Fighting for Russia against the New World Order.

Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts

Yovanovitch Admits She Knew About Biden & Burisma, Did Nothing

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch admitted Friday under questioning from Republican counsel that she had been briefed about the fact that Hunter Biden was on Burisma’s board, but did nothing about it.


Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4ZGReYPL_0
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Jon Hellevig: Succumbing to US Bullying Made Ukraine Poorest Country in Europe

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A Finnish political economist and author highlighted predicaments of nations that refused to adopt strategies of resistance against US unilateralism, saying Ukraine, for instance, became “the poorest” country in Europe after succumbing to Washington’s bullying.    


Succumbing to US Bullying Made Ukraine Poorest Country in Europe: Finnish Analyst
“Look at Ukraine; they succumbed to USA bullying and propaganda and now their country has become the poorest in Europe although it used to be the industrial powerhouse of the Soviet Union,” Jon Hellevig said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.

“And look at Germany, France, and the whole European Union. Subjugated to the USA, they are being ruined with a stagnant economy for more than a decade and deep social and cultural crises,” he added.

Jon Krister Hellevig is a Finnish lawyer and businessman who has worked in Russia since the early 1990s. Hellevig was a candidate in the European parliament election in 2014. He is the managing partner of the Moscow-based law company Hellevig, Klein & Usov. Hellevig has written several books, including Avenir Guide to Russian Taxes (2002, 2003, 2006 English and Russian editions); Avenir Guide to Labor Laws (2002, 2003, 2006 English and Russian editions). Expressions and Interpretations, a book on the philosophy of law and the development of Russian legal practices; Hellevig takes actively part in public discussion of current affairs and social structure contributing with articles and commentary in the media. He regularly lectures at international seminars on various topics.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Tasnim: International developments are full of examples of how regional and trans-regional countries have successfully adopted strategies of resistance against oppression and unilateralism that have borne good results. As you know, countries like Iran, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, and Palestine have protected their national sovereignty against foreign threats and achieved many gains through this strategy. In contrast, some countries have adopted a strategy of appeasement or reconciliation when being hectored and bullied by world powers. Given the experiences of these resistance countries, what do you think about their approach and the concept of resistance?

Hellevig: Naturally, resistance is the only choice, come what comes. At the same time, the resistance strategy must be smart and strive to build bridges to other countries outside the enemy.
Tasnim: Do you think countries that currently toe the line of major powers like the US ought to emulate these experiences of resistance countries to protect their independence and stand against unilateralism?

Hellevig: Obviously they should. It’s a question of both the material and moral well-being of the people and their very existence in the long-term. Look at Ukraine; they succumbed to USA bullying and propaganda and now their country has become the poorest in Europe although it used to be the industrial powerhouse of the Soviet Union. And look at Germany, France, and the whole European Union. Subjugated to the USA, they are being ruined with a stagnant economy for more than a decade and deep social and cultural crises. The traditional way of life of those European countries is rapidly being destroyed with their social structures torn apart. In fact, the very existence of those nations is now at risk.

Tasnim: In an op-ed article written for Tasnim, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, warned the European countries of the risks of inaction regarding the US administration’s unilateral policies, saying the current EU leaders will be held accountable for Europe’s future challenges. Shamkhani criticized Europe for becoming an unimportant and passive actor that accepts humiliation at the hands of the US and has to live with the destructive effects of Washington’s unilateralism that have affected several international treaties. What is your take on that? Isn’t it better for the EU to stand up to US bullying and unilateralism?

Hellevig: The European Union and its main constituent countries are not independent nations as they have been taken over by US-led globalists. Their armies belong to the US umbrella organization NATO, their intelligence services are CIA branches, their media is owned by the globalists, their capitalists are totally at the mercy of the US market and its bullying terms, etc. Given these circumstances, independent-minded politicians do not have a chance to come to power, not in the individual states nor the totally undemocratic European Union.

The problems are fortunately building up in the European Union and with President Trump’s erratic policies the relationship is becoming increasingly fraught. But things must get much worse before the European people will mature to free themselves from the globalist yoke. I am afraid, it will take an enormous financial and economic crisis to bring that about. But this crisis will come for sure, sooner or later. Paradoxically, an attack on Iran might be the final trigger for that. And this is what holds the Americans at bay from Iran, at least for the time being. On the other hand, the US economy is so bad with enormous asset bubbles in every field of the economy, stock markets, housing etc., massive budget and trade deficits and skyrocketing debt. Therefore, there might be some people in the USA who could possibly consider war and ensuing financial crisis as a means to extract the country from those problems, to let everything crash and start the global economy anew from ground zero.

Source: https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2019/07/10/2050611/succumbing-to-us-bullying-made-ukraine-poorest-country-in-europe-finnish-analyst
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My Musings on Georgia's Anti-Russian antics by Prof. Vladimir Golstein


My Musings on Georgia's Anti-Russian antics by Prof. Vladimir Golstein

We know that politicians play their games and use their strategies, smokescreens, and spinning to get what they want. If Russophobia pays, why not use it? That's what they do in Poland, and Ukraine, and United Kingdom, and Baltic States. If it works for local consumption only, fine.

Russian government probably uses it too -- what's the best way to unite the nation than to show that it is under siege. So I am not surprised that Russian press milks the images of angry Georgians for their own purposes. 

But both sides, while pursuing their myopic political goals are playing with the national feelings of Russians, something that I find unacceptable.

With the sloppy way perestroika was accomplished, Russians felt utterly humiliated. Just few facts for those who have neither memory, nor understanding.

1991, and then again in 1998 --The collapse of the ruble, which twice wiped out all people's savings. People with say, comfortable 10 thousand rubles on their accounts (which was a price of a good car) ended up with $20 bill for that. Then New Chechen war and its losses.

1998. 80% of Russian farms went bankrupt. 70 thousand factories closed. Epidemic of unemployment. 72 mil Russians (half of the country) fell below the poverty line.

In 2006 Russian government estimated that that there were 715 thousand homeless kids, while UNISEF raised this number to 3 mil. Suicide rate doubled, violent crime rate increased fourfold, and consumption of alcohol doubled in comparison with the Soviet period.

1999. NATO bombs the hell out of Serbia, and all Russians can do is to watch it in helpless anger, Eltsin's excursion into Pristina notwithstanding.

Add to that a total change in ethnic make up of Russian cities, where all of the sudden all the markets belong to Azeris, plenty of other businesses are run by Chechens and Georgians, and so on. Yet, Russians just stoically put up with that, like a chained bear, continue to swallow the baiting, that comes both from these ethnic minorities inside the country, and outside it.

People who die at sixty with zero money to their name have to hear that they are occupants, that they are slaves, pigs, soviet deplorables, and all other crap that the westernized liberals along with assorted nationalists from Ukraine, Georgia or Estonia, keep on throwing at them.

Related: CIA instructs its puppet regime in Georgia to makes provocations against Russia

What should be truly surprising is that there are so few ethnic and other sorts riots. Any other powerful group, would be rioting non stop. Luckily, the economics has improved since then, and plenty of Russians can feel justifiable proud of what their country has accomplished. Yet, the sense of national insult, national humiliation has remained. At least among the people who've survived these awful years.

