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Focus: U.S., NATO and Russia - Feb 6, 2016


Note: We are witnessing the making of a strategic military blunder by the Pentagon. Treating Russia as a top threat to U.S. national security is wrong and dangerous.


Armed with new U.S. money, NATO is planning its biggest build-up in eastern Europe since the Cold War to counter Russia - Reuters


NATO chief meets EU defense ministers to beef up their responses to Russia and the Islamic State - Financial Express


Russia ramping up military drills to Cold War levels, NATO says - Fox News


US admiral: Russia's submarine activity in the North Atlantic is at Cold War levels, but we don't know why - Business Insider


Russia simulated nuclear attack on Sweden, says NATO - The Week UK


RAND Report: Russia Defeats NATO in Baltic War Game - Military.com


RAND Report (Full): Reinforcing Deterrence on NATO's Eastern Flank - scribd.com


NATO's top 5 weapons of war pointed at Russia - The National Interest Blog

 

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Carter: Pentagon seeks to boost defense in Europe to counter Russia as a top threat to US interests - Tribune Washington Bureau


US Defense Secretary: Our most stressing competitors China and Russia developing weapons for use in rapid war  - theepochtimes.com


TRANSCRIPT: Remarks by Secretary Carter on the budget at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. - defense.gov


U.S. army budget boosts European presence, sacrifices modernization - defensenews.com


The big budget crunch awaiting America's spies: U.S. intelligence community overall budget may rise but spending on information technology will not, a new report says - Defense One


Robot Boats, Smart Guns & Super B-52s: Carter’s Strategic Capabilities Office - Breaking Defense


How America's New Invisible Flying Gas Stations Could Keep Russia in Check - VICE News


The Pentagon nuclear modernization plan is on the table - defensenews.com


VIDEO: Hillary Clinton: We have to send Putin a clear message that [Russian] belligerence... will have to be responded to - MSNBC


Russians Slam Clinton For Calling Russia A Threat - Vocativ


Jeffrey Sachs op-ed: Hillary is the candidate of the war machine - huffingtonpost.com

 

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Russia to add new army divisions in the Western military district as a direct response to recent NATO exercises - Telegraph


The West fears qualitative improvement in Russian military - larouchepub.com


Russia considers principles of conventional arms control In Europe treaty outdated - rferl.org


Russia explores asymmetrical response to U.S. military budget hike - TRUNEWS


US rejected Russia’s proposal on Syria consultation center in Amman to coordinate operations: defense ministry - TASS


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

War with Russia or with ISIS: What ever happened to peace?

According to the Nation magazine and many others, there are two options available to the U.S. government. One is increased hostility perhaps leading to nuclear war with Russia. The other is a joint U.S.-Russia-and-others war on ISIS.

Many in the United States who generally oppose war and who look for information outside the U.S. corporate media manage to recognize the U.S. focus on overthrowing the Syrian government, with Iran next on the list. They notice the lack of U.S. concern over Saudi and Turkish assistance to ISIS. And at least in the backs of their minds they remember that the destruction of Iraq was the critical ingredient in the creation of ISIS. But they've been as frightened by the beheading videos as any Donald Trump fanatic screaming for the eradication of Muslims -- all right, maybe a bit less frightened, but still very frightened. So they find refuge in the idea that Russia really wants to destroy ISIS, and they urge the United States to help. The alternative of war with Russia is unthinkable. But why in the world should that be the only alternative?

A Russian media outlet, no doubt hoping I would advocate a unified war on ISIS, sent me these questions on Thursday. First they wanted me to comment on this remark by President Vladimir Putin: "Today we are again facing the destructive barbaric ideology and we do not have the right to allow that the newly found obscurantists reach their goals. We need to throw away all arguments and differences to create one powerful fist, a united antiterrorist front which would act on the basis of international law and under the UN auspices."

Second, they wanted me to comment on these statements by Putin: "Russia has many old, reliable friends in Turkey, who should know we don't put them on level with ruling top officials." and "Russia knows who in Turkey [is] making money on stolen oil, recruiting fighters."

I sent back these answers, asking them to use all or nothing, which I suspected meant they would use nothing:

1. What President Putin proposes and many even on the left in the United States support, a united front against terrorism sounds right until you examine the details. He means a united war, a united bombing of people's homes, a united counterproductive effort to make things better that will make things worse, using large scale terrorism to produce more small scale terrorism. This may be better than a disunited front. It's certainly better than a nuclear confrontation between Russia and the maniacs so respectably running Washington D.C. straight toward armageddon, but it's not a solution to the problem, it's not an alternative to destructive cycles of violence, it's just a different spin on the same wheel.

2. Washington would rather be wrong than agree with Russia. NATO would rather die than agree with Russia, for if it agrees with Russia it loses its reason to exist and dies anyway. What does bringing the world down with it matter? Yes, of course, the United States is less interested in destroying ISIS than in destroying Syria, but a big strong united focus on destroying ISIS will never destroy ISIS. It will only spread it across the globe. Imagine the a united front kills everyone in half of Syria and Iraq, as would have to be done to destroy ISIS. Muslim hatred of the United States would sweep the globe and Muslim hatred of Russia, and bombs in Russian airplanes, right along with it. Is that what Putin wants? Is that what Russians want? A united attempt to actually seriously reduce, rather than increase, terrorism would establish a ceasefire, an arms embargo, humanitarian aid, assistance to refugees, and the sort of intense investment in green energy that right now only goes into killing people.

To these comments I received the reply:

"I would use all, personally. Some of the things you wrote here, I’m afraid, are controversial for our editorial board as the main idea here in Russia is that it is 'better to fight IS in Syria and Iraq than on Russian territory.' Many Islamist volunteers from Northern Caucasus promise to come back to Russia and kill innocent people in terrorist acts. We have lost a full plane of civilians flying from Cairo and many people here are afraid. However, I promise to send your message (which I think was your main point) that 'a big strong united focus on destroying ISIS will never destroy ISIS.' This quote I will necessarily include. Thank you for your understanding!"

Sound familiar? Fight em there, not here. Use blowback to justify escalation. Where have we seen this movie before?

I failed to be understanding and asked them to use nothing of my quote rather than part of it. They agreed to use nothing, no hard feelings. I encouraged them to think about this:

Generating more terrorism is not a solution to terrorism, and the excuse of being scared and unable to think straight still leaves mistaken thinking. The United States has demonstrated these mistakes for years now. I remember when Russians pointed out that the United States had made all of Russia's earlier mistakes in Afghanistan and moved on to new ones; that was right, and the United States refused to listen. Don't, Russia, make all of the U.S. mistakes in Iraq and start inventing your own. This path leads to hell.

