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______________________________________________________

'USA: Through Rough Ways to the Wars'
by Francis Boyle;
recommended reading:

http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/
27-02-2015/129921-usa_rough_ways_wars-0/

_______________________________________________________


US president’s decision to prolong anti-Russian
 sanctions far-fetched - analysts

US President Barack Obama’s decision to prolong
the operation of anti-Russian sanctions on Ukraine
 for one year, by no means reflects the situation in
 Ukraine --- and their sole effect will be a further
worsening of bilateral relations, experts say.

Obama on Wednesday extended the operation
 of sanctions against Russia, imposed on March
 6th, 16th and 20th, 2014, to affect a number of
 Russian companies and individuals, former
 members of the ousted president, Viktor
 Yanukovich’s government, and leaders of
 Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.

 The sanctions of December 19, 2014, taken
against the Crimean economy, will stay, too.

Obama claims that the situation in Ukraine
remains extraordinary and constitutes "an
unusual and extraordinary threat to the
national security and foreign policy of the
 United States."

President of the International Centre for
Geopolitical Analysis, Leonid Ivashov:

 "When he says that he has made a decision
 to prolong the anti-Russian sanctions on the
 excuse there is a threat to US foreign policy
Obama is right, in that the restoration of
peace to the east of Ukraine would run
counter to Washington’s strategic plans
for tearing Ukraine away from Russia.

" When they were steering the events in Kiev
 towards a change of power, US Department
 of State emissaries certainly pursued an aim
very different from the situation achieved,
where Normandy Quartet leaders would push
 Washington aside to achieve implementation
 of the peace accords concluded in Minsk on
February 12th."

"Obama’s decision to prolong anti-Russian
sanctions fully reflects the United States’
wish to keep the war in Ukraine going,
because this war is against Russia.

"Washington has no intention of letting the
 European Union leaders settle the situation
 in the east of Ukraine. Otherwise Obama’s
already unimpressive rating would sink to
 new lows," Ivashov believes.

"In reality the process of ceasefire & pull-
back of heavy armaments in the east of
Ukraine is continuing. Unlike the Ukrainian
armed forces, the Donetsk and Luhansk
militias have followed the Minsk accords
to the letter, for which, Moscow can take
some credit.

"It should be obvious to US and EU leaders
that the self-proclaimed republics are by
no means interested in an escalation of
violence: the economy is in ruins, there
are no jobs, and no funds are available
to pay wages and salaries.

 But the West avoids putting proper pressure
on Kiev, to make it comply with the Minsk
accords, while the US puts the blame for
this, on Russia, and extends
sanctions...
which is utterly dissonant with
the real
state of affairs," Ivashov says.


A deputy director of the Institute of US and
Canada Studies, Viktor Kremenyuk, remarks
that unlike the German and French leaders,
 the US president is in no mood to take a
milder line towards Moscow.

"Regrettably, the Obama-Putin mechanism
 does not work.

"It is deplorable that the US president  turned
 a deaf ear to a message about the possibility
 of easing the food embargo. President Vladimir
 Putin’s spokesperson said that Russia might
 resume importing farm produce from Europe
 and the United States, on the condition that
Western companies began investing in the
 construction of processing facilities.

 Regrettably, that constructive message
resulted in a prolongation of sanctions
 against Russia," Kremenyuk says.

"I believe the US president may reconsider
 his stance re the anti-Russian sanctions,
 if German Chancellor Angela Merkel and
Francois Hollande, as well as the heads of
the OSCE mission in Ukraine, provide certain
guarantees that hostilities in the east of the
country will not resume. None of them has
been able to assume such a responsibility
...so far," Kremenyuk ends.


_________________________



Nuclear War and Clashing Ukraine Narratives
By Robert Parry

America and Russia have two nearly opposite
 narratives on Ukraine, which is more an indictment
of the US news media, which feigns objectivity, but
 disseminates what amounts to propaganda. These
 divergent narratives are driving the world towards
 a possible nuclear crisis, writes Robert Parry.

The US government and mainstream media are
 swaggering to a possible nuclear confrontation
 with Russia over Ukraine, without any of the
seriousness that has informed this sort of
decision-making throughout the nuclear age.
 Instead, Official Washington seems possessed
 by a self-righteous goofiness that could be
the prelude to the end of life on this planet.

Nearly across the US political spectrum, there is
 a pugnacious “group think” which has changed
 what should have been a manageable political
dispute in Ukraine into some morality play where
US politicians and pundits blather on about how
 the nearly year-old coup regime in Kiev “shares
 our values” and how America must be prepared
 to defend this regime militarily.

Though I’m told that President Barack Obama
 personally recognizes how foolhardy this attitude
 is, he has made no significant move to head off
 the craziness and, indeed, has tolerated
provocative actions by his underlings, such as
 neocon Assistant Secretary of State Victoria
 Nuland’s scheming with coup plotters to over-
throw Ukraine’s elected President, Viktor
Yanukovych, last February.

Obama also has withheld from the American people
 intelligence information that undercuts some of the
 more extreme claims that his administration has
 made. For instance, I’m told that he has detailed
 intelligence reports on both the mysterious sniper
 attack that preceded the putsch nearly a year ago
 and the shoot-down of the Malaysia Airlines Flights
17 that deepened the crisis last summer. But he
 won’t release the findings.

More broadly over the last year, Obama’s behavior –
 ranging from his initial neglect of the Ukraine issue,
 as Nuland’s coup plotting unfolded, to his own
 participation in the tough talk, such as boasting
 during his State of the Union address that he had
 helped put the Russian economy “in tatters” –
 ranks as one of the most irresponsible
 performances by a US president.

Given the potential stakes of nuclear war, none
of the post-World War II presidents behaved as
 recklessly as Obama has, which now includes
 allowing administration officials to talk loosely
 about sending military support to an unstable
regime in Kiev that includes neo-Nazis who
have undertaken death-squad operations
against ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

US Gen. Philip Breedlove,
NATO'S Commander,
declared last November that – on supplying
military support to Kiev's government –
“nothing at this time is off the table.”

 Breedlove is now pushing actively to send
lethal US military equipment to fend off an
offensive by ethnic Russians in the east.

I’m told the Russians fear that US officials
are contemplating placing Cruise missiles in
Ukraine, or otherwise introducing advanced
weaponry that Moscow regards as a direct
threat to its national security. Whether or not
 the Russians are being alarmist, these fears
 are affecting their own decision-making.

None of the nuclear-age presidents – not Harry
 Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy,
 Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford,
 Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush,
 Bill Clinton or even George W. Bush - would have
 engaged in such provocative actions on Russia’s
 borders, though some surely behaved aggressively
 in overthrowing governments and starting wars
 farther away.

Even Ronald Reagan, an aggressive Cold Warrior,
 kept his challenges to the Soviet Union in areas
 that were far less sensitive to its national security
 than Ukraine. He may have supported slaughtering
 leftists in Central America and Africa, or armed
 Islamic fundamentalists fighting a Soviet-backed
 government in Afghanistan, but he recognized the
 insanity of a military showdown with Moscow in
Eastern Europe.

After the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, US
 presidents became more assertive, pushing
 NATO into the former Warsaw Pact nations
 and, under President Clinton, bombing a
Russian ally in Serbia, but that came at a
 time when Russia was essentially flat on
 its back, geopolitically.

Perhaps the triumphalism of that period is
still alive, especially among neocons who
 reject President Vladimir Putin’s reassertion
 of Russia’s national pride. These Washington
 hardliners still feel they can treat Moscow
 with disdain, ignoring the fact that Russia
 maintains a formidable nuclear arsenal and
 isn't willing to return to the supine position
 of the 1990s.

In 2008, President George W. Bush – arguably
one of the most reckless presidents of the era
– backed away from a confrontation with Russia
when Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili,
 a neocon favorite, drew the Russians into a
border conflict over South Ossetia. Despite
 some war talk from the likes of Vice President
 Dick Cheney and Sen. John McCain,
President Bush showed relative restraint.

Imbalanced Narrative

But Obama has failed to rein in his administration’s
 war hawks and has done nothing to correct the
 biased narrative his State Department has fed
 to an equally irresponsible mainstream US news
 media. Since the Ukraine crisis began in fall of
 2013, the New York Times and other major US
 news outlets have provided only one side of the
 story, openly supporting the interests of pro-
European western Ukrainians, over the ethnic
Russian eastern Ukrainians.

The bias is so strong that the mainstream media
 has largely ignored the remarkable story of the
Kiev regime willfully dispatching Nazi storm
 troopers to kill ethnic Russians in the east,
 something that hasn’t happened in Europe
 since World War II.

For Western news organizations that are quick
 to note the slightest uptick in neo-Nazism in
Europe, there has been a willful blindness to
 Kiev’s premeditated use of what amount
to Nazi death squads undertaking house-to
-house killings in eastern Ukraine.
[See Consortiumnews.com’s
“Seeing No Neo-Nazi
Militias in Ukraine.”]

Russia's government has repeatedly protested
these death-squad operations and other crimes
 committed by the Kiev regime, but the US
 mainstream media is so in the tank for western
 Ukrainians that it has suppressed this aspect
of the crisis, typically burying references to
the neo-Nazi militias at the end of stories... or
dismissing accounts as “Russian propaganda.”

With this ugly reality hidden from the US public,
 Obama’s State Department has been able to
present a white-hat-vs.-black-hat narrative
to the crisis. So, while the Russians saw a
constitutionally elected government on their
 border overthrown by a US-backed coup last
February – and then human rights atrocities
 inflicted on ethnic Russians in east Ukraine
 – the American people heard only about
wonderful pro-American “reformers” in Kiev
and the evil pro-Russian “minions” trying to
 destroy “democracy” at Putin’s bidding.

This distorted American narrative represents
 one of the most unprofessional & dangerous
 performances in the history of modern US
 journalism, rivaling the false conventional
 wisdom about Iraq’s WMD --- except in this
case the media propaganda is aimed at a
country in Russia that really does have
 weapons of mass destruction.

The Russians also have noted the arrival of
 financially self-interested Americans, including
 Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden
 and Ukraine’s new Finance Minister Natalie
 Jaresko, reminding the Russians of American
 financial experts who descended on Moscow
with their “shock therapy” in the 1990s, with
 “reforms” that enriched a few well-connected
 oligarchs, but impoverished millions of
average Russians.

Ukraine’s Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko.

Jaresko, a former US diplomat who took Ukraine
 citizenship in December 2014 to become Finance
 Minister, had been in charge of a US-taxpayer-
financed $150 million Ukrainian investment fund
 involving substantial insider dealings, including
 paying a management firm that Jaresko created
 more than $1 million a year in fees, even as the
$150 million apparently dwindled to less than
$100 million.

Jaresko also has been involved in a two-year-long
 legal battle with her ex-husband to gag him from
 releasing information about apparent irregularities
 in the handling of the US money. Jaresko went
 into Chancery Court in Delaware to enforce a
 non-disclosure clause against her ex-husband,
 Ihor Figlus, and got a court order to silence him.

This week, when I contacted George Pazuniak,
Figlus’s lawyer about Jaresko’s aggressive
enforcement of the non-disclosure agreement,
 he told me that “at this point, it’s very difficult
 for me to say very much without having a
detrimental effect on my client.”

With Jaresko now hailed as a Ukrainian
 “reformer” who – in the words of New York
Times’ columnist Thomas L. Friedman –
 “shares our values,” one has to wonder why
 she has fought so hard to shut up her ex-
husband regarding possible revelations about
the improper handling of US taxpayer money.
 [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine’s
Made-in-USA Finance Minister.”]

More Interested Parties

The Russians also looked askance at the
 appointment of Estonian Jaanika Merilo as
the latest foreigner to be brought inside the
 Ukrainian government as a “reformer.”
 Merilo, a Jaresko associate, is being put in
charge of attracting foreign investments but
 her photo spreads look more like someone
 interested in some rather kinky partying.
(Photos show her dressed in skimpy tights
with a knife held provocatively)

The Russians are aware, too, of prominent
Americans encircling the potential plunder
 of Ukraine. For instance, Hunter Biden was
named to the board of directors of Burisma
 Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas firm.
Burisma is also a shadowy Cyprus-based
company linked to Privat Bank.

Privat Bank is controlled by thuggish billionaire
 oligarch Ihor Kolomoysky, who was appointed
 by Kiev's regime to be Dnipropetrovsk governor
  Oblast, in a south-central province of Ukraine.

Kolomoysky has helped finance the paramilitary
 forces killing ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

And Burisma has been lining up well-connected
 lobbyists, some with ties to Secretary of State
John Kerry, including Kerry’s former Senate
chief of staff David Leiter, according to lobby
disclosures. As Time magazine reported,
“Leiter’s involvement in the firm, rounds out
a power-packed team of politically-connected
Americans that includes a second new board
member, Devon Archer, a Democratic bundler
and a former adviser to John Kerry’s 2004
presidential campaign. Both Archer and
Hunter Biden have worked as business
 partners with Kerry’s son-in-law, Christopher
 Heinz, founding partner of Rosemont Capital,
 a private-equity company.”
[See Consortiumnews.com’s
“The Whys Behind the Ukraine Crisis.”]

So, Russians have a decidedly different view
 of Ukraine's “reforms” than much of the US
 media does. But I’m told that Russians would
 be willing to tolerate these well-connected
 Americans enriching themselves in Ukraine,
 and even Ukraine expanding its economic
 relations with the European Union.

But Russians have drawn a red line at the
 prospect of an expansion of NATO forces
 into Ukraine, and the continued killing of
ethnic Russians at the hands of neo-Nazi
 death squads. Putin is demanding that
those paramilitary forces be disarmed.

Besides unleashing these right-wing militias
on the ethnic Russians, the Kiev government
 has moved to punish the people living in the
 eastern sectors by cutting off access to banks
 & other financial services. It also has become
 harder & more dangerous for ethnic Russians
 to cross into territory controlled by the Kiev
 authorities. Many are turned back and those
who do get through, face the risk of being
taken and killed by the neo-Nazi militias.

These conditions have left the people in the
Donetsk and Luhansk areas - the so-called
Donbass region bordering Russia - dependent
 on relief supplies from Russia. Meanwhile, the
Kiev regime - pumped up by the prospects of
 weapons from Washington, as well as more
 money - has toughened its tone, with vows
 to crush the eastern rebellion once & for all.

Russia’s Hardening Line

The worsening situation in the east and the fear
 of US military weapons arriving in the west have
 prompted a shift in Moscow’s view of Ukraine's
 crisis, including a readiness to resupply ethnic
 Russian forces in eastern Ukraine and even
provide military advisers.

These developments alarm European leaders who
 find themselves caught in the middle of a possible
 conflict between the United States and Russia.
 German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French
 President Francois Hollande rushed to Kiev and
then Moscow this week, to discuss possible
ways
to defuse the crisis.

The hardening Russian position now seeks, in effect,
 a division of Ukraine into 2 autonomous zones, the
 east and the west with a central government that
 maintains the currency and handles other national
 concerns. But I’m told that Moscow might still
 accept the earlier idea of a federated Ukraine with
 greater self-governance by the different regions.

Putin also does not object to Ukraine building
closer economic ties to Europe and he offered
 a new referendum in Crimea, on whether the
 voters still want to secede from Ukraine and
 join Russia, said a source familiar with the
Kremlin’s thinking. But Putin’s red lines also
include no NATO expansion into Ukraine and
protection for ethnic Russians by disarming
the neo-Nazi militias, the source said.

If such an arrangement or something similar isn’t
 acceptable, and if the killing of ethnic Russians
 continues, the Kremlin would support a large-
scale military offensive from the east that would
 involve “taking Kiev,” according to the source.

A Russian escalation of that magnitude, would
 likely invite a vigorous US response, with leading
 American politicians and pundits sure to ratchet
 up demands for a military counterstrike against
Russia. If Obama were to acquiesce to such
 bellicosity – to avoid being called “weak” – the
 world could be pushed to the brink of nuclear war.

Who’s to Blame?

Though the State Department and the mainstream
 US media continue to put all the blame on Russia,
the fact that the Ukraine crisis has reached such
 a dangerous crossroads reveals how reckless the
 behavior of Official Washington has been over the
 past year.

Nuland and other US officials took an internal
Ukrainian disagreement over how quickly it
should expand ties to Europe – while seeking
 to retain its historic relations with Russia –
and turned that fairly pedestrian political
 dispute into a possible flashpoint for a
 nuclear war.

At no time, as this crisis has evolved over the
 past year, did anyone of significance in Official
 Washington, whether in government or media,
stop and contemplate whether this issue was
worth risking the end of life on the planet.
Instead, all the American people have been
 given is a steady diet of anti-Yanukovych
 and anti-Putin propaganda.

Though constitutionally elected, Yanukovych
 was depicted as a corrupt tyrant who had a
pricy sauna in his official mansion. Though
 Putin had just staged the Winter Olympics
 in Sochi, signaling his desire for Russia to
 integrate more with the West, he was
portrayed as either a new-age imperial
czar or the second coming of Hitler - if
not worse - because he occasionally
would ride on a horse while not wearing
a shirt.

Further, US news media refused to conduct
 a serious investigation into evidence that
Nuland and other US officials had helped
destabilize Yanukovych’s government,
 with the goal of achieving another neo-
con “regime change.”

Nuland, who personally urged on anti-Yanukovych
 protests in Kiev, discussed with US Ambassador
 to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, in early February 2014
 who should lead the new government – “Yats is
 the guy,” she said, referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk
 – and how to “glue this thing.”

After weeks of mounting tensions & worsening
 violence, the coup occurred on Feb. 22, 2014,
when well-organized neo-Nazi and other right-
wing militias from western Ukraine, overran
 presidential buildings forcing officials to flee
for their lives. With Yanukovych ousted,
Yatsenyuk soon became Prime Minister.
 [See Consortiumnews.com’s
“When Is a Putsch a Putsch.”]

Many ethnic Russians in southern and eastern
 Ukraine, who'd strongly supported Yanukovych,
 refused to accept the US-backed order in Kiev.

 Crimean officials and voters moved to secede
 from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, a move that
Putin accepted because of Crimea’s historic
ties to Russia and his fear that Russia's naval
 base at Sevastopol might be handed to NATO.

The resistance spread to eastern Ukraine,
 where other ethnic Russians took up arms
against the coup regime in Kiev, which then
responded with what it calls an “anti-terrorist
 operation” against the east. To bolster the
weak Ukrainian army, Internal Affairs Minister
 Arsen Avakov dispatched neo-Nazi and other
 “volunteer” militias to spearhead the attacks.

After the deaths of more than 5,000 people, a
 shaky cease-fire was announced in September,
 but - amid complaints about neo-Nazi death
squads operating in government-controlled
areas and with life deteriorating in the rebel-
controlled towns and cities - ethnic Russians
 launched an offensive in January, using
 Russian-supplied weapons to expand their
control of territory.

In reaction, US pundits, including columnists
 and editors of the New York Times and the
 Washington Post, called for dispatching US
aid to the Kiev forces, including proposals for
 lethal weaponry to deter Putin’s “aggression.”
 Members of Congress and members of the
Obama administration have joined the chorus.

On Feb. 2, the New York Times reported “With
 Russian-backed separatists pressing their
attacks in Ukraine, NATO’s military commander,
Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, now supports providing
 defensive weapons and equipment to Kiev’s
 beleaguered forces, & an array of administration
 and military officials appear to be edging toward
that position, American officials said… President
 Obama has made no decisions on providing such
 lethal assistance.”

That same day, the lead Times editorial was entitled
 “Mr. Putin Resumes His War” and continued with the
 theme about “Russian aggression” and the need “to
 increase the cost” if Russia demands “a permanent
 rebel-held enclave.”

On Feb. 3, the Washington Post ran an editorial
 entitled “Help for Ukraine. Defensive weapons
could deter Russia in a way sanctions won’t.”
 The editorial concluded that Putin “will stop
only if the cost to his regime is sharply raised
 – and quickly.”

A new war fever gripped Washington and no one
 wanted to be viewed as “soft” or be denounced
 as a “Putin apologist.” Amid this combination of
 propaganda, confusion and tough-guy-ism – and
 lacking the tempering wisdom about war and
nuclear weapons that restrained earlier US
 presidents – a momentum lurched toward a
nuclear showdown over Ukraine that could
 put all life on earth in jeopardy.

By Robert Parry, consortiumnews.com



________________________________




KILLING RUSSIANS OK FOR OBAMA


Barack Obama wants to continue the program
 that George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and G.W. Bush,
 worked on before him, to surround Russia with
NATO missiles. The takeover of Ukraine, and the
 enlistment of the Arabic oil sheikhs in assisting
 further to turn the screws against Russia, are
key components in doing that: crushing Russia’s
 resistance to American domination.

Whereas, for FDR, the alliance with Sunni Islam
 was purely anti-communist, against the Soviet
Union, the US Presidents after 1980, were and
are, anti-Russian, and it's nothing whatsoever
 to do with ideology. The US aristocracy intend
 to dominate the aristocracy in every other
 nation, and Russia is the only militarily
powerful nation that is opposed to being
controlled by this global Empire.

Consequently, President Obama, who's an agent
 for America’s aristocracy, wants to cripple if not
 destroy, Russia. And this is why, in his National
 Security Strategy 2015, 17 of the 18 times he
used the term ‘aggression’... he applied it
against
Russia.

 Russia’s President Putin would have to be an
 idiot not to recognize that today’s United States
 (its aristocracy, not the American public, who
 are quite different) is extremely hostile.

Russia could be the bulwark that, along with the
 rest of Europe and America, could restrain Islamic
 extremism; but, since America’s aristocracy is
 primarily concerned with crushing Russia, Islamic
 terrorism will probably only continue to grow.

Furthermore, events such as 9/11 are necessary
 for the Arabic aristocrats, in order for them to
 keep their clerics with them and thereby
 control their own nation’s public.

So: the US ends up being allied with Islamic
 terrorists, while accusing Russia of backing
 ‘terrorists’ in the former Ukraine, whose only
 crime is, they don’t want to be slaughtered.

On 12 February 2015, was issued a “Statement
 by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on
 Ukraine,” which opened: “Ms. Christine Lagarde,
Managing Director of the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), statement today in Brussels, Belgium:

‘I am pleased to announce that the IMF team
working in Kiev has reached a staff-level
agreement with the Ukrainian government
 on a new economic reform program that
would be supported by an Extended Fund
 Facility of SDR 12.35 billion (about $17.5
 billion, €15.5 billion) from the IMF, as well
 as by additional resources from the
 international community.”

Violating even the IMF’s own prohibitions --
against pouring loans into a nation that’s at
war -- the IMF was here making clear that
they
were 100% behind Obama’s Ukrainian
proxy
war against Russia.


 This is where the money will come from to
 finance Ukraine’s acquisition of more weapons
 to exterminate or else drive out the residents in
 the area of Ukraine that had voted 90% for the
 democratically elected Ukrainian President that
 Obama overthrew.

It’s ongoing mass-murder on the installment
 plan, with the IMF providing most of the funds.

Because the loaned money is going to pay for
 the ethnic-cleansing campaign, it’s not going
 to the needs of the Ukrainian people. This is
extreme austerity, and it started immediately,
a day after the day, 26 February 2014, when
Arseniy Yatsenyuk became appointed to run
the country, as he had been selected to do
by Victoria Nuland of Obama’s State Dept.,
 22 days prior.

As Kommersant reported, on 6 March 2014:
“the strategy of the government was
approved in Parliament on 27 February and
 on 3 March the Ministry of Finance sent an
action plan for approval to the Ministry of
Economic Development. The document is
striking in its scale. … ‘Under the Knife’ go
social costs. Already in March, the payment
 of pensions will be reduced to only 50% of
 the designated pension amounts.” But an
 uproar held that up. However, now, it’s
being done.

On December 11th: “Cabinet wants to reduce
 schooling to 9 years [from 12 years], to reduce
 the cost of the budget the Finance Ministry
proposes to amend the legislation governing
 the humanitarian sphere, the sphere of public
administration, pensions, social security, the
work of the prosecution and the army.”

On December 19th: “Education Minister Sergey
 Kvit noted that the department, which he heads,
will never agree to such a proposal.”

On December 24th we read:
“Education Minister Sergei quits.”

Pensions are now set to be halved, even in
the greatly depreciated Ukrainian currency;
 & public schooling is to be reduced to only
 nine years. All of that IMF (and US and EU)
 money goes instead to pay to mass-murder
 the residents in Ukraine’s former Donbass
 region, an area in which the residents voted
 90% for Viktor Yanukovych, whom Obama
 overthrew, and where all of the residents
 are officially ’terrorists.’ The phrase for this
used to be a “free-fire zone.” Obama wants
 the residents exterminated, and the IMF
 and EU are going along with that.

The circuitous way in which Ukraine will be
buying its weapons, is designed to avoid
 triggering a declaration of war by Vladimir
 Putin, or else to make it non-obvious to the
 public why he would be justified in doing so.



(Selected in part from What’s Behind Ukraine’s
Secret
Weapons Deal with the United Arab
Emirates (UAE)?,
by Eric Zuesse.) 

      
Full article here:

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/

2015/02/26/what-behind-ukraine-secret-
weapons-deal
-with-united-arab-emirates-uae.html

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse,
is the
author, most recently, of:
'They’re Not Even Close:
The Democratic
vs. Republican Economic Records,

 1910-2010.'


___________________________



Kiev coup gets checkmated in Debaltseve

By JIM W. DEAN

The guns aren't yet silent on the Debaltseve salient,
 but the angels may be heading that way. The cruel
 waste of conscripted Ukrainian soldiers and South-
eastern Ukrainians may finally come to an end…
for a while. We will see if their families will seek
 revenge for their being used as cannon fodder
by Kiev’s nationalist thugs and the West in their
 pillaging of Ukraine.

 The good news is that the key parties to the Minsk
 agreement are calling it successful, indicating that
 Kiev and the West now view the fighting as a tar
 baby they want to get off their hands. Up until now
 they have shamelessly faked their interest in a
 political settlement while pouring arms and other
 support into Kiev to continue the fight for a
military
victory. As we say here in the South,
“They lied like
a rug.”

The tactical situation is still cloudy. The militias
 claim the Debaltseve cauldron is closed, and they
 will only allow a “green corridor” for Kiev’s troops
 to pull out, meaning they leave their weapons
and equipment behind.

Donetsk Prime Minister Zakharchenko tells us
 the militias have orders to contest any Ukrainian
 units moving with their weapons, because the
 Minsk agreements do allow the militias to disarm
 or neutralize all illegal armed groups inside their
 territory.

Zakharchenko is recovering from wounds
received
during a ceasefire violation when
he was hit by
shrapnel. The Republics stated
today that Kiev
could not give any order to
retreat because the
militias have jammed
all communications.


Jamming is a standard modern tactic to
defeat coordinated action by enemy forces.

I spent the last few days watching as much
 Debaltseve video as I could find with English
 translations. I saw strong evidence of a
complete breakdown of command & control
by the Ukrainian Army, in the last week.

Surrendering PoWs describe orders to hold
 their positions, but most were down to two
days of rations and had not seen ammo
 resupplies in over a week.

The Ukrainian Army is also continuing the
 dishonor of abandoning their dead on the
 battlefield. Our Ukrainian sources tell us
 this is one of the ways they keep their
 public KIA numbers down and also avoid
 paying out benefits to the families.

 This is disgraceful conduct by their general
 staff, and one for which they should all be shot.


Western manipulations and deceptions

Western media have sadly played the role of
cheerleader during this whole conflict. And I
could say even worse… that they have been
 aiders and abettors to war crimes. When Kiev
 refused to turn over its air traffic control data
on the MH-17 shoot down, I remember the old
days when the press would have fried Kiev’s
livers in print, but the press says nothing and
 are dancing cowards one and all.

When NATO made claim after claim of a pending
 Russian invasion, none of which happened, I
 remember a time when print media cartoonists
 would have made NAT0 a laughing stock.

General Breedlove would have been given a
 Pinocchio nose, and Kiev’s military PR spokes-
man would have played “Baghdad Bob” of
Persian Gulf War I, who gave Saddam’s daily
 press briefings on how Coalition Forces were
being destroyed by Iraq’s Republican Guard.


If you think about it for a moment, you probably
won’t remember seeing any Western news
analysis on what the point was for Kiev to
 push into the Debaltseve pocket, even while
 the EU and US were supposedly urging
Poroshenko to start negotiations which
we now see were a cruel hoax.

Any in-depth discussion of the strategy would have
 revealed the obvious attempt for a military victory…
 with two main purposes. First, Debaltseve is the
 main industrial transportation hub for both the
 Donetsk and Lugansk industrial regions, and the
 rail head for moving coal out to the rest of Ukraine.
 To its west is Gorlikva (also Horlikva), which is
 the junction for the region’s water mains.

With Kiev in control of those two hubs, it would have
 had a stranglehold on both Republics’ economies,
 literally making them unviable. The Debaltseve
 pocket was also a launching pad for using those
 transportation lines needed to sustain a push all
 the way south to prevent the two Republics from
 supporting each other, and to cut Donetsk off
from the Russian border.


NATO advances as EU economy wanes

While this military victory was being pursued by Kiev,
 EU and NATO countries were shipping arms and non-
lethal supplies into the military effort. But they were
 also steadily advancing NATO bases closer to the
 Russian border -- a serious security concern for
 Moscow. And as additional cover for this obvious
 aggression, the world public was treated like we
 were all idiots, who would believe the constant
mantra of “It’s all the Russians’ fault.”

The Financial Times has validated my long stream of
 articles on the financial black hole Ukraine has been
pushed into by the vultures in the West. Industrial
production is down over 20% from last year, which
 already had been struggling. And their economy
 shrank 15% in the last quarter, with an outlook
 of getting worse.

Sure, there has to be a rebuilding boom in the SE,
 the area that has taken all of the war carnage --
the rest of the country not even having a broken
 window -- a strange civil war there. But unlike
the US that can just print money, or have the
Federal Reserve create billion-dollar bank
 deposits out of thin air, Ukraine’s currency
 is down the tubes. Their gold has been
 shipped off to some undisclosed place,
and their cost of living increases under
 the IMF austerity plan will impoverish
them for the next generation.

They will never be able to repay the loans,
so their national assets will be sold off.
Ukrainian assets will be bought for fire
sale prices, and it will become the “go
 to” place for White slave labor with
good skills and education.


Austerity – the new indentured servitude

Welcome to the New World Order. German Intel
 tells us the civil war’s body pile is already 50,000
 people high, all in one year’s work. By contrast,
 America took the whole Vietnam War to kill that
 many of our own troops. And we hear calls for
 another Coalition war on Libya “to fix things” in
that country. The Western war on terror is the
 Frankenstein I always said it would be… and
 it’s not finished yet.

The Ukraine internet abounds with talk of a second
 Maidan revolution in the works. The Right Sector
 thugs have gained a lot of combat experience, plus
 some added extras, like nailing kids to fences and
 dragging mothers down the road behind APCs.

The West will wear eternal shame for what it has
done to Ukraine. Sure, it was a corrupt country

when this started, but it is worse now. So that
shows the West has really attacked and pillaged
 the country with a time-delay economic bomb
which will go off when all of these loans
 eventually boomerang back onto Europeans
 in the form of more austerity some day.

Nikita Khrushchev, who is a hard guy to quote,
 does have one that perfectly fits the Ukraine
 situation. “Support by the United States rulers
 is rather in the nature of the support that the
 rope gives to a hanged man.”




REQUIEM
Poet and Efran Kaye's tribute
to everyone killed in wars.

Bless the large numbers of Ethiopians,
the many good people in Indonesia, and
the folks of Russia, Greece and Egypt,
who are now playing it.


100% CERTAIN 9/11 WAS MOSSAD OPERATION

Most US people polled believe that 9/11 was
an "inside job",
but what would they feel if they
found out that it was
designed by Zionists, who
deliberately killed thousands
of innocent US
citizens to drive the US into wars on Muslims?


They'd be angry, right?



Fernando Imposimato, President of the Italian Supreme
Court, calls for a criminal investigation of 9/11, comparing
the attack to false flag incidents carried out by the CIA
in Italy: Operation Gladio.

 

"The 9/11 attacks were a global state terror operation
that was permitted by the US
administration, which
had foreknowledge of the operation, yet
remained
intentionally unresponsive in order to make war
against
Afghanistan and Iraq," Imposimato declares
in a letter published by
the Journal of 9/11 Studies.

 Ferdinando Imposimato is the Honorary President
of the Supreme Court of Italy and a former Senator
who served on the Anti-Mafia Commission in three
administrations. He is the author or co-author of 7
books on international terrorism, state corruption,
and related matters, and a Grand Officer of the
Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy.

As a former state prosecutor, Imposimato has
extensive experience in investigating high-
profile crimes, including the kidnapping and
assassination of Italian Prime Minster Aldo
Moro & the attempted assassination of Pope
John Paul II. He also worked on the Anti-
Mafia commission as a Senator, giving him a
wealth of knowledge on the inner workings
of organized crime syndicates.

 

Imposimato points to several facts contradicting
the official 9/11 story, including the free-fall
collapse of WTC Building 7, the report that the
CIA met with Osama Bin Laden in a Dubai hospital
in July 2001, and the overwhelming evidence of
insider trading before 9/11 that didn't lead to any
criminal charges, reports digitaljournal.com

The following is an excerpt from Imposimato’s letter
published by the Journal of 9/11 Studies on Sunday:

 

The reports of the National Institute of Standards
and Technology (NIST), November 20, 2005, set
forth the following conclusions:

The airplanes that struck each of the Twin Towers
caused a breach as well as an explosion evidenced
by a giant fireball. The remaining jet fuel flowed onto
the lower floors, sustaining the fires. The heat from
the fires deformed the building structures and both
towers collapsed completely from top to bottom.

Very little that was of any size remained after these
events except steel as well as aluminum fragments
and the pulverized dust from the concrete floors.

 

The World Trade Center 7 also collapsed–in a way that
was inconsistent with the common experience of
engineers. All three buildings collapsed completely,
but Building 7 was not hit by a plane. WTC7’s collapse
violated common experience and was unprecedented.

 

The NIST report does not analyze the actual nature of the
collapses.  According to experts at the Toronto Hearings
(Sept. 8-11, 2011), the collapses had features that indicate
controlled explosions. I agree with architect Richard Gage
  & engineer Jon Cole both highly experienced professionals
[from Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth – now
numbering 1,700 strong], who have arrived at their
conclusions through reliable tests, scientific proof,
and the visual testimony of people above suspicion,
including firefighters and victims.

The authoritative theologian David Ray Griffin has
described very precisely why the hypothesis of
controlled demolition should be considered.
Various witnesses heard bursts of explosions.

 

According to NIST the collapse of Building 7 was
due to fires provoked by the collapse of the twin
towers. Chemist and independent researcher Kevin
Ryan, however, has demonstrated that NIST gave
contradictory versions of the collapse of Building 7.

In a preliminary report NIST declared that WTC7
was destroyed because of fires provoked by diesel
fuel stored in the building, while in a second report
this fuel was no longer considered the cause of the
building’s collapse. Additional comments on the NIST
version of events have been made by David Chandler,
another expert witness at the Journal of 9/11 Studies
Letters, September 2012 Toronto Hearings.

Despite NIST’s claim of 3 distinct phases of collapse,
 Chandler pointed out that many available videos show
that for about two and a half seconds the acceleration
of the building cannot be distinguished from freefall.
NIST has been obliged to agree with this empirical fact
as pointed out by Chandler; now understood by everyone.

 

The only possibility for achieving justice is to submit the
best evidence concerning the involvement of specific
individuals in 9/11 to the Prosecutor of the International
Criminal Court and ask him to investigate according to
the articles 12, 13, 15 and 17, letters a and b, of the
Statute of the ICC, recalling the preamble of the Statute:

 

“Recognizing that such grave crimes threaten the
peace, security and the well being of the world,”

 

“Affirming that the most serious crimes of concern to
the international community as a whole must not go
unpunished and that their effective prosecution must
be ensured by taking measures at the national level
and by enhancing international cooperation, ”

 

“Determined to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators
of these
crimes and thus to contribute to the prosecution
of such crimes,
recalling that it is the duty of every state
to exercise its jurisdiction over
those responsible for
international crimes.
"  reports infowars.com.

More and more people from all walks of life and all
professions seem
to be questioning the “official”
narrative of what happened on 9/11.
Those who
are questioning the events of 9/11 may be moving
under
the radar of the corporate media from being
labeled “conspiracy
theorists” to legitimate
investigators with legitimate questions and
concerns, reports examiner.com

 

Theorists believe that the World Trade Center
buildings were
demolished by bombs, phone
calls from the planes were made up,
and the
former President George W. Bush secretly
profited from
the attacks, reports
newsone.com

 

The World Trade Center collapse appeared similar to a
controlled
demolition. Many speculate that the towers
were in fact blown down
with explosives placed in
selected locations. Some witnesses heard
explosions
inside the building as they attempted to escape. Many

architects & scientists maintain that plane fuel couldn't
produce
enough heat to melt the steel frame of the
buildings that collapsed,
reports
newsone.com



little girl frightens USA


WESTERN MEDIA LIES LEAD TO WAR

Article by Finian Cunningham.


100 years ago, the assassination of Archduke
Franz Ferdinand and his wife in the
Bosnian
city of Sarajevo, was the fatal spark that

 ignited a geopolitical powder keg in Europe.

Within a month, all the major powers of Europe
 would be embroiled in the First World War, which
 also dragged in Russia and the US. The war would
 last for nearly five years and resulted in at least
 20 million deaths.

That catastrophe has perplexing resonances
with
today. One incident set off a conflagration
 back then, because it came amid simmering
rivalries among imperial powers. Another
resonance is how historians recount that, in
 the run-up to the First World War few believed
 that a war in "modern, civilized" Europe was
likely, because of the belief that diplomacy
 would prevail.

Today, we see a similar reckless goading by
 imperial powers across Europe. The US and
 its European NATO allies are embarked on a
25-year expansion towards Russia's heartland.

 The dynamic of encroachment has only sped up,
not lessened. This expansion is provocative,
 aggressive and duplicitous, because it not only
 presents a military threat to Russia, it also flies
 in the face of past commitments by the US-led
 NATO alliance not to do so, such as in the 1997
 Founding Act, signed with Moscow.

Russia has every right to feel threatened by ever-
encroaching ballistic missile systems on its borders
 that could be used in a pre-emptive nuclear strike
 by the US and its allies. That concern is heightened
 ever since Washington invoked a "first strike
 doctrine" under President George W Bush,
which Obama still retains.

Yet, provocatively, Washington dismisses Russian
 President Vladimir Putin's concerns about NATO
 expansion, as if they are the deliriums of a Soviet
 revanchist.

The complacency of the present time towards
 the dangers of war, has disturbing echoes of
the past - on the eve of World War I. A major
factor in the present complacency is that the
 Western mainstream media are failing, woefully,
 to properly report on the gravity of the situation
 in Ukraine, and just how provocative that
 parlous situation is to Russia's vital interests.

This week saw the signing of a trade pact between
 the European Union and Petro Poroshenko, the
 declared president of Ukraine. The Western media
 have hailed it in glowing terms as "a landmark event"
 and a positive outcome of democracy in the former
 Soviet Republic. That blithe assessment invites
 dangerous ignorance and complacency.

The truth is that the signing of the EU trade pact is
 the outcome of an illegal regime-change operation in
 Ukraine fomented by Washington and its NATO allies.

 That regime change involved CIA-backed mass
 murder of civilians (the February 20 sniper shootings
 in Kiev's Maidan Square) and the overthrow of an
 elected government.

Since the illegal coup against President Viktor
Yanukovych, the Western-backed Kiev regime has
 been waging war on ethnic Russian populations
 in the east and south of the country, who refuse
 to recognize the regime as legitimate.

 Poroshenko, the billionaire oligarch who is now
 signing over the sovereign affairs of Ukraine to
 the US, NATO and the EU, was elected president
 in a farcical vote last month, where only 45% of
the electorate turned out and large sections of
the east and south did not even cast a ballot
amid a murderous "anti-terror" crackdown by
 Kiev troops and paramilitaries.

The campaign of terror by the Kiev forces against
 pro-Russian civilians was launched at the end of
 April, days after CIA chief John Brennan made a
 secret visit to the Kiev regime. Brennan briefed
the Kiev leadership, including the so-called Prime
 Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who only last week
used Nazi language to vow that his military forces
 would "cleanse sub-humans" from the country -
 referring to the ethnic Russian populations and
the self-defence militias they have set up in the
 Donetz and Lugansk regions.

The impostor-President Poroshenko may have
 declared a ceasefire over the past week, but
 the hostilities against civilian centres continue
 unabated. Crimes against humanity include the
 bombing of homes, churches, schools & hospitals,
 the use of White Phosphorus incendiary bombs
 and exploding bullets, as well as the shelling of
 electricity and water supplies.

Western media have largely ignored these violations
 by the "new democratic Ukrainian government", or at
 best have reported them as "unverified" or merely as
 "breaches of the ceasefire by both sides".

Western governments and media have gone into
 denial mode, refusing to acknowledge what even
the United Nations this week confirms as a massive
 displacement of over 150,000 people from eastern
 Ukraine.  Why are such numbers fleeing, if the
 violence is not also massive?

Another example of the Western cover-up over state
 terrorism in Ukraine, is the recent killing of three
journalists. Earlier this month, Russian journalist Igor
 Kornelyuk and his colleague Anton Voloshin were
 killed near Lugansk when they were hit with a mortar
 shell. Survivors of the attack said it was deliberate
 targeting by Kiev troops. Previously, Italian journalist
 Andrea Rochelli was slain near Slavyansk in another
 incident that bore the hallmarks of shoot-to-kill.

In the past week, by contrast, there was an
 outpouring of condemnation from Washington and
 other Western governments, as well as widespread
 media coverage, of the jailing of three Al Jazeera
 journalists in Egypt. Those sentences were no
 doubt a gross miscarriage of justice. But what
 about the taking of journalists' lives in Ukraine?
 Where is the Western condemnations and 
media coverage?

Western-backed regime change and genocidal
 repression in Ukraine, is a collision course of
 extreme provocation towards Russia and its
 vital interests. Yet it is presented to the
 Western public as if it is a "good news" story
 about democratic European enlargement,
 which, perversely, is being spoiled by Russian
 "interference".

This is a powder-keg situation in Europe, led
 by US geopolitics and its European henchmen,
 and which is wrapped up in an explosive shell
 of ignorance, by a lying Western media.

The repetition of history is not inevitable.
But the chances are increased when people
are kept in the dark about the underlying
causes of war and conflict.



China Russia reach deal

Petko Ganchev, wrote this article for Pravda.Ru.

Today it is absolutely clear that there is
a multipurpose strategic operation being
 conducted on the territory of the former
 Soviet Union. Ukraine plays a key role in
 the operation. Why Ukraine?

It's an open secret - the West has always
wanted to master the vast territories of
Russia and Eurasia, the axial space of the
Earth, with its enormous natural resources.

 To achieve this goal, there was the outer belt
 (Turkey, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan) built
 around Russia-Eurasia after World War Two.
 The inner belt (Georgia, Moldova, Lithuania,
 Latvia, Estonia) was built after the
 collapse of the USSR.

Successively, after the Cold War, almost all
East European countries - Soviet satellites -
were admitted to NATO under the condition
of their membership in the European Union.

 But the West didn't get closer to Russia's
western borders. There were 2 Russia-
friendly countries left - historically,
culturally and economically - Belarus
 and Ukraine.

Belarus is closely tied to Russia ethnically,
culturally and economically. Ukraine, with
its failed state organization was a weak link.

The reason for that is that the regions from
which Ukraine was created after World War
 II (1945), were formed by areas with very
different religious and value systems.

In his famous book "The Clash of Civilizations
and the Remaking of World Order" by Samuel P.
 Huntington, the author described Ukraine as
one of civilizational "splits," where one can
expect clashes, i.e. wars.

That's why Ukraine was chosen by the US
 as the key to implement a multi-purpose
 strategic operation.

 In the Middle East, the US has always used
 monarchies from the Middle Ages as allies -
 Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In Ukraine, the most
loyal ally of the United States was Poland.
 
The country was used to train "Right Sector"
 fighters and other figures from anti-Russian
 ultranationalist structures.

What are the main objectives and directions of
 this geo-strategic operation, the implementation
 of which began immediately after the US was
 forced to freeze its activities on Syria and Iran?

First and foremost, the goal is to strike a blow on
 Russia as the most active US geopolitical rival in
 the new millennium. When Ukraine leaves Russia's
 orbit, the US will implement several geostrategic
 objectives:

- to move air defense systems and other NATO
 systems closer to Russian borders: neutralizing
 its defense, including its nuclear capability;

- to undermine the Russian economy by cutting
 relations with the economy of Ukraine (Poroshenko
 has already ordered, following instructions from the
 US, to cease cooperation with the Russian defense
 industry);

- to burden the budget of the Russian Federation with
 bigger spending to maintain refugees from Ukraine
 and substitute imports from Ukraine;

- to close Russia's gas and oil pipelines to the EU
 to thus block the inflow of foreign currency into
the Russian economy;

- to prevent creation of the Customs Union
 and the Eurasian Economic Union;

- to destabilize the political system in Russia,
 accusing its leadership of what is happening
 in Ukraine;

- to stop or minimize economic cooperation
 between Russia and the EU;

- to sow distrust between Russia and other BRICS
 countries - Brazil, India, China, South Africa.

Secondly, the U.S. plans to strike a blow on the
European Union, which, along with China, acts
 as a major competitor in the economic sphere.
The EU needs to be reminded of its secondary role.

The United States seeks to confirm the assessment
 of Russophobe Brzezinski in his book "The Grand
 Chessboard" (1997), according to which the EU
was a "U.S. protectorate."

 For the U.S. it is vitally important to strengthen the
 economic dependence of the EU in light of their
 signing the "Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement"
 to turn the EU towards the consumption of US
shale gas. In this regard, the EU is the most
developed market.

To achieve this, Ukrainian company Naftogaz (the
 largest company in Ukraine) became  the property
 of a new consortium, whose leadership includes
the son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and
former Polish President Kwasniewski.

At the same time, Chevron is preparing shale gas
 production in south-eastern Ukraine - in the areas
 of the towns of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk.

Chervon, directly or indirectly, through the European
 Commission, put pressure on Bulgaria, forcing the
 country to abandon the South Stream project.

 At the same time, the U.S. continues to put pressure
 on France, to make the country freeze the sale of
two Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia. France's
 largest bank PNB faces a fine of $10 billion for
 violating the financial embargo that the U.S. put
on Cuba, Sudan and Nicaragua.

 At the same time, the United States, with its
national debt of 17 trillion dollars and GDP of
14 trillion, prepares to grant NATO's Eastern
 European members $1 billion for new weapons.

Fortunately, on the "grand chessboard" of world
 civilization, the U.S. does not play against virtual
 opponents. The geo-strategy of the United States
 does not unfold like the Desert Storm Operation in
2 003. Today, the US is playing against experienced
 players.

 Russia is rising after the disgrace of the Yeltsin era,
 and the EU becomes increasingly aware of the fact
 that the only chance to survive is hidden in the
 slogan "More Europe for Europeans!"

The last elections to the European Parliament have
 confirmed the trend. Hitherto, with so many large-
scale geopolitical operations after World War II
 (Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.),
 the US has not been able to boast considerable
 achievements.

Through all those wars, as George Friedman says
 in his book "The Next 100 Years," America has
 stimulated the growth of the national economy.

America was gradually and steadily evolving from
 a manufacturing economy to the economy of a
 military-industrial complex. In history, such a
 condition has always heralded the end of any
empire.



working toward very cold war



US "A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE"

The US government is a “criminal enterprise”
 with a foreign policy that places the well-
being of Israel ahead of America’s, a political
commentator in San Antonio, Texas says.

“This is a criminal enterprise that has the support
 of both of the major political parties in the United
 States,” Mark Dankof, a broadcaster and former
US Senate candidate, says.

This criminal enterprise “principally involves
 conducting a foreign policy firstly for Israel,
 secondly for the international central banks
and thirdly for the oil and natural gas
 consortiums,” Dankof says.

There is no difference between the policies
 of the Obama and Bush administrations, he
 notes. Both “are supporting the criminal
 policies of Benjamin Netanyahu,” he adds.

Dankof dismisses as a deception the recent
 remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry
 that the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq was a
 serious mistake:

“This is an attempt to absolve John Kerry and
 Barack Obama of the responsibility for all the
 criminal policies that they have carried out.”

In an interview with Chinese news agency Geo
 News, Kerry acknowledged that many problems
 in the Middle East, have their roots in that war.

George W. Bush, ordered the invasion of Iraq
under a pretext --- that former Iraqi dictator,
 Saddam Hussein, possessed weapons of
 mass destruction.

 In October 2004, a CIA report revealed
 that Saddam Hussein did not possess any
weapons of mass destruction at the time
 of the invasion.

In a survey out on Wednesday 2nd June,
by
Quinnipiac University Polling Institute,

33% of registered voters name Obama
as the worst president since 1945.

 28% choose his predecessor, George
W.
Bush, as the worst.






By Jim Jones

For many, myself included I suppose, the tragic
 events unfolding in Ukraine have been riveting
over the last couple of months. No need here to
 go into the sordid history of Coloured Revolutions
 and the CIA/NATO role in them; most reading this
 medium as opposed to CNN/SKY/VOA, are informed
 people and are aware of the manoeuvrings of the
 West and the associated puppet states in trying
to
embroil Russia in a war it doesn't want and in
extending NATO frontiers to the heart of Russia.

Missile strikes from Ukraine, for example, would be
 in Moscow in 10 minutes, leaving no reaction time
 and fits neatly within the new US policy of a "first
 Strike" nuclear capability. [As opposed to the
retaliatory strike doctrine of the last 40 years].

We all know what happened in 1961, when
 Khrushchev put Soviet Missiles into Cuba after
the US put missiles into Turkey. The US wasn't
very impressed at all. What is not well known
is
that Kennedy asked Khrushchev to "cut him
some
slack" and withdraw the missiles without
reference
to the US' withdrawal of its missiles
from Turkey!


 The US had upped the rhetoric so much, that it
 couldn't be seen to lose face in the public arena
 - condescendingly, Khrushchev accommodated.

Hold that thought of "face saving" as we explore
 the current Ukraine Crisis.

The US/NATO pushed the EU to pressure the Ukraine
 to join the EU and swing to the West. They almost
succeeded 4 years ago with their Orange Revolution.

 But Russia had learnt a thing or two about the
 Coloured Revolutions and mounted a successful
 and embarrassing reversal of the revolution and
 installed their own man in Ukraine who was leading
 Ukraine back along the Russian brotherhood line.

Four years later, after over $5 billion in NGO funding
and
a huge amount of State Department scheming
and
CIA covert action, the US finally got a chance
 to redress the "egg on face incident" that the
Russians had made for them.

The US played a "background role" in this - preferring
 to have the EU seen as the driving force behind the
 Maidan. However, leaked phone calls, like that made
 to Cabinet Minister Ashton, which clearly identified
the role of paid mercenaries in killing both Police &
 protesters, and later, Viktoria Nuland [US State Dept]
hand-picking who will be in the Ukraine
government
and saying the EU can go get fucked -
did nothing to
endear the US to the EU -- it came
hard on the heels
of revelations of extensive phone
tapping of EU
leaders' phones etc. by the US.


