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Push war in people's faces! (That's what this brave lady does)
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.
After the above incident, the USS Donald Cook chose to immediately - and at full speed - move towards a port in Romania... where 27 shocked crew members asked for their own dismissal. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Innovative sanctions deal saves face for Tehran --- offers strict powers, avoids delicate terms
Major powers and Iran finessed how UN inspectors will get access to Iranian military sites in Tuesday's nuclear agreement, with a formula that gives the UN strong inspection powers, while allowing Tehran to save face.
Deep in the deal's details is a procedure under which Iran would have to provide access to suspect sites, including at its military facilities, within 24 days. If Iran refused, it would face the possibility of UN sanctions being slapped back on it.
The procedure ensures that UN inspectors can get access to allay their suspicions, re Iran's nuclear activities, but doesn't explicitly force Iran to admit that its military sites could be open to foreign inspections -- leaving some uncertainty over the access Iran will allow in practice.
In Tuesday's landmark deal, Iran & six major powers, struck a compromise, under which, Tehran will limit its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.
One of the most controversial issues in the negotiations was whether the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would be able to visit military sites if they had questions about suspected nuclear activities or facilities in them.
The matter became even harder to resolve, diplomats say, after Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on June 23 said granting access to Iran's military sites was a "red line."
In the end, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US agreed on language with Iran that requires more of Tehran than the present global nonproliferation system, yet avoides a direct mention of the sensitive military site issue.
"This is rather clever & reflects the interests of all sides," says George Perkovich, vice- president of studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Inspections, 'without saying so'
Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's "Additional Protocol," the IAEA may ask for "managed access" to any Iran site, such as a military one, but Iran can legitimately bar access, by engaging the UN nuclear watch- dog, in endless negotiations.
This deal aims to close such loopholes with a process under which Iran would give access or otherwise allay IAEA concerns --- within 24 days: a time frame experts say is tight enough to stop it sanitizing unauthorized nuclear work.
Iran and the IAEA have 14 days to resolve disagreements among themselves. If they fail to, a joint commission comprised of 8 members - the 6 major powers, Iran & the EU - would consider the matter for a week.
A majority of the 8 would then inform Iran of the steps it would then take, within 3 more days.
Majority-rule means the US and its European allies, namely Britain, France, Germany and the EU as a whole, could insist on access or any other steps --- and that Iran, Russia or China, could not veto them.
"This almost inevitably means inspections but without saying so. That's why diplomats make the big bucks," Perkovich adds.
Non-proliferation experts say that this falls short of "anywhere, anytime" inspections demanded by critics of the deal, including many Republicans, but says that will only be possible in a country that has been defeated militarily.
"It's not a perfect procedure. It would be good to get no notice inspections, but that simply wasn't on the cards," says Bob Einhorn, a nonproliferation specialist at the Brookings Institute and former US negotiator with Iran.
Hailing the agreement Tuesday, US President Barack Obama says it means that "inspectors will have 24/7 access to Iran's key nuclear facilities."
Obama on Wednesday, said the deal is the "most vigorous inspection and verification regime by far, that's ever been negotiated," but he was referring only to Iran's declared nuclear sites.
Sites the IAEA has suspicions about... including any that may be within Iran's many military complexes, fall under the separate procedure, with its 24- day time limit.
The word "military" occurs only once in the agreement, where it says access requests will not aim at interfering with Iran's military or other national security activities.
Senior Iranian officials say they would provide the "managed access" called for under the Additional Protocol, and say little about additional procedures stipulated under the new deal.
"Managed access" is the mechanism to allow a minimum needed IAEA oversight to ensure there is no diversion to secret nuclear or nuclear-related activities, while limiting access, to protect any legitimate military or industrial secrets.
"We've nothing to hide. We have always cooperated with the IAEA and allowed them to visit our sites," a senior Iranian official tells reporters in Vienna.
"However, it does not mean that we are going to share intelligence with others --- or allow them to enter our bedrooms to investigate," he adds.
US officials say they believe Tehran has committed to providing access to any site, including military, but they acknowledge the possibility, that it might refuse.
If it finds Iran to be in breach of the deal, the US could, single-handedly, move to "snap back" UN sanctions on Iran.
Under an agreement among Britain, China, France, Russia and the US, the UN Security Council's permanent members who each have veto power, a resolution to re-impose sanctions would be drafted in such a way, that no-one could block it.
Reinstating the UN sanctions in full would be to wield a heavy hammer against Iran and one that the major powers might be loathe to use.
However, a senior US official raises the possibility of re-imposing some but not all sanctions, via a "partial snapback," making the punishment more scalpel than hammer.
Irrefutable Documents Prove Support of US Intelligence Agencies for Terrorism
A US judicial organization on Thursday, revealed classified documents of the US State and Defense Departments that prove the Obama administration and its intelligence agencies have being involved in supporting the terrorist groups in Syria since the start of the crisis four years ago.
Confirmed: US Created ISIS Terror Group Says New Declassified Pentagon Report.
From the first, the US has used 'Jihadists' to gain a political goal: to depose Syria’s president Assad, who for years has stood in the way of a Qatari natural gas pipeline -- which could depose Russia as Europe’s dominant source of energy.
Russia saw right through this, and, in September 2014, its Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned about the US, reported Live Leak:
"if the West bombs Islamic State militants in Syria without consulting Damascus, the anti-ISIS alliance may use the occasion to launch airstrikes against President Assad’s forces."
Clearly seeing how Obama’s strategy on ISIS in Syria, was really all about pushing the Qatar pipeline through, Russia pushed back, saying that, if the US used ISIS as a pretext to bomb Syrian government's forces:
“such a development would lead to a huge escalation of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.”
But understanding and suspicions aren't evidence or proof, which Russia lacked.
That has changed, thanks to a declassified secret US government document, obtained by public interest law firm, Judicial Watch, which shows that the US government allied deliberately with al-Qaeda & other terrorists to topple Syria's (elected) President Assad.
Investigative reporter Nafeez Ahmed, says in 'Medium': the “leaked document reveals that -- in coordination with the Gulf states &Turkey - the West intentionally sponsored violent Islamist groups to destabilize Assad, despite anticipating that doing so, could lead to the emergence of an ‘Islamic State’ in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
According to the declassified document, the Pentagon foresaw the likely rise of ‘Islamic State’ as a direct consequence of its strategy, but described this out- come as a strategic opportunity to “isolate the Syrian regime.”
So far media reporting has focused on evidence that Obama's administration knew of arms supplies from a Libyan terrorist stronghold to rebels in Syria.
No media outlets are reporting the disturbing details exposing how the West knowingly helped a sectarian, al-Qaeda-driven rebellion in Syria.
Charles Shoebridge, former UK Army and Metropolitan Police counter- terrorism intelligence officer:
“..the documents... contain far less publicized revelations that raise vitally important questions of the West’s governments and media, in their support of Syria’s rebellion.”
The newly declassified DIA document from 2012 confirms that the major part of anti-Assad rebel forces by this time, were Islamist insurgents affiliated to groups that would soon lead to ISIS' emergence. Despite this, the groups continued to get support from the US military and the US's regional allies.
“The Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,” the document noted, adding “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition,” while Russia, China and Iran, “support the [Assad] regime.”
The DIA document stated that al-Qaeda in Iraq, precursor to the Islamic State in Iraq --- which became the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (thus ISIS)... “supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media.”
In a part titled ‘The Future Assumptions of the Crisis,’ the DIA report predicts how, while Assad’s regime will survive, keeping control over Syrian territory, the crisis will continue to escalate “into a proxy war.”
The document recommends creating “safe havens under international sheltering, as in Libya --- where Benghazi was chosen as the command centre for the temporary government.”
In Libya, anti-Gaddafi rebels, most of whom were al-Qaeda affiliated militias, were then protected by NATO's ‘safe havens’ (aka ‘no fly zones’).
In a striking prediction, the Pentagon document explicitly forecasts the probable declaration of “an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.”
“Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey are supporting these efforts” by “opposition forces” fighting to “control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor), adjacent to Western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar)”:
“… there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”
The secret Pentagon document thus provides extraordinary confirmation that a US coalition now bombing ISIS, just 3 years ago welcomed a terrorist “Salafist Principality” in the region as a way to undermine Assad and block Iran. Crucially, Iraq is labeled as an integral part of this “Shia expansion,” which the US is supposedly facing down.
The establishment of such a “Salafist Principality” in eastern Syria, the DIA document asserts, is “exactly” what the “supporting powers to the opposition want.”
Earlier on, the document repeatedly described those “supporting powers” as “the West, Gulf countries & Turkey.”
The document reveals how Pentagon analysts were acutely aware of the 'risks', yet ploughed ahead anyway.
The establishment of a “Salafist Principality” in eastern Syria, they said, would create “the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi.”
Last summer, ISIS conquered Mosul in Iraq, and this month has taken control of Ramadi.
Such a quasi-state entity will provide, the new document reveals:
“… a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers to be one enemy. ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.”
The 2012 DIA document is an Intelligence Information Report (IIR) --- not a “finally evaluated intelligence” assessment --- but it was 'vetted', before distribution.
The report was circulated throughout the US intelligence community, including to the State Department, Central Command, the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, FBI, among other agencies.
The UK government has gone into 'denial', when confronted with this evidence, as a UK Foreign Office spokesperson says:
“AQ & ISIL are proscribed terrorist organisations. The UK opposes all forms of terrorism. AQ, ISIL, & their affiliates pose a direct threat to the UK’s national security.
“We are part of a military and political coalition to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria, and are working with international partners to counter the threat from AQ and other terrorist groups in that region. In Syria we have always supported those moderate opposition groups who oppose the tyranny of Assad and the brutality of the extremists.”
Security analyst Shoebridge, who has tracked Western support for Islamist terrorists in Syria since the beginning of the war, points out that the secret Pentagon report has exposed fatal contradictions at the heart of US and Western official pronunciations:
“Throughout the early years of the Syria crisis, the US/UK governments, and almost universally the West’s mainstream media, promoted Syria’s rebels as moderate, liberal, secular, democratic, and therefore deserving of the West’s support.
“Given that these documents wholly undermine this assessment, it’s significant that the West’s media has now, despite their immense significance, almost entirely ignored them.”
Brad Hoff, a former US Marine:
“US intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a US strategic asset.”
Hoff, managing editor of Levant Report, an online publication run by Texas-based educators who have direct experience of the Middle East, notes how the DIA document “matter-of-factly” states that the rise of such an extremist Salafist political entity in the region offers a “tool for regime change in Syria.”
The DIA intelligence report shows, he says, that the rise of ISIS only became possible in the context of the Syrian insurgency.
“there is no mention of US troop withdrawal from Iraq as a catalyst for Islamic State’s rise, which is the contention of innumerable politicians and pundits.” The report, he says, demonstrates that:
“The establishment of a ‘Salafist Principality’ in Eastern Syria, is ‘exactly’ what external powers supporting the opposition want (identified as ‘the West, Gulf Countries, and Turkey’) in order to weaken the Assad government.”
The rise of a Salafist quasi-state entity that might expand into Iraq & fracture Iraq, was seen by US intelligence as likely but strategically useful -- in the West’s commitment to “isolating Syria.”
The US official line still, is that the US government did not retain sufficient oversight on the funding to anti-Assad rebel groups, which was supposed to be monitored & vetted to ensure that only ‘moderate’ groups were helped.
But the newly declassified Pentagon report proves unambiguously that years before ISIS launched its concerted offensive against Iraq, the US intelligence community was fully aware that Islamist militants constituted the core of Syria’s sectarian insurgency.
Despite this, the Pentagon still supported an Islamist insurgency, even as it foresaw the probability that it would establish an extremist Salafi stronghold in Syria & Iraq.
As Shoebridge told Dr Nafeez Ahmed, from whose brilliant article this news is taken:
“The documents show that not only did the US government, at the latest by August 2012, know the true extremist nature & likely outcome of Syria’s rebellion”: ie, the emergence of ISIS — “but that this was considered an advantage for US foreign policy.
“This also suggests a decision to spend years in an effort to deliberately mislead the West’s public, via a compliant media, into believing that Syria’s rebellion was overwhelmingly ‘moderate.’”
The 2012 DIA document shows that, while sponsoring purportedly former al-Qaeda insurgents in Iraq, to counter al-Qaeda, Western governments were at the same time, arming al-Qaeda insurgents in Syria.
The new Pentagon report reveals that, contrary to Western government claims, the primary cause of ISIS' threat, comes from their deeply misguided policies of secretly sponsoring Islamist terrorism, for dubious geopolitical purposes.
The Color Revolution in Macedonia Is Underway
by Wayne MADSEN The diabolical plan to destabilize Macedonia by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, the U.S. ambassador to Macedonia Jess Baily, and Macedonian 'social democrat' opposition leaders Zoran Zaev and Branko Crvenkovski – who could be called the 'Arseniy Yatsenyuk' and 'Petro Poroshenko' of Macedonia - has entered a critical phase with members of the supposedly disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) increasing their terrorist border incursions on Macedonian territory from Kosovo.
The plan by the US State Department & Macedonian stooges like Zaev and Crvenkovski, is to create a situation where the democratically-elected government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and President Georgy Ivanov, is ousted in an uprising crafted by well-paid operatives for George Soros.
The coup plotters, including those who've become known throughout Macedonia as 'Sorosites,' hope to replace the independent-minded government of Macedonia with one that will cancel the Turkish Stream pipeline project that's designed to carry natural gas into central Europe from Russia via Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary; negotiate with Greece, the European Union and NATO to end the nation’s use of the name 'Macedonia,' thus ensuring the fast-track entry of Macedonia into the EU and NATO; and satiate the desires of Albanian nationalists in Albania and Kosovo for Albanian-majority regions of Macedonia to be whittled away from the country and appended to a 'Greater Albania.'
It's the rise of Albanian nationalist irredentism along the fragile Kosovo-Albanian border that poses the greatest threat to Macedonia’s political and territorial integrity. The first signs of trouble along the border, was an attack in April, on a Macedonian police border post at Gošince by 40 armed men wearing the insignia of the allegedly outlawed KLA.
That action came at the same time that Kosovo's Foreign Minister, Hashim Thaci, the former leader of the KLA, defied threats by Serbian authorities to arrest him for terrorist charges brought in 2007 and visit Belgrade to attend a conference organized by 'Sorosites.' The arrest of Kosovo's foreign minister would have set the stage for a NATO/EU confrontation with Serbia, another critical partner in, not only the Turkish Stream pipeline, but the Chinese-funded Balkan railway part of the Silk Road project, that will link the Greek port of Piraeus to Budapest, through Macedonia and Serbia.
On May 9, armed gunmen who'd earlier crossed over from Kosovo and into Macedonia, were confronted in the northern border town of Kumanovo by Macedonian police in a counter- terrorism operation. A firefight broke out between the suspected KLA terrorists and the police. Six Macedonian police and an unknown number of the Albanian terrorists were killed in the ensuing battle.
The attack by the restored KLA on the Gošince Macedonian border post, where Macedonian police officers were held hostage before the Albanian raiders returned to Kosovo, and the most recent foray by the KLA into Kumanovo, could not have been possible without the knowledge of Kosovo's military protector, NATO, which operates its largest military base, in Camp Bondsteel, in Kosovo.
In 2001, when KLA forces, allied with Macedonian Albanian nationalists of the National Liberation Army (NLA) of Macedonia, fought Macedonian government forces, fighters of the US private military company, Military Professional Resources, Inc. (MPRI), were involved with both sides. MPRI was assisting the NLA while also advising the Macedonian army.
It is believed that MPRI had passed Macedonian national security information to the NLA prior to the attack by the KLA/NLA. The Ochrid Agreements saw Macedonia grant generous autonomy rights to its Albanian population in an effort to keep the violence that wracked Kosovo and Bosnia from spilling over into generally peaceful Macedonia. The Ochrid Agreements are now in jeopardy as the destabilization forces of Nuland and Soros increase their pressure on the government in Skopje.
As if on cue from his 'Sorosite' masters, Albanian nationalist leader Koco Danaj, said from Tirana, that the Kumanovo incident was the fault of Gruevski, who Danaj likened to Adolf Hitler. Danaj is the leader of an Albanian nationalist group called 'Platform for Natural Albania,' which has adherents in Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Macedonia who want to create a 'Greater Albania.'
Danaj indicated that he has allies in Pristina, Skopje, & Ulcinj, the latter the major Albanian centre in Montenegro, who stand ready to bring about a Greater Albania.
In an attempt to intimidate Gruevski, Danaj said 'Gruevski will end in blood.' Danaj was warning Gruevksi against any attempt to stamp out foreign Albanian terrorist activities in Macedonia. In fact, the KLA members caught by the police in Kumanovo were, states Gruevski, planning a series of terrorist attacks on government installations in Skopje and other Macedonian population centers.
At the same time Danaj was making threats against Macedonia from Albania, a NATO member state, Bosniak Muslims staged a reenactment of a wartime Nazi Waffen SS Handzar division parade in Novi Pazar, the capital of the Muslim-dominated Sandzhak province of Serbia. The Bosniaks chose May 9, Victory in Europe Day, to stage their Nazi reenactment parade. The move is similar to the neo-Nazi Waffen SS division parades conducted in Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania and meant to outrage ethnic Russians in those countries.
The Bosniak Waffen SS troops were identifiable by their green uniforms and red fezzes and were among Hitler’s fiercest of fighters & the Bosniaks marching in Novi Pazar wore the very same uniforms on VE Day.
The Bosniak Muslims of Sandzhak and their like-minded colleagues in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Macedonia largely favor the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in the Balkans that would include the Bosniak Muslims and Albanians.
Zaev, Crvenkovski, and the 'Sorosites' are using the outbreak of violence in the Albanian majority regions of Macedonia in an attempt to dislodge from the current government the Albanian political party, Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), as a junior coalition partner of governing VMRO DPMNE party of Prime Minister Gruevski.
The problems in the Albanian regions of Macedonia follow violent anti-government demonstrations in Skopje that were egged on by the 'Sorosites.' Zaev and Crvenkovski are using unfounded charges that Gruevski’s government eavesdropped on the phone calls of 20,000 Macedonians, as a rallying theme against the government.
Largely ignored by the foreign press is the fact that only the US National Security Agency and its British and German partners have the capability to conduct such massive surveillance. The question remains: who provided the Macedonian opposition with the taped conversations of Gruevski and other government leaders with the opposition leaders? The sophistication of the intercepts rules out the Macedonian Intelligence Service.
The opposition to Gruevski's government has been joined by two of the major Soros-funded media operations in Macedonia, the television networks "Telma" and "24 Vesti." They helped stoke recent violent protests directed at the government on Macedonia Square in central Skopje, demonstrations that saw 36 of the 40 total injured in the melees in front of the government headquarters in Skopje identified as police officers.
One Social Democratic leader and ally of Zaev and Crvenkovski, Radmila Shekerinska, was witnessed at a café near the protest venue issuing instructions to protesters to forcibly enter government buildings.
Crvenkovksi and Zaev have openly called for a popular uprising against the Macedonian government. The Soros-influenced Radio Free Europe, has consistently understated the number of police officers injured by 'Sorosite' rioters and it has failed to report on the external agitation behind the rioting.
The good news is that Macedonians from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds, Slavic and Albanian and Muslims and Orthodox alike, are aware of the 'Sorosite' influences behind the outbreak of violence in their country and they are willing to stand up against it. For Soros and his agitators within the Macedonian opposition and the US embassy in Skopje, Macedonia, unlike Ukraine, will not be easily walked on.
US/SAUDI PLANS EXPOSED
Saudi war on Yemen has failed: Hezbollah chief
Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, secretary general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement, says the Al Saud regime has failed to achieve its goals against the Yemeni nation.
“Tell me about a single objective that has been achieved. Has Saudi Arabia restored the so-called legitimacy in Yemen? Has it managed to prevent the expansion of the Yemeni army and popular committees? Has it confiscated the arms of Ansarullah? Has it been able to return Mansur Hadi to his country?” Nasrallah asked in his TV address.
The Hezbollah chief rejected as lies, the Riyadh regime’s claims of victory in the war on Yemen, asking, “Do Arab citizens accept such deception & misinformation? As an Arab citizen I want information about the objectives that were allegedly realized.”
He said the Saudi kingdom is seeking to gain dominance over Yemen by launching a bloody war on its neighbour, and asked:
“Have they managed to achieve their real objective: restoring their hegemony over Yemen?”
He lauded the Yemeni people’s resistance against Saudi aggression, saying Riyadh could not weaken the Yemenis.
“We are before a clear and obvious Saudi failure and a clear Yemeni victory. This is the result of the firmness & steadfastness of the Yemenis,” the Hezbollah chief said.
The Saudis claim the airstrikes only target military positions. However, reports show civilians & infrastructure in civilian areas are being attacked. Recent reports also show Saudis used cluster munitions in the northern province of Sa’ada.
Riyadh declared an end to the “Decisive Storm” operation against Yemen & then announced the beginning of a new phase “Operation Restoring Hope.”
“The launch of Operation Renewal of Hope was an attempt to cover up for the failure of the 1st round of the war against Yemen,” he stressed.
He criticized Saudi Arabia and its backers in the aggression against Yemen for their hypocrisy in the war and their blocking of humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people.
“They claimed they want to fight terrorism, but they are offering arms to al-Qaeda & bombing popular committees, to prevent them from reaching the regions where al- Qaida is operating. They have prevented any humanitarian aid from reaching Yemen,” he stressed.
Nasrallah praised the victories of Yemen's people, and called on the international community to step up its efforts to help the Yemenis.
“The world has a responsibility to confront this aggression's repercussions, at the humanitarian level,” the Hezbollah chief said, condemning Saudi Arabia’s arial bombing of Yemen and the destruction of its infrastructure.
He said, “Exerting pressure by killing children and women is a futile policy.”
AND ON US SCHEMES TO SPLIT IRAQ
Hezbollah's chief also referred to Iraq, saying the US is seeking to split Iraq under the pretext of fighting the ISIL Takfiri group.
“After the IS seized control of Mosul and started threatening the other provinces and the region, a US-led international coalition was formed to fight it. Back then, we said that the US is not serious in fighting IS & that it would utilize the threat of IS in the region, to realize its own scheme for the region.
We said that the US has a scheme to fragment the regions on a sectarian & ethnic basis: Arabs, Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites,” Nasrallah added.
Nowadays, the Americans have revealed their true intentions through their attempt to bestow legitimacy on the fragmentation of Iraq, and this is what the US Congress is trying to do, he noted.
The draft of a US annual defense bill, which was released on April 27 by the House Armed Services Committee, urges the US government to recognize separate Kurdish & Sunni states, and provide them with at least 25% of the 715 million dollars in aid money, allegedly planned to be given to the Iraqi government, to help it fight the ISIL terrorist group.
The draft bill also says the figure could even be 60% of the money, about USD 429 million.
The bill mandates that “the Kurdish Peshmerga, the Sunni tribal security forces with a national security mission, and the Iraqi Sunni National Guard be deemed a country,” adding that this “would allow these security forces to directly receive assistance from the US.”
This was a prophecy which has now come true, with a Senate vote in favour of carving up Iraq
Widespread Use of Torture by Ukrainian Army & Security Services
Washington Choreographing All-Out War with Russia?
by Finian CUNNINGHAM
The reckless American leaders are putting in place incendiary elements that heighten the risk of an all- out war with Russia.
For several weeks now the Ukrainian self-defence militia, in the breakaway eastern Donbas region, has been warning that the US-backed Kiev regime is readying to break a fragile ceasefire and resume its offensive. The refusal, as mandated by the truce, to fully withdraw all heavy artillery and the ongoing practice of live-fire drills near the conflict zone, are the evidences cited.
