is right ‘almost all of the time’ or ‘most of the time’” (and that level of trust was far higher than for the rotten press and for the rotten politicians), even after the CIA’s rubber-stamping Bush’s lies to invade Iraq, and after the FBI’s shameless performance on Hillary Clinton’s privatized State Department emails even after her smashing their cell-phones with hammers, etc., and all the other official cover-ups, with no American officials even so much as being charged for their rampant crimes against the American public.

Besides: ever since the CIA’s founding, it has had an “Operation Gladio” that specializes in organizing terrorist acts so as for them to be blamed on, first, communist countries when they existed; and, then, after the end of communism, on allies of Russia. Did the American dictatorship begin right after FDR died in 1945? How much longer will these lies succeed?

For the people of Iraq, and of Syria, and of Ukraine, and many such countries, this dictatorship has destroyed their lives. Trusting the ‘intelligence’ services of a dictatorship doesn’t make any sense at all. They’re all working for the aristocracy, the billionaires — not for any public, anywhere; not here, not there, just nowhere. Should the cattle trust the feedlot-operator? Only ignorance can produce trust, under the conditions that actually exist.

So, unless the idea is that ignorance is bliss, pass along the truth, when you find it, because it is very rare — and the system operates to keep it that way.

Posted in USA, UkraineComments Off on What America’s Coup in Ukraine Did

Challenging Klobuchar on Ukraine War

NOVANEWS

Image result for Ukraine War CARTOON

As Democrats compete to become the new War Party – pushing for a dangerous confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia – some constituents are objecting, as Mike Madden did in a letter to Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

From Mike Madden (of St. Paul, Minnesota) 

Dear Senator Klobuchar, I write with concern over statements you have made recently regarding Russia. These statements have been made both at home and abroad, and they involve two issues; the alleged Russian hack of the presidential election and Russia’s actions in the aftermath of the February 22, 2014 coup in Kiev.

U.S. intelligence services allege that President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign to denigrate Hillary Clinton and help elect Donald Trump. The campaign is purported to include the production of fake news, cyber-trolling, and propaganda from Russian state-owned media. It is also alleged that Russia hacked the email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, subsequently providing the emails to WikiLeaks.

Despite calls from many quarters, the intelligence services have not provided the public with any proof. Instead, Americans are expected to blindly trust these services with a long history of failure. Additionally, the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, and the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, have both been known to lie to the public and to Congress, Mr. Clapper doing so under oath.

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange maintains the emails did not come from Russia (or any other state actor) and his organization has an unblemished record of revealing accurate information in the public interest that would otherwise remain hidden. While responsible journalists continue to use the word ‘alleged’ to describe the accusations, Republicans with an ax to grind against Russia, and Democrats wishing to distract from their own failings in the campaign, refer to them as fact. Indeed, on the ‘Amy in the News’ page of your own website, Jordain Carney of The Hill refers to the Russian meddling as “alleged”.

A congressional commission to investigate the alleged Russian hacking is not necessary. Even if all the allegations are true, they are altogether common occurrences, and they certainly don’t rise to the level of “an act of aggression”, “an existential threat to our way of life”, or “an attack on the American people” as various Democratic officials have characterized them. Republican Senator John McCain went full monty and called the alleged meddling “an act of war”.

Joining War Hawks

It is of concern that you would join Senator McCain and the equally belligerent Senator Lindsey Graham on a tour of Russian provocation through the Baltics, Ukraine, Georgia, and Montenegro. The announcement of your trip (December 28, 2016) on the ‘News Releases’ page of your website renewed the unproven claim of “Russian interference in our recent election”. It also claimed that the countries you were visiting were facing “Russian aggression” and that “Russia illegally annexed Crimea”.

Sen. John McCain  and Sen. Lindsey Graham

It is unfortunate that these claims have become truisms by sheer repetition rather than careful examination of the facts. Russia has not invaded eastern Ukraine. There are no regular units of the Russian military in the breakaway provinces, nor has Russia launched any air strikes from its territory. It has sent weapons and other provisions to the Ukrainian forces seeking autonomy from Kiev, and there are most certainly Russian volunteers operating in Ukraine.

However regrettable, it must be remembered that the unrest was precipitated by the February 22, 2014 overthrow of the democratically elected president Viktor Yanukovych which, speaking of meddling, was assisted by U.S. State Department, other American government agencies, and one Senator John McCain. The subsequent military and paramilitary operations launched by the coup government against the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk were described by President Putin as “uncontrolled crime” spreading into the south and east of the country. In American parlance, both the interim coup government in Kiev and the current government of President Petro Poroshenko have engaged in “killing their own people”.

Ignoring the Details

If Russia’s actions are to be considered “aggression” or an “invasion”, one must find a whole new word to describe what the United States did to Iraq in 2003. If, like your colleague Senator McCain, you hold the annexation of Crimea to be illegal under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, I urge a closer look.

On February 21, 2014, an agreement brokered by the European Union was signed between President Yanukovych and the leaders of three major opposition parties. The agreement contained terms for a cessation of violence, immediate power sharing, and new elections. Smelling blood in the water, the opposition in Maidan Square did not withdraw from the streets or surrender their illegal weapons as agreed, but instead went on the offensive. Yanukovych, under threat to his life, fled Kiev along with many others in his Party of Regions.

Nor did the opposition party leaders honor the agreement. The next day, they moved to impeach Yanukovych, however they failed to meet several requirements of the Ukrainian Constitution. They failed to indict the president, conduct an investigation, and have that investigation certified by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. Instead, they moved directly to a vote on impeachment and, even on that count, they failed to obtain the required three-fourths majority vote. So, even though the Budapest Memorandum did offer assurances of Ukrainian security and territorial integrity in exchange for surrender of Soviet-era nuclear weapons on its soil, the sovereign government of Ukraine had fallen in a violent unconstitutional putsch.

Yanukovych remained its legitimate president-in-exile and he, along with the prime minister of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, requested Russian intervention on the peninsula to provide security and protect the human rights of ethnic Russians threatened by the new coup government and neo-Nazi elements within it.

One can now see how real that threat was by looking to eastern Ukraine where the Ukrainian military and neo-Nazi paramilitaries such as the Azov Battallion, have moved with force against the defenders of the Donbass region whose people seek autonomy from a government in Kiev that they do not recognize. Approximately 10,000 people have died in the Donbass War, whereas only six people were killed during the period of annexation (February 23-March19, 2014) in Crimea.