Then we have the unsavoury influence of the Right
 Sektor in Ukraine being pushed, funded and trained
 by NATO and the US's Kerry, Nuland, John McCain,
 Mark Twain and all, were seen in public endorsing
 the very Right Sektor extremists that the German
 government was in the process of declaring as
criminals!

Europe could see itself being plunged back 70 years
 with the rise of neo Nazi's, not just in Germany - but
 across Europe. [Remember Anders Behring Breivik
 and his mass killings in Norway: an ultra nationalist].

Europe also asked the question, what is the US going
 to lose over this? If Russia turns off the gas, Europe
 freezes: the economy of Europe goes down the toilet!

Already Germany is losing billions of Euros in trade
 with Russia, France has several military deals with
 Russia, the supply of Mistral Class ships for one,
 and Putin has promised follow-ons from that. Italy
 is supplying armour vehicles, many EU nations
trade with Russia - so, US, what sanctions are
going
to hurt you, the EU asks?

Germany has a growing discord there over the
70
year occupation of Germany by US forces -
we
see demonstrations - Yankees go home!
Europe
is realising that the US cares, not for
them, but
only for US and US businesses.

Against this background, we are witnessing the
 separation of the US/EU and a drawing closer of
 EU/Russia on common grounds & shared interests.

I was appalled: driven to tears by the criminal
acts
of the Kyiv Junta's ex facto war crimes/
crimes
against humanity. The shelling and
bombing of
civilians [non-combatants the
Junta declares
are Terrorists]. The targeting
and destructionof
schools, kindergartens and
hospitals - with the
murder of 25 wounded in
the hospital - shot by
Junta troops!

Destruction of the means of
support of life
  - with water supplies destroyed,
electrical
installations and sanitary plants
destroyed
by shelling. The shooting of women
and
children leaving the region for shelter in

 Crimea, by bus. The execution style killing
of
civilians in a town by Junta forces, who
lined
the people up and shot them in the
back of
their heads. The use of chemical
weapons
against civilians - chlorine gas
[where is
Obama's Red Line on this?]. The
targeting of
TV reporters in the area trying
to objectively
record events. I'm sure that
I have missed some
others.

 I cried out from the depths of despair for justice
-
surely Russia would intervene; surely Russia
would protect it's people like it has said it would?

And all along, that is exactly what the US has been
 saying too - telling the Ukrainian Junta to commit
 further acts and atrocities against the people who
 simply want true democracy in the East.

To help them in this, they even get them to
demonise and degrade the people there.
 Junta leaders have called the Russians in
 the East, "sub-human" - those of you as old
 as I am, will have heard that phrase before.

They are called parasites and vermin by the
 new Choco King Junta leader Poroshenko.
 Such a debasing of the population makes it
 more acceptable to murder them and commit
 atrocities against a subhuman species - not
 much higher than animals really, are they?

The provocation of Russia in this regard has been
 carefully stage managed by the US, intent as always
 to let it appear as the EU 's doing, while all the time
 ensuring that their people are the ones pulling the
 strings in Kiev - the CIA/FBI and State Department
are up
to their proverbial balls in Kiev's business.

 Don't see the EU featuring though. The US has
 pushed the warmonger Russian story all through
 Europe - putting the fear of the bogyman into all
ex Soviet states, and determined to show them
all how much they need NATO's protection.
 [In truth, the world needs to be protected from
 the US].

However, Russia has consistently demonstrated
 restraint and maturity in handling the world crisis.

 Since the failed US--led revolution in Georgia,
Russia has been seen to be taking the moral
 high ground from the US and their consistent
 lies [WMD et.al].

The lies over Georgia were exposed and eventually
 the EU came out & confirmed that Georgia started
 the war. Reluctantly, the Western media has had
to
admit to "errors" in reporting - all of which have
 favoured the Russian position. Remember the
 incredible piece of statesmanship from Russia
 in pulling the war rug out from under the US's
feet
over Syrian Chemical weapons?!

Russia has quietly been cementing relationships
 in Europe - building "partnerships' with European
 countries, and is doing so in accordance with
 international law and through responsible,
mature actions.

 
All of this has been driving a wedge between the
 US and the EU. This hasn't gone unnoticed - the
 US cannot accept that they are not in the driving
 seat of a single seater any more. Goading and
 provoking Russia into attacking the Ukraine is
how they will demonstrate that the Russia of
 today is what they told everyone that the
USSR of old, was.

Putin has been smarter than they realised.

 Reuters reported on July 1st:

Ukrainian forces struck at pro-Russian separatist
 bases in the eastern regions with air and artillery
strikes on Tuesday, after President Poroshenko
 announced he would not renew a ceasefire, but
 go on the offensive to rid Ukraine of "parasites".

His decision quickly drew fire from Russian President
 Vladimir Putin who said Poroshenko had disregarded
 the advice of himself & German and French leaders.
 Putin said Poroshenko would now have to bear full
 responsibility for veering off the road to peace.

Poroshenko, who accuses Russia of fanning the
 conflict and allowing fighters and equipment to
 cross the border to support the rebels, then
turned
his back on another renewal of a 10-
day
unilateral ceasefire after the phone talks
 involving Putin, German Chancellor Angela
 Merkel, and President Francois Hollande.

The important thing here is that Putin obtained
 consensus from France and Germany in a four-
way dialogue. This consensus was broken by
 Poroshenko, under pressure from US handlers.

 The facts are obvious. What it also shows, is
that
once again the US has marginalised the
EU and
shown scant regard for the EU position.

This now opens the door for Russia to reiterate its
 threat; "Putin said Moscow will continue to defend
 the interests of ethnic Russians abroad - up to 3
 million of whom live in the east of Ukraine, which
 has been in separatist ferment since April."

By obtaining consensus to a path of peace, and
 seeing it broken, Moscow now has the mandate
 to use force... IF it wants to.

The question is, does Russia want or need to?
That famous General of Guerrilla warfare, Vo

 Nguyen Giap [Incidentally, his book Peoples War,
 People's Army is worth reading] said, "we do not
 want to defeat the enemy, we simply want him to
leave our country!". In this regard, the Ukrainian
Junta cannot win the war in Novorussiya.

Firstly, they have completely lost the battle for
the hearts and minds of the people --- through
the
brutal atrocities they have committed.

 Their transparent attempt at a Kosovo type ethnic
 cleansing, has been seen for what it is and has
 made people more determined to "hold their
ground". Their brutality has now created a
 generational animosity, which will not be
 resolved in our life-time.

Secondly, militarily they can't succeed - every day,
Novorussiya is gaining in strength and skills. The
 skill level of Novorussiya's troops is much higher
 than those of the basic conscripted Junta forces
 and they're much more motivated than the Junta
 forces - they are fighting for their existence and
 homeland. Conventional military doctrine states
that we require a 10 to 1 advantage to press a
 successful attack against a defending enemy.

 1,000 to 1 is not enough to succeed in a Guerrilla
 war scenario. Look at the hiding the Yanks got in
 Vietnam and they poured hundreds of thousands
of troops into there, used the might of total air
superiority and naval bombardment etc, and still
 got their arses kicked. Ask them how many they
 and NATO had in Afghanistan fighting "towel
 heads"? [and still lost].

The Ukrainian Army has about 30,000 troops
 committed against 10,000 in the Novorussiya
 Army, and many Junta forces are actually
 surrendering without a fight, handing over
their
gear, getting on a bus and going home
with mum
who came to collect their sons.

Also, the Junta
is bankrupt. They can't even
feed their army;
people are deserting and
walking home,
because of no food or pay.

To save face: that wonderful US terminology
again; I see it is proposed that Novorussiya
become a Russian protectorate! The US is
 looking to stem the Junta's haemorrhaging.

All Russia needs to do, is open a humanitarian
 corridor into Novorussiya and maintain/police it
 and supply Novorussiya with what war materiel
 they ask for. And it can do all that with the tacit
 approval of Europe - the US having gone a bridge
 too far in Ukraine. Russia can allow the Junta to
 bleed to death here and like Georgia before; the
 US will be powerless to stop it.

The US has had it's last Tango in Europe.

Jim Jones







Urgent appeal: Message from Slavyansk

Igor Strelkov makes an urgent appeal to the
 international community as western-backed
 Ukrainian forces slaughter Russian-speaking
 citizens, strafing women and children with
 military hardware.

 Washington, Paris and London look on and
continue to support the Ukrainian government.
 A massacre is taking place, the west is
dancing
with the Devil.



Urgent Appeal by Igor Strelkov, July 4, 2014

Good day.

I would like to make a short statement with respect
 to what is happening around Slavyansk. With respect
 to what is happening here. And, well, to make an
 appeal, if you will.

Yesterday, the enemy completely surrounded
 Nikolayevka. The enemy shelled the city in the
 fiercest possible way, using all types of weapons.
 Using heavy MLRS systems, howitzers, mortars,
 tanks, APCs. The destruction is enormous.
 It is simply impossible to determine the numbers of
 casualties, because nothing works in the city now.

Our units that are in Nikolayevka at this moment
 continue the battle in complete encirclement.
We have no communications with them.

Nikolayevka has been completely cut off from
 Slavyansk. At this very moment, a large enemy
 column of armoured vehicles is moving toward
 Semyonovka from the south, along the Kharkov-
Rostov highway. At the same time, the enemy
 is continuing uninterrupted artillery shelling of
 the city and of Semyonovka.

 Yesterday, the Nikolayevka Thermal Power
Plant was destroyed to the ground and set
 on fire.

To put it bluntly, we are dealing here with
 unconcealed genocide. In other words, to break
 the resistance of the Militia, the enemy is using
all the available types of weaponry against the
 civilian population.

Naturally, seeing the destruction and the death
 of the civilian population, militiamen are starting
 to lose the will to continue fighting.

I would like to say to you that, in Slavyansk, there
 is not one Chechen, not one mercenary. There is
 not a single person here who did not come of their
 own good will. If, before, 90% of the fighters were
 local, now the ratio is 95%.

 Out of the entire garrison, there are maybe several
dozen people who came from Russia. The majority,
 the overwhelming majority are citizens of Ukraine.
Among them, the overwhelming majority are
 Donbass residents.

 These are people who consciously took up arms to
 defend their homes, their families, their Motherland.
 To defend their language and their culture. To defend
 Russia. Because these people never separated from
 her. They consider themselves Russian. They want
to live in Russia.

This right was taken from them a long time ago.
And now, when they tried to restore this right,
 Russia does not want to help them reunite with
their people, with their big Russian family.

It is difficult to understand and accept, that,
over three months (it will soon be three months
 since we arrived in Slavyansk to help the local
 population defend their rights), that, over these
 three months, no real help has arrived.

I do not claim that Russia does not help. A
 huge stream of humanitarian cargo, equipment,
uniforms, comes to us through private channels.
 But, that, which we desperately need, does not,
 at this time, arrive.

Please understand, that even if we get two tanks,
 four, even ten tanks, five-six artillery pieces, even
 if a plane flies here once, this will have no impact
 whatsoever. Over the course of the ceasefire,
 the Ukrainian army performed a full mobilization
and concentration of forces.

Over sixty heavy artillery pieces are pointed a
t Semyonovka and at Slavyansk at this time.
 At Kramatorsk. Two dozen MLRS systems,
 including Grad, Uragan and Smerch Heavy
 mortars. All of them are pointed here.

The enemy has so much ammunition - I did not
see so much in Chechnya. In our time, we did
 not have so many shells. And the entire set of
 this artillery is shelling us without a stop. The
supply columns are coming in continuously.
 They are transferring in more equipment.

Kharkov diligently repairs a dozen and a half
 armoured vehicles a day. We hit one or two
 armoured vehicles a day. No more than that.
 The enemy is able to grow its forces faster
 than it expends them. Not just faster -
 much faster.

If Russia is not able to secure an immediate
 termination of fire and the execution of a truce,
or if it does not step in with its armed forces to
 protect us, to protect the Russian people that
 reside here, who are a part of the Russian nation,
 we will be exterminated.

We will be exterminated in the course of a week,
 two weeks at most. And Slavyansk will be the
 first to be exterminated, together with its still-
numerous population. Over thirty thousand
 civilians are still left here.

I am being asked to take on the responsibility
 for their death. And for the death of the Militia
 brigade under my command. We are ready to
 fight. We are ready to die. But we do not want
to die senselessly, burying beneath the ruins
of the city of those people who believed in us.

Some believe that I am panicking, that I
am nervous. Yes, I am nervous. Every day,
my soldiers are dying. The hospitals are
 overflowing with wounded. It is very
difficult to see children without legs,
 torn apart by exploding shells.

We will continue to fight. But we
 desperately need help.



civilians being murdered by Kiev coup forces


Washington's War Crimes Spread from
 Africa and the Middle East to Ukraine

By Paul Craig Roberts


A person might think that revulsion in "the world
 community" against Washington's wanton slaughter
 of civilians in eight countries would have led to War
Crimes Tribunal warrants issued for the arrest of
presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama & many officials
 in their regimes.  But the vocal part of "the world
 community"-- the West -- has become inured to
 Washington's crimes against humanity and
doesn't bother to protest.  Indeed, many of
these governments are complicit in the US's
 crimes, and there could just as well be arrest
 warrants for members of European governments.

The one exception is Russia. The Ministry of Foreign
 Affairs of the Russian Federation has published a
 White Book on violations of human rights and the
 rule of law in Ukraine.  Propagandized Americans
 think that all the violations in Ukraine are made
by Russians.  The White Book carefully and
 accurately documents reported violations that
 occurred in Ukraine for four months from
 December 2013 through March 2014.

The White Book is available here:

http://www.mid.ru/bdomp/ns-dgpch.nsf
/03c344d01162d351442579510044415b
/38fa8597760acc2144257ccf002beeb8/
$FILE/White%20Book.pdf


  You will not hear much or anything about it from
the
presstitute US media, & it's unlikely to receive
 much coverage in Europe. The facts are so greatly
 at odds with the West's position, that the White
 Book is a huge embarrassment to the West.

The slaughter of Ukrainians on Washington's orders
 by Washington's stooge government in Kiev, has
 worsened considerably in the past three months,
 producing more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees
 fleeing into Russia for protection from strikes
 against civilian housing, from the air, artillery,
 and tanks. 

Every effort by Russia's government to involve
 Washington, the European Union, and Kiev in
 negotiations to find a peaceful settlement,
has failed.


Washington is not interested in a settlement.
 Disturbed by its NATO vassals' dependence
 on Russian energy and the growing economic
 relationships between Russia and Europe,
 Washington is at work through its Kiev proxy
 murdering citizens in eastern and southern
parts of present-day Ukraine that once were
 part of Russia.

 Washington has declared these civilians to be
 "terrorists" and is trying to force Russia to
 intervene militarily in order to protect them.

  Russia's protective intervention would then
 be denounced by Washington as "invasion
 and annexation."  Washington would use
this propaganda, which would blare from the
 Western media, to pressure Europe to support
Washington's sanctions against Russia. The
 sanctions would then effectively destroy the
existing economic relationships between
 Russia and Europe.

Washington hasn't had success in imposing
 sanctions, because, although Washington's
 European vassals, such as Merkel, are willing,
 business interests in Germany, France, and
 Italy stand opposed.

 Washington is hoping that by forcing Russia
 to act, Washington can sufficiently demonize
Russia and silence the European business
 interests  with propaganda.

To counter Washington's ploy, Putin had Russia's
 Duma rescind his authority to send Russian forces
 into Ukraine.  Unlike US' presidents Clinton, Bush,
 and Obama, Putin does not claim the authority to
use military forces without permission from the
 legislature.

Washington's response to Putin's stand down is
 to increase the slaughter of civilians, all the while
 denying that any such slaughter is occurring.

  Washington is determined not to acknowledge
 the existence of the slaughter for which it is
 responsible, although everyone knows that
 Kiev would not dare to take on Russia
 without Washington's backing.

Putin's bet is that European business interests
 will prevail over Washington's European lap dogs.

 This is a hopeful and optimistic bet, but Washington
 is already at work to threaten and undermine the
 resistance of European business interests. Using
 concocted charges, Washington has stolen $9
billion
from France's biggest bank --- for doing
business with
countries disapproved of by
Washington.


 This was Washington's warning to European
 business to comply with Washington's sanctions.
Washington even told France that the fine
would be rescinded or reduced if France broke
 its contract with Russia to supply 2 helicopter
 carriers.  Other such moves against European
 businesses are in the works. The purpose is
to intimidate European businesses from
 opposing sanctions against Russia.

Washington's arrogance that Washington
can decide with whom a French bank can
do business is astonishing.  It is even more
astonishing that France and the bank would
 accept such arrogance and infringements
of
France's sovereignty.

 France's acceptance of Washington's hegemony
 shows that one risk in Putin's bet is that the bet
 assumes that European business interests can
 prevail over Washington's strategic interests. 

Another risk in Putin's bet is that by standing down
 and tolerating Washington's slaughter of civilians,
 Putin is becoming complicit in Washington's crimes
 against humanity. The longer the slaughter goes on,
 the more complicit Russia's government becomes.

 Moreover, the passage of time allows Kiev to
 increase its forces and NATO to supply these
 forces with more deadly weapons. A Russian
 intervention, which previously would have met
 with easy success, becomes more costly and
more drawn out as Kiev's forces increase.

Washington's puppet in Kiev makes it clear
--- that he is not going to accommodate any
Russian interests or any opposition of the
Ukraine's
provinces, to the radical anti-
Russian policies
of Washington's stooge
government.


 As Washington acknowledges no responsibility
 whatsoever for the situation, how long can Putin
 wait for Merkel or Hollande to break ranks with
 Washington?

Putin's alternative is to come to the defense of the
 Ukrainians who are being attacked. Putin could
 accept the requests of the rebellious provinces
 to rejoin Russia, as he did with Crimea,  declare
  Washington's stooge, Petro Poroshenko, to be a
war criminal and issue a warrant for his arrest,
and send in the Russian military to face down
 the forces sent by Kiev.

Outside the West, this would establish Putin as
 a defender of human rights. Inside the West, it
would make it completely clear to Washington's
 European vassals that the consequence of their
 alignment with Washington is that they will be
drawn into a war with Russia and, likely, also
with China.  Europeans have nothing to gain
 from these wars.

Sooner than later Putin needs to realize that
 his reasonableness is not reciprocated by
 Washington. Washington is taking advantage
 of Putin's reasonableness, and Washington
is pushing Russia harder. 

Putin has done what he can to avoid conflict.
 Now he needs to do the right thing, as he did
 in Georgia and Crimea.

Paul Craig Roberts



Donetsk residents call on Russia


Guilt by insinuation: How
American propaganda works

By Paul Craig Roberts

Why hasn't Washington joined Russian President
 Putin in calling for an objective, non-politicized
 international investigation by experts of the
 case of the Malaysian jetliner? 

The Russian government continues to release facts,
 including satellite photos showing the presence of
 Ukrainian Buk anti-aircraft missiles in locations from
 which the airliner could have been brought down by
 the missile system, and documentation that a
 Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet rapidly approached the
 Malaysian airliner prior to its downing.

The head of the Operations Directorate of Russian
 military headquarters said at a Moscow press
 conference on July 21st, that the presence of the
 Ukrainian military jet is confirmed by the Rostov
 monitoring centre.

The Russian Defense Ministry pointed out that, at
the moment of destruction of MH-17 an American
 satellite was flying over the area. The Russian
 government urges Washington to make available
 the photos and data captured by the satellite.

President Putin has repeatedly stressed that
the investigation of MH-17, requires "a fully
 representative group of experts to be
working at the site under the guidance of
 the International Civil Aviation Organization
 (ICAO)."

  Putin's call for an independent expert examination
 by ICAO does not sound like a person with anything
 to hide.

Turning to Washington Putin stated: "In the
 meantime, no one (not even the "exceptional
 nation") has the right to use this tragedy to
 achieve their narrowly selfish political goals." 

Putin reminded Washington: "We repeatedly
 called upon all conflicting sides to stop the
 bloodshed immediately and to sit down at
 the negotiating table. I can say with
 confidence that if military operations
 were not resumed [by Kiev] on June 28
 in eastern Ukraine, this tragedy would
not have happened."

What is the American response?

Lies and insinuations.

On July 20, the US Secretary of State, John
Kerry confirmed that pro-Russian separatists
were involved in the downing of the Malaysian
airliner and said that itwas "pretty clear" that
 Russia was involved. Here are Kerry's words:

 "It's pretty clear that this is a system that
was transferred from Russia into the hands
 of separatists. We know with confidence,
with confidence, that the Ukrainians did not
 have such a system anywhere near the
vicinity at that point and time, so it obviously
 points a very clear finger at the separatists."

Kerry's statement is just another of the endless
 lies told by US secretaries of state in the 21st
 century.  Who can forget Colin Powell's package
of lies delivered to the UN about Saddam
Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction"
or Kerry's lie repeated endlessly that Assad
"used chemical weapons against his own
people" or the endless lies about "Iranian
 nukes"?

Remember that Kerry on a number of occasions
 stated that the US had proof that Assad crossed
 the "red line" by using chemical weapons.

 However, Kerry was never able to back up
 his statements with evidence.  The US had
 no evidence to give the British prime minister
whose effort to have Parliament approve
Britain's participation with Washington in a
 military attack on Syria was voted down.
 Parliament told the prime minister, "no
evidence, no war."

Again here is Kerry declaring "confidence"
 in statements that are directly contradicted
 by the Russian satellite photos and endless
 eye witnesses on the ground. 

Why doesn't Washington release its photos
 from its satellite?

The answer is for the same reason that Washington
 will not release all the videos it confiscated and
 that it claims prove that a hijacked 9/11 airliner
hit the Pentagon.  The videos do not support
 Washington's claim, and the US satellite
photos do not support Kerry's claim.

The UN weapons inspectors on the ground in
Iraq reported that Iraq had no weapons of
mass destruction.  However, the fact did not
 support Washington's propaganda and was
 ignored. Washington started a highly
destructive war, based on nothing but
Washington's intentional lie.

The International Atomic Energy Commission's
 inspectors on the ground in Iran and all 16 US
 intelligence agencies reported that Iran had
no nuclear weapons program. However, the
fact
was inconsistent with Washington's
agenda
and was ignored by both the US
government
and the presstitute media.

We are witnessing the same thing right
now with the assertions, in the absence
 of evidence, that Russia is responsible
 for the downing of the Malaysian airliner.

Not every member of the US government
is as reckless as Kerry and John McCain.
In place of direct lies, many US officials
 use insinuations.

US Senator Diane Feinstein is the perfect
 example.  Interviewed on the presstitute
 TV station CNN, Feinstein said: "The issue
 is where is Putin?  I would say, 'Putin, you
 have to man up. You should talk to the
 world. You should say, if this is a mistake,
 which I hope it was, say it.'"

Putin has been talking to the world nonstop,
 calling for an expert non-politicized
investigation,
and Feinstein is asking Putin
why he is hiding
behind silence.  We know
you did it, Feinstein
insinuates, so just tell
us whether you meant
to, or whether it
was an accident.


The way the entire Western news cycle was
 orchestrated with blame instantly being placed
 on Russia long in advance of real information
 suggests that the downing of the airliner was
 a Washington operation.  It is, of course,
 possible that the well-trained presstitute media
 needed no orchestration from Washington in
 order to lay the blame on Russia.  On the other
 hand, some of the news performances seem too
 scripted not to have been prepared in advance. 

We also have the advanced preparation of the
 youtube video that purports to show a Russian
 general and Ukrainian separatists discussing
 having mistakenly downed a civilian airliner.

 As I pointed out earlier, this video is twice damned.
  It was ready in advance and, by implicating the
 Russian military, it overlooked that the Russian
 military can tell the difference between a civilian
 airliner and a military airplane. The existence of
 the video itself implies that there was a plot to
 down the airliner and blame Russia.

I have seen reports that the Russian anti-aircraft
 missile system, as a safety device, is capable
 of contacting aircraft transponders in order to
 verify the type of aircraft.  If the reports are
correct and if the transponders from MH-17
 are found, they might record the contact.

I have seen reports that Ukrainian air control
 changed the route of MH-17 and directed it to
 fly over the conflict area.  The transponders
 should also indicate whetherthis is correct.

  If so, there clearly is at least circumstantial
 evidence that this was anintentional act on
 the part of Kiev, an act which would have
 required Washington's blessing.

There are other reports that there is a divergence
 between the Ukrainian military and the unofficial
 militias formed by the right-wing Ukrainian
 extremists who apparently were the first to attack
 the separatists.  It is possible that Washington
 used the extremists to plot the airliner's destruction
 in order to blame Russia and use the accusations
 to pressure the EU to go along with Washington's
 unilateral sanctions against Russia. We do know
that Washington is desperate to break up the
 growing economic and political ties between
 Russia and Europe. 

If it was a plot to down an airliner, any safety device
 on the missile system could have been turned off,
so as to give no warning, or leave any telltale sign.
  That could be the reason a Ukrainian fighter was
 sent to inspect the airliner.  Possibly the real
 target was Putin's airliner and incompetence in
 implementing the plot resulted in the destruction
of a civilian airliner.

As there are a number of possible explanations,
let's keep open minds and resist Washington's
 propaganda until facts and evidence are in.

 At the very least, Washington is guilty of using
 the incident to blame Russia in advance of the
 evidence. All Washington has shown us so far
 is accusations and insinuations.  If that is all
 Washington continues to show us, we will
know where the blame resides.

In the meantime, remember the story of the boy
 who cried "wolf!"  He lied so many times that
 when the wolf did come, no one believed him.
 Will this be Washington's ultimate fate?

Instead of declaring war on Iraq, Afghanistan,
 Libya, Somalia, and Syria, why did Washington
 hide behind lies?  If Washington wants war with
 Iran, Russia, and China, why not simply declare
 war? 

The reason that the US Constitution requires war
 to begin with a declaration of war by Congress is
 to prevent the executive branch from orchestrating
 wars, in order to further hidden agendas.

 By abdicating its constitutional responsibility, the
 US Congress is complicit in the executive branch's
 war crimes.  By approving Israel's premeditated
 murder of Palestinians, the US government is
 complicit in Israel's war crimes.

Ask yourself this question: Would the world be
 a safer place, with less death, destruction and
 displaced peoples, and more truth and justice,
 if the United States and Israel did not exist? 

Paul Craig Roberts



__________________________________________




Does Russia have a future?
By Paul Craig Roberts

The Russian government has finally realized that
 it has no Western “partners,” and is complaining
 bitterly about the propagandistic lies and
 disinformation issued without any evidence
 whatsoever against the Russian government
 by Washington, its European vassals, and
press-titute media.

Perhaps the Russian government thought
that only Iraq, Libya, Syria, China, and Edward
 Snowden would be subjected to Washington’s
lies and demonization.

It was obvious enough that Russia would be next.

The Russian government and Europe need to look
 beyond Washington’s propaganda, because the
 reality is much worse.

NATO commander General Breedlove and Senate
 bill 2277 clearly indicate that Washington is
 organizing itself and Europe for war on Russia.

Europe is reluctant to agree with Washington to
 put Ukraine in NATO. Europeans understand that
 if Washington or its stooges in Kiev cause a war
with Russia, Europe will be the first casualty.

Washington finds its vassals’ noncompliance
 tiresome. Remember Assistant Secretary of
State Victoria Nuland’s “fuck the EU.” And
 that is just what Washington is about to do.

The US Senate’s Russian Aggression Prevention
 Act, about which I reported in my previous column,
does even more mischief than I reported. If the bill
 passes, which it likely will, Washington becomes
empowered to bypass NATO and to grant the status
 of “allied nation” to Ukraine independently of NATO
 membership. By so doing, Washington can send
 troops to Ukraine and thereby commit NATO to a
war with Russia.

Notice how quickly Washington escalated the
 orchestrated Ukrainian “crisis”  -  without any
 evidence - into “Russian aggression.” Overnight
 we have the NATO commander and US senators
 taking actions against “Russian aggression”, of
which no one has seen any evidence.

With Iraq, Libya, and Syria, Washington learned
 that Washington could act on the basis of bald-
faced lies. No one, not Great Britain, not France,
not Germany, not Italy, not the Netherlands, not
 Canada, not Australia, not Mexico, not New
Zealand, not Israel, nor Japan, nor S. Korea,
nor Taiwan, nor (substitute your selection)
stepped forward to hold the US accountable
 for its blatant lies and war crimes.

The UN even accepted the package of blatant
and obviously transparent lies that Colin Powell
 delivered to the UN. Everything Powell said had
 already been refuted by the UN’s own weapons
 inspectors. Yet the UN pussies gave the go-ahead
 for a devastating war.

The only conclusion is that all the whores were
paid off. Whores can always count on Washington
 paying them off. For money, the whores are selling
 out civilization to Washington’s war, which likely
will be nuclear and terminate life on earth. The
 whores’ money will incinerate with them.

It is hardly surprising that Washington now targets
 Russia. The world has given Washington carte
 blanche to do as it pleases. We have now had three
 administrations of US war criminals welcomed and
 honored wherever the war criminals go. The other
governments in the world continue to desire
 invitations to the White House as indications of
their worth. To be received by war criminals has
 become the highest honor.

Even the president of China comes to Washington
 to receive acceptance by the Evil Empire.

The world did not notice Washington’s war crimes
 against Serbia and didn’t puke when Washington
 then put the Serbian president, who had tried to
 prevent his country from being torn apart by
 Washington, on trial as a war criminal.

The world has made no effort to hold Washington
 responsible for its destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan,
 Libya, and now Syria and Gaza. The world has not
 demanded that Washington stop murdering people
 in Pakistan and Yemen, countries with which
 Washington is not at war. The world looks the other
 way as Washington creates the US Africa Command.
The world looks the other way as Washington sends
 deadly weapons to Israel, with which to murder
 women and children in the Gaza Ghetto. Washington
 passes Senate and House Resolutions cheering on
 the Israeli murder of Palestinians.

Washington is accustomed to its free pass,
granted by the world, to murder and to lie,
and now is using it against Russia.

Russian President Putin’s bet that by responding
 to Washington’s aggression in Ukraine in an
 unprovocative and reasonable manner, would
 demonstrate to Europe that Russia was not the
 source of the problem --- has not paid off.

European countries are captive nations. They
are incapable of thinking and acting for themselves.
 They bend to Washington’s will. Essentially, Europe
 is a nonentity that follows Washington’s orders.

If the Russian government hopes to prevent war
with Washington, which is likely to be the final
war for life on earth, the Russian government
needs to act now and end the problem in Ukraine
 by accepting the separatist provinces’ request to
 be reunited with Russia. Once S.2277 passes,
 Russia cannot retrieve the situation without
 confronting militarily the US, because Ukraine
will have been declared an American ally.

Putin’s bet was reasonable and responsible,
 but Europe has failed him. If Putin does not
use Russian power to bring an end to the p
roblem with which Washington has presented
him in Ukraine while he still can, Washington’s
 next step will be to unleash its hundreds of
NGOs inside Russia to denounce Putin as a
traitor for abandoning the Russian populations
 in the former Russian provinces that Soviet
 leaders thoughtlessly attached to Ukraine.

The problem with being a leader is that you
inherit festering problems left by previous
 leaders. Putin has the problems bequeathed
by Yeltsin. Yeltsin was a disaster for Russia.
 Yeltsin was Washington’s puppet. It is not
certain that Russia will survive Yeltsin’s
mistakes.

If Washington has its way, Russia will survive
 only as an American puppet state.

In a previous column I described the article in
 Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Washington foreign
 policy community, that makes a case that the US
 has such strategic advantage over Russia at this
 time that a “window of opportunity” exists for the
US to remove Russia as a restraint on US hegemony
--- with a preemptive nuclear attack.

It is almost certain that Obama is being told that
 President John F. Kennedy had this window of
 opportunity and did not use it, and that Obama
must not let the opportunity pass a second time.

As Steven Starr explained in a guest column,
there are no winners of nuclear war. Even if the
 US escapes retaliatory strikes, everyone will
die, regardless.

The view in Washington of the neoconservatives,
who control the Obama regime, is that nuclear
war is winnable. No expert opinion supports
 their assumption, but the neocons, not the
experts, are in power.

The American people are out to lunch. They have
 no comprehension of their likely fate. Americans
 are an uninformed people distracted by their
 mounting personal and financial problems.
 If Europeans are aware, they have decided to
live for the moment, on Washington’s money.

What life is faced with is a drive for hegemony
on the part of Washington and ignorant
unconcern on the part of the rest of the world.

Americans, worked into a lather about Washington’s
 unfunded liabilities and the viability of their future
 Social Security pension, won’t be alive to collect it.


______________________________________________



World doomed by Western insouciance
By Paul Craig Roberts

European governments and the Western media
 have put the world at risk by enabling the US’s
 propaganda and aggression against Russia.

Washington has succeeded in using transparent
 lies to demonize Russia as a dangerous aggressive
 country led by a new Hitler or a new Stalin, just as
 Washington sought to vilify Assad in Syria, Chavez
in Venezuela, and, of course, Iran.

The real demons – Clinton, Bush, Obama – are “the
 exceptional and indispensable people” above the
 reach of demonization. Their horrific real crimes
go unnoticed, while fictitious crimes are attributed
 to other people and countries.

The reason that Washington demonizes a leader and
 a country is to permit the creation of circumstances
 that Washington can use to act with force against
 a leader and a country.

Washington’s incessant lies alleging “Russian
 aggression” have created Russian aggression out
 of thin air. John Kerry and the State Department’s
 Marie Harf issue new lies daily, but never any
 supporting evidence. With the stage set, the US
 Senate, the NATO commander and the Chairman
 of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff are busy at work
 energizing the wheels of war.

Senate bill 2277 provides for beefing up forces on
 Russia’s borders and for elevating Ukraine’s status
 to “ally of the US” so that US troops can assist the
 war against “terrorists” in Ukraine.  

NATO commander Breedlove is preparing his plans
 for stockpiling war material on Russia’s borders so
 that US/NATO troops can more quickly strike Russia.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General
Martin Dempsey, is at work preparing American
 opinion for the upcoming war.

On July 24, Dempsey told Aspen Security Forum,
 a high level group where US opinion is formed,
that
Putin’s aggression in Ukraine is comparable
to
Stalin’s invasion of Poland in 1939 and that
the
Russian threat was not limited to Ukraine
or
Eastern Europe, but was global.

The intellects in the Aspen Forum did not break
 out laughing, when Dempsey told them that
Russia’s (alleged but unproven) involvement in
 Ukraine was the first time since 1939 that a
country made a conscious decision to use its
military force inside another sovereign nation
 to achieve its objectives.

 No one asked Dempsey what Washington has
been doing during the last three presidential
 regimes: Clinton in Serbia, Bush and Obama in
 Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan and
Yemen,
Obama in Libya and Syria.


Here are Dempsey’s words: “You’ve got a Russian
 government that has made a conscious decision to
 use its military force inside another sovereign nation
 to achieve its objectives. It’s the first time since
 1939 or so that that’s been the case. They clearly
 are on a path to assert themselves differently not
 just in Eastern Europe, but Europe in the main,
and towards the United States.”

Washington’s view that the world is its oyster is
so
ingrained that neither Dempsey nor his upper
 echelon audience at the Aspen Forum noticed the
 absurdity of his statement. Washington and the
 brainwashed US population take if for granted that
 the “exceptional, indispensable nation” isn't limited
 in its actions by the sovereignty of other countries.

Washington takes for granted that US law prevails
 in other countries over the countries’ own laws –
just ask France or Switzerland, that Washington
 can tell foreign financial institutions and
 corporations with whom they can do business
and with whom they cannot – just ask every
country and company prevented from doing
business with Iran, that Washington can invade
 any country whose leader Washington can
demonize & overthrow – just ask Iraq, Honduras,
 Libya, Serbia, and so forth, and that Washington
 can conduct military operations against peoples
 in foreign countries, such as Pakistan and Yemen,
 with which Washington is not at war.

All of this is possible, because Washington has
 claimed the title from Israel of being “God’s Chosen
 People.” Of course, Israel’s loss of the title has not
 stopped Israel from acting in the same way.

Washington has put in motion the wheels of war.
Once the wheels of war begin to turn, momentum
 carries them forward. The foolish, indeed utterly
 stupid, governments and media in Europe seem
 unaware of Washington’s orchestration of their
 future or lack thereof, or they are indifferent to it.

 They are dooming themselves and all of humanity
 by their insouciance.

Readers who cannot tolerate problems without
 solutions always request solutions. OK, here is
 the solution:

The only possibility of avoiding war is that Putin
take his case to the UN. If Washington can send
 Colin Powell to the UN unarmed with any truth to
 make Washington’s case for war against Iraq,
Putin should be able to take his case to the UN
 against Washington’s war against Russia.

The case that the emperor has no clothes is
 an easy one to make.

Unlike Washington, Putin is willing to share the
 evidence that Russia has about who is doing
what in Ukraine. It is a simple matter to establish
 that Washington organized a coup that overthrew
 an elected government, supports violence against
 those who object to the coup, and has turned a
deaf ear to Russia’s repeated pleas for Kiev and
 the separatists to negotiate their differences.

Putin should make it clear to the world that
 Washington continues with provocative military
 steps against Russia, with force buildups on
Russia’s borders and calls for more buildups,
with S.2277 which reads like a US preparation
 for war, with provocative actions & accusations
by top US generals and government officials
 against Russia, and with efforts to isolate Russia
 and to inflict economic and political injury
 on Russia.

Putin should make it clear to the world that there
 is a limit to provocations that Russia can accept
and that Russia believes that Russia is
in danger
of a preemptive nuclear attack by
Washington.


 Putin can describe Washington’s withdrawal from
 the ABM treaty, the construction of ABM bases on
 Russia’s borders, and the announced change in
 Washington’s war doctrine that elevates US nuclear
 forces from a retaliatory role to a preemptive first
 strike role. These actions are clearly directed at
 Russia (and China–wake up China! You are next!).

Putin must state clearly that the likely consequence
 of the world continuing to enable Washington’s lies
 & aggression will be not merely another disastrous
 war, but the termination of life.

The governments of the world, especially
 Washington’s vassals in Europe, Canada,
Australia, and Japan, need to be told that it
is
their responsibility to stop their enabling
of
Washington’s aggression or to accept
their
responsibility for World War III.


At least we could all have the enjoyment of
watching the arrogant Samantha Powers and
 the craven British lapdog rise and walk out of
 the UN proceedings. There is no doubt what-
soever that Washington is unable to answer
 the charges.

Here again is the Wolfowitz Doctrine that controls
US foreign policy and that condemns Planet Earth
 to death:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence
of a new rival, either on the territory of the former
 Soviet Union or elsewhere, that posses a threat on
 the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union.

 “This is a dominant consideration underlying the
new regional defense strategy and requires that
 we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from
 dominating a region whose resources would,
 under consolidated control, be sufficient to
 generate global power.”

A hostile power is defined as any country that
 is not a Washington vassal.

The Wolfowitz Doctrine commits the United States,
 its peoples, Washington’s gullible EU allies and
 those peoples, to war with Russia and China.

The destruction of the world is what the idiot EU
 governments and the presstitute Western media
 are fostering by their enablement of Washington’s
 lies and aggression.


___________________________________



WHY RUSSIA REFUSES WAR


Two thirds of Russians say in the latest
poll that they are against sending troops
to Ukraine, despite the latest US' moves.



WHY EU LEADERS ARE FOLLOWING
US SANCTIONS TO HURT RUSSIA


 The European Union is expanding anti-Russian
 sanctions against its own interests under tough
 pressure from the US in favour of the American
 military-industrial complex, say experts.

“This week, the EU is to expand and toughen
anti-Russian measures. This is obviously an
 operation staged by Washington that is using
 the Malaysian airliner downed in Ukraine with
 most of its passengers being Europeans, as
an excuse to defeat Russia,” says the director
 of the strategic analysis & developments dept,
 at the sanctioned Vnesheconombank, Vladimir
 Andrianov.

“The unprecedented propaganda campaign
 on Russia has turned the Old World's public
against Russia, to such an extent that its
politicians are afraid of looking indecisive
and losing voters' support, to blindly take
 their cue from the US”

“The EU has no chance to withstand US pressure
 over anti-Russian measures,” the expert explains:
 “Washington overtly interferes with Russian-EU gas
 supply talks & blackmails France over its contract
 on helicopter carrier Mistral supplies to Russia.

“The US is flagrantly pursuing its own policy in
Europe
and is appointing its own people to
key posts in the EU.”


“EU countries have a deficit of strong leaders
 now, and European governments are weak.
Meanwhile,
the EU's bureaucratic machine is
proving to be incompetent
on issues of global
politics and economics and
totally dependent
on the US will,” Andrianov says.


 “The fact that even German Chancellor Angela
 Merkel suddenly switched tactics after several
 months of a moderate approach shows the EU
 leaders’ dependence on the US.

 “Washington keeps files on all prominent politicians.
 It certainly has blackmail evidence against Merkel.
 It’s no coincidence that her cellphone was bugged
by US special services. For this reason, the German
 chancellor yielded to pressure from Washington.”

“All US foreign policy starting from Vietnam, has
been tailored to its military's needs. Amid global
 competition, the US - as the world’s gendarme -
 cannot bear the thought that Russia remains the
only major geopolitical opponent which it can't
control,” the expert says.

Washington aims to arm the Ukrainian army with
 modern weapons and equipment, and pull Russia
 into a confrontation with Ukraine,  Mr Andrianov
believes.

“For this purpose, the US Congress plans to
 recognise Ukraine as a major non-NATO ally
 and provide it with direct military aid.

 “The S.2277 - Russian Aggression Prevention Act
 of 2014 - has passed two readings in the US.
These moves are clearly designed to serve the
 interests of the US military-industrial complex
 in order to kindle the fire in Europe and line US
 pockets on weapon supplies to the crisis zone,”
Andrianov says.

“The scenario of pulling Russia into armed conflict
 with Ukraine is so dangerous that it's unacceptable,”
the dean of the Higher School of Economics Faculty
 for World Economy and International Affairs, Sergey
 Karaganov says.

 “But the EU sanctions already announced, and
those on the table, mean that the large-scale
US's anti-Russian campaign, caused by the
Boeing's downing in Ukraine, is bearing fruit.”

“US pressure for the EU to adopt anti-Russian
 sanctions aims at splitting Europe, weakening
 Germany and inflicting as much grave damage
 as possible on Russia, to deprive the country
of its power in the world,” the expert says.

“Europe is blindly obeying the US by imposing
 anti-Russian sanctions, because EU welfare
directly relies on the US in financial terms,
the
Deputy Director of Russia's Academy of
Sciences
Institute for the USA and Canadian
Studies, Major
General Pavel Zolotarev says.

“In terms of its security policy, the EU is peace-
ful under the US umbrella. Washington bears the
 lion’s share of NATO spending, enabling the EU
 countries to reduce defense spending to 2% of
their gross domestic product.”

“EU countries lay out 6-7 times more for education
 and healthcare than defense,” the analyst adds.

 “Russia cannot afford such a budget distribution,
 while EU countries can, thanks to the US. Hence
 their obedience to Washington.”





The graphic video above shows
fascism in the centre of Europe.

Our media says the US-backed
coup in Ukraine, is a people's
revolution: we say it's fascism.

______________________________


LATEST NEWS ON WEDNESDAY

*** STOP PRESS ***

NATO’s group in Black Sea to grow
 to four ships — Russian Naval Staff

Two more NATO warships will enter the Black
Sea within several hours, a source at Russia’s
Chief of the Naval Staff tells TASS.

"At the moment two NATO ships are in the Black
Sea already -- the USS Vicksburg (a Ticonderoga
 class guided missile cruiser), Turkey’s frigate,
 the Turgut Reis. Within hours, the Italian frigate
 Aliseo and Canada’s frigate, the Fregerickton,
 will join in. At the moment they are passing
 through the Black Sea straits.


_______________________



Cuba Calls for Concrete Acts
             on Nuclear Disarmament               
 
 Cuba's Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, stresses
at Geneva, the need to take concrete actions to
achieve "the world free of nuclear weapons we
wish for."

A new world order based on peace, human solidarity
 and social justice is essential, he says at the Geneva
Conference on Disarmament.

The millions of dollars expended on weapons should
 be destined to promote peace, economic and social
 development and a dignified life for all human beings,
 underlines Rodriguez.

That's why nuclear disarmament can be an objective
which is continuously postponed. We condemn the
 use of nuclear weapons in political doctrines and
 security strategies -- or the threat of its use. We
 also demand respect for the inalienable right to
 the peaceful use of nuclear energy, he adds.

He urges the Geneva Conference to adopt a
work program, wide-reaching and balanced,
 that takes into account the real priorities in
 disarmament issues. It is important that this
 forum doesn't give in to the lack of political
 will of a few countries, he indicates.

If it accomplishes its mandate, he says, it could
 make a meaningful contribution to breaking the
status quo and quitting the present paralysis of
the
disarmament machinery, which only
benefits
the powerful.

The Minister notes the Conference is prepared
 to negotiate several issues simultaneously,
 including a treaty that eliminates and bans
 nuclear weapons and another banning the
 arms race in extra-terrestrial space.

It has the important responsibility of acting to
 the legitimate expectations of the international
 community and contributing in a decisive way
to peace and international security, as well as
 the survival of the human species, threatened
 by gigantic nuclear arsenals & climate change.

He also refers to the importance of agreements
 that guarantee effective security to States that,
 like Cuba, have no nuclear weapons, and favors
 a treaty which bans the production of fissionable
 material for manufacturing nuclear weapons or
other explosive devices, and includes arsenals.

It should be a commitment of all the members of
the Conference, to contribute to the success of
the International High Level Conference of the
 United Nations on Nuclear Disarmament -- to
 be held at the latest, in 2018, he stresses.

He recalls the 2nd Summit of the Community
of Latin American & Caribbean States (Celac),
 held in Havana in January, 2014, when the
 region of Latin America and the Caribbean
was formally proclaimed as a Peace Zone.

Such a declaration firmly establishes the
 commitment of Celac members to promote
 nuclear disarmament as a priority
objective, he concludes.



_____________________________



              NATO To Carry Out Drills Near Russia               
 
 NATO announces 'crisis management drills'
 for 'maritime security', says a press release.

It plans to play these war games from the 4th
to the 10th of this month from the capitals of
 its 28 member countries and its Brussels HQ.

Other countries taking part in the manouvres:
 Australia, Finland, Japan, Sweden, South
Korea and Ukraine.

Local media point out that last year, NATO
 carried out 300 drills near Russia's border.

Russia considers all NATO military drills
near its border, as a danger to its
national security.


____________________________


 
Kiev Refusing To Form Working Groups
-- As Contact Group framework Requires

Ukraine's authorities have refused to create
 working groups within the framework of the
Contact Group, Foreign Minister Sergey
Lavrov says Wednesday. They're dragging
out the process, Lavrov adds.

"On February 24, in Paris, the Contact Group was
 urged to create working groups for reviewing all
 aspects of the Minsk agreements from February
 12th, including on the political process,
as soon
as possible," Lavrov says.

"Now, unfortunately, the Ukrainian authorities
 refuse the proposals of Donetsk and Luhansk,
of the Russian side, to create such groups and
 announce their composition, trying to drag out
the process. It is troubling," the minister adds.

"There should be no doubt that the documents
 from February 12 must be implemented fully,"
 Lavrov stresses. "This includes immediately
 establishing working groups, starting work
on
constitutional reform, restoring social and
 economic ties and so on," the minister says.

On Tuesday, the Donetsk People’s Republic
 envoy to the Contact Group, Denis Pushilin,
 said the Ukrainian side refuses to appoint
 representatives to working groups within
 the framework of the Contact Group on the
settlement of the situation in east Ukraine.

"The Ukrainian side refuses, for reasons
unknown to me, to appoint representatives
 to these departments," Pushilin noted then.

The next videoconference of the Contact
Group will take place "in the next few
days," he added.

Pushilin earlier said that DPR and the Luhansk
 People’s Republic (LPR) have already appointed
 their representatives to specialized departments.
 They have already started working on several
 issues, he added.

Kiev has vowed to complete heavy weaponry
 withdrawal from the disengagement line in
Donbas, by March 7th, Pushilin told TASS
 on Tuesday.

Pushilin is "moderately optimistic"
 after the last Contact Group video-
conference on Ukraine. "We managed to
agree on several issues. The main result
 was that the Ukrainian side confirmed its
plans to withdraw weapons by March 7th.
 They vowed to complete by this date,"
Pushilin said.

"This is very important for us, as we have
 completed the withdrawal ahead of
schedule," he noted.

Prisoner swaps will be discussed at the
 next Contact Group meeting, urgently,
he added.


LPR envoy Vladislav Deinego earlier said
 that the next Contact Group on Ukraine,
at the beginning of March, is to assess
the implementation of the package
of
measures adopted on February 12th,
2015,
in Minsk.

"Mainly, [the Contact Group] will discuss
 the agreements on weaponry withdrawal
 and the ceasefire," Deinego said.

The DPR and LPR have completed their
heavy weaponry withdrawal in accordance
 with the Minsk agreements, by March 1st.

 The Ukrainian forces announced they had
started their withdrawal on February 26th.


______________________________



US troops to hold joint drills with
Ukraine’s army in mid-2015

US troops are to hold joint exercises with Ukraine’s
 military personnel between March 5 & October 31
--- at the International peacekeeping and security
 centre (IPSC) in Yavorov, in western Ukraine’s Lviv
 region --- a tender on the US government website
says.

The contractor "shall provide all equipment, vehicles,
 and personnel" necessary for ground transportation
 in accordance with the ordering clause, the tender
says. In particular, seven 50-passenger buses are to
 be provided to ferry the military personnel from the
 Lviv international airport to the centre.

In August 2014, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby
 said the US intended to allocate $19 million to train
 and equip Ukraine’s National Guard forces, which
 include members of the ultra-right 'Right Sector'.

Last year, the US Congress prepared the Ukraine
Freedom Support Act aimed at imposing sanctions
 against Russia and supplying weapons to Kiev.

In mid-December, US President Barack Obama
signed this document, but mentioned that the
 US administration would not take advantage
- yet - of the new legislation.

New tanks for Kiev coup forces:

Ukraine’s state company Ukroboronprom has
handed over to Ukraine’s National Guard and
 Defense Ministry a new batch of T-64B (B1)
 main battle tanks, the National Guard’s
 press-service says.

According to the report, "the vehicles are
 prepared for missions in the zone of the
 military operation."

The vehicles are said to have undergone routine
 maintenance and overhaul at a plant in Kharkiv,
 which is an affiliate of Ukroboronprom. The hulls
 and turrets have been equipped with dynamic
 protection, which makes the combat vehicles
secure against anti-tank weapons.

The facility was -- before the US-backed coup
-- involved in joint production with Russia.



_________________________________



US sanctions extension may derail Ukraine
conflict settlement — Russian Foreign Ministry

US President Barack Obama’s administration has
 again issued threats announcing the extension of
 the old sanctions and the possibility of introducing
 new ones, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson
 Alexander Lukashevich, says on Wednesday.

"We have noticed a remarkable fact - as soon as
signs of a peaceful settlement of the severe
 Ukrainian crisis appear, Washington, that had
a hand in last year’s coup in Kiev, starts to
exacerbate the situation," he comments.

"So this time, when the ceasefire regime agreed
 upon in Minsk on February 12th with assistance
 from Russian President Vladimir Putin, is being
 implemented, Barack Obama's administration
 is again issuing threats, announcing extensions
 of previously imposed sanctions and promising
 new ones: both against our country and against
 the DPR and LPR."