I sent that to my Russian journalist friend who was sounding identical to a war-supporting American of exactly the sort that peace activists usually disagree with. The next response I received only heightened the similarity with U.S. war advocates and U.S. media:

"I personally agree however I do not understand how could we stop Islamic State. What is your recipe?"

Sigh.

I sent back this:

I've been answering this for well over a year many dozens of times at http://davidswanson.org

Here's my latest.

Here's Johan Galtung's answer.

Here's an organizational answer from last October.

Here's an answer this week from a former ISIS prisoner.

Here are former U.S. officials explaining how what they did until the moment they retired was counterproductive.

I got back: "Thanks, I'll read that."

I believe that was sincere. But I wonder what the "editorial board" will read. I suspect Russian and U.S. editorial boards could swap their reading lists and hardly notice, just like ISIS and anti-ISIS fighters swapping the U.S. bullets in their U.S. guns.

On reading Mumia in gaol: Torture and Other Abuses Make Turkey as American as Apple Pie

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

On the topic of torture the nation of Turkey could teach some gruesome techniques to ISIS, the terrorist movement executing a savage reign across Syria and beyond (reportedly with Turkish government support).

Russia News - Nov 28, 2015


Russia deploys cutting-edge S-400 air defense system on combat duty to Syrian base after Su-24 downing (VIDEOS) - RT News


VIDEO: See the moment the Russian S-400s arrived in Latakia, Syria - YouTube


Experts opinions: S-400 antiaircraft missile system to defend Russia’s air group, will keep most of Syrian airspace under control - TASS


Reports: Russia launches electronic warfare in Syria as tensions rise - Fox News


Ankara Suspends Air Force Flights Over Syria After Attack on Su-24: Media - sputniknews.com


Erdogan warns against use of S-400 against Turkish fighter jets over Syria - News.Az


VIDEO: Erdogan interview: We won't apologize for downing Russian plane - CNN


U.S. officials say Russia didn't give downed jet's flight plan to them, Putin hinted that U.S. might have given detailed Russian operational plans to Turkey ahead of time - Yahoo News


US Hopes Russia Respects Safety Memorandum After S-400s Deployed in Syria - armscom.net


US special forces begin training Kurdish and Arab fighters to take on Isis - ibtimes.co.uk


Israeli Air Force says direct line to Moscow prevents possible air incidents - RT News


Chinese media: Russian S-400 undermines Turkey's plan to impose safe zone in Syria - Xinhua


Russia retaliates with air strikes near Turkey border - World Tribune


Russia ready to coordinate steps to block Turkish-Syrian border: FM Lavrov - TASS


U.S. urges Turkey to seal Syria border, says a bigger Turkish border deployment would close off key transit routes for ISIS fighters in Syria - WSJ


Turkey Masses Tanks on Syria Border Amid Rising Russia Tensions - Antiwar.com


Putin: 'Commercial scale’ oil smuggling into Turkey by ISIS becomes priority target of air strikes - RT News


Erdogan denies Turkey buys oil from ISIL - Al Jazeera English


Protests erupt in Turkey after journalists arrested for a report suggesting Ankara shipped arms to Islamist rebels in Syria - AFP


VIDEO: Turkish police pepper spray supporters of 2 prominent journalists arrested for ‘treason’ over publishing photos of weapons allegedly brought to Syrian rebels by Turkish intelligence - RT News


Russian PM Pushes For Economic Sanctions Against Turkey - huffingtonpost.com


Russia scraps visa-free regime for Turks amid bitter dispute - France 24 


France, Russia agree to exchange intelligence in Syria campaigns, but difference remain on the fate of Assad - AP

 

Russia plays down idea of grand coalition with West to strike Islamic State in Syria, it seeks cooperation on its terms - Washington Post

 

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Coal cutoff escalates Russia-Ukraine tensions, Yatsenyuk says not enough coal for winter - POLITICO


Ukraine seeks imports of anthracite coal from South Africa as shortages loom - Platts News


Ukraine Energy Minister Backs Compromise on Energy Supplies With Russia - sputniknews.com


Crimea starts receiving electricity from Russia: RIA - Reuters


Russia cuts gas flow, Ukraine closes airspace as trade war expands - The Washington Post


Moscow will impose a food embargo on Ukraine starting from 1 January 2016, when the economic part of Kiev’s European Association Agreement comes into force - RT


Yatsenyuk: Ukraine to Respond Likewise to Russia's Upcoming Food Embargo - sputniknews.com


Ukraine's agricultural exports to Russia down 72.9 pct in first 10 months of 2015 - GlobalPost


Ukraine’s export to decrease 30.8% in 2015: ministry - TASS


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

An invisible US hand leading to war?: Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet at the Turkish/Syrian Border was an Act of Madness

By Dave Lindorff


In considering the terrifying but also sadly predictable news of a Russian fighter jet being downed by two Turkish fighters, let’s start with one almost certain assumption -- an assumption that no doubt is also being made by the Russian government: Turkey’s action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey’s vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US.

Where’s the truth, and how can you find it?: The US Corporate Media are Essentially Propaganda Organs of the US Government


By Dave Lindorff

 

            Are the American corporate media largely propaganda organs, or news organizations?

 

The proof is in the proofs: US Spy Sats See Everything, Except when the Government Says They Didn’t

By Dave Lindorff

 

            There is something fishy going on in the way the US is talking about civilian plane crashes that are in some way linked, or said to be linked to Russia.

 

Why Peace Activists Should Stop Cheering for Russian Bombs in Syria

By David Swanson, originally published at teleSUR

There's a view of Syria, common even among peace activists in the United States, that holds that because the United States has been making everything worse in Syria and the entire Middle East for years, Russian bombs will make things better. While the actions of the United States and its allies will lead to victory for ISIS, horror for millions of people, and chronic chaos in Syria along the lines of post-liberation Iraq and Libya, Russian bombs -- this view maintains -- will destroy ISIS, restore order, uphold the rule of law, and establish peace.

I've been informed repeatedly that because I'm opposed to Russian bombing I'm opposed to peace, I'm in favor of war, I want ISIS to win, I lack any concern for the suffering Syrian people, and my mind is either overly simplistic or somehow diseased. This line of thinking is a mirror image of the many self-identified peace activists in the United States who for years now have been insisting that the United States must violently overthrow the government of Syria. That crowd has even found itself alligned with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry who in 2013 told the U.S. public that if we didn't support bombing Syria we were in favor of Syria murdering children with chemical weapons. To our credit, we rejected that logic.

Advocates for U.S. bombs and advocates for Russian bombs each see a particular evil and wish to remedy it. The evil of the Syrian government, while often exaggerated and embellished, is real enough. The evil of the U.S. government, and what it has done to Iraq and Libya and Syria, can hardly be overstated. Both groups, however, place their faith in violence as the tool for remedying violence, revealing deep beliefs in the power of force, clearly at odds with professed commitments to peace.

