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Disaster capitalism

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In her groundbreaking book The Shock Doctrine The Rise of Disaster Capitalism  Naomi Klein  has shown how From Chile in 1973 to Iraq today, neoliberals have repeatedly harnessed terrible shocks and violence to implement their radical policies or neoliberalization and debt enslavement of the weaker countries. This concept is closely related to the concepts of Military-Industrial Complex and Predator state. Amazon review of the book states:

Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine advances a truly unnerving argument: historically, while people were reeling from natural disasters, wars and economic upheavals, savvy politicians and industry leaders nefariously implemented policies that would never have passed during less muddled times. As Klein demonstrates, this reprehensible game of bait-and-switch isn't just some relic from the bad old days. It's alive and well in contemporary society, and coming soon to a disaster area near you.

"At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq'' civil war, a new law is unveiled that will allow Shell and BP to claim the country's vast oil reserves… Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly outsources the running of the 'War on Terror' to Halliburton and Blackwater… After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts… New Orleans residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be re-opened." Klein not only kicks butt, she names names, notably economist Milton Friedman and his radical Chicago School of the 1950s and 60s which she notes "produced many of the leading neo-conservative and neo-liberal thinkers whose influence is still profound in Washington today." Stand up and take a bow, Donald Rumsfeld.

There's little doubt Klein's book--which arrived to enormous attention and fanfare thanks to her previous missive, the best-selling No Logo, will stir the ire of the right and corporate America. It's also true that Klein's assertions are coherent, comprehensively researched and footnoted, and she makes a very credible case. Even if the world isn't going to hell in a hand-basket just yet, it's nice to know a sharp customer like Klein is bearing witness to the backroom machinations of government and industry in times of turmoil. --Kim Hughes 

Publishers Weekly review adds to this:

The neo-liberal economic policies—privatization, free trade, slashed social spending—that the Chicago School and the economist Milton Friedman have foisted on the world are catastrophic in two senses, argues this vigorous polemic. Because their results are disastrous—depressions, mass poverty, private corporations looting public wealth, by the author's accounting—their means must be cataclysmic, dependent on political upheavals and natural disasters as coercive pretexts for free-market reforms the public would normally reject. Journalist Klein (No Logo) chronicles decades of such disasters, including the Chicago School makeovers launched by South American coups; the corrupt sale of Russia's state economy to oligarchs following the collapse of the Soviet Union; the privatization of New Orleans's public schools after Katrina; and the seizure of wrecked fishing villages by resort developers after the Asian tsunami. Klein's economic and political analyses are not always meticulous. Likening free-market shock therapies to electroshock torture, she conflates every misdeed of right-wing dictatorships with their economic programs and paints a too simplistic picture of the Iraq conflict as a struggle over American-imposed neo-liberalism. Still, much of her critique hits home, as she demonstrates how free-market ideologues welcome, and provoke, the collapse of other people's economies. The result is a powerful populist indictment of economic orthodoxy. 

Selected Amazon reviews

Steve Koss VINE VOICE on September 25, 2007

A Stunning and Well-Researched Indictment of Friedmanian Neoliberalism
 

Naomi Klein's THE SHOCK DOCTRINE is a stunning indictment of American corporatism and institutionalized globalization, on a par with such groundbreaking works as Harrington's THE OTHER AMERICA and Chomsky's HEGEMONY OR SURVIVAL. Comprehensive in its breadth and remarkable for its well-researched depth, Klein's book is a highly readable but disturbing look at how the neoliberal economic tenets of Milton Friedman have been implemented across the world over the last thirty-plus years.

The author's thesis is simply stated: that neoliberal economic programs have repeatedly been implemented without the consent of the governed by creating and/or taking advantage of various forms of national shock therapy. Ms. Klein asserts that in country after country, Friedman and his Chicago School followers have foisted their tripartite economic prescription - privatization, deregulation, and cutbacks in social welfare spending - on an unsuspecting populace through decidedly non-democratic means. In the early years, the primary vehicle was dictatorial military force and accompanying fear of arrest, torture, disappearance, or death. Over time, new organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank were employed instead, using or creating impossible debt burdens to force governments to accept privatization of state-owned industries and services, complete removal of trade barriers and tariffs, forced acceptance of private foreign investment, and widespread layoffs. In more recent years, terrroism and its response as well as natural disasters like hurricanes and tsunamis have wiped clean enough of the slate to impose these Friedmanite policies on people too shocked and focused on recovering to realize what was happening until it was too late.

According to Ms. Klein's thesis, these revolutionary economic programs were the "medicine" deemed necessary by neoliberal, anti-Keynesian economists to bring underdeveloped countries into the global trading community. Ms. Klein argues her case in convincing detail a long chronological line of historical cases. Each chapter in her book surveys one such situation, from Chile under Pinochet and Argentina under military junta through Nicaragua and Honduras, Bolivia under Goni, post-apartheid South Africa, post-Solidarity Poland, Russia under Yeltsin, China since Tiananmen, reconstruction of Iraq after the U.S. invasion, Sri Lanka after the tsunami, Israel after 9/11, and New Orleans post-Katrina. Along the way, she lets various neoliberal economists and Chicago School practitioners speak for themselves - we hear their "shock therapy" views in their own words. As just one example, this arrogant and self-righteous proclamation from the late Professor Friedman: "Only a crisis - actual or perceived - producs real change...our basic function, to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable."

What the author makes inescapably clear is that the world economic order has been largely remade in Milton Friedman's image in the last few decades by adopting programs that would never have been democratically accepted by the common people. Military coups, violence and force, wars, induced hyperinflation, terrorism, preemptive war, climate disasters - these have been the disruptive vehicles that allowed such drastic economic packages to be imposed. Nearly always, they are developed in secrecy and implemented too rapidly for citizens to respond. The end results, as Ms.Klein again makes clear, are massive (and too often, continuing) unemployment, large price increases for essential goods, closing of factories, enormous increases in people living in poverty, explosive concentration of wealth among a small elite, and extraordinary opportunity for rapacious capitalism from American and European corporations.

Ms. Klein argues that from its humble beginnings as an economic philosophy, the neoliberal program has evolved (or perhaps devolved) into a form of corporatism. Particularly in America, government under mostly Republican adminstrations has hollowed itself out, using private sector contractors for nearly every conceivable task. Companies ranging from Lockheed and Halliburton to ChoicePoint, Blackwater, CH2M Hill, and DynCorp exist almost entirely to secure lucrative government contracts to perform work formerly done by government. They now operate in a world the author describes as "disaster capitalism," waiting and salivating over the profits to be made in the next slate-wiping war or disaster, regardless of the human cost. In an ominous closing discussion, Ms. Klein describes the privatization of government in wealthy Atlanta suburbs, a further step in self-serving and preemptive corporatism guaranteed to hollow out whatever is left of major American cities if it becomes a widespread practice.

THE SHOCK DOCTRINE is truly a head-shaking read. One can only marvel at the imperiousness of past (mostly) American governmental behavior, the grievous callousness of it all, the massive human despair and suffering created for no other reason than economic imperialism, and the nauseating greed of (mostly Republican) politicians, former political operatives, and corporate executives who prey like pack wolves on people's powerlessness and insecurity. Reading this book, one can no longer ask the question, "Why do they hate us?" The answer is obvious, and no amount of hyperventilation from Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs, or Fox News can erase the facts and consequences of behavior that we as a country have implicitly or explicitly endorsed.

THE SHOCK DOCTRINE proves itself as shaming of modern American governmental policy as Dee Brown's epic of 19th Century America, BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE. It is an essential read for intelligent citizens who want to understand the roots of globalization and its blowback effects on our lives.

Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 11, 2007

Format: Hardcover
**FYI** Please note to the best of my knowledge I am NOT related to Naomi Klein.**

If you wonder what happened to the middle class, why poverty is on the rise and what the economies in a democracracy, dictatorship and "communism" have in common, you'll find lots of food for thought in Naomi Klein's THE SHOCK DOCTRINE. Tracing the rise of the "Chicago Boys" laissez-faire economic beliefs, their impact on South America, China, Russia, Poland and South Africa and how it impacted their form of government, Klein makes a compelling argument for the flaws in Milton Friedman's economic science.

Naomi Klein's book looks at the conflict between Milton Friedman's "laissez-faire" approach to business and government where business is largely unregulated running itself and government is little more than a bare bones system. According to Klein, Friedman believed that the economic theories he espoused would be perfect and that any problems with it would be due to outside forces interferring with his free market world. His approach was in complete contrast to Keynes who believed that the prime mission of politicians and economists was to prevent unemployment and avoid a depression or recession by regulating the market place. People like John Kenneth Galbraith (heir to Keynes' mantle)believed part of the purpose of economic regulation was to keep our captalist system fair and prevent a small group of businesses from dominating the market. Galbraith also believed in bills like the Glass-Steagall act which created a firewall between Wall Street and various banking institutions (which former President Clinton helped to eliminate). The net result would be to prevent recreating disasters like the Great Depression and 1929 stock market crash (the current version of which contributed to part of the economic mess we're in today).

It's the conflict between these two economic philosphies that allows our economic world to thrive. You'll have to decide for yourself how accurately she reflects each man's philosphy based on what you know about each respective philosphy but I found, for the most part, that the book gave a pretty accurate summation of the benefits and issues at the core of each, as well as which classes benefit the most.

Klein suggests that "disaster capitalism", i.e., introducing radical changes in terms of economic and government policy when a country is in "shock" (taking advantage of the fact that massed resistence is unlikely to that change), is allowing the rise of unchecked multi-national corporations that take advantage of and damage our society in the process. She suggests that Friedman's beliefs that the market will manage itself and that free market capitalism undermined the Soviet Union is an idealized and naive belief. The impact for good and bad is that a business functions like a plant. If it receives too much sunlight and water, it will overgrow and strangle out everything else in the economic ecosystem. The net result would cause the system to become unbalanced with human suffering and economic disaster as the result if left unchecked. She traces a parallel path between the rise of Friedman's economic philosphy and the rise of human rights violations, rise and fall of various governments throughout the world and the opportunism of the business world to exploit it.

She ties all of this together looking at the economic policies and beliefs that are reshaping American society--for good and bad--into a different society where the gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to expand and one where the free market society is being radically retooled. The result is a society where the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer. The pressured middle class continues to shrink. This undermines the foundation of our economic growth. This book will probably divide those along the more extreme political lines but has the ring of truth nevertheless.

Klein crafts a fascinating book. Although some of her observations might be a bit of a stretch and her arguments occasionally flawed, she provides compelling evidence to support her thesis and connects the dots of events that might otherwise appear to be unrelated. Whether or not you agree with Klein or are outraged by her evidence, you'll find plenty of food for thought in her book.

Justin M. Feldman on October 27, 2007

An important read with some shortcomings

Naomi Klein has written this book about the rise of what she calls "disaster capitalism": the global imposition/adoption of Chicago School (neoliberal) economics since the early 1970s. This is a particularly important book because, while many have written about the same topic, I have never seen it treated in a form that is both holistic (ie. a global history) and accessible (ie. largely free from the academic jargon of economics and social theory). The book does suffer from some problems however.

Klein's main thesis is problematic. She writes that the idea of economic shock therapy arose out of the same logic as Electric Convulsive Therapy (ECT). This idea is to create or exploit a destructive event in order to create regression, passivity, and a 'blank slate' on which to build a new order. In supporting this thesis, Klein uses all of Part I of her book to write about psychological torture and the CIA's mind control experiments. She attempts to develop a 'poetics of torture' that links the individual violence of ECT to the structural violence that occurs when neoliberalism is imposed as a governing strategy. Klein is no poet however, and the metaphor seems to die pretty early on in the book. She does thankfully offer a more implicit thesis that she invokes more regularly and supports more thoroughly: free markets did not develop through freedom, but through authoritarian or technocratic interventions.

Secondly, Klein treats capitalism as if it were only 35 years old. Her book however is thematically similar to the work of another woman who wrote on the same issues a century before: Rosa Luxemburg. By only going as far back as the rise of Keynsianism and developmentalism, Klein makes it seem as though neoliberalism is a radical historical exception. Yet it seems that, since the industrial revolution, it is Keynsianism that itself was the historical exception.

This book is mostly comprised of what are essentially case studies. Each case study could certainly be expanded into its own 600-page book, so simplification was necessary. I think that it is also necessary for the author to explicitly admit the complexity of any situation beyond just the power of market forces, which act strongly and ubiquitously but never alone. I think she does admit the shortcomings of her case studies for Israel/Palestine, South Africa, and Iraq (her best and most personally-involved ones), but not for the rest.

All in all, this book is worth a read and is a good introduction to one of the most powerful forces of our times. I just hope that it inspires people to read some other books that illuminate more of the complexities in regards to the theory and practice of neoliberalism in our communities, countries, and worlds.

 I particularly recommend David Harvey's A Brief History of Neoliberalism.

ByBrian F. "Nurse Ratched"on April 7, 2015

How shocking! (pun intended)

I have always been a bit of a history buff and have prided myself on knowing a lot of the history involving the US. Recently, I had an enlightening revelation; one which I think I always knew, but had never heard it articulated. Each of us looks at our place in the world in different ways. Some see the world sociologically, some see it economically and some see it politically. Obviously these three "slants" affect our interpretations, and I totally get that there is obvious cross-over. Within each of these areas there is a continuum and people line up (usually) to one side of center or the other. Until I read Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine, I had not realized just where I aligned. Obviously I was aware that my views tend to be colored with the politics of the world in which I find myself. Having studied some sociology I knew and could interpret things with that lens, as well. What I knew about economics, however, had never given me (that I know of) a different vantage point on history. Until now.

I read through a number of the one star reviews, as is my habit. I like to see what folks have to say who may not be a fan of leftist thought. Let's face it: There's thought (so-called "critical thinking") and then there's blind adherence to ideology. This seems to happen on a lot of levels and is a view shared by many with otherwise opposing world-views. Still, when I read the same old, re-hashed, regurgitated and repeated stuff.... maintaining the status quo, I have to cringe. When I read many of the one star "reviews", I saw a lot of this. One individual who offered quotes from founding father John Adams (among others) rightly pointed out that facts are annoying things. When Ms. Klein put words to paper, she obviously knew this might be an issue. She quotes not only people but documents in support of the argument at hand. Those who oppose her expose on idealogical grounds have often (not always) done so without having given the courtesy of reading the book. Of course, this happens all the time here, on Amazon. Those that have read the book seem to conveniently forget the documents and contemporary quotes of the individuals involved. Unfortunate.

So here's my synopsis (working from memory - I read the book a while ago): Free Market economy, imagined and theorized by Milton Friedman of the Chicago school (University of Chicago, school of economics) in the 50s got it's first real opportunity to prove its mettle in 1970 with Pinochet's coup in Chile. Adherents and followers saw "successes" and shortfalls with this first real-world experiment. The entire southern cone of South American nations experienced similar things, all of which Ms. Klein links through personnel involved to Friedman. They got the okay from Kissinger and the ball got rolling. After South America, then Poland, the USSR/Russia, South Africa, China, and a string of other economies fell into the Friedman fold. He was an advisor!

"Shock and Awe" is followed extremely closely by already laid plans being nearly instantly enacted in order to push through laws and edicts which stood no chance of being passed "democratically". Privatization is the mantra. Donald Rumsfeld was a HUGE Chicago school adherent/supporter who took the idea of privatization to the limit while Secretary of Defense under Bush II, cutting public sector jobs from the DOD with abandon. Iraq's "green zone" was a classic example of a nearly completely privatized entity. A country within a country. Katrina was dealt with in nearly the same manner.

I'll never look at history the same way again. My eyes have been opened. For those of you who will decry my review as leftist praise for a leftist writer... if you're in the 2% and are benefitting, financially, from all this privatization... I can understand you defending it. For ANYONE else, if you defend Laissez Faire / Free Market / or "Trickle Down" economics, you have my sympathy because you are supporting the means of your own suppression. Good Luck!