"What is this if not an attempt to destroy the
 tenuous budding of trust between them and
tUkraine's authorities, to undermine or even
 derail the peace process?" Lukashevich says.

"The same applies to promises of massive
 American weapons supplies to Ukraine,
 indulging the revanchist plans of Kiev’s
 "party of war."

"We would really appreciate it if the US
 would finally start thinking about the
 consequences of its decisions and
 actions. Moreover, no sanctions will
 change Russia’s principal position,"
the diplomat says. "It is high time
 for Washington to realise it."


_________________________


Russia to hold artillery drills
 at testing range in Armenia

Artillery units of Russia's military base in Armenia
 will conduct field exercises at the Alagyaz high-
mountain training complex, the press service of
 the Southern Military District says on Wednesday.

The exercises at an altitude of more than 2,000
metres above sea level will last until the end of
 March. They involve about 400 troops. Half of
the drills will be conducted at night.

"Within a month’s training course the artillerists
 will have tactical, special and technical drills,
as well as modern military vehicle driving
practice, firing operations and weapons fire
 control. The drills involve the Gvozdika self-
propelled howitzers, Grad multiple launch
rocket systems, Podnos mortars and the
Konkurs anti-tank missile systems, as well
 as Navodchik-2 modern reconnaissance
drones systems, the Southern Military
 District sources say.

The artillery drills will end with tactical live
 firing exercises on the imaginary enemy’s
 facilities and personnel targets in mountain
 terrain.


______________________________



From Warsaw Pact to CSTO

The post-Soviet security bloc is to discuss
 setting up a joint air missile defense system.

Over 100 warplanes took part in the former
 Soviet states recent air defense drills.

The post-Soviet security bloc’s special task
 forces have also been out "on drill" in
Kazakhstan.

There is no 'cooling in relations' between
 the post-Soviet security bloc members,
 says the CSTO secretary general.


__________________________________



China to Hold Military Parade
    to Mark Victory over Japan   
           
China is to hold a military parade to mark the 70th
 anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People''s
 War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression,
 according to a communique released by the local
 media today.

The announcement was made by the Foreign
 Ministry's spokesperson, Hua Chunying, who
did not reveal the exact date of the parade.

Apart from the military parade, other events
are to include a rally, a reception and an
evening gala in Beijing, attended by the
President Xi Jinping and other leaders.

Leaders from the major belligerent states
 in World War ll, Asian States, other world
 regions, and international organizations
 such as the United Nations will be invited
 to these events for the 70th anniversary
 of the victory of the Chinese People's
War of Resistance against Japanese
Aggression, Hua says in the statement.

Foreign friends who contributed to the victory
 of China's war of resistance, or their family
members, will also be invited to the events.

The commemoration aims to honour
 all people of good heart who cherish
 peace, and prevent similar tragedies
from ever happening again.


______________________________



Formation of constitutional commission in
Ukraine major breakthrough — Belarus leader


Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has signed
 a decree setting up a constitutional commission
 for developing amendments to the country’s
fundamental law.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko
 welcomes, on Tuesday, the setting up of a
 constitutional commission in Ukraine, saying
 this means that the decisions of the Minsk
 summit are being implemented.

At talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin,
the host of the Normandy Four meeting on Feb
 11-12 says "Many were sarcastic, were joking,
but we were sure the meeting was needed and
that the presidents' decisions would be

implemented --- all of them".

Citing media reports saying Ukrainian President
Petro Poroshenko has signed a decree to set up
 a constitutional commission, Lukashenko says
 "Work on the Constitution begins, and all issues
 can be solved within that process's framework."

"This is a great breakthrough," the Belarusian
 leader says.

The Belarusian capital of Minsk hosted 16-hour
marathon summit negotiations which ended in
 a package of agreements, which in particular
envisaged a ceasefire between the Ukrainian
 conflicting sides starting from midnight on
February 15, a withdrawal of all heavy weapons
 by both sides, a dialogue on the political future
 of parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as
 well as a constitutional reform in Ukraine with
the adoption of a new constitution by the end
 of 2015: decentralization being a key element.


__________________________



Iran rejects Obama’s 10-year nuclear demand

Tehran on Tuesday rejects as “unacceptable”
US President Barack Obama’s demand that it
 freeze sensitive nuclear activities for at least
 10 years, Reuters reports.

 “Iran won't accept excessive & illogical
 demands,” Iranian Foreign Minister
Mohammad Javad Zarif, is quoted as
saying, by Fars news agency.

 Nevertheless, negotiations underway in
Switzerland now will carry on, he adds.


__________________________


Obama to discuss global security,
Ukraine with European leaders

US President Barack Obama will hold talks on
Tuesday with European leaders to discuss the
 Ukraine crisis and global security issues,
 Reuters reports.

The leaders of the US, UK, France, Germany
and Italy, as well as the head of the European
 Commission, will hold a video conference at
 11:30EST (14:30 GMT), the White House says.


_________________________________



Merkel invites leaders of ‘Normandy Four’
 to Berlin over Ukrainian peace process

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has invited
 the leaders of the ‘Normandy Four’ to Berlin in
 March, to discuss Ukraine, Bloomberg reports.

 The phone talks took place between Merkel,
 and the presidents of France, Ukraine and
 Russia, Francois Hollande, Petro Poroshenko
 and Vladimir Putin, respectively.

 The leaders noted the progress in resolving
 the crisis in Ukraine. Their meeting is set to
 take place on March 6th.


__________________________


Ukraine’s Frontlines Calm Ahead of Gas Talks

Ukraine's frontlines are relatively calm ahead
of high-level EU-mediated gas talks between
 Kiev and Moscow, as journalists mourn the
killing by mortar fire of another photographer.

Kiev's security officials say there was no fire after
 midnight, on Ukraine's positions, and no Ukrainian
 soldiers have been killed over the past 24 hours.

Security spokesperson Andriy Lysenko however
said that 8 soldiers were injured, after "rebels"
shot at Kiev's positions late Saturday, including
from a tank and a grenade launcher.

Relative quiet in eastern Ukraine has set in,
 following a shaky European-brokered peace
plan to end the fighting.

At the UN Security Council Friday, the OSCE's
 envoy to Ukraine, Heidi Tagliavini, said the
 current situation was now at a "crossroads"..
 where the risk of further escalation remains
 high, despite "encouraging signs."

In Kiev, colleagues mourned the death of photo-
journalist Sergiy Nikolayev from Ukraine's daily
 Segodnya, who died after being hit by a mortar
shell in Pisky, a village not far from Donetsk
airport, which Ukraine's forces ceded to the
 rebels in January.

Nikolayev, 43, succumbed to his injuries along
 with a fighter from ultra-nationalist organization
 Right Sector, late on Saturday.

Having covered conflicts in Somali, Lybia and
 Georgia, "he died as a true war photographer -
at a war," Segodnya editor Olga Guk wrote on
 Sunday, calling him a "fearless professional."

The OSCE's media freedom representative,
Dunja Mujatovic, said that his death was
a "gruesome reminder" of the dire safety
 conditions for journalists covering the
 Ukraine conflict.

 Seven media workers have been killed there
 since last April, according to the Committee
 to Protect Journalists.

With a relative hiatus in fighting on the ground,
 a gas dispute flared up recently, after Russia's
 Gazprom began direct deliveries to the anti-
coup areas in eastern Ukraine --- and then
demanded that Kiev pay for it.

Ukraine's national gas company Naftogas
stopped pumping gas to anti-coup areas
 last month, saying it couldn't deliver due
to a damaged pipeline, but then adding:
that supplies resumed "a few hours" later.

Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses
 Ukraine of perpetrating what smacks of
 "genocide" by denying energy to 4 million
 people living in a humanitarian crisis.

The Kremlin appeared to soften its rhetoric
 however, after the EU unveiled plans for a
continent-wide single energy market, with
 the goal of diversifying the bloc's energy
sources and decreasing its reliance on
 Russian gas.

Monday's talks between the energy ministers
 of Ukraine and Russia together with European
 Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic,
 will attempt to replace the "winter package"
 interim deal mediated by the EU, which
 guaranteed Russian gas supplies in March.

Moscow argues that supplies to the east by-
passing Kiev, fall within current agreements
 and must be bankrolled by Ukraine, but the
 government says it has no control over the
 volume or usage of such supplies, accusing
Gazprom of violating the deal.

Naftogaz hopes to discuss a future "summer"
 agreement and Moscow said last week that
 it will put the issue of supplies to anti-coup
 areas to one side, at the talks.

In the current agreement Kiev must pre-pay
 for all Russian gas. Russia's energy minister
 Alexander Novak warned last week that the
latest payment by Kiev will last only until
 this Tuesday.


_________________________



Death toll in E. Ukraine passes 6,000
 – UN rights office

Over 6,000 people have died in eastern Ukraine
 since the start of the conflict almost a year ago,
according to the UN human rights office. 100s
of civilians and military personnel were killed in
 recent weeks alone, after an upsurge in fighting,
particularly at Donetsk airport and Debaltsevo,
 AP reports, citing the Geneva-based body.


_________________________________



OSCE in Ukraine: Neither side in conflict
 provides monitors with necessary information

Neither side of the conflict in eastern Ukraine
 provides monitors with all necessary information,
Sputnik quotes Michael Bociurkiw, spokesperson
 of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine
 as saying.

Thus, the Organization for Security & Co-operation
 in Europe’s mission, is unable to fully control the
heavy weaponry withdrawal from the contact line
 in areas of the conflict, according to Bociurkiw.

 In some cases, the monitors were not allowed to
 visit the places of new weaponry dislocation,
Bociurkiw tells Kommersant daily.


______________________________



Iraq govt announces start of
 operation to retake Tikrit

Iraqi security forces, backed by allied Shiite and
 Sunni fighters, on Monday, began a large-scale
 military operation to recapture Tikrit from the
 Islamic State extremist group, state TV says.

 The battle for Saddam Hussein’s hometown is
 a major step in a campaign to reclaim a large
 swathe of territory in northern Iraq controlled
 by the militants, AP reports.

 The city of Tikrit, 130km north of Baghdad,
 fell into the hands of the Islamic State
 group last summer.


___________________________



Lavrov: US Destabilizes
 Strategic Balance in the World

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, accuses
 the United States of destabilizing the strategic
balance in the world.

"Today, there are number of factors that affect the
 strategic balance, including the unilateral actions
of the US and allies, which destructively influence
 it," Lavrov says at a non-proliferation conference
 held in Geneva, adding that "such steps under-
mine the prospects for "nuclear zero."

The Russian FM touches on high-precision weapons,
 indicating that they have reached the level of mass
 weapons, and that the leading countries in this field
 will achieve a noticeable military superiority, which
 runs the risk of causing even more instability.

Lavrov expresses concern over the postponement
 of entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-
Test-Ban Treaty, and calls on all nuclear states to
 approve it, pointing out that Russia did so, in 2000.

On non-strategic nuclear weapons, Sergey Lavrov
 highlights that Russia has reduced its arsenal of
 such weapons by three-quarters, and moved all
the bases to inside its territories, adding that his
 country has taken this unprecedented step at a
 time when similar US arms are still deployed in
 Europe, capable of reaching Russian territory.

The result of the last summit in Wales?

Lavrov points out that now, some non-nuclear
NATO states are participating in joint nuclear
 maneuvers and being trained in the use of
nuclear weapons, as they implement the
NATO decisions of last year's summit in
Wales --- breaching the most basic rules
of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

The Russian diplomat meanwhile, hails the
 findings of the nuclear talks with Iran.



_________________________________



Italy's Lawmakers Call for
 Recognition of Palestinian State

Italian lawmakers back a 'non-binding'
 resolution, encouraging the government
 to recognize Palestine as a state, a move
 that underlines European frustration over
 stalled Middle East peace negotiations.

European countries have become increasingly
 critical of the Zionist entity, which, since the
collapse of the latest US-sponsored talks last
 April has pressed on with building settlements
on territory the Palestinians want for their state.

Italy's Chamber of Deputies voted by 300 to 45
 to pass the motion, introduced by PM Matteo
 Renzi's Democratic Party (PD).

Ireland, the UK & France held similar votes
 in parliament, toward the end of last year.
 Sweden went further, officially recognizing
the state of Palestine.

The Palestinians want an independent state
 in the West Bank and Gaza, with its capital
 in East Jerusalem.

While Gaza's boundaries are clearly defined,
 the precise territory of what would constitute
 Palestine in the West Bank and East Jerusalem
 is to be determined via negotiations with the
 occupation authorities on a two-state solution.


________________________



Israeli Blockade Could Delay Gaza
               Reconstruction --- For One Century               
 
 The reconstruction of Gaza Strip, devastated
 by 50 days of Israeli military aggression, could
be delayed, at the current rate of "progress",
 for 100 years, warn UN agencies today.

The minimum daily number of lorries with
 construction materials needed to build
houses and schools destroyed by Israeli
 bombs between July to August, is 12,000
 per month and since last October, only
1,661 have entered Gaza, says Shelter
Cluster, which is co-chaired by the UN.

Since the 2014-2015
winter started, four
people, three of them recently born, died
 of the cold in Gaza, where over 100,000
buildings were devastated by the Army
 and the Israeli air force.

If the Israeli blockade on Gaza remains the
 same, the situation will not improve. During
 the eight years of the blockade there's been
 a natural growth of the population, but the
 provision of services has remained frozen,
states Oxfam spokesperson in the Gaza
Strip, Arwa Mhanna.

Last year, a donor conference held in Egypt
for Gaza committed up to 5.4 billion dollars
in aid for Gaza reconstruction, but funds are
 difficult, to dropped, and the restrictions of
Israel's government, make the crisis worse.

The situation is further complicated by the
closure of the border crossing between
 Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, due to the
 increased attacks on army positions and
 Egyptian police there, by armed groups.

Egypt's government accuses Hamas, in
control of Gaza, of supporting the groups,
 one of which, Ansar Beit Al Maqdis, swore
 allegiance to the Islamic State, in October.


__________________________________


University of London SOAS
favors academic boycott of Israel

Students and staff at the SOAS school of the
 University of London have approved an academic
 boycott of Israel, in their week-long referendum.

The Friday vote, open to all students, academics,
 and management, ended with 73% voting for and
 27% against the 'Yes' campaign to boycott Israel.

The voters were asked whether they agreed with
 the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS),
 joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
(BDS) campaign to impose an academic boycott
 on Israel, on the basis of the instructions of the
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and
 Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

The BDS is a global campaign which uses
economic and political pressure on Israel
 to comply with the goals of the movement
 -- the end of Israeli occupation and the
colonization of Palestinian land, full
equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of
 Israel, & respect for the right of return
 of Palestinian refugees.

The PACBI says the academic boycott of
 Israel is based on the fact that academic
 institutions there are massively complicit
 in Israel’s persistent denial of Palestinian
 rights, including academic freedom and
 the right to education.

The SOAS Students' Union has endorsed
the BDS campaign since 2005. The union
 ratified a motion in October 2014, urging
 its leaders "to take the BDS campaign to
 the university", through a referendum.

Proposals for the academic boycott of Israel
 are inspired by the historic academic boycott
 of the Apartheid regime of South Africa which
 attempted to pressure the regime to end its
 abuse of the majority black inhabitants.

Suggestions for the boycott of Tel Aviv, have
 also been made by academics & organizations
 in other countries, eg South Africa & Australia.

The goal of the boycotts is to isolate Israel in
order to force a change in its oppressive and
 discriminatory policies towards Palestinians.


_______________________


Turkey to Launch ’Train-and-Equip Program’
 for Syrian Opposition Forces

The train-and-equip program for Syrian
opposition
militants will start on March
1st in Turkey, the
Foreign Ministry says.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson
Tanju Bilgic, adds "I cannot give further
details about the program."

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu
 had previously mentioned that around 2,000
 Syrian gunmen would take part in a train-
and-
equip program in Turkey early in March.

Cavusoglu said "the aim of the program
is to ensure a political transition and
strengthen the opposition in their fight
against threats such as, extremism,
terrorism and all the elements posing
a threat to the opposition, including
the regime (the national Syrian
 government)."

Cavusoglu added that other countries,
 such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are
 also engaged in similar programs.

His remarks hardly justify the illegal
nature of regime change by force...
the very crime the Nazis were hung
for, at Nurenburg. Still -- after Iraq --
perhaps we're all used to it!


On February 19th, Turkey & the US inked
 a deal to train-&-equip Syrian opposition
 terrorists, Turkish diplomatic sources say.

Syria has been hit by violent unrest
since
mid-March 2011.

Where are the western media reports
 accusing the US, Turkey & Saudi Arabia,
of illegally orchestrating civil conflict in
the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian country,
while giving terrorist groups money,
weapons and trained mercenaries..?


______________________________



Offensive Against Boko Haram
              'Very Efective' in Nigeria               
 
 The Nigerian Army has recaptured 10 cities
 from the terrorist group Boko Haram, says
 Mike Omeri the government spokesperson.

The cities are Gabchari, Abba Jabari,
 Gajigana, Gajiram, Damakar, Kumaliwa,
 Bosso, Wanti, and Jeram y Karisungul.

The Armed Forces have also recovered
 19 towns, according to this source.

Nigeria's military says that the offensive
 against Takfiri Boko Haram is progressing,
claiming soldiers have recovered stocks
of arms abandoned by insurgents fleeing
 the recaptured towns.

Over one million people have been left
homeless since 2009, as the rebels have
sought to carve out an Islamic state in
 northeastern Nigeria.

The extremists have recently extended
 their violent campaign into nations neigh-
bouring Nigeria's northeast, as regional
 forces pursue them.

Nigerian military forces have support
 from a multi national force from Chad,
 Níger and Camerún.


__________________________



PAY NOW, UKRAINE !

Ukraine should complete payment for Russian gas
 TODAY (Friday) --- so that March's supplies are not
ended --- the Russian Energy Minister, Alexander
Novak, says this morning.

"The concerns and worries are caused first of all
by the fact that not much prepaid gas is left. If
there is no money, supplies will stop --- starting
 from Tuesday," Novak says, adding that this is
in line with the agreements reached in Brussels.

"Payment should be completed on Friday so that
 gas is supplied starting from Tuesday," he says.

"If there is no payment there will be a break in gas
 supplies to Ukraine. The European consumers will
fully receive gas," Novak says, adding though, that
 since Kiev has not fully provided for its needs if
Ukraine does not receive gas from Russia, there
are risks that it will siphon off Russian gas.


___________________________



Emirates Foreign Ministry refutes Kiev's
claims on plans for weaponry exports

An agreement on cooperation in defense
 technologies the UAE and Ukraine signed
 recently does not stipulate any contracts
 for deliveries of weaponry to the Ukrainian
 side, Faraj Faris al-Mazrouei says on Friday.

He says the agreement was only a future
 system of cooperation between the two
 states in the field of defense technologies.

First deputy chief of Ukraine’s National Security
 and Defense Council on Friday said Kiev had
concluded contracts worth hundreds of millions
 of dollars on
both exports & imports of weapons
 at IDEX-2015 exhibition this week in Abu Dhabi.

The official said that the majority of contracts
had been reached with US companies.

Asked if Ukrainian troops will have new lethal
weapons at their disposal, Gladovsky replies:
"We are in contact with the whole world. We
do get lethal weapons."

Earlier this week, Ukraine's President Petro
 Poroshenko announced concluding contracts
 on arms supplies to Ukraine at the IDEX-2015
arms exhibition in the United Arab Emirates.

 "During the IDEX-2015 arms exhibition, Ukraine
 concluded some 20 contracts on arms supplies,"
 he said. According to the president, European,
 American and Middle Eastern companies will
 supply defensive weapons to Ukraine.


___________________________



‘100yrs to repair Gaza’: Oxfam says
 (blockade remains, aid almost non-existent)

Reconstructing Gaza could take a full century,
 if Israel doesn’t stop the siege, leading charity
 Oxfam warns. And that’s just the time frame for
essential projects. The NGO’s regional director
calls the situation “deplorable.”

Six months after the latest conflict, which saw
Israel roll out Operation Protective Edge, with
 eight weeks of bombardment, followed by a
 devastating ground assault, Oxfam’s states:

 “The situation in Gaza is becoming increasingly
 desperate” and calls for the lifting of the 8-year
 blockade, and a continuation of peace talks...

“Only an end to the blockade of Gaza will ensure
people can rebuild their lives,” Regional Director
Catherine Essoyan says. With the seige stopping
 the flow of construction materials in & agricultural
produce out, this is having a crippling effect on
 the lives of Palestinians.

According to the NGO, new figures reveal a drop
 last month in construction materials, which are
 vital to the efforts. "Less than 0.25 percent of
the loads of essential construction materials
 needed have entered Gaza in the past three
 months," the statement adds.

In pure figures, over 800,000 truckloads of
such materials are still required to repair
 the infrastructure damaged in last summer’s
 operation alone - Israel’s bloodiest in years -
 which claimed 2,200 Palestinian lives, most
 of them civilians.

About 100,000 people still live in shelters and
 other makeshift or temporary accommodation
 because of this lack of materials.

“Tens of thousands more are living in badly
damaged homes,” Oxfam adds.

“Families have been living in homes without roofs,
 walls or windows for the past six months. Many
have just six hours of electricity a day and are
without running water. Every day that people
are unable to build is putting more lives at risk.
It is utterly deplorable that the international
community is once again failing the people of
Gaza when they need it most,” she continues.

“Exports of agricultural produce from Gaza have
 fallen in the last year to just 2.7% of the level
before the blockade was imposed. Fishermen
 are still restricted to an enforced fishing limit
 of 6 nautical miles – far short of where most
fish are – farmers are also restricted from
 accessing much of the most fertile farmland.”

The charity continues to provide water, food
 vouchers and health services, where it can.

In the meantime no progress has been reached
 on a diplomatic, long-term solution to the crisis
--- supposed to take effect after the ceasefire.

As the separation between the Gaza Strip and
 the West Bank persists, people continue to
be trapped. The same goes for the border with
 Egypt, which has been shut for the past two
 months, preventing thousands from leaving.

The organization also places blame on the
 Palestinian unity government, which has
not been able to reach a consensus and
 is therefore “exacerbating the situation.”


_________________________


Chinese diplomat teaches USA about Ukraine:

Western nations should heed Russia's legitimate
 security concerns over the volatile situation in
 Ukraine, a top Chinese diplomat says, in a rare
 public statement on a crisis that has damaged
 relations between Russia and the West.

Qu Xing, China's ambassador to Belgium, says
 the Ukraine crisis occurred due to an ongoing
 “game” between Russia and the West, which
 has not abated despite, or because of, the
collapse of the Soviet Union.

Saying that outside interference by various
powers has inflamed the Ukraine situation,
he says Moscow naturally feels threatened
-- unless the Western powers engage in a
 more constructive approach.

Xing advises the Western powers to “abandon
 the zero-sum mentality” in their efforts to deal
 with Moscow and the Ukraine crisis and “take
 the real security concerns of Russia into
 consideration," Reuters reports, quoting
 state news agency Xinhua.

China in the past has urged all parties
 to sit down and negotiate for peace.

China's ambassador, whose Brussels office
 is in the same city as NATO’s headquarters,
offers some insight as to what is motivating
 the United States on the international stage,
and what could lead to its possible decline.

“The US is unwilling to see its presence in
any
part of the world being weakened, but
the fact
is, its resources are limited, and it
will be --- to
some extent --- hard work to
sustain its
influence in external affairs,”
he is quoted
as saying.

Xing says Washington's involvement in
Ukraine
could “become a distraction
in its foreign policy.”


The Chinese diplomat’s words represent a
sharp departure from the relentless wave

of hostile rhetoric coming from the West,
 which has gone to great lengths to blame
 Russia as the aggressor in the crisis.

Russia has been accused of arming eastern
 Ukrainian militias and dispatching soldiers
 and armaments as reinforcements – claims
 Moscow has denied on numerous occasions.


___________________________



Mariupol not being attacked: Militia news

The DPR’s Army "invaded" Pavlopol & Pischevik
as part of a plan to take Mariupol city, said the
West's apologists in the media recently.

French leader Hollande barked "more sanctions"
on Russia, if the militia's tried to march further...

What really happened...

The militias of the DPR’s Army came into Pavlopol
 and Pischevik, settlements in the southern front,
 near Mariupol, because they were neutral earlier,
 and then fighters of the punitive battalion Azov,
 announced their attack on Novoazovsk, then
took Pavlopol, Shirokino and Kominternovo.

Kiev's forces came into these settlements
and hoisted their flags, taking advantage
of the sharpening situation in Debaltsevo.

Ukraine's mass media presented this as a
 great victory. However, when the Army of
 Novorossia counterattacked, the Nazis fled.


_______________________________



Zionist Settlers Torch
Jerusalem Church Building

Zionist settlers set fire to a church-owned building
 in Jerusalem overnight; a day after a Mosque near
 Bethlehem was also torched by Zionist terrorists.

The vandals torched an annexe of a Greek Orthodox
 seminary just outside the walls of the Old City, and
 scrawled "graffiti insulting Jesus", Israeli occupation
 police spokesperson Luba Samri says, describing it
 as a "nationalist" attack.

There were no casualties and the fire was put out
 before causing any significant damage, she adds.

On Wednesday, a mosque near Bethlehem in the
 southern West Bank was set alight and anti-Arab
 slogans in Hebrew sprayed on a nearby wall.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat says
 the perpetrators of the incidents are terrorists,
 and he blames Israel's government for inciting
attacks by “continuing its illegal occupation &
colonization based on distorted religious claims."

The United Nations has warned such incidents
could "inflame an already volatile environment."

Both incidents bear the hallmarks of so-called
"price tag" attacks, which generally target
 Palestinians, but have increasingly also hit
 Christian and Muslim places of worship.


__________________________



    Belarus Condemns Coup Attempt in Venezuela   

The Foreign Ministry of Belarus condemns
   attempts to destabilize Venezuela and the
 plans outlined abroad to overthrow elected
constitutional president, Nicolas Maduro.

Spokesperson for the Foreign ministry, Dmitri
 Mironchik, tells Prensa Latina news agency
 by 'phone, that they have heard the news
about the attempt to destabilize Venezuela
 with deep concern and alarm.

On February 12th, Maduro denounced the
 attempted coup in his country by extreme
 right-wing groups, coordinated from abroad.

He expresses Belarus' firm condemnation of
aggressive actions that seek violent change
  and are against the Constitution and Maduro.

Mironchik says that political dialogue should
be held strictly under the Constitution and the
 order established in Venezuela, where more
 than 15 years ago, the Bolivarian Revolution
 led by late President Hugo Chavez took place
 & is supported by a majority of the population.

Mironchik says he chose Prensa Latina
 agency to issue his statement, so that the
 support of his country for the Venezuelan
 Government and its people can be known
throughout Latin America & the Caribbean.

Obama Incited Bloodshed in Venezuela

The US special services together with their
 “assistants” from Canada and Great Britain
 tried again to stage a coup in Venezuela.

 In the middle of February, Venezuelan President
Nicolas Maduro said the state's security services
 frustrated the plans of the US embassy, and put
 an end to its hostile actions. As a result, a number
 of people were arrested, including Venezuelan air
force officers & activists of the radical opposition.

 The subversive activities were guided by Western
 diplomatic missions. The names of those behind
 the plot are known but they cannot be brought
to justice, as they are protected by 'diplomatic
 immunity...' 


________________________



War with Boko Haram will
soon be over: Nigeria army

The head of Nigeria's Army, Lt Gen Kenneth
 Minimah, says that the war against Takfiri
 Boko Haram militants, will soon end.

He makes the comments Thursday, as he
visits soldiers in Baga, a fishing town on the
 shore of Lake Chad in the far north of Borno
 State, in northeast Nigeria.

Nigeria’s military said on February 21st, that
 it had regained control of Baga from the Boko
Haram extremist group, which had overrun
 the town on January 3rd.

“The war is almost ended. We will liberate
 Dikwa, Bama, Gwoza, Marte --- and other
places --- in a few days’ time,” Minimah
tells the troops.

His comments come amid efforts by Nigeria
 and other regional countries, to secure and
 stabilize the volatile region before Nigeria’s
 general elections, on March 28th.

The vote was initially scheduled to take place
 on February 14th, but was postponed for six
 weeks over security concerns on polling day.

President Goodluck Jonathan and his ruling
 People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have been
 accused of buying time to revitalize their
 election campaign.

Minimah, meanwhile, describes the 6 week
 deadline as “achievable,” adding, “We are
still within the timeframe.”

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western
 education is forbidden,” says that its goal
 is to overthrow the Nigerian government.

It has claimed responsibility for a number
of deadly shooting attacks and bombings
in various parts of Nigeria since the start
 of its activities in 2009, which have left
over 13,000 people dead.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR), says 650,000 Nigerians
 have fled their homes over the Boko Haram
violence and are displaced inside Nigeria,
while thousands of others have taken
refuge in neighboring countries.


_______________________________



Kiev says started withdrawing
 weapons from eastern Ukraine

Kiev says it has started the withdrawal of
heavy weapons from the frontline in east
 Ukraine, as part of the Minsk ceasefire
deal with anti-coup, self defence forces.

“Ukraine is today (Thursday), beginning
 the withdrawal of 100-mm cannons from
 the front-line,” states Ukraine's military.

“This is the first step in the pullback of heavy
 weapons and will be carried out exclusively
under the supervision and verification of the
 OSCE (Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe),” the statement adds.

 Self defence forces have announced that
 they have already begun pulling back their
heavy weapons, including tanks & rocket
launchers, from the conflict zone.

Earlier on Thursday, military officials of the
self-proclaimed republic of Donetsk stated
 that 30 bodies of Ukrainian soldiers have
been retrieved from the rubble of Donetsk
 airport buildings, in eastern Ukraine.

Four other bodies were also discovered
 on Wednesday, the officials add.

“They will be taken to the morgue and work
 will begin to find their relatives,” the military
 of the self-proclaimed republic, states.

Donetsk airport was the scene of deadly
clashes between the Ukrainian army and
 self defence forces, before the ceasefire
 deal was signed.


_________________________



UN: Yemen’s Saleh Stole Up to $60bn

Ousted Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh
 amassed and transferred billions of dollars
 out of the world’s most impoverished Arab
country through “corrupt practices”, a UN
 panel says.

In a report to the UN Security Council released
 on Wednesday, the UN experts say the money,
 between $32 billion and $60 billion, was made
 corruptly, during his 33-year rule over Yemen.

The experts say the money was stashed in at
 least 20 countries, and they're continuing an
 investigation to find those who abetted the
 former dictator.

"The origin of the funds used to generate Ali
Abdullah Saleh's wealth, is believed to be
partly from his corrupt practices as Yemen's
president, particularly relating to gas and oil
 contracts where he reportedly asked for cash
 in exchange for granting companies exclusive
 rights to prospect for gas and oil in Yemen,"
 the report says.

Saleh pocketed nearly $2 billion per year over
 the past three decades, the report concludes.

"It is also alleged that Ali Abdullah Saleh, his
 friends, his family and his associates stole
money from the fuel subsidy program, which
uses up to 10% of Yemen's gross domestic
 product, as well as other ventures involving
 abuse of power, extortion and embezzlement."

Many officials interviewed by the experts
 have called for a return of the money to
the impoverished country.

"Many have argued that the country's
spiraling debt and economic problems
would be alleviated with a repatriation
 of these alleged stolen assets."


________________________



France warns Russia to face more EU
 sanctions 'if Mariupol, Ukraine, attacked'

Moscow will face more EU sanctions if self-defense
forces in eastern Ukraine attack Ukraine’s port of
Mariupol, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
says, on Wednesday.

The deputy commander of self-defense forces
 in Donetsk, Eduard Basurin, on Tuesday denied
 Kiev’s statement that there are serious clashes
 in villages near Mariupol. He said there had
been provocations from the Ukrainian side, but
 no major incidents, Reuters reports.


___________________________



US armour parades 300m from Russian border

NATO member Estonia has held a military parade
 in the border town of Narva, just 300 metres from
 the Russian border.

 Tallinn is a long-time critic of Moscow, which it
 accuses of having an aggressive policy towards
 the Baltic nation.

The military parade was dedicated to Estonia's
 Independence Day. Chief military commander
Lt. Gen. Riho Terras, headed the troops, as
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves reviewed them.

140+ pieces of NATO military hardware took
 part in the parade, including four US armored
 personnel carriers M1126 Stryker, flying the
stars-and-stripes.

Another foreign nation, the Netherlands, provided
 four Swedish-made Stridsfordon 90 tracked combat
 vehicles (designated CV9035NL Mk III by the Dutch).

Estonia also showed off its howitzers, anti-tank
 and anti-aircraft weapons, armored vehicles and
other hardware. Over 1,400 troops also marched
the streets of Narva.

The parade snubs Estonia's eastern neighbour,
 Russia, whom it accuses of pushing aggressive
 policies in Eastern Europe. Estonia's government
is among several who accuse Russia of waging
 a secret war against Ukraine, by supplying arms
and troops to anti-Kiev forces in the east.

Moscow denies the accusations, insisting that
 the post-coup government in Kiev alienated its
 own people in the east and started a civil war
instead of resolving differences via dialogue.

NATO seized the Ukrainian conflict as an
opportunity to argue for a military build-up
 in Eastern Europe, supposedly to deter a
 Russian threat. The three Baltic States
are among the most vocal proponents of
 this policy.

Russia sees it as yet more proof that NATO
 is an anti-Russian military bloc that has
 been moving towards Russia's border and
 compromising its national security.

The Estonian government defends its right
 to hold any military maneuvers it wants in
 its territory.

“Narva is a part of NATO no less than New
York or Istanbul, and NATO defends every
square meter of its territory,” Estonian PM
 Taavi Rõivas says in the capital, Tallinn.

Historically Narva was the focus of centuries
 of confrontation between Russia and Sweden,
when the two nations fought for dominance
 in the region. The city changed hands several
 times and ended up under Russian control in
 1704, serving as a military outpost for decades.

The city was again contested in the wake
 of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, and the
dissolution of the Russian Empire it triggered.

 Narva took turns between being governed by
 a self-proclaimed Estonian Republic and being
occupied by German troops and the Red Army,
 until eventually becoming Estonian again under
 a peace treaty between Estonia and Russia.

It then changed hands between Nazi Germany
and the Soviet Union along with the rest of the
 Baltics during World War II and went on to be
part of an independent Estonia in 1991.

The city has a large number of ethnic Russians
 and a strong pro-autonomy movement, with
 some Estonian politicians fearing that it could
 be exploited now, by Russia, to sow dissent.

Commenting on the issue in an interview with
the Washington Post, President Ilves says that
seeing Narva as a potentially separatist region
“is stupid.”


________________________



Ukraine buying arms from the UAE

Ukraine's government has approved a draft
 agreement with the government of the United
Arab Emirates on military-technical cooperation,
 Ukraine's political weekly Novoe Vremya reports.

Counselor of Ukrainian Interior Minister Anton
Herashchenko wrote on his Facebook page: 

"Arabs, unlike Europeans and Americans, don't
fear Putin’s threat to launch a Third World War
 if Ukraine is supplied with armaments and
 military equipment.

 "They must owe Russia a grudge on an almost
double oil price drop and the global instability,
hindering long-term development of the UAE.
 Thus this will be a small revenge on their part".

On February 23rd, Russian President Vladimir
Putin told a federal TV journalist interviewing
him that war in Ukraine shouldn't be expected.
 “In my opinion such an Apocalyptic scenario
is hardly possible”, he said.

EU countries refuse to supply armaments
 to Ukraine, and the US government is still
considering this issue. On February 21st,
 US Secretary of State John Kerry, stated
 that President of the USA Barack Obama
will decide on the provision of aid to
 Ukraine in the form of armaments,
 in the nearest future.

 On February 17th, Kiev was reported to
 have sent a list of military equipment it
 needed, to Washington.


_______________________



40% Rise in new West Bank
Zionist Settlement Homes in 2014

The number of new homes under construction
 in Zionist settlements, in the Israel-occupied
 West Bank, rose last year by 40%, Peace Now
 anti-settlements group says.


_______________________________



End Demanded to Israeli Apartheid
                 System in Occupied Palestine               
 
 Judicial and government authorities and
political and social activists from forty
states, demand an end to the apartheid
system being imposed by Israel on the
occupied Palestinian territories of the
West Bank and East Jerusalem.

At the International Forum for Justice in
Palestine, held in Beirut this weekend,
participants denounced the persistence
of "an official and institutionalized
 regime of two separate legal systems
on ethical-national bases".

The criticisms of Tel Aviv are based on the
 systematic violation of international law,
 with the policy of settlements expansion
 in the heart of the occupied territories by
 building houses for Israeli citizens, who
are, by preference, Jews.

That, according to a report presented at the
 Forum, has led to systematic discrimination
- based on norms and laws that affect every
 aspect of the lives of Palestinian residents
 in the West Bank.

In international humanitarian law, occupying
 powers do not have the authority to set up
 "non-military or political courts appropriately
established" to try residents from occupied
territories for offenses against security and
 public order.

But from the beginning of the occupation
 of the Arab territories in 1967, specifically
in the West Bank and Gaza, the Zionist
 regime has created military courts with
jurisdiction to try any person accused of
 committing crimes against Israeli security.

Israeli military courts can try any person,
 resident or not, on occupied territories,
 but, almost without exception, they've
 only tried Palestinians, activists say.

Lawyers, including former US Attorney
 General Ramsey Clark, ministers, MPs,
 and other personalities with political
and social influence, call to set up an
 International Permanent Council, to
follow up on the defense of Palestine.

They recall that the 780-meter-long wall
 built by Israel in the West Bank, under the
 pretext of security, became another form
 of segregation or apartheid that led to the
 annexation of over 10% of the land in the
 West Bank --- and deprived Palestinian
 farmers of their land and water.

What many call a "wall of shame" left over
 10,000 Palestinians living in communities
trapped between the wall and the so-called
 Green Line, and this directly affects over
680,000 people, accounting for 30% of the
population of the West Bank, experts recall.


______________________



 Heavy weapons being withdrawn in
 E. Ukraine starting Tuesday – militia

Self-defense forces in Donetsk and Lugansk
 will begin the withdrawal of heavy weapons
 from the frontline in east Ukraine, on Feb 24,
 says the deputy commander of the Donetsk
Defense Ministry, Eduard Basurin. He adds
 that the process will be “fully transparent”
 and “under OSCE observation.” 

Basurin also confirms that over 30 pieces
of heavy artillery have already been pulled
 out, as of Monday.

 Earlier, Kiev’s military & the defence militia
 in eastern Ukraine, announced they would
 withdraw heavy weapons from the frontline
 after Saturday’s exchange of 191 prisoners.

 The process is to be completed by March
the 7th, under the terms of the truce.


__________________________



'Normandy 4' FMs meet
 in Paris Tuesday – Kiev

The foreign ministers of the 'Normandy Four'
 group - Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany
 - are discussing implementation of the Minsk
 agreement and withdrawal of heavy weapons
 on Tuesday, at a meeting in Paris, according
 to statements broadcast by Ukrainian Foreign
Ministry spokesperson, Andrey Perebiynis.

 He expresses hope that the meeting will help
 achieve implementation of the agreement.


___________________________



Head of DPR Zakharchenko congratulated
 the nation on Defender of Fatherland day

Head of the DPR Aleksandr Zakharchenko
 appealed to the nation on this occasion:

“Dear fellow citizens, the inhabitants of
 Donbass, glorious warriors of Donetsk
 People’s Republic!

I heartily congratulate you on the Day of
 Defender of the Fatherland! The sons of
Donetsk land have always been known
 for their bravery and heroism.

 Legends are being told about their feats
 of arms. The glorious traditions of home-
land defense are being passed from one
generation to another – the traditions of
 the warrior-nation, the victorious nation –
 in the course of the most terrible battles
 of the Great Patriotic War, as well as in
 the course of carrying out international
 duties in Afghanistan and in the course
of
defending the frontiers of Donetsk
 People’s Republic.

The holiday we are going to celebrate is
one more reason to feel the incessant
consistency of our traditions.

 On this day we congratulate all those who
 are in the line of duty, who, while risking
 their lives, are protecting the security of
 our mothers & fathers, our children and
 all the peaceful citizens of the Republic.

Today our enemies enter into negotiations
 with us. They fear us and respect us as a
 force they have to regard. This is your
 achievement, first of all.

However at the same time, we bow our heads
 to those who gave their lives for their Father-
land. We mourn all those who perished in the
battles for the future flourishing of Donetsk

 People’s Republic.

Their heroic dead will always
stay in the
memory of our people. And our duty

 is to never forget them.

I want to wish every defender of our fatherland
strong health, well-being, happiness to your
 nearest and dearest, and, most of all, peace
 in our land!”


________________________



Ukrainian troopers in Artemovsk:
“Poroshenko is lying!”

Sources in Artemovsk report that remnants
 of Ukrainian units, having “broken through”
from the Debaltsevo cauldron — there are
about 1000 of them, more than one third of
 the troopers wounded and shell-shocked —
are on the brink of rebellion.

 Ukrainian troopers claim that they have
 been betrayed, and Petro Poroshenko is
 personally responsible for this betrayal.

The tragedy of the “breakthrough” from
 the cauldron occurred thus, reports
Novorossia Today:

On February 17th, the commander of
 the 128th Transcarpathian independent
 mountain infantry division, Colonel Sergey
 Shaptalo, entered into negotiations with
 the commanders of units of the DPR and
 LPR Army storming Debaltsevo.

 At that moment, Sergey Shaptalo was the
most senior officer of Kiev's Armed Forces
 in the cauldron, as all the top command
of
sector “S”, fled from the “non-existent”
 pocket one week before.  According to
 the troopers, Shaptalo negotiated the
exit
of 128th brigade --- in trucks with
light firearms.


 However, in the course of implementing
 the agreement, he tried, under pressure
from Kiev, to withdraw with a convoy of
 armoured vehicles.

 It so happened that the staff column
and approximately half the personnel
 passed freely & the second and third
convoys of armoured vehicles, the
"separatists" smashed into pieces.


As a result of the 128th brigade's retreat,
 units of the DPR and LPR Armies practically
 eliminated the Debaltsevo cauldron, having
 captured without fighting, for instance, the
locality of Olkhovatka, in which Kiev's Army
left several dozen armoured vehicles and
  many artillery pieces.


 According to different estimates made by
the troopers who retreated to Artemovsk,
 about 3000 men were left in the cauldron
after their retreat. Most probably, they'd
already surrendered to the militiamen.

Also, during the march on Artemovsk,
about 300 troopers from 128th brigade
 and other units, surrendered to the
DPR Army of their own accord.

The spirit of the Ukrainian soldiers who'd
 broken through the cauldron in Artemovsk
was
low, and it got still lower after the
arrival of Petro Poroshenko in Artemovsk,
who in a rush, posed with the task force
 (those who left with the staff unhindered)
then praised the wise army command,
who had
“saved” people from the
“Debaltsevo
stronghold”.

Troopers took his speech as equivocal,
since they had been lied to constantly
 over the course of the last two weeks:
 they weren't told they'd been encircled,
they experienced food shortages, they
 were abandoned by almost all their
 commanders, and -- to crown it all --
on the march out, the commanders
 had, bluntly, violated an agreement
with
militia to save Poroshenko’s
 image, which led to heavy losses.

Artemovsk hospitals are full of wounded
 soldiers. They brought about 100 bodies
with them and no one knows how many
 dead troopers were left lying in the fields.
 Different figures are presented — from
 150, to one thousand.

Semyon Semenchenko has became the
most
popular figure among Ukrainian
troopers,
as he is “the only one who
tells the truth”.


 On the whole, the troops are disorganized
 and demoralized; they openly disobey their
 commanders and curse them to their face;
rumours are circulating about the deserters
 who shot several Security Service agents
 on the road to Kramatorsk yesterday.

Perhaps such sentiments will herald the
 start of the end of Kiev's Armed Forces,
 as an organized military force.



______________________



Ukraine army puts off withdrawal
 of heavy weapons from frontline of conflict

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry says the army will
 not withdraw heavy weapons along the frontline in
 the east, as long as a full ceasefire with anti-coup
 forces has not come into force.

“As long as pro-Russians continue firing at (our)
 soldiers’ positions, we can't talk of withdrawing
 heavy weapons,” Defense Ministry spokesperson,
 Vladislav Seleznyov, says in Kiev, on Monday.

 Military spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Anatoliy
 Stelmakh, tells reporters:- no weapons withdrawal
 will begin until pro-Moscow forces stand down and
 their attacks stop "entirely".

Stelmakh adds that there were 2 artillery attacks
 overnight:- “as long as firing on Ukrainian military
 positions continues... it is not possible to talk
about a pullback.”

Colonel Valentyn Fedichev, deputy commander
of military operations against anti-coup forces,
 says there have been 27 attacks against Kiev's
 forces over the past 24 hours, adding, “If the
 enemy continues to use their heavy weapons,
 it's clear that Ukraine will continue to counter-
act these operations.”

Meanwhile, OSCE spokesperson, Michael
 Bocuirkiw, says monitors have seen heavy
weapons movements by both sides, but
cannot yet determine whether weapons
are being withdrawn, or just redeployed.


_______________________


Crimea to prosecute Poroshenko
 over reintegration remarks

The Republic of Crimea says it will put Ukrainian
 President Petro Poroshenko on trial for his remarks
 about bringing the region back under Kiev’s rule.

"We pledged to convene a military tribunal in Crimea
 for Poroshenko and, believe us, we will deliver on
 our pledge. We will bring him here and try him,"
says Crimea’s Prime Minister Sergey Valeryevich
 Aksyonov in the region’s administrative centre,
Simferopol, on Monday.

Noting that Crimea’s territorial status won't change
 under any circumstances, Aksyonov adds, "Crimea
 will never return to Ukraine. Crimea has returned to
 its home country, the Russian Federation, forever."

Earlier in the day, Poroshenko vowed
to restore Crimea to Ukrainian territory:

"The Ukrainian state will regain control over this
 temporarily occupied territory. I am not saying
 that this will be a simple thing to do, which we
 will go through quickly. But this will happen by
all means,” he said in Ukraine's capital Kiev.

"Ukraine will never give up its sovereign right
 to Crimea and will defend the rights of the
people who live there. The Ukrainian leader-
ship, politicians & civil society have reached
 a complete consensus on this. We enjoy
absolute support for this course from other
 states and from international organizations,"
 he added.

In March 2014, Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula
 of Crimea joined the Russian Federation after
 a referendum, in a move which greatly frayed
Moscow-Kiev ties.

Relations were strained further after Ukraine
 launched military operations in mid-April 2014
 to silence anti-coup protests in the country’s
 regions in eastern Ukraine.

Kiev, the US and the European Union accuse
 Moscow of involvement in the chaotic situation
in eastern Ukraine and have imposed a series of
sanctions against Russian & pro-Russia figures.

Moscow, however, rejects the accusation and
has retaliated with sanctions of its own.


________________________________


    Ex Ukrainian Premier Azarov
                  Calls for Parallel Government               
 
 Former Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov is said
 to be ready now to gather opposition forces
 capable of counteracting the current regime
 in Kiev, on the first anniversary of the coup
 that changed the course of Ukraine.

Azaron, who was prime minister in 2010-2014,
 makes his remarks inn the program "The Right
 to Know" of the Russian TV Centre channel,
 on the first anniversary of the events in Kiev
 which overthrew President Viktor Yanukovich.

"I am ready to meet with professionally able
 people, with knowledge and experience, to
create this type of group, able to confront
 the anti-Ukrainian regime," says Azarov.

He refers to the formation of what he calls
 a government "in exile" that represents the
 interests of the opposition, which, he says,
 was forced to abandon their country in the
 wake of the coup of February 22, 2014 that
 was backed by ultranationalists, and the
main body of oligarchs.

He insists on the need to create this type
 of representative body that can offer the
 Ukrainian people an alternative viewpoint
 and design a concept for development for
 the country.

Azarov says that the country has gone
through "a difficult period during which
 the Ukrainian state and a great country,
has collapsed."


_______________________



Half Kiev’s forces in east Ukraine
 killed by poor kit, friendly fire - media

At least a half of the Ukrainian military’s losses
 during the conflict in east Ukraine were caused
 by poor kit and friendly fire, The Sunday Times
 reports.

The paper cites a former UK soldier who resigned
 to become an instructor of the Ukrainian National
 Guard in May 2014.

The 40-year-old, a naturalised Briton of Ukrainian
 descent who had served in Afghanistan and the
 Middle East, says Ukraine’s forces, largely made
up of volunteers and conscripts, suffered major
 casualties because of the frequent incidents of
 friendly fire and the mishandling of weapons,
 according to the paper.

He says the Ukrainian army's string of defeats,
 including last week’s fall of Debaltsevo, where
 Ukrainian troops were trapped by the Donbas
militia, was mainly due to a failure of command
and a lack of skills and discipline.

"Six out of 10 casualties with the Ukrainian
 volunteers occur, because of blue-on-blue
shooting [the army term for friendly fire] &
 the inability to handle weapons," says the
man, who gives only his nom-de-guerre,
Saffron, the paper says.


___________________________



Weapons pullout in east Ukraine to start
 on Feb. 24 - Donetsk Republic’s Defense Ministry

Work began on Sunday for the Kiev military and
the self-defense fighters of the Donetsk and

 Luhansk People’s Republics, to pull out all their
heavy weaponry from the delimitation line, DPR
 Defense Ministry spokesperson Eduard Basurin
 said by 'phone on Sunday.

"The pullout was expected to start three days
 ago but nuances were determined and now all
 the sides have agreed & decided that February
 22nd will mark a two-week countdown for the
 weaponry withdrawal," he says, adding that
 Kiev's military had also agreed to start the
heavy weaponry pullout from Sunday.

The weaponry withdrawal will last about two
weeks "as prescribed in the Minsk accords,"
 the spokesperson says.

"Preparatory works are under way. Tomorrow
 will be a holiday and the process of weaponry
pullout, will really start from February 24."

Under a package of measures signed by the
 Contact Group on February 12th, the Ukraine
 army will withdraw weaponry from the actual
 engagement line, while DPR and LPR militias
 will pull out weapons from the line defined by
 the Minsk memorandum.

The ceasefire regime in Donbas officially came
 into force from 01:00 am Moscow time (00:00
 hours Kiev time) on February 15th.


__________________________



Authorities of the DPR and LPR provide
 access to Debaltsevo for OSCE Sunday

The authorities of the Donetsk & Lugansk
People’s Republics were ready to provide
access to
the town to OSCE monitors on
Sunday, say
the authorized representatives
of the DPR
& LPR at the Minsk talks, Denis
Pushilin
and Vladislav Deynego.

‘We don't yet know the amount of cars and
monitors going to visit Debaltsevo, but we
 are ready to take them all’, he pointed out.


________________________


Kiev Ambassador to Germany:
 Neo-Nazis Are Part of Our Forces.
 
Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk
 (a Western Ukrainian from Lvov), made a shocking
 statement on Günther Jauch’s TV show, one of
the most popular political talk shows in Germany.

Answering a question on the large presence
 of “strange people with SS insignia” in the
Ukrainian Army, Melnyk admitted that Azov
and Right Sector neo-Nazis are a part of
Ukraine's armed forces, that they are
 controlled and coordinated by Kiev’s pro-
Western regime and that, without them,
 “the Russian army” would have
 advanced much further.