With the arrival of 300 US paratroopers in Ukraine, collaborating with Kiev’s Neo-Nazi National Guard brigades, who are the worst offenders over the past year’s fights in east Ukraine – that development is an alarming harbinger of imminent conflict.
The Minsk ceasefire, brokered by Russia, Germany & France, has, up to this time, held for over two months. Given the Kiev regime’s past breach of previous cease- fires, the duration of the truce signed on February 12th, has surprised many.
But now it seems the levee is about to burst, ushering more violence into the region.
Of utmost concern is that the US military forces have reportedly moved into the Donetsk region, near the conflict zone.
(This has been "officially" denied by the US.)
The arrival of the US troops was already described by Moscow as a breach of the Minsk ceasefire. Bad enough, was that the Americans were supposed to conduct their military exercises in the west of the country, near Lviv city. Inexplicably, according to the Russian Ministry of Defence, US troops of the 173rd Airborne Brigade have taken up "training" positions in Donetsk --- only 20-30 kilometres from the conflict zone. The positions include the towns of Artemivsk, Severodonetsk and Volnovakha.
Moreover, the military training given by the Americans to their charges includes the use of US-made arms, not the usual Soviet-style arms the Ukrainian Armed Forces traditionally use.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Alexander Lukashevich, notes that the mode of training, shows that Washington is preparing to fulfil its promise to supply lethal weapons to the Kiev regime.
The disturbing upshot of the ceasefire breaking in eastern Ukraine is that this time around the United States will be an overt participant in any renewed war. Not only the US, but two other closely aligned members of the NATO alliance – Canada and Britain. Nearly 600 troops from these three countries are in place acting as "military advisors" and providing weapons training to Kiev’s forces.
If the shaky Minsk ceasefire collapses, as many fear it might, then the situation has American, Canadian and British military boots on the ground, and on the side of the Kiev regime. There is no equivocation about it. These NATO members will then be overtly at war in Ukraine fighting for a Neo-Nazi regime that has been responsible for 6,000 deaths over the past year in its wanton offensive on the Russian-speaking people of Donetsk and Luhansk.
That new situation will have dispelled the erstwhile pretence of the US and its allies, of "only" providing indirect support to Kiev. For these Western powers will be at war – officially.
In addition to the sinister military build-up on the ground, the US has begun a revamped choreographing of disinformation and war propaganda.
In recent days, the US ambassador to Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, took to social media with more shrill claims of a Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine. Pyatt averred that it was "the highest concentration of Russian air defence forces in eastern Ukraine since [last] August." He posted a photograph of a Buk Missile system, which actually turns out to have been taken from a commercial military exhibition held in Russia --- two years ago.
Pyatt, along with State Department official Victoria Nuland, it may be recalled, was the architect of the coup in Kiev last February when the American CIA backed the violent overthrow of the elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, the US State Department used the exact same formulation of words to claim Russia was installing advanced air defence systems in eastern Ukraine. There is "no doubt that Russia is involved," said spokeswoman Marie Harf --- without, as usual, providing any evidence. When asked about exact numbers of alleged Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, Harf's cosmetic demeanour appeared to crumble with uncertainty. "It is really hard to get precise information about Russian troop numbers specifically, but we know there is a substantial Russian presence," she told reporters.
Ironically, Washington cited these alleged infractions to accuse Russia of "violating the Minsk ceasefire", that could be construed as an act of war "requiring" Kiev forces to "respond". The irony is cloyingly rich given that it is the US that has sent paratroopers into eastern Ukraine to train Neo-Nazi brigades on how to kill more ethnic Russians.
Apart from an outright falsification of the alleged presence of Russian forces in Ukraine, the potential is rife for so-called false-flag terror attacks carried out by the Kiev regime and its American handlers. Such an atrocity, amplified by the dutiful Western news media, could, in turn, be cited as a "justification" to relaunch hostilities.
Earlier this year, for example, on January 13th, near Volnovakha town, a bus carrying civilians was blown up, reportedly with a roadside mine, killing twelve people onboard. The US-backed president, Petro Poroshenko, immediately blamed "Russian terrorists".
It's been a familiar routine over the past year, whose choreography suggests premeditated planning. In the Volnovakha bus massacre, only later did it emerge, that the explosive device belonged to the Kiev forces who hold that area, and it may indeed have been set off deliberately, to impugn the pro-Russian rebels.
Volnovakha is one of the towns in eastern Ukraine where US troops are now reportedly carrying out military exercises with the disreputable National Guard, whose crimes against civilians in eastern Ukraine is amply documented, even by Western human rights groups.
The combined factors in this equation do not bode well. US and NATO troops on the ground in eastern Ukraine working with Neo-Nazi paramilitaries, plus renewed audacious media attempts to criminalise Russia. That array of factors equals a return to all- out war, this time with NATO openly participating.
The provocation to Russia has to be seen in a wider even more troubling context, of American-led NATO build-up of troops, warplanes, warships & missiles across Eastern Europe – and all pointed at Russia.
This begs the inevitable conclusion of Washington choreographing events for all-out war with Russia.
Given the decrepit, crumbling state of America’s global empire and its bankrupt capitalist economy, the pernicious motive for such a war begins to look compelling.
Unless, of course, the American people and the rest of the world can somehow unite – to abolish the out- of-control regime in Washington.
Something must have happened for Hollande to be so incoherent.
The US has maintained constant pressure on France since her refusal to join the first anti-Iraq coalition in 2003, when Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin made his remarkable address before the Security Council: France’s last independent policy statement.
France has been punished for this foolhardy act of disobedience: the Bush Law - “Those who are not with us are against us” - was laid on France in full. Sanctions after sanctions, most of them unpublicized, some unannounced, until they gave in, and joined the war in Afghanistan.
The last sanction, and the most crippling, was the US embargo on military equipment, which forced France to join the Afghanistan war, as revealed at the above-mentioned hearings:
- Senator: “Do you mean to say, General, that we went to Afghanistan because of some spare parts??!!”
- Gen. Bentégeat (former Deputy Chief of General Staff): “Those spare parts were essential for the propulsion system of our helicopter carrier. The embargo on military hardware was decreed by Donald Rumsfeld after our opposition to the intervention in Iraq; it was only lifted when we joined the war in Afghanistan.” http://www.senat.fr/compte-ren
The French were so ill-prepared for this war, they soon ran out of everything, even toilet paper, that they had to steal from the US barracks. The worst part of it all, is that when the US decided to with- draw the main force from Afghanstan, they didn't even inform the French.. “The Americans just use us as “kit expéditionnaire”, Gen Desportes cries. (www.cercledesvolontair...çaise-le-cri-dalarme/)
Thus fares la Grande Armée, under the heel of the American hegemon...
Hollande may be under renewed pressure from the US, which apparently never ends its threat to deprive France (and the UK too) of their seat on the UN Security Council - as Gen. Bentégeat testifies, during the same senate hearings:
“The pressure in this regard is constant, both on France, and the UK. France's Permanent Representative [to the UN] always tells me France & the UK are constantly challenged to demonstrate that they're not out of place on the Security Council.”
Top Polish Military Advisor "Completely Withdraws" His Support for Kiev
General Skrzypczak, former head of Poland's Armed Forces, no longer supports military assistance and political support for Kiev because of the Kiev-coup Parliament's decision to honour OUN-UPA, who are World War Two Ukrainian ultra nationalists, who slaughtered tens of thousands of Poles.
This article originally appeared at The New Cold War
A top military adviser and former head of Poland’s armed forces tells Gazeta Prawna news in Poland that he has “completely withdrawn” his previous views favoring providing more military assistance and political support to the government of Ukraine.
General Waldemar Skrzypczak spoke to the paper briefly on April 16th. On April 17th, Gazeta Prawna is publishing a feature interview with him.
His change of view is prompted by a law, passed by Ukraine's Parliament on April 9th, glorifying World War Two collaborators with Nazi Germany.
It followed an address to the Verkhovna Rada on April the 9th, by the then Polish President, Bronislaw Komorowski, in which he voiced strong support for Ukraine, including its military ambition to put down the pro- autonomy movement in the east of Ukraine.
Skrzypczak tells Gazeta Prawna:
“A few hours later, Ukraine's parliament passed a law glorifying the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). At this point, I realized Ukraine does not consider the Polish people. I’m talking of what happened in Volhynia, the slaughter of 100,000 Poles by the UPA [in 1943 and 1944]…
“The UPA murdered my uncle, nailing him with forks to the barn door. From what I know, he died 3 days later. Their savagery was beyond human imagination. Nazi Germany did not come up with what those Ukrainians were doing(…)
“I wonder what future the president of Ukraine, Mr Poroshenko, is building for Ukraine. On a foundation of bloodthirsty nationalism? This is terrible.
“It has long been said that Ukrainians should get rid of nationalism, because if they don't, collaboration with Poland will be very hard, in fact, impossible.”
General Skrzypczak is no pacifist, or friend of Russia. Born in 1956, he was the commander of Polish Land Forces from 2006 to 2009.
Since September 2011, he's an adviser at the Polish Ministry of National Defence. In June 2012, he became deputy minister of defence, responsible for armament and modernisation. In an August 2012 interview, he outlined his plans for a continuing & vast modernization and expansion of Poland’s military.
American Exceptional Hypocracy by Michelle Semet.
This article appeared in full at Letters from Globistan
According to the official narrative, Americans are the reluctant enforcers of human rights as Putin recklessly pushes for nuclear war. In this latest revision, France & Germany reprise their roles as spineless and unprincipled allies who won't defend Ukrainian democracy, because of Russia’s nuclear arsenal.
To make the case that Russia is lurching towards diplomatic belligerence, much hay has been made regarding the revision of Russia’s military doctrine:
“Although the revised Russian military doctrine in December 2014, is not new in its allowance of tactical nuclear weapons in the case of a conventional attack that “threatens the very existence” of the Russian state, given the strengthening of Russia’s narrative on its own perceived encirclement by NATO, such threats are potentially open to more dangerous interpretation.” Sarah Lain, IB Times.
Feckless allegations and paranoid speculations re Putin’s motives are published as unassailable fact in prestigious media outlets, casting Russia as the mustachio-twirling nuclear villain of our fevered imaginations:
“Others want nuclear weapons not to freeze the status quo, but to change it. Russia has started to wield nuclear threats as an offensive weapon in its strategy of intimidation.
“Its military exercises routinely stage dummy nuclear attacks on such capitals as Warsaw and Stockholm. Mr Putin’s speeches contain veiled nuclear threats. Dmitry Kiselev, one of the Kremlin’s mouthpieces, has declared with relish that Russian nuclear forces could turn America into “radioactive ash”. The Economist.
“No one wants to acknowledge the truth: We won’t sell even defensive weapons to Ukraine because Russia is a nuclear power, & because Russia keeps reminding us of that fact. Last month, Russia's government declared it had put nuclear-capable missiles near Kaliningrad city, in striking range of Warsaw, Stockholm, and possibly Berlin. To underline the point, they also put a few more missiles in Crimea.
“During the last NATO summit, Russia suddenly decided to get out its nuclear weapons and “practice” loading them. During its 2009 military exercises, Russia also “practiced” a nuclear strike on Warsaw. Of course these are bluffs & threats, designed to make everyone nervous. But because there is a sliver of a chance that Putin is crazy enough to kill millions of people, they work.” Anne Applebaum, Slate.
Pot Calling Kettle As America’s Standard Operating Procedure
Buried under all the Russia & Putin hysteria lies the raging institutional hypocrisy that masquerades as American exceptionalism. Though it’s undeniable (and completely understandable) that Russia would be willing to use nuclear weapons in the defense of her borders and sovereignty, it's the US that has “officially” reserved the prerogative of a nuclear first strike. As former Assistant Treasury Secretary Dr. Paul Craig Roberts explains:
“I pointed out years ago that the Bush regime had changed US war doctrine such that the role of nuclear weapons was no longer retaliatory to be used in the event of nuclear a attack on the US. It was elevated to a first strike position. It is now our war doctrine that we can initiate a nuclear war on somebody we don’t like, or who we think might not agree with us, or who we think might be prepared to go to war against us. This doctrine applies to countries that do not have nuclear weapons.”
Unfortunately for the vast majority who rely on mainstream media for their information, this reality is relentlessly obfuscated with provocative rhetoric and a disingenuous projection:
“It’s a curious reversal of roles: In the 1980s, the Soviet leadership was terrified that a cowboy in the White House - someone who was so nutty he made jokes about signing “legislation that will outlaw Russia forever” - might just flip a switch and send a missile.
“Nowadays, it’s we who fear the madmen in foreign capitals, while our own large nuclear arsenal goes unmentioned - unacknowledged by a Western political class that is frankly embarrassed that it still exists.” Anne Applebaum, Slate
Given the real motives & documented objectives of American foreign policy, it is exceedingly clear that Russia’s true crime, is her all-too-real ability to defend herself on the world stage. How can American leaders accuse Russia of shameless nuclear intimidation when they openly advocate for the exclusive right of preemptive nuclear war –even against nations without nuclear weapons?
STOP KAGAN & NULAND NOW says Robert Parry
Robert Parry, the American investigative journalist who broke many Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek, speaks out now about Robert Kagan & Victoria Nuland & their hold on Obama, whose foreign policy seems to be outsourced to these ideologue-opportunists, whose companies depend on wars..
According to Parry, the couple’s latest project is to sink Minsk-2 and lay the ground for further US military-industrial-complex profiteering at the EU's expense and of the US itself, and peace in Europe.
How to sink Minsk-2
In another overheard conversation — in Munich, Germany — Nuland mocked the peace agreement as “Merkel’s Moscow thing,” German newspaper Bild says, citing unnamed sources, likely from the German government which may have bugged the conference room in the luxurious Bayerischer Hof hotel and then leaked the details.
Picking up on Nuland’s contempt for Merkel, another US official called the Minsk-2 deal the Europeans’ “Moscow bullshit.”
Nuland suggested that Merkel and Hollande cared only about the practical impact of the Ukraine war on Europe: “They’re afraid of damage to their economy, counter-sanctions from Russia.”
According to the Bild story, Nuland also laid out a strategy for countering Merkel’s diplomacy by using strident language to frame the Ukraine crisis.
“We can fight against the Europeans, we can fight with rhetoric against them,” Nuland reportedly said.
NATO Commander Air Force General Philip Breedlove was quoted as saying that sending more weapons to the Ukrainian government would “raise the battlefield cost for Putin.”
Nuland interjected to US politicians present that “I’d strongly urge you to use the phrase ‘defensive systems’ that we would deliver to oppose Putin’s ‘offensive systems.’”
Nuland sounded determined to sink the Merkel- Hollande peace initiative, even though it was arranged by two major US allies, and blessed by President Obama.
And, now, the deal seems indeed to have been blown apart by Nuland’s hand-picked PM, Yatsenyuk, who inserted a poison pill into the legislation to implement the Minsk-2 political settlement.
The Ukrainian parliament in Kiev added a clause that, in effect, requires the rebels to first surrender, and let the Ukrainian government organize elections, before a federalized structure is determined.
Minsk-2 had called for dialogue with the representatives of the rebellious eastern territories en route to elections and the establishment of broad autonomy for the region.
Instead, reflecting Nuland’s hard-line position, Kiev refused to talks with the rebel leaders, & insisted on establishing control over these territories before the process can move forward.
If the legislation stands, the result will almost surely be a resumption of war between military forces backed by nuclear-armed Russia and the United States, a very dangerous development for the world.
If Downtown New York City Was Hit by ONE Modern Nuclear Weapon
Or downtown Moscow for that matter. Today's nukes are deadlier than ever. Russia & the US have 700 800-kiloton deployed warheads each.
This article originally appeared at OpEdNews
What would happen if just one 800-kiloton nuclear warhead was detonated above midtown Manhattan?
The Russians are reputed to have 10 such weapons trained on the city. And we threaten their cities in a like manner. This chilling account was delivered at a recent Caldicott Foundation 'For A Nuclear Free Future' conference held at the New York Academy of Medicine.
It is the work of 3 distinguished authorities on the subject.
By Steven Starr, Lynn Eden and Theodore A. Postol
(Lynn Eden is a member of the Security Board of "Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists" and a Senior Research Scholar & Associate Director for Research, at Stanford University's Centre for International Security and Cooperation.)
(Physicist Theodore Postol is Professor of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy at MIT. His expertise is in ballistics.)
(Steven Starr is Director of the University of Missouri's Clinical Laboratory Science Program.)
Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles are believed to carry a total of approximately 1,000 strategic nuclear warheads that can hit the US less than 30 minutes after being launched.
Of this total, about 700 warheads are rated at 800 kilotons; that is, each has the explosive power of 800,000 tons of TNT. What follows is a description of the consequences of the detonation of a single such warhead over midtown Manhattan, in the heart of NYC.
The initial fireball. The warhead would probably be detonated slightly more than a mile above the city, to maximize the damage created by its blast wave. Within a few tenths of millionths of a second after detonation, the centre of the warhead would reach a temperature of roughly 200 million degrees Fahrenheit (about 100 million degrees Celsius), or about 4 to 5 times the temperature at the centre of the sun.
A ball of superheated air would form, initiallly expanding outward, at millions of miles per hour. It would act like a fast-moving piston on the surrounding air, compressing it at the edge of the fireball & creating a shockwave of vast size and power.
After 1 second, the fireball would be roughly a mile in diameter. It would have cooled from its initial temperature of many millions of degrees to about 16,000 degrees Fahrenheit -- roughly 4,000 degrees hotter than the surface of the sun.
On a clear day with average weather conditions, the enormous heat and light from the fireball would almost instantly ignite fires over a total area of about 100 square miles.
Hurricane of fire. Within seconds after detonation, fires set within a few miles of the fireball would burn violently. These fires would force gigantic masses of heated air to rise, drawing cooler air from surrounding areas toward the centre of the fire zone, from all directions.
As massive winds drove flames into areas where fires hadn't yet fully developed, fires set by the detonation would begin to merge. Within tens of minutes of the detonation, fires from near and far would join & have formed a single, gigantic fire. The energy released by this mass fire would be 15 to 50 times greater than the energy produced by the nuclear detonation.
The mass fire, or firestorm, would quickly increase in intensity, heating enormous volumes of air that would rise at speeds approaching 300 miles per hour. This chimney effect would pull cool air from outside the fire zone towards the centre of the fire at speeds of hundreds of miles per hour. These superheated ground winds of more than hurricane force, would further intensify the fire. At the edge of the fire zone, the winds would be powerful enough to uproot trees three feet in diameter and suck people from outside the fire into it.
The inrushing winds would drive the flames from burning buildings horizontally along the ground, filling city streets with flames and firebrands, breaking in doors and windows, and causing the fire to jump, sometimes hundreds of feet, swallowing anything not already violently combusting.
These above-hurricane-force ground winds would have average air temperatures well above the boiling point of water. The area targeted would be transformed into a huge hurricane of fire, producing a lethal environment throughout the entire fire zone.
Ground zero: Midtown Manhattan. The fireball would vaporize the structures directly below it and produce an immense blast wave and high- speed winds, crushing even heavily built concrete structures within a couple miles of ground zero. The blast would tear apart high-rise buildings and expose their contents to the solar temperatures; it would spread fires by exposing ignitable surfaces, releasing flammable materials, and dispersing burning materials.
At the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, the Chrysler Building, and St. Patrick's Cathedral, about a half to three quarters of a mile from ground zero, light from the fireball would melt asphalt in the streets, burn paint off walls, and melt metal surfaces within a half second of the detonation. Roughly one second later, the blast wave and 750-mile-per-hour winds would arrive, flattening buildings and tossing burning cars into the air like leaves in a windstorm. Throughout Midtown, the interiors of vehicles and buildings in line of sight of the fireball would explode into flames.
Slightly more than a mile from ground zero are the neighborhoods of Chelsea, Midtown East, and Lenox Hill, as well as the United Nations; at this distance, for a split second the fireball would shine 10,000 times brighter than a desert sun at noon. All combustible materials illuminated by the fireball would spew fire and black smoke.
Grass, vegetation, and leaves on trees would explode into flames; the surface of the ground would explode into superheated dust. Any flammable material inside buildings (paper, curtains, upholstery) directly exposed to the fireball would burst into flame. The surfaces of the bronze statues in front of the UN would melt; marble surfaces exposed to the fireball would crack, pop, and possibly evaporate.
At this distance from the fireball, it would take about four seconds for the blast wave to arrive. As it passed over, the blast wave would engulf all structures & crush them; it would generate ferocious winds of 400 to 500 miles per hour that would persist for a few seconds.
The high winds would tear structural elements from buildings and cause them to disintegrate explosively into smaller pieces. Some of these pieces would become destructive projectiles, causing further damage. The superheated, dust-laden winds would be strong enough to overturn trucks and buses.
Two miles from ground zero, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with all its magnificent historical treasures, would be obliterated. Two and a half miles from ground zero, in Lower Manhattan, the East Village, and Stuyvesant Town, the fireball would appear 2,700 times brighter than a desert sun at noon. There, thermal radiation would melt and warp aluminum surfaces, ignite the tires of autos, and turn exposed skin to charcoal, before blast waves arrived & ripped apart the buildings.
Three to nine miles from ground zero. Midtown is bordered by the relatively wide Hudson and East rivers, and fires would start simultaneously in large areas on both sides of these waterways (that is, in Queens and Brooklyn as well as Jersey City and West New York). Although the direction of the fiery winds in regions near the river would be modified by the water, the overall wind pattern from these huge neighboring fire zones would be similar to that of a single mass fire, with its centre at Midtown, Manhattan.
Three miles from ground zero, in Union City, New Jersey, and Astoria, Queens, the fireball would be as bright as 1,900 suns and deliver more than five times the thermal energy deposited at the peri- meter of the mass fire at Hiroshima. In Greenpoint, Brooklyn & in the Civic Centre of Lower Manhattan, clothes worn by people in the direct line of sight of the fireball would burst into flames or melt, and uncovered skin would be charred, causing third- degree and fourth-degree burns.
It would take 12 to 14 seconds for the blast wave to travel three miles after the fireball's initial flash of light. At this distance, the blast wave would last for about three seconds and be accompanied by winds of 200 to 300 miles per hour. Residential structures would be destroyed; high-rises would be at least heavily damaged.
Fires would rage everywhere within five miles of ground zero. At a distance of 5.35 miles from the detonation, the light flash from the fireball would deliver twice the thermal energy experienced at the edge of the mass fire at Hiroshima. In Jersey City and Cliffside Park & in Woodside in Queens, on Governors Island and in Harlem, the light and heat to surfaces would approximate that created by 600 desert suns at noon.
Wind speed at this distance would be 70 to 100 miles per hour. Buildings of heavy construction would suffer little structural damage, but all exterior windows would be shattered, and non- supporting interior walls and doors would be severely damaged or blown down. Black smoke would effuse from wood houses as the paint burned off surfaces and furnishings ignited.
6 to 7 miles from ground zero, from Moonachie, New Jersey, to Crown Heights, Brooklyn, from Yankee Stadium to Corona, Queens and Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the fireball would appear 300 times brighter than the desert sun at noon. Anyone in the direct light of the fireball would suffer 3rd degree burns to their exposed skin. The firestorm could engulf neighborhoods as far as seven miles away from ground zero, since these outlying areas would receive the same amount of heat as did the areas at the edge of the mass fire at Hiroshima.
Nine miles from ground zero, in Hackensack, Bayonne, and Englewood, New Jersey, as well as in Richmond Hill, Queens, and Flatlands, Brooklyn, the fireball would be about 100 times brighter than the sun, bright enough to cause first- and second-degree burns to those in line of sight. About 36 seconds after the fireball, the shockwave would arrive and knock out all the windows, along with many interior building walls and some doors.