While the Donbass War drags on, Crimea remains stable today. The popular referendum conducted on March 16, 2014 lent legitimacy to the subsequent annexation. Official results claimed 82% turnout with 96% of voters favoring reunification with Russia. Independent polling conducted in the early weeks of March 2014 found 70-77% of all Crimeans favored reunification. Six years prior to the crisis in 2008, a poll found that 63% favored reunification. Even though many ethnic Ukranians and Tatars boycotted the election, rejoining Russia was clearly the will of the majority of Crimean people.

President Putin, characterizing the situation in Ukraine as a revolution, claimed that Russia had no agreements with the new state and therefore no obligations under the Budapest Memorandum. He also cited Chapter I: Article 1 of the United Nations Charter, which calls for respect for the principle of self-determination of peoples. The 1975 Helsinki Accords, which affirmed post-World War II borders, also allowed for the change of national boundaries by peaceful internal means.

The Kosovo Precedent

It is also useful to consider parallel occurrences in Kosovo. In 1998 ethnic cleansing by Serbian troops and paramilitaries led to a NATO intervention without U.N. authorization. There is little question that the move was illegal, but legitimacy was claimed due to the urgent humanitarian need. Ten years later, Kosovo would declare independence from Serbia and the disputed matter would end up before the International Court of Justice. In 2009 the United States provided the Court with a statement on Kosovo that read in part: “Declarations of independence may, and often do, violate domestic legislation. However, this does not make them violations of international law.”

The United States should accept the Russian annexation of Crimea both as a pragmatic matter, and one of principle. In 1990, during negotiations for the re-unification of Germany, the United States promised that there would be no eastward expansion of NATO. That promise has now been broken three times and eleven new nations have been added to the alliance. Ukraine has also entered in partnership with NATO, and at various times, full membership has been discussed. Russia has consistently expressed its disapproval. According to your website, an objective of your trip was “to reinforce support for NATO”. If this weren’t provocative enough, your three-senator delegation went to a front-line military outpost in Shirokino, Ukraine to incite an escalation to the Donbass War. Senator Graham told the assembled soldiers “Your fight is our fight, 2017 will be the year of offense”. The leader of your delegation, Senator McCain, said “I am convinced you will win and we will do everything we can to provide you with what you need to win”.

After the speeches were given, you are seen in a video of the New Year’s Eve event accepting what appears to be a gift from one of the uniformed soldiers. With all of the furor over former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s resignation, and possible violation of the Logan Act, for discussing alleviation of sanctions with a Russian ambassador, this appears to be a far more serious offense. Not only did your delegation advocate for a foreign policy that was not aligned with that of acting President Obama, it was also contrary to President-elect Trump’s approach to the region. And the results of your advocacy have the potential to be far more deadly than the mere alleviation of sanctions.

Sincerely, Mike Madden St. Paul, Minnesota

Posted in UkraineComments Off on Challenging Klobuchar on Ukraine War

Ukraine, Crimea and the Push for War

NOVANEWS
Image result for Ukraine, PRESIDENT CARTOON
By James ONeill – New Eastern Outlook 

There are currently three major flash points in the world, where a false step could rapidly lead to escalation and a major war from which human civilization would be the main loser. Those flashpoints are the Middle East, the South China Sea and Ukraine/Crimea. In each of them Australia has made major missteps, invariably at the request of the Americans, and where Australia’s national interest is either non-existent or the opposite of the actions that have been taken.

The recent upsurge in fighting in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine, collectively referred to as Donbass, where Ukrainian forces have vastly increased the artillery barrage of civilian areas has sharpened the likelihood of a more serious war breaking out. In these circumstances the responsibility of the media to accurately report what is happening and why is high. Yet, as is so often the case, we are treated to a non-stop barrage of misinformation and outright propaganda.

The reincorporation of Crimea into the Russian Federation in March 2014 is invariably portrayed as the result of an “invasion” and “annexation” and that peace can only be restored with Crimea’s return to Ukraine.

This is not only a rewriting of history; it also ignores the crucial historical background of that region of the world and how that is relevant to the present day. A brief history is in order, if only because it is not something that the mainstream media will ever state, as wedded as they are to a narrative whose sole purpose is the demonization of Russia and of President Putin.

Ukraine itself has only had its modern borders since 1945. Prior to that time part had come under the sway of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and another part had been incorporated into Tsarist Russia in 1667. Following the peasant revolt of 1768/69 there was a partitioning between the Austrian empire and the Russian empire. It has therefore to a greater or lesser extent been a part of the Russian empire for more than 300 years. To give that some perspective, it is a longer period than either the United States or Australia has been a nation state.

Following the Ukrainian War of Independence from 1917-1921 it was absorbed into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics where it remained until the break up of the USSR in 1991.

Crimea has had a similarly chequered history. Prior to the Crimean War 1853-56 when Australian troops fought with the British and the Turks against Russia, Crimea had been part of the Russian Empire. Catherine the Great defeated the Ottomans in 1783 and thereafter Crimea was part of Russia. That war was fought on Crimean soil. Prior to the Ottomans, Crimea had for the previous 2000 years been variously parts of the Greek, Roman, Mongol and other empires. Then as now it occupied a strategic position on the Black Sea. The Crimean War had as a primary target the Russian naval base at Sevastopol. Which is further evidence that nothing really changes.

After the Russian Revolution Crimea became an autonomous Republic within the USSR and stayed there until 1954. In that year, following a resolution of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR it was transferred to Ukraine.

There are various theories as to why the transfer was made, one popular version being that it was a symbolic gesture marking the 300th anniversary of Ukraine becoming part of the Tsardom of Russia. The actual reasons do not matter so much as two other factors that were operative.

The first was that as an integral part of the USSR it did not make a great deal of political difference as to which State Crimea was nominally attached. The second factor was that neither the Russian people nor the Crimeans were consulted about the decision.

There things remained until February 2014 when a coup was mounted against the lawful government of Ukraine. The Australian media refuse to acknowledge that it was a coup, and that the coup was organized and paid for ($5 billion dollars) by the Americans, as the chief organizer, then Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland freely acknowledged to a congressional committee.

The Crimeans, as indeed also the residents of the Donbass region, were extremely unhappy with the takeover in Kiev of a frankly fascist government. The people of eastern Ukraine, including Crimea, are overwhelmingly ethnic Russian, speak the Russian language as their first language, intermarry with Russians across the border, and culturally identify with Russia.