_____________________________



Alternative General Staff of Ukraine's Army
 poses threat to country, Europe - experts

The setting up of an alternative General Staff
 for Ukraine's Armed Forces, after the defeat
 at Dabaltsevo, is now proposed by neo-nazi
 units, who blame inept top commanders of
 the Armed Forces.

This is leading Ukraine to "an oligarchic coup"
 in favour of Ukraine’s political warmongers,
 experts believe.

On Thursday, the commander of the Donbas
 battalion, Verkhovna Rada deputy, Semyon
 Semenchenko, made public a plan to set up
 a Unified Staff of Ukrainian Volunteer Forces
 with its headquarters in Dnipropetrovsk.

A memorandum on the motion was signed
 by the representatives of 13 battalions &
 public associations, including 5 warlords
 and the leader of the radical nationalist
 Right Sector movement, Dmitry Yarosh.

According to the organizers, the staff of
volunteer battalions will be a centre for
"coordination, exchange of intelligence,
 and the drafting of operational plans"
to be handed "later on" to the General
 Staff of the Armed Forces.

"Events of the past few months, and
 especially of the past several weeks,
 have shown the inability of people
 at the General Staff, to control and
 coordinate the Ukrainian troops
 appropriately," Semenchenko wrote.

 He called on President Petro Poroshenko
 to change the top commanders in the
General Staff.

Semenchenko, after a bad reaction to his
 initial Internet posting, rushed to disprove
accusations that the "volunteer forces"
staff he was about to set up with Yarosh,
 would pressurise Poroshenko, or order
violence against the present authorities.

He promised to obey the orders of
government agencies.

"One-man command is the cornerstone
element for the defense capability of
any country," Dr. Sivkov, head of the
Academy of Geopolitical Problems says.

"The setting up of a parallel ‘general staff’
 in Dnipropetrovsk, proves that the system
 of control over Ukraine's Armed Forces
 is collapsing, and that the ‘volunteer
detachments’ have totally stopped
 reporting to the Supreme Commander,
personalized by President Poroshenko,
and to the country’s Defense Minister."

"Standing behind this new 'General Staff,
 are the Ukrainian oligarchs, with Mr Igor
Kolomoisky, governor of Dnipropetrovsk
 region, at the head," Dr. Sivkov says.

 "Kolomoisky, whom Russian Investigators
 have placed on an international wanted
list in connection with a case on the use
 of prohibited instruments and methods of
warring, propelled the field commanders
 to the Verkhovna Rada."

"In other words, the oligarchs are setting
 up a strike fist in a struggle to reconfigure
 all state power in Ukraine in favour of the
 ‘party of war’, alongside with the (existing)
 centre of political influence," he believes.

"It’s all too obvious that the initiative for
an alternative ‘general staff’ emerged after
 the operation the pro-Kiev forces had been
 conducting near Debaltsevo, collapsed.

 This aims at revenge, at a continuation of
 the civil war in Donbas, in violation of the
 agreements on a ceasefire & the pullout
of weapons reached in Minsk on February
the 12th," Dr. Sivkov says.

Col-General Leonid Ivashov, president of
 the International Centre for Geopolitical
 Analysis, believes the setting up of a
parallel "general staff" really means
"Farewell Ukraine".

"An uncanny radical force, the Right Sector,
and the field commanders of paramilitary
‘volunteer’ units, have now spoken out in
defence of the narrowly egotistic interests
 of the oligarchs," he says.

"But if you take account of the fact that this
 force is well-organized and armed, and that
 it has heavy armaments at its disposal, it
will be tearing the state and society apart,"
Gen Ivashov says.

"Demands for the resignation of the top
commanding officers of the General Staff
 will be followed by attempts on the part
 of the parallel staff to dislodge the
Supreme Commander," he says.

 "Ukraine will be pushed into turbulence,
 with everyone warring against everyone.

"Europe may bump into a situation like
the Middle East, gripped by the unruly
 and uncontrollable Isis, which it has
already bumped into," the expert says.

"The surfacing of an alternative ‘general
staff’ in Ukraine exposes a practical split
 between Poroshenko & Kolomoisky, who
 is trying to turn the battalions he finances
 into his own army," says A. Khramchikhin,
 deputy director of the Institute for Political
 and Military Analysis."

"Initially, this quasi-army was knocked to-
gether to suppress revolt in the east of
Ukraine, but now it will be spearheaded
 at the ‘party of peace’ in Kiev," he says.

"The rise of this parallel centre of political
 and power-wielding influence, carries a
threat to Ukraine’s existence within its
 current border & its transformation into
 a semblance of Somalia, where two de
facto states and several illicit zones
exist at the same time," he says.

"The problem is, the dismantling of a
state in the centre of Europe, will pose
a threat to the entire continent --- with
totally unpredictable consequences."


_____________________________



Russian Civil Defense Delivers
               Humanitarian Aid to Donbass               
 
 More than 200 tons in humanitarian aid have
 been delivered by the ministry for Emergency
 Situations of Russia to the people of Donetsk
& Lugansk, in an unprecedentedly fast time.

This fifteenth delivery since August 2014, in
over 30 lorries, consists of food and medicine
 for the populations of the cities most affected
 by the humanitarian crisis, says Oleg Voronov,
deputy head of the National Centre for critical
 situations.

The aid will be distributed to the inhabitants of
 Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as Debaltsevo,
 say sources in the regions.

The local civil defense says that the aid was
 organized in record time, with extraordinary
 speed, by Russia's PM, Dmitry Medvedev.

Medvedev is asking the Ministry of Energy
 and Gazprom to present a proposal on the
 "humanitarian supply" of gas to Donbass,
as Kiev's gas cuts to these regions in a
harsh winter, have left many without heat.


_________________________________



Ex-NATO Chief: “Our Allies
 Funded ISIL to Fight Hezbollah”

A former US General admits that the Takfiri
 group operating in Iraq and Syria, ISIL, was
 funded by the US’s allies in a bid to fight the
Islamic resistance in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

In an interview with CNN earlier this week,
 General Wesely Clark, who was Supreme
 Allied Commander of NATO, said that ISIL:
“got started through funding from our
 friends and allies.”

“People will tell you in the region that if you
 want somebody who will fight to the death
 against Hezbollah, you don’t put out a
 recruiting poster saying ‘sign up for us
we’re gonna make a better world.’
 You go after zealots and you go after
these religious fundamentalists.
That’s who fights Hezbollah. It’s like
 a Frankenstein.”

General Clark didn't specify which US
 allies were involved in creating ISIL.

He's known for his critical comments
regarding Washington’s war plans.

In a book published in 2003, he said
the US is pursuing a campaign of wars
starting in Iraq which will later include
 Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan
and, finally, Iran.


________________________

   

Putin: Russia’s Military Might Unmatched

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that
 other countries shouldn't have the illusion
 that they can attain military superiority
over Russia, Interfax reports.

"No one should have the illusion that they
can gain military superiority over Russia
--- put any kind of pressure on it. We will
always have an adequate answer for
any such adventures," he is quoted
as saying in an address he will give
 next week on Russia's Defenders'
of the Father-land Day, holiday.

Putin's comments came the same day
the UK's Defense Secretary Michael Fallon
 said Putin poses a "real & present danger"
 to the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and
 Lithuania, all of which are NATO members.

 In comments published by The Times, Fallon
 said NATO is preparing to repel any possible
 aggression.


__________________________



Israel Worried about Upcoming
 War with Hezbollah

Zionist political and military analysts express
 their worries about 'surprises' that Hezbollah
 may shock Israel with, in any upcoming war:
 including their taking control of Galilee and
their use of strategic, pinpoint missiles.

The analysts also consider that the Zionist
 entity is not preparing well for the coming
 confrontation, the vague nature of which,
perplexes its political and military officials.

Asserting that ISIL does not endanger the
Zionist entity, they consider that Hezbollah
 and the Palestinian resistance factions
 represent the main direct threat to the
 existence of 'Israel', reports Al Manar.


____________________________


Iranian Troops Besiege Israel, 130,000
Basij Fighters to Enter Syria: Zio-Study

From the Mediterranean to the Golan, Iran
 has built an active front and direct military
 presence on the Zionist entity's border,
 to deter and eliminate the Israeli Regime,
says an Israeli study published by the
 Middle East Media Research Institute.

The Zionist study concludes that 'Israel'
faces a fateful crisis and that, as much
 as it feared the Iranian nuclear program,
 it never imagined that Iran would be
 standing on its border, even before its
 nuclear agreement with the Americans
 was complete.

The Iranian threat to 'Israel' is no longer
theoretical, nor does it have anything
 to do with the entity's deterrent of using
its nuclear weapons, which cannot be
used, considering the international
power balance.

The threat has become direct, practical
 and conventional, it adds.

The study points out that Iran has based
 its Syria deployment on the establishment
of a new Hezbollah Syria organization along
 the lines of Hezbollah Lebanon, as well as
 on the direct presence of Iranian forces in
Syria, particularly in the Golan Heights.

"Iran's deployment in Syria & particularly
 the presence of its forces in the Golan
Heights, at first only as command posts
and a limited number of special forces,
reveals a trend of Iranian activity in the
region that is direct, not only by proxy,
as it has been, to date.

According to the Iranian plan, command
posts are meant to operate "130,000
trained Iranian Basij fighters waiting to
enter Syria," as is evident from May 2014
statements by Islamic Revolutionary
Guards Corps senior official, Hussein
Hamedani, that were censored and
 removed immediately after their
publication in Iran."

After the recent campaign in southern Syria,
Iran's direct deployment in the Golan creates
a single battle front against Israel from Rosh
 Hanikra to Quneitra, the study notes.

"Iran's aim in deploying in the Golan Heights is
 not only to deter Israel from acting against its
 nuclear program, defend Syria as part of the
 resistance axis, and establish an active front
for anti-Israel terror attacks in the Golan and
 even liberate the Israeli Golan..."

"It also meshes with the Iranian regime's
ideological perception of Israel, as an
entity that must be eliminated, as is
 evident in statements by the Iranian
Supreme Leader, Imam Sayyed Ali
Khamenei", the Zionist study stresses.


____________________



Yemen parties agree on transitional
 council – UN mediator

The feuding parties in Yemen agree on a “people’s
 transitional council,” Reuters quotes UN mediator
 Jamal Benomar as saying on Friday.

The Houthi movement, a Shiite Muslim militia, has
 taken over power, which led to the resignation of
 the president last month. Benomar says the deal
 isn't final, but is an “important breakthrough that
 paves the way to a comprehensive agreement.”


___________________________________



Russian humanitarian convoy with aid
 for Debaltsevo heads for Donbass

An additional convoy of humanitarian aid
to the population of eastern Ukraine has
 left the Rostov region, TASS news reports.

 The move followed orders from PM Dmitry
 Medvedev to offer additional assistance
to Ukraine’s Donetsk & Lugansk regions,
including the town of Debaltsevo. The
cargo includes medicine, food, water
and clothing.

_________________________


No Russian military activity in region
bordering Ukraine, Dutch experts say

Dutch military experts confirm it -- there is no
 military activity in Russia’s Rostov region, on
 Ukraine's borders, head of Russia's Defense
 Ministry’s International Treaties Implement-
ation
Department, tells Sputnik.

 International experts inspected 13,000 sq.
 kilometers (5,000 sq. miles) in the region,
 Sergey Ryzhkov adds. The inspection,
between 17th
and 20th of February, was
done on both the ground and
in the air,
and focused on the area that Ukrainian

specialists had chosen earlier.


The inspections are held in accordance with
 the 2011 Vienna Document, which stipulates
measures for confidence-building & security.


__________________________



NO UKRAINE PEACE WITH US NEOCONS

Mike Billington, with the Asia desk of
 the Executive Intelligence Review, from
Leesburg, Virginia, shares his thoughts
 on the Ukraine situation, with Press TV.

Billington argues there is a very real threat
 that Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko
 be subjected to a coup, because the army
has become totally demoralized.

The commentator censures Washington’s
 attitude to the events in eastern Ukraine.

As long as the US Assistant Secretary for
European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria
 Nuland, remains in office, he says, peace
 will evade Ukraine’s eastern regions.


_________________________________



French analyst calls for
France-Germany-Russia alliance

The analyst stresses that the tripartite bloc
 "will be the only chance for Europe to get rid
of the United States protectorate & become,
 in General de Gaulle's words, a ‘Free Europe’"

France & Germany, following this historical
 tradition, should work on forming an alliance
with Russia, prominent French writer and
 political journalist, Eric Zemmour, says, in
 newspaper comments on Friday.

"NATO is doing its utmost to present Russia
 as an enemy of the West and thereby justify
its existence," Zemmour writes in Le Figaro.

"Fortunately, France & Germany in due time
 blocked Ukraine’s accession to NATO, and
that’s a positive fact," the journalist says.

"Now they've finally coordinated a position
 on establishing relations with Moscow, they
 shouldn't stop halfway and should move to
 form a tripartite alliance with Russia," he
 says, recalling numerous
past efforts by
"kings, emperors and presidents" of the

3 countries, to set up such an alliance.

"Alliance with Russia is absolutely necessary
 to fight against Islamists in Syria, Libya, Iraq,
Central African Republic, Nigeria, Pakistan
 Mali and Afghanistan, where these extremists
 are trying, not only to erase all traces of a
Western and Christian presence, but to pave
the way for carrying the war into European
 territory," Zemmour adds.


_______________________



Russia Demands West Take
              Responsibility for Situation in Ukraine               
 
 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warns
that Western politicians must contribute to a
solution to the Ukrainian conflict, instead of
adding fuel to the confrontation, says Lavrov,
in statements about the events in the city
of Debaltsevo, in Donbass.


The foreign minister notes that he is confident
 that responsible western politicians will do
 everything possible in the interest of Ukraine's
 people and State, and not incite confrontation
 or expose their lack of leadership, by making
 improper statements.

According to Lavrov, the US was misusing
 the complex situation in Debaltsevo, where
 5,000 Ukrainian soldiers were surrounded,
as the leaders of Germany & France warn
of the dangerous consequences for the
 negotiations now under way.

He says statements made by Vice President
Joseph Biden about possible further sanctions
 on Russia, in the case of non-compliance with
the Minsk agreements, prove Washington's
non-constructive line.

Debaltsevo is a pretext and when we warned on
February
11 about the need to solve that problem...
we were
told that "that problem did not exist", says
Lavrov,
in reference to public statements by Ukraine
 President Petro Poroshenko, who denied a defeat
of Ukrainian troops on that front, where heavy
 clashes have taken place since January.

The head of Russian diplomacy says Moscow
shared the concerns about the situation there
 and demanded an end to the use of weapons in
 an effort to change the status quo that existed
 on February 15, when a ceasefire was decreed
 in the zone of operations in Donbass.

Lavrov insisted that common sense prevail
-- to save the people inside that siege. The
task
must be about saving lives, and above
all other political
ambitions, he points out.


_____________________________



Putin, Merkel, Hollande and Poroshenko
 back OSCE monitoring mission

In a phone conversation the 4 leaders noted
that
implementation of the set of measures
approved
by the Contact Group on February
12th, is allowing
a reduction in the intensity
of any armed actions in
Donbas region.

President Vladimir Putin, Chancellor Angela
Merkel, French President Francois Hollande
 and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko,
in a 'phone conversation, focused on the
need to fully comply with the Minsk
agreements, the Kremlin press service
said on Thursday.

"The leaders of the four countries focused on the
 need to ensure a sustainable ceasefire regime
 and on taking practical steps on heavy weapons
 withdrawal by the warring parties - and also the
 speedy release of captives," the press service
 of the Russian president says.

The sides stressed their readiness to actively
support the work of OSCE's monitoring mission
 at this "current important stage of settlement,"
 the Kremlin says.

The leaders also agreed to hold contacts via
 the Foreign Ministries of the four countries in
 the near future in an effort to comply with the
 Minsk agreements, the press service says.


______________________________________


Talk of sending peacekeepers to Ukraine
could now 'frustrate Minsk agreements'

A senior Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev
 says on Thursday, it is too early to discuss plans
to deploy peacekeepers to Ukraine and urges the
 sides to comply with the Minsk peace agreements.

"This initiative is inappropriate, no matter what
 its content, as it de-facto "washes away" the
 agreements reached in Minsk," says Kosachev,
 chair of the foreign affairs committee of Russia’s
 upper house of parliament, the Federation Council.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on
 Wednesday to Kiev's National Security and
Defense Council, that it should consider the
 possibility of deploying an international
peacekeeping force to Ukraine.

The Council, headed by Oleksandr Turchynov,
later approved the relevant request for the UN
 and the EU to send peacekeepers to Donbas.

Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly
 Churkin has accused Kiev of seeking to “destroy”
 a recent ceasefire agreement by calling for the
 deployment of UN-mandated peacekeepers to
 eastern Ukraine to enforce the deal.

Churkin said on Thursday that Kiev aims to ruin
 the deal, which was reached last week in the
 Belarusian capital, Minsk, shortly after Ukrainian
 President Petro Poroshenko made the request
for the peacekeepers at an emergency meeting.

Churkin said, “When someone, instead of doing
what he's signed up to, suggests a new scheme
 and so soon, that raises suspicions that he
wants to destroy the Minsk accords.”

“If one proposes new schemes right away, the
 question arises if (the accords) will be
 respected,” he added.

The remarks by Churkin come after the anti-coup
 forces in Donetsk announce that a total of 3,088
 government troops have been killed in fighting in
the eastern flashpoint city of Debaltseve.

The speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament,
the State Duma, Sergey Naryshkin says Thursday,
 that plans to invite peacekeepers to Ukraine could
 disrupt the Minsk agreements, which do not
envisage such a measure.


_____________________________



Kiev says troops withdrawn from Debaltsevo,
 rebels claim military ‘surrender en masse’

Kiev troops surrounded in the city of Debalstevo
have started to surrender en masse, Ukrainian
anti-coup rebels state. President Poroshenko
 announces that there has been a complete
 withdrawal from the contested city.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirms
 in a video statement that he has given an order to
 withdraw troops from Debaltsevo on Wednesdsay.

“We stated and proved that Debaltsevo was under
our control and that there was no encirclement.
Our units withdrew according to plan, in an
organized manner. They took military hardware
 with them – tanks, APCs, artillery pieces, tow-
tracks, cars,” the president says.

He adds that 80% of the troops have already
 left the city.

Reuters cites a witness who saw the troops,
some of them injured, arriving in Artemyevsk,
a city northwest of Debaltsevo, through which
 a road leading to Kiev-controlled areas goes.

Poroshenko will visit eastern Ukraine later in
the day and chair a security council session
 in the evening, Ukrainian media reports.

Earlier Semen Semenchenko, MP and commander
 of one of Kiev’s volunteer battalions, reported that
 troops were being withdrawn from the contested
 city. He added that Kiev should now attack in
other parts of the frontline, which have been
 weakened by the rebels to move on Debaltsevo.

“They are empty and we have troops. One strike
 and the frontline would crumble,” he assured,
adding: withdrawal is “beyond comprehension.”

Meanwhile Maksim Leshchenko, a senior official
in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic,
 told journalists on Wednesday that the Ukrainian
 troops are laying down arms “in their hundreds.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Eduard Basurin, a military
 spokesperson for the rebels, confirmed taking
some 300 soldiers prisoner.

Debaltsevo was Kiev’s stronghold deep inside
 the rebel-held territories in eastern Ukraine,
 a military asset portrayed in the media as a
site of a heroic last stand by Kiev's military.
 The rebels said they had some 3,000 troops
 encircled in a pocket and had been calling
on
them for days to lay down their arms and
surrender.

 Kiev rejected this, insisting that Debalstevo
supply lines were intact and that the city
would remain under their control.

The fate of Debaltsevo was arguably the
 biggest debating point at last week’s
peace talks in Minsk, which resulted in
a ceasefire agreement. The continued
 violence around the city contrasts with
the virtually uninterrupted truce in
other
parts of eastern Ukraine.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini
 demanded an end to hostilities at Debaltsevo
& threatened Russia with more EU sanctions.

"The EU stands ready to take appropriate action
 in case fighting & other negative developments
 in violation of the Minsk agreements continue,"
 she said.

On Wednesday, anti-government forces started
 pulling back heavy weapons from the frontline
 in quiet areas of the conflict zone.

“Five 152mm self-propelled artillery pieces are
being withdrawn from the village of Yelenovka
to their permanent base,” Basurin told media.

RIA Novosti confirmed the pullout, saying that
 its correspondent witnessed the withdrawal of
 Grad multiple rocket launchers and tanks from
 the disengagement line.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin
called on Kiev and the rebels, to do whatever
they can to resolve the issue without loss of life.

“I really hope that the decision-makers in the
 Ukrainian leadership won’t prevent Ukrainian
 troops from laying down arms, if they cannot
take such an important decision themselves
 and order it. Or at least they shouldn’t harass
people who want to save their lives,” he said.

“On the other hand, I expect the militias not to
detain those people and allow them to leave
 the conflict zone & go back to their families,”
 he added.


_____________________



UNSC calls on warring parties
 in Ukraine to stop fighting

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
 has called on warring sides in eastern Ukraine
 to cease fighting and implement a European-
brokered peace deal as the situation swiftly
 deteriorates.

The UNSC made the call on Tuesday, after a
meeting at which a Russia-drafted resolution
 endorsing the new ceasefire agreement on
Ukraine, was unanimously approved by the
15-member council.

The resolution endorses the peace deal
 reached after marathon talks on February
11
& 12 by the leaders of Germany, France,
Ukraine and Russia, which came into effect
 on February 14th.

The council expressed "its full respect for
the sovereignty, independence & territorial
integrity of Ukraine" and its "grave concern
 at the tragic events and violence in eastern
 regions of Ukraine."

"Since the very start of the crisis Russia has
 actively called for a peaceful settlement
through inclusive, transparent dialogue
between the sides in the internal Ukrainian
conflict," Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly
 Churkin told the council. "We will adhere to
 this fundamental approach in the future also."

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin
 called on Kiev to permit Ukrainian soldiers
 who are surrounded by pro-Russia forces in
 the town of Debaltseve to lay down their arms.

"I hope that the Ukrainian authorities are not
 going to prevent the Ukrainian soldiers from
laying down their weapons," Putin said at a
 press event in Hungary's capital Budapest.

Putin went on to say that he hoped Ukraine
 would refrain from legal action against its
surrendered troops.

The Russian president added that the crisis
 can not be solved through “military means".

Pro-Russia forces said on Tuesday they had
 taken control of 80 percent of the eastern
city of Debaltseve.

The pro-Russians say that because Debaltseve
 is inside their territory it should not be included
 in the ceasefire agreement.

Pro-Russia forces and Kiev troops have been
 battling for weeks over Debaltseve, which
 connects Donetsk and Luhansk, the strong-
holds of the pro-Russians in eastern Ukraine.


_________________________________


European court confirms Poland's
complicity in CIA torture program

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejects
 Poland’s appeal to overturn a criminal investigation
 into officials working at a secret prison used in the
 CIA torture program. The Polish government now
has to finish its investigation and pay damages.

The original July 2014 ruling by the court included
 a demand that Poland swiftly conclude a criminal
 investigation into the jail in question – code-named
 Quartz – and pay compensation totaling $262,660
to two men who were held and tortured at the site.

Both men are still imprisoned in the United States
 in the Guantanamo Bay prison complex in Cuba.

“Poland is required to finally conduct a thorough
and effective investigation, and make public the
information concerning its role and hold those
 responsible to account,” Helen Duffy, the lawyer
 for one of the men, Abu Zubaydah, says.

Alleged Al-Qaeda associate Zubaydah was said
 to have been waterboarded 83 times during his
 detention by the CIA.

Lawyers for the detainees say the investigation
 was deliberately stalled to avoid a politically
 embarrassing trial, possibly for senior Polish
 officials involved, but prosecutors denied this
saying the case was complex and needed time.

Amrit Singh is a lawyer with the Open Society
 Justice Initiative, who represents the second
 detainee in the case, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

 Al-Nashiri is allegedly involved with the bombing
 of the USS Cole warship in Yemen in 2000, which
 led to the deaths of 17 US sailors. Singh says that
 Tuesday’s ruling establishes a precedent for all
other countries.

“This judgment sends a message loud and clear
--- that European states that collaborated in the
CIA torture program can't evade accountability,”
she says.

Other countries with known black sites for the
 CIA’s rendition and torture program, include
the UK's Diego Garcia, plus bases in Romania
 Pakistan, Afghanistan, Morocco and Thailand.

The court’s decision adds pressure on other
European countries to end the secrecy about
 their involvement in the CIA’s global torture
program after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on
the United States.

The US Senate Intelligence Committee report
 on torture in December revealed numerous
details of how dozens of detainees were
subjected to torture, including waterboarding
 and mock executions, that yielded very little,
 if any, intelligence as a result.

After the release of the Senate report, former
 Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski and
 former PM Leszek Miller acknowledged for the
 first time that they knew that the CIA had been
holding people on Polish soil.

However, they said they knew nothing about
what happened inside the Quartz detention
 centre --- a secure villa on the grounds of an
 intelligence training academy in a Polish
 forest.

______________________________


Putin: The West ships arms to Ukraine already
 
The West is already supplying weapons to
 Ukraine, but it will not change the situation
 in the Donbass, Russian President Vladimir
 Putin says.

At a press-conference after talks in Hungary,
Russia's president responded to a reporter's
 question about supplies of Western weapons
 to Ukraine, which Kiev has been vehemently
seeking lately.

 Vladimir Putin said that he was aware of the
 fact that the West is already supplying lethal
weapons to Ukraine, although it won't change
 the situation in the Donbass...

"As for possible supplies to Ukraine, firstly,
according to the information that we have,
these arms are already being delivered to
 Ukraine. There's nothing unusual about it.
 Ukrainian military men have no desire to
 participate in the fratricidal war, and the
 militia fighters are very much motivated to
protect their families," Putin said. "I am
deeply convinced that whoever delivers
weapons, the number of victims can
certainly increase, but the result will be
 the same as it is today, it is inevitable,"
 the Russian president adds.

According to Politonline.ru, reports about
Western arms in Ukraine are plentiful on
 social networks, YouTube and media outlets.
Western arms, such as machine guns, sniper
 rifles and many other types of small arms,
 are frequently found in Ukraine.

Some experts, for example, US-based political
 scientist and research associate at the Centre
 for Globalization Studies, Stephen Lendman,
believes that "Washington delivered heavy
 combat weapons to the Ukrainian army from
 the very beginning of the conflict, or even
before the war started.

According to Lendman, the key to the situation
 lies in the fact that the US has always armed
Kiev, and Obama's statement about the USA's
 intent to supply weapons to Ukraine is a big
 lie, Pravda.Ru says.

"There are American weapons in the Donbas
 and in Ukraine," an officer of the Ukrainian
 Armed Forces tells Politonline.ru.

The officer says that other pro-Ukrainian
 countries are likely to be involved in the
 process to supply weapons to Ukraine.

_________________________________
 

MOST EUROPEANS SUPPORT RUSSIA

The US and EU authorities claim that Russia
 has been isolated and deprived of all allies.

 Nevertheless, we know that representatives
 of many European countries stand in favor of
 dialogue & a resumption of normal relations
 and cooperation.

In Austria, many politicians & political scientists
 oppose sanctions against Russia and call for the
 need for a reasonable and balanced approach in
 building relations with Russia.

Professor at the Institute of East and South-
Eastern Europe in Vienna, Peter Bachmeier:

"I cannot say that Russia is isolated. Austria
 is against such a policy. Austria's government
 does not support sanctions against Russia.
In June, Austrian President Fischer invited
Russian President Putin to Vienna, and he
 spoke to the Chamber of Commerce.

 Of course, he spoke with the Chancellor
and other leaders of the country. The
 Austrian people are generally very
positive towards Russia.

Austria is a neutral country, it is not a
member of NATO, and the majority of
people reject NATO and NATO policy,"
 Peter Bachmeier told Pravda.Ru.

The professor says Austrians support the
policy of Russia. "They especially support
Russia's position on the conflict in
Ukraine," he says.

 "One should also distinguish the position
 of the authorities in different countries
 around the world, from their people. In
 many countries, the authorities have
 very strong anti-Russian propaganda
in the media, but this does not affect
the people's opinions. There is a gap
 between the media and the people,
 including on the part of intellectuals
 & the political class," says the expert.

The problem, he says, is the EU and
 European Commission, who support
 the sanctions. These remain under
 the influence of the USA.

"The Austrian government, unfortunately,
is taking a very careful stand. But on the
other hand... our government is taking
steps in favor of the Russian position.
Because our economy, the Chamber of
Commerce, our business community, is
 against the sanctions. They have very
 close relationships with Russia," Peter
Bachmeier says.

_________________________


Kiev's army was pulling heavy weapons closer to
 Debaltsevo to unblock trapped troops — Basurin

Kiev was pulling heavy weapons closer to
Debaltsevo -- with the obvious aim of un-

blocking troops trapped in the Debaltsevo
 pocket, Eduard Basurin, a spokesperson
 for the defense ministry of the Donetsk
 People’s Republic (DPR), said on Tuesday.

"According to reconnaissance data, after
 dark, Ukraine’s troops are pulling heavy
artillery systems & multiple launch rocket
systems into position near the
Artemovsk,
Svetodarskoye & Luganskoye s
ettlements,"
Donetsk News Agency quotes him as saying.

He said it indicates that the Kiev regime is
 preparing another attempt to free troops
 entrapped in the Debaltsevo pocket.

Basurin says hundreds of Ukrainian troops
 have surrendered to DPR militias over the
 past 24 hours. He says he refrains from
citing the exact number of surrendered
Ukrainian troopers and their names due
to security considerations.

"According to our information, the Ukrainian
 army command says those who surrender
 are "traitors to the country’" -- with all the
relevant legal consequences," he says.


_______________________



 Novorossian forces are carrying out
mopping-up operation in Debaltsevo

The District Police Board and railway station
have been captured by Novorossian forces,
reports the news agency, Novorossia Today.

Both are situated in the centre of the town.
Kiev  troopers are surrendering en masse.
Some sources report that 120 of them laid
down their arms and were taken prisoner
by People’s Militiamen.

__________________________________


The German chancellor talked to President
Putin on Tuesday by 'phone, to resolve

the stand off in the "cauldron", of trapped
Kiev troops.

Otherwise, the ceasefire is holding, and
-- in the meantime -- the world turns its
attention to the IS terrorism threat...


___________________________


US policy on Iraq led to creation of ISIL: Chomsky

The United States’ policy of war and sanctions
 against Iraq, destabilized its civil society and
 provoked the sectarian divisions which led to
 the creation of the ISIL terrorist group,  says
US linguist and philosopher, Noam Chomsky.

Chomsky made the comments in an interview
 with journalist David Barsamian published by
 New York's 'Jacobin' magazine, on Monday.
 The complete interview will be broadcast
by Alternative Radio.

Chomsky says he agrees with Graham
Fuller, a former CIA officer, who said,
 “the US created the background out
 of which ISIS grew and developed.”

The American scholar says the 2003 US
invasion was “devastating” to Iraq, which
 had “already been virtually destroyed, first
of all by the decade-long war with Iran in
which, incidentally, Iraq was backed by
 the US, and then a decade of sanctions.”

He adds that the “genocidal sanctions…
devastated civilian society, strengthened
 the dictator, compelling the population
 to rely on him for survival.”

Chomsky says the “very destructive…
 attack is compared by many Iraqis to
 the Mongol invasion of a 1,000 years
 earlier.”

He says after the offensive, US policy
makers separated “the sects, Sunni,
 Shi’a, Kurd, from one another, and set
 them at each other’s throats. Within
 a couple of years, there was a major,
 brutal sectarian conflict incited by
 the invasion.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, Chomsky says
 the roots of the Takfiri ideology of ISIL “are
 in the major US ally, Saudi Arabia. That’s
been the major US ally in the region for as
 long as the US has been seriously involved
 there, in fact, since the foundation of the
 Saudi state.”

He adds that Saudi Arabia has “kind of a
family dictatorship” which “uses its huge
 oil resources to promulgate its doctrine
throughout the region. It establishes
schools, mosques, clerics, all over the
 place, from Pakistan to North Africa.”


______________________________



Hezbollah engaged in fighting ISIL in Iraq,
 Nasrallah says

The Secretary General of Lebanon's Hezbollah
 resistance movement, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah,
 says the Lebanese resistance movement has
been fighting the ISIL Takfiri group in Iraq.

“We may not have spoken about Iraq before,
 but we have a limited presence because of
 the sensitive phase Iraq is going through,”
 Nasrallah says in a Martyrs day speech.

Hezbollah fighters have been backing the
Syrian army, in its fight against Takfiri
militants operating inside Syria.

“I call for those who urge us to withdraw
from Syria to join us in our fight in Syria.
Let's go to Iraq and everywhere to face
 off this threat, because this is the right
way to defend Lebanon,” Nasrallah says.

Nasrallah criticizes Jordan’s double
standards in the fight against the
terrorists, saying that all terrorist
groups follow the same mentality.

"Jordan cannot fight ISIL in Iraq and
support al-Nusra in Syria, terrorist
 groups are faces of the same coin."

The al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front and
 the ISIL terrorist group have "the same
 essence, ideology, culture, methodology,"
 the head of Hezbollah says, adding, "The
 only difference between them was over
 leadership, but they are essentially one
 and the same." 

"All the Takfiri currents must be fought,
without distinction," he adds.

Nasrallah’s remarks come as Jordan vows
 to intensify airstrikes on ISIL strongholds
 after the immolation of a Jordanian pilot
 held hostage by the terrorist group.

Several Arab countries, like Jordan,
 are taking part in the US-led military
coalition, that has purportedly been
 targeting ISIL positions in Syria with
no authorization from Damascus...
 and no UN mandate.

The same Arab countries are accused of
 supporting the Takfiris in Syria and Iraq,
where ISIL terrorists are wreaking havoc.

"How can some countries in the Gulf take
part in the international coalition against
Daesh, while giving money and weapons
to the al-Nusra Front. How is that logical?"
 Nasrallah asks.

 
_______________________



Bahrain regime 'terrified'

Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, describes
 the government in Bahrain as a “terrified”
 regime, saying Hezbollah supports the
Bahraini people.

“There's a terrified and weak government
 in Bahrain that fears any word of right, it
even threatens to expel the Lebanese,”
Nasrallah says.

Nasrallah slams those countries who criticize
 Hezbollah’s stance on developments in Bahrain,
 saying that those who arm militants, including
 ISIL, in Syria, can't criticize Hezbollah’s position
 on Bahrain.

“We didn't call for toppling the Bahrain regime,
 we only supported those who were calling for
 dialogue,” he notes.

On January 9th, Nasrallah highlighted the
peaceful nature of the anti-regime protests
 in Bahrain, and that month also slammed
the detention of Bahraini opposition leader,
 Sheikh Ali Salman.

“The people of Bahrain have legitimate rights.
 They decided to launch peaceful a revolution
 --- contrary to other movements in the world.
 They were shot at but they didn't shoot. They
 were killed on roads, but they didn't kill any-
one and held no knife,” Nasrallah said.

Since mid-February 2011, 1,000s of protesters
 have been holding numerous rallies, calling for
 the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.

The Manama regime has, however, responded
 to the peaceful protest rallies by launching a
 heavy-handed crackdown on demonstrators
and political dissidents.

Bahrain has come under harsh criticism by
 many human rights groups, for its brutal
clampdown on peaceful gatherings and the
numerous cases of human rights violations.


_______________________



Yemen’s Houthis rightful

Hezbollah's head praises the Houthi movement
 in Yemen for their contribution to restraining
 the expansion of Takfiri groups in the region.

He describes the Yemen’s Shia Ansarullah
 movement  as 'rightful', 'brave' and 'wise'.

Over the past months, al-Qaeda militants
 have frequently carried out attacks on
Yemen’s security forces. The militants
have also engaged in battles with
Ansarullah.

In September 2014, Ansarullah fighters
 gained control of the capital Sana’a,
 after a 4-day battle with army forces
 loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar,
 the half-brother of the country’s former
dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The Ansarullah revolutionaries say the
 Yemeni government has proven to be
incapable of running the affairs of the
country
properly, or providing security.

_________________________


Israel ISIL's sole beneficiary

The leader of Hezbollah notes that Israel
 is the only entity in the Middle East that
 benefits from the ISIL Takfiri group.

“All the world considers ISIL to be a huge
 threat, except Israel,” Nasrallah says.
“ISIL's agenda has served the Israelis
immensely ."


_______________________


ISIL against Islam and Christianity

Nasrallah condemns the execution of the
Egyptian Coptic Christians by ISIL Takfiris
in Libya: “We extend our condolences to
the Egyptian people and the Coptic Church,
 this crime has affected both Islam and
 Christianity.”

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists released a 5-minute
 video on Sunday showing the beheading of 21
 Egyptian Coptic Christians kidnapped in Libya.

The video showed handcuffed hostages
 dressed in orange jumpsuits, similar to
previous ISIL victims, kneeling along
 the seaside, near Tripoli.

The ISIL had earlier published photos of
 the 21 Egyptian workers, claiming that
the pictures were taken moments before
 their decapitation.

The victims, whose photos were published
 in the latest online edition of Dabiq ISIL's
 magazine, were reportedly abducted in Sirte
 in 2 attacks in December 2015 & in January.

________________________________


Merkel says situation in east Ukraine
 unstable due to Debaltseve crisis

Achieving peace in east Ukraine will be an
 extremely difficult task as the situation in the
region remains unstable, German Chancellor
 Angela Merkel says at a news conference in
 Berlin on Monday.

"The situation is unstable. And this is not
unexpected, taking into consideration the
situation in Debaltseve," Merkel says.

"It has always been clear that we need to
 do a lot more. I have always stressed that
 the attempts we make, do not guarantee
 success. This will be an extremely difficult
 path," she stresses.

Russia’s Ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail
Zurabov, says that the main problem in
implementing the Minsk agreements, is
a lack of regulation of the situation
 around Debaltseve.

At talks in Minsk, Ukrainian President Petro
 Poroshenko didn't admit that Kiev's forces
 were surrounded in Debaltseve.

Self-defense forces say there is encirclement
 and Kiev's forces can exit ----- but only if they
 leave their weapons and military equipment.

From 6,000 to 8,000 Ukrainian servicemen
 are surrounded in Debaltseve, according to
 different estimates.

Despite the situation in Deblaltsevo, Zurabov
 hopes the leadership of the self-proclaimed
 Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics will
 be able to implement the Minsk agreements,
 Izvestiya says. "There is a chance for that, at
 least that’s what I think," Zurabov is quoted
 as saying.

The present Kiev regime says the truce is
being violated "hundreds of times" by the
"terrorists", as the Luhansk republic today
reports one dead in the shelling of Zorinsk
 by Kiev's forces and the Donetsk republic
 says there will be no weapons withdrawal
 until Kiev stops its shelling.

Kiev is also blocking food supplies now, to
the self-proclaimed DPR republic — a DPR
 Contact Group envoy says.
 
The Donetsk People’s Republic urged Kiev,
on Sunday, to observe the truce, and

 stated that the situation in the strategic
 railway hub of Debaltseve, is still tense.

"The ceasefire there, did not come into
 force at the due time. Ukrainian troops
blocked in Debaltsevo keep on trying to
break the encirclement," DPR Defense
Ministry
spokesperson, Eduard Basurin,
says.


The ceasefire regime came into force
at midnight
on Sunday.

Chief monitor of the Special Monitoring Mission
 (SMM) to Ukraine of the OSCE Ertugrul Apakan
 earlier confirmed that the ceasefire has been
 generally observed, except for in Debaltseve.

OSCE monitors failed to reach Debaltseve to
 observe the situation, he says, and calls on
both parties to the conflict to provide access
 to all territories within the conflict zone, for
representatives of the OSCE mission.

Russia' top generals are hit by personal
sanctions today, by the EU, in a move
which prompted surprise in Moscow.



__________________________



               Venezuela Facing Permanent Coup d'état               
 
 Venezuela faces a permanent coup d'état,
 a low intensity, implacable war, carried out
 under American supervision and planning,
 affirms an article published today in the
 French newspaper L''Humanité.

The evidence, by the specialist Jean Ortiz,
 underlines that this situation, incited by a
 spiteful opposition, has existed since the
 coup d'état of April, in 2002.

The target of this coalition, which unites
 the ultraright with ex social democrats,
 is to beat the government, which is
 following Hugo Chavez' ideas, by using
 all possible means to destabilize the
country, emphasizes Ortiz.

A permanent economic and ideological war
 and a violent strategy, prove to be the main
elements they work on, he points out in his
 work titled: 'Venezuela: dismantling of an
 attempted coup d'état'.

 Lecturer at the University of Pau, in France,
he says the coup d'état was meant to happen
on February 12th, after the publication of a
 manifesto asking for  a new "provisional"
government.

The instigators, marionettes and puppeteers,
wish to undermine the Armed forces morale
 and the people's, and destabilize the country
'by all necessary means. At the cost of blood.
 Let us remember the Chile of Allende and
 Neruda. Let us not allow that to be repeated'.

Many across the world today join with
 Venezuelans in rejecting this attempt
 at a coup, involving the right party
 and the USA, which was denounced
 last Thursday, by Venezuela's
 president, Nicolás Maduro.


______________________________



Gulf Arabs Threaten Measures
                  in Yemen if UN Hesitates               
 
 The Cooperation Council of the Gulf (CCG)
 urges the UN to resort to military force
 to solve the crisis in Yemen, threatening
 to 'use its own measures', if they think
 their interests are threatened.

In their declaration, Foreign Ministers of the
 Six Arab States of the Persian Gulf call on the
 UN Security Council to adopt a Resolution
 under Chapter VII that authorizes the use of
military force if peace is threatened.

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain,
Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates
 brand the seizure of power in their neighboring
country by the Houthi insurgents organization,
Ansar Allah,
as illegitimate.

They also ask the UN Security Council for
 'urgent actions to ensure the safety and
health of President Abed Rabbo Mansour
 Hadi and Prime Minister Khalid Bahah,
ministers and other officials, and release
 them from the house arrest, in which
they have been kept, since January.

The final statement of the extraordinary
meeting, supports the resumption of the
 peaceful transition of power process,
 based on the so-called GCC Initiative
 and its executive arm, plus the inter-
Yemeni Conference of National Dialogue.

The foreign ministers favor implementing
resolution 2140 adopted in 2014 'regarding
sanctions against anyone who lacerates
 the process of peaceful transition'.

The six Sunni Arab monarchies say:

'In the case of a failure to agree (between
the rival factions), the GCC member states
 will take measures to enable them to
maintain their vital interests & the security
 & stability of Yemen, warns the statement.


___________________________



Putin, Merkel, Hollande, Poroshenko
discuss situation around Debaltsevo

The presidents of Russia, France & Ukraine,
 Vladimir Putin, Francois Hollande and Petro
 Poroshenko, and German Chancellor Angela
Merkel, held a 'phone conversation Sunday
 to discuss implementation of the complex
 measures of the peace settlement signed
 by the Contact Group earlier in the week,
the Kremlin's press service says.

The four leaders also discussed the difficult
 situation around the town of Debaltsevo and
 the OSCE's roll in controlling observance of
 the ceasefire regime.

"Special emphasis was placed on the need
 to strictly observe the ceasefire regime by
 both conflicting parties and to begin pulling
 out heavy weapons," the press service said.

The leaders also agreed on the "parameters
 of further joint efforts - within the context of
 promoting implementation of the Minsk
 agreements".
 

____________________________



Germany, Russia send humanitarian aid to E.Ukraine

As the truce holds in Ukraine, two convoys with
 humanitarian aid from Russia are under customs
 clearance now on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Once cleared, the white trucks of Russia’s
 Emergency Ministry will go on two routes: to
 Donetsk and to Lugansk, delivering food and
 medical supplies to the besieged citizens.

Simultaneously, 28 tons of medical supplies
 have arrived in Donets from Germany. They
 were bought using donations collected in
 Germany on the initiative of German MPs,
and their shipment has become the first
humanitarian aid delivered to Donbass,
 from the EU.

The delivery was made through Russian
 territory because Kiev failed to provide
 Berlin with transit authorization.

The four trucks from Germany delivered
supplies to Donetsk, Lugansk & Gorlovka.

Anyone in Wales doing ANYTHING?!!!


________________________



Head of Donetsk Republic: Donetsk militia
  to observe ceasefire at midnight Feb 15th

Militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s
 Republic (DPR) will observe a ceasefire from
 midnight on February 15, the republic’s head
Alexander Zakharchenko says.

"DPR will stop firing today at 24:00 across the
 republic, as it's written in the peace agreement
signed in Minsk on February 12," the Donetsk
 news agency reports.

The first condition of the document sets an
 immediate and comprehensive ceasefire from
 00:00 hours (Kiev time) on February 15th, 2015.

 The conflicting parties agreed on the withdrawal
 of all heavy weapons. Parties will pull back all
heavy weapons to locations equidistant from the
 disengagement line in order to create a security
 zone at least 50 klmtrs wide for artillery systems
 with a calibre of 100mm or more, a security zone
 70 klmtrs wide for most multiple rocket launchers
 and 140 klmtrs wide zone for the multiple rocket
 launchers Tornado-S, Uragan and Smerch and
 Tochka-U tactical rocket systems.


______________________________



Ex-Georgian president to coordinate
Ukraine arms supplies

Ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili,
 appointed on Friday as the chair of Ukraine’s
 international consultative reform council,
says he's going to coordinate the supply
of arms to Kiev.

"Now it is most important to help Ukraine
with weapons. Over the next several days,
I will be coordinating this," Saakashvili
told a Ukrainian TV channel.

US Department of State Spokesperson
Jen Psaki said Friday that arms supplies
to Ukraine are still on the table --- even
after this week’s signing of a new Minsk
agreement.

Saakashvili, who's refused to apply for
 Ukrainian citizenship, says: "I am a free
politician & a Georgian citizen. All other
 proposals to obtain Ukrainian citizenship
did not fit into a whole strategy, and, of
 course, I should return to my country."

A decree published on Friday, says that the
 council he now chairs will be a consultative
 agency under Ukraine's president, providing
 proposals and recommendations on reforms
  - based on the best international experience.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says
 Saakashvili, who has unique knowledge and
 experience and has in fact worked as a free-
lance advisor on Ukrainian reforms, has now
finally received official status.

President Poroshenko says Saakashvili will
 become "Ukraine’s representative abroad &
 - at the same time - the representative of the
 international community in Ukraine."

Saakashvili was president of Georgia, for
 two consecutive terms from January 2004
 to November 2013. In his home country,
he is accused of embezzling state funds.

 In September, property of the ex-president
 & his family members was seized, as were
his personal bank accounts in Georgia.

Eka Beselia, a leader of the Georgian Dream
 coalition, chair of the human rights committee
 of Georgia's parliament, says the Ukrainian
 authorities’ decision to appoint Saakashvili
 to the post, is a "mistake."

"Georgia has an especially warm and friendly
 attitude to the Ukrainian people and Ukraine.
 I don’t know what reasonable advice Mikhail
 Saakashvili can give to Ukraine’s president,"
 she says, commenting on Ukrainian media
 reports about Saakashvili’s appointment.

"Political tastes differ," Georgian parliament’s
 vice speaker, Zurab Abashidze, says, adding:
 "If I was the Ukrainian president, I wouldn't
want Mikheil Saakashvili as an advisor."

In December 2014, Georgian PM Irakli
Garibashvili said that, in 2015, he would
 visit Kiev to discuss bilateral cooperation
issues with Ukraine’s leadership. He also
 said then, that in Kiev he wasn't going to
meet with former Georgian officials, now
members of the government of Ukraine.

 And in March last year, the Georgian PM
 said the current Ukrainian government
shouldn't listen to Saakashvili’s advice.

"Having - in this crisis situation - such an
 adventurer for an advisor, is fraught with
 disastrous consequences for Ukraine,"
 he said.


__________________________



BAHRAIN PEACEFUL
REVOLUTION ANNIVERSARY

Sheikh Salman Calls from Prison
  for Continuous Peaceful Rallies

Sheikh Ali Salman, the Secretary General of
 Al-Wefaq, the powerful Bahraini opposition
 group, greets "the great people of Bahrain"
on the fourth anniversary of the revolution.

"I feel tranquility and peace of mind flooding
my heart thanks to Allah Almighty. You made
 me shy, by your noble stance on my arrest.

You did more than what's expected of you,
and I am grateful to you for your positions,"
 Sheikh Salman tells the Bahraini people in
a message he sent from Al-Khalifa prison,
and posted on his Twitter account.

"Don't forget the rest of the detainees. Do
not forget our main demand - electing our
 government in a democratic, sound way,
 as well as electing a parliament which
 legislates decrees without tutelage by
 a particular council in regular elections,
 based on equality," his eminence says.

"Equality-based elections is the one
 thing we demand," he stresses.

Sheikh Salman goes on to urge Bahrainis
 to continue their movement and to stick
 to their peaceful path.

"Protect yourselves and their private and
public property," he says.

Activists posted several videos showing
 the Bahrain monarchy's crackdown on
 peaceful protests in the kingdom.

In the scenes, security forces appear to
repeatedly fire live bullets at protestors
 from short distances.

Bahrain's peaceful revolution erupted in
February 2011, however, the monarchy
of Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa launched
 a brutal crackdown on the people, who
 demand democracy and social reform.

For three days in the run up to today,
a general strike has been observed.

Bahrain - which was always part of Iran
- was stolen by the UK, but then given to
the US as a military naval base as the UK
found itself bankrupt, after World War ll.


_________________________



Kiev, Western nations
bending peace deal: Moscow


Russia says Kiev and its Western allies
 have twisted a peace deal to end the
crisis in east Ukraine which is shortly
 to go into effect.

The Russian Foreign Ministry says in
 a statement issued on Saturday, that
several official representatives of
Ukraine and Western countries, “the
US in particular, have essentially
expressed solidarity with the
opinion of radical nationalists in
 the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's
 parliament).”

Moscow adds that they have also started
 “to distort the contents of the Minsk
agreements.”

The negotiating sides agreed on withdrawing
heavy weapons from Ukraine’s front lines and
 a ceasefire, beginning at 2200 GMT on Feb 14,
 (midnight Kiev time on February 15).

The Russian Ministry, meanwhile, warns
 that the Ukrainian government and the
 West “put in doubt the implementation
 of the document's concrete measures.”

The statement, however, reiterates
 that the representatives of the self-
proclaimed republics of Donetsk and
 Lugansk have a “responsible attitude
 towards their commitments.”

“We reaffirm that the principal message
 of the Minsk accords is: it is necessary
to end the fighting, to withdraw heavy
weapons and start real constitutional
 reform in Ukraine,” the statement says.

Russia also calls on all the signatories
to Thursday's agreement, as well as
 the parties that backed the process,
 including Germany and France, to do
everything in their power to make
certain that the accord is respected.


_______________



DPR -  Kiev’s refusal to amnesty Donbas leaders
shows reluctance to implement Minsk deal

Kiev’s refusal to amnesty the militia leaders of
 south-eastern Ukraine, shows its reluctance to
 implement the Minsk agreement, Andrey Purgin,
 the speaker of the People’s Assembly of the
self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic
 (DPR), states.

"As a matter of fact, they are saying they are
 not going to implement the law on amnesty,"
 he says.

The Ukrainian foreign minister today also
denies any constitutional reform, or any
decentralization liabilities, on Kiev and
Kiev's ex-deputy chief of a paramilitary
battalion turned lawmaker, vows to
defy the Minsk deal completely.