No survivors. Within tens of minutes, everything within approximately 5-7 miles of Mid Manhattan would be engulfed by a gigantic firestorm. The fire zone would cover a total area of 90 to 152 square miles (230 to 389 square kilometers). The firestorm would rage for three to six hours. Air temperatures in the fire zone would likely average 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (200 to 260 Celsius).
After the fire burned out, the street pavement would be so hot, that even tracked vehicles could not pass over it for days. Buried and unburned material from collapsed buildings throughout the fire zone, could burst into flames when exposed to air -- months after the firestorm had ended.
Those who tried to escape through the streets would have been incinerated by the hurricane- force winds filled with firebrands and flames. Even those able to find shelter in the lower- level sub-basements of massive buildings would likely suffocate from fire-generated gases or be cooked alive as their shelters heated to oven-like conditions.
The fire would extinguish all life and destroy almost everything else. Tens of miles down- wind of the area of immediate destruction, radioactive fallout would begin to arrive within a few hours of the detonation.
But that, is another story.
Sixty-Six Years Ago on April 4th, NATO Began its War Program
by Danielle Ryan
On April 4th, 1949, NATO consolidated itself into an alliance, whose only purpose, is to arm the world against Russia.
About three and a half months later, on July 26, Senator Bob Taft, the son of President W H Taft, made a speech explaining why he voted against its establishment.
It’s clear now, that he could foresee what those blinded by triumphalism & ideology couldn’t see. He was no apologist for communism or the USSR, but he knew that a military pact against Russia was a provocative act --- and one more likely to lead to aggression and insecurity, than peace and stability.
This is “not a peace program, it is a war program,” he said.
“…the treaty is a part of a much larger program by which we arm all these nations against Russia. A joint military program has already been made. It thus becomes an offensive and defensive military alliance against Russia. I believe our foreign policy should be aimed primarily at security and peace, and I believe such an alliance is more likely to produce war, than peace.”
“A third world war would be the greatest tragedy the world has ever suffered. Even if we won the war, we -- this time -- would probably suffer tremendous destruction, our economic system would be crippled, and we would lose our liberties and free system just as the 2nd World War destroyed the free systems of Europe. It might easily destroy civilization on this earth…”
Taft could see the Russian perspective clearly -- without necessarily agreeing with it -- and he understood that it ought not be disregarded out of hand -- the de rigueur starting point in Washington today.
“If we undertake to arm all the nations around Russia -- from Norway on the north, to Turkey on the south -- and Russia sees itself ringed about gradually by so- called defensive arms from Norway and Denmark to Turkey and Greece, it may form a different opinion. It may decide that the arming of western Europe, regardless of its present purpose, looks to an attack on Russia. Its view may be unreasonable, and I think it is. But from the Russian standpoint it may not seem unreasonable.”
“How would we feel if Russia undertook to arm a country on our border; Mexico, for instance?”
Taft went on to argue that there would be only “one real hope” for peace in the world. It would be an “association of nations building itself to abide by a law governing nations and administered by a court of legal justice”. Such a judicial finding “must not be subject to veto by any nation”, he said.
3 years earlier, the United Nations had been founded. Taft regarded the young UN as an organisation looking in the right direction, but one that was deeply flawed.
As his predictions on NATO turned out to be true and justified, so too did his criticism of the United Nations. The UN veto power, held by five nations, has added to its ineffectiveness as a supposedly diplomatic and democratic organisation.
There may be some debate to be had about the legitimacy of a veto power --- but add to those criticisms Washington’s complete disregard for the UN Security Council, and you have an organisation which is essentially useless --- because one of its members operates outside its bounds, at all times.
While the UN these days rarely serves anyone well, NATO serves the interests of only 1 of its members.
Finally, on NATO, Taft said:
“… as set up, it is a step backward — a military alliance of the old type where we have to come to each others’ assistance, no matter who's to blame — and with ourselves, the judges of the law.“
66 years later and NATO still exists, as many have argued, for no good reason; to counteract threats which are either imagined or which only exist because NATO itself exists. Or worse, to lend legitimacy to the geopolitical whims of its only beneficiary.
This article originally appeared at Journalitico
Robert Parry: Ukraine's poison pill for Minsk-2 The Ukrainian government is doing everything possible to disrupt the Minsk-2 arrangements.
Ukraine may thus expand the geography of the civil war in the Donbass, while the United States and Russia may approach the line behind which nuclear war may start,Robert Parry, a journalist known for his investigative reports, believes.
According to him, recent legislative decisions by the Verkhovna Rada, have now poisoned the Minsk-2 agreements.
With its "legislative" work, Kiev's parliament has ruined the peace initiatives by European politicians trying to stop the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine.
There's another round of the bloody conflict in store for Donbass, he says, and Ukraine's MPs will do nothing except accuse Russia and President Putin, for the blood shed.
The civil war was expected to finally end, if Kiev agreed to grant 'special status' to the two breakaway regions of Ukraine.
However, after the "fruitful" work by the US-backed parliament, the value of this "special status" has been reduced to nil, Pravda.Ru says.
Kiev says the People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk will have to hold new elections -- under Kiev's control -- if they want "special status" for themselves. The elections would have to be conducted after full capitulation by the militia forces, as elections would not take account of any frontline between the two sides.
Vadim Karasyov, director of the independent Institute of Global Strategies --- in Kiev:
"Ukraine won't go along with any legalization of those so-called people's republics. We need them to be dismantled," the Christian Science Monitor reports.
The leaders of Donetsk and Luhansk republics have protested the decision by Ukraine's Rada. They note that it is contrary to both the letter and spirit of the Minsk agreements:
"We agreed to "special status" for the territories of our republics and a renewed, united Ukraine, although all our people want full independence.
"We took this step to stop the bloodshed and the fratricidal war. Now we can clearly see that the Ukrainian authorities need the peace talks only to further prepare for a new phase of the war."
It remains to add that Kiev's MPs are unlikely to have taken such "poisonous" solutions -- without the support of American "hawks," such as Victoria Nuland.
Those hawks put pressure on Poroshenko, Merkel and Hollande, taking the world to the brink of a possible nuclear war, Robert Parry writes.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he ordered the Russian intelligence services to save ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, as his death was an objective of the coup.
Putin says that, from the beginning, the coup plan and the elimination of Yanukovych in an attack, was clear.
"There were reasons to believe they would simply eliminate him", says the President, to explain an order he gave security forces during the coup of February 22nd, in 2014.
The information received, indicated that the coup leaders were prepared to not just capture Yanukovich, but physically eliminate him, as this was simply more 'convenient' for the coup, says Putin.
According to President Putin, subsequent events detected by the Kremlin's security services, only confirmed this.
Andrei Kondrashov's documentary, which contains Putin's words, on Rossiya 1, has created quite a stir in Russia and abroad.
Referring to the documentary 'Crimea. Return to the Motherland', the spokes- person for the Commissioner for Foreign and Security Policy of the EU, Maja Kocijancic, criticizes Russia.
'We are aware of the shooting of this film, but what matters is that we have condemned -- and will condemn -- the accession of Crimea and Sevastopol" she says.
US Private Military Companies Used for Arms Supplies to Ukraine
CyberBerkut, Ukrainian hackers set up to fight neo- fascism, nationalism and power abuse in Ukraine, has gained access to files on the mobile device of the Green Group PMC (private military company) official who recently visited Kiev as a member of a US military delegation. It made the materials public on February 27th using its website (http://cyber-berkut.org/).
Green Group is a US private military company founded in 2007 with headquarters in Edmond, Oklahoma. It has a European branch in Tbilisi.
The company is licensed with the US Department of State and the State Department. CyberBerkut posted the documents to open access along with the Green Group advertisement. Two letters from Gregg Holmes, CEO of the PMC, to the Ukrainian Armed Forces' Chief of Staff, Muzhenko, became public domain. One of them, written in Ukrainian and dated February 15, 2015 (the Minsk deal was signed on February 12) is worth citing.
"As you know, the United States is in contact with NATO partners on lethal arms supplies to Ukraine. There has been no mutual understanding reached so far. As I am informed by my friends in the State Department and the Pentagon, the United States is going to increase pressure on European allies."
"During recent consultations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France the US State Department team insisted on expediting the procedures for delivering anti-tank systems and heavy weapons to Ukraine's military. The United States believes lethal arms will stop the advance of separatists in Ukraine and prevent them from approaching the administrative border of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
"According to US government estimates, the use of up-to-date weapons by Ukraine's military will inevitably inflict heavy losses upon Russian volunteers fighting in the terrorists ranks. It will be impossible to hide the heavy casualties."
"In its turn, this information will cause tension in Russia and spur the emergence of anti-war movements to organize mass protests against the current Russian government."
"No matter the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs always supports the White house initiatives, the Government of France is hardly happy with our proposals. President Francois Hollande is not ready to drastically change his Ukraine policy but the US State Department came up with a bright idea. The weapons will be delivered to “volunteers” fighting for Ukraine or operatives of Western private military companies, with great experience of using the weapons and equipment. Green Group is ready at any time to provide Ukraine's military with volunteers -- in sufficient numbers."
"The US government believes France could at least make a financial contribution, with money transferred from the French Foreign Ministry to State Department accounts, to hide the real purpose it is allocated for."
"It's known that the Ukraine-U.S. Joint Commission is responsible for arms supplies. A document of the US European Command (Eucom) contains a proposal to deliver lethal arms to Ukraine allocating $75 mn for the purpose."
"The package includes Javelin anti-armor missiles, different kinds of light weapons, miscellaneous equipment and individual protection kits. $2 million is to be spent on the Maidan network."
Another Eucom document mentions ammunition, including grenades. $45 million is to be allocated for the training of Ukraine’s military, first of all, the special forces.
The arms will be transferred within the frame- work of the Joint Multinational Training Group – a program in accordance with the Ukraine /U.S. Joint Commission.
Perhaps the purpose of the Green Group’s mission was to get acquainted with the Ukraine’s military requirements and observe the situation on spot.
The documents show that the US assessments are a bit different from what Ukraine asked for. The US offers to make it a much bigger deal. For instance, Green Group proposes to increase the number of robotic systems, and includes 9,000 optical devices. Communication systems top the list, while Ukrainians give priority to drones.
According to the documents, Kiev started talks on weapons supplies, no later than mid-2014.
The Ukraine-U.S. Joint Commission (its next session is slated for May or June 2015)... serves as a cover.
The US does not trust Ukrainians with making assessments of their needs. This mission will be undertaken by private contractors. They will also take part in combat actions and work as consultants and trainers.
Green Group is not the only private military company hired by the Pentagon and State Department to provide arms to Ukraine.
According to media, at least 3-4000 people employed by defense contractors, operate in Ukraine. The decision is not taken at a political level but this doesn't prevent the organizers of military supplies from doing their job.
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 WarandClashingUkraine 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.
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.)
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
By JIM W. DEAN
Ukraine's Army is continuing the dishonor of abandoning their dead on the battlefield.
Our Ukrainian sources tell us this is one of the ways they keep their KIA numbers down and avoid paying out benefits to the families.
This is disgraceful conduct by their general staff, & one for which they should all be shot.
Western media have sadly played the role of cheerleader during this whole conflict. And I could say even worse… that they have been aiders & 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.
As 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- person 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.
EU and NATO countries are shipping arms and non-lethal supplies into the military effort. But they are 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 is treated like we're all idiots, who will 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 labour with good skills and education.
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 & 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's 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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Paul Craig Roberts
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 it was "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 UK prime minister, whose efforts to have Parliament approve Britain's participation with Washington in a military attack on Syria were 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 the USA 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 non- stop, 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 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, the 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've 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 whether this 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's 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 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 orchestrating any 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 a go-ahead for that 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's 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.
President Putin’s bet, that by responding to Washington’s aggression in Ukraine, in an unprovocative and reasonable manner, this 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 & 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 problem with which the US has presented him in Ukraine, while he still can, the US’s next step will be to unleash its hundreds of NGOs inside Russia to denounce Putin as a traitor for abandoning 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, 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 erase Russia as a restraint on US hegemony --- with a preemptive nuclear attack.
It's almost certain that Obama is being told how 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 a 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 TUESDAY
Turkish Government Accused of Promoting War in the Country The leader of the Democratic People''s Party, Selahattin Demirtas, today accuses the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), of promoting a war in Turkey through its mass raids and bombings in neighboring nations.
"An acting Government with an acting prime minister is leading the country step by step to a civil war, a regional war," says Demirtas.
In June's elections, the AKP, which had ruled by majority since 2002, was forced to begin talks with other parties, but they have not reached a concensus yet and, in the mean- time, the previous Executive is performing as a 'provisional' executive.
With regard to the recent Turkish Air Force bombings in Syria and Iraq, and the internal raids --- with hundreds detained --- Demirtas considers this as a strategy thought out by the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and implemented by the prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, to create chaos in Turkey.
According to the politician, the AKP pretends to take advantage of this manufactured crisis to stay in power --- despite losing its majority in the elections.
"The AKP is a party that is in corruption up to its neck -- and it is irascibly looking for a way to return to government again," Hurriyet, the daily newspaper, quotes Demirtas saying.
A terrorist attack in Suruc locality, on the border with Syria, killed 32 activists just a few days ago, causing waves of tension and violence in Turkey.
Explosion Hits Turkey’s Pipeline, Halts Flow of Natural Gas from Iran
Unidentified persons attacked a pipeline carrying natural gas from Iran to Turkey in Turkey’s eastern province of Agri late on Monday evening, halting the flow.
Yemeni Army, PC Destroy Saudi Bases in Jizan As Ansarullah Gains more Support
The Yemeni army and fighters of the Popular Committees (PC) hit 2 military bases in Jizan, Southern Saudi Arabia, in retaliation for the continued airstrikes of Riyadh government's on Yemen.
"The Yemeni army and popular committees destroyed al-Mamout and al-Radif military bases in Jizan of Saudi Arabia,"Yemen's defense ministry states, on Tuesday.
The editor of the Yemeni weekly al-Massar writes on his Facebook page that Yemen's army and the Committees have destroyed over 200 vehicles of the Saudi army since the start of the Saudi aggression against Yemen on March 26th.
On Sunday, the national Yemeni army seized back control over about 12 military bases in the Southern parts of Yemen, after heavy clashes with Al-Qaeda militants and forces loyal to fugitive president Mansour Hadi.
The Yemeni forces also won back 10 military bases from militants' control, in the town of Mudiyah in Abyan province, Southern Yemen.
Moreover, tens of al-Qaeda militants and gun- men loyal to fugitive President Abed-Rabbu Mansour Hadi were killed in heavy clashes with the Yemeni forces.
In a similar development on Saturday, Yemeni forces seized back 10 other military bases in Lawdar, in Abyan province.
Meantime, sources announced that the Yemeni army and the popular committees hold over 80 Al-Qaeda terrorists captive in Aden province.
Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for 125 days to restore power to Hadi, who stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision.
In another achievement, sixteen Yemeni political parties voiced their support, late on Monday, for Ansarullah movement in its fight against terror, and urged the powerful group to find "strategic options" to counter Saudi aggression against their country.
In a statement released Monday, 16 Yemeni parties express full support for Ansarullah’s leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, calling on the movement to explore "strategic options" to counter a brutal Saudi military aggression against Yemen.
They also voiced support for the Yemeni army troops & fighters of allied Popular Committees --- who are engaged, alongside the Ansarullah fighters, in heavy battles with Al-Qaeda-linked Takfiri terrorists and militants loyal to fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
The United Nations has lately declared its highest- level humanitarian emergency in Yemen, as Saudi Arabia continues its deadly airstrikes against the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.
Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen since March 26th to bring fugitive president Abed-Rabbu Mansour Hadi back into power.
The airstrikes have so far claimed the lives of more than 5,302 civilians, mostly women and children.
Syria, Kurdish forces push ISIL out of Hasakah: Report
Syrian government forces & Kurdish fighters have pushed the IS terrorists from the north- eastern city of Hasakah, says the so-called 'Syrian Observatory for Human Rights'.
ISIL Takfiri group “was expelled by the army' from Zuhur, the last district in which it was present' in Hasakah,” Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the London-based group says.
He says militants belonging to the terrorist group “have been pushed to the southern outskirts of the city.”
The victory was achieved after over a month of fighting in the city between Syrian government forces and Kurdish fighters on the one side, & the Takfiri terrorists on the other.
A Syrian military source adds that Syrian army forces killed over 500 gunmen in the process of clearing the city from Takfiri militants.
The source highlights the contribution of Kurdish forces to the victory, as they backed the Syrian army in cutting the militants’ supply routes.
According to the source, Syrian army forces are now demining the city.
A local Kurdish commander said at least 15 villages around Hasakah are 'uninhabitable' now, due to the mines laid by terrorists.
Last month, ISIL terrorists began their assault on Hasakah, before capturing a number of its neighborhoods and forcing the evacuation of many of its residents.
The conflict in Syria, which started in March 2011, has reportedly claimed over 230,000 lives, so far.
Violence has also forced over 3.8 million Syrians to take refuge in neighboring countries, including Jordan and Lebanon. More than 7.2 million others have been displaced within Syria, according to the United Nations.
Syrian Kurds: Turkish Forces Shelling Our Fighters Near Kobani
antiwar.com - Syria's Kurdish militia faction, the YPG, reports that, as Turkey has begun launching attacks on IS, they've also begun attacking Kurdish targets inside Syria... including hitting a number of YPG forces by shelling villages on the outskirts of Kobani. The YPG slams the “Turkish aggression” and demands they stop hitting Kurdish defensive forces --- and, instead, focus their fire on IS forces that are occupying Kurdish territory in the area. They advise Turkey to follow “international guidelines” on this targeting. Turkish officials insisted they didn't attack YPG positions in northern Syria, but later say they intend to investigate the claims.
They go on to say that they don’t consider the YPG within the scope of their current wars against IS and the Kurdish PKK, in Iraq. Turkey has long treated the YPG’s political wing, the PYD, as a Syrian branch of the PKK, however, and they have been pushing for action against Kurdish forces in northern Syria for weeks now.
This makes denials somewhat hard to believe, as Turkey seems to be attacking anyone and everyone it doesn’t like in the area, right now.
Iran Halts Military Aid to Hamas Because of Saudi Rapprochement antiwar.com - Hamas officials are once again confirming that their military ties with Iran, a long-standing backer, are entirely halted --- apparently the result of Iran being unhappy at Hamas’ political wing getting closer with the Saudi government, a key regional rival. Hamas was already starting to fall out of love with their place in Iran’s orbit, and vice versa, as the group fairly quickly bailed on its offices in Syria, in the civil war, relocating its political offices elsewhere -- mostly places like Turkey. Hamas’ plight worsened with the 2013 military coup in Egypt, which installed a junta hostile to Hamas in power. Historically, Hamas has relied on Egypt's government to act as an intercessor with Israel, particularly during the semi-annual wars they seem to have with them. This forced Hamas’ political leadership to seek alternatives for this role --- and they started cwtching up to Saudi Arabia. Hamas’ military wing was said to be 'not keen' on the idea, as it further alienated Iran and the Saudis are not coming forward with military aid to replace them.
Some reports suggest the Saudis are offering billions in financial aid to Hamas -- if they now agree to formally end all military resistance to the Israeli occupation, and other reports suggest that the Saudis are presenting, as an alternative, sending Hamas’ fighters to Yemen --- to get them out of their hair.
Paramilitaries Withdraw from Disputed Ukrainian City
Prensa Latina - The deputy and ex chief of the Donbass batallion, made up of Ukrainian neo- fascists, Semen Semenchenko, on Sunday, ordered a withdrawal of the ultra-right wing members from the disputed Shirokino city, in the southern Donetsk region.
Semenchenko, who's deputy of the Supreme Rada (unicameral parliament), states that a communiqué on it has been read by Donbass batallion members, in sector M of Shirokino, which must become a demilitarized zone.
The Donbass batallion, chiefly formed by paramilitaries & included in the National Guard, says - for its part - that it has not received any order from its former chief to withdraw.
The inspectors of the Joint Coordination and Control Center of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), along with a mission of the regional organization, verifies the withdrawal of the armed groups, from the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk.
The quartet of Normandy (Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany) called on the OSCE to make all possible efforts to guarantee that the Ukrainian troops pull out from Shirokino, where fierce fights have been reported.
About 6,500 people have been killed in Donbass after the Army and the National Guard launched a punitive operation, in April 2014, against the rebelious population in Donetsk and Lugansk, who oppose a US-backed coup d'etat, staged in February last year.
Syrian army captures western parts of Palmyra
Xinhua --The Syrian army is advancing against the Islamic State group in the city of Palmyra in central Syria, capturing parts of western mountains in the city, local media say.
The troops captured parts of the western parts of Palmyra amid a collapse in the IS ranks, who are fleeing the progress of the army, according to the pro-government Sama TV, and activists.
The IS stormed Palmyra (and its ancient part) last May, prompting the Syrian troops to wage a counter offensive to recapture the city.
Palmyra contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was once one of the most vital cultural centres of the ancient world.
After storming Palmyra, IS militants blew up the city's military prison - and several Islamic tombs.
Syria has prehistoric, Greek, Byzantine & Islamic heritages. Before the crisis, Syria drew many multinational archaeological missions coming to search for new clues of historical facts on the development of the world's civilizations.
UNESCO has listed six Syrian sites on the World Heritage List, including the old cities of Damascus and Aleppo, al-Madhiq castle, the Krak des Chevaliers, the ancient city of Bosra and Palmyra and ancient villages in northern Syria.
AFGHANISTAN MOVING AWAY FROM US/UK
125 security personnel gave up fighting and joined Taliban militants, after three days of fighting in Tirgaran volley of Wardoj district, Badakhshan province, (capital, Faizabad), the district governor, Dawlat Mohammad Khawar, says.(Xinhua).
Houthi leader rejects Yemen truce - Twitter
The leader of Yemen's Houthi movement has rejected the ceasefire planned by its Saudi-led Arab coalition enemy, on the grounds that such a truce will benefit only the Islamic State militant group and Al-Qaeda.
"The battle goes on and the war is not over," Houthi leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, writes on the group's Twitter account.
The ceasefire was due to take effect Sunday night, at a minute to midnight.
Houthi leaders say they have had no notification from the UN about any cease-fire.
OSCE mission comes under fire in Lugansk region - media
Kiev's forces near the town of Shchastya (Lugansk region) shelled a delegation of the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of the OSCE, led by Trilateral Contact Group humanitarian subgroup coordinator, Tony Frisch, the Lugansk Information Centre reports, citing a source familiar with the situation.
"An OSCE delegation led by Tony Frisch, a coordinator at the humanitarian subgroup of the Contact Group on Donbass, today came under a mortar fire attack launched by the Ukrainian forces near the town of Shchastya, while trying to return to Ukraine," the report reads.
"After the Ukrainian Armed Forces fire ceased, Frisch decided to go back to Lugansk," it says. There are no reports about casualties.
Frisch arrived in Lugansk on July 25th, on a two day visit --- to assess the humanitarian situation.
Most Crimeans ‘happy to be back in Russia’ – says head of French delegation to peninsula
The Crimean people “seem happy to be back in Russia,” says the deputy of the French National Assembly at a press conference in Moscow on Saturday, after paying a 2 day visit to the region. The French delegation confirms that Crimea is 'a peaceful region'.
Taliban set free 125 police after one day of capture: says official
Taliban militants, Sunday, set free all 125 police personnel -- a day after their capture in Tirgaran area of Wardoj district in Badakhshan province, governor of Wardoj district, Dawlat Mohammad Khawar, says.
"Taliban militants set free all 125 police on Sunday, after overrunning the military base in Tirgaran area of Wardoj district,"Khawar tells Xinhua news.
The armed militants, after 3 days of fierce fighting, captured the major military base in the strategically vital Tirgaran valley, on Saturday evening, and arrested the 125 police officers.