A referendum was hastily organized and held on 16 March 2014. The result was that there was an 83% turnout, and 96.77% of those who voted were in favour of being readmitted to the Russian Federation. That result was condemned by the US and Australia, among other nations. The main objections stated were that the vote was held after Russian troops had “invaded” Crimea, and that the Crimeans had no right to hold such a referendum.

In one form or another those objections have been repeated by the western media ever since. An added claim is that the “annexation” of Crimea is further evidence of “Russian aggression” in general and that of Mr Putin in particular.

The facts are rather different. First, let us look at the “invasion” claim. There were already 25,000 Russian troops in Crimea. They were there pursuant to a treaty with the Ukrainian government, mainly associated with the very important Russian naval base at Sevastopol. It will be recalled that that naval base was a major target of the British and allied forces in the Crimean War more than 150 years earlier.

There was absolutely no evidence that the presence of Russian troops prevented the free exercise of the vote by Crimeans in the referendum, except indirectly in that their presence certainly deterred Ukraine from military intervention.

Independent polls conducted after the referendum, for example by the German Gfk polling organisation showed that 82% of those polled supported the referendum result and only 4% opposed it. Other, including American, polling organisations, obtained similar results.

The second major claim is that the referendum was “unlawful” and as such not recognised by the western powers. This is a classic example of western hypocrisy. Western governments are perfectly willing to accept independence referenda when it suits their geopolitical purposes to do so. There are a number of recent examples.

In April 1993 Eritrea held a referendum to establish its independence from Ethiopia. Only Eritreans were able to vote. It passed overwhelmingly. There was no objection from the US or Australia.

On 17 February 2008 Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia. There was no referendum. Not only did the US not object, they bombed Serbia to encourage the government to accept the result. Australia protested neither the declaration of independence nor the illegal bombing.

The International Court of Justice gave an advisory opinion on Kosovo’s declaration of independence on 23 July 2010. The Court noted that previous declarations of independence being declared invalid had to be seen in their specific context. Importantly, the Court noted as a general principle that there was an absence of a general prohibition against unilateral declarations of independence under international law.

The important factual difference in Crimea’s case is the long history of the peninsula as a part of Russia; its ethnic and linguistic ties to Russia; and that there was a referendum with the overwhelming majority of citizens voting to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia.

In September 2014 the people of Scotland voted in a referendum of whether or not they would remain a part of the United Kingdom or become a separate sovereign nation. In that case the referendum was narrowly lost although a mooted second referendum following the Brexit vote in the UK may well have a different result.

Again, neither the US nor Australia claimed that the Scots were not entitled to have a referendum, nor that they would refuse to recognise the result.

The final point to be made in this context is that in 1970 the United Nations General Assembly passed by acclamation (i.e. without dissent from either Australia or the United States) a Declaration on Principles of International Law .

In the section of the Resolution regarding “the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples” was the following passage:

By virtue of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, all peoples have the right to freely determine, without external interference, their political status and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and every State has the duty to respect this right in accordance with the provisions of the Charter.

What the Crimeans have done is no more nor less than they are entitled to in accordance with this Declaration. It is Australia, the United States and others that condemn Crimea and the Russians who are in breach of their legal and moral obligations.

A further illustration of western hypocrisy over Crimea and the Donbass is the total silence over the ongoing military assault against the civilian population of Donbass. The Minsk 2 Accords, initiated by France and Germany, and agreed to by Russia and Ukraine, contained a number of provisions designed to recognise the legitimate aspirations of the people of Donbass.

The Minsk 2 Accord provided, inter alia, for a ceasefire; a pullback of Ukrainian troops; for the Ukrainian Rada to pass specific laws relating to the governance of Donbass; and to amend the Ukrainian constitution to incorporate decentralization as a key component.

All of these provisions have been ignored and violated. Instead of condemning the Ukrainian violations and failure to carry out its obligations, the US and its allies have continued to blame Russia. Immediately after the US election, Senators McCain and Graham travelled to Kiev and urged Ukraine to keep fighting, promising American support.

There is no evidence that they did so with the support of then President –elect Trump and their authority to do so is unclear. The immediate result of the US Senator’s visit was an upsurge in the bombardment of villages and towns in the Donbass region.

There is an equally stunning silence from the Australian authorities. They seem incapable of understanding history, incapable of recognizing the efforts made by the Russians to create an economic arrangement that would benefit Ukraine through open association with both the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union; and of recognizing the grave potential for war posed by the reckless expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders.

Instead of recognizing the historical and geopolitical realities, including that Ukraine is now a failed state ruled by neo-fascists, they continue to parrot the tired cliché that the Russians are to blame.

Upon such fatal ignorance are wars often started.

Posted in UkraineComments Off on Ukraine, Crimea and the Push for War

Large-scale Offensive by Ukrainian Armed Forces against Donbass: Propaganda vs. Reality

NOVANEWS
 
Map_of_the_Donbass

Media coverage of the recent escalation in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine has once again shown that mainstream media provides a slanted view on the military situation in the region. It is especially interesting to observe how various mainstream outlets and so-called “NGOs” blamed militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) for an alleged usage of human shields in artillery duels. However, all these reports just hide how things really work on the ground.

The recent escalation began in late January starting with a large-scale offensive by Ukrainian Armed Forces in the industrial area of Avdeevka, south of the DPR capital of Donetsk. Meanwhile, artillery strikes dramatically intensified along the entire contact line.


This video is based on a military analysis by Denis Seleznev; Voiceover by Harold Hoover

The escalation deeply affected Donetsk, Makeevka, and Yasinovataya which compose a de-facto, united, highly populated, urban, complex with industrial infrastructure.

A Soviet-made 82mm mortar, widely used by both sides in the conflict, has a maximum firing range of 3km. A 120mm mortar has a firing range of 5km. D-30 122mm howitzers and 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers have a firing range of about 15km. 2S3 Akatsiya self-propelled howitzers have a firing range of about 18km, and BM-21 Grad military rocket launcher systems have a firing range of between 30 and 40 km in case of the usage of modern rockets.

If DPR and Ukrainian artillery units want to hit each other they are pushed to deploy these weapons much closer to the contact line. In case of a real combat in the area of Donetsk, and especially in case of a counter-battery fire, DPR forces are pushed to operate from areas located close to the urban complex. Furthermore, artillery units have to maneuver on a constant basis in order to avoid artillery strikes by the enemy.

