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Russia/Ukraine News - Dec 26, 2014

 

Ukraine’s NATO aspirations dangerous for Europe: Lavrov - TASS


Ukraine ascension to NATO would end Russia-NATO ties: Moscow - RT News


Russia to take retaliatory measures to NATO's eastward expansion - GlobalPost


Russia doing more than anyone else to help settle situation in Ukraine: Lavrov - TASS


Lavrov says coming back to logic of national unity is crucial for Ukrainians - TASS


Russian FM Lavrov urges major constitutional reform in Ukraine - RT 


Lavrov: Russia Recognizes Poroshenko's Commitment to Peace in Ukraine - Sputnik International


Russia Signals More Military To Belarus as Ukraine Briefly Cuts Power To Crimea - ibtimes.com

 

Russia puts new military comsat into orbit (VIDEO) - RT News

 

Russia Releases List of Russian Combatants Killed in Ukraine from Ukrainian Defense Ministry Source - Interpreter_Mag

 

Savchenko in her first interview from a Russian prison: I did not aim any mortar fire, especially at unarmed persons - UNIAN news

 

Nadiya Savchenko to continue her hunger strike indefinitely after appeal rejected - khpg.org

 

Russia's finance minister insists currency turmoil is over - Telegraph

 

Russia’s international reserves fall below $400 billion to 5-year low - TASS

 

Putin Aide Says Russian Inflation to Hit 11 Percent in 2014 - The Moscow Times

 

Putin Orders Vodka Price Cap Amid Economic Crisis - rferl.org

 

Sanctions-Struck Gazprom Sees Gas Production Hit Record Low, Sales to EU and Turkey Down 9 pct in 2014 - The Moscow Times

 

Gazprom Confirms Ukraine’s $1.65Bln Gas Debt Repayment - Sputnik International

 

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Ukraine Conflict Sides Agree to Swap Captives: Luhansk Leader - Sputnik International


Pullout of Heavy Artillery in Donbas to Begin on December 26: Kiev - Sputnik International


Contact Group for Ukraine to hold second round of talks in Minsk on Friday: media - TASS


Ukraine peace talks continue via online link, separatists say - EUROPE ONLINE


Eastern Ukraine: Humanitarian disaster looms as food aid blocked by pro-Kyiv battalions - Amnesty International


Ukraine broadens powers of top security body, NSDC secretary is entitled to declare martial law or a state of emergency - Xinhua


Maximum resources are allocated for defense. The NSDC has recently decided to allocate 5% of GDP for the purposes of defense and security - Petro Poroshenko on Twitter

 

Seven persons injured during riot near Kharkov town hall, More than 200 people demand resignation of Mayor Gennady Kernes - TASS

 

Radical protesters throw ‘old regime’ official into dumpster in Kharkov (VIDEO) - RT News

 

VIDEO: In Kharkov the Right Sector beats a guy - LiveLeak.com

 

Railway bridge near Mariupol was blown up, practically cutting railway connection btw city and rest of Ukraine - Kateryna_Kruk on Twitter

 

Ukraine Expects IMF Decision on Multi-Billion Dollar Loan by Late January - The Moscow Times

 

Ukraine's parliament backs import tax rises amid budget crisis - Reuters

 

Ukraine resumes electricity supply to Crimea after brief blackout - APA

 

Ukraine Warns of More Power Cuts if Mild Weather Fades - VOA

 

VIDEO: Power Outage Throughout Crimea - YouTube

 

Ukraine Receives $380Mln Loan From World Bank for Power Grid Rehabilitation - Sputnik International

 

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New Competing Claims On Downing Of MH17 Pointing The Finger At The Separatists Or The Ukrainian Army - rferl.org


Newly-Available Photos of MH17 Shoot-Down by Separatists, and Interview with Eyewitness by RTL Nieuws (PHOTO, VIDEO) - Interpreter_Mag


Second MH17 BUK trail photo of MH17 shoot-down by separatists from July 17th (PHOTO) - Ukraine@war

 

Interview with eyewitness who made the photo of the BUK trail - Ukraine@war

 

Buk M2 TELAR Identifying Numbers Painted Over in Sudzha Videos (VIDEO, PHOTO) - bellingcat

 

Russian popular daily publishes eyewitness report on Ukraine military's role in MH17 shootdown - TASS


Witness account of Ukraine military’s MH17 shootdown confirmed by lie detector: investigators - RT News

 

VIDEO: (English): Witness account of Ukraine military's role in MH17 shootdown - YouTube

 

TRANSCRIPT (English): Witness account of Ukraine military's role in MH17 shootdown - voltairenet.org

 

Donetsk Leader Zakharchenko Says Witnessed Downing of MH17 Plane by Ukrainian Jets - Sputnik International

 

VIDEO: (Ukrainian): 'I saw Malaysian Airlines MH17 with my own eyes’: Zakharchenko - YouTube

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

 

I couldn't tell you about it and couldn't tell you why: ‘Gagged’ by the Government: a Police State Story

By Alfredo Lopez


For the past three months, I and other leaders of the organization May First/People Link have been under a federal subpoena to provide information we don't have. During that time, we have also been forbidden by a federal court "gag order" to tell anyone about that subpoena, although we had already announced it and commented on it before the order was sent. Finally, we were forbidden from telling anyone about the gag order itself.

Resolved: To Stop Imagining that Anything's Been Resolved

Things that humans are probably stuck with: eating, drinking, breathing, sex, love, friendship, anger, fear, joy, death, hope and change.

Things that some humans used to commonly claim humanity was permanently and inevitably stuck with (but have stopped thinking about in those terms, even if the thing is still around): monarchy, slavery, blood feuds, dueling, human sacrifice, cannibalism, corporal punishment, second-class status for women, bigotry toward GLBT, feudalism, Eric Cantor.

Things that humans illogically, baselessly, shortsightedly, and absurdly assume must always be with us, as if nothing had ever changed before: environmental destruction, war, mass-incarceration, capital punishment, police forces, religion, carnivorianism, extreme materialism, nuclear energy and weaponry, racism, poverty, plutocracy, capitalism, nationalism, the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Senate, the CIA, guns, the NSA, Guantanamo prison, torture, Hillary Clinton.

The year 2014 will be remembered as yet another year in which we inched closer toward environmental and militarized catastrophe, but also perhaps as a year in which crisis and enlightenment combined to open a few more eyes to the full range of possibilities available.

How often have you heard things like "We can't end war, because there is evil in the world, but we can end unjust wars" or "Renewable energy is a nice idea but can't actually work (even though it works in other countries)" or "We need police -- we just need accountability when certain police officers perform badly" or "We could legalize drugs but we'd still need prisons or we'd all be raped and killed" or "If we don't kill murderers we'll have more murder (like all those countries that have abolished capital punishment and have less murder)" or "We need reforms but we can't survive without the CIA or something like it -- we can't just not spy on people" or "Ever-increasing environmental destruction is inevitable"?