So if Georgians or any other fool wants to play with fire, let them. But I don't recommend it. Pushkin had warned the authorities of a Russian revolt: senseless and merciless, long time ago.
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BBC Ordered to Pay Damages for Fake News About Trump and Ukraine President



The BBC was ordered to pay damages after the far-left outlet published fake news claiming Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko “authorized” an illegal payment of $400,000 to Michael Cohen for additional face time during a June 2017  meeting with President Trump.

“We apologize to Mr. Poroshenko for any distress caused and have agreed to pay him damages, legal costs and have participated in a joint statement in open court,” the BBC’s said in a written apology  published Thursday.

In the May 2018 piece, the disgraced BBC made the absurd claim that Poroshenko, who already had a meeting set up with Trump, paid this $400,000 to extend the meeting.


Think about how well this utterly deranged piece of fake news fits into the overall media’s Russia Collusion Hoax.
  1. Poroshenko is an aggressive opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, so naturally the only way he could get serious face time with Trump (aka Putin’s Stooge) is through a six-figure bribe.
  2. Michael Cohen was still the president’s personal lawyer at this time, which means the media were desperate for us to see Cohen as Trump’s world-traveling bagman, because that would lend credibility to the phony dossier’s lie about Cohen visiting Prague to pay off the hackers who got Hillary’s emails.
  3. The story openly insinuates Trump is both in Putin’s pocket and accepting bribes.
In a way you have to admire the slickness of it — the triple bank-shot of hysteria the BBC hoped to sink.
But it is also preposterous. Who in their right mind would believe a billionaire like Trump would risk his presidency (and prison) for a lousy $400,000, or use Cohen to arrange it?
Just as preposterous, though, is the whole idea Trump was a traitor who stole a presidential election, and we were hit with that media-lunacy 24/7 for two years.
More from the BBC:
In our News at Ten bulletin and in an online article published on May 23, 2018, we incorrectly reported that Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine, had procured or authorised a corrupt payment of $400,000 to be made to Michael Cohen, the personal lawyer of Donald Trump, to extend a brief meeting between Mr. Poroshenko and President Trump, that had already been agreed, into more substantial talks.
No word yet on the amount of damages paid by the BBC, but it is good to see some justice done. The idea a news outlet can smear anyone they like, hide behind freedom of the press, and suffer no consequence is outrageous.

Let’s hope Nick Sandmann is delivered a similar form of justice very, very soon.

Poroshenko, who is running for re-election, sued the BBC over the report. Election Day is March 31.

Source: https://www.breitbart.com/the-media/2019/03/29/nolte-bbc-ordered-to-pay-damages-for-fake-news-about-trump-and-ukraine-president/
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Mr. Lucas, Don’t Take Your Readers for Fools! by Prof. Vladimir Golstein

Mr. Lucas, Don’t Take Your Readers for Fools! by Prof. Vladimir Golstein


So Edward Lucas, the columnist at The Times, the long time contributor to the notoriously Russophobic Economist and the author of 2008 The New Cold War: Putin’s Russia and the Threat to the West, where he fully exhibits his own paranoia about the dangers of Putin’s Russia, has came up with a new theological and cultural diagnosis. Paranoia is the religion of Putin’s Russia. Not communism, not capitalism, not Orthodoxy, not atheism. Just plain old paranoia.

Why, and how? Argument number #1 is that RT has put him on the list of ten top Russophobes. Lucas’ complaint: the list is haphazard and flimsy. Fine, any list is haphazard and flimsy – it just points to some people or organizations that like to come up with ridiculous charges and accusations, not dissimilar from his own “academic” investigations. So what? Having never produced anything academic himself, Mr. Lucas can’t expect any academic study from RT, can he?


Argument #2. Mr. Lucas had found an academic study to his liking — Ilya Yablokov’s Fortress Russia — that discovered that Russian conspiracy theorists, who were on the margins in the 1990s have come to the forefront in the current situation. Yablokov has studied Russian TV and found its style paranoid. Yablokov’s conclusion: the US is a paranoid Empire to be sure, but mainstream TV does not usually cater to it, as opposed to the mainstream Russian TV. Maybe, even though CNN and Fox would surely provide serious competition.

Without any desire to defend the rather combative style of Russian TV talk shows where guests clash, fight, and play the roles assigned to them by the hosts, I am certain that these shows do address real foreign policy concerns. Any detached observer looking at the map and seeing NATO bases all around Russia is bound to ask questions. Any detached observer listening to Western news and hearing the endless bacchanalia of Russia this, Russia that, is bound to get nervous. Any detached observer, having witnessed endless the West’s bombing campaigns, wars, invasions, regime changes, mass migrations and destruction, is bound to get a bit edgy about western intentions. And it would not be paranoia. It would be plain common sense.

Creating Russophobia: From the Great Religious Schism to Anti-Putin Hysteria

And what about Russian history? Hasn’t the country been invaded again and again throughout its history? The latest invasion, that of Nazi Germany, is still remembered by all Russians, since one can hardly find a family that did not lose someone in that awful war. Last time Germans and Ukrainians got together, my relatives were brutally murdered in Kiev, mowed downed – along with thousands others in Babi Yar. So even living in the United States, I do get nervous when Ukrainians, helped by their European admirers, burn people in Odessa. Genetic memory is a stubborn thing, you know. So can you really blame Russians for getting a bit anxious about the events in Ukraine, Mr. Lucas, or as the happy denizen of the murderous British Empire, that one that killed, burned, shot, and starved others, you can’t imagine what fears of prosecution are actually all about?

Wait a minute, says Mr. Lucas. “German Unification, EU and NATO enlargement, Ukrainian independence”: These recent events on the borders of Russia — are haphazard. There never was a master plan. Well, if it looks like a duck, and acts like a duck, it has to be a duck. In fact, there are rarely master plans for anything, unless we are talking about Hillary’s campaign to justify her spectacular loss of 2016 presidential campaign. What we’re witnessing, however, is the plain old confluence of interests and appetites that results in wars, sanctions and invasions. Just read some basic history, Mr. Lucas, before you present yourself as the heroic conspiracy theories slayer.


Argument # 3. Russians do a lot of mischief to themselves: corruption, bribes, oligarchs. That’s for sure. But so what? Russian corruption is bad, and one hopes that Russians will get rid of it. But it does not mean there are no countries that want to invade and loot the place, and squeeze away local oligarchs. Even paranoid people have enemies, as the maxim goes. There’s plenty to steal in Russia. Do you think, Mr. Lucas, that western oligarchs want to leave it all to Russians? Don’t underestimate your own sponsors. They don’t like it.

Furthermore, oligarchs and corruption are rampart in Great Britain and US, and still these countries are running on paranoia and arming themselves to the teeth. And what about Poland, the Baltic States, Ukraine – the countries that do indeed thrive on paranoia? But their paranoia fits western narratives, so it’s “our kind of paranoia.” As opposed to Russian paranoia, which is obviously a wrong kind of paranoia. What about the paranoia of the trigger-happy Israel, which manifests itself in endless violence and military excursions against its neighbours? So Israel has Judaism for religion, Poles have Catholicism, but Russians have Paranoia. A strange doctrine, and new.