In turn, Ukrainian Armed Forces have many more options to deploy artillery and other combat systems in non-populated areas but they don’t do this because in this case they will not be able to blame DPR units for shelling some residential areas.

It’s obvious that both sides implement a kind of military censorship hiding on an official level. However, this allows the mainstream media and think tanks to highlight some facts while hiding others in order to create a wide range of media forgeries, manipulating public opinion over the conflict.

Posted in UkraineComments Off on Large-scale Offensive by Ukrainian Armed Forces against Donbass: Propaganda vs. Reality

Ukraine Sabotages Trump’s Russia Detente

NOVANEWS
Image result for Ukraine NAZI LOGO
By Jonathan Marshall 

Less than two weeks into office, President Trump faces one of the first big tests of his non-confrontational policy toward Russia. As new fighting erupts in Eastern Ukraine, the Kiev regime and its U.S. supporters are predictably demanding a showdown with Vladimir Putin.

Initial evidence suggests, however, that the latest flare-up in this nearly three-year-old conflict was precipitated by Kiev, possibly in the hope of forcing just such a confrontation between Washington and Moscow. It’s looking more and more like a rerun of a disastrous stunt pulled by the government of Georgia in 2008, which triggered a clash with Russia with the expectation that the George W. Bush administration would come to its rescue and bring Georgia into the NATO alliance.

After months of relative quiet, the fighting in Ukraine erupted on Jan. 28 around the city of Avdiivka, a now-decrepit industrial center. Eight pro-government fighters and five separatists apparently died in the first two days of hostilities. Meanwhile, residents of the city are struggling to survive heavy shelling and sub-zero weather with no heating.

Perennial critics of Russia were quick to blame Moscow for the renewed bloodshed. “We call on Russia to stop the violence (and), honor the cease-fire,” declared a State Department official.

The Washington Post’s reliably neo-conservative editorial page suggested that Russia felt liberated to unleash rocket and artillery barrages after Putin spoke with Trump by phone, with the goal of wrecking a meeting between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Russian onslaught “look(s) a lot like a test of whether the new president will yield to pressure from Moscow,” the Post declared, as if this were Czechoslovakia, 1938, all over again.

Poroshenko was quick to take advantage of the clash by asking, rhetorically, “Who would dare talk about lifting the sanctions in such circumstances?” Just last month, Austria’s foreign minister called for an easing of sanctions on Russia in return for “any positive development” in Ukraine. President Trump has been noncommittal about sanctions in the face of full-throated demands by congressional hawks in both parties to keep them in place.

Who’s to Blame?

The jury is still out on who provoked the latest violence, but Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, established by the U.S. government to broadcast propaganda during the height of the Cold War, reported Monday:

“Frustrated by the stalemate in this 33-month war of attrition, concerned that Western support is waning, and sensing that U.S. President Donald Trump could cut Kyiv out of any peace negotiations as he tries to improve fraught relations with Moscow, Ukrainian forces anxious to show their newfound strength have gone on what many here are calling a ‘creeping offensive.’

“Observers say the Ukrainians appear to be trying to create new facts on the ground . . . In doing so, the pro-Kyiv troops have sparked bloody clashes with their enemy, which has reportedly made advances of its own — or tried to — in recent weeks.”

A senior member of Europe’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine warned, “The direct result of forward moves is escalation in tension, which often turns to violence.” How right he was.

It’s hard to see what Putin gains from new fighting, at a time when Trump faces an army of skeptics at home for his go-easy-on-Russia strategy. Poroshenko has everything to gain, on the other hand, by pressing Americans and West Europeans to reaffirm their support for his government, which took power after a 2014 coup that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych, who was strongly supported in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

The Georgia Playbook

The situation is reminiscent of the August 2008 conflict between Russia and its neighbor on the Black Sea, Georgia. A bloody clash between the two countries’ armed forces in the tiny enclave of South Ossetia prompted a blast of militant rhetoric from American hawks.

Vice President Richard Cheney declared, “Russian aggression must not go unanswered.” Richard Holbrooke, who would become a senior adviser to the future President Obama, said, “Moscow’s behavior poses a direct challenge to European and international order.”

It may have been significant that the Georgian president’s paid U.S. lobbyist was also presidential candidate John McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser. As one analyst commented at the time, “McCain’s swift and belligerent response to the Soviet actions in Georgia has bolstered his shaky standing with the right-wing of the Republican Party. . . . Since the crisis erupted, McCain has focused like a laser on Georgia, to great effect. According to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released on August 19 he has gained four points on Obama since their last poll in mid-July and leads his rival by a two to one margin as the candidate best qualified to deal with Russia.”

Yet when the smoke settled, it turned out that Georgia, not Russia, had started the war by launching an artillery barrage against South Ossetia’s capital city. It was a ploy by Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili to drag the West into supporting his campaign to take over the enclave.

The independent International Crisis Group had warned in 2007 that Georgia’s risky strategy of provoking “frequent security incidents could degenerate into greater violence.”

A year later, following the brief war with Russia, an ICG investigation reported authoritatively that it began with a “disastrous miscalculation by Georgian leadership,” who “launched a large-scale military offensive” into the Russian-occupied enclave, killing dozens of civilians and causing severe damage to South Ossetia’s capital from artillery barrages.

The report also criticized “Russia’s disproportionate counter-attack,” which it deemed a response to “the decade-long eastward expansion of the NATO alliance” and other grievances.

Putting blame aside, the ICG report observed that “The Russia-Georgia conflict has transformed the contemporary geopolitical world, with large consequences for peace and security in Europe and beyond.” Indeed, it marked one of the greatest setbacks in post-Cold War relations between Moscow and the West until the 2014 Ukraine crisis.

If the 2017 Ukraine crisis gets out of hand, the consequences for peace and security may be just as great or greater. It will be informative to see whether President Trump and his national security team get the straight facts before capitulating to the interventionists who want to see U.S.-Russian relations remain strained and volatile.

Posted in UkraineComments Off on Ukraine Sabotages Trump’s Russia Detente

Ukraine’s offensive ‘aimed at preventing Russian sanctions being lifted’: provokes criticism instead

NOVANEWS

Image result for Ukraine’s offensive CARTOON

By Alexander Mercouris 

Just a few days ago on RT’s Crosstalk programme Peter Lavelle, myself and the two other guests, Dmitry Babich and Ed Lozansky, discussed the Ukrainian regime’s likely reaction to the new Trump administration.