That last one could be true if feedback loops have already taken the earth's climate to a point of no return. But it can't be true in terms of human behavior. Nor can any of the others. And I suspect a lot of people see my point and agree with me on it. But how many view all of the above sentences as ludicrous?

A serious argument could be made that a human utopia should be policed by a police force. But no serious argument can be made that a police force is an inevitable accompaniment of our species, a species that saw 99% of its existence unpoliced. Most people in the small number of places that are at war take no part in it. Nations go for centuries without war. Homo sapiens went most of our existence without war. Massive institutions cannot be inevitable. Hunger and love are the kind of things that are inevitable. We ought to start hearing assertions of inevitability for institutions as ridiculous nonsense. Doing so might be the most serious action we can take.

Of course reforming a criminal justice system a little bit is the proper first step whether you think another step can follow or not. But the direction of the step may vary if you have a different final destination in mind. There's a difference between ending a war in order to be better prepared for other wars, and ending a war because it kills people and exemplifies an institution that should be dismantled and eliminated. Both efforts can have the same short-term result, but only one has the potential to go further and help avoid the next war.

An argument -- I hesitate to call it serious -- could be made that pretty much everything is going well, and that nothing much should be altered. Not only can such an argument be made, but it is subtly and powerfully made by just about everything that is ever said on our televisions and in our newspapers. It does not, however, add up to any argument that everything must inevitably continue unchanged, that nothing can be slowly or rapidly made over into a different sort of world.

We need to resolve to realize that nothing has been resolved, history has not ended, questions of politics have not been settled -- and that they never will be, that the very idea is incoherent. And isn't that what makes life worth living?

Talk Nation Radio: Jonathan Newton on Ending Police Brutality

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-jonathan-newton-on-ending-police-brutality

Jonathan Newton is founder of the National Association Against Police Brutality ( http://naapb.org ). He discusses steps that can be taken to address the problem, including eliminating the conflict of interest involved in police investigations of themselves.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from Archive or LetsTryDemocracy.

Pacifica stations can also download from AudioPort.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Rot In the Big Apple: Bashing Critics of Brutality Betrays Efforts to Reform Police

By Linn Washington, Jr.


Last fall an apparently unbalanced survivalist steeped in anti-government paranoia murdered a Pennsylvania State Trooper and seriously wounded another Trooper during a sniper attack. Recently an apparently unbalanced man with a criminal past murdered two New York City policemen as they sat in their patrol car hours after he allegedly shot a former girl friend.

Iraq News - Dec 23, 2014

 

Kurds push offensive to retake Sinjar town from ISIS after breaking a siege of a mountain where Yazidis had been trapped for months - NPR


VIDEO: Iraq Kurd chief hails advances in Sinjar anti-jihadist battle - AFP


VIDEO: Kurds, Yazidis blast their way into Sinjar town - Reuters


VIDEO (Kurdish): Raw and longer version of the video above - YouTube


Mass grave of 70 Yazidis, including women and children corpses, found in Sinjar region - ekurd 


PKK, YPG forces play key role in freeing Sinjar - Kurdpress News Aganecy


US Coalition Destroys IS Targets Near Sinjar - VOA


Australian Super Hornets strikes helped turn back Isis fighters at Mount Sinjar - The Guardian

 

Iraqi Air Force, In Combat Debut, Assists Peshmerga, Coalition In Mission To Push ISIS Back From Mount Sinjar - ibtimes.com

 

Islamic State Once Again Blockades Iraq’s Baiji Oil Refinery - Latin American Herald Tribune

 

Iraqi army retake military airbase outside Tal Afar - Firstpost

 

Rudaw source: ISIS governor of Mosul seriously wounded, not killed - Rudaw

 

Pentagon to deploy additional 1,300 military advisers to Iraq next month - Army Technology

 

Task force denies reports U.S. engaged in ground combat with Islamic State - The Tampa Tribune

 

Senator Pat Roberts sees progress against Islamic State in Iraq - The Kansas City Star

 

Czech Sends 5000 anti-tank missiles to Peshmerga Forces - BasNews

 

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Amnesty: ISIS has forced 'thousands' of kidnapped girls into sexual slavery - Daily Mail Online


REPORT: Escape from hell – Torture, sexual slavery in Islamic State captivity in Iraq - amnesty.org


VIDEO: Yazidi Women Recount Shocking Trauma of Sex-Slavery Under The Islamic State - BBC


VIDEO: Yazidi women bought and sold by ISIS - CNN


Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants - The Independent


Isis: Germany to open trauma centre for sex slave women raped by militants - ibtimes.co.uk


IS Militants Use Sex to Lure Recruits -VOA

 

Isis supporters 'offering cash to British girls as young as 14 to become jihadi brides in Syria' - The Independent

 

ARCHIVE: ISIS publishes manual telling fighters how to buy, sell and abuse captured women - Daily Mail Online

 

ARCHIVE: Text of the Islamic State (ISIS) manual entitled entitled 'Questions And Answers On Taking Captives And Slaves’ - memrijttm.org

 

ISIS reportedly ‘executes 100 deserters’ in Syria’s Raqqa - Al Arabiya News

 

ISIS arrests ‘extremists’ accused of plot against group - Al Arabiya News

 

ISIS Finds Man Guilty of Homosexuality – Executes By Hurling Off Roof (PHOTOS) - viral.buzz

 

ISIS release photos of a man having his hand amputated for theft - Daily Mail Online

 

Islamic State (ISIS) publishes penal code, releases list of “Qur’anic punishments” - jihadwatch.org

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

 

The predictable start of vigilantism: Reverse Course on Police Militarization or Reap the Whirlwind

By Dave Lindorff

 

Let me make it clear from the outset of this article: I’m against violence and killing, and I’m certainly no advocate of killing police officers.

Why is Near Term Human Extinction Inevitable?

If you hadn’t previously heard the expression ‘near term human extinction’, you have now. And you will get used to hearing it soon unless you insulate yourself from reality with greater effectiveness than you are doing by reading this article.

Obama Tortured by Fear

 

 


Torture’s Time for Accountability

 

 

Editor Note: America’s reputation for cognitive dissonance is being tested by the Senate report documenting the U.S. government’s torture of detainees and the fact that nothing is happening to those responsible. Ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says the nation must choose between crossing the Delaware or the Rubicon.

By Ray McGovern

I trust I was not alone in seeing irony in President Barack Obama’s public chiding of Sony on Friday for caving in to hacker demands to cancel distribution of its comedy “The Interview” – about a fictional CIA plot to assassinate North Korea’s real-life leader Kim Jong-Un – after a retaliatory cyber attack blamed on North Korea.