Dropping bombs kills and injures civilians, traumatizes children who survive, harms infrastructure, destroys housing, poisons the environment, creates refugees, fuels bitter commitments to violence, and wastes massive resources that could have gone into aid and rebuilding. These are all well documented facts about every past bombing campaign in the history of the earth. In theory, peace activists agree with these facts. In practice, they are not outweighed by other concerns of realpolitik; rather, they are avoided entirely.

When the U.S. bombs a hospital in Afghanistan we're outraged. When Russia is accused of bombing a hospital in Syria, we avoid knowing about it. (Or, if we're from another camp, we put on our outrage for Syrian bombs but imagine U.S. bombs planting little flowers of democracy.) In wars that we oppose, we debunk claims to precision from the bombers. But good bombs are imagined has hitting just the right spots. After so many endlessly drawn-out U.S. wars that were advertised as quick and easy, we've begun to recognize the unpredictability of campaigns of mass murder -- and yet awareness of war's unpredictability doesn't seem to play at all into praise for Russian bombers joining in an already chaotic civil/proxy war.

The United States is accusing Russia of murdering people it armed and trained to murder different people. Some of those people are now asking for missiles with which to shoot down Russian planes. Russian planes have nearly come into conflict with Israeli and U.S. planes. A major figure in the Ukrainian government wants to help ISIS attack Russians. Congress members and pundits in the United States are urging conflict directly with Russia. Warmongers in Washington have been working hard to stir up conflict with Russia in Ukraine; now their hope lies in Syria. Russian bombs only heighten U.S.-Russian tensions.

When you unscramble the chaos of forces, and questionable claims about those forces, on the ground in Syria, some facts stand out. The United States wants to overthrow the government of Syria. Russia wants to maintain the government of Syria, or at least protect it from violent overthrow. (Russia in 2012 was open to a peace process that would have removed President Bashar al Assad from power, and the United States dismissed it out of hand in favor of his imminent violent overthrow.) The United States and Russia are the world's major nuclear powers. Their relations have been deteriorating rapidly, as NATO has expanded and the U.S. has orchestrated a coup in Ukraine.

A war with Russia and the United States on different sides, and all sorts of opportunities for incidents, accidents, and misunderstandings, risks everything. Russian bombs solve nothing. When the dust clears, how will the war be ended? Will Russian bombs leave behind generous good-willed people eager to negotiate, unlike U.S. bombs which leave behind anger and hostility? We've learned to ask the U.S. government to spell out its "exit strategy" as it dives into each new war. What is Russia's?

Here's my position. Murder is not moderate. You cannot find "moderate" murderers and engage them to kill extremist murderers. You cannot bomb the extremist murderers without producing more murderers than you kill. What's needed now, as in 2012 when the United States brushed it aside, is a peace process. First a cease fire. Then an arms embargo. And a halt to training and providing fighters and funding by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United States, and all other parties. Then major aid and restitution, and a negotiated settlement in which, in fact, Russia should be included as it is located in that region of the world, and the United States should not as it has no legitimate business being there.

This is what has been needed for years and will continue to be needed as long as it is avoided. More bombs make this more difficult, no matter who's dropping them.

Worst president ever?: History Should and Probably Will Judge President Obama Harshly

By Dave Lindorff


President Barack Obama is on track to go down in history as one of the, or perhaps as the worst and most criminal presidents in US history. 


The Mystery of Maylasian Airlines Flight MH17

 

 


Propaganda, Intelligence and MH-17

 

 

Editor Note: Propaganda is the life-blood of life-destroying wars, and the U.S. government has reached new heights (or depths) in this art of perception management. A case in point is the media manipulation around last year’s Malaysia Airlines shoot-down over Ukraine.

By Ray McGovern

During a recent interview, I was asked to express my conclusions about the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, prompting me to take another hard look at Official Washington’s dubious claims – pointing the finger of blame at eastern Ukrainian rebels and Moscow – based on shaky evidence regarding who was responsible for this terrible tragedy.

Cold War redux: Could war games spark a European conflict?

By MARK MacKINNON, LONDON — The Globe and Mail

War between Russia and the NATO alliance should be unthinkable. But a new study of recent military exercises suggests both powers are preparing for just that possibility.

Researchers at a European think tank warned that while there was no evidence that either side intended to go to war, the increasing frequency and size of military exercises on both sides of the NATO-Russia border heighten the possibility of an unplanned incident that could spark a wider conflict (Read the report PDF). The finding raises the spectre of a continent-wide clash of conventional armies, the sort not seen since Russia and the Western allies combined to defeat Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

READ THE REST.

Make deal not war!: Obama’s, and Washington’s, Absurd Choice of a Nuclear Deal or War on Iran

By Dave Lindorff


I don’t know which is worse: President Obama asserting, in defense of the nuclear deal he and his Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated with Iran, that “The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some form of war, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon,” or the fact that most Americans, and most American pundits, seem to accept that limited choice of options as a given.

Ukraine News - July 19, 2015


'Normandy Four' leaders agree to implement Minsk accords on Ukraine by end of 2015 - UNIAN news


Russia calls Ukrainian constitutional changes inadequate, decentralization does not include defense, foreign policy, national security - rferl.org


Putin stresses the establishment of direct dialogue between Kiev authorities and representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk - Sputnik 


Moscow: West should persuade Ukrainian authorities to start real national dialogue instead of encouraging Kiev’s irresponsible policy - TASS


Poroshenko: Constitutional changes stipulate no special status for Donbass, “There isn’t a single hint on federalization" - Sputnik 


Ukraine calls local elections but not in rebel-held east - US News


U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Nuland sees no ground to talk about Ukraine's way to federalization, only decentralization - interfax.com


Russia says US Nuland ‘jumping to conclusions’ backing Ukraine constitutional law - TASS


Nuland: In case of escalation in Donbas costs for Russia will go up - interfax.com


Victoria Nuland Press Conference in Ukraine - Embassy of the United States Kyiv, Ukraine


US to punish Putin by stepping up financial sanctions if Russia does not fulfil commitment to Minsk agreement - The Independent


Separatist: Kiev didn't submit new draft law on constitution to Contact Group for discussion - TASS


Statement Of The LNR Chairman of the Government Plotnitsky On The Draft Amendments To The Ukrainian Constitution - Voices from Russia

 

Ukrainian law on local elections has nothing to do with the DPR: Pushilin - Novorossia Today


Lavrov and Steinmeier call for soonest Ukrainian troops’ withdrawal from Shyrokino - TASS


Ukraine Rebels Claim Readiness To Pull Back Tanks, Smaller Arms - rferl.org


Strelkov Reportedly Says that Motorola, Givi Out; Zakharchenko Stripped of Guard; DNR Defense Ministry Dismantled after Moscow VIP Visit - Interpreter_Mag