We all agreed that the likely response of the Ukrainian regime to the steps the Trump administration is taking to try to patch up US relations with Russia would be to escalate military tensions in the Donbass with a view in part to bolstering its political support in the West as this appeared to slide.

Our discussion took place in the early stages of the latest Ukrainian military offensive near the village of Avdeevka in eastern Ukraine. Since we had our discussion the situation has escalated – exactly as we predicted – with the fighting becoming fiercer and more bitter.

There is as always dispute about the state of the fighting and who is winning.  The Ukrainians predictably claim to be advancing. More reliable reports suggest they have in fact made little headway, and that their losses are high.

The most important point about the fighting is not that it is happening, or that it is getting worse.  Despite the two Minsk agreements – agreed by Ukraine in September 2014 and February 2015 – fighting in the Donbass has never stopped, and bitter flare ups repeatedly happen, as the Ukrainian military repeatedly goes back onto the offensive.

Rather what is striking about the latest fighting is that for the first time Ukraine is coming under criticism from the West.

For the first time since it was created the OSCE monitoring mission is apparently blaming Ukraine for the fighting.

Meanwhile a statement released by the US State Department – whose press office is still headed by Obama’s appointee Mark Toner – not only failed to support Ukraine but also failed to blame Russia for the fighting.  Instead it merely expressed “deep concern” and support for the Minsk II agreement (which Ukraine is violating) whilst appearing to contradict Kiev’s casualty claims by speaking of “dozens of Ukrainian military casualties” as opposed to the dozen dead Ukraine has admitted to.

Of far greater concern to the Ukrainian regime must however be the reaction of the German government, which following the change of administration in the US is now the one important ally it has left.

According to a report in Süddeutsche Zeitung, not only is the German government blaming Ukraine for the fighting, but it is apparently worried that the Ukrainian regime will achieve the opposite of its intentions. Specifically it seems the Germans realise the purpose of the offensive is to prevent US President Trump from cancelling the sanctions US President Obama imposed on Russia. However the Germans are worried that Trump will cancel the sanctions anyway, despite the fighting, leaving Ukraine further exposed.

Here is how Süddeutsche Zeitung explains German thinking

According to Berlin, whose information is based, among other things, on reports from the OSCE mission in the Eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian military forces are currently trying to shift the front line in their favour…..

According to some members of the German government, this might be intended to increase tensions so as to block plans by US President Donald Trump to relax the sanctions. According to Berlin’s interpretation, Poroshenko wants to do just about anything to prevent an end to the sanctions against Russia.

The Federal [German] Government is however concerned that Kiev’s calculus could be counterproductive. Trump might ease the sanctions independently of the situation at the contact line. And then Kiev would be faced with double damage: an improvement in Russia’s position with a simultaneous intensification of the conflict in the Eastern Ukraine.

Whether it is possible to dissuade Kiev from its own provocations, no one in Berlin dares to predict.

If the Germans really are thinking in this way then it is understandable why Ukrainian President Poroshenko has just cut short his visit to Germany. Instead of getting the support from the Germans he might have been expecting, hearing this sort of thing would have been – to put it mildly – extremely unwelcome. It’s not surprising that Poroshenko preferred to return home rather than hear it.

How far Poroshenko and the Ukrainian regime are prepared to go in pursuing their latest offensive remains to be seen. The key point however is that even if some sort of ceasefire is patched up, it will not mean peace in Ukraine or the Donbass. Quite simply peace in Ukraine and the Donbass cannot happen so long as the current regime in Kiev remains in power.

In that respect the article in Süddeutsche Zeitung points to the key problem which has stood in the way of peace in Ukraine and the Donbass since the start of the conflict there.

Having trapped herself into a policy of open ended support for the current Ukrainian regime, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (the likely source of the story in Süddeutsche Zeitung ) is not really concerned with Ukrainian responsibility for the latest fighting in the Donbass, even though it breaches the Minsk agreement and a succession of ceasefires which she has herself negotiated. The report in Süddeutsche Zeitung contains no hint of moral censure by her of Poroshenko’s or the Ukrainian regime’s actions.

Instead Merkel’s concern is that because of Donald Trump’s policy of rapprochement with Russia the Ukrainian regime, by violating the Minsk agreement and the ceasefires by going on the military offensive, may be overreaching itself, threatening its own existence and by extension Merkel’s position in Germany and Europe.

Needless to say the converse of this is that if contrary to Merkel’s expectations the Ukrainian “calculus” turns out right, and the Ukrainians either achieve a military breakthrough or prevent the lifting of the sanctions, then Merkel will be delighted, in spite of the fact that the Ukrainians have violated the Minsk agreement and the ceasefires she has herself negotiated by going on the offensive.

So long as such cynical attitudes persist in Western capitals the Ukrainian conflict will continue because the Ukrainian regime will feel that it has a critical mass of Western support it can always rely upon however badly it behaves.

I would add that the cynicism behind Merkel’s thinking revealed by Süddeutsche Zeitung – which is so different from the moralising poses she likes to strike – is actually typical of her, and in large part explains the widespread mistrust and dislike of her there now is in Russia, in many European capitals, and quite possibly before long in the US.

It remains to be seen whether the new Trump administration in the US is able or willing to break with it, bringing a hope of peace finally to the Donbass and Ukraine, and securing the basis for a better relationship with Russia, which without a settlement of the conflict in Ukraine is in the end impossible.

Posted in UkraineComments Off on Ukraine’s offensive ‘aimed at preventing Russian sanctions being lifted’: provokes criticism instead

Happy New Year Donbass, from Killer John McCain and Co.

NOVANEWS

Yes, she was strangled in the Odessa massacre with the lamp cord and then her throat cut… to send a message of what was in store for Donbass

by Phil Butler

We will keep the Russians for the tapes of all the radio shows John did in North Vietnam, after disclosing the bombing routes of his fellow pilots

[ Editor’s Note: Hanoi John McCain continues to be the embarrassment he has long been, with no “coming to Jesus” moment anywhere on the horizon. If ever there was a threat to US national security, it rests between this man’s two ears.

VT readers are no stranger to McCain’s background. We are blessed with historically informed patrons here. They know that Arizona is a mob political state and is going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Never so little has been owed by so many to so few as McCain and Lindsey Graham. If it were not for their immunity, they should be doing long stretches in the slammer, but it seems they will have to wait until pearly gates time to settle up on that.