However, according to Khawar, they set them free, on Sunday afternoon.
Earlier, Badakhshan police chief, General Baba Jan, in talks with local media, said that some local officials, after reaching a deal with the Taliban, handed over control of the military base to them.
Badakhshan province, with Faizabad as its capital, is 315 km northeast of Kabul & has been the scene of increasing militancy for the past several months.
Zionist Police Storm Al-Aqsa Holy Mosque
Clashes erupt Sunday between the Zionist police and Palestinian worshipers after the Israeli police stormed into one of Islam’s holiest places -- east Alquds’ Al-Aqsa mosque --- in a flagrant attempt to desecrate a place of purity.
The Zionist troopers forced their way into the sacred Muslim site by opening its doors using wedged metal bars, furniture and other items.
In response, Palestinians pelted the Israeli occupation forces with stones and threw building blocks, as they were trying to reach the mosque’s yard.
"Masked rioters fled into the mosque and began to throw stones & blocks at police from inside Al-Aqsa mosque," the Zionist police claimed. "They threw fireworks directly at police," they alleged, adding that a number of police were wounded.
"In light of the severe confrontation and the escalating actions of the rioters and with the aim of preventing further injury to police... forces entered a number of metres (yards) inside and closed the doors to the mosque with the rioters inside, restoring order."
The Israeli regime continues to restrict the entry of Palestinian worshipers in to the al-Aqsa Mosque.
UK to hold referendum on EU membership in June 2016: Report
UK PM David Cameron says the UK is set to hold a referendum on the country's future membership in the European Union in June 2016, a report says.
"Cameron's decided to pencil in June of next year," says today's 'Independent on Sunday', adding that the timing of the referendum will be announced at the annual conference of his Conservative Party, in October this year.
A spokeswoman for Cameron's office refused to comment on the report.
Under pressure from Tory Eurosceptic MPs and the rise in popularity of the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP), Cameron says he wants to renegotiate the UK's ties with the 28-nation bloc.
The premier says he will campaign in favor of remaining in the EU, but press for restrictions on EU migrants' access to welfare payments in the UK, increased powers for London, and the ability to avoid closer political integration.
Last month, legislation paving the way for a referendum, passed its first obstacle in the House of Commons, but it has to be ratified now, by the House of Lords.
EU membership has long been contentious. Eurosceptics believe the UK will be better off outside a political and economic union, and seek the UK's withdrawal from the EU.
Various polls indicate that the UK public is divided on the issue.
Riyadh declares five-day Yemen truce:SPA
Riyadh has announced a five-day lull in its deadly military aggression against Yemen, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
A Saturday statement carried by the SPA said that a “humanitarian” ceasefire will take effect from Sunday evening at 11:59 pm Yemen’s local time (2100 GMT) and would last for five days.
It said the truce is meant to let humanitarian & medical aid be delivered to Yemen's people.
The statement warns that Riyadh reserves the right to respond to any "military activity or movement" by the Popular Committees allied to the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
It says Saudi fighter jets will keep flying reconnaissance missions above Yemen to gain information about the movement of the Houthi forces and their allies.
Yemen’s ruling Ansarullah movement did not make any immediate comment.
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly violated all previous UN-brokered ceasefires in Yemen.
Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said earlier in July, that at least 1,693 civilians had been killed and 3,829 others injured in the Arab country, since March 26th.
However, local sources say more than 4,500 people have lost their lives.
Turkey, US agree on no-fly zone over Syria: Turkish Hurriyet daily
PressTV - An agreement reached between Turkey and the US on what they call cooperation against the ISIL terrorist group also includes establishing a no-fly zone over the Arab country, a Turkish newspaper says.
Turkey’s leaders had on Friday confirmed that a deal had been reached, and said it would enable the US to use the key Turkish Incirlik Air Base -- near Syria.
However, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet says that the agreement also outlines a 90-kilometer (56 mile) no- fly zone between the Syrian towns of Marea and Jarabulus.
Hurriyet says the no-fly zone will shield a planned safe zone on the ground, which will extend up to fifty kilometres (31 miles) inside Syria.
“US planes equipped with bombs and missiles will be able to use the Incirlik Air Base,” and Turkey could back up their air raids with artillery, the newspaper writes.
Syrian warplanes will be targeted should they enter the no-fly zone, according to the report.
Turkey itself carried out aerial attacks using three F-16 fighter jets against what were said to be ISIL targets inside Syria.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the Turkish warplanes were “100 percent” successful in their strikes inside Syria, noting, “The operation against IS (ISIL) reached its target --- and will not stop.”
The pledge to confront ISIL Takfiris comes despite Turkey’s longtime support for the militancy against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with reports showing how Ankara actively trains and arms Takfiri extremists operating in Syria, and also facilitates the safe passage of foreign terrorists into the Arab country.
Ankara & Washington previously signed a deal to train & arm the anti-Damascus Takfiris. The program, which officially started earlier this month, is aimed at training 15,000+ militants, in 3 years.
Over 120 US soldiers are reportedly in Turkey, to train the militants.
Turkey's PM’s office says their fighter jets bombed 7 militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) targets in Northern Iraq, AFP reports.
Kurdish forces have been battling Islamic State militants, for months.
Turkey has launched simultaneous ground attacks against the PKK and Islamic State in northern Syria, Reuters says, citing the PM’s office.
On Friday, Ankara announced joining the anti-ISIS coalition, by providing jets and airbases, as part of an agreement with the US.
The move was due to a growing threat to Turkey’s security, by the jihadists, the Turkish foreign ministry stated.
Airstrikes were carried out against Islamic State, and also targeted PKK warehouses, logistics points, living quarters & storage buildings, the Turkish authorities state.
All Turkey's F-16 Air Force jets safely returned to their base in the southeast city of Diyarbakir, after a second wave of airstrikes, early Saturday morning, according to AFP --- citing the official Anatolia news agency.
The air assault that started at dawn, Friday, was the first Turkish strike against Kurds in northern Iraq, since a peace deal between Ankara and the PKK separatists was announced in 2013.
"At around 11:00 pm (2000 GMT) tonight, Turkish warplanes started bombing our positions near the border, accompanied by heavy artillery shelling," PKK spokes- person, Bakhtiar Dogan, says to AFP.
Among the bombarded locations was the stronghold of PKK's military leadership at Mount Kandil.
The Kurdistan Workers Party announces on its website, that after last night's air- strikes and ground military attacks, the truce with Turkey has “no meaning anymore.”
The Kurdistan Workers' Party has been fighting Turkey for autonomy since 1984. The Turks and their NATO allies list the group as a terrorist organization.
Turkish artillery also shelled Islamic State and PKK positions from across the border, Ankara says.
A new eruption of violence in Turkey was sparked by an IS suicide bombing in the southeastern Turkish city of Suruc on Monday, that killed 32 people, most of whom were Kurdish nationals.
The Kurds have accused the Turkish authorities of adopting a laissez-faire approach towards Islamic State.
A series of terror acts hitting Turkish police, & carried out by Kurdish activists this week, claimed the lives of two Turkish policemen near the mainly Kurdish city of Sanliurfa, close to the Syrian border.
Friday, a suspected PKK militant threw a small bomb into a police station in Bismil, wounding seven police officers.
"Tough but smart" diplomacy helps Venezuela
"The president of the United States rejected the decree he himself signed, and allowed for diplomatic channels to seek respect and understanding. We have to recognize President Obama's bravery in saying what he said, in reaching out, and creating a diplomatic channel which, thank God, is working very well,"Maduro said recently in parliament, referring to negotiations with the United States.
Such words were barely imaginable in March, when Caracas accused Washington of plotting a coup, ordered it to reduce its embassy staff & imposed a visa requirement on US visitors.
In return, the United States declared Venezuela a national security threat, & imposed sanctions on 7 officials it accused of corruption, & rights abuses.
The detente between the two countries came as the United States successfully mended ties with Cuba, the most dependable ally of Venezuela in Latin America. The US and Cuba restored their diplomatic relations on July 20th, after a break of 54 years.
"Tough & smart" has been Venezuela's diplomatic route -- ever since Maduro succeeded his mentor, Hugo Chavez, in 2013, and struggled to take his country out of triple-digit inflation, shortages of goods, and a state besieged by the opposition.
Maduro's July 6 decision to recall his ambassador to Guyana for consultation, as the bilateral border dispute escalated over a significant offshore oil find, was another significant turning point.
"There is a political, economic, diplomatic and media campaign against Venezuela, to create a sophisticated operation in the region, that could end up in high-intensity military conflicts," Maduro told the parliament.
He decided to reduce the size of the embassy to Guyana, conduct a review of their relations, and asked Guyana to immediately revoke its permission for the US's oil giant Exxon Mobil to operate in the disputed Essequibo River region.
While being tough to so-called enemies, this 16-year-old socialist government has maintained tender and ever closer relations, with its traditional friends.
As tension with the US ran high in March, Cuba led most Latin American countries to rally behind Venezuela.
In mid-June, Venezuela sent its navy scholar ship, Simon Bolivar, to Havana, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of PetroCaribe, set up by Hugo Chavez, to keep the region's poor countries supplied with subsidised oil.
The project provides oil and refined products at market prices, but only requires member countries to pay a small portion of the cost in advance and allows them to finance the rest under extremely generous long-term debt agreements, as well as to barter for agricultural products or services.
With US recent attempts to reset relations and the help of old friends, the Socialist Party of Venezuela is apparently poised to secure a majority in the legislative elections in December --- and ensure Maduro holds onto power smoothly... until 2019.
With the largest oil reserves in the world, Venezuela is widely expected to benefit greatly from an anticipated oil price rise in early 2016, which may help lift the country out of its economic woes... in the near future.
Colombian Peace Talks Focus on Truth Commission
Ongoing peace talks between Colombia's Government and FARC-EP, focus on the request made by FARC-EP to implement the Commission for the Investigation of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition.
As part of the peace agreement the parties have been discussing in Havana since 2012, the delegation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP) claims, for the second consecutive day, the need to swiftly implement this commission.
"If it is already the time to discuss justice, it is essential that the Commission for the Investigation of Truth, Coexistence & Non- Repetition starts working immediately", says Commander Ricardo Tellez, stating that truth should be the ground on which justice must be fully restored.
According to FARC-EP, delaying the establishment of the Commission for a period after signing peace "means opening the door to biased allegations & the impunity of those responsible --- and for the promoters of violence".
In his statement he says that'the flame of truth must light the path to peace'.
To achieve this, he considers it as urgent, not only to implement the Commission, but also to open files (State secrets regarding the conflict) --- counting on the victims, as major figures in the new stage of reconciliation.
Iran to double its support to "axis of resistance", after nuclear deal
Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem says on Friday, that Iran is to double its support for the "axis of resistance," which includes Syria, following the signing of the Iranian nuclear deal with world powers.
"Iran will not change its stance toward the Syrian crisis and it stresses its continuous support for the axis of resistance after the conclusion of the nuclear accord," he says --- at the "International Media Conference Against Terrorism" held in Damascus.
Moallem hails the recently-signed deal as "historic," adding that Iran has entered "the international arena through its widest doors."
"If our allies are strong, we're strong as well," he says, referring to Iranian support to Syria, and is joined by several Iranian officials, who all say that there will be 'no limits' to Iran's support for Damascus.
Ali Jannati, Iran's Culture Minister, who also attended the Damascus conference, stated that "Iran stood, and will stand by, Syria", over the righteousness of the cause, there.
Also, Naim al-Qassem, the deputy head of Lebanon's Hezbollah group, told the conference that Syria will not fall, and boasted of the victories Hezbollah has been achieving alongside Syrian troops against terrorists in several Syrian areas.
"Syria has proven that it's unbreakable, but it broke the 'scheme' so it's no longer possible for Syria to fall or leave the axis of resistance," he stated, referring to the alliance of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.
"The victory is close," he said, adding that Syria is subject to "a foreign and regional aggression that uses radical and takfiri currents to change its political orientation."
Meanwhile, al-Moallem, head of Syrian diplomacy, renewed his government's welcome for the recently-proposed Russian vision of forming a regional alliance to fight Islamic State (IS).
Observers believe this Russian initiative could mean real change in the political landscape, shifting the map of alliances in the region, because of the rising threat of terrorism they all face.
Still, al-Moallem questioned the intentions of neighboring countries, which, he said, are still lending support to radical groups.
"The neighboring countries have yet to abide by the international resolutions regarding countering terror. They have to abide by the resolutions, to achieve success in fighting terrorism," he said.
UN:Canada must stop discriminating against its indigenous people:
The UN Human Rights Committee says Canada must support the rights of its indigenous people ---- by ending all its discriminatory measures against them.
The Geneva-based body, in a report released Thursday, states Canada still has 'a lot of work to do' for its aboriginals, and demands that the Canadian government swiftly stop discriminating against indigenous women and children.
It also points to the disappearances and killings of indigenous women, noting that Canada's government needs to address the abuse of aboriginals in prison, and offer them vital health care services.
Many natives live in poor conditions --- with unsafe drinking water, poor housing, and high addiction and suicide rates.
Canada's 1.4 million indigenous people constitute 4.3 percent of the country’s total population.
The UN Human Rights Committee goes on to express its concern at Canada’s new anti-terrorism act, passed by parliament, in June.
It says this legislation grants Canada's government sweeping powers, but stops short of providing legal safeguards ---- to protect people's political and civil rights.
The UN Human Rights Committee also urges Canadian officials to consider rewriting the law, to ensure it does not run foul of basic international human rights standards.
A spokesperson for Public Safety Minister, Stephen Blaney, says Canada 'stands by' the legislation.
"These are reasonable measures similar to those used by our close allies, to protect their own citizens," Jeremy Laurin says.
Turkish warplanes carry out airstrikes in Syria
The Turkish government confirms that its warplanes have launched attacks on targets inside neighboring Syria said to be the positions of ISIL Takfiri terrorists.
On Friday, a government statement says three F-16 fighter jets, flew from Diyarbakir Airbase, in southeastern Turkey.
The statement also says the army used smart bombs... to target three positions across the Turkish border province of Kilis, after one of its soldiers was killed in an attack from an area inside Syria.
The decision to launch aerial attacks was made by security officials in Ankara, late on Thursday. The meeting was chaired by Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu.
"In this context.... an operation was carried out against targets belonging to Daesh (IS) inside Syria's border," the statement says.
"Three of our F-16s hit three targets belonging to Daesh," it says, and adds: "the government of the Turkish Republic is determined to take the necessary measures to protect national security."
The targets, according to an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, were two command centres, & a gathering point of ISIL supporters.
The official claims that the Turkish jets did not violate Syria's airspace.
US given Turkish bases for Syria strikes
Meanwhile, Turkey has agreed to allow the US to use a base in the country’s eastern region, to launch airstrikes on Syrian territories.
On Thursday, an unnamed US official said that Ankara had granted Washington permission to target IS militant positions in Syria.
"Access to Turkish bases such as Incirlik Airbase will increase the coalition's operational efficiency for such counter-IS efforts," said a US defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Turkish National Council Spokesperson, Alistair Baskey, also said his country and the US have decided to deepen cooperation in fighting ISIL, after holding “consultations on ways we can further our counter-ISIL efforts.”
However, White House spokesperson, Josh Earnest, said he was not allowed to reveal details on the agreement over “specific operations security concerns.”
Turkish media are now referring to the issue as the first direct clashes between Ankara and the Takfiri militants.
On July 22, US President Barack Obama and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced their agreement to work together in attempting to secure Turkey's border with Syria and to control the movement of ISIL militants in the region.
The move came after the killing of 32 people in a bomb blast, reportedly claimed by ISIL, which targeted activists planning to help reconstruct the Kurdish Syrian town of Kobani, murdering them in the Turkish town of Suruc, on July 20.
Turkey, along with other regional countries, has been widely accused of supporting the Takfiri militants in Syria as part of a broader Western plot to overthrow Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, since March 2011.
Right Sector office set on fire in western Ukraine
TASS - An office of the Right Sector ultranationalist organization, banned in Russia as extremist, has been set ablaze in the Ivano-Frankivsk Region in western Ukraine, local prosecutors say on Friday.
The incident occurred in the town of Gorodenka on Thursday night, the prosecutor says, adding that a 'criminal probe' has been launched into the arson.
Egypt's top cleric calls for Shia-Sunni gathering
The Grand Imam of the al-Azhar mosque, Egypt's top Muslim authority, has called for a meeting of leading Sunni and Shia scholars to meet in Cairo.
The call by Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb, aired on Egypt's state TV on Wednesday evening came at the end of a series of programs on Ramadan.
Al Tayeb called on Sunni scholars to issue a Fatwa (Religious edict) prohibiting the killing of Shia Muslims.
He also called on Shia scholars to issue a similar fatwa, prohibiting killing Sunnis.
Al Tayeb said his call aims at "burying sectarian strife" and ending a current "bloodbath" gripping the region.
The sheikh of al-Azhar further stressed the necessity of endorsing the culture of "coexistence and peace," and of saving the Islamic nation from "conspirators and plotters."
Al Tayeb has repeatedly accused what he described as a "Zionist plan" for wreaking havoc on Islamic countries, and creating rifts and strife among Muslims.
Ukraine Announces 30 Km Eastern Demilitarized Zone
antiwar.com -Providing further details on Wednesday’s announcement of a further weapons pullback by both government and rebel forces in Eastern Ukraine’s shaky ceasefire, officials on Thursday announce the establishment of a 30km demilitarized zone between the two sides, in Luhansk Province.
The new demilitarized zone was agreed to by both sides, at the behest of Europe's OSCE, and Russian officials.
Ukraine's government says it will prevent rebels attacking “peaceful civilians” on their side of the buffer.
The Ukrainian civil war has been in a state of ceasefire since February, yet violations by both sides have continued to occur, & each side insists the other has been the exclusive instigator of such incidents. A 30 km buffer should keep the sides further apart, than up to now.
EU officials praise the announcement and express hope it will lead toward a “more resilient and sustainable ceasefire.”
It is unclear how much of the frontier between the two sides this zone actually covers, however.
Obama''s Plan to Close Naval Base in Guantanamo ''in Danger''
Prensa Latina - The plan by US President Barack Obama to close the naval base in Guantanamo, in eastern Cuba, is now at a crossroads and, according to experts, it is about to collapse.
The US has maintained since 2002, the detention centre in that military facility, on Cuban territory --- against the will of the Cuban people and their government.
According to Obama's counterterrorism adviser, Monaco, the president remains firmly committed to close the prison, a goal "for which all the national security team is working, plus the Departments of State, Defense, Justice and the intelligence community."
Approval for the transfer of prisoners is complex, as there are regulations restricting the transfer of detainees to prisons within the United States, and for that reason, the Pentagon chief should notify Congress 30 days before any decision, to confirm that there are no significant risks.
But Obama continues with an old aspiration --- in contrast to the good results he's had lately, with the approval by the Supreme Court of his health program (Obamacare) and the achievement of the nuclear deal with Iran --- an article from The New York Times says today.
The text, signed by journalist Charlie Savage, states that delays by Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, to transfer detainees to other countries, has generated growing concern at the White House and State Department --- or so government officials say.
About 116 detainees are now in the prison, 52 of whom, are proposed to be transfered - if safety requirements are complied with - most of them from Yemen, and because of the unstable situation existing in that Arab country, the White House prefers to send them to other nations, rather than repatriate them.
German Social Democrats Demand Cooperation with Russia German Social Democracy is seeing a rise in the number of voices demanding an end to the policy of confrontation with Russia, promoted by the European Union and the United States.
In a statement by the group 'Willy Brandt Circle', named in honor of the former Federal Chancellor (1969-1974), members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) warn of a large Russian- Euro-Atlantic conflict.
This could end in catastrophe, "if we fail to stop the spiral of armaments, military provocations & confrontational rhetoric."
"We demand a resumption of relations with Russia," says the statement, presented in Berlin.
The document was signed - among others - by former minister & Social Democrat, Egon Bahr, the former Secretary of State in the Ministry of Defense, Walther Stuetzle, theologian Friedrich Schorlemmer, artist Klaus Staeck, and several intellectuals.
The call is directed to political officials, activists of the movement for peace, and to the SPD itself.
"We face a decision to plunge into a new Cold War with an unsafe end, or remember the idea of a peaceful European order," the letter says.
At the same time, the signatories stress that the promise of a peaceful order for Europe, formulated in the Charter of Paris of 1990, has not been met.
However, the signatories are convinced that Europe can't be interested in a continuation of the rivalry between Washington & Moscow.
"That's the difference between the situation of European and American interests: without Russia, or even against Russia, any problem that concerns all of Europe --- cannot be solved," they underline.
Thus, the signatories of the letter demand a reinstatement of Russia in the Group of 7 and recommend accepting the accession of Crimea to Russia.
Poll: Most Japanese Reject Changes in Constitution A poll shows 60% of Japanese citizens want the current Constitution to stay unchanged, just as the ruling party seeks constitutional reform, say local media reports.
In a survey run by Kyodo news agency, only 32% approve any possible change to end or change Article 9, in which, Japan renounces violence as a way of settling international disputes.
In July, 2014, Abe proposed a 'reinterpretation' of the Constitution, a prelude to today's debates in Parliament, on the new national security law, which will probably conclude with the adoption of the law, because the ruling coalition has a large majority.
With a 'doctrine of collective self-defense', Tokyo will be able to place troops outside its national territory, 'to support allies'... especially the United States.
However, 88% of respondents explain that their greatest desire is that the traditional pacifism of Japan, remains unchanged.
Another 67% of respondents believe that PM Shinzo Abe owes an apology for the atrocities committed by Japan, before and during, WWII.
In the Kyodo survey, conducted in May-June, three thousand adults took part from several Japanese provinces.
Thousands of Ukraine ultranationalists go to Maidan, announce ‘new revolution’
Up to 6,000 supporters of Ukraine’s ultranationalist Right Sector movement gathered in central Kiev on Tuesday, calling on the authorities to resign. This rally marks a “new stage of Ukraine's revolution,” the extremists' leader, Dmitry Yarosh, announced.
The radicals marched through the centre of the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday night, gathering on Maidan (Independence Square). Marchers mainly consisted of people with camouflage clothes, waving the red & black flags of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). They were chanting “death to enemies,” TASS reported.
Speaking on Maidan, Right Sector (Pravy Sektor) leader, Dmitry Yarosh, said the group is “showing that we are a disciplined revolutionary force,” opening a “new stage of Ukraine's revolution”.
Ahead of the rally, Yarosh said that the gathering would be “peaceful” in nature.
The ultranationalist group announced its plans to start a referendum on a no-confidence vote in Ukraine's authorities. At the rally, protesters demanded the resignation of Ukraine's Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov.
Field offices will be organized in all regions of Ukraine to work on the referendum starting today (Wednesday(, Yarosh announced there, saying that the Right Sector centres will also act as “revolutionary committees.”
Martial law on the whole of Ukraine..... should also be put to the vote, he said.
“People must voice their attitude to what's occurring in the country... the government should know that, if the people are not pleased with it, then it must go,” Yarosh said, as quoted by TASS. If the movement is not given the right to organize the referendum, then they will create their own election committee and “will vote independently on the whole territory of Ukraine,” he added.
Average working people also joined the Tuesday rally, being displeased with poor living standards in the country under the Poroshenko government, RT's Murad Gazdiev, reported from Ukraine.
"Ukraine is in an absolutely terrible state at the moment, the economic situation is much worse than it was two years ago under Yanukovich," journalist and broadcaster from London, Neil Clark, told RT. "It's quite predictable" that people have taken to the streets, he added.
"The situation is going to get worse, because ordinary people are saying ‘what was all that about?’” he said, adding how ultranationalists might contribute to destabilizing the situation, since President Poroshenko is now "attacking the very people who helped bring him to power."