 And then, Lucas totally reverses himself, and says – that the west should not stoke Russia’s siege mentality by a military build up on its borders and endless provocations. Finally! Lucas dares to rise to the occasion and criticize the West … but we rapidly learn why. This righteous indignation is provoked by Trump’s and Bolton’s proposal to withdraw from the INF treaty. But even this criticism is turned on its head. This new arms race is bad, because it will help Russia to “crack down, lash out and make it look more important than it is.”

In other words, NATO countries should not place their war-heads in Roumania or Poland, they should not claim that they could actually win a nuclear war (something that only American theoreticians, including former Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, do) – they should not do any of those things because these actions will make Russians think that they are more important than they are. That would be a really dangerous case of paranoia. Much more dangerous than the destruction of life on earth as we know it.


But Lucas does not stop there; playing the role of Candide must be way too enjoyable. He claims that compiling the list of “Russophobes” is a “childish bad habit” – never mind the Magnitsky list, nor plenty of other lists compiled by the State Department, the Mueller investigation, social media police and numerous other western outlets, whose endless lists still can’t satisfy the lust for more and more sanctions against more and more individuals. Those lists are the sign of profound maturity, no doubt.
And in a true demagogic fashion, Lucas concludes: we’ve been paying too much attention to “nasty but grand Russians.” We should celebrate Russia’s “colossal contribution to world culture.” Oh, so Russia is important after all. How refreshing. Let’s wipe Russia off the map with nukes, and then enjoy Russian ballet at Covent Garden or Russian novels in their BBC adaptations.

Source: https://off-guardian.org/2018/10/25/mr-lucas-dont-take-your-readers-for-fools/?fbclid=IwAR0_JZK9AWAo587C45e5vKgiCS1lITZYsWv1ZcvrKPRCCLvhbD9kXzWTgos

Related: Guy Mettan’s Book on Russophobia Is a “Must Read” for Any Person Interested in Russia 
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[Video] 'Lavrov's patience tested one time too many': Russian FM blasts Western policy in UN speech

If the US cares as much about the concept of sovereignty as President Donald Trump claims, it should stop interfering in the affairs of other countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says.

Statements by top US officials clearly show which country is actually interfering in the affairs of other nations, Lavrov said during a press conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Friday.

Related: Russia Warns West Against New Strikes in Syria Under Far-Fetched Pretexts

The foreign minister cited Kurt Volker, the US special representative for Ukraine, as an example.
“It would be fine if Volker talked about reconciliation in Ukraine. All he talks about is how Russia is to blame for everything,” Lavrov said.

“And then he takes the liberty of saying things like ‘Russian people deserve freedom’ – that’s the US special representative for Ukraine speaking – ‘And the Ukrainian experience should inspire Russian people.’”
"You can probably figure out from this who is calling for meddling and who isn’t."
If the US actually took seriously its own statements about countries worldwide being sovereign, it would be a very welcome development, the Russian foreign minister stated, reflecting on Trump’s speech at the UN General Assembly.


“Trump, among other things, stated that he firmly backs the sovereignty of each nation in the world; I strongly support this,” Lavrov said.

Related: How the UN Joined America’s War Against Syria by Eric Zuesse

“If the US is adhering that much to sovereignty as the basic principle, one maybe shouldn’t tamper with the affairs of other countries.”

Related: Trump to U.N.: "We Reject the Ideology of Globalism"

Source: https://www.rt.com/news/439906-lavrov-us-sovereignty-meddling/




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Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: "Truth Is Evaporating Before Our Eyes"


On September 17, I posted my column, “Evidence is no longer a Western value.” I used as an example the blame that has been put on Russia for the shot down Malaysian airliner. No evidence whatsoever exists for the accusation, and massive evidence has been presented that the airliner was shot down by the neonazis that seized power as a result of the Washington-organized coup in Ukraine.

Blame was fixed on Russia not by any evidence but by continuous evidence-free accusations that began the moment the airliner was shot down. Anyone who asked for evidence was treated as a “Putin apologist.” This took evidence out of the picture.

Wherever we look in these times, we see evidence-free accusations established as absolute facts: Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” “Iranian nukes,” “Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the Trump/Putin conspiracy that stole the 2016 US presidential election, Syrian use of poison gas. Not a scrap of evidence exists for any of these accusations, but the truth of the accusations is established in many minds worldwide.

Related: [Video] Deep State Is A Parallel Government Working Against America

Science gave the world the principle of evidence-based fact, which did away with the burning of witches and political decisions based in superstitution. Truth became a force.

But truth can get in the way of agendas, and as elites recovered their power from the social, political, and economic reforms of a previous era, truth was divided into categories and cut so fine that it disappeared. For the elite truth became identical to their economic interests, and Identity Politics stripped truth of its universal meaning and reduced truth to self-pleading race and gender truth.
The result is that today truth is established not by evidence but by repetition of accusations and falsehoods.

This made it easy to destroy people and countries by lies alone. Who remembers Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund and at the time the likely future president of France? Strauss-Kahn was out of step with Washington which wanted its puppet Sarkozy reelected. Strauss-Kahn came to New York and was accused by a hotel maid of sexual assault. He was arrested and jailed. The New York district attorney and media whores pronounced him guillty.

Roger Stone: Deep State Prepared To Remove Trump By Any Means Necessary

 Simultaneously, on cue, a French woman made the same claim. Case closed. No evidence. Just claims. Then it emerged that the hotel maid had just had very large sums of money far above her income level deposited to her bank account. Even more damning, it was revealed that Sarkozy knew of Strauss-Kahn’s arrest before the police announced it. The case fell apart, and the New York district attorney publicly apologized. But Strauss-Kahn had been forced to resign as Director of the IMF and was out of the French presidential election. So Washington won.

Today it is a common, routine tactic for both US political parties to produce a woman to bring accusations of sexual harassment, abuse, or assault against any heterosexual male appointee or nominee that either party regards to be out of step with its agenda. It happens so regularly that no sentinent person can possibly believe the woman. Sexual assault has been reduced to one of the dirty tricks of politics.

As hard as false accusations can be on individuals, they destroy entire countries. Just consider the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, currently Yemen, and Washington has not given up on the same fate for Syria and Iran. Based on nothing but Washington’s endlessly repeated false accusations, millions of peoples have been murdered, maimed, orphened, widowed, displaced, and sent as refugees overrunning Europe.

There is not a scrap of evidence anywhere that justifies Washington’s enormous crimes against humanity. Yet, these crimes that in a truth-conscious world would have resulted in several entire governments of the United States standing accused in the International Criminal Court, or the War Crimes Court, or whichever court, and perhaps in all of them, are ignored, because accusation alone against the destroyed countries and peoples sufficed to justify Washington’s war crimes against humanity.

Related: [Video] Deep State Blocks Key FISA Docs Release!