I thought the Ukies opening fire and breaking the Donbass ceasefire once again was possibly a first time original way to thank a US Congressman for making a speech. I worry about our American political system when people so debased are able to rise up to these high political positions, where they get to enjoy their Attila the Hun fantasies.

But what is becoming worse is this mantra we are hearing, even from the incoming Trump people about spreading “American values”. A country engaged in state-sponsored terrorism, and certainly not the only one, has some gall to toot their horn with that counterfeit slogan. We look around for opposition to confront them in Congress and generally find most all are drinking the Koolaid.

I keep thinking of Trump’s “drain the swamp” grandstanding; how easily he fired up the Tea Party folks with that Pied Piper magic, only to load his administration with NeoCons and banksters, and not a populist to be found among them. And we hear no reports of Tea Party people jumping off of buildings or bridges in shame.

With a NeoCon-controlled House and Senate and a reality TV show President, I fear we are all in a very dangerous position, one that the people of Syria and Donbass could tell us a lot about… American values that isJim W. Dean ]

_________

– First published  …  January 04, 2017

Meet the man that makes a bad joke out of representing America

On New Year’s Eve America’s two most famous warmongers, US Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) visited the troops of Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko in Mariupol overlooking the battle lines with self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s.

Then scant minutes after the American dignitary’s departure, the soldiers they promised aid and support to opened fire. Breaking the Minsk imposed truce for the hundredth time, the so-called “UKROPS” began shelling areas of the Donbass.

McCain, some will recall, was the top US cheerleader for the Maidan coup that unseated the standing Ukraine government and started the civil war that led to current west-east tensions. Now, with the Syria asymmetrical strategies thwarted, the Pentagon’s chief evangelist is back in Ukraine proclaiming the intentions of the military industrial complex he and Graham represent.

What is most striking about McCain in Ukraine at this moment, is the clearly desperate nature of his visit. This can be gleaned from watching this video segment of his speech from the square in Mariupol to the Ukraine people and the troops in the trenches. McCain showed the true hand of the players behind this civil war and others in this speech. He said, in part:

“In 2017 we will defeat the invaders and send them back to where they came from.”

The US Senator went on to address Russian President Vladimir Putin directly saying;

“You will never defeat the Ukrainian people and deprive them of their independence and freedom.” He had sworn to provide Poroshenko’s troops whatever is necessary to defeat those in East Ukraine, in his visit to the bunker on the front lines already.

The North Vietnamese saved McCain, where in a strange twist of fate he would end up torturing us with his warped vision of America

The significance of the Arizona senator’s promises cannot be underestimated here, as the Minsk accords call for a strictly peaceful settlement, military victories having no place in the potential accord.

McCain, his colleague Graham, and their constituents in Congress have done everything in their power to not only fun and promote ongoing conflict in the world, but they’ve joined the Obama administration in doing everything humanly possible to tie the hands of the incoming president.

McCain, on behalf of the defense corporations that have supported him and Graham for decades now, is dead set on a war on Russia. This is not a matter for conjecture.

Legislation just signed by outgoing President Barack Obama is the latest, and possibly most damaging bit of “revenge” Obama casts at Putin and anti-hegemony advocates before leaving. S.2943 – the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 sponsored by McCain, contains words and constraints that in essence prohibit Donald Trump from allying with Russia against ISIL or any foe, until the former Ukraine falls into the NATO sphere.

My colleague, geo-policy analyst Holger Eekhof delved into McCain’s efforts early in the drafting processes of this law. What he discovered was a hidden-in-plain-sight agenda that could lead to World War III. S.2943 states specifically:

“(Sec. 1233) Prohibits FY2017 funds from being used for bilateral military-to-military cooperation between the governments of the United States and Russia until DOD certifies to Congress that Russia has: (1) ceased its occupation of Ukrainian territory and its aggressive activities that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; and (2) is abiding by the terms of and taking steps in support of the Minsk Protocols regarding a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. Permits a waiver under specified conditions.”

Furthermore, this “McCain-Obama” law approves funding for the continued training, funding and equipping of “Anti-Assad” forces inside war torn Syria. McCain and his colleagues also rubber stamped a plan for the taking and “holding” of the eastern Syria city of Raqqa in the oil rich regions bordering Kurdistan. The significance of the latter bears special scrutiny given that Aleppo and most of western Syria is being retaken by the legitimate government of Assad.

McCain has been fully onboard the jihadi bandwagon

Raqqa, for those unfamiliar, is the key to Syria’s only real wealth of oil. This is the crux of the Syria regime change after all, the fragmentation or destruction of an Israel foe, coinciding with a robbery of still more oil riches from Middle Eastern sovereign peoples. The well is too deep to discuss here, but McCain and Obama have achieved at least part of what I believe the mission was all along.

TASS and other news agencies reported on the Minsk ceasefire breeches after Senator McCain’s visit, and I corroborated with my colleague on the ground in Donetsk who concurred. Minsk-2, signed in Minsk on February 12, 2015, is ceasefire regime between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) requiring the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement.

The deal is supposedly a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions. Clearly, John McCain, Barack Obama, and lawmakers like South Carolina’s Graham have no intentions of aiding in any such peaceful negotiations.

The only solution in this world for them, is an Obama-era solution. McCain and Graham are galivanting all around the frontiers of Russia bolstering the NATO message these last days, first in the Baltics, then Ukraine, and most recently in the Republic of Georgia. From my perspective both of them are reprehensible figures in American history, with their unprecedented posturing for war.

McCain, like Barack Obama and the other Washington reprehensibles, hammers a war drum no matter what. Peace and negotiations have no place in the military industrial complex playbook, and anyone with an ounce of intelligence can see it. Passing laws that propagate war behind he backs of the American people, McCain and these others are almost miraculous examples of what happens when a citizenry falls dead asleep at the wheel.

Just how my countrymen can stand idly by and watch proven profiteer puppets operate for special interests, it boggles the mind. McCain, the man who came to prominence for his POW role in the Vietnam War, has become what many consider the most heartless killer of a generation.

Millions have literally suffered and/or died via the policies of hegemony this man has championed. One can only hope that President Donald Trump can summon the necessary groundswell of support in Washington to ostracize their likes.

 

 

Posted in UkraineComments Off on Happy New Year Donbass, from Killer John McCain and Co.