Right Sector radicals participated in Ukraine's Maidan revolution --- and have been fighting in the East Ukraine conflict, ever since.
The heavily-armed battalions, who denounce the Minsk ceasefire, made calls "to blockade Donbass" during the Tuesday rally.
On Sunday, Kiev saw a large march of about 2,000 - 3,000 people, who took to the streets to protest over high housing costs and public utility price rises. Some of the Sunday march banners read "where are the reforms?" and "we are dying of hunger."
A similar rally occurred in Dnepropetrovsk city in central Ukraine, as dozens of demonstrators -- many people of an older age -- blocked one of the roads in the city, demanding that President Poroshenko, resign now.
OSCE Agrees on Withdrawal of Heavy Weapons from Ukrainian Conflict Zone Representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have agreed on a withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the contact line, in contested areas of eastern Ukraine.
OSCE Chair Ivica Dacic says the Contact Group on Ukraine in Minsk, agreed on Tuesday, on a pullout of tanks & weapons with calibers of up to 100mm, which self-defense forces had started to withdraw unilaterally, on Tuesday.
The document is almost ready to sign and, states Dacic, it will provide for the exact procedure on verification of the weapons withdrawal, i.e. who does it, and how.
The meeting at the President Hotel took place as rebel forces in Donbass region, withdrew at least five tanks and dozens of armored vehicles, 3kms away from the combat line, unilaterally.
We hope this agreement contributes to the peace process in Donbass, where at least 6,500 people have died since April 2014, Dacic says.
Kyrgyzstan cancels cooperation treaty with US
Kyrgyzstan has cancelled a cooperation treaty with the US which has been in force since 1993.
The move was prompted by a human rights prize given by Washington, to an activist serving a life sentence for his involvement in the killing of a police officer.
The bilateral agreement that helped facilitate cooperation between the countries in certain areas was ordered to be renounced by Kyrgyz Prime Minister, Temir Sariev.
With the document to become invalid, US aid to Kyrgyzstan brought in & out of the country will no longer free of taxes & custom duties, starting from August 20th.
US civil and military aid personnel working in Kyrgyzstan, will be deprived of their near diplomatic status, which they had been receiving under the agreement.
On Monday, the US warned Kyrgyzstan that if the accord got canceled, it would damage a range of its aid programs in the country.
Last week, the US State Department decided to hand its 'Human Rights Defenders Award' to Kyrgyz national, Azimzhan Askarov, who is jailed for life: convicted of taking part in the murder of a Kyrgyz police officer.
Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Ministry protested at Washington's decision to reward Askarov, who played an active role in ethnic riots between Kyrgyz & Uzbeks in his country, in 2010.
The US choice of this year’s award winner has been called “pure politics” by a number of experts & political analysts. While Brian Becker from 'Answer Coalition', said it was “designed to support the opposition,” the political expert, Srdja Trifkovic, called it an effort to destabilize the regime, “under the auspices of democratic change.”
“Whenever relations between the US and a certain country deteriorate because the country is no longer keen to be the US's strategic asset – like a joker from the sleeve – human rights activists are produced,” Trifkovic told RT.
Last year the US had to shut its military base in the country -- a base which had been "controversial", ever since being opened, in 2001.
The Transit Centre at Manas was used as a US military installation and Manas International Airport near the capital was the main air supply hub for ISAF’s contingent, in their Afghan campaign.
The hub's staff had full diplomatic immunity all that time, and all cargo delivered to the airport was exempt from any border or customs inspections.
Yet the US hasn't lost interest in Kyrgyzstan - strategically located right at the crossroads between Kazakhstan, Russia, Afghanistan, China, and a number of other Central Asian countries...
As the ISAF contingent withdrew, the US built a new larger embassy in Kyrgyzstan, shipping tons of cargo by diplomatic pouch.
The secret shipments have raised many concerns from critics, but the US insists that all cargo, was simply construction materials for diplomatic premises.
As the US lease at Manas Air Base ended in 2014, the US was “effectively watching one of the putative, important geostrategic assets in Central Asia, slipping away,” Trifkovic points out.
“It’s curious... they weren’t so concerned about this particular human rights case – as they call it – while they were still in possession of Manas Airport.”
A Thousand People Flee from Burundi Everyday
Prensa Latina - About a thousand people flee from Burundi every day, as the country plunges into a political crisis -- after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his bid to gain a third presidential mandate, the organization 'Doctors Without Borders' (MSF) reveals today.
Every day, a thousand people cross the border into Tanzania "through the forest -- with many travelling in the dark on foot, and without any belongings," the MSF statement adds.
Earlier in July, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said that about 10,000 Burundians had already fled to neighboring nations prior to the new elections on June 29th, fearing an escalation of violence in the election & post-election period.
On Tuesday, controversial presidential elections in Burundi started in a tense climate, due to the announcement of a boycott, by those opposing Nkurunziza's re-election.
According to the opposition, the president's bid to stand for re-election violates the Constitution and Arusha's peace agreements that put an end to the civil war in the country (1993-2005).
About 3.8 million Burundians are eligible to vote between 06:00 and 16:00 for the president, who will hold office for the next five years.
NATO Military Drills in Ukraine Threaten Peace Process, Russia Says
Russia warns that NATO-led military exercises in western Ukraine, pose a threat to the peace process in the country.
As self-defense forces of the self-proclaimed Republic of Donetsk withdraw weapons with a caliber smaller than 100 mm, Kiev invites over a dozen NATO countries, to carry out 'exercises'.
Russia's Foreign Minister says the war games in western Ukraine, with joint-drill exercises, do not contribute at all, to achieving a peaceful solution to the conflict.
"These actions may threaten to disrupt the visible progress in the peace process, concerning the deep internal crisis in Ukraine," he says.
Exercises are being carried out by the US, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary & other NATO nations, as Kiev announces new weapons 'given' it, by Western powers.
About 6,500 people have died, over 15,000 injured, and over 2 million displaced, since the beginning of the punishment operation against the population revolting in south- east Ukraine, since April 2014.
Iran excludes Defensive Capacity from UN Resolution
Prensa Latina reports that Iran welcomes the approval of resolution 2231 by the UN Security Council, but excludes its missile program from the plan, as it is purely defensive.
The Foreign Ministry stresses that a nuclear capability and the ballistic missile defense program are untouchable and anyway, have no restrictions within the UNSC resolution.
The UNSC unanimously approved the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) signed on July 14 in Vienna by Iran & the Group 5+1 (its five permanent members plus Germany), which was followed by a communique from the Persian Foreign Ministry.
Iran's authorities stress Tehran's willingness to contribute actively: both in the war against terrorism and in fostering peace & stability in the Middle East - especially in the Persian Gulf.
In that context, the military authorities say, Iran's ballistic missiles are only for legitimate defense. The equipment is not designed with a capacity to carry nuclear warheads, & they are out of the scope & jurisdiction, anyway, of the SC resolution, & its appended documents.
The UN text fully guarantees that the Iranian Government will continue its pioneering role in the campaign against terrorism & violent extremism --- including its cooperation with neighboring States, the communique says.
US Wrong Attack Kills Eight Afghan Military Men
Prensa Latina -- At least eight Afghan soldiers are dead & four wounded, after being bombed by a US helicopter attack, by mistake, in the south of Kabul, military sources report.
A US Army officer states that the attack occurred in Baraki Barak district, Logar province... where the Taliban Movement frequently launches offensives against the security forces of the Asian country.
District Governor, Mohamad Rahim Amin, says, due to bombing by US helicopters, an Afghan Army checkpoint was burned down.
The Taliban have recently increased their attacks on Afghan Government facilities, and foreign targets.
Pentagon forces, jointly with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, are trying to kill all the prominent leaders of rebel organizations, by using drones or other war means.
Yemeni forces destroy army tower in Saudi Arabia's southwest
Yemeni troops backed by popular committees blast a Saudi army tower in the southwestern Jizan region, in retaliation for Riyadh’s attacks -- now relentless -- on the poor Arab nation.
Yemeni TV channel al-Masirah reports that missile attacks were also launched on a Saudi base in the southwest on Sunday, in Najran region.
Earlier on Sunday, over 30 people were killed and many more were injured after Saudi war- planes conducted multiple raids on the north- western Sa’ada province, & the western Ibb province.
According to reports, most of the victims of the heinous attack, are women and children.
2 civilians are also dead after Saudi forces commenced shelling on the city of Haradh, in the northwestern Hajjah province.
‘Last fight’? Ukraine nationalist leader calls on army, National Guard to stop obeying Kiev
Leaders of the Ukrainian far-right group Right Sector call on the National Guard, army, and security forces, to stop obeying Kiev’s orders amid the ongoing standoff between armed nationalists and the police, in West Ukraine.
“Nobody can take away our right to a last fight,” Yarosh writes on his Facebook page, calling the Ukrainian government “traitors.”
“Let’s stop betrayers who hold high office and want to destabilize the situation in the enemy’s rear and… dismiss the volunteer movements,” he says, accusing the Ukrainian authorities of being “bandits” who are only interested in making money.
“While we are shedding our blood defending our Motherland, they [authorities] are making fortunes, and doing everything they can, so the war will continue for as long as possible.”
The heated statement comes amid the ongoing crisis in the west Ukrainian town of Mukacheve, close to the Hungarian and Slovakian borders, where the Ukrainian Security Service and the National Guard, are pressing ahead with their operation against armed Right Sector members.
Right Sector militants, trapped on the outskirts of Mukachevo after deadly clashes with police, are refusing to lay down their arms -- without orders from their leaders. All civilians in the area have been evacuated, as negotiations, so far, have failed.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko issued an order on July 13, requiring security forces to disarm all illegal armed groups. The Right Sector responded by saying that the order is not applicable to their volunteer organization.
“The statement by Petro Poroshenko is addressed to illegal armed groups. We're not an illegal armed group. Illegal armed groups are bandits, and we are volunteer Ukrainian corps, which protect the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Therefore, this statement does not apply to us,” says the Right Sector spokes- person, Artem Skoropadsky.
The conflict erupted on July 11, and is believed to have been triggered by an on-going 'turf war' between Right Sector members, and local MP, Mikhail Lanyo, who controls many businesses in the area.
Several people were killed and more than ten were wounded, after a shootout between the local police, and Right Sector militants.
The far-right are seeking to control the lucrative cigarette smuggling business on the frontier.
The extremist organization insists that it was not they, who provoked the violence, but the police, who, they say, are linked to a corrupt politician, who controls smuggling channels in the mountainous Carpathian region.
A large part of the Right Sector militants taking part in the standoff, are believed to be hiding in the forests around Mukacheve.
The group have issued a list of five demands which they say must be fulfilled, to avoid an 'escalation' in Mukacheve.
The demands include the resignation of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, the prosecution of local authorities in Carpathian region and a separate legal action against local MP Mikhail Lanyo and his “gang” -- as well as the release of those the group calls “prisoners of the new regime.”
The ultranationalist group is also calling for a new round of mass protests on Kiev’s Maidan -- to oppose the current government in power.
They have also hacked the Twitter account of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.
One of the hacked tweets released by the group warns:
“While crooks & oligarchs remain in control in Ukraine --- Maidan 3.0, is unavoidable.”
Not long ago, the US propaganda outlet, VOA, interviewed Right Sector's spokes- person, Artem Skoropadsky, who said:
"If there's a new revolution, President Poroshenko and his teammates won't be able to make it out of the country, the way the previous president did.
"They can not expect anything other than an execution in some dark vault, carried out by a group of young officers of Ukraine's army and National Guard.”
Skoropadsky also says another coup is inevitable, if the government refuses to acquiesce to Right Sector's demands.
The Ukrainian civil war has moved west. Whereas eastern rebels are seeking to secede from Kiev, the neo-fascists now wish to take over the entire country... and control all its criminal levers.
Right Sector is essentially Ukraine's largest private army, with 10,000 armed members. In recent weeks the group has intensified its anti-Kiev rhetoric in Mukachevo, calling the government "an inner occupying force" and suggesting it should be overthrown.
LPR militia begins withdrawing weapons under 100mm calibre
We are making this step openly and unilaterally, hoping the Ukraine side follows suit, Sergei Kozlov of the People’s militia, says.
Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) has started a unilateral withdrawal from the line of engagement, of weapons under 100-mm calibre, Sergei Kozlov, of the People’s militia, says Sunday.
"Following an order from the head of Lugansk People’s Republic, Igor Plotnitsky, we begin today, a unilateral withdrawal from the line of engagement of weapons under 100-mm calibre to a distance of at least three kilometres," the LuganskInformCentre, quotes him as saying.
"Despite a complicated military and political situation in Ukraine, we are not going to use this advantage, and provoke a new cycle of conflict," he says. "While demonstrating adherence to the Minsk agreements, we're making this step openly and unilaterally -- hoping the Ukrainian side follows suit."
In order to avoid provocations, he says, the withdrawal will be organised in the presence of OSCE mission members.
Right Sector stops protest at presidential administration in Kiev
On July 21st, the extremists will organise a so-called "veche" (public assembly), in Independence Square in Kiev.
TASS -- extremists of Right Sector, which is banned in Russia, have ended their protest at the Ukraine presidential administration building, TASS reports from the scene.
"Right Sector has gone from the administration building, but this does not mean Right Sector is stopping its rallies," the radical organisation’s press service says.
On Tuesday, July 21st, the extremists will run a so-called "veche" (public assembly) in Independence Square (Maidan) in Kiev. The organisation’s leader, Dmitry Yarosh, will be a key participant there.
From July 12th, Right Sector held protests at the building of the presidential administration in Kiev, with protesters demanding the firing of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, and "a fair investigation into the events in Mukachevo".
On Saturday, July 11th, in Mukachevo city, in Ukraine’s S. West Transcarpathian Region, 20 Right Sector militants opened fire with small arms, during a conflict with their opponents, with whom they were planning: "distribution of areas of influence." Three people were killed, and eleven injured.
ISIS claims kidnapping of 3 Christians in Libya
The militant group Islamic State (formerly ISIS) claims it's captured 3 Christians in Libya,says Reuters. The men are from Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana, the extremists say, publishing their passport pictures online.
The kidnappings happened in Noufliyah, a city now turned into an IS stronghold, after the IS expanded into Libya, from its bases in Iraq and Syria.
4 blasts target Hamas cars in Gaza, witnesses spot IS flag at scene.
At least four blasts have targeted cars belonging to officials from Islamic factions in Gaza early on Sunday.
A security source tells Al Arabiya that three of the cars destroyed in the blasts, belonged to Hamas members.
A young woman and a man were wounded slightly, in the attack, Ayman Sahabani, of Gaza City's Shifa hospital, tells AP.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but witnesses say they saw an IS flag at the scene of the explosions.
Earlier in July, IS issued a stark warning to Hamas that the Gaza Strip could be next on their list of territories they want to conquer.
Russia spends on people,US on offensive weapons: US journalist
Rodney Martin: “The term ‘hypocrites’ comes to mind --- when we look at the US and NATO and the West --- when you look at peace and peace-makers.”
The United States and its Western allies are pouring billions of dollars into their offensive weapons capability, while Russia spends its money on developing its country & on social programs, a US activist and radio host in California, says.
Rodney Martin, who chairs the American Nationalist Association, and who hosts the American Nationalist Network, the Association’s internet radio station, adds:
“While the United States and Western nations, members of NATO, pour billions of dollars into missile systems and offensive weapons, the citizens in their own countries are living in squalor.”
“Their education systems and programs are in a horrific condition, their infrastructure is in a horrific condition, social programs & social dynamics, are in horrific conditions,” he stresses.
“You can contrast that with the Russian Federation. Between 2008 and 20012, the Russian Federation essentially halved --- cut by half --- its offensive weapons capability,” states Martin, a former US Congressional staffer.
“So you look at who is more interested in world peace in terms of action, and not words,” he emphasizes.
“Russia has invested large sums of funds in developing its country, and developing its social programs, and assisting other countries, and has now actually cut its offensive weapons capability,while the West -- and NATO -- has expanded its offensive weapons capability, at the expense of its own people,” he points out.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov -- on Tuesday -- called on Washington to honour its pledge of dismantling the US-led missile system across Europe, after the successful conclusion of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.
“We all remember when, in April 2009 in Prague, President Obama said that: if the Iranian nuclear issue was settled, there would be no need to create an air defense system in Europe,” Lavrov said.
“That is why today we have drawn the attention of our US colleagues to this fact (the cancellation of the creation of the air defense system in Europe). We shall be waiting for the reaction,” he added.
Martin says that “the term ‘hypocrites’ comes to mind when we look at the US and NATO and the West, when we look at peace and peace-makers.”
“They are certainly not interested in peace and being peace-makers, they're engaged in state-sponsored terrorism, and they are engaged in economic terrorism,” he says.
“But they have quite a media machine, in terms of Hollywood, & to a lesser degree in Europe -- particularly the BBC -- and the German media spinning for them, to make them look like the good guys, when in fact the opposite is true,” the analyst concludes.
Dozens killed as Saudi warplanes pound areas across Yemen
Over two dozen civilians have lost their lives and many more sustained injuries, as Saudi military aircraft conduct a fresh round of attacks across Yemen.
On Sunday morning, a total of 13 people, among them, women and children, are killed in airstrikes by Saudi warplanes, on Yarim District of the southwestern city of Ibb, about 170 klmtrs (106 mls) south of the capital, Sana’a, the Arabic- language al-Masirah satellite television network reports.
The report adds that over two dozen people are also injured in the attacks, and seven residential buildings are reduced to rubble.
Saudi warplanes also pounded al-Anad air base near the southern al-Houta city in Lahij Province. There are no immediate reports on the possible casualties or on the extent of the damage.
Additionally, Saudi military aircraft bombarded a number of houses in the Monabbih district of Yemen’s mountainous northwestern province of Sa’ada, leaving 19 people dead and several others injured.
Fierce clashes also broke out between Houthi Ansarullah fighters, and militants loyal to the fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, in the port city of Ma'alla, situated about 298 kilometers (185 miles) south of the capital. Scores of people were killed or injured.
Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against Yemen on March 26th – without a UN mandate – in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and to restore power to Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.
Over 3,000 people, including 1,500 civilians, have been killed over the past few months in Yemen, according to the United Nations.
Some local sources, though, put the number of dead, at 4,500.
Islamic State Claim Responsibility for Attack in Saudi Capital A group of Islamic State extremists claim responsibility for a car bomb explosion at a police checkpoint in Rhyad, that injures two policemen.
The self-proclaimed Najd Province -- which takes its name from the homonymous region of Central Saudi Arabia -- announces via an internet social network, that the suicide bomber at Al-Hair check- point, in Riad, followed the orders of the DAESH (Arab acronym of IS).
According to the Interior ministry, Abdullah Al-Rashid, 19, and a Saudi citizen, approached a police check- point, & detonated the car when he was ordered to stop -- losing his life -- and leaving two policemen injured.
The Saudi ministry announces that the attack was staged at Maghrib, muslim prayer time, when police agents at the checkpoint, found the car 'suspicious'.
According to the IS, Al-Rashid 's suicide attack is a message to Jidahists held at Al-Hair prison, that they've not been forgotten, and IS will continue fighting -- until they are out of jail.
The ministry says the two injured police- men are in stable condition at a hospital in Rhyad, and an adequate level of alert has been guaranteed, after the DAESH's threats.
The terrorist group has extended its activities to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Yemen.
Activists in Ukraine’s Lvov stage rally demanding autonomy for Lvov region
About 300 activists of public organizations gathered for a rally in Lvov, on Friday, and demanded autonomy for the Lvov region, Ukraine’s on-line outlet, bagnet.net says.
The rally was held in front of the Lvov region state administration building.
Activists carried posters saying: "Poroshenko has betrayed his people," "Special status to Galitia --- real autonomy to Lvov region," Galitia is Europe," "Stop nurturing thieves in Kiev," and "Taxes to Lvov region."
The rally organizer, Danilo Povidalchik, said: now that Ukraine has embarked on its constitutional reform, Galitia’s residents do not want to be second- class citizens in their own country.
"Corruption rules in the central authorities. Wage labourers & pensioners of our region have the right to settlements which are in the pockets of thieving Kiev officials. So, we demand real autonomy for Lvov region --- within the process of the constitutional reform announced by President Pyotr Poroshenko," he said.
Activists also demand Lvov's right to its own customs policy, an autonomous tariff policy and that a special economic regime with the EU, be granted to their region.
The rally’s resolution was handed over to the head of Lvov's regional state administration, Oleg Sinyutka.
On Thursday, the Lvov arm of Right Sector, which is outlawed in Russia, issued their statement, urging Kiev’s Security Service and interior minister, to make efforts not to allow manifestations of separatism in Ukraine and, particularly, in Lvov region.
Right Sector tried to hamper Friday’s rally but they were too few to do that, as most Right Sector activists are currently in the city of Mukachevo.
Lvov residents have already staged numerous rallies, demanding more autonomy for their region.
Catalonian Pro-Independence Forces Reduce Deadline for Secession Prensa Latina - Two months before elections Catalonia's government says are a plebiscite, separatist forces predict independence from Spain will be achieved within eight months -- ten months before their initial deadline.
The prediction is included in an agreement reached by Convergencia Democrática de Cataluña, the party of regional president, Artur Mas, and Esquerra Republicana de Cataluña (ERC), to submit a single list of candidates to elections on Sept. 27th.
If the 2 parties win a majority of votes, the new parliament will then approve a "symbolic declaration of independence" -- and a transitional law, to regulate the preparation of structures for the new state and formally declare separation from Spain.
The agreement establishes creating a government presided over by Mas, with ERC leader, Oriol Junqueras, as second in command.
Spain's authorities repeat this week: they refuse to accept any plebiscite nature to the elections, whose aim, they say, is to justpick a regional parliament, as in all other Spanish autonomous communities.
The situation has sped up plans to create single candidacies, for the forces opposed to independence.
To help ally the left and ecologists, the pro-independence single list is headed by Raul Romeva, a former European parliamentarian from ICV.
According to surveys, the Catalonian pro-independence forces are backed by 50% of the people --- not enough to validate a separation from Spain.
Pastors for Peace Caravan Arrives in Cuba Prensa Latina -The 26th US-Cuba Friendship Caravan, led by nearly 50 Pastors for Peace members, arrived in Cuba late on Friday with its solidarity aid cargo, after a stop in Mexico.
Solidarity groups and members of the caravan met yesterday night, to participate in a public- ecumenical ceremony outside the US embassy --- in Mexico.
Shouts of "long live Cuba and Mexico" were heard, banners with phrases such as Now it's time to end the bloqueo! and Return all the territory illegally occupied by the USA!, rose into the evening air, candles were lit, flowers were laid, poems were recited, and songs were sung.
The main objective was to highlight that, despite the steps taken between the US and Cuba, a crucial item is still missing: that is, an end to the economic blockade and the closure of Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba's eastern region, occupied by the US, over 100 years ago.
In statements to Prensa Latina, Raul Vera, bishop of Saltillo, in the Mexican state of Coahuila, referred to this struggle, & how the heroic Cuban people have faced the economic blockade with stoicism and "I always join such demonstrations," he said, with a smile.
"We want the countries of the American continent, to unite with the island, because it benefits us all."
"Cuba's people have achieved great things, and, ever since I was young, we have all viewed Cuba with great sympathy."
Young Dominican Manolo de los Santos lived in the US for several years, & has lived in Cuba, for about four years.
He says the humanitarian cargo consists of school supplies, walking frames and wheelchairs for the elderly, medicines, X-ray equipment, and computers.
Rev. Luis Barrios, member of the executive board of Pastors for Peace, and one of the speakers, says he has been participating in the caravan since 1992, along with the Rev. Lucius Walker, its founder and leader.
The caravan departed on June 29th, from several routes across Canada and the US, to reach Texas and cross Mexico's border.