What I have described is a truth-free world. There is no place for truth in the world that the West has created. The Western hostility to truth is overwhelming. As I write truth-tellers are being banned from Facebook, Twitter, and PayPal. Google makes their sites almost impossible to find. Throughout the Western World truth has been redefined as “Conspiracy Theory.”

Elites such as George Soros and innumerable tax-financed government agencies, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, spend taxpayers’ money discrediting those who tell the truth. Many in governments want truth-tellers locked up as enemies of the state, by which they mean “enemies of the self-interests of the ruling elites.”



You don’t need to believe me. Here are four books written by honorable persons, meticulously documented, full of evidence that make it clear that American elites have no respect whatsoever for truth. Truth is something that is in their way.

One of the books is Charlie Savage’s Takeover. Savage shows how Dick Cheney used the George W. Bush regime and 9/11 to destroy the separation of powers and the civil liberties in the US Constitution. When you read Savage’s book you will discover that the America that you think is here is not here. In its place is a dictatorship available to any president clever enough to use it. Savage’s book is one of the best pieces of investigative reporting that I have read.

The Roman system of government never recovered from Caesar crossing the Rubicon. I doubt that the US Constitution will ever recover from Dick Cheney.

Two of the books are by David Ray Griffin, one of the last and most determined of American protagonists for truth. In his book, Bush and Cheney: How They Ruined America and the World, Griffin makes, a decade after Savage, the same case against Dick Cheney. When two independently minded researchers reach the same conclusion, you can bet it is on the money. If the world survives Washington’s orchestrated conflict with Russia, Cheney will go down in history as the person who destroyed American constitutional government.

In this same book, Griffin also examines the official 9/11 story and exposes it as a total fabrication with no connection to any truth whatsoever. He takes up this case in his current, just released book with Elizabeth Woodworth, 9/11 Unmasked: An International Review Panel Investigation.
Anyone who is still brainwashed by the official 9/11 story can immediately free themselves from their deception by reading this book. There is no longer any doubt that 9/11 was an inside orchestrated event for the purpose of unleashing two decades, with more to come, of American aggression in the Middle East.

Related: [Video] FBI Ignores Trump’s Order To Release Documents Unredacted

Griffin does not leave a single official statement about 9/11 standing as not a single official claim is based on any factual evidence whatsoever.

For seventeen years the world has been fed a pack of total lies based on nothing but accusations and in the face of massive evidence produced not by some collection of political hacks sitting as a 9/11 Commission, but by thousands of experts. Yet for seventeen years false accusations prevailed over heavily documented facts presented by disinterested experts called “conspiracy theorists” by those intent on covering up their crimes.

The fourth book is Mary Mapes’ Truth and Duty. Mary Mapes is the CBS producer whose team carefully prepared for Dan Rather the 60 Minutes report on George W. Bush’s failure to perform his Texas Air National Guard duty. Her story was absolutely correct, but she and Rather were destroyed by accusation alone. The Republicans set in attack mode the right-wing bloggers, and soon the official media joined in for the purpose of elevating their ratings at CBS’s expense.

CBS was vulnerable, because it was no longer independent but a part of Viacom’s empire. Mapes was already in trouble, because she had broken the Abu Ghraib torture story just at the moment that Bush and Cheney declared: “America doesn’t torture.” As the Cheney/Bush regime put pressure on Viacom, a corporate executive told Mapes: “You don’t have any idea how many millions of dollars Viacom is spending on lobbying in Wasington, and nothing you’ve done in the past year has helped.”
There you have it. The Viacom executives had no interest whatsoever in the truth, only in what advanced their lobbying interests in Washington. Mapes, a truth-teller had to go, and she did. And so did Dan Rather.

Today in America no member of the print and TV media or NPR dares to get within a hundred miles of the truth. It would be a career-ending event.

Without a media dedicated to truth, there can be no control over government.


Ask yourselves where you can read articles like this. If you do not support the remaining portals of truth, you will find yourselves bound, like the Elven-kings, Dwarf-lords and Mortal Men in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, “in the darkness” by the elites’ ability to control the explanations that comprise your reality.

Identity Politics has destroyed the very conception of truth independent of race and gender. Science itself becomes discredited as does civilization:
Never in history have humans been so near to losing all comprehension of reality as in today’s world in which there is no respect for truth.

Source: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/09/24/truth-is-evaporating-before-our-eyes/
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[Video] Who Putin Is Not by Prof. Stephen F. Cohen

Falsely demonizing Russia’s leader has made the new Cold War even more dangerous.

Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at Princeton and NYU, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fifth year, are at TheNation.com.) This post is different. The conversation was based on Cohen’s article below, completed the day of the broadcast.





Putin is an evil man, and he is intent on evil deeds.”
—Senator John McCain
 
“[Putin] was a KGB agent. By definition, he doesn’t have a soul.”

 


“If this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the 1930s.”

—2016 Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton


The specter of an evil-doing Vladimir Putin has loomed over and undermined US thinking about Russia for at least a decade. Henry Kissinger deserves credit for having warned, perhaps alone among prominent American political figures, against this badly distorted image of Russia’s leader since 2000: “The demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy. It is an alibi for not having one.”

The specter of an evil-doing Vladimir Putin has loomed over and undermined US thinking about Russia for at least a decade. Henry Kissinger deserves credit for having warned, perhaps alone among prominent American political figures, against this badly distorted image of Russia’s leader since 2000: “The demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy. It is an alibi for not having one.”

Related: Driving out militants from Syria’s Idlib now top priority – Putin

But Kissinger was also wrong. Washington has made many policies strongly influenced by the demonizing of Putin—a personal vilification far exceeding any ever applied to Soviet Russia’s latter-day Communist leaders. Those policies spread from growing complaints in the early 2000s to US-Russian proxy wars in Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, and eventually even at home, in Russiagate allegations. Indeed, policy-makers adopted an earlier formulation by the late Senator John McCain as an integral part of a new and more dangerous Cold War: “Putin [is] an unreconstructed Russian imperialist and K.G.B. apparatchik…. His world is a brutish, cynical place…. We must prevent the darkness of Mr. Putin’s world from befalling more of humanity.”

Mainstream media outlets have played a major prosecutorial role in the demonization. Far from atypically, The Washington Post’s editorial-page editor wrote, “Putin likes to make the bodies bounce…. The rule-by-fear is Soviet, but this time there is no ideology—only a noxious mixture of personal aggrandizement, xenophobia, homophobia and primitive anti-Americanism.” Esteemed publications and writers now routinely degrade themselves by competing to denigrate “the flabbily muscled form” of the “small gray ghoul named Vladimir Putin.” There are hundreds of such examples, if not more, over many years. Vilifying Russia’s leader has become a canon in the orthodox US narrative of the new Cold War.


As with all institutions, the demonization of Putin has its own history. When he first appeared on the world scene as Boris Yeltsin’s anointed successor, in 1999–2000, Putin was welcomed by leading representatives of the US political-media establishment. The New York Times’ chief Moscow correspondent and other verifiers reported that Russia’s new leader had an “emotional commitment to building a strong democracy.” Two years later, President George W. Bush lauded his summit with Putin and “the beginning of a very constructive relationship.”