Russia/Ukraine News - Dec 20, 2014

 

European leaders warn against too much economic pain on Russia - LA Times


France's Hollande Floats Prospect of Sanctions Relief for Russia, Risks EU Split - Bloomberg News


VIDEO: France’s Hollande Floats Rollback of Russian Sanctions - Bloomberg


German Foreign Minister Warns Against More Russia Sanctions - Atlantic Sentinel


Italian PM urges revision of attitude to Russia, opposes new sanctions - TASS


Sanctions Now Risk Being Too Painful for Russia, Denmark Says - Businessweek


Obama waives sanctions authority despite new law, concerned that the measure is not in line with with the European Union - Yahoo News


Statement by President Obama on the Ukraine Freedom Support Act - IIP Digital

 

Corker to Obama: Convince Europe to up sanctions on Russia - TheHill

 

Obama imposes sanctions on Crimea, echoes EU - US News

 

EU bans investment in Crimea, targets oil sector, cruises - Reuters

 

Russian experts: The lastest EU summit concerned not so much about the Ukrainian crisis as economic relations with Russia - TASS

 

Fresh US sanctions could do long-term damage to relations with Russia: Lavrov - AFP

 

Russia Reserves Adequate Response to Ukraine Freedom Support Act: Official - Sputnik International

 

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Europeans Face Export Losses as Sanctions Bite Russian Ruble - WSJ


Sanctions against Russia hurt both sides, $40 billion annual US-Russia trade is dwarfed by EU-Russia $460 billion - dailytimes.com


Western companies scramble to cope with Russian ruble drop - Reuters


Russia crisis hurts these Western brands the most - CNN


GM, Audi, Jaguar halt Russian sales amidst ruble's collapse - autoblog.com


Renault-Nissan boss warns of 'bloodbath' for car sales in Russia - Telegraph


Apple, IKEA, McDonald's Raise Prices In Russia Due To Ruble Falls - Business Insider


BASF, Gazprom Fall Victim to Sanctions as Asset Swap Ends - Bloomberg

 

VIDEO: Sanctions Against Russia Affecting Germany - YouTube

 

Russia Warships Update: France Still Won't Deliver Mistral Helicopter Carriers, Francois Hollande Says - ibtimes.com

 

EU asks Russia to go ahead with South Stream - TASS

 

Europe and Russia After South Stream - Stratfor

 

China Offers Enhanced Cooperation as Russia Struggles - Bloomberg

 

Ruble Advances as Cash Crunch From Higher Rates Supports Demand - Bloomberg

 

POLL: Vladimir Putin's popularity soars to 81% as Russia faces economic chill - ibtimes.co.uk

 

Putin: Russia military modernization to go ahead - Boston Herald

 

Russian nuclear forces to get more than 50 new missiles in 2015: Putin - TASS

 

Shoigu: In 2015 Russian AirForce & Naval Aviation will receive 126 new aircraft  88 helicopters. Navy to receive 2 submarines & 5 warships - Missilito on Twitter

 

3rd Russian Borei-class nuclear sub raises its colors (VIDEO) - RT News

 

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IMF, Ukraine fail to reach pact on next bailout tranche - Reuters


Ukraine’s Rating Cut by S&P to CCC as IMF Delay Raises Default Risk - Bloomberg


G7 Officials to Discuss Ukraine Funding Gap - WSJ


Russian Media: Western Nations Tired of Ukraine’s Financial Demands - Sputnik UK


POLL: Majority of EU Citizens Against Additional Financial Aid to Ukraine - Sputnik International


POLL: Ukrainians' Ratings of Their Lives, Country Hit New Low - gallup.com


Ukraine power units idled as coal reserves shrink - Reuters

 

Arms deliveries and military aid to Ukraine not discussed at EU meeting: Merkel - TASS

 

Former US Ambassador: Ukrainian claims on building one of Europe’s most powerful armies and reversing Crimea’s reunification with Russia could have dangerous consequences - Sputnik

 

Kiev, East Ukraine Republics Fail to Set Date of Next Reconciliation Talks - Sputnik International

 

Donetsk, Luhansk, Kiev Agree All-For-All Prisoner Swap as Priority - Sputnik International

 

Putin: Poroshenko Seeks Peace in Ukraine, but Many Others Want War - Sputnik International

 

Putin: Donbas Economic Blockade Futile, Counterproductive Path for Ukraine - Sputnik International

 

Lavrov: Bill renouncing Ukrainian neutral status plays into party of war hands - Russia Beyond The Headlines

 

Five Ukrainian government soldiers and five pro-Russian separatists killed in clashes - Bloomberg

 

Two Ukrainian Volunteer Fighters Killed In Ambush Near Staryi Aidar - Interpreter_Mag

 

Human Rights Watch: Ukraine Indiscriminate Rocket Attacks In Eastern Regions Require Better Investigation - Human Rights Watch

 

Ukraine's Azov Battalion Is Not Neo-Nazi, But Some Ppl In Battalion Are - Hromadske on Twitter

 

Russia transported T-64A tanks into Ukraine first half of december (PHOTOS) - Ukraine@war

 

Ukraine forms 'ministry of truth' to regulate the media - The Guardian

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Obama’s Trojan Horse: US Recognition of Cuba after 54 Years of Hostility and War Does't Mean an End to US Subversion

Obama’s Trojan Horse:

 

US Recognition of Cuba after 54 Years of Hostility and War Does't Mean an End to US  Subversion

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

Not Just Public Lands: Defense Bill Also Incentivizes Fracked Gas Vehicles

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

DeSmogBlog recently revealed how Big Oil's lobbyists snuck expedited permitting for hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") on public lands into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015, which passed in the U.S. House and Senate and now awaits President Barack Obama's signature.

A follow-up probe reveals that the public lands giveaway was not the only sweetheart deal the industry got out of the pork barrel bill. The NDAA also included a provision that opened the floodgates for natural gas vehicles (NGVs) in the U.S.—cars that would largely be fueled by gas obtained via fracking.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The section of the bill titled, "Alternative Fuel Automobiles" (on page 104) lays it out:

NDAA of 2015 Natural Gas Vehicles
Image Credit: U.S. Government Publishing Office 

No More Khirbet Khizehs

"Fields that would never be harvested, plantations that would never be irrigated, paths that would become desolate. A sense of destruction and worthlessness. An image of thistles and brambles everywhere, a desolate tawniness, a braying wilderness. And already from those fields accusing eyes peered out at you, that silent accusatory look as of a reproachful animal, staring and following you so there was no refuge." -- Yizhar Smilansky, Khirbet Khizeh

On the day in 2014 that I read the new English translation of Khirbet Khizeh, Tom Engelhardt published a blog post rewriting recent news articles on the U.S. Senate's torture report as a 2019 Senate report on drone murders. The 2019 "news" media in Tom's believable account is shocked -- shocked, I tell you -- by the rampant murder discovered to have been committed using missiles from drones of all things.