Earlier Friday, Ukrainian media cited Foreign
 Minister, Pavlo Klimkin, saying the amnesty
 agreed at the late Minsk peace talks, won't
be applicable to leaders of Donbas militia.

"Ukraine is forming an entire class of political
 prisoners. This is nothing but a witch hunt," 
Andrey Purgin tells Donetsk News Agency.

 "Yesterday, I spoke with a relative of one of
 the political prisoners from Poltava. This
man is now held for pro-Russian picketing
 and is being tried by a panel of 3 Poltava
 judges. This is persecution of dissidents.
This is the collapse of society."

"Tens of thousands of criminal cases, thousands
 of people kept in detention wards... And I would
 like to stress one thing. When we had the latest
 mass exchange of prisoners, we released people
 who'd come here to shoot at us, but among the
 220 people released by the Ukrainian side only
 34 had been self-defence fighters. It means that
 the rest of the people were political prisoners,"
Purgin notes.

Among the implementation measures of the
 Minsk agreements, are the pardoning and
amnesty through law, banning persecuting
 or punishing Donbas' citizens over events.


_________________________


Ukraine ultranationalist leader rejects Minsk
peace deal, reserves right 'to continue war'

Ukraine’s Right Sector leader Dmitry Yarosh
 says his radical movement rejects the Minsk
 peace deal and that their paramilitary units
will continue “actively fighting" according
to their "own plans."

The notorious ultranationalist leader says
on his Facebook page, on Friday, that his
 radical Right Sector movement does not
 recognize the peace deal, signed by the
so-called 'contact group' on Thursday &
 agreed on by Ukraine, France, Germany
 and Russia, after epic 16-hour talks.

Yarosh claims that any agreement with
the eastern militia, whom he calls
 “terrorists,” has no legal force.

In his statement, Yarosh claims that the
 Minsk agreement is unconstitutional, so
 Ukraine's citizens are not obliged to
abide by it.

 So if the army receives orders to stop
 military activity and withdraw heavy
weaponry from the eastern regions...
 Right Sector paramilitaries, who also
fight there “reserve the right” to
continue the war, he says.

Right Sector continues to deploy its
 combat and reserve units, to train &
 logistically support personnel, while
coordinating its activities with the
military command of Ukraine's army,
 Defense Ministry paramilitary units
 and the Interior Ministry, he says.

Bluntly rejecting the German & French
 initiative, Yarosh says President Petro
 Poroshenko should have turned to the
 US or UK which “observe a consistent
 anti-Kremlin policy.”

In January, Russia’s Supreme Court
banned all the activities of 'Right
Sector' within the country. In July
 last year Interpol put Right Sector
 leader Yarosh, on its wanted list.

The radical movement was formed
as a coalition of nationalist & neo-
Nazi organizations during Maidan
 protests in Kiev at the end of 2013.

_____________________


Ukraine Right Sector threatens
 Poroshenko with Yanukovich’s fate

Around 300 angry protesters wore masks
& shouted nationalistic slogans, as they
 tried to break through a police barrier
today. They carried Right Sector's red
and black flags.

The aggressive crowd was demanding
that President Petro Poroshenko veto
a bill passed by parliament, Tuesday.

The new law gives special status to the
eastern regions of Lugansk & Donetsk,
as well as an amnesty for those who
fought against government forces.

That particular statute will also see
 early local elections carried out this
December and allow the use of the
Russian language as an official one.

Today, the leader of Right Sector,
 Dmitry Yarosh, describes the law as
"anti-national" on his Facebook page.

“Unless Poroshenko comes to his
senses, we’ll have a new president
& commander-in-chief in Ukraine,”
Yarosh warns.

“If anyone doubts that it’s possible, he
 can write to Yanukovich. He can verify
 that impossible things... can be made
to happen.”

Former President of Ukraine, Viktor
Yanukovich, lost power in February,
 as a result of mass protests in which
 the radical nationalist group played
 a key role.

It’s not the first time that Yarosh and
his supporters, have threatened the
 Ukrainian leader over his policies.

 In August, Right Sector demanded that
 the president sack some senior officers
 in the Interior Ministry, whom radicals
 accused of persecuting their members.

The ultimatum was retracted a day later,
as Right Sector said police had released
 its people - previously arrested for the
alleged smuggling of arms from combat
zones in the east of the country.

Wednesday’s violent protest was not
 the first act of violence in Kiev in the
last couple of days.

 On Tuesday another radical rally turned
 to violence as ultra-nationalists mobbed
 against other laws passed by Ukraine's
parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.

They burnt tires and even clashed with
 the National Guard in front of parliament.

International law expert Alexander Mercouris
 believes that the radical element in Ukraine
will continue its unrest over the president’s
 attempts to reach peace in the east.

“What we're seeing is an escalation in
 Ukraine of the political crisis. For these
 people, any kind of autonomy to the
eastern regions utterly cuts against
their ideology - which is a centralized,
ethnically united, Ukrainian-speaking
 Ukraine,” Mercouris explains.


_______________________


Maduro: Venezuela has foiled
 coup directed ‘from Washington’

Venezuela’s leader Nicolas Maduro says
 that the country has defeated an alleged
 US-sponsored coup which was reportedly
plotted by five Air Force officers.

“We have broken up and foiled a coup
attempt against democracy, and the
 stability of our country,” Maduro says,
stating that the coup was directed
“from Washington.”

The coup plan involved an attack on
 the presidential palace or another
 top target, Maduro says.

“This was an attempt to use a group
of military aviation officers to provoke
a violent event.” One of the detained
 plotters was “an [Air Force] general
 called Hernandez, alias el Oso
[the bear].”

“On the dates February 12th & 13th,
 during commemoration events, [the
plot was to] fly a 'Tucano' airplane,
arm the Tucano, and attack the
Miraflores [Presidential] Palace, or
whichever location I'd have been at
when participating in either event,
and then later attack other targets,
 which they had outlined before,"
Maduro says, as quoted by AP.

The alleged plot was uncovered by the
Venezuelan intelligence agency, and
 one of the participating officers was
connected to the right-wing forces
 allegedly planning to provoke the
wave of violence.

According to Maduro, the military man
was given financial aid, as well as a
US visa, which permitted him to leave
 on February 3rd.

Maduro said at the beginning of February,
 that US Vice President Joe Biden, was
 orchestrating the plot against Venezuela.

Nicolas Maduro, the National Assembly's
 president, Diosdado Cabello, also says:

 Venezuelan security bodies thwarted an
assassination attempt against elected
President Maduro.

 
The attack would have been executed
during an activity in which the president
 would participate, in Valencia, state of
Carabobo, but the individual responsible
 for executing the operation was detained,
the parliamentary leader says in his state
television program, "Con el mazo dando."

Thanks to the security and intelligence
bodies, citizen Alvaro Jesus Carmona,
linked to extreme right radical groups
 that planned to carry out the act, was
 detected in that city, Cabello says.

According to the legislator, the individual,
 leader of "Generacion Siete" Movement
and "Cuentas Claras", is on police files
 as an active participant in protests
 against the government, and also for
 his wrongdoings at the university
 where he studied.

The cell 'phone of Carmona, nephew of
councilor Gustavo Carmona, who financed
the so-called guarimbas (violent restrictive
acts on public roads) in Valencia, organized
 by the extreme right, showed footage of the
stage where the presidential activity would
 be carried out, he states.

Cabello says a sound box and pamphlets
 against the Bolivarian government were
found in an armored vehicle belonging to
 the detainee, as part of the destabilization
 plan and violence, known as La Salida,
 and instrumented by the extreme right.

Cabello calls on the people to defend
truth: not be influenced by destabilizing

campaigns promoted by national and
 international media, "which seek to
overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution'.

Last December, President Maduro
aired recordings, disclosing a US
plan to bribe and corrupt the
 Venezuelan authorities.

Relations between Venezuela and the US
 have been hostile for a few years: they've
 not sent ambassadors to each other since
 2010, and instead have chargé d’affaires
 running their embassies.


_____________________________



3 children killed in shelling of
 Gorlovka, E. Ukraine – officials

3 children have been killed in the eastern
 Ukrainian city of Gorlovka during shelling,
the
Emergencies Ministry of the self-
proclaimed
Donetsk People’s Republic
says, on Friday morning.


 A shell hit the roof of a one-story house,
TASS reports. About thirty people were
 injured in Donbass in the last 24 hours
after shelling by Kiev's armed forces,
 mostly in Donetsk and Lugansk.

 A peace deal was reached in Minsk
 on Thursday, and a ceasefire is to
begin in eastern Ukraine at
 22:00GMT on Saturday.


__________________________



Ukraine peace deal: Ceasefire starting
 February 15, removal of heavy weapons

An agreement has been brokered in Minsk
 to stop hostilities in Ukraine from Sunday.

The deal was reached after marathon talks
 between the leaders of France, Germany,
 Russia and Ukraine, and signed by the
Ukrainian rebels.

“I believe we agreed on a big deal. We agreed
 to a ceasefire starting at midnight on February
the 15th,” Russian President Vladimir Putin
 told the media, after the talks were finished.

"The main thing achieved is that from Saturday
 into Sunday there should be declared - without
any conditions at all - a general ceasefire," the
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told
 journalists in a separate statement.

A compromise decision was taken over the
 disengagement line, which was the biggest
 stumbling block in negotiations. According
 to the document, Kiev’s troops will pull back
 heavy weapons from the current frontline.

The rebels will pull back from the line as it
existed in September, when the previous
ceasefire agreement was signed.

The security zone separating the warring
sides must be at least 50km wide for artillery
 over 100mm caliber, 70km for regular multiple
rocket launchers and 100km for heavier arms
with a longer range, such as the Tochka-U
ballistic missiles, the document states.

The weapons pullout must start on Sunday &
 be completed in no longer than 14 days. The
OSCE is charged with implementing the cease-
fire on the ground and will use its drones and
 monitors, to verify that both parties stick to
the deal.

The ceasefire deal provides for a withdrawal
 of all "foreign troops, heavy weapons and
 mercenaries" from Ukraine, under OSCE
monitoring. "Illegal armed groups" will be
disarmed, but local authorities in the future
will be allowed to have legal militia units.

The agreement involves an exchange of all
prisoners, to be completed within 19 days.
 A general amnesty for the rebels will be
 declared by Kiev.

The national government’s control over the
borders between Donetsk and Lugansk
Regions, will be fully restored a day after
 municipal elections, which will be held
 in the regions as part of a profound
 constitutional reform.

The agreement requires political reform in
Ukraine to ensure decentralization and a
special status for its rebel provinces. It
 requires Ukraine to adopt legislation
 to provide permanent privileges to the
Lugansk & Donetsk Regions, currently
 self-declared republics, by the end of
 2015.

The legislation will include the right for
language self-determination and trans-
border ties with Russia, as well as the
 authority of the local governments to
appoint local prosecutors and judges,
the document states.

Humanitarian and economic issues are
 also mentioned in the deal. Kiev will
 restore economic ties and the social
payments, it cut in rebel-held areas,
the document says.
 An international monitoring mechanism
 may be established for these payments.

During the transition period an inter-
nationally-monitored mechanism for
 humanitarian aid to the regions
affected by the war, will be
 implemented, the document states.

Putin said that Kiev’s unwillingness to
 hold direct talks with the self-proclaimed
 Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics
 was among the reasons it took so much
time to reach an agreement.

“They may be unrecognized, but we have
 to deal with real life here, and if everyone
wants to agree and have sustainable
relations, direct contacts are needed,”
 Putin said.

He added that the ‘Normandy Four’ expect
the parties involved in the conflict to show
restraint even in the days before the cease-
fire takes effect.

The members of the ‘Normandy Four’ –
Putin, Ukrainian President Poroshenko,
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and
French President Francois Hollande –
supported a joint declaration
describing the results of their work.

The declaration was not meant to be
signed by the leaders, Germany's FM,
 Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.

The Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic,
 Aleksandr Zakharchenko, who signed the
Minsk document, says it requires additional
 consultation and warns that “if these terms
 are broken, there will be no new meetings
 or memoranda.”

He added that he and Igor Plotnitsky, the
head of Lugansk People’s Republic, agreed
 to sign the document “due to guarantees
 from the president of Russia, chancellor of
Germany and president of France,” with the
 hope that it would allow their people to
 “achieve peaceful development.”

The new Minsk accord gives hope for a
de-escalation of the Ukrainian conflict,
but requires a major effort to build trust
 between the parties involved.

The previous deal collapsed as neither Kiev
nor the rebels implemented it fully, which
means the threat of renewed hostilities in
Ukraine, continues to loom.

"We now have a glimmer of hope," 
 Merkel and the French President
say jointly today, on the German
 federal government's website.

She stresses she has no illusions
 as "there are still major hurdles
 lying ahead," & "concrete steps"
 must be taken.

Germany and France have shown
 that they have made a contribution
 in line with Europe, she says, adding
 that her initiative with Hollande, to
mediate a political resolution to the
 Ukraine crisis, was worthwhile.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter
 Steinmeier says in a separate statement
that the marathon four-way negotiations,
attended by Germany, France, Russia
and Ukraine, "achieved something"...
 including a ceasefire to be effective
 as of Saturday night.

The talks have cleared timelines for
the implementation of elections in
eastern Ukraine, border control and
 prisoner exchanges, as agreed in
 Minsk last September, he says.

"It was an extremely difficult negotiation"
 and the new agreement had "a difficult
 birth," Steinmeier says, urging all the
relevant parties to refrain from doing
anything that might undermine the
current agreement, before the
ceasefire enters into force.


____________________________


Al-Qaeda-linked militants overrun
 army camp in south Yemen

Al-Qaeda-linked fighters have launched
 an attack against a government army
base in Yemen’s southern province of
Shabwa, taking full control of the site,
local government officials say.

The terrorist Ansar al-Sharia said in a
Twitter statement on Thursday that its
members had fully seized the camp of
 the 19th Infantry Brigade in the town
 of Beihan, 320 klmtrs S. East of Sana’a.

The Takfiri militant group also criticized
 the Yemeni army, for collaborating with
 the Shia Houthi Ansarullah movement.

Tribal sources in Shabwa confirmed the
capture, saying Ansar al-Sharia militants
 captured the base after a gun battle with
 government troops. At least 7 people
 were reportedly killed in the process.

In past months, al-Qaeda militants have
 frequently attacked Yemen’s security
 forces. The militants have also been
 battling with Shia Ansarullah fighters.

The central government in Sana’a has
so far failed in its efforts to rid Yemen
of the threat from the terrorists.

Ansarullah fighters, who played a
big role in ousting Yemen’s former
dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, have
 intervened to fill the vacuum and
have driven al-Qaeda militants
 out of many areas in the country.

Ali al-Emad, an Ansarullah leader,
 recently said Saudi Arabia supports
 armed al-Qaeda extremists in order
to control oil and service centres
 in the Yemeni provinces of Marib
 and Hadhramaut.

He added that Riyadh seeks to stop
 changes in Yemen for fear of possible
 impacts on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.


_______________________________



“Azov” battalion: who are
 the real governors of Mariupol?

Opinion of a dweller of Mariupol
Lyudmila Surikova:

“My acquaintances and friends often ask me:
“What's going on in Mariupol? Who is shelling
 peaceful cities and killing ordinary civilians?

 Who downed MH17, who blew up the bus in
 Volnovakha and bombed a residential area
in Vostochnyi?”

They expect me to answer that it was done
 by People’s Militias or by Ukraine's Army…
 but I surprise and disappoint them with my
 reply: Ukraine has no authority in Mariupol.

 The “Azov” battalion's the authority here.
 Ukrainians or militiamen have nothing to
do with the downed Boeing, or the bus
being hit, or the shelling of Mariupol.

All the above are the deeds of NATO’s
 foreign legion under the scandalous
name of “Azov” according to the true
words of the Russian President.

 Such battalions are also called territorial
 battalions. There are many of them. Azov
 isn't the only one. There's also Aidar,
Donbas and others. In reality they're not
 Ukrainian Nationalists; they are typical
 Western international mercenaries, hired
 in various countries by Mr. Kolomoyskiy,
 for American money and on the orders
 of the USA.

 In fact it is NATO’s foreign legion, as
 Putin said, masked as local Nationalists.
 They do not fight for any idea, they earn
 money. It makes no difference to them
 who they are killing or blowing up.

 They are only paid for combat activities,
 and that is why they need to constantly
 murder someone, in order to report in
work done and receive their salary.

 And the goal set before them is simple:
 exterminate as many as possible pro-
Russian local inhabitants, undermine
 infrastructure in the industrial region,
 and discredit Russia in the eyes of the
 world. If possible, even get it directly
involved in a World War.

 They are not subordinate to Kiev or
 the Headquarters of Ukraine's Army.

 They have a different task. Commands
 are directly issued from Washington,
 or Ukraine's Security Services, which
 have been a CIA department for some
time now.

They are instructed and trained by
counselors from the task forces of
NATO and Israel. It is they who are
 shelling peaceful cities, blowing
up
buses, murdering civilians and
 kidnapping people.

 It is they who shoot in both directions:
on Ukraine's military and militiamen,
 when ceasefires are declared, in
order to receive their blood money.

 It's they who shoot Ukrainian soldiers
 in the back, when they do not want
 to fight and torture and kill captured
 militiamen… They are called “the
Third Force” here in Donbass, and
 they are never taken prisoner.


http://novorossia.today/


_______________________________



US troops to start training Ukrainian forces

A battalion of US troops are to train three
battalions of Ukrainian troops at Yavariv
 training camp in Lviv, in March, US Army
 Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges
 said on Wednesday.

According to Hodges, US troops will train
 the Ukrainians in fields such as, how to
 better defend themselves against militia
rockets and artillery. They will also get
 training on how to secure roads, bridges
 and various other infrastructures.

He added they will also be taught how
 to treat and evacuate casualties and
 cope in situations as communications
are jammed.

Hodges made the remarks during a visit
 to NATO's Multinational Corps Northeast
Headquarters in Szczecin city, Poland.

Although his comments came amid a
surge in fighting in eastern Ukraine,
 he stated that the plans were made
 several months ago.

Meanwhile, the leaders of France,
Germany, Russia and Ukraine are
holding 'peace talks' in Minsk,
Belarus, as the fighting rages on.

 Donetsk officials say five people were
 killed and nine more injured, by Kiev
 government forces shelling a bus stop
 on Wednesday. City officials also report
 the death of 3 people during overnight
 shelling.

In a separate incident, one person was
 killed when a hospital was shelled by
 government troops in Donetsk.

"A shell hit hospital number 20, setting
 it on fire,"  a spokesperson, Yuliana
 Bedilo, told AFP, for the Donetsk
authorities.

She added that the victim was a
 pedestrian passing by the hospital
during the incident.

One person in the hospital was
wounded and 5 others evacuated,
 said Bedilo.

Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday
 that 19 government troops were killed
and a further 78 injured in the fighting
in Debaltseve region.

Also on Wednesday, Ukraine’s regime
 announced it is to impose martial law
if the crisis escalates in Ukraine’s east.

“The government and parliament are
 ready to introduce martial law
throughout Ukraine,” said Poroshenko.

He added that the Minsk summit would
 determine whether the conflict could
be
resolved via “diplomatic channels”
or
the Ukrainian government should
“switch to a completely different mode.”


______________________________



Yemenis hold rally to mark
revolution anniversary


Thousands of Yemenis have held rallies across
 Yemen, to mark the fourth anniversary of the
 country’s revolution, which toppled the long-
time dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Yemenis took to the streets on Wednesday in
various cities, including the capital Sana'a, to
celebrate the anniversary of Saleh’s downfall.


The demonstrators also called for the
establishment of security, across the
 impoverished country.

Four years after the February Revolution,
Yemen is currently the scene of massive
political changes, with fighters from the
Shia Ansarullah movement in control of
Sana'a and some other major towns

and cities across the country. 

‘Do not block Yemen’s revolution’

In a televised speech on Tuesday,
 the leader of the Shia Ansarullah
 movement, Abdel-Malik al-Houthi,
 warned against any plots to hinder
 the reform process in the country.

"The disturbed powers who are
causing instability, if they ever
 decide to play the economic
 card, their interests are going
 to be affected, because the
Yemeni people will never stay
still
watching them causing
 them harm --- and they know
exactly what to do," he said.

Houthi, addressing a huge gathering
 of people in the city of Sa’ada, said
 Western governments are trying to
spread fear in Yemen --- by closing
their embassies in the Arab country.

"There are some people trying to
spread fear in diplomatic missions:
aiming to scare them enough to flee
 the country, even though they know
they live in a stable security situation
 which is clear; there is no need for
 these fears," he said.

The US, UK and France have announced
 that their embassies in Yemen will close
 --- and have urged citizens to leave the
country, amid the ongoing turmoil.

The revolutionary leader defended his
 party’s forming of a new revolutionary
 committee, saying that the formation
 of the transitional council can thwart
 all the plots against Yemen, as it will
put an end to the political vacuum.

Houthi also asked all political factions
in the country to contribute to the new
 political process and help the country
build a better future.

"Come, be a partner in responsibility
 and a partner in building the future
of your country -- the whole of your
country: a partner in discussing &
 treating the issues we are facing,
no matter what issues they are,”
he appeale
d, as he saw the
contribution of all
factions & all
opposition parties,
in Yemen’s
decision-making
system, as a
responsibility.


"This is the responsibility and the
ambition, do you have an ambition?
-- to be active in the whole country
and to be a partner in the decision
 making and a positive contributor
in every way?" he asked.

The Houthi movement continues to
strengthen its control over various
parts of troubled Yemen.

Military officials confirm that Houthis
 took control of the province of Bayda,
on Tuesday. This is the main gateway
 to Yemen’s Sunni-inhabited south.

Houthi gained control of the capital city
of Sana’a in September 2014, following
 four days of battles with army forces
loyal to the country’s former dictator.

 The revolutionaries say the Yemeni
government has been incapable of
properly running the affairs of the
country and providing security.


_______________________



THIS IS WHY RHONDDA RECORDS EXISTS

The West's press coverage of the speech below
was so anti-Assad we thought you might like a
more 'socialist' take on it -- from Prensa Latina.

Bashar Al-Assad Reaffirms Disposition
                  For National Dialogue in Syria               
 
 Syria has decided to fight terrorism and
establish a national dialogue, and can
not be in an alliance with states which
support terrorism, said President
Bashar Al-Assad, in an interview
 released today to the world's press.

Al-Assad stressed that most countries
 of the US-led coalition support terror,
 and it's important for Syria to maintain
 its independence.

'We would become a puppet working
against our own interests,' said the
Syrian president to the UK's BBC.

The Syrian leader said the ideological
source of the Islamic State terrorist
 organization and other groups linked
to Al-Qaeda is Wahhabism, which has
the support of the Saudi royal family.

He insisted that since the beginning
of the crisis in his country a decision
was taken to fight terrorism and to
conduct a nation-wide dialogue.

'Any war is bad and, in each, come
civilian casualties. The government
has decided to fight terrorism, to
defend its civilians', said Al-Assad.

The Syrian President rejected accusations
 against his government on alleged human
 rights violations against civilians, made as
 they are, by Western powers led by the US.

'If we were killing our people as the West
 alleges, we would not have stood firm
throughout this four-year period, and it
 is impossible for the government, army
 & state institutions to remain, without
popular support," said the president.

'When one enjoys popular support,
remarked Al-Assad, 'this means
that the people are defended.'

He also criticized the persistence of
Western states, who try to present
as a moderate opposition, armed
 bands who share terrorist roots
with the self-proclaimed Islamic
State group and the Al-Nusra Front.

Al-Assad strongly refuted recent
accusations made by Human Rights
 Watch, that the forces of the Syrian
army attack, brutally & deliberately,
 areas held by the armed opposition,
 with weapons that don't discriminate
 between combatants and civilians.

"These stories are silly and the West
 keeps repeating them," emphasized
 the Syrian president.


___________________________



PICKING UP THE PIECES

Russia and Egypt have agreed on establishing
 a free trade zone and Russia’s industrial zone,
 near the Suez Canal, Egypt's President, Abdel
Fattah el-Sisi, says on Tuesday, after talks
with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

According to the Egyptian leader, Russia and
 Egypt will go ahead with military-technological
 cooperation, under the current circumstances.

The parties also agreed on developing energy
 and on civilian nuclear power cooperation.

President Putin said the nuclear power
 deal signed by Russia and Egypt means
establishing a new nuclear power
industry in the North African country.


__________________________________


IS will control Mediterranean shore in 2 months
 unless West helps Libya – former Libyan PM

The militants of IS terrorist group will control
territory on the shores of Mediterranean
“within two months” unless the West helps
 Libya to counteract the extremists, the
former PM of Libya Ali Zeidan claims in his
 comments published on Tuesday in the
 Times newspaper.

Zeidan expresses his concern that the IS will
 seek to extend the declared “Caliphate” to
the territory of Libya, after the IS terrorists
managed to put several territories in Iraq and
 Syria under their control. The former head of
the Libyan government warns about the huge
expansion of IS and its presence everywhere.

According to Zeidan the IS branch in Libya made
up of local citizens is stepping up its presence in
 the majority of big cities in Libya and is engaging
 fighters from other Islamist groups.

Ali Zeidan expressed his hope that the world will
take the problem seriously. The situation in Libya
is still under control, but left as it is, it will not be
controlled as successfully as it used to be, the
 former Libyan PM adds.

There will be a big war in the country, and in
Europe too, he warns.

Last autumn militants from the Mediterranean
 city Derna were the first to swear allegiance
to IS. The city is close to European borders –
 only 200 miles from the Greek island of Crete.

This year there are reports that IS terrorists
are taking advantage of the chaos in Libya,
 since the overthrow of Muammar Kaddafi’s
 regime, and are starting to establish their
rule in the capital city, Tripoli.

The IS officially declared its presence in Libya
in a special video message last month, when
leaders of the local IS branch, declared their
intention to extend their influence over all of
the country.


_________________________



African Leaders to Discuss UN Reforms in Zambia 
              
Zambia will host a meeting to be attended by 10
 African leaders, who will discuss reforms to the
UN Security Council, the Lusaka Times reports.

In an interview, Zambian Foreign Minister Harry
 Kalaba says that the decision was made at the
 recent summit of the African Union, held in late
 January, in Ethiopia.

The foreign minister expresses his hope that
 the reforms will result in a permanent seat
for
Africa at the UN Security Council, which
has
the power to veto decisions adopted by
the
UN General Assembly.


________________________________



Putin''s Visit to Egypt Will
  Strengthen Trade and Political Ties
               
Russian President Vladimir Putin, on a
 2-day official visit to Egypt to strengthen
political relations and expand economic
and trade ties, with the emphasis on
military-technical cooperation, energy
 and investment, says that excellent
progress has been achieved.

The official talks agenda included an
assessment of events in the Middle
East, North Africa and the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict.

The leaders paid particular attention
 to the situations in Libya, Iraq & Syria
- conflicts in which Russia & Egypt as
mediators, deployed enormous efforts
 to find negotiated political settlements,
 without any external interference.

In the commercial sphere, the authorities
 in Cairo expressed interest in negotiating
 a free trade agreement with the recently
established Eurasian Economic Union
 (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan & Russia)
 as advanced by Egypt's ambassador to
Moscow, Mohammed Al-Badri.

With trade at about 3 billion dollars a year,
favorable to Russia, the two countries are
now evaluating moving into a new system
 of accounting and paying in rubles.


___________________________________



Gulf states rejects Houthis' takeover in Yemen

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) rejects the
 Houthis' takeover in Yemen and warns of 'steps
 to protect its members' interests', according to
 local newspapers.

At a meeting in Riyadh, the GCC says they will
 continue to stand with the Yemenis, criticizing
 the Shiite Houthi group's latest move, which is
 described by the 6-nation bloc as a coup that
will end peaceful political processes in Yemen.

"This Houthi coup is a dangerous escalation,
 which we reject as unacceptable. It totally
 contradicts the spirit of pluralism and
 coexistence which Yemen has known,"
 the GCC says.

The GCC warns that the latest developments
 will lead to more violence and bloodshed in
 Yemen, and it calls upon the international
community to be responsible and denounce
 it, especially in the UN Security Council.

On Friday, the Houthi group announced it is
 taking over the government and dissolving
 parliament in Yemen.

It has also formed a 5-member presidential
 council to exercise presidencial power, in
 a move which further deepens the chaos,
 after Yemen's president and premier both
 submitted their resignations last month.

Moreover, a transition national council of
 551 members is being set up to replace
the parliament, which is currently under
the control of the former President, Ali
Abdullah Saleh.

Government sources say that the Houthi's
declaration is unilateral, without reaching
 a consensus with other political parties.

However, some senior officials, including
the defense minister and interior minister
 of the outgoing government, were seen
attending the meeting held in the
Republican Palace in Sanaa.



_________________________________



Split EU widens sanctions against Moscow
&
Ukraine rebels, implementation 'delayed'

The EU has announced new sanctions against
 Russian officials and Ukrainian militants, but
will postpone their enforcement for one week,
 pending Wednesday's peace talks in Minsk,
 says French foreign minister Laurent Fabius.

"The principle of these sanctions remains, but
their implementation will depend on results on
 the ground. We will see by Monday, how the
meeting in Minsk went," he says.

The foreign ministers of the 28 EU members
have added 5 Russian citizens, sources say.
The ‘black list’ also reportedly includes
14
members of the eastern Ukrainian militia

 and 9 organizations the EU considers to be
responsible for the escalation of violence.

The 4-way talks in the Belorussian capital,
 comprising Russia, Ukraine, Germany and
France, took place on Wednesday

The EU will decide if these new restrictive
measures against Russia are going to be
 implemented on Monday, February 16th,
after evaluating the Minsk negotiations'
results, Fabius adds.

Even if the new peace plan is successful,
 another decision by EU foreign ministers
will be required to stop the sanctions - a
safeguard demanded by Philip Hammond,
the UK's Foreign Secretary.

Britain had to fight a move to abandon the
sanctions, from Greece, Cyprus, Austria
ans
other countries, who are hostile to
ratcheting up more
pressure on Russia.


_______________________________



Donetsk self-defense forces 'block key
highway' near embattled Debaltsevo

Militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s
 Republic have taken full control of Logvinovo
village, a strategic point on the road linking
 Debaltsevo & Artyomovsk towns, TASS reports.

The republic’s Defense Ministry says that “this
 strategic highway, used earlier for supplying the
 Ukrainian military with ammunition and military
 hardware, has been blocked by the DPR militia.”


___________________________________


No Curfew in Baghdad
              for the First Time in 12 Years               
 
 The residents of Iraq's capital woke up on Sunday
with hangovers from last night's revelry, because
 there was no curfew for the first time in 12 years,
 despite terrorism's vile presence in  Iraq.

Iraq's authorities conceived the end of the
curfew to help normalize life, and citizens
 celebrated from midnight, as they are now
able to go to cafes and restaurants and to
stay up until late, in squares and streets.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi ordered
 the Baghdad Operations Command to lift the
 curfew on February 7th. The measure was
imposed after the US military invasion of
Iraq, in March 2003, due to the alarming
 rise in bombings and sectarian violence.

A statement from the office of al-Abadi
acknowledges that the decision was
 made "despite the existence of a state
 of war" in Iraq, in a clear admission of
 the violence caused by attacks by Sunni
 fundamentalists of the Islamic State (IS)
 and related groups.


_____________________________________



Moscow demands copies of
 ‘Russian soldiers IDs’ shown in Munich

Russia's Foreign Ministry says Kiev is reluctant
to supply copies of what it says are documents,
 proving a Russian military presence in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko showed
 the audience at the Munich Security Conference
 several passports on Saturday, saying they all
 belonged to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

“We asked the Ukrainian side to give us copies
 of the documents containing last names, since
 such ID as was shown yesterday, could easily
 be bought,” said Viktor Sorokin, director of the
 CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States)
 department within Russia's Foreign Ministry,
 is quoted as stating, by RIA Novosti.

“There’s no real proof. As of today, the
Ukrainian side hasn’t been able to give
 us copies of these documents.”

The Ukrainian crisis and the prospect of
 arming Ukrainian troops was again top of
the agenda in Munich on Sunday, the last
day of the conference.

Germany has stayed firm in its opposition to
 military escalation. German Foreign Minister
 Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that weapons
supplies to Ukraine, would only aggravate
the crisis. He added that European security
 could only be built in cooperation with
Russia, not against it.

Steinmeier, however, criticized his Russian
 counterpart Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
 for his remarks, in which he accused the US
 and EU of escalating the crisis in Ukraine.

"It is Moscow's responsibility to identify
common interests," Steinmeier said. "We
have seen too little of this so far. And the
 speech by my colleague Lavrov yester-
day, made no contribution to this."

US Secretary of State John Kerry denied
America and Europe were split over the
 Ukraine crisis.

"On the fundamental goal with respect to
 Ukraine, we are absolutely united ...we
want a diplomatic solution," he said.

Nevertheless, on Thursday, Kerry spoke
 to Ukraine’s leadership in Kiev about the
possibility of supplying arms, at the same
 time as the German and French leaders
were announcing snap talks with Putin &
Poroshenko to discuss a new peace plan.

“President Hollande & Chancellor Merkel
 seem to have a much greater sense of
responsibility about the importance of
getting a quick ceasefire plus a new
negotiating framework or restoring the
 Minsk negotiating process framework.
One doesn’t sense the same urgency in
Washington,” Martin Sieff, columnist for
 the Post-Examiner newspaper, told RT.

US Senator John McCain voiced the idea
 of arming Ukrainian troops, on Sunday.

"In the heart of Europe, we see Russia
emboldened by a significant modern-
ization of its military, resurrecting old
 imperial ambitions and intent on
 conquest once again," McCain said
 in Munich.

He has called for sending "defensive
 weapons" to Ukraine. The term has
 raised questions, though.

“I’d like to know what defensive weapons
 are,” political analyst, Chris Bambery says.
“I mean what’s the difference between
 offensive and defensive weapons? We are
seeing a very confused situation because,
there’s a welcome for the ceasefire; and
for the arrival of Francois Hollande and
 Angela Merkel in both Kiev and Moscow,
 but we also see NATO suddenly announce
 it’s going to be setting up bases in 8 NATO
 countries bordering the former Soviet Union.”

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
noted that the idea of supplying weapons
 to Kiev remains quite unpopular in Europe.

“The majority, if not all European politicians,
 consider the idea a bad one, that might lead
 to further aggravating the Ukrainian crisis,”
he said on Sunday.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius repeated
 that granting a special legal status to the break-
away territories in eastern Ukraine, could be a
solution to the crisis.

In September, President Poroshenko said
 there would be no special status for the
 Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

There have been reports that the new text of
 the Ukraine peace deal presented by Merkel
 and Hollande, contains the promise of more
 autonomy for rebel-held eastern Ukraine.

The latest escalation of violence started in mid-
January after Kiev announced a mass operation
 against Donetsk airport, in violation of a previous
 ceasefire agreement. Since then there have been
 almost daily reports of civilian casualties in the
 conflict. Five people died in shelling on a hospital
in Donetsk on Wednesday. The UN has warned of
a looming humanitarian catastrophe in the region.


____________________________________



50,000 casualties in Ukraine: German
 intel says ‘official figures not credible’

The German intelligence service estimates
that the real losses in Ukraine's civil war
are 50,000 dead (civilians & servicemen)
 -- nearly 10 times higher than reported by
Kiev's authorities, German media report.

The information comes from a source in
 German intelligence, who spoke to the
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
 (FAZ) newspaper.

“Germany’s special services estimate the
 probable number of deceased Ukrainian
servicemen and civilians at up to 50,000
people. This is about 10 times higher
 than the official data. The official
figures are clearly too low and not
credible,” the newspaper reports on
 Sunday, citing its source.

Just the day before the report was
published, the Ukrainian president
gave completely different numbers
to the world.

“The death toll for Ukrainian soldiers
defending land from the aggressor
is now 1,432. Thousands of people,
5,638, have been killed since April
and every single day the number of
victims among civilians is rising,”
 Petro Poroshenko said, addressing
 the 51st Munich Security Conference
 on Saturday.

The Ukrainian army is reported to be
suffering its heaviest losses since the
beginning of the conflict last spring.

According to the Donetsk militia rep-
resentative, Eduard Basurin, Ukraine's
 army has lost 1,569 servicemen in just
3 weeks since restarting the offensive.

The situation on the battlefield is dire for
 the Ukrainian forces. Some 8,000 Ukrainian
troops are believed to be surrounded near
 the village of Debaltsevo in Donbass. Militia
 units have cut off the only road linking this
 pocket of land to Kiev-controlled territory.

Taking into account these heavy losses,
Ukraine is set to call up as many military
age Ukrainians as possible. The national
military draft for 2015 is expected to see
100,000 people joining the army in three
 stages throughout the year.

The recruitment effort, co-inciding with
 intensified fighting in eastern Ukraine,
is being met with a distinct lack of
enthusiasm, by potential soldiers.


_______________________________



Belgian parliament approves
Palestine state resolution

Belgium’s parliament has approved a resolution
that calls for the recognition of Palestine as an
 independent state. The international campaign
 to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, is
now gaining momentum.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel from the
 Reformist Movement party, the Flemish Liberals
 and Democrats, the Christian-Democratic and
 Flemish Party, and the New Flemish Alliance
 have all submitted the resolution.

Sweden is the only European country that has
officially recognized Palestine’s statehood, but
 several other parliaments in the European Union
 have made similar moves, which demand that
 their governments recognize Palestine as a state.

Israel has been angered by the motions being
submitted to Europe's parliaments.

On December 2, 2014, French lawmakers voted
 overwhelmingly in favor of a motion to recognize
 Palestine as an independent state. The motion,
 urging the government to recognize Palestine as
 a sovereign state, was backed by a majority of
 339 lawmakers and 151 members voted against.

On November 18th, 2014, Spain's lawmakers
 overwhelmingly approved their (non-binding)
resolution on recognizing a Palestinian state.

Britain and Ireland have also passed similar
non-binding motions.

On November 29th, 2012, the 193-member UN
 General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s
 status to non-member observer state.

Palestinians seek to create an independent state
 on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds
(Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip, and demand
 that Israel withdraw from occupied Palestinian
 territories. Israel, however, refuses to return to
 the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss
 the issue of al-Quds.


______________________________


Russia eyes new peace conference
 without USA to avoid WWIII

An international scientific conference,
 "Yalta-1945. Past, Present, Future" has
just taken place in the Livadia Palace,
 in the Crimea.

 70 years ago, the palace was the venue
 for a meeting of the leaders of the USSR,
 US and UK, at which the foundations for
 the postwar world order were laid. Now
experts have gathered in the palace to
discuss the need for "a new Yalta."

The conference was organized by the
 Civil Society Development Foundation,
 the Historical Perspective Foundation
 and the International Association of
Peace Foundations.

Politicians and scientists from Russia,
European countries & Ukraine, took part.

Russia's President Putin did not take a
 direct part in the work of the conference.

Putin prepared a special address instead,
 to all conference participants, in which he
stressed the inadmissibility of promoting
or disseminating the ideas of Nazism.

Presidential envoy in the Crimean Federal
 District, Oleg Belavintsev, read the message
 to the participants at the Yalta Conference:

"It was here in the Livadia Palace, where the
meeting of the allied anti-Hitler coalition took
 place. The coalition played a huge role in the
 final defeat of Nazism. Most importantly, the
 Yalta conference "defined the basis of the
 postwar world & the nature of international
 relations, for years to come."

"I would like to note that, despite political
differences and different views on current
 events, the leaders of the USSR, the USA
and the UK managed to rise above their
ambitions, find constructive approaches
 to complex problems in the interest of the
  speedy completion of World War II and the
 establishment of a global security system."

"After the Yalta Conference, the Potsdam
 Conference, and the Nuremberg Trial, it
seemed that the ideology and criminal
practice of Nazism had been fully
exposed and defeated.

However, recent events suggest otherwise.
 We are witnessing the unfolding campaign
 to revise the results of the Second World
War, to diminish the contribution of the
 Red Army in the great victory."

"These circumstances can not leave us
 indifferent. We must firmly oppose all
attempts to falsify historical facts and
defend the truth about the war."

The head of the Foundation for Civil Society
 Development, Konstantin Kostin, speaking
 at the opening of the conference, noted that
 the conference in Yalta "was an event that
set an example of fruitful cooperation."

"The 3 leaders could overcome inconsistencies.
The meeting in Yalta shaped the post-war world
order and also designated its development for
 decades to come."

"The post-Yalta reality has changed dramatically.
We are witnessing violations, interventions,
the deposition of legitimate governments, and
 even the murder of heads of state," said Kostin.

"Events happening in the world and Ukraine
show that the world is fragile. No one can
feel safe; there are no guarantees that the
present-day institutions will be able to over-
come the crisis. One needs to develop new
 methods," the head of the Foundation for
 Civil Society Development, Konstantin
Kostin said, Politonline.ru reports.

"We hope that, like 70 years ago, politicians
 will be able to rise above passions and find
 common ground," said Konstantin Kostin,
 adding that one could do "without the re-
writing and falsifying of history, as is
happening now."

The idea of a "new Yalta" sparked lively
discussions at the conference. In short,
 the majority of participants agreed that
a new Yalta conference is necessary.

Yet the conference members differed
 in their opinions over the details.

"The New Yalta Conference could be
arranged by France, Britain, Germany
and Russia," French expert Xavier
 Moreau told Pravda.Ru.

The expert is confident that isolationism
 in the United States and Canada will grow.

Therefore, Moreau said, these 2 countries
 are not really needed, in the concept of a
 new world order on the European continent.

"If the Americans lose in Ukraine - although
 they are throwing everything they can there -
 our countries will be able to conclude a new
 treaty on European security," said Xavier
 Moreau.

Spanish writer Daniel Estulin believes that
 "the world must realise that it will never
 return to unilateralism." The writer agreed
on the concept of a new treaty. However,
 unlike Xavier Moreau, he did not specify
exactly which countries could take part
 in its elaboration.

"The world must conclude a new treaty
 that will reflect the geopolitical reality,
 rather than ambition. Humanity's future
 depends on this," said Daniel Estulin,
 in a brief interview with Pravda.Ru.

President of the Foundation of Historical
Perspective, Natalia Narochnitskaya,
addressed the problem of attempts to
 rehabilitate Nazism. In her opinion, "the
 situation in the world today resembles
 the last years before World War II, when
 a refusal to jointly search for a solution
to stop Hitler's impending aggression,
took the world to such a catastrophe."

According to Narochnitskaya, there are
 countries that refuse to cooperate and
try to use conflicts and various events
as tools to put pressure on Russia.

 "The processing of society's state of mind
 through the mass media, plays one of the
leading roles at this point, and the mass
media have become one of the main
instruments of politics," she said, RIA
Novosti reports.

"When history is being distorted, when
 fascism is bring rehabilitated, when the
winner is being equated to an aggressor,
one must remember history. The world
is fragile indeed, and there is nothing
more terrible than to cross the line of
no return," said Narochnitskaya.


_______________________________


DPR’s defence ministry: Evacuation from
 Debaltsevo cancelled for security reasons

The evacuation of civilians from Debaltsevo
 on Saturday, was cancelled for "security",
 representative of the defence ministry at
the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s
Republic (DPR), Eduard Basurin, says.

"No evacuation today. We fear for civilians
and the people organising the evacuation,"
he said. "If they can, people are trying to
leave themselves and the militia are
assisting them."

On Friday, he said that Ukraine's military
were using the evacuation of civilians as
an excuse to deliver fresh ammunition.


____________________________________



Lavrov: Ukraine’s president has lost
'taking decisions on use of force' monopoly

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has
 lost his monopoly over taking decisions on
 the use of force, Russia’s Foreign Minister,
Sergey Lavrov, says at the Munich Security
 Conference, on Saturday.

"The problem is that the Ukrainian president
 has lost the monopoly for the use of force,"
the minister says. "Now there are battalions
which are paid much better than the regular
 armed forces."

"People are running to these battalions from
 the regular armed forces. The battalions
 carry various names, like Azov, and include
ones clearly led by ultra nationalists.".

"Moscow is aware of the US's real actions in
Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey
 Lavrov, adds.

"The US has stated that it was a broker in the
transition of power in Ukraine. But we know
 perfectly well who it was, who discussed on
 the 'phone those persons who were to be in
 the future Ukrainian government, who were
 at the Maidan, and who are effecting what
happens now," Lavrov says. "our military,
 or experts, have not been there."

"We want the people of Ukraine to restore its
 unity on the basis of national dialogue," the
 minister says.

"In Crimea what happened complies with the
 UN Charter - self-determination," the minister
 adds. "The UN Charter has several principles,
 and the right of a nation to self-determination,
 takes a key position.".


____________________________________



Media: Kiev military open fire on Russian
 journalists, civilians during evacuation

Kiev's military opened fire on Russian reporters
 and local civilians, during an evacuation of the
 residents of Chernukhino village in east Ukraine,
 violating a
truce agreed earlier, a correspondent
 of Lugansk Information Centre, reports from there.

"Kiev mercenaries - Chechens, according to
 preliminary reports - broke the truce during
the evacuation of peaceful residents, and
opened fire," the news agency of the self-
proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic
 says in a report. One person is wounded.

"Russian reporters - Dmitry Malyshev and
Artem Kol came under shelling as well,"
it says. The reporters are uninjured.

One of the reporters, Artyom Kol, says, "We
witnessed the fighting that began during the
 evacuation of Chernukhino village's peaceful
citizens.  A subversive group of Ukraine’s
security forces opened fire on the civilians."

Immediately, the Luhansk republic’s militias
returned fire, to cover the peaceful citizens
and journalists working on the frontline, the
 Russian reporter says.

Earlier Friday, LPR leader Igor Plotnitsky
 said agreement had been reached with
Kiev's military, to open an humanitarian
passage at 10am to rescue Chernukhino
 residents caught in the area of combat.

At least 50 people managed to leave the
village in their personal cars, by midday.


__________________________________


Peace plan of Merkel and Hollande
 attempt to wrest initiative from US - media

Paris and Berlin consider the US solution
to deliver weapons to Ukraine, very risky
and are unwilling to accept it, France’s
influential magazine, L’Obs, says

The conflict peace settlement initiative
put forward by President Hollande and
Chancellor Angela Merkel, is an attempt
 to politically sidestep the United States,
which is more and more inclined to start
weapons supplies to Kiev, says a piece
published last Friday by L’Obs.

"The initiative is historic," writes L’Obs
commentator Vincent Jauvert. "The
French president & German chancellor
are going to Kiev and Moscow in order
to attain — through diplomacy — a de-
escalation of the crisis. But why under-
take this trip now as the war's already
lasted for months?"

According to top diplomatic sources close
 to Hollande, "this "dramatization" to which
Hollande and Merkel resorted, is aimed at
sidestepping the Americans, who may try
in coming hours to impose their decision,
to start delivering weapons to Ukraine,
on the West."

"Washington regained the initiative after
a number of European diplomatic moves,
specifically by France & Germany, within
the so-called ‘Normandy format,’ failed,"
says the L’Obs article. "Paris and Berlin
are unwilling to accept this US solution,
which they consider to be very risky.
Thus, France and Germany are trying
to act similar to the US administration
...which they distrust."

Merkel and Hollande's peace proposal
most likely contains the same principal
points that were "fixed in the Minsk
agreements that were signed in
 September last year, but never fulfilled":
a ceasefire within 15 days, withdrawal
of heavy weapons,
prisoner exchanges, 
and control over the border by the OSCE.

"Armed with such a document, the French
and German leaders could then argue that
arms supplies aren't needed,"
L’Obs says.


_______________________________________



Pope Francis Calls For an End
                to Ukraine Hostilities               
 
 During his General Audience weekly address,
Pope Francis expresses his "deep concern" at
 the escalating violence in Ukraine, & requests
 an inmediate end to hostilities.

Addressing crowds, the Pope says: "With deep
 concern, I am following the worsening clashes
 of both sides in east Ukraine, which continues
 to cause many victims in the civilian population."

He adds: "As I assure you of my prayers for all
who suffer, I renew a heartfelt appeal to the
 international community to contribute to the
 end of this conflict and for a resumption in
 dialogue and an end to all hostilities."

Ukraine's city of Deboltsevo, the scene
 of hard fighting over the last few days,
 has no gas, water or power, supplies ---
which is forcing a massive outflow of
 civilians from the location.


______________________________



NATO set to expand military
presence near Russia border

NATO defense ministers met at the bloc’s
 headquarters in Brussels to agree on a
plan to boost its military presence near
Russia’s western borders, as
tensions
g
row over Ukraine.

At Thursday's meeting, top military officials
 agreed on enlarging NATO’s present rapid
reaction force in E. Europe, from 13,000
 troops to 30,000 and improve the reaction
capacity of their “spearhead” force of
5,000 soldiers.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says
 the massive military measures are “defensive”
and part of the alliance's reaction to a recent
escalation of tensions in eastern Ukraine...
accusing Russia of meddling in the crisis.

 "It's a response to what we have seen from
 Russia over a period of time, and it is in full
 accord with our international obligations,"
 says Stoltenberg at the press briefing.

He further confirms that these NATO military
 reinforcements, are NATO's largest collective
defense measures since the Cold War ended.

The NATO chief also indicates that the US-
led alliance has now ended all cooperation
 with Moscow, due to the crisis in Ukraine.

Moreover, the UK, France & Germany
announce that they are to be among
the "framework nations" that will

 take turns to command the rapid
reaction
force, being set up over
the next few years.


The US Secretary of State John Kerry
 arrived in Kiev, for a series of meetings
 with the embattled country’s top officials,
  after
a pledge by US President Barack
 Obama to provide Ukraine with “defensive
 weapons.”

The Kiev government was reported to be
'optimistic', that Kerry would unveil the
US’s plan to send US military hardware
to the country, during his visit.


_______________________________



NATO, Georgia to set up permanent
training centre in Tbilisi

NATO and Georgia will establish a permanent
 training center of the alliance in Tbilisi, TASS
 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
 says on Thursday.

 The alliance’s chief announces this move
 after the NATO-Georgia commission met
 at
defense minister level.


_______________________________



Europe, not Russia, pressed Kiev over
 EU association – ex-Ukrainian PM

Top EU officials, rather than Russia, threatened
 Ukraine with a coup d'état if Kiev refused to
sign an association agreement in 2013, Nikolay
Azarov, Ukraine’s former prime minister, says.

“I’ve never heard neither Putin nor Medvedev
 saying that if you sign an agreement with the
 EU, you’ll have a different government. But I’ve
heard [EU Commissioner for Enlargement and
 Neighborhood Policy, Stefan] Fule, repeatedly
saying that if you don’t sign, then the other
 government will sign it,” he says, as his book
 'Ukraine at a crossroads. Prime Minister’s
 notes' is launched in Moscow.

The decision to delay signing the association
 agreement by then-Ukrainian president, Viktor
 Yanukovich, led to protests in Kiev, which then
turned violent and resulted in regime change
in February 2014.

According to Azarov, it was Washington
 which masterminded the plan to oust
Yanukovich and his government.

“As for the US, I think they initially applied
the tactics of gradually forcing Yanukovich
 from power,” he said. But first, “their goal
was to get rid of the government, because
 they saw the government as a key to the
 country’s stability.”

Washington needed to “knock out this
foundation from under Yanukovich and
they achieved this, by introducing the
idea of a national unity government,”
 he adds.