Related: Syria Conflict: Results Of Meeting Between Rouhani, Erdogan, Putin In Teheran

But the Putin-friendly narrative soon gave away to unrelenting Putin-bashing. In 2004, Times columnist Nicholas Kristof inadvertently explained why, at least partially. Kristof complained bitterly of having been “suckered by Mr. Putin. He is not a sober version of Boris Yeltsin.” By 2006, a Wall Street Journal editor, expressing the establishment’s revised opinion, declared it “time we start thinking of Vladimir Putin’s Russia as an enemy of the United States.” The rest, as they say, is history.

Who has Putin really been during his many years in power? We may have to leave this large, complex question to future historians, when materials for full biographical study—memoirs, archive documents, and others—are available. Even so, it may surprise readers to know that Russia’s own historians, policy intellectuals, and journalists already argue publicly and differ considerably as to the “pluses and minuses” of Putin’s leadership. (My own evaluation is somewhere in the middle.)
In America and elsewhere in the West, however, only purported “minuses” reckon in the extreme vilifying, or anti-cult, of Putin. Many are substantially uninformed, based on highly selective or unverified sources, and motivated by political grievances, including those of several Yeltsin-era oligarchs and their agents in the West.

By identifying and examining, however briefly, the primary “minuses” that underpin the demonization of Putin, we can understand at least who he is not:

§ Putin is not the man who, after coming to power in 2000, “de-democratized” a Russian democracy established by President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s and restored a system akin to Soviet “totalitarianism.” Democratization began and developed in Soviet Russia under the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, in the years from 1987 to 1991.

Yeltsin repeatedly dealt that historic Russian experiment grievous, possibly fatal, blows. Among his other acts, by using tanks, in October 1993, to destroy Russia’s freely elected parliament and with it the entire constitutional order that had made Yeltsin president. By waging two bloody wars against the tiny breakaway province of Chechnya. By enabling a small group of Kremlin-connected oligarchs to plunder Russia’s richest assets and abet the plunging of some two-thirds of its people into poverty and misery, including the once- large and professionalized Soviet middle classes. By rigging his own reelection in 1996. And by enacting a “super-presidential” constitution, at the expense of the legislature and judiciary but to his successor’s benefit. Putin may have furthered this de-democratization of the Yeltsin 1990s, but he did not initiate it.

Related: [Video] Live - Vladimir Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Orban Hold Joint Press Conference

§ Nor did Putin then make himself a tsar or Soviet-like “autocrat,” which means a despot with absolute power to turn his will into policy. The last Kremlin leader with that kind of power was Stalin, who died in 1953, and with him his 20-year mass terror. Due to the increasing bureaucratic routinization of the political-administrative system, each successive Soviet leader had less personal power than his predecessor. Putin may have more, but if he really was a “cold-blooded, ruthless” autocrat—“the worst dictator on the planet”—tens of thousands of protesters would not have repeatedly appeared in Moscow streets, sometimes officially sanctioned. Or their protests (and selective arrests) been shown on state television.


Political scientists generally agree that Putin has been a “soft authoritarian” leader governing a system that has authoritarian and democratic components inherited from the past. They disagree as to how to specify, define, and balance these elements, but most would also generally agree with a brief Facebook post, on September 7, 2018, by the eminent diplomat-scholar Jack Matlock: “Putin…is not the absolute dictator some have pictured him. His power seems to be based on balancing various patronage networks, some of which are still criminal. (In the 1990s, most were, and nobody was controlling them.) Therefore he cannot admit publicly that [criminal acts] happened without his approval since this would indicate that he is not completely in charge.”

§ Putin is not a Kremlin leader who “reveres Stalin” and whose “Russia is a gangster shadow of Stalin’s Soviet Union.” These assertions are so far-fetched and uninformed about Stalin’s terror-ridden regime, Putin, and Russia today, they barely warrant comment. Stalin’s Russia was often as close to unfreedom as imaginable. In today’s Russia, apart from varying political liberties, most citizens are freer to live, study, work, write, speak, and travel than they have ever been. (When vocational demonizers like David Kramer allege an “appalling human rights situation in Putin’s Russia,” they should be asked: compared to when in Russian history, or elsewhere in the world today?)

Putin clearly understands that millions of Russians have and often express pro-Stalin sentiments. Nonetheless, his role in these still-ongoing controversies over the despot’s historical reputation has been, in one unprecedented way, that of an anti-Stalinist leader. Briefly illustrated, if Putin reveres the memory of Stalin, why did his personal support finally make possible two memorials (the excellent State Museum of the History of the Gulag and the highly evocative “Wall of Grief”) to the tyrant’s millions of victims, both in central Moscow? The latter memorial monument was first proposed by then–Kremlin leader Nikita Khrushchev, in 1961. It was not built under any of his successors—until Putin, in 2017.

Related: Putin Someone is harvesting Russian bio samples for obscure purposes

§ Nor did Putin create post–Soviet Russia’s “kleptocratic economic system,” with its oligarchic and other widespread corruption. This too took shape under Yeltsin during the Kremlin’s shock-therapy “privatization” schemes of the 1990s, when the “swindlers and thieves” still denounced by today’s opposition actually emerged.

Putin has adopted a number of “anti-corruption” policies over the years. How successful they have been is the subject of legitimate debate. As are how much power he has had to rein in fully both Yeltsin’s oligarchs and his own, and how sincere he has been. But branding Putin “a kleptocrat” also lacks context and is little more than barely informed demonizing.

A recent scholarly book finds, for example, that while they may be “corrupt,” Putin “and the liberal technocratic economic team on which he relies have also skillfully managed Russia’s economic fortunes.” A former IMF director goes further, concluding that Putin’s current economic team does not “tolerate corruption” and that “Russia now ranks 35th out of 190 in the World Bank’s Doing Business ratings. It was at 124 in 2010.”

Viewed in human terms, when Putin came to power in 2000, some 75 percent of Russians were living in poverty. Most had lost even modest legacies of the Soviet era—their life savings; medical and other social benefits; real wages; pensions; occupations; and for men, life expectancy, which had fallen well below the age of 60. In only a few years, the “kleptocrat” Putin had mobilized enough wealth to undo and reverse those human catastrophes and put billions of dollars in rainy-day funds that buffered the nation in different hard times ahead. We judge this historic achievement as we might, but it is why many Russians still call Putin “Vladimir the Savior.”