Pocketson February 20, 2015

Be Ready to be Shocked

This book explains how the CIA bankrolled and encouraged the exploitation and political overthrow of many countries around the world in the '60's, 70's and 80's including Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Iran, Nicaragua and many others. It helps one understand how the Neocons evolved into what their basic philosophy remains today. Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize winning economist, played a major role in this evolution and remained unapologetic about the misery that resulted from his economic model of creating change through shock. This book is very thorough and detailed in its presentation and reads like an exciting novel even though it is a factual reporting of real events.


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Old News ;-)

[Feb 17, 2019] Real power answers to nobody. The war machine has the power and will do whatever it wants wherever it pleases. Good luck changing that.

That why war is called racket, And that's why dominance of military-industrial complex turns any country in neo-fascist state. Still people can fight this cancer, even if changes are not that great.
Notable quotes:
"... It is easy for them to make the recommendation to head into to war for two very simple reasons. The first is that it will not require any personal sacrifice. The other reason is that it will not require any sacrifice of those closest to them. ..."
Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

thomas r oconnor February 15, 2019 at 5:22 pm

Real power answers to nobody. The war machine has the power and will do whatever it wants wherever it pleases. Good luck changing that.
B , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:22 pm
It is easy for them to make the recommendation to head into to war for two very simple reasons. The first is that it will not require any personal sacrifice. The other reason is that it will not require any sacrifice of those closest to them.

And I say this as a Veteran that also thought Iraq was a good idea back in 2001. The difference is that I then went there to serve. As a result I have learned hard fought lessons. Tucker is spot on. Maybe the follow up article can be a piece that discusses why we need more "combat" Veterans up in the beltway. And it is good that more veterans are now serving in Congress but not all are combat veterans.

[Feb 17, 2019] The goal of any war is the redistribution of taxpayer money into the bank accounts of MIC shareholders and executives

Highly recommended!
The USA state of continuous war has been a bipartisan phenomenon starting with Truman in Korea and proceeding with Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and now Syria. It doesn't take a genius to realize that these limited, never ending wars are expensive was to enrich MIC and Wall Street banksters
Notable quotes:
"... Yes the neocons have a poor track record but they've succeeded at turning our republic into an empire. The mainstream media and elites of practically all western nations are unanimously pro-war. Neither political party has defined a comprehensive platform to rebuild our republic. ..."
Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

KC February 15, 2019 at 11:16 pm

The one thing your accurate analysis leaves out is that the goal of US wars is never what the media spouts for its Wall Street masters. The goal of any war is the redistribution of taxpayer money into the bank accounts of MIC shareholders and executives, create more enemies to be fought in future wars, and to provide a rationalization for the continued primacy of the military class in US politics and culture.

Occasionally a country may be sitting on a bunch of oil, and also be threatening to move away from the petrodollar or talking about allowing an "adversary" to build a pipeline across their land.

Otherwise war is a racket unto itself. "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. "
― George Orwell

Also we've always been at war with Oceania .or whatever that quote said.

Barry F Keane , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:11 pm
Yes the neocons have a poor track record but they've succeeded at turning our republic into an empire. The mainstream media and elites of practically all western nations are unanimously pro-war. Neither political party has defined a comprehensive platform to rebuild our republic.

Even you, Tucker Carlson, mock the efforts of Ilhan Omar for criticizing AIPAC and Elliott Abrams.

I don't personally care for many of her opinions but that's not what matters: if we elect another neocon government we won't last another generation. Like the lady asked Ben Franklin "What kind of government have you bequeathed us?", and Franklin answered "A republic, madam, if you can keep it."

[Feb 12, 2019] Walter Jones, Congressman Behind Freedom Fries Who Turned Anti-War Firebrand, Dies At 76

Notable quotes:
"... However, he was one of the few politicians initially supporting the Iraq invasion to later express profound public regret over his decision , and went on to become a consistent advocate for ending regime change wars and Washington's military adventurism abroad. As part of these efforts, he was an original Board Member of the Ron Paul Institute. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Rep. Walter Jones, Jr. died at the age of 76 on Sunday after an extended illness for which was a granted a leave of absence from Congress last year.

The Republican representative for North Carolina's 3rd congressional district since 1995 had initially been a strong supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and even became well-known for getting french fries renamed as "freedom fries" in the House cafeteria as a protest against French condemnation of the US invasion.

... ... ...

However, he was one of the few politicians initially supporting the Iraq invasion to later express profound public regret over his decision , and went on to become a consistent advocate for ending regime change wars and Washington's military adventurism abroad. As part of these efforts, he was an original Board Member of the Ron Paul Institute.

Remembering Jones as a tireless advocate of peace, Ron Paul notes that he " turned from pro-war to an antiwar firebrand after he discovered how Administrations lie us into war . His passing yesterday is deeply mourned by all who value peace and honesty over war and deception." The Ron Paul Institute has also called him "a Hero of Peace" for both his voting record and efforts at shutting down the "endless wars".

And Antiwar.com also describes Jones as having been among the "most consistently antiwar members of Congress" and a huge supporter of their work:

By 2005, Jones had reversed his position on the Iraq War. Jones called on President George W. Bush to apologize for misinforming Congress to win authorization for the war. Jones said, "If I had known then what I know today, I wouldn't have voted for that resolution."

Jones went on to become one of the most antiwar members of Congress, fighting for ending US involvement in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

Also the BBC describes Rep. Jones' "dramatic change of heart" concerning the Iraq war starting in 2005, after which he began reaching out to thousands of people who had lost loves ones in combat.

Rep. Walter Jones led an effort in the House to call French Fries "Freedom Fries" instead, but came to profoundly regret his role in supporting Bush's war.

Noting that "no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq" and that the war was justified by the Bush administration based entirely on lies and false intelligence, the BBC describes:

At the same time, Mr Jones met grieving families whose loved ones were killed in the war. This caused him to have a dramatic change of heart, and in 2005 he called for the troops to be brought home.

He spoke candidly on several occasions about how deeply he regretted supporting the war, which led to the deaths of more than 140,000 Iraqi and American people.

"I have signed over 12,000 letters to families and extended families who've lost loved ones in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars," he told NPR in 2017. "That was, for me, asking God to forgive me for my mistake."

In total he represented his district for 34 years, first in the North Carolina state legislature, then in Congress. He took a leave of absence last year after a number of missed House votes due to declining health.

[Feb 07, 2019] Does the European Union generate external instability? by Branko Milanovic

As neocolonial empire of it s own (albeit the one that is vassal of the USA) yes it does, especially in xUSSR state where EU wants to capture the makets. Ukraine is a nice example here.
Feb 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

https://www.socialeurope.eu/external-instability

February 5, 2019

Does the European Union generate external instability?
The historic achievement of peace within a Europe of universal norms is belied by the external instability engendered by violent and incoherent interventions.
By Branko Milanovic

The European Union is justly admired for making war among its members impossible. This is no small achievement in a continent which was in a state of semi-permanent warfare for the past two millennia.

It is not only that we cannot even imagine the usual 19th and 20th century antagonists, such as France and Germany, going to war ever again. The same is true of other, lesser-known animosities which have led periodically to bloodlettings: between Poles and Germans, Hungarians and Romanians, Greeks and Bulgarians. Unthinkable is also the idea that the United Kingdom and Spain could end up, regarding Gibraltar, in a reprise of the Falklands/Malvinas war.

Destabilised

But creating geopolitical stability internally has not, during the last two decades, been followed by external geopolitical stability along the fringes of the union. Most of the big EU member states (UK, Poland, Italy, Spain) participated, often eagerly, in Operation Iraqi Freedom, which led to the deaths of some half a million people, destabilised the middle east even further and produced Islamic State.

Then, seemingly not having learned from this fiasco, France and Italy spearheaded another regime change, this time in Libya. It ended in anarchy, another civil war, two competing governments and a UN Security Council deadlocked for years to come -- since it is clear that China and Russia will not in the foreseeable future vote to allow another western military intervention.

The wars along the long arc from Libya to Afghanistan, in which EU powers participated, were the proximate cause of large refugee flows a few years ago, which continue even now. (As I have written elsewhere, the underlying cause of migration is the large gap in incomes between Europe, on the one hand, and Africa and the 'greater middle east', on the other, but the sudden outbursts were caused by wars.)

The next example of generating instability was Ukraine, where the then government of Viktor Yanukovych, having only postponed the signing of an EU agreement, was driven out of power in 2014 in a coup-like movement supported by the union. It is sure that a reasonable counterfactual, with the same EU-Ukraine agreements being signed and without a war in eastern Ukraine and with Crimea still part of Ukraine, would have been much preferable to the current situation, which threatens to precipitate a war of even much greater dimensions.

Finally, consider Turkey, in an association agreement with the European Economic Community since 1963, and thus in a membership-awaiting antechamber for more than half a century. The initial period in power of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was marked by pro-European policies, a desire to create an 'Islamic democracy', in the mould of the Christian democracies of Italy and Germany, and civilian control over the army. But realisation that, because of its size and probably because of its dominant religion, Turkey would never be recognised as part of Europe led Erdoğan, gradually, to move in an altogether different direction -- with an almost zero chance that he would come back to his original pro-European stance.

The endless waiting period, with similarly protracted negotiations over what are now 35 chapters which need to be agreed between candidate countries and all 28 (or soon 27) members, is what lies behind the frustration with the EU in the Balkans. Long gone are the days when Greece could become a member after a couple of months (if that) of negotiations and an agreement between the French president, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, and the German chancellor, Helmut Schmidt. The European bluff -- it neither has the stick nor the carrot -- albeit long hidden behind the veil of negotiations, was recently called by the Kosovo leadership, when it engaged in a trade war with Serbia. The EU could express its 'regrets' but it was squarely ignored. In the past, nether Kosovo nor any other Balkan state would have dared to defy Europe so openly.

Slow and hesitant

It all means that Europe needs a much better thought-out external policy with respect to its neighbours. There are already some signs that it is moving in that direction but it is doing so too slowly and hesitantly. A multilateral compact with Africa is needed to regulate migration from a continent with the fastest rising population and lowest incomes. Much more European investment -- in hard stuff, not conferences -- is needed. Rather than complaining about China's Belt and Road initiative, Europe should imitate it -- and, if it desires to counteract Chinese political influence, invest its own money to make more African friends. A similar set of much more proactive policies is required within the framework of the Mediterranean initiative, while military options in the region should be forsworn no less clearly than they are within the union.

When it comes to the potential members, as in the Balkans or the western republics of the former Soviet Union, interminable talks should be replaced by either special association with no expectation of EU membership or clearer, time-limited negotiations leading to membership. Both would manage expectations better and avoid the build-up of resentment and frustration.

The most important challenge is the relationship with Turkey. The EU does not have a blueprint for a Turkey after Erdoğan; nor can it offer anything to the Turkish secular opposition, as it is not clear within itself whether it wants Turkey in or out. It should be rather obvious that a European Turkey, with its vast economic potential and influence in the middle east, would be a huge economic and strategic asset. Such a Turkey would also behave differently in Syria and in Anatolia, because it would have an incentive to follow European rules.

This rethinking of the EU's neighbourhood policy thus calls, in short, for three things: greater economic aid to Africa, no support for wars or regime change, and much clearer rules and time-limits for membership talks.


Branko Milanovic is Visiting Presidential Professor at the Graduate Center of City University of New York (CUNY). Reply Wednesday, February 06, 2019 at 01:39 PM

Mr. Bill -> anne... , February 06, 2019 at 05:11 PM

Perhaps, you ascribe to the EU successes that it did not create.

The formation of the EU is not the vehicle that created, nor sustained, the uneasy peace. I suggest it was the resolution of WW2 that has determined the current state of tolerance.

I fear that the formation of the EU, in the end, will be the cause of a re-instigation of the age old skirmishes that have plagued the world, as you say, for two millennia.

The destruction of the Middle East by the West, not just the EU but the US, is a foolishness of biblical proportions.

The EU's disposition of Greece and Brexit are red flags that the EU is an unsustainable contrivance that will eventually, come undone. The mercantilist wars between France, England, Spain, Germany, Italy, etc, may rise again. Hopefully, I'm wrong.

[Feb 07, 2019] Venezuela's central bankers were persuaded to pledge their oil reserves and all assets of the state oil sector (including Citgo) as collateral for its foreign debt

Feb 07, 2019 | www.unz.com

kauchai, February 7, 2019 at 1:51 am GMT

" Second, Venezuela's central bankers were persuaded to pledge their oil reserves and all assets of the state oil sector (including Citgo) as collateral for its foreign debt. This meant that if Venezuela defaulted (or was forced into default by U.S. banks refusing to make timely payment on its foreign debt), bondholders and U.S. oil majors would be in a legal position to take possession of Venezuelan oil assets."

Solid proof that it was the empire who invented the practice of "debt trap" and is still flourishing with it.

hunor, February 7, 2019 at 6:24 am GMT

Thank you ! Made it very clear. Perfect reflection of the " Values of Western Civilization ".

Reaching to grab the whole universe, with no holds barred . And never show of any interest for the " truth". They are not even pretending anymore , awakening will be very painful for some.

Reuben Kaspate, February 7, 2019 at 2:38 pm GMT • 100 Words

Why would the U. S. based White-Protestant aristocracy care a hoot about the Brown-Catholic elites in the far off land? They don't! The comprador aristocracy in question isn't what it seems It's the same group that plagues the Americans.

The rootless louts, whose only raison d'ê·tre is to milk everything in sight and then retire to coastal cities, i.e. San Francisco, if you are a homosexual or New York City and State, if you are somewhat religious.

Poor Venezuelans don't stand a chance against the shysters!

[Feb 04, 2019] The US decision to send weapons to Syria repeats a historical mistake

Highly recommended!
This was true in 2015 for Syria. Now this is true for Venezuela... So one can expect iether chemical attack opposition from Madura government or "Snipergate" in EuroMaydan style. Or may some some more sophisticated, more nasty "false flag" operation in British style like Skripal poisoning.
It will be interesting if Madura manage to survive despite the pressute...
Notable quotes:
"... Sorry but you're wrong. The funding a training of rebel forces by the west has done exactly what is was intended to do, mainly destabilise an entire region, sell billions in extra arms, introduce extra anti-terrorism laws in the west, create more fear and panic, then destabilise Europe through the mass-migration. This was the plan and it worked! ..."
"... To the great disappointment of those of us who voted for Obama, the first time out of hope for change, and the second time out of fear for someone even worse, he is a weak and chameleonic leader whose policies are determined by the strongest willed person in the room. Recall that he was also "talked into" bombing Libya! ..."
"... This isn't Bay of Pigs; its a bloated military trying to figure out what to do with its extra cash. Financially, it doesn't matter if the program is a failure. The cost is minuscule for the budget they have. ..."
"... Bush reached the Oval Office not because he was bright, for indeed he was not, he reached the Oval Office because he was dumb enough not to realise he was clearly easily manipulated, believed in neoliberalism and was rich and rich backers and a rich Dad. ..."
"... In Iran, we have a saying which says; take off a Mullah's turban and you will find the words "Made in England" stamped on his head. ..."
"... ISIS/ISIL is a creation of the US in an attempt to remove Assad. The long-term goal being to isolate Iran before going in there for the natural resources. ..."
"... The White House statement specifically refers to the "Syrian opposition". That's the term we use to describe anti-government forces. This recruitment and training programme has gone awry because the people originally recruited would have been anti-Assad. Now the Obama administration has tried to change the same people to fighting to ISIS instead. No wonder there's only "four to five" left. This is one big fustercluck! ..."
"... The CIA has probably been the greatest destabalising force in the world since the second world war and seem like more a subsidiary of the weapons trade than a government department. ..."
Sep 19, 2015 | The Guardian
Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?

As pretty much everyone who was paying attention predicted, the $500m program to train and arm "moderate" Syrian rebels is an unmitigated, Bay of Pigs-style disaster, with the head of US central command admitting to Congress this week that the year-old program now only has "four or five" rebels fighting inside Syria, with dozens more killed or captured.