Azarov quit his post as prime minister in
 late January 2014 amid an intensification
 of the Euromaidan riots, saying it was in
the hope that his resignation could create
 a chance for compromise between the
government and the protesters.

Meanwhile, the US, Azarov says, managed to
 pull Yanukovich into "useless negotiations"
 with the Euromaidan demonstrators, while
armed men from all over Ukraine were
 arriving in Kiev to seize power.

Over 100 were killed last February in clashes
 between the police and Euromaidan protesters
 in central Kiev, where firearms were widely used.

Azarov insists Yanukovich had every chance to
“maintain order in the country”, and prevent
the coup, but after the killings at Euromaidan,
he was “practically paralyzed.”

After the coup, both Yanukovich and Azarov
 had to flee Ukraine and find refuge in Russia,
 saying that they feared for their lives.

In mid-January, Interpol put the former
president and prime minster on their
international wanted list -- by request
from Kiev.

Yanukovich and Azarov stand accused
 of misappropriation and embezzlement
during their time in office.

The new Kiev government signed the
 economic and political aspects of the
 association agreement last year, with
 Ukraine and the EU parliaments
simultaneously ratifying them in
September 2014.

The ex-PM describes the current events
in south-eastern Ukraine, where fighting
 continues between rebels & Kiev troops
 as a “catastrophe”.

With the sides being unable to reach a
peaceful agreement on their own, the
ex-PM urges the organization of an
international conference, involving
 Russia, the US and Germany, to put
an end to violence in Ukraine.

“If the forces inside the country don’t
want to stop, then -- as has already
 happened in world history -- the
Guarantor States gather and make
 a decision. Trust me, Germany,
 the US and Russia, have enough
 influence to stop this war, they
 just need to come to an
agreement,” he says.

The ex-PM also says that he doesn’t
 consider the new Ukrainian power,
led by president Petro Poroshenko
 and Arseny Yatsenyuk, as legitimate.

“How can I consider this to be a
legitimate authority, if it came to
power through an armed coup,
committed monstrous crimes,
 and now continues a fratricidal
war, doing nothing to stop it?”
he wonders.

The Ukraine conflict began last April
when Kiev sent regular forces and
 volunteer battalions to the south-
east around Donetsk and Lugansk,
after rebels within them refused to
 recognize the country’s new, coup-
imposed authorities.

The death toll in the Ukraine conflict
now exceeds 5,300 people, with over
12,000 injured, say UN estimates.


__________________________________



NATO should not provide military aid
 in Ukraine crisis: MSC chair

Munich Security Conference (MSC) chair
 Wolfgang Ischinger says NATO shouldn't
provide military aid in the Ukraine crisis.

"NATO itself should not provide military aid,
 since this will only offer a welcome pretext
 to Russia to escalate and argue again that
NATO's enlargement strategy has been the
 source of evil all along," Ischinger wrote in
an editorial published by German media
 Spiegel Online.

"Russia's refusal to help implement the
Minsk (agreement), may leave Western
countries with no choice, but to deliver
defense equipment to Kiev, & Moscow
 should be fully aware of the respons-
ibility it would then carry," he warns.

The collapse of the international order,
 in view of the crisis in Ukraine is among
the key topics of the 51st MSC, from Feb.
 6 to 8 in Munich. Other topics will be the
deteriorating situation in the Middle East,
 the global refugee crisis and the ongoing
fight against terrorism, according to the
 MSC's statement.

About 20 heads of states & governments,
 around 60 ministers of foreign affairs and
 defense, 30 CEOs of big global companies
 as well as parliamentary delegations, are
 expected in Munich.

Among them are Chinese State Councilor
Yang Jiechi, German Federal Chancellor
 Angela Merkel, Russia's Minister of Foreign
 Affairs Sergey Lavrov, NATO Secretary Gen
 Jens Stoltenberg and the President of the
 European Parliament, Martin Schulz.

"The solution to conflict in Ukraine, can
not be a German task," the 68-year-old
chair said, adding "the solution to the
Ukrainian conflict has to be a European
 or transatlantic task, together with
 the United States."

Ischinger hopes the day will come when
 all sides understand that constructing
a comprehensive Euro-Atlantic security
community, and a common economic
space, was a good idea in the first
place and should be pursued, in the
 interests of all.


_______________________



Abbas seeks global pressure on
Israel to free tax revenue dues

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urges
 the international community to exert pressure
 on Israel to pay back the tax revenue dues to
 the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

The Palestinian leader's appeal was made in
 the aftermath of a meeting with World Bank
 representatives held in the West Bank city
 of Ramallah.

"Withholding our tax revenue dues leaves
 negative and crucial consequences on the
security, social and economical situation
 in the Palestinian territories," said Abbas,
 according to the official state-run Wafa
 news agency.

In early January, Israel announced it had
decided to withhold the tax revenue dues
it usually collects from Palestinian imports
 and exports, in response to Palestinians
 joining 20 agencies and treaties.

Abbas signed on to joining the international
 treaties and agencies, after the UN Security
 Council failed to pass an Arab-backed draft
 resolution that called on the council to end
 the Israeli occupation within three years.


______________________________________



No need for general mobilization in self-
proclaimed Luhansk republic — LPR leader

The authorities of the self-proclaimed Luhansk
 People’s Republic (LPR) don't see any reason
 to hold a general mobilization, LPR's head,
 Igor Plotnitsky, says Tuesday.

"There's no reason to sign a mobilization decree.
 This is possible but I'm not sure such a situation
 will arise. We have a strong, well-coordinated
 army," Plotnitsky says.

The leader of another self-proclaimed republic of
eastern Ukraine, the Donetsk People's Republic,
on Monday announced a general mobilization,
 starting in 10 days.

"We want to mobilize the number of people needed
 to increase the numerical strength of our army to
 100,000," Alexander Zakharchenko said. "This
will be a voluntary mobilization."

On January 20th, Ukraine began a fourth wave
of
mobilization, since the start of the operation
 in Donbas.

This time, about 104,000 men aged 20 to 60
are to be mobilized. Ukraine's General Staff
 spokesperson, Oleg Boiko, acknowledges
great problems with mobilization, saying
conscripts are ignoring their draft cards,
and men of military age are leaving for
Russia and other
neighbouring countries.

Russia’s Federal Migration Service has extended
the period of stay in Russia for Ukrainian citizens
 of recruitment age, to over 90 days.

 According to the service’s statistics, 2.430 million
 Ukrainian citizens are currently staying in Russia,
 of whom, 1.172 million are men of recruitment age.

Plans to extend the length of stay for Ukrainian
 citizens, especially for men of military age, were
 announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin,
 on January 26th.



____________________________________



      US Plans to Give Weapons to Ukrainian Army 

The New York Times says that US President
Barack Obama's Administration is considering
sending offensive weapons to Ukraine, faced
with the coup forces' recent defeats inflicted
on them, by the anti-coup militias in the east.

The NYTimes quotes anonymous White House
 officials saying US Sec. of
State, John Kerry,
 and president of the US Joint Chiefs-of-Staff,
 General Martin Dempsey, are in favor of it, but
 that a 'final decision has not yet been made' .

They support the initiative by Chief of the US
 Allied Supreme Command in Europe, General
Philip Breedlove, in charge of NATO forces.

The Times asserts that Obama's National
Security Advisor, Susan Rice, is rethinking
her previous opposition to providing that
kind of military aid, which has been limited
-- so far -- to non-lethal equipment, such as
bulletproof vests, night-vision equipment,
and others.

'Although our priority is seeking a diplomatic
solution to the Ukrainian conflict, we always
consider other options......... that could help
achieve that objective', National Security
Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan,
told the NYTimes.

On Thursday, Kerry visits Kiev, where he'll
meet with President Petro Poroshenko &
other officials, to express Washington's
deep concern over the recent defeats
experienced by Ukraine's Armed Forces
in Donetsk, and other areas in Donbass.

A group of 8 former US Government officials are
 presenting their independent report this Monday,
advising the White House to deliver $3 billion in
'defensive weapons', including anti-tank rockets
and spy drones.

Russia has denounced the US many times for
 organizing and financing the coup in Ukraine
against President Yanukovich, in Feb. 2014,
with the help of Germany, France and the UK.

According to the Kremlin, the action is part of a
struggle of bigger dimensions against Moscow,
 including new sanctions against the Euro-Asian
 nation and the reinforcement of NATO's military
 presence on Ukraine's territory, and in other
neighboring countries.


_______________________________________



Maduro accuses Joe Biden
 of ‘bloody coup’ in Venezuela

The US is behind the attempted coup in Venezuela
 – that is the accusation President Nicolas Maduro
 has leveled amid widespread protests back home.
 And it’s none other than Vice-president Joe Biden
 who’s behind the entire operation, Maduro alleges.

This is the first time he has directly accused the
US of such bloodshed plans
in front of thousands
of cheering
spectators and the world at large...
despite an earlier
Friday statement, when he
struck out at several
US federal agencies, for
allegedly plotting against
Venezuela.

"The northern imperial power has entered a
 dangerous phase of desperation, going to talk
 to the continent's governments to announce
 the overthrow of my government. And I accuse
Vice-president Joe Biden of this," the head of
state said, addressing the people at the 198th
 anniversary of the birth of a Venezuelan hero,
general Zamora, in Cua, in Miranda state.

He also questioned US President Barack Obama
 publically, whether he was “aware of these plans
 to promote violence and a coup in Venezuela”
and appealed to his conscience.

“There are US diplomats in Venezuela contracting
 military officials to betray their country, looking to
 influence socialist political leaders, public opinion
 leaders and entrepreneurs to provoke a coup,”
 the head of state went on.

The President addressed the nation Sunday
-- to strengthen its resolve in times of what
he calls “a bloody coup” -- as demonstrators
flood the streets demanding his resignation
amid an economic crisis that is hitting the
food
sector first, as thousands of others
could be heard cheering him on,
smiling
and waving flags.


But, stated Maduro, this is no ordinary crisis:

 “I appeal to the people and the patriots among
 the officials who are on high alert, as a bloody
coup is underway in Venezuela.”

“The people must be prepared to rescue their
democracy, Constitution and their revolution”
 at times like these, the head of state warns.

Only a few days before, the leader appealed to
 his fellow countrymen to burn their US visas to
 
send a message to the imperialist Yankees”,
 but the accusations of a coup had before only
 dealt with members of the political opposition
at home and their being influenced by other
 "unfriendy countriess in the region".

The New York Times pointed out on January 2
 that an unnamed official had said Maduro was
 interested in an improved relationship with Biden,
 and the Venezuelan leader said after the meeting
 that he “told Vice-president Biden, and have said
 it 1,000 times in public and in private, we want
 respectful relations, nothing more.”

But as the price of oil – which accounts for 95%
 of its export earnings – begins to plunge, so do
 Maduro’s public ratings, which are now at little
 more than 20%, according to local media.

With the situation changing, Maduro says that
 it’s difficult to imagine, despite earlier promises,
 how to maintain diplomatic relations with the US
- in light of its constant attempts to subvert the
 Venezuelan leadership and sink the country
 into a crisis.

“They [the opposition] say the revolution is over,
 that the people no longer support it. They say
 they'll overthrow the people and revolutionary
 government I chair. But I say to conspirators –
stay out of Venezuela, let us live in peace.”

Washington and Caracas have been at odds
since iconic former leader Hugo Chavez won
 power in 2000. The US was accused of trying
 to 'regime change' Venezuela's government
 in 2002, when a coup saw Chavez lose office
 for 47 hours, before order was restored.


___________________________



Obama’s words on power transition in Ukraine
confirm US involvement in state coup — Lavrov

US President Barack Obama's statement on
the US role in "brokering power transition"
in Ukraine, confirms that Washington was
involved in February's state coup, Russia's
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says today.

Speaking about Obama’s interview with CNN
Sunday, Lavrov says the US leader confirmed
that the US has -- "since the very beginning ---
been involved in an anti-governmental coup
which Obama called, neutrally, a "power
transition."

"The rhetoric in the interview speaks eloquently
about Washington’s intention to do everything
further, to implicitly support the actions of the
 current Kiev authorities which have apparently
 taken the course towards suppressing conflict
 by force only," Lavrov says.

The Russian foreign minister says Europe also
shares the assessment that there is a need to
establish a direct dialogue between the Kiev
authorities and the representatives of the
self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk
people’s republics.

However, Lavrov says this effort has met
 attempts to disrupt the negotiation process.

"But I’m convinced that everyone who sincerely
wishes peace to the Ukrainian people, & Russia
is definitely among these countries, as, I under-
stand, are Germany, France & other Europeans,
& the OSCE, then we need to continue this effort
and do everything so that the direct dialogue is
launched & this should bring results," Lavrov says.

Lavrov notes that, while the Western partners
 call for dialogue between the authorities and
 the opposition across the world, including in
 Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and South Sudan,
Ukraine remains an exception...

"In regard to Ukraine, the Western colleagues
only say that the main issue is to give every
 support to the actions of Kiev," Lavrov says,
 adding that Kiev’s evidently wrong actions
 .... are not being criticized at all.

"We support direct dialogue and will be
actively involved in it --- as a party that
 contributes to the work of the Contact
 Group; and, simply as Ukraine’s close
neighbour, we have been doing a lot
 to support its economy," he says.

"A direct dialogue is highly necessary.
We shall be working on this as a country
 which supports the work of the Contact
Group, as a neighbour of Ukraine, and
 as a member of the OSCE," Lavrov says.


____________________________________



Donetsk republic to announce military mobilization
in 10 days - leader. Militias' forces will be boosted
 to around 100,000 men.

DPR defense ministry reports that Kiev's troops
have failed to break the militias' defenses near
 Debaltsevo, as the authorities in east Ukraine’s
 self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic say
 on Monday that they plan a general mobilization
 in 10 days to boost their forces to 100,000 men.

The republic’s leader, Alexander Zakharchenko,
tells journalists that people will be called up on
 a voluntary basis.

"We want to mobilize the number of people needed
 to increase the numerical strength of our army to
 100,000," Zakharchenko says. "This will be a
 voluntary mobilisation."

"Our enemy is building up its forces in the south -
 in Donetsk airport, Peski city & Opytnyi district -
probably for an attack… and we should adjust
 to the situation", he says, adding that at least
 five additional units will be formed and trained
until spring, including motorised rifle, artillery
 and tank brigades.


____________________________



LPR parliament speaker says Kiev army uses
 NATO-marked munitions in eastern Ukraine

Kiev’s army is using munitions bearing the
marks of NATO states in combat operations
 in south-eastern Ukraine, Alexey Karyakin,
speaker of the People’s Council of the self-
proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic
(LPR), says on Monday.

"The fact that, in the past several days,
 LPR’s specialists have recovered fragments
 of munitions bearing NATO marks from sites
 shelled by the Ukrainian army, is of special
concern," Luhansk Information Centre cites
 him as saying.

"Now, the North Atlantic Alliance is killing our
 fellow countrymen, not only with the hands of
 Polish and Lithuanian gunmen commissioned
earlier to the so-called 'Ukrainian volunteer
battalions,' but  it
also gives lethal weapons
so the Kiev regime can continue to shed the
 blood of children and elderly people," he says.

"My advice to Ukrainian politicians is to spend
 the next tranche from the IMF, if any, to buy a
 conscience for themselves, if that were ever
 possible in principle. The war, then, would be
 over in just a few days," he adds.


_____________________________________



                  New President in Italy Elected               
 
 Italy's Parliament has elected the former
 Constitutional Court judge, Sergio Mattarella,
 as the new president of the country, a result
 seen as a political victory for PM Matteo Renzi.

Before the final selection, lawmakers held 3
 rounds of voting, marked by disagreements,
 the lack of a quorum and blank votes.

After the announcement by the president of
 the Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini, on
 the selection, the press reported the result
 as a triumph for Renzi, because he managed
 to defeat Silvio Berlusconi, in Parliament.

La Stampa online, carried the headline: 'The
 winner Renzi, the losers Berlusconi & Grillo'.

Mattarella - a Christian Democrat, but on the
 left of it - has a significant history of struggle
against the Mafia.

The head of state in Italy is the most important
 and stabilising factor in the country and, who-
ever holds it, should be a figure who ensures
balance in political life. They are also the only
one with the right to dissolve parliament and
call early elections.


___________________________________


Clashes Become More Intense in
 Strategic Resistance for Donbass 
              
 Clashes for control of the huge and strategic
 territories of Donbass, continue today in the
 peripheral regions of Donetsk, between the
 militia and Ukrainian troops, accompanied
 by deadly attacks on populated areas.

The defensive position in Debaltsevo -
about 70 klmtrs northwest of Donetsk -
 remains the main scene of the bloody
fighting, due to its strategic position:
 affording access to the neighboring
 Lugansk region, also controlled,
 partly, by the popular militia.

The Joint Sub Commander of the
 Defense Ministry of the Popular
Republic of Donetsk (PRD), Eduard
 Basurin, says that units opposing
the stationed militia, are trying to
 break out of their encirclement -
at the price of their lives.

Devaltsevo was occupied in July by the
 Army and the National Guard during the
summer offensive through which Kiev's
 forces retook Kramatorsk & Slavyansk
cities after over 3 months of resistance.

In his opinion, such an action by the
Ukrainian groups has at least the
purpose of breaking a siege started
 last Monday, or to go on to attacking
 other populations controlled by the
militants.

The DPR's elected leader, Alexander
Zajarchenko, called Saturday on Kiev's
units to lay down their arms voluntarily,
to avoid an unnecessary blood bath.

Zajarchenko warned days ago that the
militias were being forced to move the
 front line to the regional borders (of the
 DPR, he said) to protect the cities from
 indiscriminate attacks by Kiev's artillery.

The harassment of densely populated areas
 was noticeable from the 18th of January,
 when Kiev's troops resumed their offensive
 in the Donbass, by order of President Petro
 Poroshenko, who called for mass attacks
 on all 'terrorist' positions, as Kiev calls the
anti-Western coup population of Ukraine.

According to the DPR's authorities, attacks
 in the last 24 hours alone, caused colossal
 destruction at 37 facilities, urban and city
 areas, infrastructure, housing, one metal
plant and a militia base.


__________________________________



Deinego: Donetsk, Lugansk republics
have info' Kiev readying new offensive

The authorities of the self-proclaimed and
unrecognized Donetsk & Lugansk People’s
Republics have information that Ukrainian
 government forces are preparing for a new
offensive, Vladislav Deinego, Minsk talks
 representative of the Lugansk republic says
 on Saturday night, at the end of yet another
dead-
locked meeting of the Contact Group.

The East Ukrainian self-defence forces need
 dialogue, not a monologue by the Ukrainian
 government, he says.

Kiev also accuses the DPR side of wasting
time, and not sending their leaders to talks.


Participants in the meeting did not discuss
even the date of the next meeting, Vladislav
Deinego, for the DPR, tells TASS afterwards.

"The date wasn't discussed," he says. "We
laid out our position and the Ukrainian side
laid out its position. The differences still
concern the line of disengagement, and,
 as we said earlier, we proceed from the
line that exists today, in practice, while
 Ukraine insists on a line that existed on
 September 19th, in 2014," Deinego says.

A cease-fire declared at the Minsk meeting
has never got off the ground and hundreds
 of civilians, regime soldiers and anti-coup
fighters, have been killed since then.

The World Health Organisation says over
 4,800 people in all, have been killed in the
 conflict, which erupted last April after the
South Eastern population voted to reject
new leaders, after the violent US-backed
coup, an event which has led to the worst
crisis between Russia and the West, since
the end of the Cold War.

Kiev accuses anti-coup fighters of seizing
over 500 square km (194 square miles) of
 territory in eastern Ukraine, far beyond
the separation lines agreed in Minsk.

Russia's Foreign Minister, Sercei Lavrov,
 this Wednesday, acknowledged that the
 fighters in east Ukraine now hold more
 territory than was assigned to their
control, under the past agreement.

Fighting continues, as anti-coup fighters
attack along the entire front, with 8,000
of Kiev's troops reported to be caught in
a trap and surrounded.

Kiev's troops are still attacking the South
East's population centres with long range
artillery and rocket fire, report ground
witnesses, and the independent OSCE.


____________________________________



Ukraine peace talks participants
 meet in Minsk - as crisis worsens
 
All participants of the contact group on
Ukraine's crisis:
OSCE representatives,
and those from Kiev, Moscow, and the
Donbass region, were in Minsk for talks,
on Saturday, as the intense fighting in
Eastern Ukraine, worsened.

Former Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma
  was appointed by President Poroshenko,
 as his official representative at the talks.

Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego were
there, on behalf of the two self-proclaimed
republics, the Donetsk People's Republic
and the Lugansk People's Republic,
respectively.

Mikhail Zurabov, Russian Ambassador to
Ukraine, and Heidi Tagliavini, a special
delegate of the OSCE, arrived in Minsk
earlier on Saturday.

A source with Belarusia's Foreign Ministry
told Interfax news agency that the talks
were held at the Diplomatic Service Hall
in central Minsk, and closed to the media.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­__________________________



Russia takes measures to prevent
 any US/NATO military superiority

Russia's Defense Ministry is taking measures
 to prevent US/NATO superiority over Russia,
 Chief of the General Staff of Russia's Armed
 Forces says.

"The Armed Forces' priority is the qualitative
improvement
of Strategic Nuclear Forces,"
Valery Gerasimov says.


"Keeping Strategic Nuclear Forces in a condition
 of high combat readiness, as well as the quality
 improvement of the combat potential of regular
 troops, will prevent any military superiority of
 the United States and NATO over Russia,"
 he notes.

"This year, four missile regiments are to be
 established, equipped with modern missile
 complexes for Strategic Missile Troops,"
 Gerasimov explains.

He adds that the increasing number of US'
 anti-missile defense systems in the Asia-
Pacific region, is forcing Russia to take
 responsive measures.

"The American anti-missile defense system
has a global character, while the US and its
 allies are increasing elements of this system
 in the Asia-Pacific region," which breach the
 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
 (INF), RIA Novosti quotes Gerasimov saying.

"We cannot remain indifferent to the actions
 of Western countries and are forced to take
responsive measures," Gerasimov says.

Gerasimov's statement is echoed by Russian
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who repeats
 that Russia's military will begin working on
 a task set by President Putin: to guarantee 
military superiority, by completing Russia's
arms program.


Gerasimov says a defense plan for 2016 -
2020, will be elaborated and presented to
President Putin for approval this December.


The plan will focus on maintaining Russia's
 military power and addressing new threats
 - with the help of other state ministries and
 government agencies, Gerasimov adds.

US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work
 this Wednesday, claimed that the US needs
new military and defense plans and projects,
 to ensure a decisive competitive advantage
against potential enemies.


______________________________________



Fiji slams UK for refusal to compensate
 victims of nuclear tests

Fiji has slammed the UK government for its
 refusal to compensate Fijian soldiers who
 were exposed to radiation during British
 nuclear tests in the late 1950s.

“We are bringing justice to a brave and proud
 group of Fijians to whom a great injustice was
 done,” Fijian PM Frank Bainimarama said at a
 ceremony held to recognise the suffering of
 the veterans, this Friday.

“We are righting a wrong. We are closing an
 unfortunate chapter in our history,” the PM
 added in an apparent reference to the UK’s
 refusal to pay any compensation.

“Fiji is not prepared to wait for Britain to do
 the right thing. We owe it to these men to
help them now, not wait for the British
 politicians and bureaucrats.”

Fiji was a British colony at the time of
 the nuclear tests.

Two dozen survivors of the nuclear tests who
 attended the Friday event each received over
£3,000 pounds, from a compensation pool of
nearly 950,000 pounds (USD 2.95 million).

The victims had reportedly suffered from
 various illnesses, including leukemia.

More than 70 Fijians were stationed on
 the Pacific Island of Kiritimati, called
Christmas Island by the British, during
nuclear bomb tests, in 1957 and 1958.

One of the surviving victims, 76-year-old
Naibuka Naicegulevu, whose job was to
 clean and repair vehicles on the island,
says, “We were only told that we would
 go there to test some weapons, but when
 we got there, we found out that we were
 brought there to be part of a British test
 of weapons of mass destruction.”

“My two sons, now in their early 30s, get
sick suddenly and they can be ill for one
 week, sometimes more. It's all because
 of the radiation that were exposed to,”
he adds.


______________________________



Castro compares NATO to Nazi SS
- slams US/Israel for ‘creating ISIS’

Cuba’s former president, Fidel Castro,
compares NATO’s recent statements
to those of the Nazi SS, and accuses
the US and its allies of igniting most
conflicts across the world.

Apparently referring to the pressure NATO has
 been trying to exert on Moscow in connection
 with the Ukrainian crisis, which coincides with
calls for the ramping up of NATO's budgets by
  member countries, Cuba’s leader accuses the
 West's politicians of hypocrisy and aggression.

“Many people are astonished when they hear
 the statements made by some European NATO
spokespeople, when they speak with the style
 and face of the Nazi SS,” Castro writes, in a
 column published in Cuba's media.

“Adolf Hitler’s greed-based empire went down
 in history with less glory than the urging given
 to NATO’s aggressive bourgeois governments,
 which makes them a laughing stock of Europe
 --- and the world.”

Castro, 88, also attacks US Senator John
 McCain on his policies in the Middle East,
saying he is “Israel’s most unconditional
 ally.”

He accuses McCain of assisting Israel’s Mossad
 and participating “together with that service, in
 the creation of Islamic State, which now controls
 a considerable and vital portion of Iraq, and
reportedly, one-third of Syria as well.”

Castro attacks the West for its “cynicism” and
 says its actions throughout history have made
it “a symbol of imperialist policy” and adds...

“The world has seen no respite in recent years,
 particularly as the European Economic Community,
 under the strict, unconditional leadership of the US,
 decided the time had arrived to settle scores with
what was left of 2 great nations - Russia & China -
 who had carried out the heroic deed of putting an
 end to the imperialist colonial order imposed on
 the world, by Europe and the USA,” Castro says.

Instead of promoting conflict, NATO governments
 should “introduce more food, build hospitals and
more schools for the billions of human beings who
 desperately need them,” the Cuban leader adds.

Castro stresses that Cuba will continue to resist
 the US, despite the costs to the Cuban economy
 due to the US embargo, saying that “there is no
 worse price than capitulating before an enemy
 who attacks you without any right to do so.”

‘Cuba's people are very well-informed about
 US attempts to undermine their government’

“When the USSR disintegrated and disappeared
 from the socialist landscape, we kept resisting
 together - the state and revolutionary people -
 and we're continuing our independent march,”
says Castro.

Castro praises the Soviet Union for “gathering
 its resources and sharing its technology with
 a large number of weaker and less developed
 nations....... the inevitable victims of colonial
 exploitation”, when the Soviet Union existed.

Fidel Castro transferred presidential powers
 to his younger brother, Raul, due to health
 concerns in 2006, after almost five decades
 in power.

Since then, Castro has written numerous
articles and books about foreign policy.


______________________________________



Brits demand no more delay
 over UK Iraq-war report

People met outside Westminster on Friday --
to demand no more delays over publication
 of a long-awaited inquiry into the UK’s role
 in the 2003 illegal war on Iraq.

Critics say the report’s postponement is due
 to its criticism of former Prime Minister Tony
 Blair and his government, over their criminal
involvement in the US-led invasion of Iraq.

“It’s obvious that Tony Blair will be criticized...
 so they want to delay this as long as possible
- obviously with an election - the conservative
 party voted for the war and they do really have
 something to hide here,” says Lindsey German
 of the Stop the War Coalition.

Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal
 Democrats, Nick Clegg, said earlier this month,
 that the report is being “watered down,” so that
 Blair & other former officials are given a chance
 to respond to the inquiry’s findings.

However, the inquiry’s chair, John Chilcot,
says the wait is being caused by the long
delays in responses by "some individuals".

On January 21st, the UK government stated
that the inquiry would be published after the
 coming general election --- in May 2015.

The Chilcot report has already been delayed
by rows over its criticism of leading figures
 in Blair’s government and urgent 'diplomatic
 negotiations' between the US and the UK,
 about what can be allowed to be shown of
 correspondence between Blair and former
 US President George W. Bush.

The inquiry started in 2009 and concluded
 its task in 2011. It's now four years overdue.

The US and UK invaded Iraq in open violation
 of international law in 2003, over allegations
 that the regime of then Iraqi dictator Saddam
 Hussein, had weapons of mass destruction.
 Not one, however, were ever found in Iraq.

The war left hundreds of thousands of Iraqis
 murdered, many more wounded and millions
displaced, with large areas of the country
strewn with toxic depleted uranium shells.


_____________________________________



Militias encircle Kiev troops near Debaltsevo
 — Donetsk republic defense ministry

Militias of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s
 Republic (DPR) have fully blocked a grouping of
 Kiev's troops, near Debaltsevo city, in eastern
 Ukraine, a spokesperson for the DPR's Defense
 Ministry says.

Eduard Basurin says the militias have taken
Uglegorsk
city and its adjoining areas under
control, trapping about 8,000 Kiev troops.

The DPR's leaders "have made a decision to
preserve the soldiers’ lives," he says, adding
 that 11 of Kiev's troops have already taken
the militia's side.

Eduard Basurin, earlier this week, said that
1,194 Ukrainian service personel have been
killed since the start of Kiev's 'operation' in
 eastern Ukraine was restarted.


______________________________



Russia Is Concerned about
               Weapon Supplies to Ukraine               
 
 The Russian Foreign Ministry warns that
 an alleged supply of weapons to Ukraine
 by Bosnia-Herzegovina would worsen the
fratricidal conflict in Ukraine & undermine
 negotiations to find a peaceful settlement.

"We are concerned about information on an
alleged supply of weapons and ammunition
to Kiev, by Bosnia-Herzegovina, as such
plans violate international norms and do
not contribute to a peaceful solution",
Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Alexander
Lukashevich, says.


After calling on the Bosnian authorities to
renounce those intentions, the diplomat
refers to international commitments with
 the OSCE, and the Forum of Cooperation
on security.

Lukashevich notes that such plans can
only raise condemnation and indignation,
especially if they come from states which
endured the evils of a fratricidal civil war
 -- between 1992 and 1995.

The spokesperson for Russia's Foreign
Ministry notes that the weapons would
be used by Ukraine's military, to keep
attacking people and murdering
civilians, in southeastern Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Russia's Foreign Ministry
 issued a communiqué, warning that the
Ukrainian government's actions in the
 south east, would lead to an inevitable
escalation of the conflict there, and,
 consequently, to more innocent
civilians' deaths.

During an informal meeting with foreign
 correspondents, Russian Foreign Minister
 Sergei Lavrov made it clear that peace in
 Ukraine does not depend on Russia, as
Moscow is not part of the conflict, but on
 President Petro Poroshenko's willingness
 to hold direct talks with the rebel regions.

He repeated that Russia is making huge
 efforts to contribute to a solution to the
 Ukrainian crisis, but he lamented that in
the meantime, Poroshenko and officials
from his government, are always giving
 contradictory signals.

He added that it is important that the
warring parties untie the knot of dis-
agreements on crucial issues, such
as, the definition of the security zone
 on either side of the frontline, and
the withdrawal of heavy weapons.


_________________________________


Cuban, Spanish Communist
   Leaders Talk in Havana     
          
José Ramón Machado Ventura, Second Secretary
 of the Central Committee of the Communist Party
 of Cuba (PCC), welcomed the general secretary of
 the Communist Party of Spain, José Luis Centella,
to talks, on Thursday.

The party leaders exchanged views on the work
 of both organizations in the current situation, as
 well as on the complex international situation -
 but especially the global crisis now centred in
Europe - and the role of the communist parties
 and the left - an official note explained.

According to the note, Centella saluted the
return to Cuba of the three counter-terrorist
 heroes & the decision to restore diplomatic
 relations between Cuba and the US.

The talks also included the member of the
United Left Spanish Euro MP, Willy Meyer.

The Cuban party was also represented by
a member of the Secretariat of the Central
 Committee of the PCC and Head of its Dept
 of International Relations, Jose Ramon
Balaguer, and other officials.


________________________________


European Interior Ministers
    Prepare Common Strategy   
           
The Interior ministers of the European Union (EU)
 have analyzed their plans to 'control extremism
and the danger of attacks', at a meeting in Riga.

The Interior ministers are preparing to present
recommendations to the EU summit to be held
 in Brussels on February 12, including measures
 which concern civil rights organizations.

The package includes systematic control of the
 entry & exit of EU citizens from Schengen Area
-- and recording the data of 'plane passengers.

The program analyzed in the Latvian capital, also
 includes technological cooperation on tracing all
 exchanges on social networks, a spying practice
 previously denounced by the website Wikileaks.

European parliamentarians have demanded an
 inquiry into the tapping of thousands of mobile-
phone calls and the monitoring of e-mails over
 the world, especially practiced by US and UK
 intelligence authorities.

The Interior ministers also propose now to
decode communications among citizens,
 the local Lithuanian media report.

The EU Interior ministers say their focus is
 on 'finding the causes for the radicalization
 of European Muslim citizens and avoiding
 their recruitment by extremist groups to
 fight in Syria, Iraq or Libya'.


_______________________________



Greece Reacts against European
               Declaration of Threats to Russia               
 
 The new government in Greece expresses
 its anger to the European Union... for not
 having taken Greece's views into account,
before drafting its statement threatening
Russia with new, further sanctions.

In the EU's text published on Thursday, EU
 leaders blamed Moscow for the increasing
violence in east Ukraine, where 30 deaths
 were reported in Mariupol, and for a sharp
 deterioration in security and a worsening
 humanitarian situation.

The Greek rejection of this statement is
because, says deputy foreign minister,
Nikos Juntis,  the EU statement was
 drafted 'without following established
 procedures, without informing Greece
 or obtaining the consent of the PM,
 Alexis Tsipras'.

Juntis rejects 'the spirit of sanctions against
 Russia, which has negative consequences
 on our agriculture, on the economy of our
country and on its interests in general.'

He also attacks 'the fevered haste of
some Member States (against Russia),
and that this haste is reflected in the
statement not having been concerted
with Athens.

Juntis, whose protest was transmitted by
 telephone to the High Representative of
the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security
Policy, Federica Mogherini, says Greece's
 position on the issue will be determined
Friday,
by
Athens' Council of Ministers.


___________________________



Casualties as Hezbollah Targets
 Israeli Convoy in Shebaa Farms

The Islamic resistance in Lebanon targeted
 an Israeli convoy of 9 vehicles in occupied
 Shebaa Farms on Wednesday, killing and
injuring a large number of Israeli soldiers.

Media outlets initially reported that "an
anti-tank missile hit a vehicle in Shebaa
 Farms."

Israeli Channel 10 added that the Israeli
convoy  targeted included a number of
Israeli military commanders who were
 inspecting the area.

In details, the Channel pointed out that
the resistance could penetrate all Israeli
 security measures and ambush a military
 convoy, launching rockets at the vehicles.

Hezbollah prepared militarily and logistically
 for the operation, and then withdrew troops
safely after executing a successful mission.

Hezbollah claims the attack, saying an
Israeli convoy was hit, leaving numbers
 of casualties.

The attack comes just over a week after an
 Israeli raid in Quneitra in Syria’s Golan killed
 six Hezbollah fighters.

"At 11:25 this morning, Quneitra Heroic
Martyrs group of the Islamic Resistance,
 targeted an Israeli military convoy in the
 Shebaa Farms, of several vehicles which
were transporting Zionist officers and
 soldiers," a statement released by
 Hezbollah Media Relations said.

“Several vehicles were destroyed, and
 casualties were caused among the
enemy ranks,” the statement added.

Shortly after the attack, the occupation
 army announced that one of its vehicles
 was destroyed and that several soldiers
 were injured --- many of whom were in
a critical condition.

Conflicting reports emerged on the
number of casualties...... Sky News
reported that 4 soldiers were killed,
while the Israeli Military Censor
 put the death toll at 2 soldiers.

According to Israeli media outlets, a
Givati Brigade battalion commander,
 major Yuhay Klinger, as well as a
 soldier, Dowr Nini, were killed. 


_______________________________



Cuba urges US to end economic
 blockade, return Guantanamo

Cuban leader Raul Castro calls on the US
to end the economic embargo & demands
 that Guantanamo Bay be returned to Cuba
as relations between the nations undergo
 a historic thaw.

Castro reaffirms Cuba’s willingness to
normalize relations with the US, but
 stresses that the embargo must first
 be lifted.

"The main problem has not been resolved:
 the economic, commercial and financial
blockade, which causes huge human &
 economic damage, and is a violation of
 international rights," Castro says, at a
Latin American summit in Costa Rica.

The Cuban president also notes that
the US must return Guantanamo to Cuba
 before a full rapprochement. Guantanamo
 Bay has been under US control for over
 a century.

Castro stresses that he will not let the
US interfere in Cuba's internal affairs.

He suggests that Obama extend measures
similar to those the US announced for the
 telecom industry to all Cuba’s economy,
but adds that he knows that ending the
embargo, the longest one in modern
history, will be a “long and hard road.”

Though Obama used his executive powers
 to ease both travel and trade restrictions
 on Cuba since the announcement, Castro
 says the US leader needs to do more.

"He could, with resolve, use his broad
executive powers, to substantially
change the scope of the blockade,
 even without a Congress decision,"
 he says.

Obama, however, faces opposition from
 Republican lawmakers who are against
normalizing ties with Cuba before it
 agrees to "political change".

“Relations with the Castro regime should
 not be revisited, let alone normalized, until
 the Cuban people enjoy freedom – and not
 one second sooner,” Speaker of the House
 John Boehner said last month.

“There is no ‘new course’ here, only another
in a long line of mindless concessions to a
 dictatorship that brutalizes its people and
schemes with our enemies.”


____________________________



Islamic State operative confesses to
receiving funding through US - report

A man believed to be a Pakistani commander
 of Islamic State or Daish, Yousaf al Salafi,
has confessed to law enforcement agencies
 in Pakistan to getting funds via the US, says
 a leading Pakistani newspaper, giving sources.

Al Salafi and two companions were arrested
 in Lahore, on January 22nd, according to AFP.

“During investigations, Yousaf al Salafi revealed
 that he was funded --- via America --- to run the
 organization in Pakistan and to recruit young
 people to fight in Syria,” a source close to the
 investigations revealed to Urdu-language Daily
 Express, on condition of anonymity, according
 to its sister English paper The Express Tribune.

The newspaper also claimed that Al Salafi was
 in fact arrested last year sometime in December.

Al Salafi also allegedly confessed to recruiting
 jihadists to send them to Syria, gaining about
 $600 per person. He also admitted that he'd
been working with a Pakistani accomplice,
 who was reportedly the Imam of a mosque.

“The US has been condemning IS activities,
 but unfortunately has not been able to stop
the funding of these organizations, which is
being routed through the US.

“The US had to dispel the impression that it
 is financing the group for its own interests &
 that is why it launched offensives against the
 organization in Iraq but not in Syria,” a source
 said. It is not made clear where, exactly, the
 funds came from, within the US.

The sources who spoke to the Express Tribune
 also stated that the awkward revelations had
been revealed to US Secretary of State John
Kerry, on his recent trip to Islamabad.

“The matter was also taken up with CENTCOM
 [US Central Command] chief, General Lloyd
Austin, during his visit to Islamabad earlier
this month,” a source said.

A source told Reuters last week that Al-Salafi
is a Pakistani-Syrian. He came to Pakistan via
Turkey five months ago and established an
ISIS group in Pakistan.

In recent months, Pakistani media has
been discussing the amount of influence
 Islamic State has in Pakistan, and cited
 several incidents in Lahore and Multan,
 where Islamic State flags & graffiti have
 been seen.

However Pakistan's authorities indicate
 that local militants oppose Islamic State,
according to IHS Jane’s defense review.

In response to large-scale advances made
by ISIS militants in June 2014 in Iraq and
Syria, the US and others began a large-
scale air campaign over the region.

The US and the UK have sent non-operation
 soldiers to Iraq, as well as special forces.

According to Pentagon documents, seen by
 AP, President Obama will ask for a $38 billion
 rise in the Defense Department's
core budget.

 Of this, $5.3 billion will go to train and equip
 Iraq's armed forces & 'moderate opposition'
 in Syria.


__________________________________________



Blitzkrieg turned into mayhem: Hacktivists
 claim finds show Kiev troops’ annihilation

Ukraine's subversive hacker group CyberBerkut
 has published documents allegedly exposing
a dreadful situation for Kiev's troops attacking
 separatist forces in the East: with war crimes,
a tremendous loss of lives and the wholesale
 desertion of encircled troops.

The anti-government activists claim they have
 hacked the personal computer of Ukraine’s Judge
 Advocate General and copied numbers of classified
 documents. The documents allegedly expose some
 dark secrets of Kiev’s authorities on the real state
of things in the ‘anti-terrorist operation’ zone, in the
Donetsk and Lugansk regions of the country.

The price of the war resumed by President Petro
 Poroshhenko in the east is terrifying. The hacked
 documents claim at least 1,100 servicemen of
the Ukrainian army have lost their lives over the
 the last two weeks. Many dozens of Ukrainian
 soldiers have given up to the separatist forces.

 Ukraine's army has lost over 100 tanks and
 armored vehicles.

This information collides with the latest reports
 by Kiev generals about “no losses”, “defeated
 enemy” & “thousands of eliminated terrorists”.

The explanation for this is simple: according
 to the documents allegedly hacked, Ukraine's
Security Service (SBU) has officially forbidden
 Defense Ministry officials to show the true
casualties among servicemen.

Leaked document. Image from
 http://www.cyber-berkut.org/
[SEE THE TRANSLATION BELOW]

“Order by the first deputy head of the Anti-
Terrorist center of the Ukraine's Security
 Service (SBU)

on anti-terrorist operation

Relating to orders by Defense Ministry, General
 Staff of Ukrainian Defense Forces and Head of
 anti-terrorist center of the Ukrainian Security
Service to restrict from 26th January 2015 the
 presentation of data on real losses in the
 area of anti-terrorist operation.

Order:

1. Commanders of military units shall present
 reports only to the anti-terrorist center.

2. Deputy head of the Anti-Terrorist HQ shall
 instruct via Military Medical Department of
 the Ukrainian Defense Ministry head of the
 Dnepropetrovsk Military Hospital, Southern
 Military Medical Center (Odessa) and Northern
 Military Medical Center (Kharkov) to stop
 until further notice make reports through
official channels on real losses in the area
 of anti-terrorist operation.”

The documents the hacktivists claim they have
 obtained, paint a grim picture of the Ukrainian
 war: discipline of the troops is undermined,
troops are running out of reserves, mobilization
 is stalled as army draftees escape the country,
mostly to Russia and other neighboring states.

With a lack of hardened troops, Ukrainian
 military leaders order recruits into meaning-
less attacks on multi-layered defenses of
 the separatists, which results in havoc
 and vast casualties.

Ukraine's military have even employed
 barrier troops who fired at their fellow
service-men to prevent their retreat, as
could be learnt from the documents.

CyberBerkut accuses Ukrainian commanders
 of defecting, leaving their subordinates on the
 battlefield. The zone along the frontline is full
 of prowling deserters and blood-thirsty psycho-
paths dressed up in Ukrainian uniforms,
claims the group.

“We’re CyberBerkut. We don’t forget, we don’t
 forgive,” announce the hacktivists, promising
 to follow up on “other criminal organizations”
that started the “civil war in Ukraine.”


________________________________


FIDEL ON US/CUBA RAPPROCHEMENT

The 88-year-old Castro does not “trust the US,
nor have I exchanged any words with them,”
he writes in a letter to the student federation
 at the University of Havana and printed in
the Communist Party newspaper, Granma.

Yet, “it does not mean I reject a peace-
ful resolution to conflicts,” he continues.

 “We will always defend cooperation and
friendship with all peoples of the world
--- including our political adversaries.”


_________________________________


Kiev uses anti-retreat units to stop
 men falling back – E. Ukraine militia

"Ukrainian troops are demoralized, which is
proven by an unprecedented incident that
occurred last night,” DPR Defense Ministry
 spokesperson, Eduard Basurin, says, as
quoted by Donetsk News Agency.

An injured Ukrainian soldier who surrendered
 to the militias, said, during questioning, that
 “anti-retreat units from territorial defense
battalions were used against the Ukrainian
 troops,” Basurin states.

According to the spokesperson, 70 Ukrainian
 troops have surrendered to the rebels, since
 January 9th, with 11 of them capitulating in
 the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's Defense Ministry has
decided to accelerate students' graduation in
 the country's military schools and universities,
 in order to deploy them to the conflict zone in
 Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, TASS reports.

“It's being done to make up for the huge
combat losses of officers” in the southeast
 fighting - and a mass mobilization evasion,
 by the reserve officers of Ukraine's army,
representative parent associations of
 Ukraine's military schools, say.

According to the parents, the Defense
Ministry now plans to send 2,000 under-
educated lieutenants, to the war-torn
 southeast.

The preparations for early graduation are
 already underway -- in military schools in
 Kharkov, Lvov, and Poltava, they state.

 Kharkov Air Force University Graduates,
 are now being sent to infantry units, due
 to a shortage of operational planes in the
 Ukrainian military.

The parents stress that they don't agree
with the decision by the Defense Ministry,
 and promise to stage rallies and block the
country’s military schools and universities.


___________________________



Ukrainians grow unwilling to
 serve in the army — media

Ukraine’s male population is starting to go
abroad in search of jobs, in huge numbers,
 to dodge the current mobilization campaign.

"Entire villages are booking buses to send
 their men as far away as possible. Military
 committees are handing over the lists of
fugitives to law enforcers, to try to restrict
 the loss of men subject to conscription, as
they move outside their native districts
and areas," Vesti writes.

Natalya, from Zaporizhia in S. East Ukraine,
 sent her son to Russia several months ago.
 She told Vesti, on condition of anonymity,
 that she has also sent her husband away
 (also to Russia), the week before.

 Men from western regions, are leaving
for Poland and Hungary.  Kiev's military
 committee is also complaining about
 draft dodgers.

Human resource experts note a growing
 interest in vacancies abroad. "In the past
 3 months, over 281 job seekers interested
 in work abroad - including 176 last month  
- have posted their CVs on our website,"
says Tatyana Pashkina of Rabota.ru portal.

The authorities in Kiev-controlled parts of
 Lugansk region, have recently forbidden
men aged 18-60, to leave for militia-held
 territories or abroad, without permission
 from the local military committees.

Last Monday, Belgorod-Dnestrovsky City
Council in Odessa region, published a ban
 on reservists leaving the region’s territory.

The fourth mobilization in Ukraine started
 on January 20th. Two more are scheduled
 for April and June.

According to Ukrainian Defense Minister,
 Stepan Poltorak, about 104,000 people
may be mobilized in 2015.

The Ukrainian army’s Chief of Staff, Vladimir
Talalay, says draft dodgers will face from 2 to
5 years in prison, and that women aged 25-50
 could be drafted into the army, if necessary.


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


Russia may help Ukrainians
 avoid army service

Russia's President Vladimir Putin says
Russia might extend the period of stay
 in Russia, for those of conscription age
 who could be drafted into Kiev's army.

"Many people, by the way, do not want to
 be 'mobilized'. They are trying to move to
Russia and lie low for some time. And they
 are absolutely right because they're simply
 being sent into bullets like cannon fodder,"
 Putin said, at a meeting with students of
 "Gornyi" University of Mineral Resources.

At the same time, the president said that
Ukraine nationals can't stay in Russia for
longer than the period established in law.

"Under a new law, Ukrainian citizens can't
 stay in Russia for more than 30 days. After
 that, they have to return to Ukraine, where
 they are being caught -- and sent into the
 bullets again. That's why I think that we're
 going to change something in that law,"
Putin said, adding that the stay for some
categories of people, especially those of
 conscription age, could be extended
within the legal framework.


___________________________________



Russian lawmaker praises Americans;
 calls US policy absolute evil for Europe

"Americans are a wonderful, enterprising,
 talented nation. But US foreign policy is an
absolute evil for Europe," Russia's State
 Duma Speaker, Sergey Naryshkin, said, at
a round table in PACE dedicated to the role
 of parliaments in the restoration of trust.

He reminds us of the "exceptionalism" idea.
 "You immediately recall the authors of this
 idea: the ideology of the exceptionalism of
one race," Naryshkin said.

"As long as Europe is under Washington’s
 dictatorship, the stability and security of
 our European continent will be in the zone
 of a very serious risk," he warned.

_____________________________


Russian leaders condemn attempts
 to revise World War II history

Russia's top leaders say that attempts to
distort the history of World War II, could
open the gate for a revival of Nazism.

"We must clearly understand that any attempt
 to rewrite history, and revise the contribution
 of our country to the Great Victory (of World
 War II), effectively means justifying the Nazi
 crimes and will open the gates for this deadly
 ideology," the Kremlin's press service quotes
 President Vladimir Putin, as saying.

"We must defend the truth about the events
of the Second World War, as forgetting the
lessons of our common past could lead to
the repetition of such terrible tragedies
(as the Holocaust),"  Putin says.

He stresses that it was the Red Army of the
Soviet Union that saved the Jewish, as well
as other people in the world, from the Nazis'
 "merciless annihilation."

PM Dmitry Medvedev says historical revisions
 have been made by politicians in countries...
 that once suffered from Nazi occupation.

"Lately, the memories of World War II have
been twisted for political speculative goals.
 There are even cynical attempts to white-
wash war criminals and fascist henchmen,"
 Medvedev says.

He says these attempts are provoking new
 conflicts and are leading to new tragedies.

 "The revival of radical nationalism means
 the oblivion of the lessons of World War II,"
Medvedev says, in a statement.

Both Putin and Medvedev were attending a
 memorial event to mark the 70th anniversary
of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration
 camp, by the Soviet Army.

Earlier this month, the Kremlin said Putin was
 not going to attend the Auschwitz liberation
 memorial events planned in Poland, as he had
 not received an official invitation to Tuesday's
 gathering, marking the 70th anniversary of the
 liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp.

Observers see this as the latest reflection
of a fraying of Russia's relationships with
 Western countries, as their ties have been
 dragged towards the worst since the Cold
War, due to the Ukraine crisis.


_______________________



A Woman with Cojons

Argentina’s president says the country’s
 intelligence agency is a “national debt”
 and has announced plans to disband it.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
 says that she has now prepared the draft
 legislation, to set up an alternative body.

"I have prepared a bill to reform the
intelligence service," Fernandez says
- insisting that she wants it discussed
 at an urgent session of the Congress.

She says her plan “is to dissolve the
 Intelligence Secretariat, and create
 a Federal Intelligence Agency", and
 adds that new leaders for the agency
 should be picked by a president and
 confirmed by the country’s Senate.

Fernandez says the intelligence
 services have the same structure
 they had during a US-backed army
 regime, which ended in 1983.

"Combating impunity is a priority of
 my government," she emphasizes.

She made her decision after the
 mysterious death of prosecutor
Alberto Nisman -- hours before
he was about to testify against
senior government authorities.

Nisman had probed the bombing of
 a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires in
1994, which killed 85 people.

He was found dead on January 18th
 in his apartment, in Buenos Aires.

Investigators initially said he had
 committed suicide, but then said
 homicide or "induced suicide”,
 could not be ruled out.


___________________________________



Security forces free Iraq's
eastern province of Diyala

Iraqi security forces on Monday freed Iraq's
 eastern province of Diyala from Islamic State
(IS) militants after 3 days of fierce clashes,
 the provincial police chief says.