Savchenko moved to Russia's Rostov region: lawyer (VIDEO) - uatoday.tv


Right Sector to hold popular assembly in Kyiv on Tuesday - interfax.com


Right Sector doesn't believe in unbiased inquiry into Mukacheve events, ready to defend its fighters - interfax.com

 

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MH17 investigators to analyse footage of Russian-backed rebels at crash site in Ukraine - news.com.au


The moment Russian-backed rebels realise their momentous mistake after shooting down flight MH17 - news.com.au


VIDEO: Footage reveals Russian-backed rebels arriving at the wreckage of MH17 - news.com.au


TRANSCRIPT: Russian-backed rebels ransack the wreckage of MH17 in shocking 17-minute video - news.com.au


MH17 Victims' Families Suing Igor Girkin, AKA Strelkov, For $900 Million - Interpreter_Mag


VIDEO: MH17 investigator: ‘Buk Missile strike most credible scenario' - BBC News


Chemical examination found submunitions from Boeing corresponding to Russian Buk missiles: Butusov - EN.Censor.net


Unraveling the mystery of MH17: A full recount of the event (PHOTOS, VIDEOS) - mashable.com


MH17 In Their Own Words: Witness Testimonies on Social Media from July 17th, 2014 - bellingcat


A local resident describes seeing a rocket flew from south of Snizhne towards MH17 - MH17 Live on Twitter


SBU intercepted conversation between separatists discussing the downing of Flight MH17 - MH17 Live on Twitter


Separatist communications discussing the Buk intercepted by the SBU - MH17 Live on Twitter

 

Russia’s Colin Powell Moment – How the Russian Government’s MH17 Lies Were Exposed - bellingcat


Zaroshchens’ke Launch Site: Claims and Reality: A Bellingcat Investigation - bellingcat


Evidence the Russian Military Supplied the Type of Missile Used to Shoot Down MH17 - bellingcat


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

Talk Nation Radio: Andre Vltchek on Exposing Lies of the Empire

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-andre-vltchek-on-exposing-lies-of-the-empire

Andre Vltchek is a writer, reporter, playwright, photographer, and filmmaker. He has reported from around the world. His latest book, which he discusses, is Exposing Lies of the Empire. His website is http://andrevltchek.weebly.com

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

Russia News - June 20, 2015


Russia 'open to world', will cooperate with West: Putin tells the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum - Yahoo News


VIDEO (English): Putin addresses the plenary session of the 19th St Petersburg International Economic Forum - President of Russia


TRANSCRIPT (English): Putin addresses the plenary session of the 19th St Petersburg International Economic Forum - President of Russia


VIDEO: Tonight on PBS: watch Charlie Rose 's conversation with President Putin (link) - Charlie Rose Show on Twitter


Putin: Russian economy has stabilized, now time to focus on the future - Russia Beyond The Headlines


Russian economy shrank by 3.2 % in first five months: minister - The Economic Times


Despite Tensions, U.S. Company Officials Attend Russian Economic Forum - The New York Times


Europeans return to business in St. Petersburg - DW.DE


Greek leader tells Russia he seeks 'new harbors' from European storm - LA Times


Russia and Greece Band Together to Build Turkish Stream Pipeline - The Moscow Times


Putin: Russian pipeline project to help Greece pay its debt - StarTribune.com


EU to extend Russia sanctions to January 2016 - Yahoo News


Russian sanctions to 'cost Europe €100bn' - newsweek.com


Exclusive: Gazprom building global alliance with expanded Shell - Reuters


Russia angered by freezing of accounts in Belgium and France in $50 billion Yukos case - US News


Russia's relationship with China deepens following the fallout from sanctions imposed by the West - cnbc.com


China, Russia boost investment, financial cooperation - Chinadaily.com.cn


Chinese firm to rent Russian land in Siberia for crops - BBC News


Saudi Arabia, Russia sign nuclear power cooperation deal - Reuters

 

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Cold war 2.0? Russia, NATO edge toward high-risk military standoff - CSMonitor.com


NATO: Maneuvers of the New Rapid Response Force in Polish War Games Aimed at Showing Readiness to Russia - VOA


Russia not acting as responsible nuclear power: NATO top commander Breedlove - Reuters


NATO Central and Eastern Europe commander advocates arming Baltic and Eastern Europe to deter Russia - DW.DE


Russia warns Sweden over joining NATO - Business Insider


Norway's NATO Missile Defense Aid Irks Russia - defensenews.com


Putin: Unilateral US withdrawal from ABM treaty pushing Russia toward new arms race - Missile ThreatMissile Threat


Pentagon Building Cruise Missile Shield To Defend US Cities From Russian Cruise Missiles - Defense One


Russia built one of the most alarming anti-aircraft systems in history — and won't say who it's sending it to - Business Insider


How Russia's most advanced military equipment stacks up against NATO's hardware - Business Insider


Russia to Ink Deal to Supply China with 24 Su-35 Fighter Jets - Defense Tech


Russia, China do not create military blocs: Putin - TASS


Report: Russia and China cracked Snowden documents containing details that could allow British and U.S. spies to be identified - The Washington Post


Putin says autonomy for Ukraine's east, amnesty, local elections key for ending conflict - Fox News


Putin reaffirms Russia's support for Syria's Assad - Reuters

 

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

 

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Had He Not Been Murdered!

Barack Obama: No Jack Kennedy

Editor Note: A half century ago – at the peak of the Cold War – President Kennedy appealed to humankind’s better nature in a daring overture to Soviet leaders, a gamble that brought bans on nuclear testing and a safer world, a bravery that President Obama can’t seem to muster.

By Ray McGovern

Democratic Sen. Lloyd Bentsen’s “you’re no Jack Kennedy” put-down of Republican Sen. Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice presidential debate springs to mind on a day on which I cannot help but compare the character of President Barack Obama to that of John Kennedy, the first President under whom I served in the Army and CIA.

Will Allies Fold Again on Ukraine

Will “Junior Partners” Act Like Adults at G-7?

By Ray McGovern

 

President Barack Obama arrives in Germany Sunday to meet with the leaders of Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Japan, and Canada for the “G-7 summit” at a resort in Bavaria.

 

This particular genre of summit was formerly known as the “G-8.”  But that was before the U.S. succeeded in blaming Russia for the violent aftermath of the U.S./EU sponsored coup d’état in Kiev on Feb. 22, 2014, and managed to get Russia disinvited last year.

 

Stakes Higher Than Usual

 

We shall have to wait until the two-day gathering in Bavaria is over to gauge the results.  But the stakes are high and – for once – it is conceivable that the U.S. will suffer a significant setback in its continuing, if increasingly quixotic, effort to exploit recent violence in Ukraine to isolate Russia.