The point is that most of what's been discussed as news from the recent torture report, and certainly all of the fundamental moral points -- has been known -- or, more accurately, knowable for years. For the past several years, the U.S. establishment has been repeatedly "banning" torture. It has also been repeatedly discovering the same evidence of torture, over and over again. Leading torturers have gone on television to swear they'd do it all again, while radical activist groups have demanded "investigations."

The point is that at some point "truth and reconciliation" is lies and reconciliation -- the lies of pretending that the truth needed to be unearthed, that it was hidden for a time, that the crimes weren't committed in the broad daylight of television spotlights on a sweaty old man assuring us he was about to start working on the dark side.

Illustrated at right, from the iNakba app, are villages that were destroyed in 1948 to create Israel. Generations of Israelis have grown up not knowing, not wanting to know, pretending not to know, and knowing without confronting the Catastrophe. Israelis are discovering what happened, unburying the hidden truth, filming aging participants' distorted confessions, and hunting out the outlines of disappeared villages on GoogleEarth.

But what if the truth was always marching naked down the street with trumpets sounding?

In May 1949, Yizhar Smilansky published Khirbet Khizeh, a fictional account of the destruction of a fictional village much like many real ones. Smilansky knew or hoped that he was ahead of his time, so much so that he began the tale by framing it as a recollection from the distant future. The narrator, like the reader, was known by the author to be unable to see for years to come.

What would keep the book alive until that distant day?

Poetry.

It's not a Senate report. Khirbet Khizeh is a work of masterful insight and storytelling that grips you and compels you to enter the experience of its narrator and his companions, as they do what the author had done, as they imitate Nazis before all the ashes had fallen from the skies above the ovens in Europe.

This book was planted and grew. It's been taught in Israeli schools. It was a movie on Israeli television in 1978. And now, with a sense that perhaps sleepy eyes are stretching open at long last, the book has had itself translated into the language of the imperial homeland, English.

But how could poetry keep heresy alive?

Several ways, I think. Absolute failure to pay attention, for one. Think about how literature is taught in many U.S. schools, for example. The ability of people to hear the poetry without the meaning, for another. Think about people singing John Lennon's Imagine without having the slightest idea they've just proposed to abolish religions, nations, and private property, or how people throw around the phrase "peace on earth" in December. Perverse but predictable and perhaps predicted misinterpretation, for another. Think about how viewers of the propaganda film Zero Dark Thirty read accounts of torture, for example -- as a dirty job that needed doing for a greater cause.

It's a strain, to me at least, to read Khirbet Khizeh as a celebration of genocide or mass-eviction. And the book not only suffered but also benefitted from being ahead of its time. It pre-existed the mythologies and rhetorical defenses that grew up around the Catastrophe in the decades that followed. When the narrator makes a slight resistance to what he is engaged in, no reader can find anything but humanitarian motivation in his resistance. The idea that this soldier, questioning his fellow soldiers, is engaged in anti-Semitism would literally make no sense. He's revolted by the cruelty, no more no less -- cruelty that every adult and child has to have always known was part of any mass settlement of ancient lands in 1948.

When I was a child, in elementary school, I wrote a story about an eviction of a family from its house, complete with plenty of tear-jerking details. As a good American I wrote about British redcoats evicting patriotic U.S. revolutionaries. My teacher suggested to me that I had a talent for writing. But that wasn't writing. Had I written of the Native Americans, the Hawaiians, the Filipinos, the Vietnamese, of Diego Garcia or Vieques or the Marshall Islands or Thule or Okinawa or any of the many places about which silence was expected, that might have been writing.

Let us wish no more Khirbet Khizehs on the people of Palestine and many more Khirbet Khizehs on the world.

Putin Shot Down a Plane! Putin Shot Down a ... What? Never Mind

Search for "Malaysian Airlines Flight 17" on the New York Times website and you'll find a page promoting three articles from July, two hyping the idea that Russia did it and one just focused on the horror of it.

Below that you'll find 109 articles arranged from newest to oldest. The newest is from December 10th and consists of 4 sentences that convey little. The next is from November and all about an inappropriate tweet. The next half dozen take us back through September and we're little the wiser for it.

Yet the world outside of the U.S. media is full of evidence suggesting that Russia did not do it.

The silence is deafening. Dutch plans to produce a dubious report by next summer are being outpaced by steps toward war.

Here's a petition that concerned people are signing:

Call For Independent Inquiry of the Airplane Crash in Ukraine and its Catastrophic Aftermath

To: All the heads of states of NATO countries, and of Russia and the Ukraine, to Ban-ki Moon and the heads of states of countries on the UN Security Council

With the U.S. and Russia in possession of over 15,000 of the world’s 16,400 nuclear weapons, humanity can ill-afford to stand by and permit these conflicting views of history and opposing assessments of the facts on the ground to lead to a 21st Century military confrontation between the great powers and their allies.  While sadly acknowledging the trauma suffered by the countries of Eastern Europe from years of Soviet occupation, and understanding their desire for the protection of the NATO military alliance, we the signers of this global call to action also note that the Russian people lost 20 million people during WWII to the Nazi onslaught and are understandably wary of NATO expansion to their borders in a hostile environment.   Russia has lost the protection of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which the US abandoned in 2001, and warily observes missile bases metastasizing ever closer to its borders in new NATO member states, while the US rejects repeated Russian efforts for negotiations on a treaty to ban weapons in space, or Russia’s prior application for membership in NATO. 

For these reasons, we the peoples, as members of Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organizations, and global citizens, committed to peace and nuclear disarmament, demand that an independent international inquiry be commissioned to review events in Ukraine leading up to the Malaysian jet crash and of the procedures being used to review the catastrophic aftermath.  The inquiry should factually determine the cause of the accident and hold responsible parties accountable to the families of the victims and the citizens of the world who fervently desire peace and a peaceful settlement of any existing conflicts.  It should include a fair and balanced presentation of what led to the deterioration of U.S. –Russian relations and the new hostile and polarized posture that the U.S. and Russia with their allies find themselves in today.

The UN Security Council, with US and Russian agreement, has already passed Resolution 2166 addressing the Malaysian jet crash, demanding accountability, full access to the site and a halt to military activity which has been painfully disregarded at various times since the incident.   One of the provisions of SC Res 2166 notes that the Council “[s]upports efforts to establish a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines.”  Further, the 1909 revised Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes adopted at the 1899 Hague International Peace Conference has been used successfully to resolve issues between states so that war was avoided in the past.  Both Russia and Ukraine are parties to the Convention. 

Regardless of the forum where the evidence is gathered and fairly evaluated, we the undersigned urge that the facts be known as to how we got to this unfortunate state of affairs on our planet today and what might be the solutions.  We urge Russia and Ukraine as well as their allies and partners to engage in diplomacy and negotiations, not war and hostile alienating actions.   The world can little afford the trillions of dollars in military spending and trillions and trillions of brain cells wasted on war when our very Earth is under stress and needs the critical attention of our best minds and thinking and the abundance of resources mindlessly diverted to war to be made available for the challenge confronting us to create a livable future for life on earth.