"Diyala province is now completely free of IS
  after the military offensive started on Friday
 and ended on Sunday night," Lt General
Jamil al-Shimary, tells reporters.

Hadi al-Ameri, a leading figure in the
 powerful Shiite party Badr Organization
confirms that the whole province is now
free from IS militants and that some 58
security members were killed, and
hundreds wounded.

"A total of 58 security members were killed
 and 248 wounded, by the latest battles
which ended the last redoubts of Daash
 (the first Arabic letters of IS extremist
group) in the areas of Mansouriya and
 near Maqdadiyah town, some 100 km
 northeast of Baghdad," the state-run
 Iraqiya channel quotes Hadi al-Ameri
 as saying, while with the troops, at
 the battlefields in Diyala.

Nearly half the casualties were from
 Shiite militias which fought with the
 Iraqi security forces in battles against
IS militants, says Ameri, whose Badr
group members are part of the militias.

"Diyala has been fully freed, but some
individuals from IS militants are now
 hiding in orchards and hideouts, but
 they will be hunted down by the
security forces," Ameri says, adding
 that the next battles will concentrate
 on freeing Salahudin's capital, Tikrit,
170 km north of Baghdad, as well as
 the provincial towns, Alam and Dowr.

Ameri's Badr Organization was previously
 known as Badr Brigade and maintains its
 longtime ties with neighbour Iran, where
 it was first built, during the 8 year long
Iraq-Iran war, in the 1980s.

Ameri's Brigade emerged as a powerful militia
 during the years following the US-led invasion
 of Iraq, in 2003, before turning into a political
 organization a few years later.

 Badr Brigade was the military wing of the
 Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a Shiite
party led by Shiite cleric Ammar al-Hakim.

On Friday, thousands of Iraqi army, police
and Shiite militias backed by Iraqi aircraft
 launched a major offensive with the aim
 of ending the presence of the extremist
 militants in the country's Diyala province.

Despite the announcement of liberating
 Diyala, three Shiite militiamen were killed
and four wounded on Monday morning, as
a road bomb struck a militia vehicle near
 an orchard, northeast of Maqdadiyah, an
anonymous police source says.

The security situation in Iraq, badly
deteriorated on June 10th, 2014, as
Iraqi security forces and IS clashed.

 IS then took control of Iraq's Nineveh
 province and later seized large areas
 after Iraqi security forces abandoned
 their posts in mainly Sunni provinces.


__________________________________



Kiev introduces state of emergency in
 Donbass, high alert across Ukraine

The Ukrainian government has introduced a
state of emergency in Donetsk & Lugansk,
 and put every other region on high alert,
PM Arseny Yatsenyuk announces.

"In accordance with the Ukrainian Code of
 Civil Protection, the Cabinet of Ministers
has decided to recognize an emergency
situation at state level."

 "The Ukrainian government has decided to
 impose a state of emergency in the Donetsk
 and Lugansk Regions," Yatsenyuk is quoted
 as saying by Interfax-Ukraine.

According to the PM, the move is aimed at
providing the most efficient coordination of
all government agencies in order to ensure
civil protection and the population's safety.

The statement was made after a meeting of
 the Cabinet of Ministers, which took place
 at the headquarters of the State Emergency
 Service of Ukraine, in Kiev, on Monday.

Yatsenyuk adds that the state of emergency
 in the southeast will be overseen by a special
 government commission.

This will be headed by the PM himself, with
 Deputy-PM Gennady Zubko and Emergencies
Minister Sergey Bochkovsky as his deputies.

Kiev’s troops and Donbass militia forces are
 locked in renewed hostilities in southeastern
 Ukraine after a shaky ceasefire reached by
the sides in September, utterly collapsed.

Ukrainian forces launched a massive offensive
 in mid-January, but failed to gain any ground
 despite employing tanks, artillery and aviation.

On Saturday, a residential area in the port city
 of Mariupol, which has been relatively insulated
 from violence throughout most of the conflict,
 was shelled.

Kiev's forces and the militias have been trading
 blame for the incident, which took the lives of
 at least 30 people and saw another 100 injured.

The Ukrainian conflict began last April, when
Kiev launched a military operation in the
 southeastern Donetsk and Lugansk Regions,
after they refused to recognize the country’s
 new, coup-imposed authorities.

The death toll in the Ukraine conflict has
 exceeded 5,000 people. Over 10,000 have
 been injured, according to UN estimates.

___________________________


* * * NEWSFLASH * * *

Putin: Ukraine army is NATO legion
aimed at restraining Russia

The Ukrainian army is essentially a ‘NATO
 legion’, which doesn’t pursue
Ukraine's
national interests, but persists to restrict
 Russia, President Vladimir Putin says, in
a surprise statement today...

Russia faces an immediate mass mobilisation
in Ukraine, and the anti-US coup militias have
opened up a wide front to drive Kiev's forces
back, as Kiev uses heavy artillery to destroy
the east's infrastructure in civilian areas.

More on Putin's surprise speech to come.


________________________________


Greece’s anti-austerity Syriza party
 officially wins parliamentary elections

Radical left-wing opposition party Syriza
has officially won Greece's parliamentary
elections, securing 149 seats, out of 300.

On Monday, Syriza managed to gain key
support to form a new government, after
 a meeting with Panos Kammenos, head of
anti-austerity party, Independent Greeks,
 which also opposes Greece's bailout deal.

Kammenos says his party backs Tsipras
to be the next prime minister.

"From this moment there is a government in
the country. The Independent Greeks give
 a vote of confidence to PM Alexis Tsipras.
There is an agreement in principle," Panos
 Kammenos says, after talks with Syriza's
 leader, as quoted by Reuters.

“It's an historic victory. It sends a message
against austerity and
in favor of dignity and
democracy,” Panos
Skourletis, spokes-
person, tells
Greek Mega TV.

Syriza is the first anti-austerity party to
come to
power in the EU.


______________________________



This happened the day after the Greek election:
STRASBOURG, January 26.

"Officials of the Russian Communist party were
 kicked and pushed around by two Russian-
speaking men."

Managing officials of Russia's Communist party
 (KPRF), Gennady Zyuganov, & First deputy head
 of the Communist Party, Ivan Melnikov, were
 attacked near the PACE building.

 Both Zyuganov and Melnikov, members of the
 Russian delegation to PACE, expressed surprise
 and anger, over the fact that nobody was near
 the building of the Council of Europe, to shield
 them from the assaulters.

Talking to journalists, Melnikov confirms that
 both were attacked.

 "We were kicked & pushed around," Melnikov
 says. He describes the assaulters as " two
Russian-speaking men who uttered the word
 "Ukraine" in connection with something that
I couldn't make out."

 He expresses surprise over the absence of
security measures that local law enforcers
 "ought to have ensured."

This is  another example of the  low and ugly
 games that NATO is playing against Russia.


_____________________________


US SAYS "PEACE", PUSHES FOR WAR NOW

The Kremlin says Washington’s foreign policy
 on Ukraine is “aggressive” because it “fails to
 meet present-day realities, and demonstrates
 that the US actually wants to dominate the
 world.”

According to the commander of United States
Army Europe, the US military is to send troops
 to Ukraine this Spring to train four companies
 in the Ukrainian National Guard.

The US has already earmarked $19 million to
help build the Ukrainian National Guard.  Lt.
 Gen Frederick Ben Hodges led a US command
 delegation to Kiev last Wednesday, to begin
"evaluating the situation" in Ukraine’s restive
south-eastern regions.


____________________________________



Ukraine: The truth instead of lies
 
Western media outlets have been spreading
 outright lies in recent days, as they've been
 doing since the Ukrainian unrest started last
 February, when Fascist forces seized power
in an illegal coup, ousting a democratically
elected President -- against all legal norms
necessary for impeachment -- and placed
 a Putschist government in control.

Many western citizens are unaware that
Fascist massacres occurred across south-
eastern Ukraine after the illegal Putsch in
 Kiev -- because reports have been scant,
or non-existent.

Fascist attacks:

May 2, 2014. Over fifty people were burnt
alive in the Trade Union Building in Odessa
 when Fascists attacked Russian-speaking
 protesters. Those who escaped the flames
 were hacked to death with axes while the
crowd jeered chanting "Death to Russians".

May 2, 2014 Kramatorsk: numerous unarmed
 civilians mown down by the national guard.

May 9, Mariupol:  Fascists mowed down un-
armed civilians with firearms. The statistics
show 46 police shot by Fascist national guard
 forces - for refusing to murder civilians - and
 a further 143 civilians slaughtered.

June 8 2014: Fascist forces attack Slavyansk
 murdering many civilians, including children,
 women and the elderly.

In 2014, numerous attacks were perpetrated
by Ukrainian Junta forces against civilians
 across the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk,
 causing hundreds of murders of civilians.

 PM Yatsekyuk labeled as "subhumans" the
 citizens of Donbass, who took up arms to
defend themselves, after these countless
Fascist massacres.

War crimes by Kiev Junta forces and the
 Ukrainian National Guard:

https://vk.com/album-69838054_198072706

2015 January 25, Pervomaysk. The house of
 an 87-year-old woman was shelled by Junta
 forces, murdering her.

Mariupol shelling, January 2015. Dozens dead
 in shelling which Ukrainian Junta forces blame
 on Donbass freedom fighters. The OSCE took
 12 hours to write a report backing this claim.

 Yet eye witnesses state that the missile attack
 was from Ukrainian Junta positions --- and the
 Donetsk Republic anti-Fascists had already
 claimed that they would not fire on Mariupol,
as they didn't want to cause civilian deaths.

Why would Donetsk People's Republic forces
 shell a city that they are encircling? And why
 did the Ukrainian Junta authorities cut off the
 electricity, gas and water supply, one hour
 before the shelling?

Meanwhile, in Gorlovka, the Ukrainian Junta
 forces have unleashed an unceasing barrage
 of artillery fire against the civilian population,
 murdering 317 people in just one week. 15
schools & 10 kindergartens have been razed.

30% of arable fields across Donetsk have been
 mined by Ukrainian Junta personnel, to murder
 farmers and civilians and schoolchildren making
 their way across the fields to work and to school.

Due to ceasefire breaches by Ukrainian Junta
 forces, anti-Fascist forces have opened fire
across the entire front. Fascist forces are
 running in panic across the front - many are
 surrendering. Villages liberated from the
Fascists are being sterilized, as terrorist
units from Kiev are liquidated en masse.

In the recent failed attack against Donetsk
 Airport, which SKY News claimed had been
captured by Ukrainian Junta forces, units
from the Donetsk People's Republic have
successfully defended the airport.

725 Ukrainian Junta forces were killed in
 the failed operation, 59 tanks, 51 infantry
 combat vehicles and armored vehicles,
 were destroyed, reports Pravda.


_________________________________


Yemeni president decides to
withdraw resignation: advisor

Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi
 has decided to withdraw his resignation and
 continue to serve the country, a presidential
 advisor tells Xinhua news on Sunday.

A presidential advisor, requesting anonymity,
 told Xinhua that Hadi made his decision to with-
draw the resignation based on the international
 efforts led by UN envoy Jamal Bin Omar, as well
 as representatives of political parties in Yemen.

Hadi has 6 advisors on the country's decision-
making body --- 1 from the Shiite Houthi group.

But a government spokesperson tells Xinhua
 that there is no official announcement about
 Hadi's decision.

Domestic and international efforts are still
 underway to convince the president to with-
draw his resignation, a spokesperson said
--- on condition of anonymity.

Hadi, on Thursday, submitted his resignation
 to parliament amid a standoff with the Shiite
 Houthi group who control the capital. Yemeni
Prime Minister Khaled Bahah and his cabinet
also presented their resignations to the
president on the same day.

Yemen's official Saba news agency reports
 Sunday that the Yemeni parliament has post-
poned an emergency session to vote on the
 president's resignation.

The meeting is now delayed for "another date
 to be set later", in order to have more time to
"inform all members of parliament to attend,"
 Saba reports.

Parliament said earlier in a brief statement,
 that it would hold an emergency session on
 Friday, which was then postponed to Sunday.


               Yemen and its Two Conflicting Powers:              
 
The Yemeni crisis is more serious today...
after Parliament rejected the resignation
of President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi and
his Houthi rivals formed a presidential
council... to replace him.

On Friday the president and the leadership of
 the Shiite tribe in control of areas of the capital
 since last September, signed an agreement of
mutual concessions to restore calm, after the
 fighting on Monday left dozens dead & wounded.

However, on Thursday, Prime Minister Khaled
Baha and his cabinet handed their resignations
 in to the president, who took the same course,
 rejected by the legislature, a few hours later.

"The (president's) resignation is accepted once
 presented, (and in this case) the (executive)
powers cannot be assumed by the Parliament
 because it is illegal since its mandate expired",
 says Ali Al-Imad, member of the Ansar Ullah
 Political Board, of the Houthi armed movement.

A statement broadcast by Al Masirah television
 channel, owned by the Houthis, says the leader-
ship of the tribe welcomes the resignation of
the president and "the revolution will continue
 with or without Hadi '.

A Presidential Council is being formed, backed
by the Houthi, state unconfirmed reports, sent
to Prensa Latina, by a diplomatic source.

The Council will manage Yemen's daily affairs,
 and will have as its Vice-president, a member
of the Houthi tribe, plus members of the army,
 security services and the Popular Committees.

The Houthi official recalls that the Constitution
 that establishes the ascension to power of the
 President of Parliament in the absence of the
 president, lost its validity, after the signing of
the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) Initiative.

The GCC initiative was negotiated after the
 resignation of former President Ali Abdullah
 Saleh imposed by massive protests against
 him three years ago, which gave way to the
National Dialogue, the results of which are
 contested by the Houthis, particularly the
Federation of the country into six regions.

The position of the Arabian Peninsula states
 is unclear, particularly that of the Kingdom
 of Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen to the
north and is immersed in a royal succession,
 after King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz's passing.


__________________________




Donetsk militia 'not going to storm
Mariupol', trades accusations with Kiev

Donetsk's militia has been ordered to suppress
 Kiev’s military positions to the east of Mariupol,
but is not going to storm the city, says Donetsk
 Republic head, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, who
accuses Kiev of a false flag operation, and of
 shifting the blame.

“Until now, we weren’t conducting operations
outside of Mariupol. We were saving strength,”
 Zakharchenko is cited by RIA-Novosti news
 agency as saying.

“But now, after Kiev decided to shift blame
 onto us for its erroneous fire from Grad
multiple rocket launchers on residential
 areas [in Mariupol], I gave the order to
suppress the positions of the Ukrainian
 military, east of Mariupol,” he states.

Zakharchenko adds that the forces of
 the People’s Republic of Donetsk (DPR)
have no plans to storm the city itself.

The DPR leader says “in the last few days
 the Ukrainian side has relocated a large
 formation of its troops to Mariupol.”

“Day and night, our positions in the town
 of Novoazovsk are subjected to massive
 bombardment from Grad multiple rocket
 launchers and heavy artillery.

“Today, armored vehicles from the 28th
 Ukrainian brigade arrived in the area as
well,” he stresses.

According to Zakharchenko, Kiev is doing
everything to make the rebels “move the
forces, which are now involved in battles
 for Donetsk airport, to Mariupol, in order to
 weaken & dislodge us from [the airport].”

The Ukrainian military is using the citizens
 of Mariupol as “human shields,” People’s
Republic of Donetsk leader says.

Earlier, a DPR military official, Eduard
Basurin, said that Kiev's forces have
 renewed their attempts to retake the
strategically significant Donetsk
airport, on Saturday.

“The Ukrainian military is trying to attack
 from the north, west and east. Hostilities
 are underway at the airport,” Basurin
said, as cited by Interfax news agency.

According to the rebels, they established
full control at Donetsk airport on Jan 16,
after an exhausting standoff with Kiev's
 troops, which had been ongoing since
 May last year.

The Organization for Security & Co-operation
 in Europe (OSCE) has dispatched its Mariupol
 observer mission to Olimpiiska Street, which
 was hit by artillery fire, in order to conduct a
 fact-finding mission on the ground.

Their monitors say:

“According to impact analysis, Grad rockets
originated from a north-easterly direction, in
Oktyabr area (19km N-East of Olimpiiska St),
 & Uragan rockets from an easterly direction,
 in Zaichenko area (15km east of Olimpiiska
 St), both controlled by the “Donetsk People’s
 Republic” (“DPR”),” the Special Monitoring
Mission report says.

Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko,
has aborted his visit to Saudi Arabia for
the funeral of King Abdullah, and has
 flown back to Kiev.

Poroshenko is to “host an urgent meeting
 of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense
 Council,” which was ordered “to develop
& implement more effective steps in view
 of the rapid deterioration of the situation
 in the east,” the presidential press-
service says.

Ukraine's PM, Arseny Yatsenyuk,
 has requested that an emergency
meeting of the UN Security Council
 be held on the situation in Mariupol.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry statement
 expresses hope that the shelling will
be comprehensively and objectively
investigated & that the perpetrators
 will get the punishment they deserve.

The EU is urging Moscow to persuade
 the leaders of the eastern Ukrainian
 militias to stop the hostilities, saying
 that the continued warfare in south-
eastern Ukraine “will inevitably lead
 to a further grave deterioration of
 relations between the EU and Russia,”
says the statement made by Federica
Mogherini, EU High Representative for
 Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The EU and US keep blaming Russia for
supporting Donbas' militias. The claims
 haven't been backed by any significant
 proof and have been repeatedly denied
 by Russian officials.

Approximately 30 people, including 2
 children, were killed when the city of
 Mariupol, which had stayed relatively
 insulated from the violence during the
 majority of the Ukrainian conflict, was
shelled on Saturday.

Kiev was quick to place the blame with
 the militia, saying that the bombardment
 was part of their advance on the port.

The militia representatives denied the
accusations and called the shelling
 “yet another provocation” by the
 Ukrainian forces.

According to the DPR’s speaker of parliament,
 Denis Pushilin, the rebels simply don’t have
 the necessary long-range artillery equipment
 to hit the
city centre from their positions.

The Ukrainian conflict began last April when
 Kiev launched a military operation in south-
eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions, after
 they refused to recognize Ukraine’s new,
coup-imposed authorities.

The death toll in Ukraine's conflict has
 exceeded 5,000 people. Over 10,000
have been injured, by UN estimates.


_______________________________



     Armed Clashes on Syrian Border:    
Lebanese Army Goes On Alert
                          
The Lebanese Army is keeping a heavy
deployment
of men 'round Tallat Al-Hamra,
near Ras Baalbeck,
where the bodies of 3
soldiers were found, & is
ready to counter
new attacks by armed groups
from Syria.

The mobilization of troops intensified after
 clashes between Lebanese forces and
militiamen with Islamic State (IS) and

 Al-Nusra Front, which operate from
Syrian
territory, on Friday.

Security sources predict more clashes in Arsal
 and other border areas with Syria, as part of the
 armed groups' objective of putting pressure on,
and weakening the army and Hezbollah, to end
 their military support for President Al-Assad.

Deputy Prime Minister & Defense Minister Samir
 Moqbel on Saturday praised the courage of the
Army and its ability to repel the attacks of the
 jihadists in Ras Baalbeck, the region where
Tallat Al-Haamra is located, on the outskirts of
 the village of Arsal in the northeastern Bekaa.

Moqbel says the army remains "a strong shield
and trigger lock" for the country and that their
"heroic deeds and victories make it clear, that
any attack on Lebanese soil and its army, is
doomed to failure."


"Lebanon will be the burial ground of the
 attackers," he says.


_________________________________



UN: Dozens of children homeless as Israel
illegally demolishes Palestinian houses

The United Nations has condemned Israel for
 illegally demolishing the houses of Palestinians
 in East Jerusalem, leaving 77 people, over half
 of whom are children, homeless in three days.

“Demolitions that result in forced evictions and
 displacement run counter to Israel’s obligations
 under international law & create unnecessary
 suffering and tension,” the UN Office for the
 Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
says in its statement.

The demolitions took place in East Jerusalem
and in the districts of Ramallah, Jericho and
 Hebron, according to the statement.

“Some of the demolished structures were provided
 by the international community to support vulnerable
 families,” says James Rawley, who's also UN Deputy
 Special Coordinator, the Middle East Peace Process,
and he tells Israel that the demolitions “must stop
 immediately”.

In 2014, Israel executed record numbers of house
  demolitions in the west bank and East Jerusalem
-- and in an area known as Area C, which is under
 full Israeli control.

“In 2014, according to OCHA figures, Israel's
 authorities destroyed 590 Palestinian-owned
 structures in Area C and in east Jerusalem,
displacing 1,177 people — the highest level
 of displacement in the West Bank since
OCHA began systematically monitoring the
 issue in 2008,” OCHA says.

Israel argues that demolitions are always
necessary because the homes were built
 without proper construction permits.

 But Palestinians and rights groups say
 Israel repeatedly denies such permits -
 forcing people to build without them.

“The planning policies applied by Israel in
Area C and East Jerusalem discriminate
 against Palestinians, making it extremely
difficult for them to obtain building permits.
As a result, many Palestinians build sans 
permits to meet their housing needs, and
 risk having their structures demolished,”
says the OCHA.

500,000 Israelis have settled in the West Bank
 & E Jerusalem, among 2.4 million Palestinians.

 The Israeli-occupied territories are seeking full
 Palestinian statehood and independence from
 Israel -- and have been, for decades. But despite
international criticism, the Israeli government
encourages the Jewish population in the West
Bank, to build more and more new settlements.

At the end of 2014 Israel gave a green light
 for the construction of 243 new homes in
Ramot in East Jerusalem.

The country also approved amendments to
existing projects for 270 homes in the same
 area and in the neighborhoods of Har Homa.

In mid-January Israelis withheld crucial tax
revenue from the Palestinians, in retaliation
 for Palestinian attempts to the join the ICC.


__________________________________



Three Minutes to Midnight

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January 2015:

"The threat is serious, the time short. The Bulletin
 of Atomic Scientists does not move the hands of
 the Doomsday Clock for light or transient reasons.
The clock ticks now at just 3 minutes to midnight,
 because international leaders are failing to perform
 their most important duty - ensuring and preserving
 the health and vitality of human civilization."

Now, the annual setting of the Bulletin of the
Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock (22nd Jan)
 has been re-set  - forward by 2 whole minutes
 - to three minutes to midnight, for the first time
 since the end of the Cold War and thirty years
 after the last such setting, in 1984, under the
 presidency of Grenada invader, Libya bomber,
 and Iran-Contra dealer --- Ronald Reagan.

In 1984, the Bulletin recorded:  "...relations
between the US & the Soviet Union reached
an icy nadir. Every channel of communications
 has been constricted or shut down; every form
 of contact has been attenuated or cut off. And
 arms control negotiations have been reduced
to a species of propaganda."

Now they say: "Today, over 25 years after
 the end of the Cold War, the members of the
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science &
 Security Board have looked closely at the
world situation & found it highly threatening
 to humanity - so threatening that the hands
 of the Doomsday Clock must once again be
 set at 3 minutes to midnight, two minutes
 closer to catastrophe, than in 2014."

"Efforts to reduce world nuclear arsenals
 have stalled. The disarmament process
has ground to a halt, with the US & Russia
 embarking on huge programs to modernize
 their nuclear triads - thereby undermining
 existing nuclear weapons treaties - and
other nuclear weapons holders joining in
 this expensive and extremely dangerous
 modernization craze."

"Insufficient action to slash worldwide
emissions of greenhouse gases can
produce global climatic catastrophe.

 "Even a so-called "limited" nuclear weapons
 exchange will produce massive casualties
 & severe effects on the global environment.

 "We implore political leaders of the world to
take coordinated, fast action, to drastically
reduce global emissions of heat-trapping
 gases, especially carbon dioxide, and
shrink nuclear weapons arsenals."

The Bulletin's Science and Security Board
 of Sponsors includes 17 Nobel Laureates:

"We implore the citizens of the world to demand
 action from their leaders. The threat looms over
 all of humanity. Humanity needs to respond
now, while there is still time."

The Clock, established in 1947, has become
a universally recognized indicator of the
world's vulnerability to catastrophe from
 nuclear weapons, climate change, and
emerging technologies in life sciences.

The Board stresses that catastrophe can
 be avoided with urgent action.
Time wasting is not an option.
 Essential priorities are:

*  Actions which would cap greenhouse gas
emissions - at levels which would halt the
average global temperature from rising over
2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

*  Dramatically reduce proposed spending on
nuclear weapons modernization programmes.

*  Re-energize the disarmament process -
with commitment to results.

* Deal urgently with nuclear waste problem.

If President Obama reads the documents
 and consults with the towering collective
 knowledge available at the Bulletin, applies
 that commitment for which they plead, builds
 bridges globally, rather than blowing them up,
there is enough time in the final 22 months of
 his Presidency, to embark on a road to justify
 the Nobel Peace Prize he was given at its start.

 We can only fervently hope that, as he stated
 in his acceptance speech, his actions at last
 "can bend history in the direction of justice."


________________________________


"Thank You for Your Service!"
Says Chief of US Army in Europe

 In a new low, even worse than Victoria Nuland
 and her Maidan cookies, General Ben Hodges,
Chief of the US Army in Europe, awarded US
army medals to Ukrainian soldiers in Kiev's
 Central Military Hospital, on January 22nd.

A video was made by "independent" Hromadske
 TV, a station that publicly admits it's funded by
 money coming from the US & Dutch embassies -
and George Soros. The General said the medal
 is "a symbol of the US army in Europe" & was
 given "for excellence".

The general ended his visit by thanking the
soldiers
for their service. The medals are
"challenge coins"
not real medals, but unit
coins, for a US coin challenge.


The Ukrainian soldiers are mostly lower class
 people who are dying for Western ambitions in
 Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Once there's no
 use for them anymore, they will be forgotten.

 At least they'll have one US Army challenge
 coin, even if, instead of a 100,000 Euro arm
 prosthesis, that would enable a normal life,
 the US will have let these men own a cheap
 piece of metal (worth 10 hryvnia -- less than
 one dollar).


_____________________________



Ukraine Rebels Vow to Conquer
 More Territory in War-Torn East

Anti-coup rebels on Friday vow to conquer
more territory in east Ukraine and rule out
 peace talks, after Kiev retreats from a long-
disputed airport, and casts aside Europe's
 latest push for a truce.

The defiant comments from Donetsk leader
 Alexander Zakharchenko, come as Ukraine
renews its allegations of Russian army units
fighting with rebels across the frontline of
the war-torn country's industrial east.


______________________________



Pope Anticipates Darkness and
              Dangers to Humanity in 2015               
 
 Pope Francis stresses the existence of darkness
 and danger for humanity this year, while speaking
 to Vatican security officials, whom he reminds...
of their duty to monitor important places of faith.

He emphasises that the millions of pilgrims also
require at least as much protection, as he does.


______________________________



Leading Russian banker warns
 of war between US and Russia

More financial sanctions by the US on Russia
will lead Moscow & Washington to the “brink
of war,” the head of a leading Russian bank
has warned.

Ties between the US & Russia will be severed
 if Russian banks are excluded from the Swift
 banking system due to tougher sanctions, said
 Andrei Kostin, chair of Russian state-controlled
 VTB Bank.

“Ambassadors can leave capitals. It means that
Russia and America might have no relationship
after that,” Kostin said at the World Economic
Forum on Friday.

“If there is no banking relationship, it means the
 countries are on the verge of war, or definitely in
a cold war. It will be a very dangerous situation.”

As one of Russia’s most senior bankers, Kostin
meets regularly with President Vladimir Putin
 and other top officials.

The US & European Union have already
 imposed several rounds of sanctions on
Russia,
including visa bans and asset
freezes.


Washington and Moscow ties deteriorated last
 year over the crisis in Ukraine after pro-Western
 forces ousted the country’s president, Viktor
Yanukovych, in February 2014.

The US and allies accuse Moscow of sending
troops into eastern Ukraine in support of the
 anti-coup forces. Moscow has long denied
any involvement in Ukraine's conflict.

The Kremlin describes Washington’s foreign policy
 on Ukraine as “aggressive”, saying the policy “fails
 to meet present-day realities & demonstrates that
 the United States actually wants to dominate the
 world.”

At his State of the Union address on Tuesday, US
 President Barack Obama said more US support for
 Ukraine was a principled stand against Russia's
 aggression.

The president said the United States and its allies
 were united against Moscow, a policy he said has
 left Russia isolated diplomatically and weakened
 economically.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov lashed out
on Wednesday at Obama's speech, saying that the
 comments shows the US has adopted a policy of
 confrontation towards Russia.


_________________________________



Saudi King Abdullah dead – state TV

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has
 died in hospital while being treated for pneumonia.

An official statement has named Saudi Crown
Prince Salman, as the new king.

"His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and
all members of the family and the nation mourn
the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King
Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed on at exactly
 1 a.m. this morning," says the statement on Saudi
Arabian state TV channel, attributed to Salman.

Salman has immediately appointed his half-
brother Muqrin, as his crown prince and heir.

Prior to this confirmation, conflicting reports
suggested that the Saudis had dismissed
news of the king's death on social media.

 However, Saudi television cut to Koranic
verses early on Friday - a practice known
 to signify the death of a senior royal,
Reuters reports.

US President Barack Obama has expressed
 his condolences and praised the late Saudi
King for his “steadfast and passionate belief
 in the importance of a US-Saudi relationship
 as a force for stability and security in the
Middle East and beyond.”

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announces
 that he will be leaving the World Economic Forum
 in Davos, Switzerland in order to travel to Saudi
Arabia and pay his respects.

Abdullah was officially appointed king in 2006,
but had run the country for at least 10 years as
 the de facto regent, after his predecessor, King
 Fahd, suffered a debilitating stroke.

The royal’s age is not officially known, however,
it is believed that he was born in 1923, according
to Reuters. Abdullah had approximately a dozen
 wives and was a father to more than 30 children,
AP reports.

The new head of state of the premier oil exporter
in the world is thought to be 79 years old. King
 Salman was appointed Crown Prince in 2012 and
 - in the same year - started serving as a defense
minister. Before, he was the governor of Riyadh
 province for five decades.

Abdullah was a staunch US ally, who supported
the west's fight against Al-Qaeda and maintained
 attempts to keep rival Shia Iran in check.

Under his rule, Saudi Arabia backed terrorist
 fighters trying to overthrow the government of
 Syrian President Bashar Assad. The monarch
 was also the first international head of state
 to congratulate Egypt's interim government as
 the July 2013 coup deposed Mohamed Morsi.

King Abdullah made some modest reforms in
 the areas of women’s rights and economic
 deregulation, but largely stayed away from
 any sharp changes to the kingdom’s political
 system. King Salman is said to be part of the
 royal circle that will continue to pursue
similar policies.

Despite Abdullah’s reforms, women in Saudi
 Arabia are still not allowed to drive and need
 male “approval” to work, travel outside the
country, open a bank account, and even,
sometimes, to have surgery.

 Under Abdullah the country stayed an absolute
 monarchy, guided by Sharia law, with severe
 punishments, such as public beheadings.

 ‘Saudi human rights record worst in region:
1 beheading every 4 days’

The US repeatedly turns a blind eye towards
Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

 For example, the US government chose to classify
28 pages of a bipartisan congressional 9/11 report,
which pointed to the Saudi government as a partial
 financier of the terrorist attacks. More recently, the
 State Department came under media fire for not
 going beyond verbal disagreement, when Saudi
 Arabia’s blogger, Raif Badawi, was sentenced to
 1,000 lashes, for criticizing Islam.

Co-conspirator of 9/11 attacks says 'Saudi
prince financed operation'.

Abdullah has been a critic of the Arab Spring
 movement, harboring fears that it may have
inspired local unrest and might subsequently
give more power to Iran or Al-Qaeda.

His attempts to keep local demonstrations
to a minimum, cost the country some $110
 billion in social benefits.

Any discontent has landed activists in jail.
 The country’s reaction to protesters, has
caused grave concern among the world's
human rights communities.


__________________________



Head of US state media puts
 RT on same challenge list as
 ISIS, Boko Haram

Newly-appointed chief of US Broadcasting Board
of Governors (BBG), Andrew Lack, has named RT
as one of the agency’s main challenges alongside
 extremist groups like Islamic State & Boko Haram.

Lack, the first chief executive of the BBG:
“We are facing a number of challenges from entities
 like Russia Today which is out there pushing a point
 of view, the Islamic State in the Middle East, and
 groups like Boko Haram. But I firmly believe that
 this agency has a role to play in facing those
 challenges.”

RT never expected to find itself on a list with the
 two most dangerous terrorist groups of the day
and is seeking clarification on the comment.

“We are extremely outraged that the new head of
 the BBG mentions RT in the same breath as the
world’s number 1 terrorist army,” says Margarita
Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief. “We see this as an
 international scandal and demand an explanation.”

Apart from BBG itself, RT seeks clarification
 from the US State Department, and the US
Embassy in Russia.

It’s not the first time the BBG, a bipartisan
agency supervising government-sponsored
media targeting international audiences,
has referred to RT as a ‘challenge.’

“Let’s put together a plan of how much that
 would cost & how to do something that we
 could compete with Russia Today [RT] and
 then let’s go to the Hill and then let’s go to
the White House and tell them what it’s
going to cost to compete, and let’s see if
 we can do it,” BBG chair Jeffrey Shell
said, in August 2014.

RT is viewed this way “because there’s a
 terror in London and in Washington of new
upstarts, of new information coming out
and challenging the narratives that they
have owned for the last 50 years or so,”
 editor of politics.co.uk, Ian Dunt, states.

This New York Times article mentions
 RT’s “significant American presence”
arguing that Russia “poured millions”
 into its US bureau and the Sputnik
news agency.

US politicians have lashed out at RT.
John Kerry attacked RT over Ukraine
as a ‘Propaganda bullhorn’.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov:
“[The West] has been convinced for some time
 that it has a full monopoly on mass media,”

“Russia Today has won a large audience in the
 US & Western Europe, not to mention in Latin
 America and the Arab world."

“As a broadcaster, RT does indeed present a
challenge to US international broadcasting in
 terms of competing for viewership,” says the
Director of Advocacy and Communications of
the International Press Institute (IPI) Steven
 M. Ellis...

 “But RT obviously does not present a type
of threat to journalists’ physical security,
which entities such as the Islamic State
group or Boko Haram pose. Mr. Lack could
 have phrased his comments more carefully
to make this distinction clear, and we hope
 he will do so in the future.”

US television professionals have, however,
been more amenable to RT having nominated
 its reporting for media awards.

RT received an Emmy nomination for its series
 of Guantanamo hunger strike reports in 2014,
and the channel was earlier nominated for
Emmies in 2010 and 2012.


_________________________________



'Covert team' caught after shelling
 kills at least 9 in eastern Ukraine

What local authorities call a "covert group" has
been arrested in Donetsk. The group is suspected
of the shelling during rush hour Thursday morning,
 which took the lives of at least nine people and
 injured up to twenty.

Residents of Donetsk’s Leninsky district heard
 shelling at about 08:30 local time, media report.
Windows in the buildings near a tram stop were
 blown out. Locals say they believed their district
 to be “a quiet place” and were shocked by the
 “tragedy that happened as people were heading
 to work.”

A trolleybus was also hit, and eye-witnesses said
 there were victims inside, as well as bodies lying
at the stop, local news outlets said. Conflicting
 reports, citing medical sources, indicate there
may have been up to 13 deaths.

“A covert group has been operating, they have
 been arrested now. No more comments,”  the
 defense minister of self-proclaimed Donetsk
 People's Republic, Vladimir Kononov, tells
 Gazeta.Ru newspaper.

The authorities of the self-proclaimed republic
also say the shelling was carried out using
 mortars, RIA-Novosti reports.

“Our officers were at the scene, according to
the preliminary information, the shelling was
conducted with mortars from one of the nearby
 districts. It appears that two bombs fell on the
stop,” says a spokesperson for the DPR's
 Security Ministry.

“The self-defense forces shortly after arrested
 a covert group of Ukrainian security forces not
 far from the scene, at the moment it is being
verified whether they were involved in the
 shelling,” the spokesperson adds.

Deputy speaker of DPR's parliament, Denis
Pushilin, says the investigation is ongoing,
 & “the shelling was supposedly conducted
from a minibus or a dustbin lorry.”

The OSCE has sent a group of its experts to
the shelling scene, to collect information,
 spokesperson for the organization’s special
 monitoring mission to Ukraine, Michael
 Bociurkiw, tells RIA-Novosti.

“We have sent our patrol group to evaluate the
 situation. Taking into consideration the security
 situation, we are to present our assessment in
the nearest future,” Bociurkiw says.

The OSCE special mission to Ukraine has called
 for an immediate ceasefire in the Donbas region
 and military disengagement, after the Donetsk
tragedy, a spokesperson for the mission tells
 RIA-Novosti.

DPR’s Emergency Ministry tells RIA-Novosti:
“As the shelling hit the “Kuprina street” stop,
nine people were killed, including the driver of
 a car that was parked nearby. The car caught
 fire... Another ten people were injured and
 taken to hospitals.”

Russia will raise the issue of the deadly Donetsk
 shelling on Thursday, at a session of the OSCE
 Permanent Council, the country’s permanent
representative says.

“We are stunned by a new monstrous offence in
 Donetsk … that we regard as a crime against
 humanity, a barbaric provocation, aimed at
 disrupting efforts to regulate the Ukrainian
crisis peacefully,” Russia’s Foreign Minister,
 Sergey Lavrov says in a statement.

 “It becomes evident that 'the party of war' in
 Kiev and its foreign patrons won’t be stopped
 by loss of life.”

Lavrov also called for an immediate investigation
 into the incident, which would involve the OSCE
 mission. “Everything has to be done to stop
Kiev’s shelling of south-eastern Ukraine cities,”
 he says.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said
 that Russia bears responsibility for the tragedy,
blaming rebels for the deaths of civilians in
Donetsk, Reuters reports.

“Today Russian terrorists again committed a
 terrible act against humanity. Russia bears
 responsibility for this,” he said at 'Unity Day'
 in Kiev.

The shelling comes shortly after the meeting
 Wednesday of the foreign ministers of Russia,
Ukraine, Germany and France in Berlin, where
 they tried to progress with a solution to the
 Ukrainian crisis.

On January 13, twelve people died and 13 more
were injured as a bus was hit in Donetsk region,
 Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said. Denis Pushilin,
 Donetsk People’s Republic representative at
the Minsk talks, says this attack might have
been staged by Kiev.

The incident took place near a Ukraine military
 checkpoint near the town of Volnovakha, the
 spokesperson for the Interior Ministry in the
Donetsk region, Vyacheslav Ambroskin, said.

Initially, 10 people were killed in the shelling.
A woman reportedly died in hospital later in
 the day, according to the Donetsk regional
 administration which cited health officials.
The regional administration also reported
 that 18 people had been injured.


____________________________________



Lavrov: Global US Domination
               Aggressive Philosophy               
 
 Russia's Foreign Minister Serguey Lavrov calls the
 aspiration of the United States to global domination,
a dangerously aggressive philosophy, which ignores
 objective processes, in a world shaped by several
 power circles.

The philosophy of believing itself as number one
- and the rest should admit it - is very aggressive
 and outdated, Lavrov states, during the annual
 media conference, in reference to Washington's
 resistance to recognize the new situation and
 the dynamic towards a multipolar order.

On the recent speech by President Obama,
 the head of Russian diplomacy says the White
House's administration does not analyze its
 steps critically, when trying to isolate Russia
and make the confrontation tense.

Obama's speech clearly shows that the course of
the US Government is towards confrontation, and
  old philosophies of world domination, says Lavrov.

The foreign minister warns that the changes in
global dynamics will
inexorably force a change
 in that philosophy, in time.

The minister says practice has proved that
global problems aren't solved in isolation,
and gives as two examples, the struggle
against the terror group Islamic State,
 and international terrorism.

Lavrov also asserts that the United States
has imposed its interests on Europe and
forced it into a confrontation with Russia,
 after the sanctions imposed on Moscow.


_______________________________________





Yemeni Tribal Leader Dismisses
               Threat of US-biased UN's Sanctions               
 
Abdelmallik al-Houthi, leader of the Shiite Houthi
tribe, in control today of the presidential palace
 and several areas of the capital, warns that he
will face any punitive measures passed by the
 UN Security Council.

The Houthis have fought fierce battles with
Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi's presidential guard,
and took the president's mansion yesterday,
as some guards put down their weapons.

Informal versions estimate that the fighting
left at least 10 dead and about fifty wounded
amongst the official ranks:- the members of
 Ansar Ullah, the Houthi armed movement,
  do not usually report their casualties.

"I warn the UN Security Council that it will not
 benefit from measures taken against the Houthi",
 says
their leader, in a public speech last night,
after a day of confusion in this capital, where all
the government agencies halted their work, but
 businesses reopened.

Meeting last night behind closed doors, the
 highest organ of the UN repeated its support
for Mansur Hadi as "the legitimate authority",
 and urged all parties involved in the conflict
 to support the president, whose whereabouts
 are unknown, and to conduct dialogues for a
solution to the crisis.

The Houthis, Shiites of the Zaidi sect, complain
 of discrimination by the country's Sunni majority,
 and they launched a major military offensive last
 September that allows them to control areas and
 extend their presence to the provinces of Hudeida
 and Ibb, in the centre of Yemen.

The crisis in the capital started on Saturday, as
 the Houthi delegates walked out of a meeting on
 the Constitution, to protest at Yemen's federation
 into 6 regions, which they see as detrimental for
them, since it locks them into an area with no
 natural resources, or access to the sea.

The same day the president's chief of staff,
Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak, was kidnapped.
 His release was demanded by tribal chiefs
and political parties in the south.

The President's meetings with leaders of
political parties and movements, and the
Military Council, for Monday, didn't occur,
 creating greater uncertainty, regarding
 the course of events.


_________________________________


            Opposition Celebrates in Argentina               
 
 Prosecutor Alberto Nisman''s accusations against
 Argentina's Executive, and his death, are boosting
 the Argentine opposition's campaign against the
 government, in an election year.

Calls to street protests, a loud media offensive full
of distortions & caustic celebrations by opposition
 politicians and show-business people, resound in
 Argentina today.

They are so desperate to overthrow the national
popular model started by Nestor Kirchner in 2003
 and enhanced by Cristina Fernandez, during her
two presidential terms, that opposition jubilation
 nearly borders on political hysteria.

Nisman's accusations against the president and
 her foreign minister, of covering up the alleged
 involvement of Iran in an attack on an Argentine
 Jewish institution in 1994 in exchange for oil are
 groundless and can easily be unmasked in court.

However, those who conceived the plot have
 achieved their goal of unleashing a political
 scandal that is further resounding days after
 Nisman's "dubious death", according to the
 file compiled by the prosecutor investigating
the case, Viviana Fein.

They've supplied weapons to forces, inside
 and outside, in their efforts to beat a project
of a popular progressive nature, in the 2015
elections.

In a communiqué, the Workers' Confederation
 of Argentina demands total clarification of the
 prosecutor's death & demands that this event
 not be used for political speculation, to gain
 benefits in elections.

According to the main workers' organization, it is
 evident that the atmosphere created by Nisman's
 death is being used to benefit the same powerful
 groups, that dream about eradicating completely
 the process of truth and justice, initiated in 2003.


___________________________________



Peace talks conference held in Damascus

The representatives of several Syrian political
 factions are gathered in the capital Damascus
 to discuss an outline solution to their country’s
 conflict, Press TV reports.

Held at Dama Rose Hotel, Monday, it was called
 for by Syria's Ministry of National Reconciliation
 Affairs, with the presence of the Syrian National
 Dialogue Committee and other parties.

The gathering comes ahead of scheduled peace
 talks...... to be held in Moscow on January 26th.

“What will take place in Russia is a forum aimed
 at discussing suitable means to make a success
 of a Syrian-Syrian dialogue meeting inside Syria.

 
What we are seeking is an outline for a Syrian
 solution to the crisis in Syria,” the Minister of
       National Reconciliation, Ali Haidar, states.            

“A political solution through national dialogue
 among Syrians is the only way out of the crisis.
 This dialogue should lead to setting a program
 with a particular schedule and clear steps, in
a way that respects democracy, freedom,
security, sovereignty and national unity,”
          says Syrian opposition figure, Adel Nuaiseh.            

Syria has been grappling with deadly conflict
 since March 2011. The violence, fueled by
 Takfiri groups, has so far claimed the lives
 of 200,000+ people, according to reports.

6.5 million Syrians are internally displaced
 by the ongoing crisis, according to the UN.


______________________________



        US Majority Disapproves of Congress'
                    Work, Says Poll               
 
 Around 76 percent of the US people disapprove
of Congress's work, according a poll this week.

The poll, taken by Gallup, shows that the US'
legislature begins with no signs of renewed
 support by electors, even among those of
the red party, since just 16% of those polled
 approve of the work by the legislature.

The poll reveals that Congress approval levels
are rarely high and the historic average does
 not exceed 32 percent of popularity, although
 there're reasons to believe that this Congress
 will have little more support in coming months,
 than the two previous ones.

______________________________


USA threatens Palestinian
 Authority with annual aid cut

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham warns
Palestinians that they could lose US’
 annual aid should they lodge a lawsuit
 at the International Criminal Court.

Graham, who is visiting Israel, Saudi Arabia
and Qatar as part of a seven-member senate
 delegation, said that existing US legislation
“would cut off aid to the Palestinians if they
 filed a complaint.”

The US supplies $400 million dollars worth
 of aid annually, to the Palestinian Authority.

Last month, Israel halted the transfer of over
$120 million in taxes belonging to Palestinians
after the Palestinian Authority applied to join
 the ICC.

After foreign aid is deducted, tax revenues
account for two-thirds of the Palestinian
 Authority's yearly budget.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states
 that Palestinians will become a member
of the ICC, on April 1st.

The US has condemned the ICC decision
 to launch a preliminary investigation into
Israel’s crimes, calling it a "tragic irony".

Israel is lobbying ICC member states to
 cut their funding to the ICC in retaliation
 for its bid to launch a probe into Israeli
 war crimes.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda states that
 her office intends to conduct an “
impartial
fully independent
analysis” into suspected
war crimes by Israeli military forces.


____________________________



Ukraine bombing raid kills
30 civilians in the S. East

A Donetsk official says Ukrainian warplanes
 have bombed the eastern city of Gorlovka,
 killing over 30 civilians including children,
 as part of Kiev's new offensive on anti-coup
forces in the volatile eastern regions.

Eduard Basurin, deputy commander of the
 headquarters of the self declared Donetsk
 People’s Republic said on Monday that the
Ukrainian military dropped 500-kilogram
FAB-500 bombs on Gorlovka’s residential
districts, a day earlier.

Basurin added that Kiev troops for the first
time used the tactic of “blind” bombing...

“We think the Ukrainian pilots are simply
 afraid of flying at low altitudes because of
heavy losses from our air defense systems
last summer.”

The bomb raid comes as Kiev forces have
launched a large-scale offensive against
the anti-coup forces in eastern regions.

The defense ministry of the self-proclaimed
 Donetsk People’s Republic last week said
 that government troops used phosphorous
 in attacking Donetsk International Airport.

The United Nations Security Council is set
 to hold a meeting on Wednesday to discuss
ways to end the spiraling deadly clashes in
Ukraine’s east.

The 15-member council meets at the request
 of Lithuania in an attempt to find a solution to
 the crisis, which has flared up in recent days.


__________________________________________



S. Korea to legalize peaceful
unification with DPRK


S. Korea plans to legalize its government
 responsibility for peaceful unification with
 the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, 
Seoul's unification ministry says on Monday.

The "act to lay foundation for peaceful
 unification," will be enacted this year,
the ministry says, in its annual report
 to the president, Park Geun-hye.

South Korea's new act aims to define
 in detail the existing law on unification
- adding the government's responsibility
 - and a way of preparing for peaceful
unification.

 On "opening a unification era" in 2015,
 to mark the 70th anniversary of Korea's
division, the South Korean government
is to place personnel in charge of the
 unification preparations and put task
 forces in each government ministry.


________________________________



Japan gov't eyes first overseas
 SDF long-term base in Djibouti: report

Japan's government is considering extending
 the Djibouti base's functions... making it the
first
semi-permanent multi-purpose base for
the
Self-Defense Force (SDF) to act in Africa
&
the Middle East, local media report Monday.

Japan opened an 'anti-piracy' base in Djibouti,
East Africa, in June 2011, on 12 hectares next
to Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport, also
building a command headquarters, boarding
 facilities, and a parking area there, at a cost
of 4.7 billion yen (40.07 million U.S. dollars).

About 180 Japanese SDF personnel stay
at Japan's first and only overseas base on
 a four-month rotational basis to ensure the
 safe passage of passenger  & commercial
ships through the perilous Gulf of Aden, off
the coast of Somalia.


According to Japan's Asahi Shimbun, Defense
 Ministry & SDF officials are considering letting
 SDF troops use the base for disaster relief and
UN peacekeeping activities, and to
board SDF
troops dispatched
from Japan in the event of
emergencies and
terrorist activities.

Thus, the base will become an operational
centre
for SDF troops in the region on the
assumption
that Japan continues using it
on a long-term basis.


In Japan, at the moment, the government has
to pass temporary
legislation for each SDF
mission sent abroad. If
the task is ended, the
relevant base has to be
removed accordingly.

As Japanese PM Shinzo Abe eyes increasing
 the capability of the SDF, under the banner
of "Active Pacifism", observers fear that the
 new plan to build a long-term overseas base
 increases the risk of a war involving Japan,
 violates the war-renouncing Article 9, and
 changes Japan's defense-oriented posture.


_________________________________________



Ukraine army targeted Gorlovka with
 500kg air bombs – Donetsk militia leader

Ukrainian warplanes used 500kg aviation
 bombs in their attack on Gorlovka town
 on Sunday, says Aleksandr Zakharchenko,
head of the People’s Republic of Donetsk,
adding that it was not a targeted
bombardment.

"Towards the evening, Ukrainian bombers
 performed an airstrike on Gorlovka with
500-kilogram aviation bombs. Notably, the
 bombardment was not targeted; it came
from over the clouds and the aim was
just to hit the town,” Zakharchenko says.

Over 30 people, including children, have
 been killed or injured in Donetsk, as a
 result of the Ukrainian offensive on
 Sunday, he adds.

The city's mayor, Oleg Gubanov, also says
 that two people were killed and 16 others
 injured after a Ukrainian shell exploded at
a bus station in Gorlovka.

Several buildings, including four schools
and a kindergarten, suffered direct hits
 during the bombardment, “which went
on without a break for almost 24 hours,”
he adds.

Donetsk administration states that at
least five civilians were killed in the
city on Sunday. Several residential
buildings and a shop were seriously
 damaged by artillery fire.

“For several weeks, we’ve been shouting
...trying to prove that Ukraine's military
 is using the truce to perform a massive
regrouping of its forces to prepare for
a large-scale offensive. But all of our
appeals to the OSCE and Joint Centre
 for Control & Coordination (JCCC) have
 been ignored,” the head of the Donetsk
People’s Republic says.

“The representatives of the JCCC have
 themselves felt the scale of Ukraine's
 shelling,” as they came under fire in
Gorlovka earlier in the day, he adds.

Zakharchenko also stresses that “all
attempts of Ukraine's forces to take
revenge for the defeat they suffered
 last autumn, have failed.”

“The self-defense forces have successfully
 repelled all 6 attacks by Ukraine's armored
 vehicle columns, performed with massive
 artillery support. As a result, I can say that
 the Ukrainian offensive on the airport has
 failed,” he says.