Even more bizarre, the White House is claiming little to do with it. White House spokesman Josh Earnest attempted to distance Obama from the program, claiming that it was actually the president's "critics" who "were wrong." The New York Times reported, "In effect, Mr Obama is arguing that he reluctantly went along with those who said it was the way to combat the Islamic State, but that he never wanted to do it and has now has been vindicated in his original judgment."

This bizarre "I was peer pressured into sending more weapons into the Middle East" argument by the president is possibly the most blatant example of blame shifting in recent memory, since he had every opportunity to speak out against it, or veto the bill. Instead, this is what Obama said at the time: "I am pleased that Congress...have now voted to support a key element of our strategy: our plan to train and equip the opposition in Syria."

But besides the fact that he clearly did support the policy at the time, it's ridiculous for another reason: years before Congress approved the $500m program to arm the Syrian rebels, the CIA had been running its own separate Syrian rebel-arming program since at least 2012. It was reported prominently by the New York Times at the time and approved by the president.

In fact, just before Congress voted, Senator Tom Udall told Secretary of State John Kerry, who was testifying in front of the foreign relations committee, "Everybody's well aware there's been a covert operation, operating in the region to train forces, moderate forces, to go into Syria and to be out there, that we've been doing this the last two years." In true Orwellian fashion, Kerry responded at the time: "I hate to do this. But I can't confirm or deny whatever that's been written about and I can't really go into any kind of possible program."

Also conveniently ignored by Congress and those advocating for arming the rebels was a classified study the CIA did at the time showing that arming rebel factions against sitting governments almost always ends in disaster or tragedy.

You'd think whether or not the current weapons-running program was effective – or whether any similar program ever was – would have been a key factor in the debate. But alas, the CIA program is never mentioned, not by politicians, and not by journalists. It's just been conveniently forgotten.

It is true that perhaps the best advocate for why we never should've armed the Syrian rebels to begin with came from President Obama himself. He told the New Yorker in early 2014 that "you have an opposition that is disorganized, ill-equipped, ill-trained and is self-divided. All of that is on top of some of the sectarian divisions." Critically, he cited that same above-mentioned classified study:

Very early in this process, I actually asked the CIA to analyze examples of America financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well. And they couldn't come up with much.

He didn't mention the CIA's already-active weapons-running program. Why he didn't stick to his guns since he supposedly was weary of getting the US military involved in yet another quagmire it could not get out of is beyond anyone's comprehension. Instead, he supported Congress's measure to create yet another program that sent even more weapons to the war-torn region.

Per usual, Republicans are taking the entirely wrong lessons from this disaster, arguing that if only there was more force then everything would've worked out. Marco Rubio exclaimed during the GOP presidential debate on Wednesday that if we armed the rebels earlier – like he allegedly wanted, before voting against arming them when he had the chance – then the program would've worked out. Like seemingly everyone else in this debate, Rubio has decided to ignore the actual facts.

Sadly, instead of a debate about whether we should continue sending weapons to the Middle East at all, we'll probably hear arguments that we should double down in Syria in the coming days and get US troops more cemented into a war we can call our own (that still to this day has not been authorized by Congress). There are already reports that there are US special operations forces on the ground in Syria now, assisting Kurdish forces who are also fighting Isis.

When the vicious and tragic cycle will end is anyone's guess. But all signs point to: not anytime soon.

Oliver2014 19 Sep 2015 21:27

" Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time? "

Because the US doesn't understand the culture of the people it meddles with.

The US goes in with a messianic belief in the righteousness of its objective. This objective is framed in naive terms to convince itself and the people that it's motives are benevolent - such as "we must fight communism" or "we will bring democracy to Iraq" or "Saddam Hussein is an evil man who uses chemical weapons on his own people and hence must be ousted" or "Assad is an evil man who is fighting a civil war with his own people".

As a superpower it feels compelled to interfere in conflicts lest it be seen as impotent. When it does not interfere, as in WW2, things do indeed get out of control. So it's damned if it does and damned if it doesn't.

The CIA did not understand Afghan history of fighting off invaders when it was arming the Mujaheddin and that after the Soviets were defeated it would perceive the Americans as invaders and not as liberators who were there to bring them democracy and teach them that growing poppy was bad. (Like alcohol in the 1930s, a national addiction problem cannot be solved on the supply side - as the CIA and DEA learnt in South America.)

Bush Sr. was right when he left Saddam alone after bloodying his nose for invading Kuwait because he understood that Saddam was playing a vital Tito-esque role in keeping his country and the neighborhood in check. He had no WMDs but wanted his adversaries in the region to believe otherwise. If Saddam were alive today we wouldn't have an Iraq problem, an ISIS problem, an Iran problem and a Syria problem.

Smedley Butler 19 Sep 2015 21:12

"Why he didn't stick to his guns since he supposedly was weary of getting the US military involved in yet another quagmire it could not get out of is beyond anyone's comprehension."

Maybe it's because he hasn't stuck to his guns on anything during the entire time he's been President. He always takes the path of least resistance, the easy way out, and a "conservative-lite" position that tries to satisfy everyone and actually satisfies no one.

What an utter disappointment.

DavidEG 19 Sep 2015 20:01

The Machiavellian machinations of the empire become less relevant with every passing day. It's Europeans now who are eating sweet fruits of "mission accomplished". And they may rebel, and kick out last remnants of their "unity", and sacred NATO alliance alongside.


PamelaKatz AndyMcCarthy 19 Sep 2015 18:33

Obama said the US would take 10,000 Syrian refugees. When I heard this, I thought surely a zero must be missing from this figure. And what no one has publicly mentioned is the immigration process for these few will require at least a year of investigative background checks.

PamelaKatz jvillain 19 Sep 2015 18:15

The largest manufacturers and global distributors of weaponry are the US, the UK, France, Russia and China, in that order....... also known as the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council. One should read the UN Charter, which states the purpose and parameters for forming this international organization. The word 'irony' comes to mind.

ID108738 19 Sep 2015 17:36

Saddam Hussein was a friend while he gassed the Iranians, then he invaded Kuwait; as long as Bin Laden fought the Russians, he was tolerated and funded; now there's Syria. The only thing needed to take the strategy to new levels of idiocy was a compliant nincompoop as prime minister in Britain. Will they ever learn?

Toi Jon 19 Sep 2015 17:27

The US understands how to create a market for their military hardware industry but has never understood how their interference in the Middle East creates mass human misery.

Samantha Stevens 19 Sep 2015 17:09

Quite simply the US is breaking international law by doing this. Every time they do it the world ends up with another shit storm. If they cannot behave responsibly they should be removed from the security council of the UN. Same goes for the Russians and any other power abusing their position.
Syria may not have been the epitome of humanity before being destabilised but it is certainly worse now. The same is true of Iraq. In fact have the US successfully overturned any government they deem un-American (LOL) without it leading to a civil war?

Andy Freeman 19 Sep 2015 17:06

Sorry but you're wrong. The funding a training of rebel forces by the west has done exactly what is was intended to do, mainly destabilise an entire region, sell billions in extra arms, introduce extra anti-terrorism laws in the west, create more fear and panic, then destabilise Europe through the mass-migration. This was the plan and it worked!

People will call for a solution, the solution will be tighter integration in Europe, the abolition of national governments, the removal of cash to stop payments to "terrorists", more draconian spying laws, less from and eventually compulsory registration and ID for all Europeans.

Meanwhile, we'll have a few more false flag attacks supposedly caused by the refugees and more fear in the news. Open your eyes


Laurie Calhoun 19 Sep 2015 16:49

"Why he didn't stick to his guns..." Not the most felicitous metaphor in this case, but here is the answer to your question:

To the great disappointment of those of us who voted for Obama, the first time out of hope for change, and the second time out of fear for someone even worse, he is a weak and chameleonic leader whose policies are determined by the strongest willed person in the room. Recall that he was also "talked into" bombing Libya!

Sad but true. For more details on how this works, read Daniel Klaidman's book Kill or Capture: The war on terror and the soul of the Obama presidency.


littlewoodenblock geniusofmozart 19 Sep 2015 16:39

turkey should be thrown out of NATO immediately!

littlewoodenblock 19 Sep 2015 16:36

after the libya disaster the US should have abandoned plans for regim change in syria.

and the US missed a golden opportunity to recitfy what had already become a syria disaster by allowing turkey and the ludicrous SNC to so thoroughly undermine the Geneva talks.

nnedjo -> Havingalavrov , 19 Sep 2015 15:40

The U.S and U.K's commitment should be to those in Iraq. Secure, rebuild and invest in helping that Nation come with the best solution to a, rid itself of ISIS, b, be able to stay that way, c have a government that is inclusive to the needs of the Sunni's, Shia's and Kurds

Just as I thought that you can not surpass yourself in writing stupid comments, and you are immediately reassured me.
Thus, the US and the UK spent nearly ten years in Iraq and failed to make any of this what you write, but but the whole mess practically they themselves have created. And now you're saying that if the US and UK troops returned again to Iraq they will be able to fix everything that they had previously screwed and to create an "inclusive society" of Iraq. So, if the US and UK troops set foot again on the soil of Iraq, it will be the strongest reason for Iraqi Sunnis to reject the inclusion in the Iraqi society. Iraqi officials themselves are aware of this very well, and for that reason they are the first to oppose such an intervention.
Iraq's prime minister says no to foreign troops

BAGHDAD - Iraq's prime minister strongly rejected the idea of the U.S. or other nations sending ground forces to his country to help fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, saying Wednesday that foreign troops are "out of the question."...
Al-Abadi, a Shiite lawmaker who faces the enormous task of trying to hold Iraq together as a vast array of forces threaten to rip it apart, welcomed the emerging international effort, but stressed that he sees no need for other nations to send troops to help fight ISIS.

"Not only is it not necessary," he said, "We don't want them. We won't allow them. Full stop."
"The only contribution the American forces or the international coalition is going to help us with is from the sky," al-Abadi said. "We are not giving any blank check to the international coalition to hit any target in Iraq."
He said that the Iraqi military will choose and approve targets, and that the U.S. will not take action without consulting with Baghdad first. Failure to do so, he warned, risks causing civilian casualties like in Pakistan and Yemen, where the U.S. has conducted drone strikes for years.

Well, Well, whether i notice here distrust even of Iraqi Shiites toward the US Air Force. On the other hand, they want to strengthen friendship with neighboring governments in Syria and Iran: ;

Al-Abadi, however, said that Iraq doesn't have the luxury of testy relations with Damascus, and instead pushed for some sort of coordination.

"We cannot afford to fight our neighbor, even if we disagree on many things," al-Abadi said. "We don't want to enter into problems with them. For us sovereignty of Syria is very important." The two countries, both of which are allies of Iran, appear to already be coordinating on some level, and Iraq's national security adviser met Tuesday with Assad in the Syrian capital, where the two agreed to strengthen cooperation in fighting "terrorism," according to Syria's state news agency.

The U.S. hopes to pull together a broad coalition to help defeat the extremist group, but has ruled out cooperating with neighboring Iran or Syria, both of which also view ISIS as a threat. Both countries were excluded from a conference this week in Paris that brought the U.S., France and other allies together to discuss how to address the militant threat.

Al-Abadi said that excluding Damascus and Tehran was counterproductive.

So, it is obvious that the Iraqi government is not against inclusion, but they're for such inclusion, which will exclude the US and UK of interfering in their internal affairs. I think it is a good step towards reconciliation with their Sunni brothers because they also seem to support such a thing. And if they managed to do it, maybe Ukrainians will also draw some lesson from it and be able to reconcile with their brothers Russians.


Ieuan ytrewq 19 Sep 2015 14:04

ytrewq said: "USSR and China supplied a lot of support and material to N. Vietnam."

Very true.

However the Viet Minh were formed and initially supplied by OSS (later called the CIA) forces from the US. In fact Ho Chi Min had a naive hope that the US would support him in his struggle against foreign occupation of the country after the war (French colonialism) and made several appeals to President Truman for help (all of which were ignored).

Instead of which, the US supported the French, so Ho asked around and got help from the Russians and Chinese. The rest we know.


marginline AndyMcCarthy 19 Sep 2015 13:54

The UK and France [...], they destroyed Libya.

The causality of which led to an Islamic terror attack on June 26th, 2015 ten kilometers north of the city of Sousse, Tunisia, where thirty-eight people; thirty of whom were British - were murdered.


sashasmirnoff JoJo McJoJo 19 Sep 2015 13:40

The US is always wrong, and always responsible for every bad thing that happens on Earth.

They are always wrong, and are indeed responsible for almost every geopolitical disaster, usually a result of overthrowing governments and installing their own tyrant, or else leaving a vacuum that Islamists fill.


Zaarth 19 Sep 2015 13:34

This $500m program cost less than 0.1% of the US annual defense budget. When you're dealing with sums of money as obscenely large as the US spends on its military, its inevitable that huge quantities will be wasted because you've passed the point where there's worthwhile things to spend it on. This isn't Bay of Pigs; its a bloated military trying to figure out what to do with its extra cash. Financially, it doesn't matter if the program is a failure. The cost is minuscule for the budget they have.

In recent years the right has been very concerned with balancing the national budget and shrinking debt. They're willing to cut spending for social programs and research, but god forbid you take money away from the military. It just wouldn't be patriotic.


marginline -> GeneralMittens 19 Sep 2015 13:14

Great summary GeneralMittens. You have expressed in layman's terms the facts eluded to by journalist Mehdi Hasan when he quantified the depth of the strategic disaster the Iraq war actually was – or, as the Conservative minister Kenneth Clarke put it back in a 2013 BBC radio discussion...

the most disastrous foreign policy decision of my lifetime [ ] worse than Suez

The invasion and occupation of Iraq undermined the moral standing of the western powers; empowered Iran and its proxies; heightened the threat from al-Qaeda at home and abroad; and sent a clear signal to 'rogue' regimes that the best (the only?) means of deterring a preemptive, US-led attack was to acquire weapons of mass destruction. [ ] Iraq has been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of innocent people have lost their lives, as the direct result of an unnecessary, unprovoked war that, according to the former chief justice Lord Bingham, was a...

serious violation of international law

This leads me to the conclusion and I apologies for flogging this dead horse yet again BUT...why are Bush and Bliar not being detained at The Hague?


Ieuan 19 Sep 2015 12:45

" I actually asked the CIA to analyze examples of America financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well."

Well, they (the OSS at the time) supplied arms and training to the Viet Minh. When they were fighting the Japanese. Which worked out well, when they were only fighting the Japanese.

But when they used their expertise (and the arms they had left over) to carry on fighting the French, and later the Americans themselves, it worked out very well for the Viet Minh, not so well for the French and Americans.


GangZhouEsq 19 Sep 2015 12:27

The first President Bush, who decided not to topple President Saddam Hussein after routing his military forces out of Kuwait, and instead to leave him in power for the sake of the Middle East stability is, in retrospect, probably the wisest foreign policy decision ever made by the 41st President, thanks not only to his own personal judgment but also to his foreign policy aides' wisdom. Though it is now too late for the son to learn from his father, it is still not too late for the present administration to learn a thing or two from the former senior President Bush.

twoheadednightingale 19 Sep 2015 12:25

Nice to read an article coming at the war from this angle, seems like people are finally starting to question the effectiveness US foreign policy - ie bombing for peace. However the article is fairly nieve in places - like who actually believes the president of the US has control over all its intelligence agencies? JFK told the world in april '61, not long after the CIA had set him up over the bay of pigs and months before being assassinated exactly that. So enough of the 'blame the president' bullshit, it doesn't get to the root of the problem


GangZhouEsq 19 Sep 2015 12:17

The last major armament, including heavy guns, tanks and armored personnel carriers, as sent by the United States to the now notoriously incompetent Iraqi military forces is now reportedly in the hands of ISIS after these US-trained Iraqi military personnel simply abandoned their posts of defense and deserted for their own dear lives, thus leaving the centuries-old, formerly safe haven of Mosul for Iraqi Christians to the mercy of ISIS. See "60 Minutes", Sunday, September 13, 2015, "Iraq's Christians", at http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/iraqs-christians-the-shooting-at-chardon-high-king-of-crossfit.


pfox33 19 Sep 2015 12:04

The fact that Putin is coming to Assad's aid is a game-changer that the US was unprepared for. For one thing, it's highlighted how inconsequential US efforts to bolster "moderate" rebels and degrade ISIS capabilities have been.