 

Ukraine/Russia News - May 16, 2015


Ukraine Recession Deepens as Economy Shrinks 17.6% in the First Quarter, Conflict with Russia-Backed Separatists Slashes Industrial Output - WSJ


Shadow economy in Ukraine in 2014 up to record high since 2007, to 42% of GDP: Trade Ministry - interfax.com


Due to worsening of the balance of payment Ukraine to hold WTO consultations on additional import tax on June 11 - interfax.com


Ukraine eyes strategic investors in sell-off of state-owned assets - The Economic Times


Ukraine says creditors must accept debt proposals - Reuters


Ukraine minister Natalie Jaresko says ‘all options on the table’ for debt (VIDEO) - FT.com


VIDEO: Natalie Jaresko on Ukraine Debt Restructuring - YouTube


Military confrontation in Eastern Ukraine costs state coffers $5-7 mln a day: Finance Minister Jaresko - interfax.com


The battle with the country's creditors threatening to wreck a bailout plan constructed by the International Monetary Fund - Worldbulletin News


IMF calls deadline for Ukrainian state debt restructuring by June - Ukrinform


IMF mission commences work in Ukraine: Finance Ministry - TASS


Russia would not take part in the "debt operation" of the Ukraine’s debt restructuring and awaits the next repayment installments in June - Tass


Russia-Ukraine conflict overshadows EBRD meeting - Business New Europe


EBRD To Invest More In Central Europe, Ex-Soviet Union, But Not Russia - rferl.org


Russia votes against EBRD financial plan for 2016-2020 - TASS


Gas purchases from EU to account for at least half of all imports: Yatseniuk - interfax.com


Yatseniuk hopes for cut in price of EU gas after Paris talks - interfax.com


Kiev insists on revision of gas transit agreement with Russia: Ukraine’s PM - TASS

 

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Ukraine president enacts controversial laws banning Soviet symbols - digitaljournal.com


Ukraine’s law honors nationalist groups who helped the Nazis carried out the Holocaust while also killing 100,000 Polish civilians - Reuters


Ukraine has lost control of more than 400km of its Russian border in the east of the country - uatoday.tv


Ukraine navy left high and dry after Crimea losses - Yahoo News


US House of Representatives allocates USD 300 million to Ukraine in defense bill to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine - uatoday.tv


US Senator McCain turns down Ukraine advisor role - Yahoo News

 

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At Foreign Ministers Meeting EU and Nato vow to step up cooperation to counter Russian 'hybrid warfare' - ibtimes


Russia hopes NATO will stop attempts of absorbing Georgia, Ukraine: envoy - TASS


Russia Says Ukraine Attendance at NATO Spring Session Puts Minsk Commitment Into Question - Sputnik International


Russia says to boost military presence in Crimea in response to NATO E. Europe expansion - RT News


Russia Says It Can Deploy Nuclear Arms to Crimea - Washington Free Beacon


Russia backs legislation to force out ′undesirable′ foreign groups - DW.DE


Evidence Mounts That Russia Supplied Buk Missiles To Ukraine Separatists - rferl.org


VIDEO: A 60 Minutes Australia Exclusive This Sunday: Who shot down MH17? - amp.twimg.com 


Russia: More than 200 Russian Soldiers Killed in Ukraine, Says Nemtsov Report - occrp.org


Russian Defense Ministry Dismisses Claim of Russian Troops in Ukraine - Russian peacekeeper


Top Russian Detective Removed From Nemtsov Murder Case - rferl.org


PayPal Blocks Russian Account For Nemtsov Report On Ukraine War - rferl.org


Facebook Is Pro-Russia, Senior Aide To Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko Says - ibtimes.com


Facebook’s Zuckerberg Responds to Ukrainians’ Complaints, But Is His Answer Enough? - Global Voices Advocacy


Russia’s First GDP Slump Since 2009 Signals Milder Recession, Russia’s economy fares better than forecast by all analysts - Bloomberg

 

Putin Buying Dollars Again Shows Worst of Crisis Is Over - Bloomberg Business


Ruble Up Against U.S. Dollar, Despite Central Bank Forex Purchases - The Moscow Times


France offers Russia 785 mn euros to ditch warship deal: report - Yahoo News


Russia remains EU’s third biggest trade partner: Foreign Ministry review - TASS

 

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An "Indispensable" Snub

Obama's Petulant WWII Snub of Russia

Editor Note:  Russia will celebrate the Allied victory over Nazism on Saturday without U.S. President Obama and other Western leaders present, as they demean the extraordinary sacrifice of the Russian people in winning World War II – a gesture intended to humiliate President Putin.

By Ray McGovern

President Barack Obama’s decision to join other Western leaders in snubbing Russia’s weekend celebration of the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe looks more like pouting than statesmanship, especially in the context of the U.S. mainstream media’s recent anti-historical effort to downplay Russia’s crucial role in defeating Nazism.

40 years after Vietnam: Celebrating the End of One War, and Witnessing the Start of a New One Here at Home

By Dave Lindorff


It was 40 years ago today that the last troops from America’s criminal war against the people of Vietnam scurried ignominiously onto a helicopter on the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and fled the country where US forces had killed some 3-4 million people in the name of “fighting Communism.” 


Ukraine: Coup, Couth, and Consequences

The West Snubs Russia over V-E Day

April 20, 2015

Editor Note:  Last year’s U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine – followed by violence and tensions – has soured plans for the May 9 commemoration in Moscow of World War II’s V-E Day, the Allied defeat of Nazi Germany, a war which cost the Russian people nearly 27 million dead.

By Ray McGovern

The controversy over alleged Russian “aggression” in Ukraine is already raining on the Kremlin parade with which Russia will mark the 70th anniversary of the Allies’ victory over Adolf Hitler and the Nazis on May 9. U.S. President Barack Obama set the tone by turning down the Kremlin’s invitation to take part in the celebration, and allies in Western Europe have been equally uncouth in saying No.

What? Air Defense Missiles to Iran? An Outrage!

Russia Impinges on Israeli 'Right' to Bomb Iran

Editor Note: American neocons are in a lather over Russia’s decision to go ahead with the sale of anti-aircraft missiles to Iran. The apparent outrage is that Iran thinks it has a right to protect its citizens from Israel’s right to launch airstrikes into Iran’s territory.

By Ray McGovern

The front page of the neocon flagship Washington Post on Tuesday warned that the Russians have decided, despite U.S. objections, “to send an advanced air-defense system to Iran … potentially altering the strategic balance in the Middle East.”

So, at least, says the lede of an article entitled “Putin lifts 5-year hold on missile sale to Iran” by Karoun Demirjian, whose editors apparently took it upon themselves to sex up the first paragraph, which was not at all supported by the rest of her story which was factual and fair – balanced, even.