Why is this important?

It’s important because there is so much misinformation and disinformation in the media that we are careening towards a new cold war with Russia over this.

Initial Signatories for petition:
(Organizations for Identification Only)

Hon. Douglas Roche, OC, Canada
David Swanson, co-founder, World Beyond War
Bruce Gagnon,  Global Network Against Nuclear Power and Weapons in Space
Alice Slater, JD, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, NY
Professor Francis A. Boyle, University of Illinois College of Law
Natasha Mayers, Union of Maine Visual Artists
David Hartsough, co-founder, World Beyond War
Larry Dansinger, Resources for Organizing and Social Change
Ellen Judd, Project Peacemakers
Coleen Rowley, Women Against Military Madness
Medea Benjamin, Code Pink
Brian Noyes Pulling, M. Div.
Anni Cooper, Peaceworks
Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance
Leah Bolger, CDR, USN (Ret), Veterans for Peace
Raymond McGovern, former CIA analyst, VA
Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance
Gloria McMillan, Tucson Balkan Peace Support Group
Ellen E. Barfield, Veterans for Peace
Cecile Pineda, author. Devil's Tango: How I Learned the Fukushima Step by Step
Jill McManus
Steve Leeper, Visiting professor, Hiroshima Jogakuin University,Nagasaki University
Kyoto University of Art and Design
William H. Slavick, Pax Christi Maine
Helen Caldicott, Helen Caldicott Foundation
David Krieger, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Brigadier Vijai K Nair, VSM [Retd] Ph.D. , Magoo Strategic Infotech Pvt Ltd
Kevin Martin,  Peace Action
Carol Reilly Urner, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Ann E. Ruthsdottir
Kay Cumbow
Steven Starr, Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Tiffany Tool,  Peaceworkers
Sukla Sen, Committee for Communal Amnity, Mumbai India
Joan Russow, PhD, Coordinator, Global Compliance Research Project
Rob Mulford, Veterans for Peace, North Star Chapter, Alaska
Jacqueline Cabasso,  Western States Legal Foundation, United for Peace and Justice
Ingeborg Breines, Co-president International Peace Bureau
Judith LeBlanc, Peace Action
Felicity Ruby
Jerry  Stein,  The Peace Farm, Amarillo , Texas
Michael Andregg, professor, St. Paul, Minnesota
Elizabeth Murray,  Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council, ret.: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, Washington
Robert Shetterly, artist,  “Americans Who Tell the Truth,” Maine
Katharine Gun, United Kingdom
Dave Webb, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, UK
Amber Garland, St. Paul, Minnesota
John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus
Beverly Bailey, Richfield, Minnesota
Joseph Gerson,  Convener, Working Group for Peace & Demiitarization in Asia and the Pacific
Stephen McKeown, Richfield, Minnesota
Dominique Lalanne,  France
Bill Rood, Rochester, Minnesota
Tom Klammer, radio host, Kansas City, Missouri
Barbara Vaile, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mali Lightfoot, Helen Caldicott Foundation
Tony Henderson, spokesperson for universal humanism, Hong Kong
Darlene M. Coffman, Rochester, Minnesota
Sister Gladys Schmitz, Mankato, Minnesota
Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)
J. Kirk Wiebe, NSA Senior Analyst (ret.), MD
William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)
Jill Stein, Green Party 2012 Presidential nominee
Cheri Honkala, Green Shadow Cabinet
Ed Asner
Norman Solomon, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
Agneta Norberg, Sweden
Rick Rosoff, Stop NATO
Kathleen Sullivan, Hibakusha Stories
Michael Eisenscher, US Labor Against the War
Clare Coss, playwright
Jean-Marie Matagne, President, Action des Citoyens pour le Désarmement Nucléaire (France)
Carolyn Rusti Eisenberg, United for Peace and Justice

Add your name.

America claims black lives matter, but police killings suggest they don’t

by Stephanie Tang             Black lives matter! To carry this message, hundreds of thousands of protesters have flooded into America’s streets, outraged by the police killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown and the non-indictment of his killer. We shut down freeways and bridges coast to coast, stopping traffic, holiday shopping, Grand Central Station and other business as usual.

6 Guantanamo Prisoners Released, Not Sent Home, but to Uruguay

After up to 12 years, some of the prisoners just released are off hunger strike, and in “freedom.” This deal was put together last March, reportedly because of the huge pressure the Guantanamo prisoners' hunger strike put on Obama. But it took another nine months, during which the prisoners could have died, before their release.

One of those released is Abu Wa'el Dhiab, who has been suing the U.S. over forced-feeding he's endured for years, and suing to get the government to release videotape of the feedings.  Reprieve said, about him:

Russia/Ukraine News - Dec 18, 2014

 

Russian Ruble Gains Back Some Of Its Lost Value From The Previous Day Dubbed "Black Tuesday” - rferl.org


Russia spends billions to prop up ruble and stem the worst financial crisis of President Putin's 15 years in power - GlobalPost


Russia has resources, market instruments to rectify economic situation: Medvedev - TASS


VIDEO: Russia will never suffer economic meltdown, but Ukraine can: Lavrov - Reuters.com


Russia has cash to prevent economic collapse (VIDEO) - CNN


Russian central bank preparing measures to pump money into banks in 2015 - cnbc.com


Russia's Latest Torment: Higher Prices for Everything - Bloomberg


Russians Flock to Stores to Pre-empt Price Rises - NYTimes.com


Ruble Chaos Forces Retailers to Suspend Sales in Russia - The Moscow Times

 

Apple Halts Online Sales In Russia As The Ruble Collapses - Forbes

 

Russia Government Pressures Exporters not to Hoard Foreign-Currency Earnings - The Moscow Times

 

Bank of Russia Bolsters Lenders as FX Debt Payments Loom - Bloomberg

 

Russia’s 20 richest people lost US$10B in two days due to the ruble’s collapse - Financial Post

 

Russian Economy to Rebound in 2015 if Ukraine Crisis De-Escalates:Saxo Bank - Sputnik International

 

Economist Katusa: Low Oil Prices Aren't the End of Russia (VIDEO) - newsmax.com

 

Russian Arms Exports Hit $13 Billion in 2014 - The Moscow Times

 

Russia crisis leaves banks around the world exposed by the billions - RT Business

 

Anxiety Over European Banks Amid Ruble Crisis - NYTimes.com

 

Banks Most Exposed Russia's Looming Debt Crisis - Business Insider

 

Russian turmoil knocks back European equities - Reuters

 

It’s Not Just Russia’s Companies Feeling the Pain - WSJ

 

German business group warns the recent drop in the ruble will negatively affect Germany’s exports to Russia - presstv.ir

 

Asian Markets Down on Ruble Crisis - Sputnik International

 