From the time it was reported that the Russians were upgrading an airbase at Latakia to the time that it was reported that they had dispatched helicopters and jets and that the Syrians had started to take the fight to ISIS in Raqqah and Palmyra was only a matter of weeks. The CIA's program, after a year, had produced five soldiers at a cost of 500 million.

Previously the US had free reign over Syrian skies as did Israel who would bomb what they deemed to be convoys of military supplies for Hezbollah. Things aren't so free and easy now with the Russians in town. And both the Americans and Israelis now realize they have to check in with them before them they make sorties over northern Syria.

It's fairly obvious, to me anyway, that the US and Israel's only endgame was the fall of Assad and that ISIS had their tacit approval. Assad's good relations with Iran and Hezbollah meant he was a marked man. Putin, as is his wont, has complicated their plans and the results are yet to be seen.


BradfordChild TastySalmon 19 Sep 2015 11:58

"Iraq, Libya, Syria. What do/did these countries have in common? Unfriendly leaders who want nothing to do with the US."

Actually, Gaddafi had shown an interest in engaging with the West-- happened under Bush, but was never really followed up on. Still, it was headed in a more positive direction until Obama rather arbitrarily decided that Gaddafi had to go.

The real net effect of US intervention in the Middle East has been to destabilize Europe.


Tony Page bravo7490 19 Sep 2015 11:32

I would agree but, as a former intelligence professional, I'd remind you that there's always a story behind the story. Not that it's a "good" story! But more must be going on there...


ByThePeople 19 Sep 2015 11:12

"Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?"

It depends on how you define better. To think that these ops take place with the intent to solve an issue is naive, they don't. You state yourself that the CIA freely admits it's never worked.

The reason the United States funds and arms groups in the Middle East is that 9 times out of 10, these same groups are then later labeled 'terrorists' and a new US war campaign is justified.

It's not about solving problems - unless the problem being solved is: How do we create more opportunities to half-ass justify engaging in another war effort so the US coffers can be continuously raped.

Iraq is the perfect example of succeeding in achieving this goal. Years before the Iraq war ever began, US war planners knew that a power vacuum, attracting the likes of Al-Qaeda and or ISIS would subsequently result. Thus, providing a for a second war, derived from the first seemingly pointless invasion. The Iraq plan worked fabulously as not only did the newly created enemy materialize, they also became a much more formidable enemy once they conveniently came into possession of all the military equipment we let behind.

Point is, they wouldn't continue implementing all these operations if the goal wasn't being achieved.

I will add too - McCain and Co. clamored so hard to arm the al-Assad opposition McCain might as well have claimed that if we did not, then America would be blown up in its entirety in 48 hours the same as all the other fear mongering done in a effort to continue the war efforts. Who knows, maybe he did, I try not to listen to him anymore - he needs to be put out to pasture.

TastySalmon 19 Sep 2015 11:10

Iraq, Libya, Syria. What do/did these countries have in common? Unfriendly leaders who want nothing to do with the US.

To suggest that funding radicals to overthrow these governments is a "whoops" or something that will never work is completely wrong. The plan has worked exactly as planned: destabilize the region by promoting dissent, covertly arm and fund "rebels" through back-channels (Saudi, UAE, Turkey, etc.), create a new boogeyman (ISIS), and reforge alliances with enemies (AQ) who will then turn on us again in the future.

The goal is to flatten Syria, and it seems to be working out very well. When you consider what the ultimate outcome will be, it starts becoming fairly clear: push Russia into a corner militarily and economically, open new LNG pipelines, appease allied caliphates, and put billions of dollars into the pockets of the wealthiest people.

LeftOrRightSameShite -> teaandchocolate 19 Sep 2015 10:51

Their policy is chaotic and consists of repeating the same thing over and over again hoping to get different results, which is, as we all know, the definition of madness.

I think the problem may well be the bloated MIC in the US. Too many strategic game plans for to many, often contradictory ends.

There are no doubt there are intelligence analysts in the US MIC who have a genuine interest in collecting actual information and present it honestly. The numerous leaks show us this.

The problem is, this often good information, once it's been spun through political/economic vested interests, think tanks, cold war jar head imperialists and so forth, it (foreign policy) ends up complete fubar.

To the point where, as you rightly say imo, their foreign policy looks like nothing more than "malicious wily manipulators, deliberately buggering up the world to make money out of the consequences."


david wright 19 Sep 2015 10:49

For a full century now, from the Balfour Declaration and the secret Sykes-Picot arrangement, the currently-top 'Western' dog (UK; then US) has been meddling and futzing around in the Middle East, notionally in someone's 'National Interest.'

Oil, access to Empire (route to India etc) and 'national prestige' have been the usual excuses. The result has been unmitigated disaster.

Ignoring everything up to Gulf 1 (1991) we've a quarter century century of determined scoring of own-goals. This shows no sign of changing. This is a helter-skelter race to destruction, greatly presently aided and abetted by Asad. So far, it's lasted two-and-a-half times longer than the combined lengths of both World Wars.

One conclusion is that by any rational assessment, we don't deserve to 'win', whatever that would constitute, any more than did one side or the other in the 16th -17th century's European religious wars. An equally rational assessment is that we neither have, nor can. The final rational conclusion, that we find a way to disengage - remarkably simply, by stopping doing all the things we have been - is a fence refused by the relevant horses - again, mainly US and (as very eager, jr partner indeed) UK.All apart from the monstrous outcomes for the people in the region, we destabilize our own security then make things worse by tightening our own internal 'security' at the expense of civil liberties. This gives away, at no gain, the slow and scrabbling accretion of these, over centuries. And Cameron and co remain sufficiently delusional to want to keep on bombing, but whatever toys they have, whatever seems a good idea on the day. How can we win? the war isn't on 'terror', but ion logic. Ours. |Neither the US nor UK governments have ever shown much interest in the fates of the millions of people their casual actions have ended, or made hell. Of the multiple ironies (shall I count the ways?) attending all this is that Saddam, while a murderous thug, and no friend to his own people, was doing for us, for free, what we've been unable to do for ourselves - keep Iraq al-Quaida free. AS to his murderous propensities, clearly far fewer of his people (alone) would have been killed had we not intervened, than we have directly or indirectly killed. Much of this stems from the fact that during the same recent period (1991 on) there has been no effective counter to Western power and inclination, which has simply projectile-vomited its baneful influence. Ironic too that the reason we armed and greatly helped create al-Quaida was to destabilize Russia by getting it bogged down in Afghanistan. Thus the only real fear which limited US action, was removed when that policy was successful. We removed the brakes as the train was beginning to accelerate down the incline. Wheeee!


teaandchocolate smifee 19 Sep 2015 10:47

Bush reached the Oval Office not because he was bright, for indeed he was not, he reached the Oval Office because he was dumb enough not to realise he was clearly easily manipulated, believed in neoliberalism and was rich and rich backers and a rich Dad.

As to "not having a serious mark against his name", forgive me if I laugh hysterically while crying with pain.

The least said about the moron Reagan and his jolly pal Thatcher the better. Oh how well their unregulated market shenanigans have turned out.

Crackpots the lot of them.


LethShibbo AndyMcCarthy 19 Sep 2015 10:35

Doing nothing and minding your own business is kinda the same thing.

And the civil war in Syria isn't purely a result of what happened in neighbouring Iraq.

What you're essentially saying is 'America, you've started this fire. Now let it burn.'


pansapians DrDrug 19 Sep 2015 10:28

Well of course ISIS were miffed that the U.S. was paying lip service to not arming ISIS. If you think there was ever any serious difference between the FSA and ISIS then I hear that the Queen having to sell Buckingham palace due to losses gambling on corgi races and I can get you a good deal for a cash sale


IrateHarry Havingalavrov 19 Sep 2015 10:17

Make Iraq work first..

ROFLMFAO...

Iraq has been so thoroughly screwed over by the UKUSA clusterfuck, there is no chance of it working ever again.


AndyMcCarthy LethShibbo 19 Sep 2015 10:12

Sorry, the US doesn't HAVE to make a choice, do nothing or bomb. All the US needs to do is mind it's own business.

We wouldn't be having this refugee crises if the US hadn't invaded Iraq.


Tomasgolfer 19 Sep 2015 10:10

For a little insight, see "The Red Line and the Rat Line", by Seymour M. Hersh. Published in the
London Review of Books


LeftOrRightSameShite contextandreality 19 Sep 2015 10:01

you write a article on myth that US armed rebels

The US (and the UK and France for that matter) has been openly arming and training the "rebels". The US had a vote in congress to openly do just that last year. Covertly, they've been doing it since 2012, again this has been well reported and admitted to.

The problem for the US is their so called "moderates" don't exist. They either switch allegiance once back in Syria or end up captured or killed just as quickly.
Your user name seems somewhat of a parody.


ArtofLies richardoxford 19 Sep 2015 10:00

How does that compute ?

it computes once one answers this slightly naive question from the article

Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?

surely at some point people have to realise that chaos is the result the US is looking for.

IrateHarry 19 Sep 2015 09:56

Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East

Because that is the backbone business of America - making and selling deadly weapons. Deadlier the better, and no matter whom they are supplied to. If foreign governments don't buy, does not matter, just supply it to "rebels", and they will be paid for by the tax payers across the west (not just the American ones, NATO has been set up as the mechanism to tap into European tax payers as well).

The rest of the bullshit like democracy, freedom, etc are marketeers' crap.

LeftOrRightSameShite -> geedeesee 19 Sep 2015 09:53

No wonder there's only "four to five" left. This is one big fustercluck!

There was a report in the NY Times last year by a reporter who was kidnapped by the FSA (his mission was to find them and find out who they were) and handed straight over to Al-Nusra. Twice. He was imprisoned and tortured by them.

In his revealing report, talking of the couple of days he spent back with the "FSA", his release having been negotiated by the west, he asked the "FSA" fighters about the training they received from the US in Jordan. The reporter put it to the fighters that the training was to fight AN/IS. Their response? "We lied to the Americans about that".
The WSJ also recently reported that the CIA mission to arm/train "moderates/FSA" had gone totally tits up. Most of them reported as defecting to one of the number of more extreme groups, some having been captured or killed.

It's been clear for about 2 years now that these so called "moderates" only exist in the deluded minds of western policy makers.


JacobHowarth MushyP8 19 Sep 2015 09:51

ISIS do not control that large a number of people. Many Kurds are fleeing because of IS, that's true, but for the most part the civil war is a horror show from both sides and Syrians are - rightly - getting the hell out of there.

Or are all of those 'taking advantage of the opportunity to move to Europeans [sic] countries' proposing to do so by going to Lebanon and Jordan?


Quadspect -> kingcreosote 19 Sep 2015 09:22

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/10218288/CIA-running-arms-smuggling-team-in-Benghazi-when-consulate-was-attacked.html

The suspiciously unasked questions as to motives of all parties at Benghazi, by all twelve (12) members of the Select Committee, suggests collaboration to question Hillary Clinton to make her appear responsible only for bungling security and rescue, for the sole purpose of diverting attention from Hillary Clinton's role in the CIA and the CIA operative Ambassador Stevens' arming of terrorists. The obvious question to ask would have gone to motives: "What activities were Stevens and the CIA engaged in, when they were attacked at Benghazi?"


GreenRevolution 19 Sep 2015 09:10

The use of religion(Islam specifically) in politics was first employed by the British in the Middle East in the early parts of the 20th century. In Iran, we have a saying which says; take off a Mullah's turban and you will find the words "Made in England" stamped on his head.


nnedjo 19 Sep 2015 09:09

Even more bizarre, the White House is claiming little to do with it. White House spokesman Josh Earnest attempted to distance Obama from the program, claiming that it was actually the president's "critics" who "were wrong."

Yes, it seems that it has become a tradition of US presidents to boast with the fact that "they do not interfere much in their own job".

For example, in the last campaign for the GOP candidate for the US president, Jeb Bush defended his brother George for a false pretext for war in Iraq in the form of non-existent WMD, claiming that everyone else would bring the same decision on the start of the war, if the same false intelligence would be presented to him.

Thus, the president of the United States can not be held accountable for its decisions if the CIA deliver him false intelligence, or deliberately conceal the true intelligence. On the other hand, since no one has heard of any person from the CIA which is held responsible for the wrong war in Iraq, it turns out that nobody is responsible for this war.

And, to us, mere mortals, it remains only to conclude that the most powerful war machine in the world moves "without a driver", or maybe it is "driven by some automatic pilot".

So, how tragic it is, and yet we can not help laughing. :-)


mikiencolor 19 Sep 2015 09:06

It was obvious to anyone with a modicum of sense from the beginning that the "moderate" rebel training programme would be an utter disaster. But if the lessons you are taking is that nothing should be done at all, I'd submit you are taking the wrong lessons from the debacle. Doing nothing at all would have condemned tens of thousands more to genocide. Doing something saved thousands of Yezidi and saved Rojava.

Wherever the Kurds have been supported they have proved capable, trustworthy and have created functional civil societies. To broadly and undiscerningly dismiss "sending weapons to the Middle East" is disingenuous. Something must be done, and things can be done to help rather than harm if there is a sensible policy maker, and doing nothing certainly can be more immoral and evil than doing something - as I thought we'd learned from Nazi Germany.

The reality is one that neither right wing nor left wing hardliners are willing to face: the Sunni Arab jihadis are the source of most of the problems and the reason is entirely to do with their noxious genocidal and imperialistic ideology and culture. They are a source of instability, enmity and fear, and not just in the Middle East either. And they are being supported and bankrolled by Western allies in the Gulf. The world is a big place with many peoples and ways of thought, and many disagreements - but we nearly all of us seem able to find a way to coexist in this new globalised technological human civilisation. The jihadis are a barbarian throwback, a movement of violent primitivists. There is no place for jihadism in the future and they are a threat to everyone in the world.


ID0020237 -> teaandchocolate 19 Sep 2015 09:01

Insanity I believe, not madness, but what's the difference. The CIA may get it right, but after political interference and manipulation, they change their conclusions. We've seen this with the Iraq debacle and elsewhere. Just as political interference in military operations, Viet Nam for example, causes imminent failure, so it is with intelligence ignored.


GeneralMittens 19 Sep 2015 09:01

So basically America invades and bombs the shit out of everywhere and the europeans have to clean up the mess and deal with the resulting refugee crisis?

At some point America should be held accountable for their actions in the middle east. Whether thats taking their fair share of refugees from syria or footing the bill for this clusterfuck.

At the very least, other countries should stop enabling their warmongering.


LittleGhost 19 Sep 2015 08:58

US foreign policy in the ME proves Einstein's maxim

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

GreenRevolution 19 Sep 2015 08:57

It has been 14 years since 911 and Bush's so called "war on terror". Not only barbaric wahabi terror has not been defeated it has grown its barbarism to magnitudes unimaginable previously. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been allowed to arm them to the teeth by the very states who claim to be waging "war on terror". Since Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are close allies of the west and one is a member of NATO, it follows that the west is in fact arming the wahabi terrorists who have turned the Middle East into a wasteland murdering and looting at will. Millions are now refugees, countries laid to waste and yet Mr Kerry and Hammond talk as if they have done such magnificent jobs and Russian involvement would only "complicate" things.


teaandchocolate 19 Sep 2015 08:56

I don't think they have the brightest people working in the CIA and the military in the USA. They are probably bullies, relics from the Cold War, jar-heads, devout 6000-year-old-world Christians, neocons and fruitcakes. Their policy is chaotic and consists of repeating the same thing over and over again hoping to get different results, which is, as we all know, the definition of madness.


smifee 19 Sep 2015 08:52

To be honest, I don't see any confusion.