McCain’s Largely Unreported Treachery Against the US

Image result for John McCain CARTOON
Arizona’s recently re-elected Republican senator John McCain, along with his faithful «drama queen» accomplice South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, recently met with a contingent of Ukrainian troops at a «forward combat zone» in Shyrokyne in eastern Ukraine and publicly questioned president-elect Donald Trump’s plans to defrost America’s chilly relations with Russia. For McCain, his return to his personal war front in Ukraine came three years after he stood with Ukrainian neo-Nazis and fascists on Kiev’s Maidan Square calling for the ouster of president Viktor Yanukovych.

Meanwhile, McCain, Graham, and their neo-conservative allies within the Republican and Democratic parties, as well as press outlets like The Washington Post, have questioned Trump’s ultimate loyalty to the United States. The neocons’ angst arises from their anger over the incoming president wisely doubting the efficacy of Central Intelligence Agency «intelligence» linking Russia to a spate of computer penetrations of U.S. computer systems and networks, including pre-election hacks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and private email of Hillary Clinton’s top campaign officials.

After President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from Washington, DC and San Francisco and shut down two Russian diplomatic compounds in Maryland and New York in retaliation for unproven Russian government involvement in the hacking, McCain and his neocon war hawks doubled down by claiming that Russian hacking of U.S. computer systems amounted to an «act of war». Seizing on the neocons’ war frenzy, the CIA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that Russian hackers had penetrated the electrical power grid operated by Vermont’s Burlington Electric. The Washington Post, owned by Amazon billionaire and CIA cloud computing contractor Jeff Bezos, echoed the grid hacking story as factual.

There was only one problem with the Russian electrical grid hacking headline: it was not true. Burlington Electric revealed that a laptop computer in the possession of a Burlington Electric employee, which allegedly was infected by a malware program linked by the U.S. government to Russian hackers, was never connected to the Vermont electrical grid. The laptop contained a hackers’ software package called Neutrino, which is not linked, in any way, to Russia. An attempt by the «Amazon Post» and the war hawks to pin the Vermont grid story on Russia and link it to the DNC hacking fell flat on its face.

Burlington Electric issued a statement on December 30, 2016, identifying DHS as the «boy who cried wolf» that issued the same «Russian malware» scare to electric utilities across the United States. The statement read, «Last night, U.S. utilities were alerted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of a malware code used in Grizzly Steppe, the name DHS has applied to a Russian campaign linked to recent hacks. We acted quickly to scan all computers in our system for the malware signature. We detected the malware in a single Burlington Electric Department laptop not connected to our organization’s grid systems».

It turned out that Ukraine, the country where McCain, Graham, and Minnesota’s rather myopic Democratic senator Amy Klobuchar were kibitzing with army troops and neo-Nazi armed militia members over the holidays, was the source of the malware hacking program used to hack into DNC computers. The Washington Post was also forced to shamefully retract its grid hacking story. The episode was yet another example of the haste at which the outgoing Obama administration and the neocon toadies in the Republican Party led by McCain were apt to blame any bad news on «the Russians». It was as if the Cold War witch hunter senator Joseph McCarthy had met the Keystone Kops. The situation would have been funny had it not been for the fact that the actions of Obama and the neocons propelled the world closer to cataclysmic warfare with the likes of McCain, Graham, and others beating the war drums.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and DHS amateurishly coined the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC computers with the cover term «Grizzly Steppe», a code phrase that would have been rejected by any legitimate Hollywood movie script writer as being too cartoonish and campy. Moreover, the malware used in the hacking of the Democrats’ computers was an antiquated version of PHP, a program originally designed for personal home pages, hence the abbreviation PHP, but which now stands for «PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor».

The PHP malware was found to be freely distributed by a Ukrainian hacker group as a hackers’ tool. Although the FBI, DHS, and CIA did not bother to investigate whether the Ukrainian hackers were linked to McCain’s and Graham’s friends in the Ukrainian intelligence service, the Ukrainians would have had every reason to initiate a further damaging fracture in relations between the United States and Russia. Furthermore, the Ukrainians could have availed themselves of «network weaving» tools to run their malware through servers in Russia.

In fact, the amateurish FBI/DHS «Grizzly Steppe» report found that the Ukrainian malware, later blamed on the Russians, had passed through the IP [Internet Protocol] addresses of 389 organizations in 61 different countries. None of the 389 malware pass-through IPs, including those of the University of Michigan; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York; Datasource AG in Ingmarso, Sweden; Hunenberg, Switzerland; Kustbandet AB in Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria; Voxility S.R.L. of Bucharest; and Amazon.com – the company owned by none other than Washington Post owner and CIA contractor Mr. Bezos! – were linked to the Russian government. These include the United States, Ukraine, Russia, China, France, Germany, Seychelles, Moldova, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Montenegro, Romania, and Israel. Such a rich global network, which included several TOR anonymous browsing gateways, would have provided more than ample network weaving opportunities to mask the original Ukrainian digital fingerprints on the actual hacking of DNC computers.

The malware program, called P.A.S. version 3.1.7., is contained in a web shell of PHP code. The malware program states that it is «Made in Ukraine» and the date of the program, 2011-2016 is followed by the letters «UA,» the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) two-letter code for Ukraine

In eastern Ukraine, standing alongside a camouflage-festooned chocolate mogul president Petro Poroshenko, McCain and Graham accused Russia of «attacking» the United States, with Graham accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of «hacking our election». Both called for increased sanctions against Russia. However, the sum-total of computer security knowledge of these two Republican fossils would not exceed that possessed by a kindergarten student in Arizona or South Carolina.

Rather than accuse other Americans, including Mr. Trump, of engaging in potentially treasonous activities, perhaps Mr. McCain should recall the charges made by several U.S. prisoners-of-war about his «singing» to his North Vietnamese captors after his plane was shot down over Hanoi in October 1967. McCain, according to some fellow POWs who later spoke out, gladly gave his captors about six months’ worth of U.S. Navy operational plans for the bombing of North Vietnam and Laos. McCain’s psychosis about Russia reportedly could stem from his time at the «Hanoi Hilton» POW prison. McCain was given the Russian KGB code name «Jack Mouse» and, per Chan Chong Duet, the commander of the prison, the downed Navy pilot and son of the U.S. Pacific Forces Commander, Admiral John McCain, Jr., was quite free with the information he passed to North Vietnamese, Cuban, and Soviet officers while being treated for his wounds by Soviet doctors. If McCain wants to question the loyalty of any American, he should look into a mirror. He should also seek out psychiatric assistance.