Russia-Ukraine border situation affects global economy: Kremlin spokesman - TASS

 

-------------------------------------------------------

EU says Ukraine needs $15 bln, has limited ability to help - Reuters


Finance ministry hopes Ukraine to receive IMF $3 bln loan installment early Jan 2015 - interfax.com.ua


Ukraine's Currency Hits Record Lows on 'Black Tuesday' - Interpreter_Mag


Chevron Shale Exit Shreds Ukraine’s Hope of Energy Independence - Bloomberg


Poroshenko sets course for 'Euro-Atlantic' security integration, aims to EU membership by 2020 and to abandon the "nonbloc” status - rferl.org


VIDEO: Ukraine to Pursue Euro-Atlantic Security Integration: Poroshenko is for canceling non-aligned status - YouTube


Putin Orders Snap Military Drills on NATO Border - newsweek.com

 

Top US Diplomat Warns Russia: Don't Put Nukes in Crimea - newsmax.com

 

Ukraine, pro-Russia rebels agree to resume peace talks on Sunday - The West Australian

 

Donetsk separatist leadership ready to hold on-line Skype-conference with Kiev tomorrow - TASS

 

Lavrov: Moscow Supports Ukraine’s Integrity, E Ukraine Not 'Another Crimea’ - Sputnik International

 

POLL: Few Ukrainians approve of allowing Donetsk and Luhansk to leave Ukraine, Forty-three percent approve of decentralizing power - gallup.com

 

Pushilin: DNR 'Prepared To Exchange 152 Captured Ukrainian Soldiers' - Interpreter_Mag

 

Ukrainian Military Report 26 Attacks From Russian-Backed Forces Over Last 24 Hours - Interpreter_Mag

 

SBU Says Airports Closed Due To SAM Threat - Interpreter_Mag

 

Evidence that Russia is transporting back its destroyed tanks (PHOTOS) - Ukraine@war

 

Tenth Russian convoy to deliver humanitarian aid to east Ukraine: Emergencies Ministry - TASS

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

A Hollywood Hack Holiday: Ending Torture One Dick At a Time

By John Grant


CAUTION! To paraphrase Bill O’Reilly, you are now entering a no-censor zone that discusses obscene activity.
 

The Christmas movie from Sony Pictures I want to see is Seth Rogan and James Franco rectally feeding Dick Cheney at the climax of a movie sequel called The Enhanced Interview: Saving the Homeland One Dick At a Time.


Shooting Down MH 17 - BUK 312 Story False Says Ukraine Crew Member


buk312

(Image: BUK 312 in Kiev junta terrotiry - Anatoly Sharij)

The shoot down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17 came into greater focus with the December 15 YouTube video featuring a former crew member of BUK self-propelled fire installation, number 312 (BUK 312). Ukraine's government and others maintained that the BUK 312 unit shot down MH17 while manned by a resistance crew.   The Obama administration championed that narrative holding both the resistance and Russia responsible for the 298 deaths on July 17. The interview was conducted by investigative journalist Anatoly Sharij and translated by Marina Stewart (see full test in English at end of this article).  

The 23-year-old former BUK 312 crewmember revealed that the missile unit was in fact manned by the Ukraine military. He outlines the missile system's location and how it operated.   The former sergeant also offered analysis and research indicating the very low probability that the 312 crew shot down MH17.

Talk Nation Radio: Taif Jany on #SoccerSalam

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-taif-jany-on-soccersalam

Taif Jany, director of #SoccerSalam, discusses the need for humanitarian aid in Iraq this winter and how people can help. See http://soccersalam.org

In addition, 12-year-old Hallie Turner explains how she became a climate activist with http://imatteryouth.org

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from Archive or LetsTryDemocracy.

Pacifica stations can also download from AudioPort.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Exposing the FBI

Review of The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI, by Betty Medsger (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014. 596 pages. Notes, Index. Hardcover $29.95; paperback $16.95).

The Case Against Re-Banning Torture Yet Again

Senator Ron Wyden has a petition up at MoveOn.org that reads "Right now, torture is banned because of President Obama's executive order. It's time for Congress to pass a law banning torture, by all agencies, so that a future president can never revoke the ban." It goes on to explain:

"We live in a dangerous world. But when CIA operatives and contractors torture terrorist suspects, it doesn't make us safer -- and it doesn't work. The recent CIA torture report made that abundantly clear. Right now, the federal law that bans torture only applies to the U.S. military -- not our intelligence agencies. President Obama's executive order barring all agencies from using torture could be reversed, even in secret, by a future president. That's why it's critical that Congress act swiftly to pass a law barring all agencies of the U.S. government, and contractors acting on our behalf, from engaging in torture. Without legislation, the door on torture is still open. It's time for Congress to slam that door shut once and for all."

Why in the world would anybody object to this unless they supported torture? Well, let me explain.

Torture and complicity in torture were felonies under U.S. law before George W. Bush moved into the White House, under both the torture statute and the war crimes statute. Nothing has fundamentally changed about that, other than the blatant lack of enforcement for several years running. Nothing in those two sections of the U.S. code limits the law to members of the U.S. military or excludes employees or contractors or subcontractors of so-called intelligence agencies. I emailed a dozen legal experts about that claim in the above petition. Michael Ratner replied "I don’t see where they get that from." Kevin Zeese said simply "They're wrong." If anyone replies to me with any explanation, I'll post it as an update at the top of this article on davidswanson.org -- where I can be contacted if you have an explanation.

For the past several years, the U.S. Congress, White House, Justice Department, and media have gone out of their way to ignore the existence of U.S. laws banning torture. When silence hasn't worked, the primary technique has been proposing over and over and over again to ban torture, as if it were not already banned. In fact, Congress has followed through and banned it a number of times, and done so with new exceptions that by some interpretations have in fact weakened the war crimes statute. This is my best guess where the nonsense about applying only to "intelligence agencies" comes from: laws like the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that claimed to pick and choose which types of torture to ban for whom.

When President Obama took President Bush's place he produced an executive order purporting to ban torture (again), even while publicly telling the Justice Department not to enforce any existing laws. But an executive order, as Wyden seems to recognize, is not a law. Neither can it ban torture, nor can it give legal weight to the pretense that torture wasn't already banned. In fact the order itself states: "Nothing in this order shall be construed to affect the obligations of officers, employees, and other agents of the United States Government to comply with all pertinent laws and treaties of the United States governing detention and interrogation, including but not limited to: the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution; the Federal torture statute, 18 U.S.C. 2340 2340A; the War Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. 2441 . . . ."

Senator Wyden says he will introduce yet another bill to "ban torture." Here's how the Washington Post is spinning, and explaining, that:

"Torture is already illegal, but Wyden notes that protections can be strengthened. To oversimplify, the U.S. is a signatory to the U.N. Convention Against Torture, in which participating states agreed to outlaw intentionally inflicting severe pain for specific purposes. The Bush administration obviously found a (supposedly) legal route around that."