Obama comes across as a (comparatively) humane person, and I am sure that his personal preference would be for there to be no violence in the middle east. As President of the USA, however, he has to set aside his personal preferences and act in the wider interests of his country.

The US set out to realign the political make up of the middle east. No doubt, they want to make sure Islam will never again be able attack US interests.

Successive Administrations have controlled the funding and arming of various factions within the Middle East to ensure that Muslims kill each other and weaken social structures. The US will fill the ensuing political vacuum and economic waste-land with local leaders loyal to 'freedom, democracy and the American Way'. The next Administration will continue to stoke up the violence, and the one after, and the one after that until the US is satisfied it has achieved its objective.

It seems almost all of us have to contain our personal views if we want to succeed in our place of work. Even the P of the USA.

GoldMoney -> celloswiss 19 Sep 2015 08:51

True, in a democracy, moderates don't need bombs and assault weapons.

Consider this - how would you feel if foreign governments were arming and funding the IRA in Northern Ireland?

What if foreign governments recognised the IRA as a legitimate opposition to the Belfast government and gave them bombs to take over the country?


MichaelGuess 19 Sep 2015 08:46

Who are the real terrorists, the group that bombs indiscriminately, the group that sells arms to both sides, the group that's lies to its "coalition" partners, the group that spies on all its friends, the group that is happy to be starting wars everywhere and then blame other parties for their lack of support.
These are the real terrorists.

MushyP8 19 Sep 2015 08:46

ISIS/ISIL is a creation of the US in an attempt to remove Assad. The long-term goal being to isolate Iran before going in there for the natural resources.

Assad won 89% of the vote in a 74% turnout, how many world leaders have 65% of the population supporting them, hence why Assad hasn't fallen. Naturally the US refuted this alongside its lapdogs, the EU and the UK, as it disproves all the propaganda they've been feeding the west. RT news did an interview with Assad which was very insightful.

Putin seems to be the only one who's got his head screwed on in this situation, which is of course leading to hissy fits by the US because he's proving a stumbling block. More nations need to get behind Putin and Assad, although of course the US wont.

GoldMoney DrDrug 19 Sep 2015 07:52

Moderates do, when the simple act of protesting against the mutilation of children detained by the states secret police are met with a volley of snipers.

No such evidence has been bought to the UN security council. Even the chemical attack that the media claimed from day one was Assad's forces doing turned out to be IS rebels actions. The two human rights groups operating in Syria are western funded NGO's - hardly a neutral point of view given the US's long stated aim of removing Assad (even before 2011).

geedeesee 19 Sep 2015 07:25

This $500 million from June 2014 was for recruiting Syrian rebels seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad - not to fight iSIS.

The White House said at the time:

"This funding request would build on the administration's longstanding efforts to empower the moderate Syrian opposition, both civilian and armed, and will enable the Department of Defense to increase our support to vetted elements of the armed opposition."

The White House statement specifically refers to the "Syrian opposition". That's the term we use to describe anti-government forces. This recruitment and training programme has gone awry because the people originally recruited would have been anti-Assad. Now the Obama administration has tried to change the same people to fighting to ISIS instead. No wonder there's only "four to five" left. This is one big fustercluck!

kingcreosote 19 Sep 2015 07:12

The CIA has probably been the greatest destabalising force in the world since the second world war and seem like more a subsidiary of the weapons trade than a government department.

[Feb 03, 2019] As US Freezes, This Is Where Europeans Can't Afford To Heat Their Homes

Feb 03, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

While the US Midwest suffers with Arctic temperatures, winter tightens its icy stranglehold on Europe, where a considerable number of people are struggling to keep their homes warm.

Statista's Niall McCarthy reports that, according to new data released by Eurostat , eight percent of the EU population couldn't afford to adequately heat their homes in 2017. That still represents an improvement on recent years, particularly 2012 when it peaked at 11 percent.

You will find more infographics at Statista

Among member states , the largest share of people who could not afford to properly heat their home was recorded in Bulgaria at 36.5 percent. It was followed by Lithuania (28.9 percent) and Greece (25.7 percent). The lowest figures were recorded in Luxembourg (1.9 percent), Finland (2.0 percent) and Sweden (2.1 percent).

[Jan 22, 2019] War with Russia From Putin Ukraine to Trump Russiagate

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Professor Cohen is indeed a patriot of the highest order. The American and "Globalists" elites, particularly the dysfunctional United Kingdom, are engaging in a war of nerves with Russia. This war, which could turn nuclear for reasons discussed in this important book, is of no benefit to any person or nation. ..."
Jan 22, 2019 | www.amazon.com

P. Philips 5.0 out of 5 stars December 6, 2018

"In a Time of Universal Deceit -- Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act"

"In a Time of Universal Deceit -- Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act" is a well known quotation (but probably not of George Orwell). And in telling the truth about Russia and that the current "war of nerves" is not in the interests of either the American People or national security, Professor Cohen in this book has in fact done a revolutionary act.

Like a denizen of Plato's cave, or being in the film the Matrix, most people have no idea what the truth is. And the questions raised by Professor Cohen are a great service in the cause of the truth. As Professor Cohen writes in his introduction To His Readers:

"My scholarly work -- my biography of Nikolai Bukharin and essays collected in Rethinking the Soviet Experience and Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives, for example -- has always been controversial because it has been what scholars term "revisionist" -- reconsiderations, based on new research and perspectives, of prevailing interpretations of Soviet and post-Soviet Russian history. But the "controversy" surrounding me since 2014, mostly in reaction to the contents of this book, has been different -- inspired by usually vacuous, defamatory assaults on me as "Putin's No. 1 American Apologist," "Best Friend," and the like. I never respond specifically to these slurs because they offer no truly substantive criticism of my arguments, only ad hominem attacks. Instead, I argue, as readers will see in the first section, that I am a patriot of American national security, that the orthodox policies my assailants promote are gravely endangering our security, and that therefore we -- I and others they assail -- are patriotic heretics. Here too readers can judge."

Cohen, Stephen F.. War with Russia (Kindle Locations 131-139). Hot Books. Kindle Edition.

Professor Cohen is indeed a patriot of the highest order. The American and "Globalists" elites, particularly the dysfunctional United Kingdom, are engaging in a war of nerves with Russia. This war, which could turn nuclear for reasons discussed in this important book, is of no benefit to any person or nation.

Indeed, with the hysteria on "climate change" isn't it odd that other than Professor Cohen's voice, there are no prominent figures warning of the devastation that nuclear war would bring?

If you are a viewer of one of the legacy media outlets, be it Cable Television networks, with the exception of Tucker Carlson on Fox who has Professor Cohen as a frequent guest, or newspapers such as The New York Times, you have been exposed to falsehoods by remarkably ignorant individuals; ignorant of history, of the true nature of Russia (which defeated the Nazis in Europe at a loss of millions of lives) and most important, of actual military experience. America is neither an invincible or exceptional nation. And for those familiar with terminology of ancient history, it appears the so-called elites are suffering from hubris.

I cannot recommend Professor Cohen's work with sufficient superlatives; his arguments are erudite, clearly stated, supported by the facts and ultimately irrefutable. If enough people find Professor Cohen's work and raise their voices to their oblivious politicians and profiteers from war to stop further confrontation between Russia and America, then this book has served a noble purpose.

If nothing else, educate yourself by reading this work to discover what the *truth* is. And the truth is something sacred.

America and the world owe Professor Cohen a great debt. "Blessed are the peace makers..."

jn 5.0 out of 5 stars January 18, 2019

This book examines the senseless and dangerous demonizing of Russia and Putin

This is a compelling book that documents and examines the senseless and dangerous demonizing of Russia and Putin. Unfortunately, the elites in Washington and mass media are not likely to read this book. Their minds are closed. I read this book because I was hoping for an explanation about the cause of the new cold war with Russia. Although the root cause of the new cold war is beyond the scope of this book, the book documents baseless accusations that grew in frequency and intensity until all opposition was silenced. The book documents the dangerous triumph of group think.

skeptic

"On my planet, the evidence linking Putin to the assassination of Litvinecko, Nemtsov, and Politkovskaya and the attempt on the Skripals is strong and consistent with spending his formative years in the KGB. The naive view from Cohen's planet is presented on p 6 and 170."

Ukrainian history. That's evident to any attentive reader. I just want to state that Ukrainian EuroMaydan was a color revolution which exploited the anger of population against the corrupt neoliberal government of Yanukovich (with Biden as the best friend, and Paul Manafort as the election advisor) to install even more neoliberal and more corrupt government of Poroshenko and cut Ukraine from Russia. The process that was probably inevitable in the long run (so called Baltic path), but that was forcefully accelerated. Everything was taken from the Gene Sharp textbook. And Ukrainians suffered greatly as a result, with the standard of living dropping to around $2 a day level -- essentially Central Africa level.

The fact is that the EU acted as a predator trying to get into Ukraine markets and displace Russia. While the USA neocons (Nuland and Co) staged the coup using Ukrainian nationalists as a ram, ignoring the fact that Yanukovich would be voted out in six months anyway (his popularity was in single digits, like popularity of Poroshenko those days ;-). The fact that Obama administration desperately wanted to weaken Russia at the expense of Ukrainians eludes you. I would blame Nuland for the loss of Crimea and the civil war in Donbass.

Poor Ukrainians again became the victim of geopolitical games by big powers. No that they are completely blameless, but still...

It looks like you inhabit a very cold populated exclusively with neocons planet called "Russiagate." So Professor Cohen really lives on another planet. And probably you should drink less American exceptionalism Kool-Aid.

[Jan 22, 2019] Latin America Here's how neoliberal economists wreak havoc on the global poor while protecting the financial elite by Vijay Prashad

Notable quotes:
"... November 14, 2018 ..."
"... This article was produced by Globetrotter , a project of the Independent Media Institute. ..."
www.defenddemocracy.press
Thanks to the IMF, the pockets of the forgotten from Argentina to Mexico will suffer so that finance is left intact.

November 14, 2018

On December 1, Mexico will have a new president -- Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He will take over the presidency from the lackluster Enrique Peña Nieto, whose administration is marinated in corruption. Peña Nieto's legal office has already asked the Supreme Court to shield his officials from prosecution for corruption. The elite will protect itself. López Obrador will not be able to properly exorcize the corrupt from the Mexican state, let alone from Mexican society. Corrupt weeds grow on the soil of capitalism, the loam of profit and greed as well as of rents from government contracts.

López Obrador comes to the presidency as a man of the left, but the space for maneuvering that he has for a left agenda is minimal. Mexico's economy, through geography and trade agreements, is fused with that of the United States. More than 80 percent of Mexico's exports go to its neighbor to the north, while Mexico's financial sector is almost entirely at the mercy of Northern banks.

Already, López Obrador has had to deal with the leash from Northern banks that sits tightly around Mexico's throat. On October 28, after the election, López Obrador canceled the project to build a new airport for Mexico City. This new airport -- at a cost of US$13.4 billion -- is seen as far too expensive (Istanbul has just inaugurated a new airport, far bigger, for almost US$2 billion less). The peso fell, the Mexican stock market fell, Fitch downgraded Mexico to "negative," and international investors frowned.

Then, in early November, legislators from López Obrador's party -- Morena -- proposed laws to limit bank fees. Mexico's stock market collapsed. It was the worst single-day loss of the BMV stock index in seven years. The bankers sent López Obrador a message: don't rock the boat.

Hastily, López Obrador's choice for the finance ministry -- Carlos Urzúa -- scolded the legislators and winked to the banks. Urzúa, an economist, has spent years consulting for the World Bank and other such agencies. It is hard to find an economist these days who has not put his fingers into a consultancy for either the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The economics profession has slid almost wholesale into the pocket of international agencies that are committed to a very asphyxiating version of public policy -- one that goes by the name of neoliberalism. It is a policy framework that favors multinational corporations over workers, one that seeks to control inflation rather than find ways to improve the livelihood of people. Finance is the religion, while Money is God.

Read also: Trump's Plan Makes Nuclear War More Likely

López Obrador and Urzúa do not have the political power to challenge the order of things.

IMF Comes to Mexico City

Just a month before López Obrador takes office, the IMF sent a team to Mexico. This team came to do a study based on the IMF charter's Article IV. Its report set limits on what López Obrador's government can do. There is the usual verbal concern expressed for inequality and poverty, but this is just window-dressing. Nothing in the IMF staff statement indicated a policy that would tackle Mexico's grave problems of poverty and inequality.

What the report details instead is a caution that López Obrador must not try to invest funds in infrastructure that benefits the Mexican people -- investment, for instance, in the sclerotic oil industry (Pemex). Mexico, an oil exporting state, imports oil because it has limited refining capacity. López Obrador has said he wants Mexico to properly develop the state-run oil firm Pemex. But the IMF staff statement says that "further improvements of Pemex's financial situation are a prerequisite before new investments in refining can be contemplated." López Obrador will be forced to make drastic cuts in Pemex and to continue to drain the exchequer to import oil. No structural change is going to be possible here without a negative IMF report, which would further encourage an investment strike into Mexico.

Someone should encourage the IMF to stop sending staff teams into countries like Mexico. Each report is identical to the previous one. Nothing seems to be learned by these teams. Years ago, a senior IMF economist told me that when he arrived in a Central Asian country he knew nothing of that country, he got to see nothing of it when he was there and he knew virtually nothing when he drafted the Article IV review. All he did in the country was sit in one air-conditioned room after another, listen to canned reports from nervous finance ministry officials and then develop the report based on the IMF's same old recipe -- make cuts, target welfare, privatize and make sure that the banks are happy.

Read also: Brexit: Here's how top economists are reacting to Britain's shocking vote

Latitude for creative policy making is simply not available. The IMF comes to town to tell new governments to behave. López Obrador and his cabinet will have to listen. Any deviation from the IMF recipe will make investors flee and foreign investment dry up. It is so easy these days to suffocate a country.

IMF Comes to Buenos Aires

For the past two decades, the IMF had found it difficult to dictate terms in Latin America. From 2002 to 2007, left-leaning governments governed most of the region, where economic activity was helped along by high commodity prices (including oil prices) and high remittance payments.

Even Mexico's conservative President Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) had to lean into the prevailing winds of Bolivarianism. In 2011, at the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Calderón championed integration of Latin America -- something that is least to be expected from a Mexican head of government, because Mexico is firmly integrated into the United States.

The world financial crisis from 2007 hit Latin America hard. Calderón went to Davos the next year and said that Latin America would be insulated from the crisis. Far from it, Mexico had already begun to suffer job loss as the economy of its main trade partner -- the United States -- contracted. An IMF study found that Latin America lost 40 percent of its wealth in 2008. Public finances contracted, and public investments declined. Inflation led to higher poverty rates and to social instability.

A quick summary: Why did Latin America's economies suffer a crisis after 2007? It was not because of the left-leaning governments and their policies. It was because of the over-leveraged financial system, only one of whose asset bubbles -- U.S. housing prices -- collapsed. Deep integration into and reliance upon the U.S.-dominated financial system, and poor diversification of their economies from the U.S. market, meant that as the U.S. banks contracted, Latin America felt the pain. Over 80 percent of Argentina's private debt was in dollars in 2002, while only a quarter of Argentina's economy was geared toward exports. This was the fuel that was fated to burst into flame. It is this dollar reliance that could not be corrected.

Read also: BRICS: Superpowers in Traditional Medicine

The exported economic problem had a political impact. It weakened the left-leaning governments, even as these governments tried to ameliorate the crisis. Many of these governments -- from Argentina to Brazil -- lost elections, while social turmoil struck others -- from Venezuela to Nicaragua. It is in this context that the International Monetary Fund returned to Latin America with a vengeance.