Ukraine News - Apr 10, 2015


Ukraine outlaws Communist names in fresh break with Soviet past, It also bans Nazi symbols and propaganda - Yahoo News


Decommunisation: Dismantlement of monuments, all cities and streets with Soviet names to be renamed - EN.Censor.net


Poroshenko: Hitler and Stalin to blame for World War II - UNIAN news


VIDEO (English Subs): Poroshenko blames Hitler and Stalin for outbreak of WWII - YouTube


Ukraine’s Parliament Votes To Open Soviet-Era KGB Archives To Public - ibtimes.com


Ukraine recognizes ultranationalists as freedom and independence fighters, Organizations include the UPA and OUN - Sputnik


Historian on the legal status of Ukrainian independence fighters: Was this crude distortion of the past really necessary? Can one legislate historical events in such a fashion? - ukraineanalysis


Martial law bill passed in first reading by Verkhovna Rada - Russia Beyond The Headlines


New Martial Law Lets Poroshenko Seize Assets at Will - offguardian


Ukraine sets sights on joining NATO - Reuters


Ukraine to sign new cooperation agreements with NATO: PM - Global Times


Ukrainian Armed Forces working towards meeting NATO military standards: Poltorak - interfax.com


Ukroboronprom to shift to NATO arms production standards by 2019 - Russia Beyond The Headlines


US, Russian war games rekindle Cold War tensions in Eastern Europe amid Ukraine crisis - Fox News


Russian Defense Ministry: NATO needs Ukraine crisis to justify its existence - TASS


Russia Warns US That It Can Counter Its Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems: Sees PGS Of US As A Serious Threat - ibtimes.com


Russian Missile Operators Brought Up to Speed on Iskander-M - Sputnik International


As Russia Improves Its Surface-to-Air Missiles, US Looks To Counter - Defense One


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

Amnesty International reports execution-style killings of captured Ukrainian soldiers - Reuters


Amnesty: Separatists must urgently remove from their ranks anyone suspected of war crimes and cooperate with an investigation - Amnesty


Interview with Amnesty official on the executed Ukrainian soldiers, 'I must emphasize that we have evidence of this happening on both sides' - rferl


'I kill if I want to': Russian rebel commander ‘Motorola’ says he shot dead 15 Ukrainian POWs (VIDEO) - mashable.com


Ukrainian rebel ‘Motorola' can officially be considered a war criminal now (VIDEOS) - Ukraine@war


Ukraine separatist leader Zakharchenko warns of possible return to war - Yahoo News


Pro-Russian Rebels Told: Major Attack on Ukraine Imminent - newsweek.com


East Ukraine Ceasefire Violations Increase Near Mariupol As Pro-Russian Rebels Prepare For Combat - ibtimes.com


OSCE: Ukrainian forces moving new heavy weaponry to buffer zone in Donbas - InSerbia News


Fortification work on demarcation line in Donbas to cost UAH 1 bln: ATO deputy commander - interfax.com


OSCE mission reports increase in ceasefire violations in Donbas - interfax.com


Two Ukrainian servicemen killed in past 24 hours-military spokesman (VIDEO) - uatoday.tv


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

Main players in Ukraine debt battle prepare to face off - Reuters


Ukraine Creditor Group Has Plan to Avoid Writedown in Debt Talks - Bloomberg Business


IMF expects Ukraine agreement with creditors by June - Reuters


Ukraine’s Tanking Economy, Car-Production Plunges 96% And Many Banks Also Fail - Dissident Voice


Ukraine’s exhausted economy to rely on agriculture in Q2 - Reuters


Ukraine: Another crisis for ′Europe′s bread basket′ - DW.DE


Ukraine's cash-strapped Metinvest announces default, seeks breather from debt repayments - Reuters


Ukraine Seeks to Scrap Utility Sales in Move Against Tycoons - Bloomberg Business


Ukraine: Poroshenko earned $16 mln last year: report - InSerbia News


VIDEO: Supposedly another vid of Ukrainian radicals humiliating an allegedly corrupt official, in Ivano-Frankivsk. Nasty - Shaun Walker on Twitter

 

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Ukraine News - Apr 7, 2015


Poroshenko denounces federalization at the constitutional reform commission, Rebels say 'these things are absolutely unacceptable…we did not receive any invitations' - NYTimes.com


Poroshenko: the Ukrainian language is and will remain the only state language of Ukraine - interfax.com


Poroshenko: defense, national security and foreign policy of Ukraine not affected by decentralization - interfax.com


Poroshenko: tougher punishments for separatist statements, let alone actions, so that people are afraid to even think about it - interfax.com


Poroshenko: I won’t allow people carrying illegal weapons to walk around free - interfax.com


Poroshenko submits presidential bill on legal regime of martial law - interfax.com


Yatseniuk: Russia has no right to dictate to Ukraine form of its constitution - UNIAN news


Ukraine to resume paying pensions in occupied Donbas after control is restored: justice ministry - interfax.com


Donbass leaders to Germany, France: Make Kiev pay pensions approved by Minsk deal - RT News


Lavrov says constitutional reform must agree with militants - molbuk.ua


Ukraine far-right leader made army advisor in move to control militias - THE DAILY STAR


VIDEO: Ukraine Nationalist Leader Joins Government: Right Sector MP Yarosh given Defence Ministry position - YouTube


Four Ukrainian Soldiers Killed In 24 Hours; Daily Death Toll Rising With A Total Of 13 Having Been Killed In Three Days - Interpreter_Mag


Donetsk Separatists Release 16 Captured Ukrainian Soldiers - rferl.org


Over 150 children killed or injured by landmines in east Ukraine: UNICEF - Novorossia Today


Russian bomb defusers on Ukraine's front lines, Battlefields in Donetsk and Luhansk are strewn with mines and other unexploded ordnance posing serious risks to civilians - mashable.com


Russia's Role in Ukraine Seen Shifting to Training Rebels - The Moscow Times


VIDEO: Drone video from Donetsk shows huge Russian military bases w/ heavy weapons (ceasefire violation) - Ukraine Reporter on Twitter


Ukraine bans broadcast of many Russian films - The Washington Post


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

Crisis-hit Ukraine’s annual inflation rate hit 45.8 percent after a sharp acceleration of 10.8 percent in March - Business Insider


After a year at war, Ukraine at financial breaking point - Yahoo News


Ukrainian economy in free fall, National Bank projects an economic decline of 15 percent for the first quarter of 2015 - shafaqna.com


Ukrainian government approves framework for $15 billion debt-swap: Finance Ministry - Reuters


Cabinet approves list of eurobonds to be restructured: finance ministry - interfax.com


Russia expects Kiev to pay off debt in late 2015: deputy finance minister - TASS


Ukraine bank in plea for loan relief - The Sunday Times


Ukraine Pension Fund Is Bankrupt: Social Policy Minister - russia-insider.com


Ukraine to Triple Cheaper Gas Imports from Russia, Kiev is to pay $248 per 1,000 cubic meters during the April-June quarter - Oil and Gas News


Naftogaz imports gas from EU at average of $304 per 1,000 cubic meters in Q1 2015 - interfax.com


Ukraine reduces gas imports from Hungary in early April - interfax.com


Russia steps in as job losses, closures ravage east Ukraine - timesofindia


Russian state companies face bans from Ukraine investment - RT Russian politics


The American Woman Who Stands Between Putin and Ukraine - businessweek

 

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Credit where credit's due...but only where it's due: How Can Obama Claim the Alternative to a Nuclear Deal with Iran is War?