Rebels dislodged Kiev troops from Peski village
  - which was used by the Ukrainian army to shell
 the Donetsk airport on a daily basis, he adds.

The Russian representative at the JCCC has
 confirmed that his colleagues came under
 artillery fire from Kiev's forces in Gorlovka,
 on Sunday.

He also stresses that shelling residential
areas in Donetsk, is being performed by
 the Ukrainian military’s regular forces.

"Previously, all the attacks on Donetsk
 and its suburbs were mainly conducted
 by uncontrolled National Guard units or
the so-called territorial battalions, but
 today it’s clear that the shelling of
 residential areas is being performed
 by regular units of the Ukrainian army.

 "Also, for the first time after a long break,
 the Ukrainian side is using aviation," the
 representative says.

The offensive by Ukraine's military in
 Donetsk Region, is a violation of the
 Minsk peace deal, signed by the two
 sides on September 5th, he adds.

Instead of the agreed withdrawal of
 troops to a safe distance, “we see, in
 fact, an attempt by Ukrainian forces
 to storm rebel positions, which has
led to new mass casualties among
 civilians in Donetsk and Gorlovka,”
 the representative stresses.


____________________________________



US war against ISIL is ‘total fraud’
 to create a CIA base: Journalist

A Pentagon plan to arm and train the so-called
 moderate militants in Syria to fight against the
ISIL terrorist group, is a “total fraud”, and a
“bogus” claim, to carve out a CIA base in the
region, an American journalist in Missouri says.

The United States is fighting a “multi-front
war” against Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad, as he operates independently
from the West, says Dean Henderson,
author & columnist at Veterans Today.

“This whole ISIS thing is just an attempt to
carve out this base where the CIA, Mossad,
and British intelligence, can operate freely
 and attack Syria -- for now -- but maybe
later, Iran,” Henderson tells Press TV.

Henderson says Congress is wasting
“precious US tax dollars” to fund the
 false fight against ISIL, which the CIA
 helped create in the beginning.

“We’re not against ISIS, we are ISIS,
we created ISIS, we trained ISIS,
we are ISIS,” he acknowledges.

On Saturday, a delegation of US senators
 led by John McCain, began a tour of the
 Middle East, taking them to Saudi Arabia
and Qatar, to discuss a Pentagon plan
to arm and train “moderates”, in Syria.

The US Defense Department announced
 it is deploying about 1,000 troops to train
 Syrian militants to fight against the ISIL
terrorist group.

Analysts reject the idea that “moderate”
militants exist in Syria. “Nobody in any
 position of expertise here, thinks that
there really is any significant moderate
Syrian rebel force. It does not exist,”
Dr. Kevin Barrett, a professor of Islamic
 and Middle Eastern Studies, says, in
an interview with Press TV.


____________________________________



Several Hezbollah Fighters Martyred
 in Israeli Raid in Syria

Hezbollah announces that several of its
 fighters were martyred on Sunday in an
 Israeli airstrike in Quneitra region, Syria.

“The Israeli enemy's helicopters fired
missiles at a group of Hezbollah fighters
 who were inspecting
Mazraat  al-Amal
town, in the Syrian Quneitra region,” a
 statement issued by Hezbollah says.

The strike “resulted in the martyrdom of
a number of brothers, whose names will
 be announced later, after informing their
honorable families,” the statement adds.

Mohamad Issa – chief of Hezbollah operations
 in Syria – was among those killed, along with
 Jihad Moughniyah – son of the late Hezbollah
 leader Imad Moughniyah – reports Al Arabiya.

 The attack in Quneitra, is near the Israeli-
occupied Golan Heights.

Israeli authorities haven't officially commented.
 However, a security source states to Reuters
  - on condition of anonymity - that it was “an
Israeli helicopter that carried out the attack.”

The helicopter fired rockets at the convoy,
while two Israeli reconnaissance planes
were reportedly seen flying over the area.

Another source told Israel's Ynet news, the
strike hit "terrorists intending to attack Israel"
 close to the ceasefire line that separates the
 Syrian part of Golan Heights from the Israeli-
occupied sector. No more details were given.

A statement on Lebanon’s Al-Manar, says
 the attack suggests that Israel “has gone
 crazy, because of Hezbollah’s growing
 capabilities and it could lead to a costly
 adventure, that will put the Middle East
 at stake."

The attack follows Hezbollah leader Hassan
 Nasrallah’s statement that frequent Israeli
strikes in Syria are a major aggression
against the whole ‘axis of resistance,' not
just Damascus, and that the group has
the right to retaliate.

Hezbollah has promised retaliation, saying
 Israel has crossed all lines with the attack.


______________________________



Putin prods all sides into resolving
 Ukraine crisis peacefully
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been trying
 to ask parties involved in Ukraine crisis to spare
 no effort, in peacefully settling the situation.

"I propose both sides... take urgent measures to
 stop shelling each other, as well as immediately
 withdraw heavy weaponry," Russia's Channel 1
 Television quotes Putin's message, sent to his
 Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko.

"Recent developments in southeastern Ukraine,
 the resumed shelling of settlements in Donetsk
 and Lugansk regions, cause grave concern and
 actually imperil the peace settlement process,
 based on the September Minsk agreement of
last year," Channel 1 Television quotes Putin
 as saying in the message.

Putin promises that Russia is ready to work
with the Organization for Security and Co-
operation in Europe (OSCE), to monitor the
 implementation of the ceasefire agreement
and the heavy weapons withdrawal by the
conflicting sides in Ukraine.

However, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry
 Peskov has disclosed that Putin's weapon
 withdrawal proposal has been "rejected"
 by the Ukrainian side.

"The Ukrainian president received the
letter on Friday morning. Unfortunately
 the Ukrainian side rejected the proposed
 plan without providing an alternative offer,
 meanwhile, resuming military operations,"
 RIA Novosti news agency quotes Peskov
 as saying.

The spokesperson stresses that "Russia
 has consistently made efforts to mediate
 in the conflict in recent days."

Russia's Foreign Ministry says Russia is also
ready to "use its influence" to persuade the
 local militias to accept a weapon withdrawal
 as "a good will gesture", to avoid any more
civilian deaths.

In an online statement, the ministry expresses
 deep concern over Kiev's increasing military
 presence in Donbas --- a local name referring
 to eastern Ukraine.

"The intensive militarization, announcements
 of 'new waves' of citizens' mobilization, and
appeals from Kiev to 'take revenge' for the
 situation 'on the ground', that have taken
 place after signing the Minsk agreement"
prove the Ukrainian side is defying the
Minsk agreements, the ministry says,
 in the statement.

According to the statement, Kiev's regime
took advantage of the recent ceasefire to
 regroup its forces and continue its military
actions, while insisting on force to solve
the crisis.

Calling for strict adherence to the Minsk
agreement by all parties, Russia's Foreign
Ministry says Moscow is doing everything
in its power to make sure that the contact
group can meet early next week.

"We are urging its members and all those
influencing the situation to prevent more
 negotiation breakdowns," the ministry
says, stressing that all sides should
 immediately return to practical work
 on "comprehensive implementation"
 of the Minsk agreement.


___________________________________



Donetsk shelled as Kiev 'orders massive
fire' on militia-held E. Ukraine

Violence is escalating in east Ukraine, as
Kiev’s troops launched a massive assault
 on militia-held areas, on Sunday morning.

 The army was ordered to start mass shelling
 of all rebel positions, a presidential aide says.

The order to launch the attack was issued
 at 6am early on Sunday, according to Yury
Biryukov, an aide to President Poroshenko.

“Today we'll show HOW good we are at jabbing
 in the teeth,” he wrote on his Facebook page,
a mode of conveying information favored by
many current Ukrainian officials.

In a later post he said: “They are now striking a
dot. Uuu…” in a reference to Tochka-U (‘tochka’
 is Russian for ‘dot’), a tactical ballistic missile,
 one of the most powerful weapons Kiev has
so far deployed against rebel forces.

“That wasn’t a dot but ellipsis. Strong
booms,” he added.

Ground reports confirm a sharp escalation of
clashes across the front line, with particularly
 heavy artillery fire reported at Gorlovka.

“Locals in Donetsk say they haven’t heard
 such intensive shelling since summer,”
 Valentin Motuzenko, a military official in
 the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s
 Republic, tells Interfax news agency.

“The Ukrainian military are using all
kinds of weapons, Grad multiple
rocket launchers, mortars…”
Motuzenko says.

A source at the site says that a group
of OSCE monitors have demanded that
 the Ukrainian military stop the shelling.
 The source adds that there is a danger
that the group may itself come under
artillery fire.

Several residential buildings, a shop and
 a bus station, have been badly damaged
 by artillery fire in the city, RIA Novosti
 reports. There are also reports now, of
attacks on Makeevka town & several
 nearby villages.

The militia adds that at least one shell
 hit a residential area in central Donetsk
 rather than the outskirts of the city.

The escalation comes after several days
 of violent clashes at the ruins of Donetsk
International Airport, a scene of constant
 fighting over months of a shaky ceasefire
 between Kiev’s troops and local militias.

The militia, who accused the Kiev military
 of launching constant attacks on Donetsk
 from their positions at the airport, report
 taking over the location this week. Kiev
had denied this.

The Ukrainian Security and Defense Council
 now confirms the resumption of hostilities
and
that Kiev's aim is to retake the airport.

This escalation of violence comes after a
controversial incident at Kiev’s checkpoint
 near the town of Volnovakha, where twelve
 passengers were killed on Tuesday.

Kiev blamed the deaths on the militia, saying
 it was hit by a Grad rocket. The DNR forces
 denied the accusations and said the bus was
 targeted by the Ukrainian troops themselves
 – either in a tragic incident or as a staged
 provocation – and said the damage visible in
 the picture of the bus is consistent with a
 less powerful weapon, possibly a landmine.

OSCE's observer team studied blast craters
 near the checkpoint and confirmed the
direction they came from.

Russia’s permanent representative to the
OSCE, Andrey Kelin, says the direction runs
along the disengagement line separating
militia- and Kiev-controlled areas, which
makes it difficult to determine who fired
the rockets.

The observers did not identify the type of
rockets used.


________________________________



Netanyahu blasts ICC's inquiry
 into Israel-Palestine conflict
         
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
 condemns the International Criminal Court
 (ICC)'s decision to start a preliminary probe
 into possible warcrimes committed against
 Palestinians.

He slams the move as "preposterous" & "folly."

"It's absurd for the ICC to go after Israel, which
 upholds the highest standards of international
 law," Netanyahu says, in a televised statement
 from his Jerusalem office.

Netanyahu argues that Israel was only trying
to defend itself against "Palestinian terrorists
who routinely commit multiple war crimes."

He adds that those who should be prosecuted
 by the ICC are Palestinian extremists, saying
 "they deliberately fire thousands of rockets at
 our civilians, while hiding behind Palestinian
 civilians whom they used a human shield."

Netanyahu telephoned the US State Secretary
 John Kerry, to ask Washington to help prevent
 the ICC from going forward with the inquiry.

The US has now reacted to the ICC's move,
by condemning it as "counterproductive
to the cause of peace."

On Friday, the US State Department said
 it was "a tragic irony that Israel, which has
 withstood thousands of terrorist rockets
fired at its civilians and its neighborhoods,
is now being scrutinized by the ICC."

Washington has also argued that Palestine
isn't a state & is therefore not eligible to join
 the ICC, says Israel's Haaretz news website.

In Palestine, the Palestinian National Authority
 (PNA) hails the move as an "important & positive
 step towards achieving justice & guaranteeing
 respect for the international law."

Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas spokesperson in Gaza,
 also welcomes the ICC's decision, saying it is
"the right step in the right direction."

The spokesperson also says that Hamas is ready
 to work with the ICC by providing all the needed
 documents, evidence and testimonies that would
 "show that the Israeli enemy committed war
crimes in Gaza against our people."

The ICC announced its decision to open an
initial inquiry
on Friday, "to check if there is
a reasonable basis for starting a probe into
possible war crimes committed in the
Palestinian territories."

The decision came after the PNA signed the
Rome Statute and joined the ICC, this month.

Nearly 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians,
were killed in the summer's 50 day long war
 in the Gaza Strip. Israel saw the loss of 73
people, all but six, being soldiers.


_________________________



New Ukrainian Armed Forces drafts
 fraught with full-scale war in Europe

A new spate of drafting to the Ukrainian Armed
 Forces, the fourth since the start of the military
 campaign in Ukraine’s eastern regions, testifies
 to Kiev’s plans to suppress resistance in the
 self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s
 Republics by force, and is fraught with the
danger of a full-scale war in the center of
 Europe, experts polled by TASS say.

On Thursday, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada voted for
 a Law on Partial Mobilization. The country’s Defense
 Ministry said earlier that about 104,000 people with
 military specializations in tanks, artillery, airborne
 troops, telecommunications, and various aspects of
 mechanics, in the age bracket of 25 to 60 years old,
 would be drafted into the Army in 2015, "if need be".

The ministry claims that rotation of servicemen in
 the zone of the so-called anti-terrorist operation,
 is the objective of the drafts.

“Yet another draft to the Armed Forces declared
 in Ukraine now, proves that all the talk about a
 willingness for peace in the S. East of Ukraine
on president Petro Poroshenko's part, is little
 more than a cover-up aimed at getting a pause,
 prior to a major offensive on the Donetsk and
 Luhansk People’s Republics,” Dr Konstantin
Sivkov, president of the Academy of
 Geopolitical Problems, states.

“At present, the Ukrainian Army doesn’t have
enough manpower or resources to guarantee
 victory over the self-defense forces, but
 Poroshenko obviously hopes to accumulate
enough strength to destroy the rebellious
 republics by spring,” he says.

“The so-called Ukraine Freedom Support Act
 passed by the US Congress at the end of last
year, empowers the US President to grant
offensive weaponry to Ukraine to the tune
of $350,000,000, and the armaments' scope
 includes anti-tank armor-piercing weapons,
 anti-artillery radars, drones, and secure
 communications systems,” Dr Sivkov adds.

 “NATO states are already providing Kiev
 with weapons from depots of the former
Warsaw Treaty Organization.”

“Ukraine has received armored personnel
carriers decommissioned in the UK.
Ukrainian plants can’t manufacture up-to-
date armaments, as they received some
component parts for them, from Russia.”

“There’s hardly any doubt regarding Kiev’s lust
 to regain control over Donbas through the use
 of armaments, since the region has the biggest
 manufacturing potential and natural resources 
- mostly coal - in Ukraine,” Dr. Sivkov says.

“In addition, Donbas and Novorossia that were
 declared on its territory, make up a buffer zone
 between Russia & Ukraine, while the American
 masters of the incumbent Kiev rulers, need to
 eliminate that buffer zone by fair means or foul
to turn it into a springboard for destabilizing
 Russia. These plans of the Kiev government,
 which is drawing on Washington’s support,
 are fraught with the danger of a full-scale
 war in the center of Europe,” he says.

Dr. Sivkov notes the difficulties in preparing
 for a summit of the 'Normandy format' states
 — Germany, France, Russia, and Ukraine — in
 Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. Preparations for
 this summit won't achieve a peace settlement
 in eastern Ukraine, as the US is pushing Kiev
 to resolve the conflict by using force.

“The new spate of drafts to Ukraine's Army 
 isn't a conventional one, since mobilization
means preparation for war,” Dr Vyacheslav
Nikonov, a deputy of the State Duma, says.

“Petro Poroshenko, president & commander-
in-chief, is thus playing out the scenario of a
 future war in this manner,” he says.

 “Since Poroshenko is not an independently
 acting figure, he won’t declare a new draft,
 unless his initiative is a suitable cover for
 US plans to fan tensions in the region, as
 a means of struggle with Russia.”

“Russia won’t be able to watch the plight of
 citizens of the Donetsk & Luhansk republics
 placidly, because Russians never let their
 relatives or friends down,” Dr. Nikonov says.

 “Once, in the past, the US lost the Vietnam
war because Russia, then the Soviet Union,
aided the brotherly Vietnamese people,
and that is a lesson not to be forgotten.”


____________________________



Minsk meeting still not taking place.

The meeting, scheduled for Friday, included
representatives from the anti-coup regions
in S. Eastern Ukraine, but was called off on
Friday, by Kiev.


____________________________________



E. Ukrainian rebels say they
 now control Donetsk airport

The militias in southeastern Ukraine say they
now fully control the strategically important
Donetsk airport, after an exhausting stand-
off with government forces.

 The airport has been the scene of violent
fighting, since last May.


__________________________



Parliaments of Cuba and Chile
             Ask for Closer Links               
 
 The President of Cuba's parliament, Esteban Lazo,
 and the head of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies,
 Aldo Cornero, say both of their legislative groups
 want to strengthen links, stating that both their
governments and peoples, favour this.

The invitation on Cuba's part, is a true expression
 of our interest in contributing to improve relations
 and build the collaborative mechanisms between
 the parliaments of both nations, affirms Corneiro.

The christian democrat deputy heads a high-level
 delegation formed, among others, by communist
Lautaro Carmona, Vice-preasident of the Chamber
 of Deputies & a member of the Interparliamentary
Group Chile-Cuba.

As he thanked Cuba for the invitation, Cornero
 praised the particular circumstance in which the
 visit took place, since the decision of the Cuban
 & US governments to start to normalize relations
 --- after more than half a century of US hostility.

Chileans will support everything that leads to
 improving the life of Cubans, and we ask that
 this effort has a positive ending, he stated.

Lazo said thank you to the gestures of
 Chilean solidarity with Cuba, and recalled
 that the US trade blockade remains, so the
 island still needs friends all over the world.

He also stressed the significance of  the
first visit in decades by representatives of
 the Chilean parliament, a country that - he
 said - contributed notably to the struggles
 for independence of the island, in the 19th
century.

Chile was the second nation to recognize
Cuba's struggle against Spanish colonialism
 and many of its children joined the cause,
 he recalled.

He added that this parliamentary visit will
bring a tightening of bilateral relations,
 and a strengthening of the necessary
 unity of Latin America.

Cornero and his delegation will remain in
 Havana until January 18th to meet with
 other authorities and tour historical and
 scientific places in the Cuban capital.



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



Presidential Talks Reaffirm Effective
                  Russia-Venezuela Alliance               

As he returns to Venezuela via Moscow airport,
president Nicolas Maduro leaves convinced of
both the strength & efficiency, of the strategic
Russia-Venezuela association.

A two-hour dialogue with his peer and host,
 Vladimir Putin, was enough to reaffirm the
 political & economic strength of the alliance.

After meeting with Putin, in statements to
 Prensa Latina, the South American states-
person confirmed they had reviewed topics
 on energy, the agro-industry, commerce,
 and the food sector.

Other subjects approached were the develop-
ment of infrastructure, housing construction
 projects, cultural cooperation and financing
 for development plans.

An agreement was signed to increase investment
 and participation by Russian enterprises in mixed
 companies already existing in the Orinoco strip,
 and other projects that will expand stock
 investments, stated Maduro.

Investment will keep increasing in oil production,
 to defend the oil market, and to strengthen their
 strategic alliance in energy and in financing, to
 keep the country functioning while oil prices are
 low, said the Venezuelan president.

Credits will be extended to the industrial, food
 & infrastructure sectors, as well as in programs
 of social development, called "missions", in
 Venezuela.

As an example of the support, despite the oil
market limitations for both exporting powers,
 plus sanctions imposed by the US & its allies,
 Maduro says it has been decided to finance,
 with a billion dollars, the erection of the first
 30 school integrated centres.

The President's optimism was obvious when
 he mentioned he was returning to report to
 the popular councils on the achievements
 made, give details of the tour, and reply at
a higher level to what he says, is a pretend
 economic coup détat, by the opposition.

Putin and Maduro decided to advance the date
 of the meeting of the Intergovernmental High
 Level Commission to next April in Moscow to
 define their cooperation program for 2015-2016.

To that end, the Deputy Minister of Industries,
 Carlos Farias, executive sec for Venezuela,
 of the joint intergovernmental commission,
will travel to Moscow next week.

Moscow & Caracas keep closely collaborating,
 above all in the oil market, where Russia is the
 number one world producer (14 percent) and
 Venezuela has the largest proven reserves of
oil with 298.4 billion barrels (18 percent of the
world's crude).

If the 80 billion barrels (4.8% of Russian reserves)
 are added to the Venezuelan reserves, this totals
 one quarter of all Earth's reserves.


__________________________________________



USA Expands Training of
                 Syrian Anti-government Group               
 
 The US will send over 400 advisors & "several
 hundred" ground troops to the Middle East in
 the coming months, to train anti-government
 groups, the Pentagon announces.

The plan marks an extension of President Barack
 Obama's program to increase the preparation of
these irregular groups, which began in March
2013, in Jordan, under the direction of the CIA.

The mission will be led by the US military and it
 anticipates training - over the next three years -
 over 15,000 irregulars of the groups seeking to
 overthrow by force, President Bashar Al-Assad.

The DoD's statement doesn't make clear the
 location of these training centres, although
 Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have all
offered themselves as bases for such acts.

The head of the White House  last December
signed a bill that includes a plan for air strikes
 against Islamic State, about five billion dollars
 for the training of Iraqi forces, as well as other
resources & 'advisors' for Syrian 'irregulars'.

The military coalition led by Washington has,
since August 8th, bombed terrorist groups in
 Iraq and on September 23rd, extended these
 bombings to Syrian soil, without the consent
 of the government in Damascus.


__________________________________________



UN calls on Israel to ‘immediately’ resume
 tax revenue transfer to Palestinians

The UN is now calling on Israel to resume
 transferring tax revenues to the Palestinian
 Authority, which it withheld in retaliation for
 Palestinian efforts to join the International
 Criminal Court (ICC).


_________________________



Greek anti-austerity party
 holds lead before snap election

A recent opinion poll shows that Greece’s anti-
bailout opposition political party Syriza holds a
 lead over the ruling conservatives & is expected
 to grab the largest share of votes in this month’s
 snap general election.

According to a survey by pollsters with Pulse
for Action 24 television published on Thursday,
 Syriza will get 31.5% of the vote against 28%
 for the liberal-conservative political party New
 Democracy of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

The results come a day after the Alco poll for
the newspaper To Pontiki revealed that Greek
 leftist opposition party Syriza holds a steady
 3.5-point lead over the ruling conservatives.

That survey, held between January 11th
 and 13th, indicated that Syriza would get
 32.4% of the vote against 28.9% for the
 New Democracy party.

Syriza will hold 142 of the 300 seats in the
 parliament should Greeks cast their ballots
 in the January 25 election, as surveys show.

That means an overall parliamentary majority
 would be out of Syriza’s reach as the leading
 party must usually collect between 36 and
 40 percent of the vote, to win outright.

Samaras has warned that the cash-strapped
 country may be forced out of the eurozone if
 Syriza wins the vote later this month.

Syriza leftists have consistently topped opinion
 polls in recent months, promising to reverse the
 austerity measures that secured an international
 bailout by the so-called troika of the International
 Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and
 the European Central Bank.

Greece nearly went bankrupt in 2010, only to
 survive on international rescue packages. It
has received 240 billion euros (USD 330
billion) in international loans.


__________________________________________



Sayyed Nasrallah: Hezbollah Ready
 to Invade Galilee and beyond Galilee

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan
Nasrallah asserts that the Islamic Resistance
 is ready to invade Galilee & Israeli settlements
 beyond Galilee, in any upcoming war against
the Zionist entity.

Sayyed Nasrallah points out that the Resistance
 won't only resort to missiles to defend Lebanon.
 It has prepared its fighters to be able to storm
 Galilee, if their leadership needs to order this.

During an exclusive interview with Al-Mayadeen
 TV Network broadcast live on Al-Manar Channel,
 Sayyed Nasrallah says that, despite Hezbollah's
 current preoccupations, it has accumulated and
 sustained its military power, adding that the Israeli
 enemy has acknowledged that the party is gaining
 huge military experience, from various battlefields.

Sayyed Nasrallah points out that the resistance
 has every conceivable type of weapon, revealing
that it has possessed Fateh 110 missiles ever
since the 2006 war. He goes on to hint of more...
"The resistance also has weaponry that is much
 more sophisticated."

Hezbollah Secretary General says the party
 is following a permanent plan to develop its
abilities and that, in 2015, the resistance
 is stronger than ever before.

His eminence notes, "We do not limit our
 human and military capabilities."

Concerning the Israeli recurrent air raids on
 targets in Syria, Sayyed Nasrallah says that
all the axis of resistance is concerned with
 responding to the attacks, stressing that the
 response may take place "at any time". 

Sayyed Nasrallah reveals that Israeli air raids
 were always part of a militant plan to attack
 the Syrian army, noting the communication
by the Israeli military, with terrorist groups
in the Golan and in Quneitra. 

Hezbollah's leader stresses that the Resistance
 cannot tolerate the Israeli assaults, adding that
 the party considers that the terrestrial, marine
 and air violations -- besides the assassinations
 and the assault --- are red lines which cannot
 be crossed by the Zionists.

Sayyed Nasrallah notes that Hezbollah will
 respond to any Israeli violations, in the way
 that he finds suitable.

However, he adds that the resistance does not
 compel itself to respond in a manner that might
 serve the Zionist's interests.

Sayyed Nasrallah clarifies that the Resistance's
 operation against the Zionist occupation troops
 on Shebaa Farms in 2014, was a response to the
 Israeli deliberate murder of a Hezbollah fighter
 who was dismantling a Zionist spying device.

Sayyed Nasrallah highlights that the US-Zionist
 security violation of Hezbollah was exaggerated,
 revealing that Hezbollah detected the spy, who
worked in favor of the Israeli enemy, but did not
 have any relation with the military structure of
 the resistance.

His eminence adds that the social environment
of the resistance does not embrace spy work in
 favor of the enemy, noting that Hezbollah deals
 with such violations very seriously.

"As the Israeli security violation was serious,
 Hezbollah's achievement in detecting the
 violation, must be applauded."

Hezbollah Secretary General says the party
 has not deployed military units on the Golan
Heights, but is ready to aid public resistance
 to the Israeli occupation in the area.

"The Zionist entity is no longer able to achieve
 any military victory in Lebanon after its failure
 in its recent war on Gaza," Sayyed Nasrallah
 underscores, "I don't eliminate the possibility
 of a war with the Zionist entity, yet 'Israel'..
does not launch wars, if it isn't sure of being
able to achieve victory."
 
"Hezbollah has not halted communication with
 the Palestinian resistance factions, and Hamas
 is now trying to reset its relation with the axis of
 resistance," Sayyed Nasrallah says, "We will try
 to promote these relations, in order to fight the
 Zionist enemy together."

Commenting on the Syrian-Iraqi scene, the
 Secretary General points out that militant
gangs are unable to beat the regular army,
 adding that dethroning President Bashar
Assad, can no longer be achieved.

"The Syrian opposition does not have any
problem about sharing with president Assad
in ruling the country, but the interventionists
are banning this process."

Stressing that any political solution in Syria
 must also include President Assad, Sayyed
Nasrallah says that the regular army controls
most Syrian territories and that ISIL, Nusra
Front and the so-called Free Syrian Army,
 hold the rest.

Saudi Arabia's battlefield influence turned out
to be so meager, after the Kingdom committed
 a major mistake by implementing the Afghani
 pattern in Syria, Sayyed Nasrallah points out.

Hezbollah's Secretary General confirms that
Turkey funds & supports ISIL and Nusra, who
 get battlefield facilities from the government
 in Ankara, but he also mentions that Turkish-
Iraqi relations may improve with the advent
 of the new government in Baghdad.

Sayyed Nasrallah asserts that the International
 Coalition's air raids against ISIL do not aim at
 eradicating the terrorist group as the US isn't
 concerned with achieving this goal at present.

"The Americans aim only at containing ISIL,
 and having US military bases in Iraq."

Hezbollah Sec Gen points out that the Iraqis
 themselves managed to stop ISIL attacks on
 their cities with aid from their Iranian brethren.

His eminence clarifies that the US administration
 is no longer concerned with excluding President
 Assad from the political solution in Syria.

Sayyed Nasrallah asserts that Hezbollah
considers that President Assad can guarantee
 the implementation of any political solution in
 Syria.

"The ISIL card has been played and exhausted
 & the terrorist group can't change the formula.
 ISIL started to lose its popularity in Iraq, after
 massacring even Sunni Muslims."

On Bahrain, Sayyed Nasrallah says that the
 opposition expressed its readiness to reach
 a political solution with the regime, but Saudi
Arabia rejected all the regional mediations to
 end the crisis, insisting instead, on ending
the peaceful revolution.

On Yemen: "The relation between Hezbollah
and the Yemen's Ansarullah is political, not
military," Sayyed Nasrallah says, "The party
and Iran were not involved in the recent
developments in Yemen."

"What happened in Yemen is related exclusively
 to Ansarullah and its people; Hezbollah and Iran
 did not contribute to the recent developments
 in that country."

Hezbollah's Sec Gen considers that a plot was
 set to subdue Ansarullah, which suffered the
 threat of elimination, so the group reacted. 

Welcoming Egypt's return to play its strategic
 role in the region, Sayyed Nasrallah stresses
 that Hezbollah supports any Egyptian initiative
 to end the Syrian crises.

"Hezbollah tried to communicate with the Muslim
 Brotherhood who always refrained from following
 this path and even blocked Iranian initiatives to
 promote mutual relations during Mursi's reign."

Sayyed Nasrallah says Iran enjoys prosperous
 conditions in spite of Western pressure, adding
that those countries trying to challenge the
 Islamic Republic through the nuclear file, will
 collapse and that Iran will emerge victorious.

Domestically, Sayyed Nasrallah says:

"Hezbollah supports any dialogue among
Lebanese political factions to settle the
complicated issues, including presidential
 elections, despite the attempts of 'hawks'
 to frustrate this trend in the country."

Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah ends by saying that
 the resistance, socially, supports its strategic
 decisions, including the intervention in Syria.


______________________________________



Bahraini protest rages as
 another opposition leader arrested

Crowds of protesters took to the streets
 in the capital, Manama, Thursday, calling
 on the monarchy to release Sheikh Ali
Salman, leader of Al-Wefaq opposition
 party, and expressing outrage over the
 arrest of his close ally, Jameel Kadhim.

Kadhim was arrested outside Al-Wefaq HQ
 in Manama and imprisoned on Wednesday.

 In a press briefing prior to his arrest, Kadhim
 told his followers to continue a “peaceful and
 civilized movement until victory” is reached,
 promising to continue his fight in prison.

 Al-Wefaq issued a statement condemning his
arrest as “security & judicial tools to punish
 opponents.”

Sayed Yousif al-Muhafda of the Bahrain Centre
for Human Rights says change will never come
 as long as the ruling family cracks down on the
 opposition.

“The government, they don't want any dialogue at all.
 For the last two to three years they are just lying to
 the international community that there is progress,
 there is dialogue, but this is the reality: people who
 should be in the dialogue are in gaol right now,” Al-
Muhafda states.

As a member of Bahrain's majority Shi ite
 opposition group, Kadhim was sentenced
to six months for alleging election bribery
 on his Twitter page in October.

 Bahrain’s Lower Criminal Court found him
 guilty of disrupting the elections and ordered
 him to pay a 500 Bahraini dinar ($1,300) fine
 in addition to serving his jail sentence.

Kadhim’s lawyer, Abdullah Al Shamlawi, says
 his client will appeal against the conviction
 at the High Criminal Appeals Court.

His sentencing comes as Al-Wefaq leader,
 Sheikh Ali Salman, after being arrested on
 December 28th, still remains in gaol, amid
 ongoing clashes between protesters and
security forces. He also faces a gaol term
and is being held pending an investigation
 into charges of inciting violence.

Bahrain, ruled by King Hamad, was rocked
 by protests in 2011 by the country’s Shiite
Muslim population, calling for freedom in
the minority Sunni-ruled country.

 Although the government, backed by Saudi
Arabia, managed to suppress the protests
 very quickly, clashes between the security
 forces and protesters still occur near daily.


___________________________________________



Japan approves largest military budget since WWII

Japan’s government has approved its largest military
budget in 70 years, in contravention of the country’s
 pacifist constitution, in a display of force to its highly
 militarized neighbors. The extra military spending
 comes amid a stalling economy.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet has given the
 green light to an unprecedented nearly 5 trillion yen
 ($42 billion) defense budget, which comes into force
 in April.

The extra military spending mirrors an expanded
 overall budget, which has reached a record 96.3
 trillion yen ($814 billion). The budget still awaits
 parliament’s approval, where Abe's government
 coalition has a majority in both houses.

The 2 percent increase in military spending is
the third hike during Abe’s rule. Since he took
 office in December 2012, Abe has ended an
11 year decline in defense spending. In 2002,
Tokyo passed its previous highest military
budget of 4.96 trillion yen.

“This budget will contribute to achieving both
 economic recovery and regaining fiscal health
 together," PM Abe said at a press conference.

In line with plans announced in late 2013,
Abe’s Cabinet plans to spend 24.7 trillion yen
 between 2014 and 2019 on military hardware,
 including amphibious vehicles, drones, fighter
 jets and submarines.

Japan’s military purchases consist mainly of US-
made military hardware & homemade weaponry.

Tokyo intends to buy six 5th-generation F-35A
 stealth fighter jets (reportedly for $148 million
 each), and 5 US-made Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey
 tilt-rotor aircraft (which have an estimated
price of $68 million each).

Japan’s so-called Self-Defense Force also gets
 a fleet of US-made Global Hawk drones (est.
 cost over $100 million a unit), yet this will take
 place over a five-year period and funds for this
 won't be taken from out of the 2015 military
budget, Japanese officials tell AFP.

The Japanese Defense Ministry’s shopping list
 also includes 20 Kawasaki P-1 (350 billion yen a
unit) national-made maritime patrol aircraft, at
350 billion yen each) which are now in service
 with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Tokyo’s increased military expenditure comes
 amid rising tensions between Japan and China
 over territorial disputes in the East China Sea.

Abe’s government is struggling to prevent the
 economy slipping into recession. The country's
population is aging & welfare costs are soaring.

In 2014, Japan’s population fell for a third straight
 year, with the elderly (over 65 years old) making
 up 25% of the nation. Social security spending in
 2015 is expected to account for about one-third
 of the budget.

The Cabinet is boosting government spending,
changing its tax policies and prompting the
 nation’s senior citizens to spend more on the
 younger generation.

Abe has previously tried to alter the country’s
pacifist constitution and downplay restrictions
 it imposes on the national armed forces, but
has failed to gain the necessary public support.

Instead, his government has reinterpreted the
 law, saying that it allows the Japanese military
 to come to the rescue of an ally under attack.



___________________________



Donetsk republic negotiator to leave for
Minsk January 15 for Contact Group talks

The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic's
 negotiator for the settlement in eastern Ukraine,
 Denis Pushilin, leaves for Minsk today (Thurs),
 to take part in the Contact Group talks.

The Contact Group is expected to gather in
 the Belarusian capital on January 16th.

The Lugansk People’s Republic negotiator,
Vladislav Deinego, says the agenda of the
 meeting will likely include the four previous
 issues - the pullout of artillery and rocket
systems from the disengagement line in
 Donbass, the exchange of prisoners, the
 lifting of the economic blockade on
Donbass and the coming into effect of
the law on Donbass' special status.

 The Minsk Protocol document contains 9 points,
 including a ban on the use of all armaments and
 withdrawal of weapons with calibres of over 100
 millimetres to a distance of 15 kilometres from
the contact line by each side.

 The OSCE is controlling implementation of the
 memorandum's provisions, and its numbers
are being boosted.


_________________________________



No Religion Can Justify Violence,
                Says Pope Francis in Sri Lanka               
 
 Pope Francis expresses to the leaders of the
major religious communities in Sri Lanka, the
 will of the Catholic Church to work jointly for
 the prosperity of citizens and the country.

We must demand that our communities,
 clearly and unequivocally, fully live the
 principles of peace and coexistence
 encompassed in every religion, and
denounce acts of violence committed,
 says the Supreme Pontiff, meeting the
 leaders of all religious denominations
 on the island.

In Sri Lanka, where 70% are Buddhist,
12% Hindu, 10% Muslim & 7.5% Christian,
Francis recalls that "for many years men
 and women of this country were victims
 of civil conflicts and violence", and he
stresses that what is needed now is
 "recovery and unity".

Noting that "this is a noble task concerning all",
he hopes that interfaith & ecumenical cooperation
 will prove that nobody has to give up their ethnic
 or religious identity to live in harmony with others.

"For the sake of peace, it should never be allowed
 that religious beliefs be used to justify violence
 and war", stresses the Holy Father.

Before, the Pope held a private meeting with the
 newly elected Sri Lankan President Maithripala
 Sirisena, who led the welcoming ceremony at
Colombo
International Airport, along with the
Archbishop
of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm
Ranjith.


Because of the time it took him to greet the
 thousands of people who cheered him outside
 the airport terminal, and from there downtown,
 the Head of the Vatican suspended a meeting
 that had been scheduled for the afternoon,
 with bishops of the island.


_______________________________



Ecuador Urges Asia-Pacific Forum
                to Favor Regional Co-operation               
 
 Ecuador's Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patiño,
yesterday (Tues) asked member countries
of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum, to
 strengthen regional cooperation as a way
 to change the current world order.

Cooperation is the main tool to transform
the international order, said Patino, in the
masterly lecture he gave Tuesday, to 240
 delegates, from 17 Pacific basin nations.

According to Patino, one of the similarities
between members of the Forum founded in
 1993 by exJapanese PM Yasuhiro Nakasone
 is the need to adapt the world's governing
 bodiess to Earth's new political, economic
 and social realities.

In this regard, he reiterated the call to reform
 the United Nations, particularly its Security
Council which, he said, continues operating
 in a closed, faulty way.

After calling for the ending of the right to
 veto within the UN Security Council, Patino
 said the five powers with the right to veto
should be replaced by regional blocs: eg the
 European Union, the African Union and the
 Community of Latin American and Caribbean
 States --- for the sake of true representation.

According to Patino, the Pacific basin should
 also play a significant role in the international
 order, because it represents nearly half the
 world's population and 57% of world trade.

The Pacific will be the most important economic
 zone in the world in terms of trade, in the next
 ten years, said Patino, who referring to regional
 integration cited the example of achievements
 made by Celac and the Union of S. American
 Nations (Unasur).


_________________________



US Central Command Twitter account
apparently hacked by CyberCaliphate

The official Twitter account for the United States
 Central Command — CENTCOM — appears to have
 been compromised by a hacker group sympathetic
 to the organization formerly known as Islamic State.

A series of tweets were sent from the @CENTCOM
 account on Monday, starting with one warning:
 “AMERICAN SOLDIERS, WE ARE COMING, WATCH
 YOUR BACK. ISIS. “

That tweet and messages posted moments after,
 refer to a group known as CyberCaliphate and links
 to documents that are purported to be confidential
 files pilfered from American military computers,
 including one cache of files containing slideshows
 that appear to have details about apparent threats
 in the Caspian, China, North Korea, Africa and
 Indonesia.

A statement posted on the website Pastebin shared
 by the compromised CENTCOM account announced:

“US and its satellites kill our brothers in Syria, Iraq
 and Afghanistan: we broke into your networks and
 personal devices and know everything about you.

You'll see no mercy infidels. ISIS is already here,
we are in your PCs, in each military base. With
Allah's permission we are in CENTCOM now.

We won't stop! We know everything about you,
your wives and children.

US soldiers! We're watching you!”

Soon after, the hacked Twitter account posted
a photo appearing to show US military personnel
 surrounded by computers with the caption: “ISIS
 is already here, we are in your PCs, in each
military base."

Last week, the social media accounts for two
  television news networks were compromised
 by persons alleging to belong to Cyber Caliphate
 — an apparent hacker collective either affiliated
 or sympathetic to the military group also known
as ISIS, or ISIL. It was reported at the time that
the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had
opened a probe into the matter.

Considering that Congress funds IS, and if IS
 hacked CentCommand, does this mean that
 the US government just hacked themselves?


____________________________________



Divisions remain after Ukraine crisis
 talks, sides may meet again next week

The foreign ministers of Russia, Germany, France,
 and Ukraine spent three hours behind closed doors
 discussing the Ukraine crisis on Monday, and may
 meet again next week if progress is made over the
 next few days in resolving remaining disagreements.

After the meeting in Berlin on Monday, Russian
 Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the political
 process to end Ukraine's crisis will only succeed
 if Kiev treats the self-proclaimed Donetsk and
 Lugansk Republics as equal partners.

"It was stressed that the political process can
 be a success only when you start direct dialogue,
 in this case between the representatives of the
 Ukrainian government and the proclaimed DPR
and LPR, and they should feel fully involved in the
 political process as equal partners," Lavrov said.

After the meeting, the four ministers called on
 the contact group of Ukraine, Russia, and the
Organization for Security and Co-operation in
 Europe (OSCE) to try to make more progress
on implementing a Ukraine peace deal agreed
 in September, including creating the "relevant
 conditions for an effective ceasefire,” the joint
 statement reads.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
 said that, while Monday's session was a “very
open exchange,” it didn't produce enough results
 for a meeting of the leaders of Russia, Germany,
 Ukraine, and France this week, in Kazakhstan.

Steinmeier said that representatives from foreign
 ministries will continue work to find common ground.
The foreign ministers of the Normandy Quartet might
 also hold another meeting next week if “progress
is achieved in the coming days.”

The so-called Normandy Quartet was established in
 June when Russian, French, German, and Ukrainian
 leaders met in northern France's Normandy, to talk
 and find a political solution to the Ukrainian crisis.


____________________________________



Ukraine to participate in
 11 NATO war games in 2015

The Ukrainian army will take part in 11 international
 military drills this year to bolster NATO standards in
its troops. Despite an economic crisis, Kiev will still
use 5.2 percent of its 2015 budget on the army.

Ukrainian servicemen will appear at seven military
 drills in Europe, while four maneuvers will be hosted
 in Ukraine, the assistant Ukrainian defense minister,
 Viktoria Kushnir, states.

“These exercises are going to finalize a stage of
combat training to boost NATO standards in our
troops,” Kushnir says.

The largest drills will be the Ukrainian-US Rapid
 Trident maneuvers for ground troops & Sea Breeze,
a naval exercise in Ukraine. A like exercise was
held as recently as last September, when NATO
sent 700 weapons units and 50 vehicles. The US
sent 200 servicemen.

The Naval Trident Juncture exercises will take
place outside Ukraine's borders, says Kushnir.

The Ukrainian Navy will also take part in drills,
 with American warships --- in the Black Sea.

The Ukrainian parliament has to give permission
 for maneuvers in the country. President Petro
 Poroshenko is expected to submit a draft to
Kiev's parliament to get formal approval for it.

Since September, there have been a number
 of reports saying NATO member states have
 begun sending "non-lethal" military aid to Kiev.

There have also been unconfirmed reports of
 lethal aid being supplied to Ukrainian troops
 fighting 'operations' against anti-Kiev militias
 in the east of the country.

In December 2014, President Petro Poroshenko
 signed a law cancelling the country's non-bloc
status and promising to hold a referendum on
 NATO accession,  in the next 5 to 6 years.

The latest news of NATO supplies to Ukraine,
 came last weekend when a cargo ship with 42
 containers, holding allegedly non-lethal military
 supplies, docked at the Ukrainian port of
Odessa, in the Black Sea.

Also, last December, Canada sent a small
contingent of its military police to Ukraine
 to help the coup government and security
 forces protect Ukraine's 'territorial integrity'.


______________________________________



Ukraine plans another war in
southeast - Russian FM Lavrov

Moscow has obtained information about the
 Ukrainian military preparing another plan to
'solve' the conflict in the southeast militarily,
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says. 

"There is information, very alarming information,
 which we are now double-checking, that the
security forces are preparing for another stage
 of the military solution to the problem in the
 foreseeable future. This would be a disaster,"
Lavrov says at a press conference after talks
 with his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevich.

In addition, Lavrov says, Ukraine doesn't deny
the fact of declaring a mobilization. "There are
different numbers, but from 50,000 to more than
 200,000 people need to be mobilized," he says.

According to Sergei Lavrov, Russia will continue
 demanding that the West should put pressure on
 the "war party" in Kiev, to rule out a military
scenario in eastern Ukraine.

"We, regardless of what happens in Paris, Syria,
 Libya and elsewhere, will continue to demand
from our western partners, whose influence on
 the Ukrainian leadership is much stronger than
 anyone else's, that they look into those plans
 not to let the "war party" in Kiev bring down all
 those fragile hopes that the Minsk agreements
 created," Lavrov says.


_____________________________________



Serbian PM accuses EU of media
campaign to destabilize govt

Serbian prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, has
accused the European Union of organizing a
campaign to destabilize his administration by
 funding anti-government media reports, says
Reuters news agency.

 His accusation comes after a regional news
 organization published an article criticizing
 reconstruction of Tamnava coal mine, which
 was destroyed by flooding last year.

 Earlier, the EU-funded Balkan Investigative
Reporting Network (BIRN) said that the state-
owned power monopoly Elektroprivreda Srbije
 (EPS) hired an inexperienced local company to
 work on the reconstruction, allegedly steeply
raising costs.



________________________________________



Croatia's opposition conservative
wins extremely close runoff vote

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic wins the runoff election
in Croatia, on Russia's borders, with 50.54% of the
 vote, becoming Croatia’s first female president,
 the state electoral commission says.

The incumbent centre-left Ivo Josipovic, has now
admitted defeat & congratulated Grabar-Kitarovic
 on victory, after getting 49.46% in Sunday's poll.

 So far, 97.8% of votes have been counted,
 which means that Grabar-Kitarovic has
won by about 20,000 votes.

 Both candidates promised to fix the country’s
 troubled economy, which has been stuck in
a long-lasting recession.

The new president is a NATO public relations
official, and, although Croatia's presidency is
largely ceremonial, it gives her control over
Croatia's armed forces -- jointly with the
Social Democratic PM.

The Social Democrats have a majority in
Croatia's parliament, and elections are due
at the end of this year, but the right (called
'scum' by the centre-leftists) are pressing
fiercely for the vote to be brought forward.

Her victory shows that Croatia, a new member
of the European Union (EU), is ideologically
 highly divided and the citizens expect change
 to get out of a recession which has lasted six
 years, driving nationwide unemployment rates
 to nearly 20 percent, analysts in Zagreb say.

Professor Ivan Rimac of
Zagreb University's law
department said on Croatian public television
 network, HTV, that Grabar-Kitarovic won, due
to her rhetoric about the unity of Croatia.

"We have had enough of divisions," she said in
her campaign, calling for those who voted for
Josipovic, to become part of her team & unite
 so as to help Croatia emerge from its crisis.

She said she would see that Croatia became
 one of the most developed countries in the
 EU and the world.

Analysts believe Josipovic's defeat is partly
due to the fact that the ruling coalition, which
 supported Josipovic's candidacy, had failed
 to reform the huge, inefficient public sector,
 improve the business climate, or attract EU
 development funds.

Some view Grabar-Kitarovic's victory, backed
 by the largest opposition party, the Croatian
 Democratic Union, as likely to bolster that
 party's electoral chances.

However, others say Grabar-Kitarovic won
 the presidential office only with the votes
of people who no longer live in the country.

According to election data, Grabar-Kitarovic
 received 91.11 percent of the vote abroad,
while Josipovic won 8.89 percent only.

In countries with the largest Croatian
communities, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
and Germany, Grabar-Kitarovic won
 93.80 percent and 94.12 percent of
the vote, respectively.

Political observers say her unexpected
 win, by 20,000 votes, only undermines
her authority.

Also, as head of state, she too will be held
 partly responsible for the poor economy,
 they say.


____________________________________



US Rejects Possibility of Peace
 on Korean Peninsula

The USA, on Sunday, has rejected a proposal
 submitted by the Democratic People's Republic
of Korea, that might have given a possibility of
 peace on the Korean Peninsula, the website
 of the newspaper China Daily, reports.

On Friday, Pyongyang proposed canceling its
 nuclear tests in exchange for the Pentagon &
 S. Korea suspending their annual military drills.

That way, a step could have been taken towards
 peace in a region where tensions escalate every
 year when the United States and S. Korea carry
 out military maneuvers involving nuclear arms,
and North Korea takes preventive measures.

With 28,500 soldiers deployed in the south of
the Korean Peninsula, the White House & Seoul
 carry out military maneuvers that are supposed
 to be defensive, including landings, bombings
 and shootings, plus mobilizing atomic weapons.

According to the spokesperson for the US State
 Department, Jen Psaki, the annual joint drills &
 Pyongyang's nuclear tests, are "different things".

Psaki says instead, that the DPRK's proposal
 is an implicit threat, although in fact, since the
 time of General Douglas MCarthur, the north of
 the Korean Peninsula has been in danger of
being bombed like Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Korean War (1950-53) has not concluded
 officially, as it ended with an armistice, but
 not with any signed formal ending.


_________________________________________



INCREDIBLE CLUE FOUND

The three prime suspects involved in terror
in France, are 'identified after one leaves
their ID card in the abandoned getaway
 car', reports the West's media on Sunday.


________________________________________



Ukrainian PM Arseny Yatsenyuk
 blames Soviet Union for invading Germany

Moscow has requested an explanation for the
 official position of Berlin regarding the remarks
 by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk,
 of "Russia's invasion of Germany and Ukraine,"
 First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian
 Federation, Vladimir Titov says, TASS reports.

On Thursday, January 8th, Arseny Yatsenyuk,
when visiting Germany, gave an interview to
German TV channel ARD, in which he said:

 "Germany and the German Chancellor personally
 have done a lot to restore peace in Ukraine. To
 guarantee stability not only in Ukraine, but also
 in the whole of Europe." The current "Russian
 aggression in Ukraine is an attack on the world
 order and the order in Europe." He continued...

 "We still remember well, the Soviet invasion of
Ukraine and Germany. It should be avoided."

Friday, January 9, Yatsenyuk's spokesperson,
 Olga Lappo, explained the words by the prime
 minister. According to her, he meant the post-
war division of Germany...

 "Arseny Yatsenyuk meant the division of Germany
 by the Soviet Union after World War II. A wall was
 built to divide Berlin --- to exclude the movement
of Germans from the east to the western part of
 the city," said Lappo.

Several Russian politicians have reacted to
 Yatsenyuk's words. For example, the head of
 the State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs,
Alexei Pushkov, wrote on his Twitter page...
"Yatsenyuk has finally gone mad."

The head of the same committee of the upper
 house of the Russian parliament, Konstantin
 Kosachev, said that the remarks by the Prime
 Minister of Ukraine are a shameful excuse for
 Hitlerism and an insult to the memory of heroes.

In Germany, the online version of Spiegel magazine
  wrote satirically: "Indeed, since 1942, Soviet troops
 had been moving relentlessly to the West and were
 not afraid to pursue the army of the democratically
 elected chancellor, Adolf Hitler, even onto Ukrainian
 territory. (...) Finally, the Soviets transgressed the
eastern border of Germany & invaded its territory,
 as we all remember, together with Mr. Yatsenyuk."


_________________________________



Foreign ministers to meet over Ukraine in Berlin
        
The foreign ministers of Germany, France, Russia
 and Ukraine will meet in Berlin, Monday, to discuss
 the Ukraine crisis, says Germany's Foreign Ministry.

"The Minsk agreement must remain the compass
for all further steps," German Foreign Minister,
 Frank-Walter Steinmeier, says. "But there's still
 a long and bumpy road, before the agreement