After two decades of relative absence, the IMF has now returned to Argentina (on which please see this dossier from Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research). Its Article IV staff statement from December last year pointed to the problems of high borrowing in foreign currency, a problem that was recognized in 2001-2002. But the power of international finance -- centered at Wall Street and the City of London -- prevented any easy pivot out of this problem. It was easier to demand cuts from the already meager incomes of ordinary people.

In 1994, Mexico suffered from what became known as the "tequila crisis," as the peso collapsed when international capital fled the country. The government would not place capital controls to protect the peso against currency speculators. The "tequila effect" then spread to South America. No one was prepared to stand up to the dollar and the speculators. From the forests of Chiapas, Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatistas spoke out in favor of the pockets of the forgotten, the people who did not cause the crisis but who would bear the cost of these financial shenanigans. Once more, with help from the IMF, the pockets of the forgotten from Argentina to Mexico will suffer so that finance is left intact.

This article was produced by Globetrotter , a project of the Independent Media Institute.

Published at https://www.alternet.org/2018/11/international-monetary-fund-flexes-its-muscles-latin-america/

[Jan 13, 2019] Potencial of having a nuclear cataclysm out of civil war in Ukraine is firtneing perspecitve

Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

EugeneGur , says: July 23, 2018 at 9:30 pm GMT

@Peter Akuleyev

who has spent time in Ukraine knows how deep hatred of Russia goes

I don't know where is Ukraine you spent your time and in what company, but this is complete BS. The South-Eastern Ukraine hates the Western Ukrainian "banderovtsi" as much as the Russians do if not more -- after all, the followers of Bandera operated mostly on the Ukrainian soil. There are deranged individuals in every country, of course, and Ukraine has been subjected lately to intense hate propaganda as well as repressions, but there is no hatred of Russia. This is contradicted by both sociology and everyday behavior of Ukrainian, which move to Russia in droves, spend time in Russia, support Russian sport teams, etc.

we are supposed to dismiss the actual wishes of Ukrainians, Estonians, Poles, Georgians and other peoples who hate Russia (and love the US)

Nobody is asking about what the real Ukrainians, Estonians, Georgians or even Poles actually think, least of all the US. There are almost as many Georgians living in Russia as there are in Georgia, and they show no desire to move back. In 2008 during the conflict, their biggest fear was that they'd be deported.

The Ukraine's Maidan was a violent coup, where a few thousand militants armed and trained abroad overthrew a government elected by the entire country. Protests that immediately started all over the country were suppressed with force -- the one in Donbass still is.

How could anyone with an access to Internet remain unaware of these facts is beyond me.

Vojkan , says: July 24, 2018 at 8:25 am GMT
@Peter Akuleyev Why should anyone freaking care and put his ass in the line of fire because you bunch of primitives hate Russia? Between having a nuclear cataclysm because you pathetic dwarfs of nations are frustrated to have a neighbour you can't bully and Russia obliterating you, I say let Russia obliterate you, thus we won't have to suffer the ear-hurting dissonnance of your incessant whining any more. Though I doubt Russia would stomp on you. When you see shit, you don't stomp on it, you don't want you don't want your shoes to stink, you just walk around it.

[Jan 13, 2019] Who are the people populating Ukrainian Armed Forces?

Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

peterAUS , says: July 23, 2018 at 10:25 pm GMT

@EugeneGur That's an interesting point. Even if true, doesn't matter. One could wonder ..who are the people populating Ukrainian Armed Forces?

Or who are the guys, in Ukrainian Armed Forces, presently engaged against Donbass? All of them. Including those is logistics/maintenance depots far away from the (current) line of separation?

The will to fight against "Russia" ranges from a deep hate to simply not wishing to go against the (current) Ukrainian government. The former are in those "shock" battalions. The later are manning the logistics train. And everything in between.

Now .if/when a real shooting starts, as soon as Russia, as expected (and desired) by the most of readers here, starts delivering ordnance into operational depth of Donbass enemy, the ratio hate/don't care shall shift, hard and fast. Not in Russian favor, I suspect.

[Jan 11, 2019] The ticking time bomb is because a large part of young people working now are working on non – permanent contracts that don t pay benefits. These people won t have any pension at all and there are a lot of them

Naomi Klein's book "Shock Doctrine", encapsulated by this post as "global elites used periods of crisis around the world to force damaging neoliberal policies derived from the Chicago School and Washington Consensus upon unhappy populations that suffered greatly as a result."
Notable quotes:
"... Eventually, Poland emerged as the major US agent of influence within the EU (along with GB) with the adamant anti-Russian stance. Which taking into account the real state of Polish manufacturing deprived of the major market is very questionable. Later by joining sanctions, they lost Russian agricultural market (including all apple market in which they have a prominent position). ..."
"... Gowan's book, Global Gamble, is also good on the details of shock therapy in the former Warsaw Pact nations. One key problem was that shock therapy partly rested on he assumption that western European buyers would want to invest in modernizing plant and equipment in industries they acquired, but it quickly turned out that the German and other western buyers were really interested only in acquiring new MARKETS for their own products. ..."
"... I remember a couple of paragraphs about Poland in my Economics 101 course, some 20 years ago. Was it in in Mankiw's book? or Lipsey-Chrystal? I do not remember anymore. One of those vicious neoliberal propaganda mouthpieces, anyway. The textbook pitched Poland's success story against Russia's abject failure, claiming that the former had dismantled and shut down all its inefficient state-run companies, while the latter still kept its unprofitable heavy industry on life support. ..."
"... Somehow neoclassical economists always distort history into a cartoonish parody that confirms their models. ..."
"... If you looked carefully, you could still find older books, barely touched, that touted Albania as a neoliberal success story along the same lines as Poland. Albania almost collapsed in civil war in 1998. ..."
"... The author's criticism doesn't really address Klein's central points at all, which would be that the crisis was used as leverage to ram through otherwise politically unpalatable change, and that a great deal of the constraint forcing that was provided by actors both undemocratic and external. He seems to be of the school that regards such niceties as beside the point, as long as various macroaggregates eventually rose. ..."
"... Any discussion of the Polish economy that completely ignores this massive level of economic outmigration, and it's continued rise among the young, misses a great deal. In a vibrant economy, it seems unlikely that so many educated Poles would find, for example, lower tier jobs in Britain to be their best path forward. ..."
"... Out-migration is a huge factor in eastern and central Europe and without it, the picture would look entirely different. The Baltics, Bulgaria and Romania are even more affected. ..."
"... Inter-war Poland is celebrated a lot in Poland these days, conveniently ignoring the facts it was really a totalitarian state – when Czechoslovakia was Muniched in 1938, Poles (and Hugarians) were quick to grab bits of territory right after that. ..."
"... Poland has taken around a million Ukrainians over the past ten years so while many Poles are emigrating to Europe, they are being replaced by Ukrainians, who are ethnically and linguistically fairly similar to Poles. ..."
Jan 11, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The argument largely seems to hold for the original poster boy example in Chile with the Pinochet coup against the socialist Allende regime. A military coup replaced a democratically government. Whiole Chlle was experiencing a serious inflation, it was not in a full-blown economic collapse. The coup was supported by US leaders Nixon and Kissinger, who saw themselves preventing the emergence of pro-Soviet regime resembling Castro's Cuba. Thousands were killed, and a sweeping set of laisssez faire policies were imposed with the active participation of "Chicago Boys" associated with Milton Friedman. In fact, aside from bringing down inflation these rreforms did not initially improve economic performance, even as foreign capital flowed in, especially into the copper industry, although the core of that industry remained nationalized. After several years the Chicago Boys were sent away and more moderate policies, including a reimposition of controls on foreign capital flows, the economy did grow quite rapidly. But this left a deeply unequal income distribution in place, which would largely remain the case even after Pinochet was removed from power and parliamentary democracy returned.

This scenario was argued to happen in many other narions, especially those in the former Sovit bloc as the soviet Union disintegrated and its successor states and the former members of the Soviet bloc in the CMEA and Warsaw Pact also moved to some sort of market capitalism imposed from outside with policies funded by the IMF and following the Washington Consensus. Although he has since expressed regret for this role in this, a key player linking what was done in several Latin American nations and what went down after 1989 in Eastern and Central Europe was Jeffrey Sachs. Klein's discussion especially of what went down in Russia also looks pretty sound by and large, wtthout dragging through the details, although in these cases the political shift was from dictatorships run by Communist parties dominated out of Moscow to at least somewhat more democratic governments, although not in all of the former Soviet republics such as in Central Asia and with many of these later backsliding towards more authoritarian governments later. In Russia and in many oothers large numbers of people were thrown into poverty from which they have not recovered. Klein has also extended this argument to other nations, including South Africa after the end of apartheid.

likbez

The level of the naivety of Barkley Rosser is astounding.

Poland was a political project, the showcase for the neoliberal project in Eastern Europe and the USSR. EU was pressed to provide large subsidies, and that marionette complied. The commenter ilpalazzo (above) is right that there has been " a tremendous development in real estate and infrastructure mostly funded by the EU that has been a serious engine of growth." Like in Baltics and Ukraine, German, French, Swedish and other Western buyers were most interested in opening market for their products and getting rid of local and xUSSR competitors (and this supported and promoted Russophobia). With very few exceptions. University education system also was partially destroyed, but still fared better than most manufacturing industries.

I remember talking to one of the Polish professors of economics when I was in Poland around 1992. He said that no matter how things will develop, the Polish economy will never be allowed to fail as the USA is interested in propelling it at all costs. That means that there was no CIA activity to undermine the financial system, deindustrialize the country, and possibly to partition the county like it was in Russia with Harvard mafia (Summers, Shleifer, etc.)

Still, they lost quite a bit of manufacturing: for example all shipbuilding, which is ironic as Lech Wałęsa and Solidarity emerged in this industry.

Eventually, Poland emerged as the major US agent of influence within the EU (along with GB) with the adamant anti-Russian stance. Which taking into account the real state of Polish manufacturing deprived of the major market is very questionable. Later by joining sanctions, they lost Russian agricultural market (including all apple market in which they have a prominent position).

But they have a large gas pipeline on their territory, so I suspect that like Ukraine they make a lot of money via transit fees simply due to geographic. So they parochially live off rent -- that why they bark so much at North Stream 2.

Polish elite is a real horror show, almost beyond redemption, and not only in economics. I do not remember, but I think it was Churchill who said " Poland is a greedy hyena of Europe." This is as true now as it was before WWII.

Now they are propelled by cheap labor from Ukraine, which they helped to destroy (along with Sweden and Germany)

ilpalazzo , , January 10, 2019 at 3:04 pm

My post seem to have vanished into oblivion so I'm pasting from the clipboard.

I am a Pole and have been a daily reader here since 2008. I hope a better versed compatriot will come out of the closet and give a better picture (I know there are a few).

Let's just say the shock was pretty bad. In terms of amount of human suffering the worst was dissolving state owned farms. Hundreds of thousands of people were just let go without any help, although many farms were profitable and others could be restructured or converted into collectives etc. I live in a small town where there was a huge state farm and I can see former employees started to recover and get by just recently judging by the looks of their dwellings.

Most of the manufacturing and heavy industry was sold off and extinguished. We used to have pretty decent capital producing capabilities like tooling etc. Not a trace of that now. There is a lot being manufactured now here but mostly simple components for german industry to assemble.

Pension system was thoroughly looted by you know who and is a ticking time bomb. Most of it was quasi privatized – that is managed by western companies but still part of the state system. There were supposed to be individual saving accounts managed by sophisticated investment specialists but the money ended up invested in state bonds, issued to subsidize it. Managing fee 7 – 10 percent charge on every payment into the system, regardless of performance, anyone? It was a heist of the century.

The ticking time bomb is because a large part of young people working now are working on non – permanent contracts that don't pay benefits. These people won't have any pension at all and there are a lot of them.

Healthcare is single payer fund but heavily underfunded. Private practice and hospitals are allowed and skim most profitable procedures leaving the rest to public fund. There are unrealistic limits on number of procedures so if you need to see a specialist in July or later prepare to pay cash or wait till January.

Municipal service companies, at least the most lucrative ones have ben sold off to foreign investment funds. A few of our cities' municipal companies, like central heating or energy have been sold off to german municipal companies (!). State telecom has been sold off to french state telecom (and one of the biggest and most famous fortunes made).

Local printed press is 90% german corps owned.

This is a map of state rail company railways in 1988 and 2009 . It has been a meme here for some time. It is true. Cancelled lines are the subsidized ones workers relied on to get to job. I closely know a thousand years old town that had rail built in 1860 by germans and liquidated right in 1990. The populace is now halved, all young emigrated, businesses dead. There have been a huge investment in freeways and other kind of roads so every one has to own a car to get to her job. Most cars are used 10+ year old german imports. Polish car mechanic and body shops are the best in the world specialists of german automotive produce.

I live in a small contry town that was a home to a wealthy aristocrat. There is a beautiful baroque palace and huge park, the complex is literally a third part of town. After the war it was nationalized, there were sporting facilities built in the park for locals and school pupils to use. The palace was re-purposed as medical facility and office complex for state farm management. In the nineties the whole thing was given back to aristocrat descendants – a shady bunch hiding in Argentina AFAIR. They couldn't afford to keep it so they sold it to a nouveau – riche real estate developer. He fenced the whole thing off and refurbished into a sort of conference complex – it is underway and still not clear what's gonna happen with it. The effect is that a third of my town that used to be public space is fenced off and off limits now.

To conclude, there has been a tremendous development in real estate and infrastructure mostly funded by the EU that has been a serious engine of growth. Lot of people got mortgage and financed homes or flats and there has been a whole industry created around it. A few crown jewel companies (copper mining, petroleum and other chemistry) are state owned. But most of the sophisticated furnishings used in real estate are german made (there is german made nat gas furnace in 95% of newly built homes) etc. Two million young people emigrated to work mostly to UK and Ireland. I'd lived in Dublin for a year in 2003 and there were Chinese people as salespersons in groceries and seven – elevens everywhere, now there are Poles instead.

Recommended reading about the transformation years dealing is this book:

https://monthlyreview.org/product/from_solidarity_to_sellout/

The author is Kalecki's pupil.

Darthbobber , , January 10, 2019 at 5:21 pm

Thanks for this. Gowan's book, Global Gamble, is also good on the details of shock therapy in the former Warsaw Pact nations. One key problem was that shock therapy partly rested on he assumption that western European buyers would want to invest in modernizing plant and equipment in industries they acquired, but it quickly turned out that the German and other western buyers were really interested only in acquiring new MARKETS for their own products.

And in agriculture, they both insisted on the elimination of subsidies within the eastern nations, and proceeded to use the area as a dumping ground for their own (often subsidized) agricultural surpluses.

JTMcPhee , , January 10, 2019 at 6:51 pm

All this gets back, in my minuscule view, to failure to have a decent answer to one little question:

What kind of political economy do "we, the mopes" want to live within?

And related to that, what steps can and must "we, the mopes" take to get to that hopefully wiser, more decent, more homeostatic and sustainable, political economy?

And it likely doesn't matter for us old folks (obligatory blast at Boomers as cause of all problems and distresses, dismissing the roots and branches of "civilization," current patterns of consumption, and millennia of Progress), given what is "baked in" and the current distribution of weatlhandpower. But maybe "we, the mopes" can at least go down fighting. Gilets Jaunes, 150 million Indians, all that

But without an answer to the first question, though, not much chance of "better," is there? Except maybe locally, for the tiny set of us mopes who know how to do community and commensalism and some other "C" words

"We, the mopes" could make some important and effective changes. Enough of us, and soon enough, to avoid or mitigate the Jackpot?

Unna , , January 10, 2019 at 4:09 pm

Thanks very much for this. Very graphic. So, if you would, could you explain who the Law and Justice Party is, and why they won the election, and what exactly are they doing to make themselves popular? Are they in fact enacting certain social programs that we can read about or are they primarily relying on something else, like mainly Catholic traditionalism, for their political power?

disc_writes , , January 10, 2019 at 4:33 pm

I remember a couple of paragraphs about Poland in my Economics 101 course, some 20 years ago. Was it in in Mankiw's book? or Lipsey-Chrystal? I do not remember anymore. One of those vicious neoliberal propaganda mouthpieces, anyway. The textbook pitched Poland's success story against Russia's abject failure, claiming that the former had dismantled and shut down all its inefficient state-run companies, while the latter still kept its unprofitable heavy industry on life support.