By Dave Lindorff


A kudo to President Obama. But just one.

If he manages to pull off an agreement with Iran on limiting that country's nuclear fuel enrichment program in the fact of determined resistance from Republicans, Neocons, the Israel Lobby and the warmongers in both the GOP and his own Democratic Party, he will have finally earned at least some small portion of the gold in his Nobel Peace medallion.

Cold War 2.0

By William Blum

Cold War 2.0, part I

In last month’s Anti-Empire Report I brought you the latest adventure of US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki trying to defend the indefensible. She said then: “As a matter of longstanding policy, the United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means,” which prompted me to inform my readers: “If you know how to contact Ms. Psaki, tell her to have a look at my list of more than 50 governments the United States has attempted to overthrow since the end of the Second World War.”

On March 13 her regular attack on all things Russian included this exchange with Associated Press writer Matthew Lee:

Lee: On this issue, did you get any more about this request to the Vietnamese on Cam Ranh Bay and not allowing the Russians to - and not wanting them to allow - you not wanting them to refuel Russian planes there?

Psaki: Well, just to be clear - and maybe I wasn’t as clear yesterday, so let me try to do this again - it’s - our concern is about activities they might conduct in the region, and the question is: Why are they in the region? It’s not about specifically refueling or telling the Vietnamese not to allow them to refuel. [emphasis added]

Lee: So there hasn’t been a request to stop refueling them, or there has?

Psaki: It’s more about concerns. It’s not as much about Vietnam as much as it - as it is about concerns about what activities they would be in the region for.

Lee: Okay. Well, you - I mean, there are U.S. planes flying over there all the time.

Psaki: Sure, there are.

Lee: So you don’t want Russian planes flying there, but it’s okay for U.S. planes to fly there? I mean, I just - it gets to the point where you - the suggestion is that everything the Russians are doing all the time everywhere is somehow nefarious and designed to provoke. But you can’t - but you don’t seem to be able to understand or accept that American planes flying all over the place, including in that area, is annoying to the Chinese, for one, but also for the Russians. But the suggestion is always that the American flights are good and beneficial and don’t cause tension, and that other people’s flights do cause tension. So can you explain what the basis is for your concern that the Russian flights there in the Southeast Asia area are - raise tensions?

Psaki: There just aren’t more details I can go into.

Cold War 2.0, part II

On Saturday, the Obama administration released a series of satellite images that it said showed the Russian army had joined the rebels in a full-scale assault to surround troops in the area around the city. Russia has denied that it is a party to the conflict, and it was impossible to verify the three grainy black-and-white satellite images posted to Twitter by the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt.
According to the United States, the images, commissioned from the private Digital Globe satellite company, showed artillery systems and multiple-rocket launchers Thursday in the area near Debaltseve.
“We are confident these are Russian military, not separatist, systems,” Pyatt tweeted. (Washington Post, February 15, 2015)

When the time comes to list the ways in which the United States gradually sunk into the quicksand, slowly metamorphosing into a Third-World state, Washington’s campaign of 2014-15 to convince the world that Russia had repeatedly invaded Ukraine will deserve to be near the top of the list. Numerous examples like the above can be given. If I were still the jingoistic nationalist I was raised to be I think I would feel somewhat embarrassed now by the blatant obviousness of it all.

For a short visual history of the decline and fall of the American Empire, see the video “Imperial Decay” by Class War Films (8:50 minutes).

During Cold War 1.0 the American media loved to poke fun at the Soviet media for failing to match the glorious standards of the Western press. One of the most common putdowns was about the two main Russian newspapers – Pravda (meaning “truth” in Russian) and Izvestia (meaning “news”). We were told, endlessly, that there was “no truth in Pravda and no news in Izvestia.”

As cynical as I’ve been for years about the American mainstream media’s treatment of ODE (Officially Designated Enemies), current news coverage of Russia exceeds my worst expectations. I’m astonished every day at the obvious disregard of any kind of objectivity or fairness concerning Russia. Perhaps the most important example of this bias is the failure to remind their audience that the US and NATO have surrounded Russia – with Washington’s coup in Ukraine as the latest example – and that Moscow, for some odd reason, feels threatened by this. (Look for the map online of NATO bases and Russia, with a caption like: “Why did you place your country in the middle of our bases?”)

Cold War 2.0, part III

Following the murder of Russian opposition leader, and former Deputy Prime Minister, Boris Nemtsov in Moscow on February 27, the West had a field day. Ranging from strong innuendo to outright accusation of murder, the Western media and politicians did not miss an opportunity to treat Vladimir Putin as a football practice dummy.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution urging an international investigation into Nemtsov’s death and suggested that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Council, and the United Nations could play a role in the probe.

US Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham introduced a Senate Resolution condemning the Nemtsov murder. The Resolution also called on President Obama and the international community to pursue an independent investigation into the murder and redouble efforts to advance free speech, human rights, and the rule of law in Russia. In addition, it urged Obama to continue to sanction human rights violators in the Russian Federation and to increase US support to human rights activists in Russia.

So it went … all over the West.

Meanwhile, in the same time period in Ukraine, outside of the pro-Russian area in the southeast, the following was reported:

  • January 29: Former Chairman of the local government of the Kharkov region, Alexey Kolesnik, hanged himself.
  • February 24: Stanislav Melnik, a member of the opposition party (Partia Regionov), shot himself.
  • February 25: The Mayor of Melitopol, Sergey Valter, hanged himself a few hours before his trial.
  • February 26: Alexander Bordiuga, deputy director of the Melitopol police, was found dead in his garage.
  • February 26: Alexander Peklushenko, former member of the Ukrainian parliament, and former mayor of Zaporizhi, was found shot to death.
  • February 28: Mikhail Chechetov, former member of parliament, member of the opposition party (Partia Regionov), “fell” from the window of his 17th floor apartment in Kiev.
  • March 14: The 32-year-old prosecutor in Odessa, Sergey Melnichuk, “fell” to his death from the 9th floor.