UK pilots take part in anti-ISIL bombing campaign in Syria
A number of British pilots have secretly taken part in an anti-ISIL bombing campaign in Syria, despite the 2013 parliamentary vote against any military action in the war-hit Arab nation.
Human rights group, Reprieve, reveals that UK service personnel are acting under the auspices of 'other members' of the US-led 'anti-ISIL' coalition. These details are just revealed, under a freedom of information request, from the rights group.
About 20 personnel, including 3 pilots, were reportedly 'embedded' with the 'anti-ISIL' coalition.
Although the figure cited is believed to be in single figures, it is also unknown, what planes UK pilots have used to carry out strikes, but reports suggest that they're embedded with US & Canadian airforces.
The Ministry of Defense has, so far, only admitted that the UK is contributing to the 'anti-ISIL' coalition with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
The participation of the Royal Air Force in the Syria campaign is, however, against a 2013 motion in parliament, rejecting ANY military campaign in Syria. The House of Commons authorized the defense ministry to go ahead with airstrikes in neighboring Iraq, alone.
“The UK government would never be able to succeed in the Middle East because they are the architect of the problems in the first place and the only way it can solve it, is by not trying to bomb more people.
“The UK government is not actually looking for a political solution: if you look at operations by the UK government, most have been around providing funding to certain groups. In fact, it has led to more support for ISIS, because of the military action this country has been taking”, Raza Nadim, a London-based political commentator tells Press TV.
Recently, the new Conservative government has hinted at extending air strikes in Syria, after the Tunisia massacre, carried out by an ISIL-affiliate which claimed 38 lives, including 30 UK tourists.
PM David Cameron and Defense Secretary, Michael Fallon, indicated that they would seek parliamentary approval for anti-ISIL campaigns in Syria.
Fallon said: "There’s illogicality about targeting ISIS in Iraq, but not in Syria."
The PM office said: “Thought and deliberation are needed before a vote”.
So, why would the UK government keep law- makers in the dark, while deputing RAF pilots on the Syria mission. Some analysts say the policies of keeping public & pressure groups in the dark about the action in Syria and Iraq are mainly because the government doesn’t want people to see this, as a war:
“You have to remember that this government - when it held a vote about a strike & military action in Syria - it was voted against.
“The excuse then brought, was that the UK has to protect its interests; it doesn’t mean people’s interests, rather, its own imperial interests. And that means they have to go to war”, Nadim says.
Jennifer Gibson of Reprieve says: “It is alarming that parliament & the public have been kept in the dark about this, for so long.”
The revelation marks a substantial expansion in the UK’s approach to Syria and has caused an outcry among many politicians.
Tory MP, John Baron, who is also a member of the foreign affairs select committee, calls for an immediate halt to the action in Syria:
“Let’s be absolutely clear about this. We voted in 2013, when parliament had been recalled from recess, that there should be no British military intervention in Syria. We were told that No 10 had got the message and that any future intervention would be subject to a vote.”
Five Dead, Including Shooter, in Attacks on Tennessee Military Centres
Sputnik - Five individuals were killed in a shooting at the Navy Reserve centre, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, including the shooter.
In addition to the gunman, the five fatalities include four marines. Three injuries are also reported, including a police officer who was shot in the ankle. "We do know that we have four individuals who're killed who are victims," Mayor Andy Berke says during a news conference. "We know that the shooter was killed at the scene, as well."
The US Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee Bill Killian, says the incident is being seen as an act of domestic terrorism. Still, Killian urges the public not to focus on "labels", at this point.
The authorities didn't release any information on the shooter, at Thursday afternoon's news conference, though they did say they believe the shooting to be a single-shooter incident.
Media later report that law enforcement agencies have identified the shooter as Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, believed to have been a local resident, and, originally, from Kuwait.
A US military official speaking to NBC News says he fired between 25 and 30 rounds.
Victims were taken to Erlaner hospital, which was put on lockdown. Sources say that the injured officer, is now in a stable condition.
President Obama has been briefed on the situation, and the FBI & ATF, are en route to assist in the investigation.
The shooting began at a military recruitment centre on Thursday morning, and continued at a naval reserve centre, six miles away.
Witnesses report hearing multiple gunshots, most at the second location. All victims of the shooting were also found at the second location. "I am deeply disturbed by reports of a violent attack in Chattanooga," US Senator Lamar Alexander says in a statement. "I have been in touch with federal, state & local officials, and will monitor the situation closely. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved."
"I am heartbroken by the tragic shootings that have taken place in my hometown," US Senator Bob Corker also says in a statement. "We have been in touch with federal, state & local officials and continue to monitor developments, and have offered our assistance. This is a difficult day for Tennesseans, and our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this tragedy."
Brazil prosecutors probe ex-president's alleged influence peddling
Brazilian prosecutors launch an investigation into alleged "irregularities" in the dealings of Brazil’s former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, with Odebrecht, the country’s largest construction conglomerate.
“There is an investigation into possible influence peddling by ex-president Lula, with the leaders of other countries on behalf of the construction company, Odebrecht,” a spokesperson for the federal prosecutor's office in the capital, Brasilia, says.
According to reports, the probe into the allegation against the former president, better known as Lula, was started on July 8th, by Brazilian prosecutors.
Lula's institute, the Instituto Lula, releases a statement following the revelation of the investigation, saying Lula has nothing to fear.
"We are calm. The Lula Institute is certain of the transparency and legality of ex-president Lula's activities," Jose Chrispiniano, spokes- person for the institute, says.
According to the prosecutor's office, the alleged "influence peddling" happened during Lula's term in office from January 1, 2003 to January 1, 2011, when he was replaced by President Dilma Rousseff.
Prosecutors allege that Lula has prepared the ground for Odebrecht to strike business deals in Latin America and Africa. The former Brazilian president is also accused of having helped persuade the state-owned development bank, BNDES, to finance Odebrecht’s foreign projects.
In a statement, Odebrecht denies the allegations, saying that it has had a normal institutional relationship with Lula, and that BNDES has endorsed only 7 percent of its financing.
The ex-president faces the charges after he suggested he might have another run for the presidency -- after Rousseff's second term ends, in 2018.
Syria downs Turkish spy drone over Idlib Province: Report
Syrian air defense forces have reportedly shot down a Turkish reconnaissance drone, after it violated the crisis-hit Arab country’s airspace and flew over parts of the northwestern province of Idlib.
The unmanned aerial vehicle crossed into Syria’s airspace on Thursday and carried out surveillance flights before being targeted over the town of Talet Khattab, situated about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) east of the city of Jisr al-Shughour, near the border with Turkey, Syria-based Arabic-language newspaper, al-Watan, reports.
An informed source, speaking on condition of anonymity, says the aircraft was purportedly collecting information and taking pictures for members of the terrorist group, Jaish al-Fath, following several failed attempts to overrun Talet Khattab.
On May 16, former Turkish defense minister, Ismet Yilamz, said his country’s army had shot down a Syrian helicopter.
According to Turkish-language daily, Hürriyet, a Turkish F-16 fighter jet targeted and brought down the Syrian aircraft with two missiles.
In March 2014, Turkey shot down another Syrian warplane near the Turkish-Syrian border. A Syrian helicopter was also targeted by the Turkish Air Force in September 2013.
Turkey has been one of the main opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, since a conflict began in neighboring Syria, 5 years ago.
Various offshoots of al-Qaeda and ISIL Takfiri terrorists use the Turkey-Syria border --- as a major supply route for obtaining heavy weapons & artillery.
Ankara is widely believed to be facilitating a flow of foreign nationals into neighboring Syria & Iraq, where they join the ranks of extremist terror groups.
Back in February, Turkey & the US signed a deal to train and arm what they call the 'moderate militants' who are terrorising Syria's people, who are being defended by Hezbollah, Kurdish forces, & -- of course -- Syrian government troops.
How Canada's Embassy Participated in 2014 Ukraine Regime Change
It allowed its premises to be used as a base of operations, safe haven for street fighting anti-government protesters
Murray Brewster (CBC News) Donate! This originally appeared at CBC News and others
Introductionary note by New Cold War.org:
The following article was published in every major daily newspaper in Canada. The author closes the article with an epilogue providing an interpretation of the sniper massacre on Maidan Square in Kyiv on Feb. 20, 21, 2014.
It repeats the claim that police forces of the government of President Victor Yanukovych directed police snipers to fire on and kill protesters on the square. This narrative has been challenged by some researchers.
Their meticulous research, which is ongoing, finds that it was those seeking to overthrow the Yanukovych government who staged the killings of protesters by snipers. A lead researcher in this is Ivan Katchanovski at the University of Ottawa.
KYIV, Ukraine – It was one of those events that simply appeared and disappeared during the bloody, swift-moving events of Ukraine in the winter revolution of 2014.
Canada’s embassy in Kyiv was used as a haven for several days by anti-government protesters during the uprising that toppled the regime of former president Viktor Yanukovych.
The Harper government never fully acknowledged — during the upheaval or since — the depth and extent of the security breach, which has had far- reaching implications on how Canadians are perceived in the region.
The Canadian Press has spent months piecing together events surrounding the extraordinary incident, which started on Feb. 18, 2014 and occurred at the height of the violent crack- down against pro-European protesters.
Armed with stones, left behind flowers
It began, according to multiple sources in Kyiv and Ottawa, when one of the protesters being chased by riot police waved a Canadian pass- port at embassy security. Once the door was open, the individual was quickly followed by other demonstrators armed with sticks and paving stones.
Roman Waschuk, current Canadian ambassador in Kyiv, confirms the account in a recent inter- view with The Canadian Press. “I understand that there was a Canadian passport holder associated in some way with the group,” said Waschuk, who replaced Troy Lulashnyk as ambassador in Kyiv last year.
He acknowledged the protesters were camped in the main lobby for at least a week, which is something neither Foreign Affairs nor the Harper government has ever publicly stated.
Waschek also suggested no harm came of it. “From what I was told, it was several days and they left flowers on departure,” he said.
A host of security improvements were made in the aftermath, but that opening of the doors was “a gesture designed to react & to reach out to the people suffering in the turmoil,” Waschek said.
Allies question Canada’s role
But some of Canada’s European allies, speaking in the background because of the sensitivity of the subject, said the fact that protesters were allowed to stay for so long and operate freely, made it appear that Canada was an active participant in regime change, and not just lending moral support.
That was certainly the perception of Ukraine’s interior ministry, which oversees the police, national guard and the country’s intelligence services. 2 ministry officials, with knowledge of the case and who agreed to meet as long as their identities were not revealed, said a criminal investigation was opened into the actions of protesters, but quietly dropped after Yanukovych fled to Russia.
They described an extraordinary scene of chaos and violence outside the embassy, which is located in the heart of the city, immediately adjacent to the Maidan — or independence — square. “There wasn’t much of an obstacle for them to get in. Not much security,” said one official. “Canada was sympathizing with the protesters, at the time, more than with the government.”
The lobby was used to treat the wounded on the night of February 18, & they were transferred to hospital by ambulance amid the violence, which included a mini-van stolen by protesters,say the officials. That was later found burned, something Ottawa hasn’t acknowledged, they said.
“There was no public statement from the Canadian side about this, and it’s really interesting what grounds they would use not to say something,” said the 2nd official.
Layers of intrigue surround the occupation, which was first reported by Russian media as an attack on the embassy by pro-Russia groups.
A spokesperson for then-foreign affairs minister John Baird acknowledged, on the day itself, that protesters were in the reception area of the building; they had taken “shelter,” and they were “peaceful and have not caused any damage or harm to staff.”
After the initial report, there was silence. The embassy was closed & remained so throughout the tumultuous events that culminated with Yanukovych fleeing to Russia on Feb. 22.
How the protesters got in and what happened during their stay was never fully explained by the Harper government, which — according to sources in Ottawa — was seized with how to respond and what options there might be to end the occupation. In the end, a decision was made “at the highest levels” to let events play-out.
Strident Canada is no shock to Ukrainians
If you talk to ordinary people here, academics or even Ukraine’s charge d’affaires in Ottawa, the fact Canada pushed the envelope, is not surprising. They see it as a natural extension of the Harper government’s bullish rhetoric, and something they have come to expect.
“Generally speaking in Ukrainian public opinion, as well in the Ukraine government of that time, there was common understanding that Canadian sympathies are on the side of the protesters, pro- European, pro-democratic,” Marko Shevchenko said recently, in The Canadian Press.
Dominque Arel, a noted expert on Ukraine at the University of Ottawa, agreed, and said the perception that Canada was more than a disinterested bystander was formed long before the Maidan protests, which erupted in the fall of 2013, turned violent.
Embassy incident reflects broader policy
The fallout is rarely discussed, but Canadians are not very popular in some quarters and are occasionally loathed by pro-Russian Ukrainians. Arel said he knows of one incident where a Canadian journalist was briefly detained by rebels.
Bob Fowler, a former diplomat and senior foreign policy adviser to three prime ministers, says the Harper government has played a dangerous game & pushed the country’s involvement in Ukraine to the point where Canada has become a disruptive influence for allies, who have more at stake in managing confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia and are trying to keep the conflict from erupting into all- out war.
“We’re not the considered, intelligent players that we used to be,” said Fowler, who as a UN representative survived a kidnapping by al-Qaeda. “We have been all mouth and no brain.”
The embassy incident is a small but perfect snapshot of what Canada’s foreign policy has become, said Fowler. “I would argue we have very little credibility within NATO. Of course, our friends in NATO aren’t going to say that publicly, but the people within NATO who are relevant to our discussion, they know about Canadian military capabilities. They know about what we could and could not do and they know our posturing is utterly vacuous.”
NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar was shocked by the recounting of events and demanded the RCMP investigate the security breach. He accused the government of covering up the incident and endangering the lives of not only embassy staff, but Canadian citizens in the country.
“Why are we just learning of this now?” asked Dewar. “And what would have happened had the revolution gone the other way and Yanukovych stayed? If things had gone that way, not only would our credibility have been undermined but also the safety and security of our staff.”
US Mulls Expanding Training to Ukraine Regular Army
Current training only applies to the National Guard -- founded immediately after the Maidan overthrow
This article originally appeared at Antiwar.com Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) Donate! General Ben Hodges is all for it
Earlier this year, in a highly controversial move, the Pentagon sent troops to Western Ukraine to begin training national guardsmen working for the nation’s Interior Ministry.
The move was opposed by some in the region because it began amid a ceasefire in the Ukrainian civil war, a ceasefire the US is seen as opposing.
Now, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges reports that the Pentagon is considering a dramatic escalation of that training, expanding it to cover not just the interior ministry, but Ukraine’s special forces and, potentially, the entire army. He says the expansion would not necessarily include US arms being sent to the country, but doesn’t appear to rule it out, either.
Merkel, Hollande Urge Poroshenko publicly to Give Donbass Self-Rule (taken from Russia Insider)
Tired of war and impatient with Poroshenko, Merkel & Hollande go public now, with their desire for a semi-autonomous East Ukraine.
So Poroshenko finds himself between a rock & Right Sector. The right-wing bruisers who helped bring him to power are in open revolt. & now his closest European allies have gone public with their dissatisfaction over Kiev’s so-called constitutional “reforms.” Via AFP:
German Chancellor Angel Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, took the rare step Friday, of pressing Ukraine’s Western- backed leader to ensure partial self-rule for the pro-Russian separatist east.
Poroshenko says Merkel and Hollande – both present at the Minsk agreement’s signing in February – “recommended that the president of Ukraine continue with (his) constitutional reforms”.
The two “especially stressed that the draft constitution of Ukraine reflects special self- rule for certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions”.
Hollande’s office confirms that the French leader & Merkel put “particular emphasis on the special status of certain areas in the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, in the draft constitution”.
Kiev has thus far refused to sit down at the negotiating table with rebel leaders, and has made it clear that it is unwilling to even consider proposals for reform of the constitution, from Donbass.
Yatsenyuk says repeatedly Kiev: “won’t negotiate with terrorists.”
This is a massive, unrepentant violation of the Minsk agreements. Merkel & Hollande know this – and now we see Europe’s first public admonishment of Poroshenko.
Despite US arm-twisting, it appears that Europe is beginning to wake up.
Poroshenko might have a one-way ticket to Elba, soon.
Right Sector Members Admit Killing Police on Maidan Square - Media Not Interested
Ivan Katchanovski, perhaps the biggest expert on the Maidan massacre in the world today, can not get published in any of the dozens of western outlets that are happy to run rubbish... and this is why Rhondda Records exists.
This article originally appeared at New Col War.org
A member of “Vikings” neo-Nazi group, in Right Sector during “Euromaidan”, recently repeated on a Ukrainska pravda forum, his earlier, public admission that he killed 2 policemen on Feb 18, 2014, and that his associate, who was deputy leader of “Vikings,” also killed 2 policemen on the same day, with his Nagant revolver. They both served in the Ukrainian Voluntary Corps of Right Sector, during the war in Donbas.
These confessions, and other evidence of the involvement of the Right Sector in the violent overthrow of the Ukrainian government and in the Maidan massacre, continue to be ignored by the government in Ukraine, and by the Ukrainian and Western media.
Yet numerous reports in Ukraine's media hailed the ex deputy leader of the “Vikings” as a heroic “cyborg” both before, and after, he was killed in fighting at Donetsk airport.
* * *
A reader of Ivan Katchanovski’s Facebook page suggests that the researcher should publish the findings above --- as well as other findings --- in a publication such as Open Democracy.
"I think it is unlikely that Open Democracy, or other such Western media outlets, would now publish such an article, because of its content. Open Democracy accepted my article on the involvement of the far right in the Maidan massacre --- but then did not publish it.
"Other Western media outlets also refused to publish it. Several correspondents for leading Western media are familiar with my Facebook posts and related research findings on the far right in Ukraine, but they, also, would not report now about these confessions, for similar reasons."
Another reader writes: “Which Western media outlets refused to publish your article? Just try it again. There is no pro-Ukrainian media conspiracy in the West.” Katchanovski replies:
"They include: the Guardian, Atlantic, Foreign Policy, the Washington Post, Salon, and Open Democracy.
"Now, the media ignores or minimizes the role of neo-Nazis and other far right organizations --- in the violent overthrow of the government & the war in Donbas --- for political reasons."
My website contains this, & other studies:
'The politics of television coverage of post-communist countries' (Feb. 2012).
NATO’s Missile Defense Strategy Based on Lies – Russian MP Sputnik - NATO’s desire to build up its missile defenses, despite Monday’s breakthrough deal with Iran, means that the entire idea of the US missile shield in Europe, is based on lies, Alexei Pushkov, head of Russia's State Duma’s foreign affairs committee, says.
On Tuesday, Iran and six leading world powers signed a comprehensive plan to end sanctions on Iran, in exchange for putting restrictions on its nuclear program.
Commenting on the breakthrough agreement clinched in Vienna, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that during a 2009 speech in Prague, US President Barack Obama said that if such an agreement were signed, the proposed US missile shield in Europe would lose its relevance.
An unnamed NATO representative told media on Tuesday that, despite the agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program, the missile threat to NATO remais, adding that NATO's missile defense program had in mind “all types of threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area.”
“The entire strategy of the proposed US missile shield in Europe is based on lies,” Mr Pushkov says, in comments aired by Rossiya-24 TV.
“First, they talked about the missile threat from Iran, even though Tehran had neither missiles nor reasons for such an attack. Then they talked about the imaginary threat posed by North Korea, which is on the other side of the globe. And now they are talking about some 30 countries which allegedly now threaten to fire missiles on Europe. When asked to name at least a dozen such states, they tell us that this is classified information,” Pushkov adds.
“NATO officials come out, here, as plain hypocrites and liars, because their proposed missile shield is really aimed against Russia’s nuclear deterrence. Hating to admit this, they resort to outright lies,” Alexei Pushkov says, in conclusion.
Iran, P5+1 diplomatic breakthrough in nuclear talks
Well over a decade of negotiations on Iran’s civilian nuclear program have finally reached a conclusion, with Iran and its latest interlocutors, the P5+1, sealing an agreement.
The hitherto elusive agreement was finally nailed down on Tuesday in the ritzy Palais Coburg Hotel in Vienna, where negotiators from Iran and the six other countries had recently been spending over 2 weeks to work out remaining technical and political issues.
Terms of agreement
The agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will, according to Iran's officials, be presented to the UN Security Council (UNSC), which will adopt a resolution in 7 to 10 days, making the JCPOA an official document.
Based on the agreement, the world powers recognize Iran’s civilian nuclear program, including Iran's right to the complete nuclear cycle.
The UNSC sanctions against Iran, including all economic & financial bans, will be lifted at once under a mutually agreed framework and through a new UN resolution.
None of the Iranian nuclear facilities will be dismantled or decomissioned.
Nuclear research & development activities on all types of centrifuges, including the IR-6 & IR-8 machines, will continue.
The nuclear-related economic and financial restrictions imposed by the US and EU, targeting Iranian banking, financial, oil, gas, petrochemical, trade, insurance & transport sectors will - at once - be annulled with the start of implementation of the agreement.
An arms embargo imposed on the Islamic Republic will be annulled & replaced with certain restrictions, which will be entirely removed, after a period of five years.
Tens of billions of dollars in Iranian revenue frozen in foreign banks, will be unblocked.
800 persons and legal entities, including the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), will have sanctions lifted.
Iran & IAEA
Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says that the nuclear watchdog has signed a “road map” with Iran to probe so-called possible military dimensions (PMDs) in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities.
Iran categorically denies any such dimensions in its nuclear program.
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, says that, based on the road map, the two sides will take measures to fully resolve all outstanding issues of the past, regarding the Iranian nuclear program.
The diplomatic breakthrough is likely to – in the words of Iran’s Foreign Minister and top negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif – “end an unnecessary crisis” on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program and “open new horizons” for all concerned parties.
The standoff over Iran’s nuclear program began back in 2003 when Western countries and some of their allies accused the Islamic Republic of seeking to build a nuclear bomb, an allegation Tehran categorically denied.
The dispute lingered despite the fact that Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei had declared as forbidden the pursuit and possession of atomic weapons, and that countless reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found no evidence to prove the allegations of military diversions in the Iranian nuclear program.
The nuclear talks went on for over 12 years. Iran’s original negotiating partners were the UK, France and Germany, a group known back in 2003, as the E3.
The talks gained greater momentum under President Hassan Rouhani's government, who tasked the Iranian Foreign Ministry – on Zarif’s watch – with handling the talks, soon after assuming office in 2013.
Prior to the past 22 months, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) had been in charge of the talks under previous administrations.
Yemeni forces seize Saudi arms airdrop meant for terrorists: Report
Yemen's army, along with popular committees, has reportedly seized weapons Saudi military aircraft dropped to the terrorists operating in the southern part of the country.
The Yemeni forces seized the weapons and ammunition airdropped to the terrorists in the southwestern Yemeni province of Lahij on Monday, Yemen's al-Masirah TV reports.
Photos released by the channel on social networks show different sorts of arms, including automatic guns and rocket launchers, airdropped to the terrorists.
In May, Saudi planes airdropped weapons to al-Qaeda terrorists, in the southwestern province of Ta'izz.
Saudi military planes also dropped a number of wooden boxes containing various firearms and ammunition to militants in the south- western port city of Aden in April.
Saudi Arabia keeps bombing Yemen
Saudi Arabia targeted several areas across Yemen early Tuesday, in a flagrant violation of the UN-sponsored ceasefire.
According to local media outlets, Saudi war planes launched a number of airstrikes on Aden International Airport in Aden province. Saudi jets also pounded Mualla & Attawahi districts, in the southwestern province.
Saudi fighter jets also bombarded a bank and an orphanage in the district of Harad in the northwestern province of Hajjah.
There has been no report on the possible casualties or damage due to the attacks.