§ Which brings us to the most sinister allegation against him: Putin, trained as “a KGB thug,” regularly orders the killing of inconvenient journalists and personal enemies, like a “mafia-state boss.” This should be the easiest demonizing axiom to dismiss, because there is no actual evidence, or barely any logic, to support it. And yet, it is ubiquitous. Times editorial writers and columnists—and far from them alone—characterize Putin as a “thug” and his policies as “thuggery” so often—sometimes doubling down on “autocratic thug”—that the practice may be specified in some internal manual. Little wonder so many politicians also routinely practice it, as did recently Senator Ben Sasse: “We should tell the American people and tell the world that we know that Vladimir Putin is a thug. He’s a former KGB agent who’s a murderer. ”




Few, if any, modern-day world leaders have been so slurred, or so regularly. Nor does Sasse actually “know” any of this. He and the others imbibe it from reams of influential media accounts that fully indict Putin while burying a nullifying “but” regarding actual evidence. Thus another Times columnist: “I realize that this evidence is only circumstantial and well short of proof. But it’s one of many suspicious patterns.” This, too, is a journalistic “pattern” when Putin is involved.

Leaving aside other world leaders with minor or major previous careers in intelligence services, Putin’s years as a KGB intelligence officer in then–East Germany were clearly formative. Many years later, at age 65, he still speaks of them with pride. Whatever else that experience contributed, it made Putin a Europeanized Russian, a fluent German speaker, and a political leader with a remarkable, demonstrated capacity for retaining and coolly analyzing a very wide range of information. (Read or watch a few of his long interviews.) Not a bad leadership trait in very fraught times.

Moreover, no serious biographer would treat only one period in a subject’s long public career as definitive, as Putin demonizers do. Why not instead the period after he left the KGB in 1991, when he served as deputy to the mayor of St. Petersburg, then considered one of the two or three most democratic leaders in Russia? Or the years immediately following in Moscow, where he saw firsthand the full extent of Yeltsin-era corruption? Or his subsequent years, while still relatively young, as president?

As for being a “murderer” of journalists and other “enemies,” the list has grown to scores of Russians who died, at home or abroad, by foul or natural causes—all reflexively attributed to Putin. Our hallowed tradition is that the burden of proof is on the accusers. Putin’s accusers have produced none, only assumptions, innuendoes, and mistranslated statements by Putin about the fate of “traitors.” The two cases that firmly established this defamatory practice were those of the investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot to death in Moscow in 2006, and Alexander Litvinenko, a shadowy one-time KGB defector with ties to aggrieved Yeltsin-era oligarchs, who died of radiation poisoning in London, also in 2006.

Related: 'Best military & diplomatic solution': Putin, Erdogan talks end with deal averting Idlib crisis

Not a shred of actual proof points to Putin in either case. The editor of Politkovskaya’s paper, the devoutly independent Novaya Gazeta, still believes her assassination was ordered by Chechen officials, whose human-rights abuses she was investigating. Regarding Litvinenko, despite frenzied media claims and a kangaroo-like “hearing” suggesting that Putin was “probably” responsible, there is still no conclusive proof even as to whether Litvinenko’s poisoning was intentional or accidental. The same paucity of evidence applies to many subsequent cases, notably the shooting of the opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, “in [distant] view of the Kremlin,” in 2015.

About Russian journalists, there is, however, a significant, overlooked statistic. According to the American Committee to Protect Journalists, as of 2012, 77 had been murdered—41 during the Yeltsin years, 36 under Putin. By 2018, the total was 82—41 under Yeltsin, the same under Putin. This strongly suggests that the still–partially corrupt post-Soviet economic system, not Yeltsin or Putin personally, led to the killing of so many journalists after 1991, most of them investigative reporters. The former wife of one journalist thought to have been poisoned concludes as much: “Many Western analysts place the responsibility for these crimes on Putin. But the cause is more likely the system of mutual responsibility and the culture of impunity that began to form before Putin, in the late 1990s.”
§ More recently, there is yet another allegation: Putin is a fascist and white supremacist. The accusation is made mostly, it seems, by people wishing to deflect attention from the role being played by neo-Nazis in US-backed Ukraine. Putin no doubt regards it as a blood slur, and even on the surface it is, to be exceedingly charitable, entirely uninformed. How else to explain Senator Ron Wyden’s solemn warnings, at a hearing on November 1, 2017, about “the current fascist leadership of Russia”? A young scholar recently dismantled a senior Yale professor’s nearly inexplicable propounding of this thesis. My own approach is compatible, though different.

Whatever Putin’s failings, the “fascist” allegation is absurd. Nothing in his statements over nearly 20 years in power are akin to fascism, whose core belief is a cult of blood based on the asserted superiority of one ethnicity over all others. As head of a vast multiethnic state—embracing scores of diverse groups with a broad range of skin colors—such utterances or related acts by Putin would be inconceivable, if not political suicide. This is why he endlessly appeals for harmony in “our entire multi-ethnic nation” with its “multi-ethnic culture,” as he did once again in his re-inauguration speech in 2018.

Russia has, of course, fascist-white supremacist thinkers and activists, though many have been imprisoned. But a mass fascist movement is scarcely feasible in a country where so many millions died in the war against Nazi Germany, a war that directly affected Putin and clearly left a formative mark on him. Though he was born after the war, his mother and father barely survived near-fatal wounds and disease, his older brother died in the long German siege of Leningrad, and several of his uncles perished. Only people who never endured such an experience, or are unable to imagine it, can conjure up a fascist Putin.

There is another, easily understood, indicative fact. Not a trace of anti-Semitism is evident in Putin. Little noted here but widely reported both in Russia and in Israel, life for Russian Jews is better under Putin than it has ever been in that country’s long history.

§ Finally, at least for now, there is the ramifying demonization allegation that, as a foreign-policy leader, Putin has been exceedingly “aggressive” abroad. At best, this is an “in-the-eye-of-the-beholder” assertion, and half-blind. At worst, it justifies what even a German foreign minister characterized as the West’s “warmongering” against Russia.

In the three cases widely given as examples of Putin’s “aggression,” the evidence, long cited by myself and many others, points to US-led instigations, primarily in the process of expanding the NATO military alliance since the late 1990s from Germany to Russia’s borders today. The proxy US-Russian war in Georgia in 2008 was initiated by the US-backed president of that country, who had been encouraged to aspire to NATO membership. The 2014 crisis and subsequent proxy war in Ukraine resulted from the long-standing effort to bring that country, despite large regions’ shared civilization with Russia, into NATO. And Putin’s 2015 military intervention in Syria was done on a valid premise: either it would be Syrian President Assad in Damascus or the terrorist Islamic State—and on President Barack Obama’s refusal to join Russia in an anti-ISIS alliance. As a result of this history, Putin is often seen in Russia as a belatedly reactive leader abroad, not as a sufficiently “aggressive” one.

Embedded in the “aggressive Putin” axiom are two others. One is that Putin is a neo-Soviet leader who seeks to restore the Soviet Union at the expense of Russia’s neighbors. He is obsessively misquoted as having said, in 2005, “The collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century,” apparently ranking it above two World Wars. What he actually said was “a major geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century,” as it was for most Russians.
Though often critical of the Soviet system and its two formative leaders, Lenin and Stalin, Putin, like most of his generation, naturally remains in part a Soviet person. But what he said in 2010 reflects his real perspective and that of very many other Russians: “Those who do not regret the collapse of the Soviet Union have no heart, and those that do regret it have no brain.”