In other words, because it was done by a president, it was legal -- the worldview of the Post's old buddy Richard Nixon.

"After the Abu Graib revelations, John McCain helped pass a 2005 amendment that would restrict the military from using specific brutal interrogation tactics — those not in the Army Field Manual. (This didn’t preclude intel services from using these techniques, which might explain why CIA director John Brennan felt free to say the other day that future policymakers might revert to using them). In 2008, Congress passed a measure specifically applying those restrictions to intelligence services, too, but then-President Bush vetoed it. Senator Wyden would revive a version of that 2008 bill as a starting point, with the goal of codifying in law President Obama's executive order banning the use of those specific techniques for all government employees, those in intelligence services included."

But let's back up a minute. When a president violates a law, that president -- at least once out of office -- should be prosecuted for violating the law. The law can't be declared void because it was violated. Loopholes can't be created for the CIA. Reliance on the Army Field Manual can't sneak into law the loopholes built into that document. Presidents can't order and un-order things illegal. Here's how the United Nations Special Rapporteur on counter terrorism and human rights, Ben Emmerson responded to the release of the Senate's report summary:

"The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes. The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorised at a high level within the U.S. Government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability. International law prohibits the granting of immunities to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture. This applies not only to the actual perpetrators but also to those senior officials within the U.S. Government who devised, planned and authorised these crimes. As a matter of international law, the U.S. is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice. The UN Convention Against Torture and the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances require States to prosecute acts of torture and enforced disappearance where there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction. States are not free to maintain or permit impunity for these grave crimes."

Now, one could try to spin the endless re-banning of torture as part of the process of enforcing an international treaty that under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. But banning a practice going forward, even when you ban it better, or ban it more emphatically for the 8th time, does absolutely nothing to fulfill the legal obligation to prosecute those crimes already committed. And here we are dealing with crimes openly confessed to by past officials who assert that they would "do it again" -- crimes that resulted in deaths, thus eliminating any attempt at an argument that statutes of limitations have run out.

Here's a different sort of petition that we've set up at RootsAction.org along with Witness Against Torture and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee: " We call on President Obama to allow the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce our laws, and to immediately appoint a special prosecutor. As torture is a crime of universal jurisdiction, we call on any willing court system in the world to enforce our laws if our own courts will not do so."

The purpose of such a petition is not vengeance or partisanship or a fetish with history. The purpose is to end torture, which is not done by looking forward or even by pardoning the crimes, as the ACLU has proposed -- to its credit recognizing that the crimes exist. That should be a first step for anyone confused by the endless drumbeat to "ban torture."

New TCBH! poem by Gary Lindorff: 'I Can't Breathe'

I’m white.
But I can’t breathe.
I’m suffocating.
Maybe I’m dying.
 

I tried to run
But I got caught
Thinking terrible thoughts about my twisted country.
Dangerous and dark thoughts,
Like a German might have thought
When the Nazi’s were beating up Jews.
And the zeitgeist was shouting at me to stop.
Don’t shoot! I shouted,...


Russia/Ukraine News - Dec 16, 2014

 

Medvedev: EU not willing to treat Ukraine as equal partner, “The association agreement does not contain any mention of Ukraine’s membership” - Sputnik


Medvedev: EU, US Reluctant to Give Ukraine Money, Even for Immediate Needs - Sputnik


Medvedev: Kiev may lose $15Bln after association with EU, should Customs Union member-states take steps to protect their markets - Sputnik


Medvedev: Ukrainian citizens will not be able to work in Russia without labor patent, Ukraine will lose up to $13bn in remittances - APA


Medvedev: Ukrainian economy built thanks to Russia, looming threat of social and economic collapse of the country - interfax.com


Medvedev: 'Russia has experienced tragic events in Ukraine as our own pain', given the two countries’ shared culture, values, and historical identity - Sputnik


Russia says it wants east Ukraine to stay with Kiev under reformed constitution to allow autonomy to Russian-speaking regions - Reuters


Medvedev: Kiev's Blockade of East Ukraine Shows Lack of Responsibility - Sputnik International


Medvedev: Issue With Gas Transit Through Ukraine Settled Only Temporarily - Sputnik International


Medvedev: Russia concerned about Kyiv's attempts to upset atomic energy cooperation - interfax.com


Russia announces a three-day exercise near the Ukrainian border. On previous occasions it meant a surge of the intervention corps - Leonid Ragozin on Twitter


Russian top brass (200 generals and other commanders) meeting and strategizing somewhere in Rostov region - Maria Antonova on Twitter


Geolocating Russia moves of more T-64s and GRADs towards Ukraine (PHOTO) - Ukraine@war


Russians film their own large columns on the move in Ukraine (VIDEO, PHOTO) - Ukraine@war


FM Lavrov says Russian nukes could be stationed in Crimea - Andrew Roth on Twitter


Russia Blamed by Nordic Nations for Endangering Airliner - Bloomberg


Russia denies another near collision in Baltics - The Sacramento Bee


US, Europe arms sales decline for third year in a row, Russia sees spike in sales largely thanks to a Kremlin push to modernise its military - ibtimes.com


The Top 25 Weapons Companies In The World (Excluding China): Report - Business Insider


Plans to Create Russian National Orbital Station Confirmed - Sputnik International


---------------------------------------------------------

Dems, GOP press Obama to back Russian sanctions, The bill also would provide lethal military assistance to Ukraine - ABC News


White House has not yet decided on Russia sanctions bill - Reuters


Lavrov: U.S. Ukraine support bill hostile move, "a maniac desire to punish Russia for all imaginable and unimaginable transgressions" - interfax.com


Russia Issues Stern Warning To U.S. Against Fresh Economic Sanctions, Vows To Strike Back Because Of Ukraine Support Act - ibtimes.com


Russia Press Digest: U.S. bill on Ukraine is ‘time bomb under bilateral relations’ - Russia Beyond The Headlines


‘If US sends weapons to Ukraine, Russia should send troops’: lawmaker - RT


How Many Enemies Does America Want? Congress Sacrifices U.S. Security With New Sanctions Against Russia - Forbes


Russian Ruble Crashes to World's Worst-Performing Currency - The Moscow Times


Russian ADRS Drop Most in Five Years as Ruble Plunges - Bloomberg


Russia Boosts Interest Rates To 17 Percent Amid Currency's Slide - NPR


Russia cuts spending as recession looms: Report - Worldbulletin News


Moscow Authorities Threaten Merchants with Fines for Showing Prices in Foreign Currency; Urges Consumers to Inform on Businesses - Interpreter_Mag


Russia’s Debt Problem May Not Be as Bad as It Seems - WSJ


Ukraine's frozen war is bringing dramatic changes to world economy - Reuters


---------------------------------------------------------

Ukraine Seeking $10 Billion in Aid Amid Talks With U.S., EU to stave off a default as its economy shrinks - Bloomberg