In retaliation, Yemeni troops, backed by popular committees, fired 15 rockets at a Saudi base in Yemen's southwestern Jizan region.
In a separate attack, the Yemeni army fired six rockets at the village of Khubah in Jizan.
UN chief disappointed with Yemen truce failure
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he is "very much disappointed" with the violation of the ceasefire, a spokesperson for the UN chief says.
"The secretary general is very disappointed, that the humanitarian pause didn't take hold over the weekend," Stephane Dujarric says, adding:- "we continue to reiterate our call for an unconditional humanitarian pause."
"We have not lost hope and discussions are ongoing," Dujarric notes.
The humanitarian truce in Yemen came into force at 23:59 local time (2059 GMT) on Friday. The UN Security Council called on all sides of Yemen's conflict to observe a break in fighting, which was slated to run up to the end of the fasting month of Ramadan on July 17th.
S. Arabia has violated the truce several times since its announcement.
Over 3,000 people, including 1,500 civilians, have been killed over the past 3 months in Yemen, according to the UN.
Greek crisis endgame: EU agrees to allocate €80bn+ over 3 years
RT - After 17 hours of marathon talks, eurozone leaders have reached an agreement over a third three-year bailout for debt-ridden Greece, worth around €82-86 billion, which averts the risk of the country leaving the eurozone.
On Twitter, President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, says the agreement on Greece was reached “unanimously”. All of the key participants in the talks acknowledge that this deal means any so-called Grexit, is no longer on the agenda.
The program will affect overall pension reform, reform of product markets, privatization, and changes in labour exchanges, says German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, after the euro- zone summit, on Monday.
“We have been long engaged in the matter of the program's size, which is very significant - from €82 to €86 billion over three years," she says, at a news conference.
A write-off of Greece’s debt is not on the agenda, she adds.
“It has been agreed to start negotiations on an (European Stability Mechanism) ESM program, which means continued financial support for Greece," continues Tusk. "The decision gives Greece the chance to get back on track, with the support of European partners," he says, adding that there will be"strict conditions."
Greece has agreed to set up a €50 billion fund to repay its debt, says Eurogroup President, Jeroen Dijsselbloem.
"The target size of the fund, which will accumulate the assets of Greece, will be €50 billion, and it will be based in Greece.
This will create a fund, to which, funds will be transferred, which will then be monetized through their privatization or commercial use.
The fund will be aimed at solving the debt problem, or debt reduction, & can be used to recapitalize banks," says Dijsselbloem.
The problem of recapitalizing the banks, is one of the key challenges for the eurozone, according to Dijsselbloem. This will require about €25 billion, half of the €50 billion fund, he adds.
The European Commission will provide the Greek economy with €35 billion in investment, European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, adds.
The Greek parliament has to approve all the reform laws by July 15th, in order to receive the aid, says Dijsselbloem. The conclusion of negotiations on the development of the third program of aid to Athens, will require a few more weeks, he adds.
The markets and the euro started growing after the Greek agreement. A composite Stoxx Europe 600 Index grew by 1.1% at the opening, with the euro rallying to $1,1147 from a Friday reading of $1,1162.
The results achieved at the summit allow Greece to return to the path of growth, Merkel says, at a press conference after the meeting.
"All in all, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. I think that Greece has a chance to return to the path of growth," Merkel says.
“We’ve made a good step to build confidence, but there [are] still a lot of steps to implement what has been achieved,” says the IMF Chief, Christine Lagarde.
The agreement is complex, but Greece avoids the transfer of its state property abroad, and financial strangulation, plus the destruction of its financial system, Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, comments.
Tsipras was asking for a €53.5 billion bailout package, over three years.
US drone attack kills 12 people in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar
Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiw, spokesperson for Nangarhar's police, claims the attack targeted Taliban militants in Achin district.
A US drone strike killed 25 in Nanagarhar.
The deadly attacks came the day after at least 43 people died in two separate US drone attacks in Nangarhar.
The USA carries out drone operations in several countries, including Afghanistan, without any UN authorization.
The US claims that the attacks target Taliban militants, but a large number of those killed by strikes are civilians.
The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity still lingers across the war-torn country... despite the presence of thousands of US-led troops.
The US-led combat mission in Afghanistan formally ended on December 31, 2014. But at least 13,500 foreign forces, mainly from the US, have remained in Afghanistan in what Washington calls a support mission.
NATO says the force will focus mainly on counterterrorism operations and training Afghan soldiers and policemen.
Colombia, FARC rebels agree on de-escalation plan
The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), have come to a landmark agreement to de-escalate fighting in the country, sources say.
The Colombian government pledges to halt its military action against the rebels, who last week announced a 1-month unilateral ceasefire starting from July 20, both parties say in a joint statement.
“The government, from July 20th, will launch a process of 'de-escalation of military action', in response to a suspension of offensive actions by the FARC,” says a statement issued in the Cuban capital, Havana, and read by Cuban & Norwegian diplomats, who've been mediating the talks. The agreement will come into force if FARC fulfills its promised unilateral truce.
FARC’s top negotiator in Havana expresses hope that the ceasefire will lead to a restart of bilateral negotiations.
“This is undoubtedly a strong, promising, & hopeful re-launch of the dialogue process,” says Ivan Marquez.
His government counterpart, Humberto de la Calle, says the accord shows that “the opportunity to end the conflict, is alive.”
FARC will later decide if it will extend its ceasefire, while both sides will revisit the agreement in four months, mediators say.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos hails the deal, calling it an “important step” towards a total peace agreement.
It's the first time Colombia's government has agreed to curb its military actions against the rebels, since talks began in November 2012, in Havana.
The negotiations have produced partial agreements on several issues, but have not resulted in any 'final' deal.
FARC is L. America’s oldest rebel group and has been battling the government since 1964.
Bogota estimates that 220,000 people have been killed and over 4.5 million others have been displaced due to the FARC insurgency.
RIGHT SECTOR KILLERS 'ESCAPE'
Right Sector fighters who were blockaded by security forces near the town of Mukachevo, have managed to escape, Vasily Guban, the governor of the Zakarpattia Region, says.
“The armed Right Sector members will be tracked down. At the moment, their whereabouts are unknown. They did not give up their weapons and did not contact the police,” Guban says, as quoted by Ukraine’s 24 channel.
Ukraine’s ultranationalist Right Sector has launched a nationwide mobilization and a withdrawal from Donbass conflict zone, after deadly clashes with police, near the southwestern town of Mukachevo, on Saturday.
Hungary enhances security measures at border with Ukraine after Mukachevo developments
TASS - Hungary has enhanced security measures along its border with Ukraine after developments in Mukachevo city, in Ukraine’s Trans Carpathia, after gunmen from Right Sector extremist group staged deadly attacks on a range of facilities, Trans-Carpathian News online says on Sunday.
According to the news outlet, Hungary enhanced security measures at the border, and is checking Ukrainians crossing into its territory 'carefully'.
"Hungarian customs officers are inspecting Ukrainian cars more attentively. Additional police posts have been installed to check Ukrainian cars that have already crossed the border into Hungary," it says.
Ukraine's Foreign Ministry ambassador-at-large Dmitry Kuleba says developments in Mukachevo may affect the prospects of introducing visa-free travel between Ukraine and the European Union.
"After a real battle staged by the Right Sector right on the border with the European Union," the Ukrainian authorities "bear responsibility for failing to meet a number of demands" for establishing the visa-free travel regime with the EU, the diplomat says.
"For months, we have been convincing the EU - reasonably - that risks in the security sphere have been minimized." the ambassador says on Facebook. "And now..."
On Sat, July 11, gunmen from Right Sector extremist group, which is banned in Russia, used small arms fire against their opponents while discussing a "redistribution of spheres of influence" in Mukachevo. The extremists later opened fire with rifles, heavy machine guns and grenade launchers on police who came to the scene. They destroyed several police vehicles and also set on fire a traffic police checkpoint and a petrol station.
As a result, three persons were killed and eleven wounded. Some gunmen were then blocked into a wooded area near the city. Ukraine’s law enforcers were in talks with them... but they "escaped".
RIGHT SECTOR MAKES MOVE
Right Sector is calling on its supporters to hold open-ended protest actions across the country and demand punishment for those they think are responsible for the clashes, including the Ukrainian Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov. They want his resignation.
In Kiev, Right Sector members refuse to surrender arms, and say they will place posts at roads leading to Mukachevo, to stop Ukrainian law enforcers from building up their forces in the city.
Right Sector's press secretary says they will continue their protest rallies -- until Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, is fired:
Ukraine’s extremist group, Right Sector, isn't going to lay down its arms, and will demonstrate force to Kiev’s authorities, Right Sector’s press secretary, Artem Skoropadsky, tells a briefing, Sunday:
"Our leader, Dmitry Yarosh, has not ordered a laying down of arms:- our soldiers will not do so," he says, adding that Right Sector has an additional 17 battalions in reserve, which are training now, before being sent to Donbass, and: "if necessary, they will all be by the presidential administration and by the interior ministry and then the authorities will see what angry nationalists are like."
Right Sector's Press Secretary goes on...
"In western Ukraine, the militia has been supervising smuggling for 20 years, and, within the year of Avakov’s power, the situation has not changed. Nor has it changed in the entire country.
"Lustration hasn't worked, corruption is booming. We are not going to be standing peacefully: we'll be talking to the power differently, toughly."
A representative of the Right Sector’s 13th battalion Alexei Byk, says the weapons his soldiers have, were "captured in fighting in Donbass, and they are not going to report them to the authorities."
President Poroshenko is ordering law enforcement agencies "to disarm and detain the criminals who opened fire & killed peaceful civilians in Mukachevo," Right Sector has alerted its supporters.
Right Sector members are blocking the presidential administration in Kiev, and the organisation’s guards are near the regional administrations in Lvov, Kharkov, Odessa, Zaporozhje and Nikolayev.
Saudi airstrikes violate ‘unconditional humanitarian pause’ in Yemen
A second UN-brokered humanitarian pause in Yemen, was being violated by Saudi-led air strikes less than 1 hour after the truce came into effect.
According to reports, at least three cities have witnessed bombardment.
Xi Calls for China-Rusia-Mongolia Cooperation
Prensa Latina - Chinese President Xi Jinping, attending the closing ceremony of the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the southwestern Russian city of Ufa, called on China, Russia & Mongolia to push forward the construction of an economic corridor linking the 3 nations.
Obama hiding Gitmo force-feeding videos: Report
The Obama administration repeatedly refuses to release the force-feeding videos of 'Gitmo' detainees... and still refrains from releasing force-feeding the videos of one Guantanamo detainee, Abu Wa-el Dhiab, despite repeated orders by a court judge, a new report says.
A federal judge, criticizing lawyers representing Obama's administration for repeatedly refusing to release the videos, has ordered the federal government to complete redactions to the videos by the end of September.
US District Judge Gladys Kessler issued her order one day after she blasted Justice Dept. lawyers in court, for repeatedly wasting time redacting the videos, says 'Huffington Post'.
Kessler said in court: "the government has fought at every single step, the progress of this case."
The US government has appealed against her previous order to speed up redaction and release the videos.
She says the only consistent thing "about the Government's position, has been its constant plea for more time."
She says the US government is saying it will take months to redact the videos, despite all their available resources.
"At its new rate, it will take the Government 148 days -- six times the period the Government itself initially stated -- to process the 32 videos that it had previously said could be redacted in just 25 business days," she states.
"And now, the government is indicating that it needs over 13 business days just to redact one hour of footage", she adds.
She says that these videos, requested by at least 16 news organizations, will create a “completely different climate.”
Apparently, the videos are so disturbing, that the US government believes revealing them will lead to attacks on US personnel.
A lawyer for Dhiab, who has been protesting against the conditions of his confinement at Guantanamo, says she had difficulty sleeping after watching those "grim" videos showing her client being force-fed, described by the government as "enteral feeding."
Dhiab, a 46-yr-old, originally from Syria, was in Guantanamo prison, for about 12 years --- without any charges. He was finally freed months ago, and sent to Uruguay.
Washington says prisoners at the facility are terror suspects - but has not pressed charges against most of them, in a court.
Many have gone on hunger strikes, to protest at the conditions in the prison --- set up after September 11th, 2001.
Yemenis rally to mark International Quds Day
The war-stricken people of Yemen, like millions of others across the world, took to the streets to mark International Quds Day, on Friday.
The Yemeni people marched in mass rallies to make the point that the Saudi aggression against their country, will not make them forget the Muslim world’s main cause.
SCO to do everything to prevent repetition of World War II tragedy — Putin
TASS - The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member-countries intend to make every effort to continue the fight against Nazism.
This is envisaged in the joint statement to be adopted, among other documents, at the SCO summit, Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, told the expanded SCO session, on Friday.
"The Ufa summit is being held in the year of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II," he said. "We deeply honor the heroic acts of our peoples, and we will do everything possible to prevent the repetition of the tragedy, which brought the world to the brink of annihilation."
According to the president, this approach is envisaged in the joint statement on the 70th anniversary of the Victory over Nazism being adopted on Friday.
The Russian president adds that he will take part in the celebrations in September, at the invitation of Chinese friends, to mark the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Japanese militarism, with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
India, Pakistan accession to SCO may change balance of power on world arena — Uzbek leader
SCO leaders agreed on Friday on the accession of India & Pakistan, and Uzbekistan President Karimov says it changes the political map, and may also influence the balance of power in the world.
"How will the accession process of these two states happen, taking into consideration that they aren't ordinary states, but own nuclear weapons? If we look through this lens, then their accession to the SCO, will not simply change the political map, but I think it may change the balance of power," he said, at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, on the sidelines of the SCO summit... in Russia’s Ufa.
At SCO's summit Friday, the leaders agreed on the accession procedure for India and Pakistan,giving the organization a similar status to the "big eight" countries. Their membership will be finalized in 2016.
The bloc has also received applications for 'observer' or 'dialogue partner' status, from many other countries, such as Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka, Syria, the Maldives, Cambodia, and Egypt.
SCO starts expansion, ratifies 10-year development strategy The Shanghai Cooperation Organization on Friday, ratified its resolution starting expansion procedures and passed a full blueprint for the bloc's development, in the next decade. The leaders of the SCO states ratified a resolution starting procedures granting India and Pakistan full membership. The SCO also elevated Belarus to observer status from dialogue partner, and took in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia and Nepal as new dialogue partners, the final Ufa document says. The organization's development in the upcoming 10 years, has also been set. A now approved SCO Development Strategy for up to 2025, maps goals for SCO member states to cooperate in many areas, such as politics, security, trade and the economy, and in people-to-people exchanges, over the next decade. Analysts say, with its expansion, the SCO will give a platform for broader economic and security cooperation, within Eurasia. Both India & Pakistan will be better able to improve their domestic security, as the rich experience accumulated by the bloc will help them tackle "3 evil forces," says Chen Yurong, a senior research fellow at China's Institute of International Studies. Pakistan applied for full membership in 2006 - and India, in 2014.
Iran urges six world powers to choose between deal and pressure
Tehran urges the 6 world powers (5 permanent UN Security Council members, plus Germany), to choose between the agreement or pressure, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, tells reporters on Friday.
"We have stated many times that the agreement and pressure, are incompatible," Zarif says.
"We note the excessive demands for us, and see changes in positions," the country’s top diplomat says. "Besides, differences are observed among the six powers themselves. This, has hampered the work," he adds.
Zarif notes that efforts to work out the document continue. "We should not leave and won’t leave, the negotiating table," Zarif says.
A high-ranking source in the Iranian delegation told TASS on Thursday that talks between Iran and the P5+1 group on the historic agreement, in Vienna, Austria, may last 'several more days'.
Diplomats reveal that the US and UK are blocking a deal and France is 'equivocal'.
Yemen truce to be announced today: UN envoy
A humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen is now "expected to be announced within a day", raising hopes for a halt to Saudi Arabia's deadly airstrikes, the UN envoy to Yemen said, on Thursday.
A Thursday report by Yemen News Agency SABA, quoted Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, as saying that agreement had been reached on a humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen.
Ould Cheikh said an official announcement of a truce deal could come within the next 24 hours.
The development came as fugitive former Yemeni government members, currently based in Saudi Arabia, said on Wednesday, that they will accept a UN-sponsored truce deal in Yemen. They said fugitive former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, had set conditions, including a release of some former officials by Ansarullah, plus a Houthi withdrawal from some southern regions in Yemen.
Houthis seized control of the capital Sana’a in September. The revolutionaries then moved to take control of much of Yemen, from al-Qaeda linked militants and armed followers of Hadi.
Hadi’s ouster played into neighboring Saudi Arabia's hands, to unleash an all-out aerial aggression on Yemen, in March.
Yemen's Supreme Revolutionary Committee announced in a statement on Wednesday, that Sana’a will spare no efforts to avenge the casualties and destruction left behind by the Saudi aggression.
“Over 100 days the Saudi aggressors have committed the most heinous crimes in Yemen. They've violated all international laws, and have committed a fully-fledged genocide in Yemen,” the statement says, adding that Riyadh & its allies have been hindering all efforts aimed at reconciling the Yemeni factions.
According to the UN, over 5,100 people, including 1,528 civilians, have been killed since a Saudi military campaign in Yemen started, on March 26th.
Israel arming, providing recruits for Takfiri militants in Syria: Report
A recent report states that the Israeli regime has been providing recruits as well as military equipment, to Takfiri militant groups operating in Syria, trying to overthrow President Assad's government.
Classified documents & files newly obtained from Israeli military officials' computers, by unknown hackers, suggest that the Israeli regime hired Syrian and Lebanese nationals to facilitate the transfer of weapons to anti- Damascus terrorists, Lebanon-based Arabic newspaper al-Akhbar, reports on Thursday.
The report says Israeli agents even notified foreign-sponsored militants of the locations that Western military aircraft were to bomb in Syria for the US-led coalition against IS terrorists, long before the aerial assaults were conducted.
It points to the close liaison between the Israeli authorities and high-profile ISIL commanders.
Syria’s SANA news agency reported on May 23 how a wounded 27-yr-old Takfiri militant had been taken to Baruch Padeh Medical Centre, in the Israeli settlement of Poriya, approx. 6 klmtrs (3.7 mls) south of the coastal Israeli city of Tiberias, for treatment.
The report added that the Israeli medical centre had accepted and treated nearly 175 anti-Syria Takfiris ever since foreign- sponsored militancy broke out in Syria, in March 2011.
According to the documents from Israeli hospitals, up to last September, Israel’s military had paid out $10 million from its budget, for the treatment of terrorists injured in clashes with government forces.
The documents also show that a total of 398 injured militants were also treated at Galil Hospital in Israel’s northern coastal city of Nahariya, in the past two years.
Another hospital in the city of Safed, has provided treatment for hundreds of other Takfiri terrorists.
Damascus says Tel Aviv & its Western and regional allies, are aiding Takfiri militant groups operating inside Syria.
The Syrian army has repeatedly seized huge quantities of Israeli-made weapons and advanced military equipment, from the foreign-backed militants inside Syria.
The conflict in Syria, which started in March 2011, has reportedly claimed more than 230,000 lives up until now.
Hamas military wing announces production of new missiles
The military wing of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, announces the production of two new missiles on the anniversary of Israel’s 2014 summer war on tiny Gaza.
Forces of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades guarded the 2 missiles at a demonstration in Gaza City, after iftar, late on Wednesday.
The 'al-Attar A' and 'Abu Shamala' missiles are named after Hamas commanders Raed al-Attar and Mohammad Abu Shamala, who were killed in last year’s deadly offensive.
Hamas spokesperson Abu Obeida told the crowd the move marks a “qualitative leap” forward, adding that "time will prove… the effectiveness" of the missiles, which were carried on a lorry at the demonstration.
The resistance movement also released a statement announcing the operational status of the missiles in Gaza.
Meanwhile, a UN spokesperson slams Tel Aviv for its “inexcusable” siege, on the Palestinian territory.
"The blockade remains in place and its crippling effect on Gaza is undeniable, inexcusable,"says Robert Turner, the operations director in Gaza for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Israel started its latest war on Gaza in early July last year. Over 2,100 died & about 11,000 were injured in Israel's war, which ended on August 26th, 2014, with a truce that took effect after the Cairo negotiations.
Over 15,500 housing units were damaged in the war in Gaza and over 2,200 houses were completely destroyed, according to figures released by Palestinian sources.
Germany admits to 'genocide’ of Namibians
The speaker of Germany's parliament has said that a mass killing of indigenous Namibians by German imperial troops a century ago, was... “genocide.”
In a guest column for news weekly Die Zeit, Norbert Lammert says the Herero and Nama peoples were systematically massacred by German imperial troops, in the early years of the 20th century.
"Using today's standards of international law, the crushing of the Herero revolt --- was a genocide," Lammert writes, on Wednesday.
Lammert also points out that thousands of Namas and Hereros died from malnutrition and hunger, in 'prison camps'.
"There were tens of thousands of Herero and Nama victims, not only through fighting but also through illness and targeted killing by allowing people to die of thirst & hunger," the senior German official states, adding: "Others died in concentration camps and in slave labour."
Irritated by German settlers grabbing their land and cattle, and taking their women, the Herero people started an uprising in January 1904, with warriors. The Nama tribe joined the revolt a year later.
The colonial rulers responded ruthlessly and signed a notorious extermination order against the Hereros.
Figures show German troops massacred about 70,000 Hereros, which amounted to approximately 80% of its population. Troops also wiped out half the people of the Nama ethnic group.
A large number of victims were beheaded & their skulls sent to German researchers in Berlin, for "scientific" experiments.
In recent years, the German government has formally handed back dozens of the skulls, many of which were stored on dusty shelves at clinics.
The United Nations officially called the killings genocide as early as 1948, but successive German governments have refused to do so, to this day.
Calls for official recognition of a genocide have grown even stronger after Germany's Bundestag recognized the mass killing of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, as a genocide, in April this year.
German rule in Namibia ended in 1915.
US National Strategy: Washington Has Right to Invade Any 'Non-Ally' The National Military Strategy of the USA 2015 was released by the Pentagon, this July 1st:
"This 2015 National Military Strategy addresses the need to counter revisionist states that are challenging international norms, as well as violent extremist organizations (VEOs) that are undermining trans-regional security.
"We are working with allies and partners to deter, deny, and - when necessary - defeat potential state adversaries. Central to these efforts, is strengthening our global network of allies and partners," the doctrine states.
US publicist and investigative historian, Eric Zuesse, suggests that "revisionist regime" means "any government that's not an 'ally.'"
He points out that contrary to America's Founders' concept of non-interference, the US is currently forming dubious anti- BRICS alliances in the Asia-Pacific and in Europe.
George Washington said:"It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world".
Thomas Jefferson stated:"Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none."
Yet Obama's administration is seemingly serving Wall Street's interests, Zuesse notes, adding that the Pentagon strategy is aimed at ensuring "the security of the global economic system."
"The billionaires have done very well under his rule, but the general US public has not."
US journalist Mike Whitney notes that Obama's strategy calls for Americans to prepare for an endless war -- in contrast to Russia and China, which are developing the plan of an integrated Eurasian trade zone aimed at creating new jobs & facilitating the prosperity of Eurasia's nations -- Washington "has no strategy for the future, no vision of a better world," but "only death and destruction ahead."
"The entire political class and their elite paymasters unanimously support global rule via the force of arms," Mike Whitney stresses.
Furthermore, while previously US military forces were involved in counter-terrorism campaigns, the 2015 military doctrine regards "state actors" as a new target.
"For the past decade, our military campaigns primarily have consisted of operations against violent extremist networks. But today, & into the foreseeable future, we must pay greater attention to the challenges posed by state actors," the document reads.
The experts stress the White House's main goal is to "keep the empire intact."
In order to accomplish this task, Washington will do whatever it takes, from invading other nations to overthrowing legal governments, while indistinct formulations of its military doctrine will justify all its actions.