It is unsurprising to read that Poland followed a more nuanced approach. Somehow neoclassical economists always distort history into a cartoonish parody that confirms their models.

That was in the early 2000s. The university was then brand new and was still filling the shelves of the library. If you looked carefully, you could still find older books, barely touched, that touted Albania as a neoliberal success story along the same lines as Poland. Albania almost collapsed in civil war in 1998.

todde , , January 10, 2019 at 5:08 pm

Yellow Vests knock out 60% of traffic cameras

smart move. Or at least I would say so.

Darthbobber , , January 10, 2019 at 5:08 pm

Klein at least provided footnotes, and sources for her claims. Which are conspicuously absent from this piece.

The World Bank, (World Development Indicators, 2006), one of Klein's sources, has a nationwide poverty rate only for 1993, and has it at 23% at that point, or between 2.3 times and more than 4 time the most common estimate he cites under the ancient regime.

The same source has unemployment averaging 19.9% in 1990-92, and 19% in 2000-2004.

As to the later poverty rate, Klein's source is Przemyslaw Wielgosz, then editor of the Polish edition of le Monde Diplomatique, who gives this: " Poles living below the 'social minimum' (defined as a living standard of £130 (192,4 EUR) per person and £297 (440,4 EUR) for a three person family per month) affecting 15% of the population in 1989 to 47% in 1996, and 59% in 2003." but whence he obtains these figures he does not say. Given that it falls in a period when unemployment was pushing 20% for a prolonged period, and that both the EU's subsidies and outmigration to the EU as an escape valve only start to kick in in 2003, the figure seems not wildly implausible.

The author's criticism doesn't really address Klein's central points at all, which would be that the crisis was used as leverage to ram through otherwise politically unpalatable change, and that a great deal of the constraint forcing that was provided by actors both undemocratic and external. He seems to be of the school that regards such niceties as beside the point, as long as various macroaggregates eventually rose.

The contrast between what was done, and what Solidarnosc had claimed to be all about when in opposition is incredibly striking, basically the difference between libertarian Communism and uber Dirigisme style capitalism.

Darthbobber , January 10, 2019 at 10:27 am

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migrations_from_Poland_since_EU_accession

Any discussion of the Polish economy that completely ignores this massive level of economic outmigration, and it's continued rise among the young, misses a great deal. In a vibrant economy, it seems unlikely that so many educated Poles would find, for example, lower tier jobs in Britain to be their best path forward.

Yes, your unemployment and poverty rates are lower if a significant fraction of the population works elsewhere in the EU, and reatriates the money. Though the pattern may cause a few other problems. (while many nations like to export their unemployment, not everybody wants to import it.)

upstater , January 10, 2019 at 11:28 am

You beat me to the punch

Out-migration is a huge factor in eastern and central Europe and without it, the picture would look entirely different. The Baltics, Bulgaria and Romania are even more affected.

vlade , January 10, 2019 at 2:01 pm

The migration from Poland does not have only economic reasons. A lot of Poles migrate because they find the polish society (especially small towns and rural) very stiffling.

A friend of mine left Poland the moment she got her MSc – literally, the same day she was on a bus to Germany. She's now a sucessfull woman, director level at a large consultancy. Yet her father calls her "old spinster" (this is the polite version), as she wasn't maried by 30, and she basically avoids going to Poland.

She says she could never be as sucessfull in Poland, being a woman, and not being keen on marrying. I've heard similar stories from young Poles, not just women.

Inter-war Poland is celebrated a lot in Poland these days, conveniently ignoring the facts it was really a totalitarian state – when Czechoslovakia was Muniched in 1938, Poles (and Hugarians) were quick to grab bits of territory right after that.

Kasia, January 10, 2019 at 5:17 pm

Poland has taken around a million Ukrainians over the past ten years so while many Poles are emigrating to Europe, they are being replaced by Ukrainians, who are ethnically and linguistically fairly similar to Poles.

So Poland is proof that nationalist, populist policies can indeed work. Poland has had to taken rough measures with our judicial system and media to ensure globalist forces do not undermine our successes. No one, I mean no one, in Poland mouths the words, "diversity is our strength". Internationalist, liberal minded people who are so susceptible to globalist propaganda, are generally the ones leaving the nation. Indigenous Western Europeans who are suffering the joys of cultural enrichment and vibrant diversity are starting to buy property in Eastern Europe - more Hungary than Poland - but as the globalists push even more multiculturalism and continue to impoverish indigenous Europeans, Eastern Europe will become a shining beacon on the hill free of many of the evils of globalisation.

[Dec 30, 2018] Trump comes clean from world's policeman to thug running a global protection racket by Finian Cunningham

In any case withdrawal from Syria was a surprising and bold move on the Part of the Trump. You can criticizes Trump for not doing more but before that he bahvaves as a typical neocon, or a typical Republican presidents (which are the same things). And he started on this path just two month after inauguration bombing Syria under false pretences. So this is something
I think the reason of change is that Trump intuitively realized the voters are abandoning him in droves and the sizable faction of his voters who voted for him because of his promises to end foreign wars iether already defected or is ready to defect. So this is a move designed to keep them.
Notable quotes:
"... "fight against terrorism" ..."
"... "sticking it to" ..."
"... "The United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world. It's not fair when the burden is all on us, the United States We are spread out all over the world. We are in countries most people haven't even heard about. Frankly, it's ridiculous." ..."
"... "We're no longer the suckers, folks." ..."
"... "spread all over the world" ..."
"... "America shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price," ..."
"... "not pulling their weight" ..."
"... "world's policeman" ..."
"... "A lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking", ..."
"... "defend freedom and democracy." ..."
"... "business solutions." ..."
"... "our protection." ..."
"... Trump is one man against Billions of people and dollars in corruption. ..."
Dec 27, 2018 | www.rt.com

President Trump's big announcement to pull US troops out of Syria and Afghanistan is now emerging less as a peace move, and more a rationalization of American military power in the Middle East. In a surprise visit to US forces in Iraq this week, Trump said he had no intention of withdrawing the troops in that country, who have been there for nearly 15 years since GW Bush invaded back in 2003.

Hinting at private discussions with commanders in Iraq, Trump boasted that US forces would in the future launch attacks from there into Syria if and when needed. Presumably that rapid force deployment would apply to other countries in the region, including Afghanistan.

In other words, in typical business-style transactional thinking, Trump sees the pullout from Syria and Afghanistan as a cost-cutting exercise for US imperialism. Regarding Syria, he has bragged about Turkey being assigned, purportedly, to "finish off" terror groups. That's Trump subcontracting out US interests.

Critics and supporters of Trump are confounded. After his Syria and Afghanistan pullout call, domestic critics and NATO allies have accused him of walking from the alleged "fight against terrorism" and of ceding strategic ground to US adversaries Russia and Iran.

'We're no longer suckers of the world!' Trump says US is respected as nation AGAIN (VIDEO)

Meanwhile, Trump's supporters have viewed his decision in more benign light, cheering the president for "sticking it to" the deep state and military establishment, assuming he's delivering on electoral promises to end overseas wars.

However, neither view gets what is going on. Trump is not scaling back US military power; he is rationalizing it like a cost-benefit analysis, as perhaps only a real-estate-wheeler-dealer-turned president would appreciate. Trump is not snubbing US militarism or NATO allies, nor is he letting loose an inner peace spirit. He is as committed to projecting American military as ruthlessly and as recklessly as any other past occupant of the White House. The difference is Trump wants to do it on the cheap.

Here's what he said to reporters on Air Force One before touching down in Iraq:

"The United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world. It's not fair when the burden is all on us, the United States We are spread out all over the world. We are in countries most people haven't even heard about. Frankly, it's ridiculous." He added: "We're no longer the suckers, folks."

Laughably, Trump's griping about US forces "spread all over the world" unwittingly demonstrates the insatiable, monstrous nature of American militarism. But Trump paints this vice as a virtue, which, he complains, Washington gets no thanks for from the 150-plus countries around the globe that its forces are present in.

As US troops greeted him in Iraq, the president made explicit how the new American militarism would henceforth operate.

"America shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price," Trump said.

'We give them $4.5bn a year': Israel will still be 'good' after US withdrawal from Syria – Trump

This reiterates a big bugbear for this president in which he views US allies and client regimes as "not pulling their weight" in terms of military deployment. Trump has been browbeating European NATO members to cough up more on military budgets, and he has berated the Saudis and other Gulf Arab regimes to pay more for American interventions.

Notably, however, Trump has never questioned the largesse that US taxpayers fork out every year to Israel in the form of nearly $4 billion in military aid. To be sure, that money is not a gift because much of it goes back to the Pentagon from sales of fighter jets and missile systems.

The long-held notion that the US has served as the "world's policeman" is, of course, a travesty.

Since WWII, all presidents and the Washington establishment have constantly harped on, with self-righteousness, about America's mythical role as guarantor of global security.

Dozens of illegal wars on almost every continent and millions of civilian deaths attest to the real, heinous conduct of American militarism as a weapon to secure US corporate capitalism.

But with US economic power in historic decline amid a national debt now over $22 trillion, Washington can no longer afford its imperialist conduct in the traditional mode of direct US military invasions and occupations.

Perhaps, it takes a cost-cutting, raw-toothed capitalist like Trump to best understand the historic predicament, even if only superficially.

This gives away the real calculation behind his troop pullout from Syria and Afghanistan. Iraq is going to serve as a new regional hub for force projection on a demand-and-supply basis. In addition, more of the dirty work can be contracted out to Washington's clients like Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia, who will be buying even more US weaponry to prop the military-industrial complex.

'With almost $22 trillion of debt, the US is in no position to attack Iran'

This would explain why Trump made his hurried, unexpected visit to Iraq this week. Significantly, he said : "A lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking", regarding his decision on withdrawing forces from Syria and Afghanistan.

Since his troop pullout plan announced on December 19, there has been serious pushback from senior Pentagon figures, hawkish Republicans and Democrats, and the anti-Trump media. The atmosphere is almost seditious against the president. Trump flying off to Iraq on Christmas night was reportedly his first visit to troops in an overseas combat zone since becoming president two years ago.

What Trump seemed to be doing was reassuring the Pentagon and corporate America that he is not going all soft and dovish. Not at all. He is letting them know that he is aiming for a leaner, meaner US military power, which can save money on the number of foreign bases by using rapid reaction forces out of places like Iraq, as well as by subcontracting operations out to regional clients.

Thus, Trump is not coming clean out of any supposed principle when he cuts back US forces overseas. He is merely applying his knack for screwing down costs and doing things on the cheap as a capitalist tycoon overseeing US militarism.

During past decades when American capitalism was relatively robust, US politicians and media could indulge in the fantasy of their military forces going around the world in large-scale formations to selflessly "defend freedom and democracy."

Today, US capitalism is broke. It simply can't sustain its global military empire. Enter Donald Trump with his "business solutions."

But in doing so, this president, with his cheap utilitarianism and transactional exploitative mindset, lets the cat out of the bag. As he says, the US cannot be the world's policeman. Countries are henceforth going to have to pay for "our protection."

Inadvertently, Trump is showing up US power for what it really is: a global thug running a protection racket.

It's always been the case. Except now it's in your face. Trump is no Smedley Butler, the former Marine general who in the 1930s condemned US militarism as a Mafia operation. This president is stupidly revealing the racket, while still thinking it is something virtuous.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

dnm1136

Once again, Cunningham has hit the nail on the head. Trump mistakenly conflates fear with respect. In reality, around the world, the US is feared but generally not respected.

My guess is that the same was true about Trump as a businessman, i.e., he was not respected, only feared due to his willingness to pursue his "deals" by any means that "worked" for him, legal or illegal, moral or immoral, seemingly gracious or mean-spirited.

William Smith

Complaining how the US gets no thanks for its foreign intervention. Kind of like a rapist claiming he should be thanked for "pleasuring" his victim. Precisely the same sentiment expressed by those who believe the American Indians should thank the Whites for "civilising" them.

Phoebe S,

"Washington gets no thanks for from the 150-plus countries around the globe that its forces are present in."

That might mean they don't want you there. Just saying.

ProRussiaPole

None of these wars are working out for the US strategically. All they do is sow chaos. They seem to not be gaining anything, and are just preventing others from gaining anything as well.

Ernie For -> ProRussiaPole

i am a huge Putin fan, so is big Don. Please change your source of info Jerome, Trump is one man against Billions of people and dollars in corruption. He has achieved more in the USA in 2 years than all 5 previous parasites together.

Truthbetold69

It could be a change for a better direction. Time will tell. 'If you do what you've always been doing, you'll get what you've always been getting.'

[Dec 27, 2018] There is a lot of silly hostile talk against Russia and China, but have you noticed how the US military always makes sure that there are no direct confrontations with countries that can turn the US into radioactive dust?

Notable quotes:
"... Maybe I am overestimating the intelligence of MIC profiteers, but my impression is that those thieves know that their loot is only useful as long as they are alive. There is a lot of silly hostile talk against Russia and China, but have you noticed how the US military always makes sure that there are no direct confrontations with countries that can turn the US into radioactive dust? The profiteers want huge Pentagon budget to steal from, but not the war where they lose along with everyone else. ..."
Dec 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

AnonFromTN , says: December 26, 2018 at 10:37 pm GMT

@Harold Smith

Maybe I am overestimating the intelligence of MIC profiteers, but my impression is that those thieves know that their loot is only useful as long as they are alive. There is a lot of silly hostile talk against Russia and China, but have you noticed how the US military always makes sure that there are no direct confrontations with countries that can turn the US into radioactive dust? The profiteers want huge Pentagon budget to steal from, but not the war where they lose along with everyone else.

As to the wall, it is one of the silliest projects ever suggested. Maybe that's why it was so easy to sell it to the intellectually disadvantaged electorate. There are two things that can stop illegal immigration.

First, go for the employers, enact a law that fines them to the tune of $50,000 or more per every illegal they employ. Second, enact the law that anyone caught residing in the US illegally has no right to enter the US legally, to obtain asylum, permanent residency, or citizenship for life, and include a provision that marriage to a US citizen does not nullify this ban.

Then enforce both laws. After that illegals would run out of the country, and greedy employers won't hire any more. Naturally, the wall, even if built, won't change anything: as long as there are employers trying to save on salaries, immigration fees, and Social Security tax, and people willing to live and work illegally risking nothing, no wall would stem the flow.

Unfortunately, no side is even thinking about real measures, both are just posturing.

[Dec 27, 2018] In which prosperous U.S. Zionist "career" field has John Yoo landed?

Dec 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

geokat62 , says: December 26, 2018 at 10:44 pm GMT

@ChuckOrloski

Am wondering in which prosperous U.S. Zionist "career" field has John Yoo landed?

He is a distinguished professor at Berkley Law, UC. Here's his bio:

Professor Yoo is the Emanuel Heller Professor of Law and director of the Korea Law Center, the California Constitution Center, and the Law School's Program in Public Law and Policy. His most recent books are Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons Change the Rules for War (Encounter 2017) (with Jeremy Rabkin) and Point of Attack: Preventive War, International Law, and Global Welfare (Oxford University Press, 2014). Professor Yoo is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution

From 2001 to 2003, he served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he worked on issues involving foreign affairs, national security and the separation of powers.

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/our-faculty/faculty-profiles/john-yoo/

Notice how they gloss over his diabolical activities as deputy AG for the Bush II Adminstration "where he worked on issues involving foreign affairs, national security and the separation of powers."