The other fallacious sub-axiom is that Putin has always been “anti-Western,” specifically “anti-American,” has “always viewed the United States” with “smoldering suspicions.” A simple reading of his years in power tells us otherwise. A Westernized Russian, Putin came to the presidency in 2000 in the still-prevailing tradition of Gorbachev and Yeltsin—in hope of a “strategic friendship and partnership” with the United States. Hence his abundant assistance, following 9/11, to the American war in Afghanistan. Hence, until he believed Russia would not be treated as an equal and NATO had encroached too close, his full partnership in the US-European clubs of major leaders.

Given all that has happened during the past nearly two decades—particularly what Putin and other Russian leaders perceive to have happened—it would be remarkable if his views of the West, especially America, had not changed. As he remarked in 2018, “We all change.” A few years earlier, Putin remarkably admitted that initially he had “illusions” about foreign policy, without specifying which. Perhaps he meant this, spoken at the end of 2017: “Our most serious mistake in relations with the West is that we trusted you too much. And your mistake is that you took that trust as weakness and abused it.”

If my refutation of the axioms of Putin demonization is valid, where does that leave us? Certainly, not with an apologia for Putin, but with the question, “Who is Putin?” Russians like to say, “Let history judge,” but given the perils of the new Cold War, we cannot wait. We can at least begin with a few historical truths. In 2000, a young and little-experienced man became the leader of a vast state that had precipitously disintegrated, or “collapsed,” twice in the 20th century—in 1917 and again in 1991—with disastrous consequences for its people. And in both instances, it had lost its “sovereignty” and thus its security in fundamental ways.

These have been recurring themes in Putin’s words and deeds. They are where to begin an understanding. No one can doubt that he is already the most consequential “statesman” of the 21st century, though the word is rarely, if ever, applied to him in the United States. And what does “consequential” mean? Even without the pseudo-minuses spelled out above, a balanced evaluation will include valid ones.

For example, at home, was it necessary to so strengthen and expand the Kremlin’s “vertical” throughout the rest of the country in order to pull Russia back together? Should not the historic experiment with democracy have been given equal priority? Abroad, were there not alternatives to annexing Crimea, even given the perceived threats? And did Putin’s leadership really do nothing to reawaken fears in small East European countries victimized for centuries by Russia? These are only a few questions that might yield minuses alongside Putin’s deserved pluses.

Whatever the approach, whoever undertakes a balanced evaluation should do so, to paraphrase Spinoza, not in order to demonize, not to mock, not to hate, but to understand.

Source: https://www.thenation.com/article/who-putin-is-not/
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Ukrainian region bans 'Russian-language cultural products' in public spaces

A region in western Ukraine has decided to ban public displays of pretty much anything in Russian, claiming the move is necessary to preserve unity in the country. The authors want the ban to go nationwide. 
 
The Lvov region's legislature voted on Tuesday to impose a moratorium on the "public use of Russian-language cultural products in all forms," with 58 votes in favor, exceeding the 43 necessary.
The "moratorium" is to remain in place until there is "a full de-occupation of Ukrainian territory," practically making it a permanent ban.
 
In addition to banning Russian songs, films, books and… whatever else, the lawmakers said they would recommend a similar ban to the national parliament. They said rooting out the Russian language was necessary "to protect the Ukrainian information space from hybrid action by the aggressor-state [Russia] and reverse the consequences of many years of Russification."

Related: Washington Was Behind Ukraine Coup: Obama admits that US “Brokered a Deal” in Support of “Regime Change”

The ban is the latest in a long string of attacks on the Russian language in Ukraine, where it continues to be the largest minority language, used by millions in daily life, despite years of antagonism with Moscow.

Last year, the government imposed harsh quotas on broadcasters, requiring no less than 75 percent of their content to be in Ukrainian. Dozens of Russian books, films, and TV series have been banned for things like showing Russian law enforcement officers in a positive way (therefore, there are no more Russian crime dramas in Ukraine).

People using Russian may also face harassment in Ukraine. Speaking Russian in the Ukrainian parliament is usually met with angry shouts from "patriotic" MPs and discouragement from whoever is presiding at the session. One representative last year was simply barred from ending his speech, even though he was not fluent enough in Ukrainian to meet to the demands.


 There is also a lot of pressure to abandon the Russian language on the public level. More outspoken figures like writer Larisa Nitsoy or former MP Irina Farion regularly share their latest outrage over how schools teach children too much math and physics and too little Ukrainian literature, or say that speakers of Russian should not have access to education or jobs in Ukraine. But there are those with less extreme rhetoric working to make Russian undesirable.

The language issue has been divisive for Ukrainian society for decades. When the Bolshevik government attempted to undermine Ukrainian nationalism and separatism in the wake of the revolution, it added a large portion of historically Russian land. The integration was not all smooth, especially since people living in what is now eastern Ukraine were forced to learn Ukrainian, read the Ukrainian-language press, and otherwise change their ways. The result of that period of Ukrainization was far from conclusive.

After splitting from the Soviet Union and becoming an independent state, Ukraine faced similar problems as its government tried to establish a new national identity for its people.
 
Over the years, Ukrainian gradually gained ground, but the change was too slow for the nationalist segment of the nation. And of course, neighboring Russia was a major influence on culture in Ukraine, keeping Russian alive.

The 2014 armed coup in Kiev and subsequent conflict with Russia brought the nationalist agenda to the forefront in Ukraine. In fact, one of the first acts of the new leadership was to scrap a language law which guaranteed a special regional status for Russian. This was a major factor in the pushback that arose in the east of the country, which led to a rebellion and the current frozen conflict.
The pursuit of language superiority brought Ukraine into conflict with other neighbors last year when it passed a new education law, under which the right of Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, and Russian minorities to have their children taught in their preferred language was seriously undermined.

The countries involved were outraged, with Hungary going as far as pledging to undermine any attempt by Ukraine to have closer ties with NATO. So far, Bucharest has been delivering on its threat.

Source: https://www.rt.com/news/438852-ukraine-russian-culture-banned/
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Azov Sea Flashpoint: Russia, Ukraine Teetering On The Brink Of War

Azov Sea Flashpoint: Russia, Ukraine Teetering On The Brink Of War

The US State Department is urging Ukraine toward confrontation with Russia.


Authored by Peter Korzun via The Strategic Culture Foundation:

Ukraine has increased its military presence in the Azov Sea region. Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council met on Sept. 7 and agreed to take a variety of steps to boost the country’s combat capabilities in the area, including the creation of a missile-equipped naval infantry group to counter potential amphibious attacks and naval shore bombardments. Ukraine’s Gurza-M-class armored artillery boats have been brought in to boost the naval component of the forces deployed in the region.