Posted in USA, UkraineComments Off on McCain’s Largely Unreported Treachery Against the US

Ukraine in Full-Blown Collapse: Deep-seated Economic, Social Crisis and Environmental Crisis

NOVANEWS
Ukraine

With all the action in Syria, the Ukraine is no longer a subject for discussion in the West. In Russia, where the Ukraine is still a major problem looming on the horizon, and where some 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees are settling in, with no intentions of going back to what’s left of the Ukraine, it is still actively discussed. But for the US, and for the EU, it is now yet another major foreign policy embarrassment, and the less said about it the better.

In the meantime, the Ukraine is in full-blown collapse—all five glorious stages of it—setting the stage for a Ukrainian Nightmare Before Christmas, or shortly after.

Phase 1. Financially, the Ukrainian government is in sovereign default as of a couple of days ago. The IMF was forced to break its own rules in order to keep it on life support even though it is clearly a deadbeat. In the process, the IMF stiffed Russia, which happens to be one of its major shareholders; what gives?

Phase 2. Industry and commerce are approaching a standstill and the country is rapidly deindustrializing. Formerly, most of the trade was with Russia; this is now over. The Ukraine does not make anything that the EU might want, except maybe prostitutes. Recently, the Ukraine has been selling off its dirt. This is illegal, but, given what’s been happening there, the term “illegal” has become the stuff of comedy.

Phase 3. Politically, the Ukrainian government is a total farce. Much of it has been turned over to fly-by-night foreigners, such as the former Georgian president Saakashvili, who is a wanted criminal in his own country, which has recently stripped him of his citizenship. The parliament is stocked with criminals who bought their seat to gain immunity from prosecution, and who spend their time brawling with each other. Prime Minister Yatsenyuk was recently hauled off the podium by his crotch; how dignified is that? He seemed unfazed. Where are his testicles? Perhaps Victoria Nuland over at the US State Dept. is keeping them in a jar. This sort of action may be fun to watch on Youtube, but the reality is quite sad: those who “run” the Ukraine (if the term still applies) are only interested in one thing: stealing whatever is left.

Phase 4. Ukrainian society (if the term still applies) has been split into a number of warring factions. This was, to some extent, inevitable. What happens if you take bits of Poland, Hungary, Romania and Russia, and stick them together willy-nilly? Well, results may vary; but if you also spend $5 billion US (as the Americans did) turning the Ukrainians against Russia (and, since they are mostly Russian, against themselves), then you get a complete disaster.

Phase 5. Cultural collapse is quite advanced. The Ukraine once had the same world-class educational system as Russia, but since independence they switched to teaching in Ukrainian (a made-up language) using nonexistent textbooks. The kids have been taught a bogus history hallucinated by rabid Ukrainian nationalists. They’ve been told that Russia is backward and keeping them back, and that they deserve to be happy in the EU. (Just like the Greeks? Yeah…) But now the population has been reduced to levels of poverty not commonly seen outside of Africa, and young people are fleeing, or turning to gangsterism and prostitution, to merely survive. This doesn’t make for a happy cultural narrative. What does it mean to be “a Ukrainian” now? Expletives deleted. Sorry I asked.

Now, here’s what it all really means. With so much going wrong, the Ukraine has been unable to secure enough natural gas or coal supplies to provide a supply cushion in case of a cold snap this winter. A few weeks of frosty weather will deplete the supply, and then pipes will freeze, rendering much of the urban areas unlivable from then on (because, recall, there is no longer any money, or any industry to speak of, to repair the damage). That seems bad enough, but we aren’t quite there yet.

You see, the Ukraine produces over half of its electricity using nuclear power plants. 19 nuclear reactors are in operation, with 2 more supposedly under construction. And this is in a country whose economy is in free-fall and is set to approach that of Mali or Burundi! The nuclear fuel for these reactors was being supplied by Russia. An effort to replace the Russian supplier with Westinghouse failed because of quality issues leading to an accident. What is a bankrupt Ukraine, which just stiffed Russia on billions of sovereign debt, going to do when the time comes to refuel those 19 reactors? Good question!

But an even better question is, Will they even make it that far? You see, it has become known that these nuclear installations have been skimping on preventive maintenance, due to lack of funds. Now, you are probably already aware of this, but let me spell it out just in case: a nuclear reactor is not one of those things that you run until it breaks, and then call a mechanic once it does. It’s not a “if it ain’t broke, I can’t fix it” sort of scenario. It’s more of a “you missed a tune-up so I ain’t going near it” scenario. And the way to keep it from breaking is to replace all the bits that are listed on the replacement schedule no later than the dates indicated on that schedule. It’s either that or the thing goes “Ka-boom!” and everyone’s hair falls out.

How close is Ukraine to a major nuclear accident? Well, it turns out, very close: just recently one was narrowly avoided when some Ukro-Nazis blew up electric transmission lines supplying Crimea, triggering a blackout that lasted many days. The Russians scrambled and ran a transmission line from the Russian mainland, so now Crimea is lit up again. But while that was happening, the Southern Ukrainian, with its 4 energy blocks, lost its connection to the grid, and it was only the very swift, expert actions taken by the staff there that averted a nuclear accident.

I hope that you know this already, but, just in case, let me spell it out again. One of the worst things that can happen to a nuclear reactor is loss of electricity supply. Yes, nuclear power stations make electricity—some of the time—but they must be supplied with electricity all the time to avoid a meltdown. This is what happened at Fukushima Daiichi, which dusted the ground with radionuclides as far as Tokyo and is still leaking radioactive juice into the Pacific.

And so the nightmare scenario for the Ukraine is a simple one. Temperature drops below freezing and stays there for a couple of weeks. Coal and natural gas supplies run down; thermal power plants shut down; the electric grid fails; circulator pumps at the 19 nuclear reactors (which, by the way, probably haven’t been overhauled as recently as they should have been) stop pumping; meltdown!

If this winter stays very, very warm, then the “19 Fukushimas” scenario just may be averted. This is not impossible: we’ve been seeing one freakishly warm winter after another, and each passing month is setting new records. The future is looking hot—as in very warm. Let us pray that it doesn’t also turn out to be hot—as in radioactive.

Posted in UkraineComments Off on Ukraine in Full-Blown Collapse: Deep-seated Economic, Social Crisis and Environmental Crisis

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING

April 2017
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930