Kiev Officers Defect: 'Use of armed forces against civilians is a crime' Recently, on June 22nd, Major General of the Ukrainian armed forces, Alexander Kolomiets -- with other officers -- defected to Donbass, in South East Ukraine. Yet behind the US's Iron Curtain, they have not been able to understand that Obama admitted the US "brokered" a coup in Ukraine, on video.
This video is not enough, even with US troops in Yavoriv, Ukraine, and Kiev's General Viktor Muzhenko's stating that: "we are not fighting Russian troops" was not made public.
Americans aren't aware of the fact that Russian troops have never been, and do not exist, there.
The OSCE confirms it but the sanctions continue against Russia -- even though they're trying their best to bring peace to the Ukraine crisis.
Fortunately, people are coming to their senses in Kiev. They have demos against Poroshenko and the puppet government. Outside the US Embassy where the coup started, they yell: "Yankees go home!".
They demand that the US army leave Ukraine - & they are getting bolder with their protests. It was not that long ago, that anyone who protested against Poroshenko or the US, 'disappeared', or was murdered.
Like Oleg Buzina who predicted his own murder, when he said in his video: "the ones waiting for me...the ones bought and paid for by US State Department!"
Major General Alexander Kolomiets speech to the press was very impressive:
"Civilians including old people, women and children are being killed. Mothers are crying all over Ukraine. They get endless coffins for funerals. Being human, I can't watch this with detachment. I'm a general of the armed forces of Ukraine, I've devoted all my life to protect Ukraine from outside enemies. I declare: the use of armed forces against civilians is a crime.
"The constitution of Ukraine clearly prohibits the use of the armed forces against their own people.
"Officers are sitting next to me. They didn't want to fulfill criminal orders of the fascist junta. They don't want to kill their own people. This power only wants to kill and make fortune on this war. These officers, arms in hand, are now protecting their families and their houses.
"I address the world community. Please, pay special attention to systematic violations of human rights. Genocide of population, murders of civilians, old people, women, and children. Hundreds of soldiers and officers crossed over to the side of DPR during the "anti-terrorist operation" (ATO). They are now protecting our frontiers in Donetsk People's Republic.
"This is a fact. A lot of officers crossed over a year ago, when the ATO against Donbass began. They left the armed forces of Ukraine to come here. Having their families and houses here, they came to protect their land. I am Alexander Kolomiets, major general of the armed forces of Ukraine. My latest position was an aide of the Minister of Defense of Ukraine and I was the chief analyst of the armed forces of Ukraine.
"I went through Afghanistan. Many of these officers also were at hot spots. Fear isn't the most important factor. All the people sitting here want one thing: to protect what has been created here, against the Kiev criminal power."
The west cannot deny what he says, so they ignore his brave act and good, honest words.
Rhondda Records will not.
Over 40 Yemeni troops were killed in a Saudi airstrike on a military base in central Hadhramaut province.
Russia snap checks combat readiness of troops in Armenia
Russia has ordered the combat readiness of its troops in Armenia tested in a snap check --- after protests against price rises.
Russia's Southern Military District states that troops stationed in Armenia's mountain areas -- Kamkhud and Alagyaz -- have been ordered to perform snap combat readiness exercises.
Russian media also report that the Southern Military District commission "has started a sudden combat readiness check of the military base in the Republic of Armenia."
Russia has ordered several drills in recent months to test the readiness of its armed forces stationed around the world since a standoff with the West over the armed crisis in east Ukraine, started last year.
The snap check in Armenia also occurs after two weeks of street protests, as people have been opposing the planned rise in electricity prices, by a Russian-owned company.
Massive clashes erupted last month between police and protesters in the capital, Yerevan, in what was said to be one of the largest anti- government gatherings, in years.
Some say the protests are the result of boiling over anti-Russia sentiments in Armenia, as the government is said to give in to Russia too much.
President Serzh Sargsyan denies this, criticizing those who draw a similarity between the situation in Armenia and what happened in Ukraine last year.
Russia has warned Western governments about fomenting a revolution in Armenia, with the Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, warning Moscow ''will spare no efforts'' to protect one of its staunchest allies.
Russia and Armenia ties hit a bad low in January -- after a Russian soldier killed 7 family members, including a 6-month baby, in Gyumri, the same city where Russia has started its drills.
Iran, P5+1 to reach agreement no later than morning of July 8 – Iranian delegation
The nuclear agreement between Tehran and six world powers would be reached "either tonight, or by tomorrow morning by the latest", a high- profile Iranian source told TASS. The source stressed this decision couldn't be postponed.
The work is “very serious and hard” and continues to go on, with tensions rising & unfounded speculations being spread.
“It’s: we’ve lots of unanswered questions but we are sure we can solve them,” the diplomat said. “Everything is going to be all right,” the diplomat added.
At least 70 people killed in Saudi airstrike in Yemen’s Amran
At least 70 people have been killed in multiple Saudi airstrikes in Yemen’s western province of Amran.
Earlier on Monday, Saudi jets carried out raids on targets in the southwestern Lahij province, killing 50 more people.
EU-funded UK nuclear plant project draws Austria's complaint
Austria has filed a complaint against the European Commission, for granting EU state subsidies to the UK to build a new nuclear power plant.
Government officials confirm that Vienna has filed a complaint, with the European Court of Justice.
"Subsidies are there to support modern technologies that lie in the general interest of all EU member states. This is not the case with nuclear power," Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, says in a statement.
Vienna says the EU-funded Hinkley Point C project in England, breaks EU regulations and risks distorting the energy market.
Several EU states opposed the project before its approval. Still, the European Commission approved it in October 2014, after the UK modified funding plans for the deal.
The project was first estimated to cost $25 billion (about 22.6 billion euros). But, EU officials now estimate the project will cost $38 billion (about 34.5 billion euros).
Under the disputed deal, two new reactors will be constructed in southwest England by the French energy group Électricité de France (EDF), and in return, London must supply France with part of the electricity generated at the plant for 35 years, at a fixed rate.
"We're confident that the Commission's state aid decision on Hinkley Point C is legally robust," a spokesperson for the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change, said last week.
EDF is France's main electricity generation and distribution company and manages all 59 nuclear reactors in the country.
US to pay salaries of Governor Saakashvili’s team in Odessa, Ukraine Despite Mr Saakashvili saying he went to the US to gain tourists and investment for Odessa Oblast, he says today that the US government has agreed to pay the salaries of all of his staff.
Georgia's former President, Mr Saakashvili, says California police will also train Odessa’s officers.
“Within the framework of Odessa’s anti-corruption pressure, the US government agreed to provide funds for the salaries of Saakashvili's new team,” Saakashvili wrote on his Facebook page, after meeting Geoffrey Pyatt, the US Ambassador to Ukraine.
He added that American police officers from California “will train new Odessa police.”
Pyatt has repeatedly voiced his support for Saakashvili. Earlier in July he said the US “fully supports Mikheil Saakashvili and his team, and we will do everything so that they can succeed.”
Saakashvili left Georgia in autumn 2013, days before his presidential term expired. He has been living abroad ever since.
In spring 2014, Georgia's new ruling coalition accused Saakashvili of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state budget. Georgia's prosecutors are investigating this.
Saakashvili denies the charges, saying the funds went to "attracting foreign investors to the country".
Apart from embezzlement, Saakashvili has several other cases ongoing against him.
He's accused of abuse of power during the crackdown on anti-government protests in the capital, Tbilisi, on November 7th, 2007. He's also alleged to have been involved in attacking an opposition TV station, Imedi, seized by Georgian special forces on the same day, & appropriating the founder's assets.
In February 2015, Tbilisi issued an extradition request for Saakashvili, but the Kiev authorities rejected it.
UN to probe plane crash of Hammarskjold in 1961
Xinhua -- There is sufficient reason to investigate if the aircraft carrying then-UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold on an African peace mission in 1961 was shot down by another plane, killing all aboard, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon says.
A panel which Ban established in March to examine new allegations regarding the crash, near Ndola in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, of the Swedish- operated Douglas DC6 carrying Hammarskjold and 15 others, recently sent its finding to the secretary- general who sent them to the UN General Assembly with his recommendation to investigate some of the allegations further.
However, Ban says the panel believes Hammarskjold was not assassinated after surviving the crash, and that there was no hijacking or sabotage.
Hammarskjold, the second ever UN secretary- general, was trying to negotiate a cease-fire between secessionists from Katanga province and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"The panel assigned moderate probative value" to "new information relevant to the hypothesis of an aerial attack or other interference as a possible cause or causes of the crash," Ban wrote to General Assembly President Kutesa.
The reasons cited were "Nine new eyewitness accounts, that they observed more than one aircraft in the air at the same time as SE- BDY made its approach into Ndola, and that any additional aircraft were jets, or that SE-BDY was on fire before it impacted the ground, or that it was fired on or otherwise actively engaged by other aircraft present," he said.
There were also claims of two persons hearing "alleged intercepts or reading transcripts of intercepts of radio transmissions relating to a possible aerial or ground attack on SE-BDY" and there was additional information that has emerged on the air capability of the provincial government of Katanga in 1961 and its use of foreign military and paramilitary personnel," the secretary-general said.
Additionally, the panel also found "moderate probative value" to allegations that encrypted communications from Hammarskjold's aircraft were intercepted and that crew fatigue could have been "a contributing factor to the crash," he said.
The report says new information it considered "calls into question the official account of the time of discovery of the crash site and the behavior of various officials and local authorities."
"It's my view that a further inquiry or investigation will be necessary to finally establish the facts," Ban said, urging member states "to disclose, declassify or otherwise allow privileged access to information that they may possess related to the circumstances and conditions resulting in the deaths of the passengers of SE-BDY."
He urges that "any relevant records that remain classified more than 50 years after the fact, are declassified or otherwise made available for review by any eminent person or persons whom the Assembly may wish to entrust with this man- date. I consider this our solemn duty to my illustrious and distinguished predecessor, Dag Hammarskjold, to the other members of the party accompanying him, and to their families."
GREEK REFERENDUM: WITH 97% OF BALLOTS COUNTED, ‘NO’ VOTE GETS OVER 61%
Over 61% of Greeks say 'No' in crucial bailout referendum – early results
Over 61 percent of Greeks have voted “No” in Sunday’s referendum on the bailout deal & austerity measures, reported the Interior Ministry -- after almost 90% of the vote had been counted.
Saakashvili Selling Odessa to His Friends in USA
'Stop NATO' recently published news from Interfax Ukraine -- which went unnoticed.
The short news piece says: “Odessa regional administration head Mikheil Saakashvili, has left for the US to present the region’s invest- ment opportunities to international investors.”
Mikheil Saakashvili, former US sponsored President of Georgia (2004 – 2013), now wanted for “exceeding official powers” by Georgia, was gifted Ukrainian citizenship by President Petro Poroshenko, who made him governor of Odessa Oblast. That way, he avoided extradition and prison.
Saakashvili, on his latest trip to the US:
“I am presenting Odessa region’s investment opportunities to international investors, in New York. Odessa has lots of advantages, in particular, a very well-educated and talented population, and amazing tourism potential, & we will guarantee investors, protection from extortion & rackets, which have obstructed economic growth so much, until lately,” Saakashvili said on Facebook, Friday.
Open for tourism? Safe environment?
We may recall the May 2nd, 2014 massacre, when 200 people were injured & 48 activists were killed by fascist thugs: burned to death in the Trade Unions Building fire, or beaten and/or shot, while trying to escape.
This repression in Odessa is ongoing. About a month ago, Eric Draitser wrote:
"In recent weeks & months, the local authorities have engaged in politically motivated arrests of key journalists & bloggers, who've presented a critical perspective on developments in Odessa.
"Most prominent among them are the editors of the website infocenter-odessa.com, a locally oriented news site, which has been fiercely critical of the Kiev regime and its local authorities."
In April a group of Odessan residents announced their intention to break away from Ukraine & join the newly formed Donetsk & Luhansk Republics in Eastern Ukraine. Shortly after, security forces arrested and tortured several dozen residents:
Here is the text of the official statement sent by the head of the People’s Republic of Odessa:
“Odessans again, are choking on the blood of their sons. This time, the Nazis didn't wait for May to act. Punishers of the ‘Ukraine Security Service’ arrested several dozen supporters of New Russia.
“According to information received, they are now trying the most sophisticated, almost medieval, torture-methods. I was told this by reliable and trusted sources.”
“On the city outskirts a kind of ‘national guard’ was created.” (Eric Zuesse).
A US-fomented coup regime appoints a foreign Governor to silence and torture its population, and sell Odessa to foreign investors.
That’s what “democracy” looks like, in post- Maidan Ukraine.
US-Saudi Man-Made Famine Threatens 20 Million Yemenis
80% of people in the Arab world’s poorest state are in danger of starving to death under the US- backed and US-enabled blockade and bombing.
Have CNN, the BBC, NBC, Fox, Sky, etc, told you about that?
This is the world's biggest humanitarian disaster right now - but it’s getting barely any attention, because the US is involved in it, in a major way. (The Saudi campaign in Yemen is not possible without US diplomatic, intelligence and logistics backing.)
20 million people in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, are at risk of dying from thirst or hunger. That’s 80% of the Yemen’s population, which, according to UN agencies, badly needs emergency supplies of food and water, plus fuel and medicine.
The reason for all this suffering, is months of merciless bombardment and blockade led by the richest Arab countries -- Saudi Arabia and its neighboring petro-princedoms -- backed by the United States, which is providing the attackers with technical assistance, intelligence, and top-shelf armaments.
In 2011, a nationwide uprising deposed Yemen’s autocratic leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh. There was no democratic vote, before his successor, the Saudi/US- backed Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, took over -- he ran unopposed.
There was no relief from the poverty, unemployment, and corruption, that brought about the popular revolt.
A few months ago, a Houthi reformist movement & militia -- which launched rebellions against Saleh previously -- headed the widespread discontent to take the capital, Sanaa. Hadi fled into exile, and the Saudis started bombing, shortly after this.
Local militias in central and southern Yemen still loyal to Hadi have resisted the Houthis, yet many army units loyal to Saleh are now allied with the Houtis.
Meanwhile, a local franchise of al-Qaeda is fighting everybody.
Yemenis caught in this crossfire were already thirsty and hungry before any war started,& with Yemen’s borders closed, its airports shut down, and Arab navies enforcing an embargo at sea, the situation is desperate.
Saudi Arabia & its friends, including the US, have no discernible plan for winning, beyond reducing Yemen to rubble & besieging civilians, in the hope of securing a Houthi surrender.
The Obama administration has shown no interest in stopping the war.
In fact, the US has even announced a suspension of aid to Yemen for a year, undercutting its murmurs of concern. Instead, the Obama administration could withdraw its support for the bombing, lift the blockade, & broker a power-sharing agreement between Yemen’s factions.
For the people of Yemen, it’s beyond urgent.
Syrian forces, Hezbollah, storm key city near Lebanon
Xinhua -- The Syrian army backed by Hezbollah on Sunday, storms a western part of the rebel- held city of Zabadani, near Lebanon's borders, pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV, reports.
Army forces and Hezbollah capture the entire district of Jamyiat in the western part of Zabadani, which is a key city, today.
A day earlier, Syrian forces & Hezbollah launched a major offensive to drive out the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and likeminded groups from Zabadani.
The wide-scale offensive on Zabadani, in the west -ern part of Qalamoun region, north of the capital Damascus, comes after Syrian forces and allied fighters, tightened a siege on rebels there, the TV report says.
The offensive aims to clear the city and the entire region of Qalamoun of the Nusra Front and allied militants, who have been using it as a conduit to smuggle militants and weapons from Lebanon, into the western countryside of Damascus.
Winning this area will shield the Lebanese borders from the threat of the Nusra Front, as reports say most of the blasts that targeted Lebanon recently were planned by the rebels in Syria and the cars were booby-trapped in Qalamoun.
Probability of US fighting war against Russia growing: Pentagon
A US military report warns of a growing probability of the United States fighting a war with a major power, Russia or China, with "immense" consequences.
The report by General Martin Dempsey, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, singles out Russia and China as aggressive countries and a threat to US security interests.
"Russia's military actions are undermining regional security directly and through proxy forces," it says.
The study points to the alleged presence of Russian troops in Ukraine as a source of tension between Washington and Moscow.
Relations between the United States & Russia are at their lowest point since the end of the Cold War in 1991, largely due to the crisis in Ukraine.
Ties deteriorated after US-backed forces ousted Ukraine’s elected president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.
The US and allies accuse Moscow of sending troops into eastern Ukraine in support of anti -US coup forces. Moscow has long denied involvement in Ukraine's crisis.
Moscow says Washington is responsible for the escalating tension in Ukraine through sending arms in support of the coup army.
Meanwhile, ties between China and the US are also strained after Washington recently accused Beijing of cyber spying.
Washington also says it wants Beijing to reduce tensions in the South China Sea, where the country is locked in territorial disputes with its neighbours. Beijing insists the US must stay out of the row.
"China's actions are adding tension to the Asia-Pacific region," the Pentagon paper states.
The US military report also warns of growing technological challenges --- and increasing global instability.
"When applied to military systems, this diffusion of technology is challenging the competitive advantages long held by the United States, such as early warning & precision strikes," the paper says.
A US political and economic scholar says growing conflict between the US & Russia over Ukraine's conflict is a result of the US struggling to maintain its hegemony: making “extremely provocative moves” in East Europe.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former US official:
“The conflict that Washington has created with Russia is entirely Washington’s doing,” says Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, an economist who served as assistant secretary of the treasury for economic policy in the Ronald Reagan administration.
“It’s a serious situation in which the United States is driving Europe into a conflict with Russia, and it’s all about the United States protecting its hegemony, protecting its unique power status,” Dr. Roberts states.
“And in order to protect its status, it has to bring tremendous pressure on Russia and also on China in order to try to make those countries accept Washington’s leadership and to comply with Washington’s foreign policies,” he adds.
“So this is a dangerous situation but the fault is entirely in Washington,” Dr. Roberts concludes.
34mn children, adolescents out of school in conflict zones: saysUNreport
The United Nations (UN) warns that 34 million children and adolescents are out of school in conflict-hit countries across the world.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report, states that the poorest children are most vulnerable, and twice as likely to be out of school, compared with their counterparts in peaceful countries.
UNESCO says $2.3 billion is needed to put the children back into school. That amount is ten times the amount governments give globally, each year, for education.
According to the report, one of the main reasons conflicts take such a heavy toll on education, is the lack of financing in the violence-hit countries.
It also says that, last year, education received only 2% of global humanitarian aid contributed by governments across the world.
“A new target for directing funds to education in times of conflict has been required for some time. Present targets are hugely insufficient and diverting attention from the true needs of children and youth on the ground,” according to Aaron Benavot, a UNESCO director.
Girls are almost 90% more likely to be out of secondary school in conflict-torn countries, than anywhere else, the report says.
UNESCO calls for a new global emergency fund to assist children in conflict zones, to go back to school. The full details of the fund, to be revealed later this year.
“Returning to school may be the only flicker of hope and normality for many children and youth in countries engulfed in crises,” says Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO.
In April, the UN released a similar report saying that 12 million children in the Middle East region remain out of school --- mostly due to poverty, discrimination and violence.
The report says the ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Yemen and Syria, have forced several million children out of school.
Millions of Yemeni children at risk of diseases, hunger: UNICEF
The current crisis in Yemen, which has worsened the country’s health system, is putting millions of children at risk of diseases and malnutrition, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) warns.
A large number of children in war-torn Yemen are exposed to the threat of diseases due to widespread disruption in vaccination services UNICEF spokesperson, Christophe Boulierac, told a press briefing in Geneva, on Tuesday.
He said that 2.6 million children under 15, are now at risk of contracting measles -- because the lack of electricity and fuel is impacting health centres’ ability to provide children with sanitary services and vaccinations.
He also noted that, due to the shortage of vaccinations, the number of children exposed to acute respiratory infections like pneumonia, is also likely to rise to 1.3 million, while over 2.5 million children remain at risk of diarrhoea because of poor hygienic conditions and the lack of safe water.
Over half a million children under five are also at risk of developing malnutrition in the next 12 months, if the situation keeps worsening, states the UNICEF spokesperson.
The remarks come over three months after Saudi Arabia launched its airplane bombing aggression against Yemen - without a UN mandate - in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and to restore power to the country’s fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.
The UN says at least 2,600 people have lost their lives, & 11,000 have been injured, due to the conflict in Yemen, since March 19th.
US church votes to boycott Israel over occupation of Palestine
One of the largest Christian Protestant denominations in the United States, has overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for divestment from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.
The United Church of Christ voted on Tuesday to boycott products from Israeli settlements & divest from companies with business in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, underscoring the growing momentum of a US protest movement against Israeli policy.
The denomination's top legislative body endorsed the action, by voting 508-124 with 38 abstentions, during its meeting in Cleveland, Ohio.
The boycott resolution is the second such measure passed by the church, which has about 1 million members and over 5,000 congregations across the US.
The first resolution, passed in 2005, called for the use of “economic leverage” on Israel & accused the Zionist regime of widespread human rights abuses against the Palestinians.
Peter Makari of Global Ministries, an agency that is part of the United Church of Christ, said the resolutions "reflect our urgent concern for the worsening effects of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian people and lives, including the disparity in rights and power."
Two other American churches, the Episcopal Church and the Mennonite Church USA, were also debating Israeli boycott measures this week at their conventions.
A growing list of US-based churches are considering the call of Palestinian Christians for using boycott and divestment "as tools of nonviolence for justice, peace & security for all."
The latest vote comes as the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, known as BDS, is gaining momentum on US college campuses and in many places in Europe.
The BDS movement seeks to end the Israeli occupation & colonization of Palestinian lands and respect the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
The BDS boycott campaign against Israel began in July 2005, by 171 Palestinian organizations, and calls for "various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his subordinates have called the BDS campaign a new form of terrorism to delegitimize Israel.
Supporters of the movement, including a growing number of American Jews, call such criticism a fearmongering and divisive tactic, meant to halt legitimate debate about the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.
Jewish Voice for Peace, a group based in Oakland, California, has endorsed the BDS movement, and welcomed Tuesday’s boycott resolution.
“Progressives are speaking up, and it’s only a matter of time until Israel is held accountable for its human rights abuses and violations of international law,” Lev Hirschhorn, a board member, said in a statement on the group’s website.
60 Egyptian soldiers killed in attacks on army checkpoints in Sinai
At least 60 Egyptian soldiers have been killed & scores of others injured in a series of attacks by Takfiri militants against military checkpoints in Egypt’s violence-plagued Sinai Peninsula.
Security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said militants detonated a vehicle rigged with explosives south of Sheikh Zuweid, a town about 334 kilomtrs (214 miles) northeast of the capital, Cairo, on Wednesday, killing tens of troopers and injuring several more, Sky News Arabia satellite news network reported.
Assailants also fired several rounds of mortar shells at army check posts in al-Joureh, Abu Refaei and Sedrah districts on the southern outskirts of Sheikh Zuweid.
The projectiles triggered fierce exchanges of gunfire between Egyptian government forces and Takfiri terrorists.
Meanwhile, at least ten militants have been killed and scores of others injured as Egyptian Apache combat helicopters struck terrorist hideouts in Sinai Peninsula.
The development comes only days after over 11 militants were killed & 4 others arrested, when government troops raided terrorist hideouts in Sheikh Zuweid and the border town of Rafah, 340 kilometers (211 miles) east of Cairo. Egypt's military views the Sinai Peninsula as a sanctuary for extremists.
Gunmen have intensified terrorist attacks in Sinai ever since Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, was taken from power in a military coup in July 2013.
Militants from the Velayat Sinai terror group, previously known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks in Sinai Peninsula. Last November,