Russia and Ukraine enjoy free use of the Sea of Azov under the 2003 “Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine on cooperation in the use of the sea of Azov and the strait of Kerch.” The document is in place but it does not specify any precise border. The parties agree that the Sea of Azov and the Strait of Kerch are the internal waters of both Ukraine and Russia.
Talks have dragged on for a long time but have failed to produce a solution. Ukraine does not want to recognize Russia’s rights, which are based on the fact that Crimea has joined the Russian Federation. Moreover, Ukrainian authorities insist on their right to detain any ship traveling to or from Crimea without Kiev’s permission
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Ukraine is calling for the imposition of international sanctions against Russian Black Sea ports, due to what it calls the “blockade” of the Sea of Azov. It has already imposed punitive measures unilaterally. Tensions have heightened since March, when ships were detained and searched.  On March 24, Ukrainian border guards stopped the Russian-flagged, Crimean-registered Nord fishing vessel in the Sea of Azov. The ship was hijacked. The crew members reported being interrogated and abused by Ukrainian authorities who held them accountable under domestic laws, not recognizing the crew as Russian citizens. The detained sailors were finally set free to return to Crimea without passports. Ukraine violated a number of international agreements and this marked the beginning of a campaign of provocative actions that has been waged ever since. Last month, the Russian Mekhanik Pogodin tanker was detained in the Ukrainian port of Kherson. Russia compared the move to the activities of Somali pirates.

The US is taking sides in order to ratchet up the tensions.  The State Department has taken a deliberately provocative stance, urging Ukraine toward confrontation. Without bothering to study the details, it simply puts the blame on Russia as usual for anything that goes wrong. Washington is goading Ukraine into seeking a military solution, including such unrealistic but dangerous ideas as using the warships of NATO’s standing force to protect its shipping lanes, mining the Azov Sea, or  using fast-moving attack vessels to encircle a large Russian naval asset from all directions like a wolf pack. This tactic was invented by German Admiral Karl Dönitz during WWII, when “wolf packs” of U-boats were used to attack capital ships.  The very fact that such ideas have been generated and are floating around shows how unwise it is to abet Ukraine by throwing unconditional support behind it.
Stephen Blank of the American Foreign Policy Council, a leading US expert on Russia, believes that the US administration “should send anti-ship missiles available from or through the US-AGM-84 Harpoon Block II, AGM-158C LRASM A, and the Norwegian Naval Strike Missile” as well as “a viable launch platform and a targeting system, particularly a radar.” The author thinks this should be done right now, without delay. His article was published on Sept. 7 by the Atlantic Council, the prestigious think tank that advises the State Department and enjoys great influence among those who shape US foreign policy.  In another article, Mr. Blanc calls for supplying Ukraine with platforms — older ships that have been decommissioned or are about to retire.  Last month, Mykola Bielieskov, the Deputy Executive Director at the Institute of World Policy, called for fast-track shipments to Ukraine of the Harpoon Block II ER+ anti-ship missile, enabling it to attack Russian vessels. The idea of providing Ukraine with Island-class coast guard ships is under consideration by the US government. On Sept. 1, Kurt Volker, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, stated that the US administration “is ready to expand arms supplies to Ukraine in order to build up the country’s naval and air defense forces.”

The powers that be have failed to keep their promises and improve the lives of ordinary people in Ukraine. The presidential election will be held in March 2019. A threatening Russian bogeyman is needed to explain away the failures. The country’s economy and finances are in the doldrums and corruption is staggering.   None of the problems have been solved and the West is getting tired of Ukraine. The fairy tale about Moscow’s “aggressive foreign policy” comes in handy right when the Ukrainian rulers need a scapegoat.

Nobody needs an armed conflict in the Azov Sea region. A number of countries are interested in protecting the right of free passage, enabling vessels to arrive at their destination ports  without risk or delay. The region does not have to be a flashpoint. Russia and Ukraine could sit down at a round table to discuss controversial issues, as the 2003 agreement stipulates the parties should do in order to settle their disputes, should they have any, but that’s not what the State Department is calling for. The only option the US administration is considering is that of providing Ukraine with arms to fight Russia and then egging Kiev on to escalate the tensions. And those are already dangerously running high. A spark can ignite a big fire at any time if the problem is not addressed in a positive way without saber rattling. It’s a pity the US is playing such a destructive role. The time is right for Russian and Ukrainian experts and officials to set their differences aside and start talking to find a peaceful solution to this urgent problem.

Source: http://theduran.com/azov-sea-flashpoint-russia-ukraine-teetering-on-the-brink-of-war/
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Russia presents audio recording proving Ukraine’s complicity in MH17 tragedy

The Russian Defense Ministry has presented an audio recording proving Ukraine’s complicity in the MH17 disaster in 2014, the Defense Ministry’s spokesman Igor Konashenkov told the media

 

MOSCOW, September 17. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry has ascertained that the videos showing the movement of a Buk missile system from Russia to Ukraine, presented by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine, were fabricated, ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov told reporters.

According to him, Russian experts thoroughly scrutinized those videos and came to the conclusion that they had been fabricated.

Read also Dutch journalists discover large pieces of wreckage at MH17 crash site

The Russian Defense Ministry has held a press conference devoted to the MH17 crash, presenting a detailed analysis of those videos and proof of their fabrication

The Defense Ministry also presented an audio recording proving Ukraine’s complicity in the MH17 disaster in 2014, Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the ministry, told the media.

General Konashenkov said the audio recording of a conversation between Ukrainian military servicemen was made back in 2016 in the Odessa Region during the Rubezh-2016 exercise and published in the Ukrainian mass media.

"If so, we’ll … [a synonym of the verb ‘shoot down’ - TASS] another Malaysian Boeing," one of the Ukrainian military servicemen said in the conversation.

How the projectile was identified as Ukrainian

The missile, which downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, was made in the town of Dolgoprudny outside Moscow in 1986, delivered to a military unit deployed to Ukraine and was never brought back to Russia, Chief of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Missile and Artillery Department Lieutenant General Nikolai Parshin told reporters.

According to him, the missile fragments presented by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) looking into the MH17 crash carried the numbers of the missile’s nozzle and engine. "Once we had the nozzle and engine numbers, we were able to find out the missile’s number," he specified.

"There are documents in the archives of the Dolgoprudny Research Institute, which made it possible to find out the missile’s tail number. It came out that the missile was assembled on December 24, 1986, and delivered by rail to the military unit number 20/152, officially named the 223rd Air Defense Missile Brigade. It was deployed to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic’s Ternopol Region, which was part of the Subcarpathian Military District," he added.

According to the general, the military unit was never withdrawn to Russia

MH17 crash

The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a Boeing-777 passenger plane travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down on July 17, 2014, over Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk. The crash killed all the 283 passengers and 15 crewmembers. There were nationals of ten states among the dead. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) looking into the crash is comprised of representatives from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine.

On May 24, the team provided an update on the criminal investigation, claiming "the Buk-TELAR that was used to down MH17, originates from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile brigade... a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation."

Russia’s Defense Ministry rejected all the allegations and said that none of the missile systems belonging to the Russian Armed Forces had ever been taken abroad.

Nevertheless, on May 25, Australia and the Netherlands issued a statement saying that they "hold Russia responsible for its part in the downing of flight MH17." The two countries called on Russia to hold talks in order to find an appropriate solution and warned that the case could be submitted to an international court or organization.


Source:http://tass.com/world/1021855
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