The Partia Regionov directly accused the Ukrainian government in the deaths of their party members and appealed to the West to react to these events. “We appeal to the European Union, PACE [Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe], and European and international human rights organizations to immediately react to the situation in Ukraine, and give a legal assessment of the criminal actions of the Ukrainian government, which cynically murders its political opponents.”

We cannot conclude from the above that the Ukrainian government was responsible for all, or even any, of these deaths. But neither can we conclude that the Russian government was responsible for the death of Boris Nemtsov, the American media and politicians notwithstanding. A search of the mammoth Nexus news database found no mention of any of the Ukrainian deceased except for the last one above, Sergey Melnichuk, but this clearly is not the same person. It thus appears that none of the deaths on the above list was ascribed to the Western-allied Ukrainian government.

Where are the demands for international investigations of any of the deaths? In the United States or in Europe? Where is Senator McCain?

Torture via sanctions

Discussions on constraining Iran’s nuclear program have been going on for well over a year between Iran and the P5+1 (the five nuclear powers of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany), led by the United States. Throughout this period a significant stumbling block to reaching an agreement has been the pronouncements of Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA is the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, and its inspections are considered a key safeguard against countries using civilian nuclear energy technology to produce weapons. Amano has consistently accused Iran of failing to reply fully and substantially to queries about “possible military dimensions” of present and past nuclear activities, or failing to provide sufficient access to nuclear facilities.

Failure by Iran to comply fully with IAEA demands undermine Tehran’s efforts to win the lifting of crippling UN, US and other sanctions, which currently prohibit foreign companies from doing business with Iran and deny access to the global financial system. Media coverage of the negotiations regularly emphasize Amano’s claims of Iran’s insufficient responses to IAEA’s demands. It is thus worth inquiring just who is this man Amano.

In 2009 Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano became the head of the IAEA. What the Western media routinely fail to remind its audience is that a US embassy cable of October 2009 (released by Wikileaks in 2010) said Amano “took pains to emphasize his support for U.S. strategic objectives for the Agency. Amano reminded the [American] ambassador on several occasions that … he was solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.”

Even if Iran makes a superior effort to satisfy IAEA and Washington’s demands on all issues, it would remain questionable to what extent and how rapidly the sanctions would be removed, particularly under a Republican-controlled Congress. Iran specialist and author Gareth Porter recently wrote that “the United States and its allies have made no effort to hide the fact that they intend to maintain the ‘sanctions architecture’ in place for many years after the implementation of the agreement has begun. Last November, administration officials explained that US sanctions would only be removed after the International Atomic Energy Agency had verified that ‘Tehran is abiding by the terms of a deal over an extended period of time’ in order to ‘maintain leverage on Iran to honour the accord’.”

To appreciate the extraordinary degree of pressure and extortion the United States can impose upon another country we should consider the case of Libya in the decade-plus following the destruction of PanAm Flight 103 in 1988 over Scotland. To force Libya to “accept responsibility” for the crime, Washington imposed heavy sanctions on the Gaddafi regime, including a ban on international flights to Libya and payment of billions of dollars to the families of the victims. Libya eventually did “accept responsibility” for the crime, although it was innocent. As difficult as this may be to believe, it’s true. Read my account of it here.

Even after Libya accepted responsibility it still took years for the US to wipe out the sanctions, and it’s not clear that at the time of Gaddafi’s death in 2011 all of them had been removed. Once a nation becomes an Officially Designated Enemy of the empire the methods of torture can be exquisite and endless. Cuba is presently negotiating the end of US sanctions against Havana. They will need to be extremely careful.

“Like others of his ilk - such as David Horowitz and Christopher Hitchens - he learned too much in college and too little since.” Sam Smith

I’ve never been too impressed by what college a person went to, or even if they attended college at all. Gore Vidal did not attend any college; neither did H. L. Mencken; nor did Edward Snowden, who has demonstrated a highly articulate and educated mind. Among the many other notables who skipped a college education are George Bernard Shaw, Ernest Hemingway, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Then we have graduates from Ivy League colleges like George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Tom Cotton. I don’t have to present the case for Bush’s less-than educated mind; we’re all only too familiar with its beauty. But Obama has matched Georgie Boy for stupidity and inanity time and time again. My favorite, which he’s used on at least five occasions, is his reply to questions about why his administration has not prosecuted Bush, Cheney, et al for torture and other war crimes: “I prefer to look forward rather than backwards”. Picture a defendant before a judge asking to be found innocent on such grounds. It simply makes laws, law enforcement, crime, justice, and facts irrelevant. Picture Chelsea Manning and other whistle blowers using this argument. Picture the reaction to this by Barack Obama, who has become the leading persecutor of whistleblowers in American history.

Is there anyone left who still thinks that Barack Obama is some kind of improvement intellectually over George W. Bush? Probably two types still think so: (1) Those to whom color matters a lot; (2) Those who are very impressed by the ability to put together grammatically correct sentences.

And now we have Mr. Cotton, Senator from Arkansas and graduate of Harvard undergraduate and law schools. He’ll be entertaining us for years to come with gems like his remark on “Face the Nation” (March 15): “Moreover, we have to stand up to Iran’s attempts to drive for regional dominance. They already control Tehran and, increasingly, they control Damascus and Beirut and Baghdad. And now, Sana’a as well.”

Heavens, Iran controls Tehran! Who knew? Next thing we’ll hear is that Russia controls Moscow! Sarah Palin, move over. Our boy Cotton is ready for Saturday Night Live.

Notes

  1. Washington Post, February 15, 2015, “Amid doubts, truce in Ukraine appears to take hold
  2. RT, March 12, 2015, “EU lawmakers demand international investigation into Nemtsov’s death
  3. John McCain website, Press Release, “Senators John Mccain And Lindsey Graham Introduce Resolution Condemning Murder Of Russian Opposition Leader Boris Nemtsov
  4. Research for this section was done by a person who was raised in the Soviet Union and now lives in the United States.
  5. Middle East Eye, March 27, 2015, “Sanctions and the fate of the nuclear talks

Speaking Events

2016

 

March 24, Boone, NC.

 

March 25, Asheville, NC
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War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Published April 5, 2016
Tour begins here:

April 11, Washington, DC, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K Streets.
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April 12, Baltimore, MD, 7:30 p.m. at Red Emma's.
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April 14, Bellingham, WA, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship.
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April 15, Seattle, WA
Town Hall Seattle
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April 24, Oneonta, NY at Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta.
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7:00 talk and Q&A with everyone.
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7:30 to 9 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, sponsored by the Social Justice Committee and Cynthia Papermaster, 1606 Bonita Ave. (at Cedar), Berkeley, CA
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May 30, Fresno, CA
2 to 4 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at a Peace Fresno event

 


June 11 St. Paul, MN, 6 p.m. at Macalester Plymouth Church Social Hall 1658 Lincoln, St. Paul, MN.
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