Ukraine Prime Minister Asks NATO, EU for More Help - ABC News


Ukraine needs national referendum on NATO membership: PM - TASS


NATO Secretary General tells Ukrainian Prime Minister ''NATO stands with you’’ - NATO


VIDEO: Joint press point with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk - YouTube


Joint Press Release following the first Association Council meeting between the European Union and Ukraine - Council of the European Union


Ukrainian Bonds Tumble Amid Talks on Aid to Avert Default - Bloomberg


Gas volume in Ukraine’s underground storage sites falls as heating season begins - TASS


Ukraine says Chevron plans to pull out of $10 bln shale gas deal - Reuters


Press Release: UN report details dire plight of people in eastern Ukraine amid ongoing rights violations - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights


REPORT: Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights


Separatist Military Leader: "We must take the borders of the Donetsk region. If Ukraine does not agree to solve this issue by political means, we will settle it militarily - Interpreter_Mag


Convoy with Russian Tank Labeled 'To Mariupol' Has Been Geolocated in Ukraine (PHOTO, VIDEO) - Interpreter_Mag


Numerous Attacks On Ukrainian Positions, Including Grad Use Reported - Interpreter_Mag


Official says 917 Ukrainian army servicemen killed in Donbas military operation - TASS


Ukraine's three major airports closed indefinitely: state aviation service - TASS


Ukrainian female pilot Nadezhda Savchenko detained in Russia on hunger strike - Interpreter_Mag


Poroshenko grants alleged Belarusian Neo-Nazi Ukrainian citizenship - khpg.org

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

US sides with a colonizer: Africa's Forgotten (And Festering) Freedom Struggle in Western Africa

By Linn Washington, Jr.


Algiers -- The Western Sahara is not just a section of the famous desert that dominates North Africa.


Intersection of Mistakes With Misdeeds

On a pleasant spring day in December it's nice to drive past the endlessly under-construction intersection of Route 250 and McIntire Road in Charlottesville, Va., and realize that the darn thing must nearly be completed. It looks sturdy and attractive. There's a nice new bicycle path heading north from it. All must be right with the world.

This intersection has its own official website stating that it won't really be done until next summer -- a website that is otherwise about as helpful as healthcare.gov.

Here are my concerns.

This intersection was only required by the construction of a 2-mile-long unnecessary road leading out of it, a road aimed at taking traffic off other roads that will certainly fail in that quixotic mission. Construction of new houses along those other roads has outpaced the construction of the new road that will produce the traffic needed to fill it, as they always do.

The intersection is supposed to cost $33 million, and together with the 2-mile-long road a total of $67 million.

The increased traffic is predictably driving discussion of additional new intersections to receive it. Price tags for improving four intersections on nearby Route 29 have been discussed as ranging from $250 million to $350 million. An intersection many miles up Route 29 in Gainesville is under construction for a cost of $216 million. A ridiculous proposal for a whole new road to the west of Charlottesville has been stopped by public pressure but left $200 million lying around for people to find something to spend it on. The Virginia Department of Transportation has a six-year plan to spend $13 billion on transportation projects.

To put this madness into perspective, the World Food Program needs $413 million for Syrian refugees for the next six months and doesn't have it. That's the cost of a couple of pointless and counterproductive intersections.

About $11 billion per year would provide clean drinking water to every part of the world that lacks it. That's less than a certain collection of road construction projects in just one U.S. state.

About $30 billion per year would end starvation and hunger around the world. In the United States alone we spend about $80 billion per month on highway and road construction projects.

The problem is not just that we're paving the planet rather than saving lives. And it's not just that paving one's way out of traffic predictably generates more traffic. It's also that we're destroying the planet's climate in the process.

Oh, and we're also creating a motivation for endless wars over oil.

Speaking of wars, no intersection would be complete without a war memorial. As part of the construction of the $33 million intersection in Charlottesville, big improvements are being made to the Dogwood Veterans Memorial, a monument to the war on Vietnam that was built during that war in 1966.

That war killed some 4 million Vietnamese, and the people whose government killed them have absolutely no shame. In fact, they don't even know about it. Ask a German or a Japanese about their nations' greatest sins, and they'll cite you chapter and verse with grave remorse. Ask a U.S.-American how many people died in Vietnam and you'll get at best a blank stare.

So, as you speed through the new intersection admiring the blacktop and the war monument -- I'm sure there's something similar in your part of the country too --  give some thought to the general priorities they represent.

Revealed: How Big Oil Got Expedited Permitting for Fracking on Public Lands Into the Defense Bill

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

The U.S. Senate has voted 89-11 to approve the Defense Authorization Act of 2015, following the December 4 U.S. House of Representatives' 300-119 up-vote and now awaits President Barack Obama's signature.

 Photo Credit: C-SPAN Screenshot

The 1,648-page piece of pork barrel legislation contains a provision — among other controversial measures — to streamline permitting for hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") on U.S. public lands overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a unit of the U.S. Department of Interior.

Buried on page 2,179 of the bill as Section 3021 and subtitled "Bureau of Land Management Permit Processing," the bill's passage has won praise from both the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and comes on the heels of countries from around the world coming to a preliminary deal at the United Nations climate summit in Lima, Peru, to cap greenhouse gas emissions.

"We applaud the Senate...and are hopeful the president signs this measure in a timely fashion," said Dan Naatz, IPAA lobbyist and former congressional staffer, in a press release

Alluding to the bottoming out of the global price of oil, Naatz further stated, "In these uncertain times of price volatility, it’s encouraging for America’s job creators to have regulatory certainty through a streamlined permitting process.”

Streamlined permitting means faster turn-around times for the industry's application process to drill on public lands, bringing with it all of the air, groundwater and climate change issues that encompass the shale production process. 

At the bottom of the same press release, IPAA boasted of its ability to get the legislative proposal introduced initially by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) as the BLM Permit Processing Improvement Act of 2014 after holding an "educational meeting" with Udall's staffers. Endorsed by some major U.S. environmental groups, Udall took more than $191,000 from the oil and gas industry during his successful 2014 re-election campaign.

IPAA's publicly admitted influence-peddling efforts are but the tip of the iceberg for how Big Oil managed to stuff expedited permitting for fracking on U.S. public lands into the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015.

Facing Down a Key Torture Enabler

Clashing Face-to-Face on Torture

Editor Note: It’s rare on TV when you see two former senior U.S. officials clashing angrily over something as significant as torture. Usually decorum prevails. But ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern wasn’t going to let the ex-House intelligence oversight chief get away with a bland defense of torture.

By Ray McGovern

When you get an opportunity like this, don’t fall back – I heard my Irish grandmother telling me last Thursday as I took my place at the table to discuss torture with a former congressional committee chairman whose job it was to prevent such abuse.

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