And, oh, yeah, he cobbled together legal statements that gave the Bush Admin carte blanche to engage in "enhanced interrogation techniques," more commonly known as "torture." He was about to be in big dodo for his crimes. but just like the 5 dancing Israelis were rescued by Chertoff, a guy named David Margolis managed to get Yoo off the hook:

The Office of Professional Responsibilty (OPR) report concluded that Yoo had "committed 'intentional professional misconduct' when he advised the CIA it could proceed with waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques against Al Qaeda suspects," although the recommendation that he be referred to his state bar association for possible disciplinary proceedings was overruled by David Margolis, another senior Justice department lawyer.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Yoo

Anyone familiar with David Margolis? Is he a MOT?

[Dec 21, 2018] Looks like an o ld, sick neocon Hillarty still tries to influence events, continuing her warmongring

The trouble with CIA democrats is not that they are stupid, but that that are evil.
Hillary proved to be really destructive witch during her Obama stunt as the Secretary of State. Destroyed Libya and Ukraine, which is no small feat.
Notable quotes:
"... The policy of the Obama administration, and particularly Hillary Clinton's State Department, was – and still is – regime change in Syria. This overrode all other considerations. We armed, trained, and "vetted" the Syrian rebels, even as we looked the other way while the Saudis and the Gulf sheikdoms funded groups like al-Nusra and al-Qaeda affiliates who wouldn't pass muster. And our "moderates" quickly passed into the ranks of the outfront terrorists, complete with the weapons we'd provided. ..."
"... She is truly an idiot. Thanks again, Ivy League. ..."
Dec 21, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Pavel , December 21, 2018 at 10:47 am

The Grauniad just quoted a tweet from a predictably OUTRAGED @HillaryClinton:

Actions have consequences, and whether we're in Syria or not, the people who want to harm us are there & at war. Isolationism is weakness. Empowering ISIS is dangerous. Playing into Russia & Iran's hands is foolish. This President is putting our national security at grave risk.

This from the woman who almost singlehandedly (i.e. along with David Cameron and Sarkovy) destroyed Libya and allowed -- if not encouraged -- the flow of US weapons to go into the hands of ISIS allies in the US-Saudi-Israeli obsession with toppling Assad regardless of the consequences. As Justin Raimondo wrote in Antiwar.com in 2015:

The policy of the Obama administration, and particularly Hillary Clinton's State Department, was – and still is – regime change in Syria. This overrode all other considerations. We armed, trained, and "vetted" the Syrian rebels, even as we looked the other way while the Saudis and the Gulf sheikdoms funded groups like al-Nusra and al-Qaeda affiliates who wouldn't pass muster. And our "moderates" quickly passed into the ranks of the outfront terrorists, complete with the weapons we'd provided.

This crazy policy was an extension of our regime change operation in Libya, a.k.a. "Hillary's War," where the US – "leading from behind" – and a coalition of our Western allies and the Gulf protectorates overthrew Muammar Qaddafi. There, too, we empowered radical Islamists with links to al-Qaeda affiliates – and then used them to ship weapons to their Syrian brothers, as another document uncovered by Judicial Watch shows.

After HRC's multiple foreign policy fiascos she is the last person who should be commenting on this matter.

a different chris, December 21, 2018 at 11:50 am

> the people who want to harm us are there & at war

Sounds like then they are too busy to harm us? She is truly an idiot. Thanks again, Ivy League.

[Dec 17, 2018] Visualizing The West's Domination Of The Global Arms Market

Dec 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Overall, arms sales increased in 2017, with total global sales nearing 400 billion dollars, marking a 2.5 percent increase from last year and the third year of continued growth for the industry.

But, as Statista's Sarah Feldman points out, U.S. arms companies still produce the most weapons worldwide.

You will find more infographics at Statista

About 57 percent of weapons produced last year came from the United States , according to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute SIPRI .

Russia comes in second, with year-over-year growth in arms production. In 2017, Russia provided the world with 10 percent of arms sales, closely followed by The UK.

Only major arms companies were included in this study. China was excluded due to insufficient data.


Beans , 43 minutes ago link

Problem with this is that the buyers of all that American weaponry are definitely not got any 'bang for the proverbial buck' (pun intended). Horrendously overpriced weaponry which in most instances render less value and effectiveness than similarly available Russian analogues.

Justin Case , 17 minutes ago link

They know, the arms are inferior garbage, it's just like mafioso protection money or better known as extortion. The charge a fortune for substandard weapons and MIC folks keep the change. Same as murican tax payers. If there were no boogie men created then what would be the justification for all the spending on military hardware?

There is no return on investment here. It's money laundering.

Atlana99 , 1 hour ago link

Why spend your money to help the poor people in your own country when you can use that money to build weapons to kill poor people in other countries?

https://cointrader21.wordpress.com/2018/12/03/americas-ongoing-holocaust-of-the-poor/

khnum , 4 hours ago link

Purchasers Saudi Arabia 110 billion with 240 billion more to come,Israel 38 billion=35 percent

CosineCosineCosine , 4 hours ago link

Letter of intent only. They have literally purchased none of those orders, despite repeated US harassment for the 15 Billion for the THAADS to get the ball rolling. All bluster and boasting and smoke and mirrors.

My suspicion is that SA under MBS is considering switching sides slowly and will purchase Russian and Chinese instead. If the US had foreknowledge of this, hence the switch in tone re butchering journalists and Yemenis ... hence why MBS isn't Time Magazine poster boy at the moment.

khnum , 4 hours ago link

Your correct I went back and checked it was order book not delivery,MBS situation is very interesting with the recent high five with Putin there was some backstory that it was celebration of a certain US admirals demise that was causing them problems whether true or not I dont know but it would not surprise me if S400's end up in Saudi Arabia

Ace006 , 5 hours ago link

Remember that old stuff about Krupp being the "Merchant of Death"? Aren't we, like, edging into that territory? Is this what the Founders and Ratifiers had in mind? Could this enormous arms trade and our military expenditures and adventures be a clue that we're on the wrong track?

Front Store

US vs Russian arms sales since 1950:

http://thesoundingline.com/map-of-the-day-visualizing-us-and-russian-arms-sales-since-1950/

[Dec 16, 2018] Trump Models His War on Bank Regulators on Bill Clinton and W's Disastrous Wars by Bill Black

Notable quotes:
"... By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and co-founder of Bank Whistleblowers United. Jointly published with New Economic Perspectives ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... The idea that examiners should not criticize any bank misconduct, predation, or 'unsafe and unsound practice' that does not constitute a felony is obviously insane. ..."
"... The trade association complaint that examiners dare to criticize non-felonious bank conduct – and the WSJ ..."
"... I have more than a passing acquaintance with banking, banking regulation, and banking's rectitude (such an old fashioned word) in the importance for Main Street's survival, and for the country's as a whole survival as a trusted pivot point in world finance , or for the survival of the whole American project. I know this sounds like an over-the-top assertion on my part, however I believe it true. ..."
"... Obama et al confusing "banking" with sound banking is too ironic, imo. ..."
"... It was actually worse than this. The very deliberate strategy was to indoctrinate employees of federal regulatory agencies to see the companies they regulated not as "partners" but as "customers" to be served. This theme is repeated again and again in Bush era agency reports. Elizabeth Warren was viciously attacked early in the Obama Administration for calling for a new "watchdog" agency to protect consumers. The idea that a federal agency would dedicate itself to protecting citizens first was portrayed as dangerously radical by industry. ..."
"... Models on Clinton and Bush. What's not to like? Why isn't msm and dem elites showing him the love when he's following their long term policies? And we might assume these would be hills policies if she had been pushed over the line. A little thought realizes that in spite of the pearl clutching they far prefer him to Bernie. ..."
Dec 14, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and co-founder of Bank Whistleblowers United. Jointly published with New Economic Perspectives

The Wall Street Journal published an article on December 12, 2018 that should warn us of coming disaster: "Banks Get Kinder, Gentler Treatment Under Trump." The last time a regulatory head lamented that regulators were not "kinder and gentler" promptly ushered in the Enron-era fraud epidemic. President Bush made Harvey Pitt his Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair in August 2001 and, in one of his early major addresses, he spoke on October 22, 2001 to a group of accounting leaders.

Pitt, as a private counsel, represented all the top tier audit firms, and they had successfully pushed Bush to appoint him to run the SEC. The second sentence of Pitt's speech bemoaned the fact that the SEC had not been "a kinder and gentler place for accountants." He concluded his first paragraph with the statement that the SEC and the auditors needed to work "in partnership." He soon reiterated that point: "We view the accounting profession as our partner" and amped it up by calling accountants the SEC's "critical partner."

Pitt expanded on that point: "I am committed to the principle that government is and must be a service industry." That, of course, would not be controversial if he meant a service agency (not "industry") for the public. Pitt, however, meant that the SEC should be a "service industry" for the auditors and corporations.

Pitt then turned to pronouncing the SEC to be the guilty party in the "partnership." He claimed that the SEC had terrorized accountants. He then stated that he had ordered the SEC to end this fictional terror campaign.

[A]ccountants became afraid to talk to the SEC, and the SEC appeared to be unwilling to listen to the profession. Those days are ended.

This prompted Pitt to ratchet even higher his "partnership" language.

I speak for the entire Commission when I say that we want to have a continuing dialogue, and partnership, with the accounting profession,

Recall that Pitt spoke on October 22, 2001. Here are the relevant excerpts from the NY Times' Enron timeline :

Oct. 16 – Enron announces $638 million in third-quarter losses and a $1.2 billion reduction in shareholder equity stemming from writeoffs related to failed broadband and water trading ventures as well as unwinding of so-called Raptors, or fragile entities backed by falling Enron stock created to hedge inflated asset values and keep hundreds of millions of dollars in debt off the energy company's books.

Oct. 19 – Securities and Exchange Commission launches inquiry into Enron finances.

Oct. 22 – Enron acknowledges SEC inquiry into a possible conflict of interest related to the company's dealings with Fastow's partnerships.

Oct. 23 – Lay professes confidence in Fastow to analysts.

Oct. 24 – Fastow ousted.

The key fact is that even as Enron was obviously spiraling toward imminent collapse (it filed for bankruptcy on December 2) – and the SEC knew it – Pitt offered no warning in his speech. The auditors and the corporate CEOs and CFOs were not the SEC's 'partners.' Thousands of CEOs and CFOs were filing false financial statements – with 'clean' opinions from the then 'Big 5' auditors. Pitt was blind to the 'accounting control fraud' epidemic that was raging at the time he spoke to the accountants. Thousands of his putative auditor 'partners' were getting rich by blessing fraudulent financial statements and harming the investors that the SEC is actually supposed to serve.

Tom Frank aptly characterized the Bush appointees that completed the destruction of effective financial regulation as "The Wrecking Crew." It is important, however, to understand that Bush largely adopted and intensified Clinton's war against effective regulation. Clinton and Bush led the unremitting bipartisan assault on regulation for 16 years. That produced the criminogenic environment that produced the three largest financial fraud epidemics in history that hyper-inflated the real estate bubble and drove the Great Financial Crisis (GFC). President Trump has renewed the Clinton/Bush war on regulation and he has appointed banking regulatory leaders that have consciously modeled their assault on regulation on Bush and Clinton's 'Wrecking Crews.'

Bill Clinton's euphemism for his war on effective regulation was "Reinventing Government." Clinton appointed VP Al Gore to lead the assault. (Clinton and Gore are "New Democrat" leaders – the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party.) Gore decided he needed to choose an anti-regulator to conduct the day-to-day leadership. We know from Bob Stone's memoir the sole substantive advice he gave Gore in their first meeting that caused Gore to appoint him as that leader. "Do not 'waste one second going after waste, fraud, and abuse.'" Elite insider fraud is, historically, the leading cause of bank losses and failures, so Stone's advice was sure to lead to devastating financial crises. It is telling that it was the fact that Stone gave obviously idiotic advice to Gore that led him to select Stone as the field commander of Clinton and Gore's war on effective regulation.

Stone convinced the Clinton-Gore administration to embrace the defining element of crony capitalism as its signature mantra for its war on effective regulation. Stone and his troops ordered us to refer to the banks, not the American people, as our "customers." Peters' foreword to Stone's book admits the action, but is clueless about the impact.

Bob Stone's insistence on using the word "customer" was mocked by some -- but made an enormous difference over the course of time. In general, he changed the vocabulary of public service from 'procedure first' to 'service first.'"

That is a lie. We did not 'mock' the demand that we treat the banks rather than the American people as our "customer" – we openly protested the outrageous order that we embrace and encourage crony capitalism. Crony capitalism's core principle – which is unprincipled – is that the government should treat elite CEOs as their 'customers' or 'partners.' A number of us publicly expressed our rage at the corrupt order to treat CEOs as our customers. The corrupt order caused me to leave the government.

Our purpose as regulators is to serve the people of the United States – not bank CEOs. It was disgusting and dishonest for Peters to claim that our objection to crony capitalism represented our (fictional) disdain for serving the public. Many S&L regulators risked their careers by taking on elite S&L frauds and their powerful political fixers. Many of us paid a heavy personal price because we acted to protect the public from these elite frauds. Our efforts prevented the S&L debacle from causing a GFC – precisely because we recognized the critical need to spend most of our time preventing and prosecuting the elite frauds that Stone wanted us to ignore..

Trump's wrecking crew is devoted to recreating Clinton and Bush's disastrous crony capitalism war on regulation that produced the GFC. In a June 8, 2018 article , the Wall Street Journal mocked Trump's appointment of Joseph Otting as Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The illustration that introduces the article bears the motto: "IN BANKS WE TRUST."

Otting, channeling his inner Pitt, declared his employees guilty of systematic misconduct and embraced crony capitalism through Pitt's favorite phrase – "partnership."

I think it is more of a partnership with the banks as opposed to a dictatorial perspective under the prior administration.

Otting, while he was in the industry, compared the OCC under President Obama to a fictional interstellar terrorist. Obama appointed federal banking regulators that were pale imitation of Ed Gray, Joe Selby, and Mike Patriarca – the leaders of the S&L reregulation. The idea that Obama's banking regulators were akin to 'terrorists' is farcical.

The WSJ's December 12, 2018 article reported that Otting had also used Bob Stone's favorite term to embrace crony capitalism.

Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting has also changed the tone from the top at his agency, calling banks his "customers."

There are many terrible role models Trump could copy as his model of how to destroy banking regulation and produce the next GFC, but Otting descended into unintentional self-parody when he channeled word-for-word the most incompetent and dishonest members of Clinton and Bush's wrecking crews.

The same article reported a trade association's statement that demonstrates the type of outrageous reaction that crony capitalism inevitably breeds within industry.

Banks are suffering from "examiner criticisms that do not deal with any violation of law," said Greg Baer, CEO of the Bank Policy Institute ."

The article presented no response to this statement so I will explain why it is absurd. First, "banks" do not "suffer" from "examiner criticism." Banks gain from examiner criticism. Effective regulators (and whistleblowers) are the only people who routinely 'speak truth to power.' Auditors, credit rating agencies, and attorneys routinely 'bless' the worst CEO abuses that harm banks while enriching the CEO. The bank CEO cannot fire the examiner, so the examiners' expert advice is the only truly "independent" advice the bank's board of directors receives. That makes the examiners' criticisms invaluable to the bank. CEOs hate our advice because we are the only 'control' (other than the episodic whistleblower) that is willing and competent to criticize the CEO.

The idea that examiners should not criticize any bank misconduct, predation, or 'unsafe and unsound practice' that does not constitute a felony is obviously insane. While "violations of law" (felonies) are obviously of importance to us in almost all cases, our greatest expertise is in identifying – and stopping – "unsafe and unsound practices" because such practices, like fraud, are leading causes of bank losses and failures.

Third, repeated "unsafe and unsound practices" are a leading indicator of likely elite insider bank fraud and other "violations of law."

The trade association complaint that examiners dare to criticize non-felonious bank conduct – and the WSJ reporters' failure to point out the absurdity of that complaint – demonstrate that the banking industry's goal remains the destruction of effective banking regulation. Trump's wrecking crew is using the Clinton and Bush playbook to restore fully crony capitalism. He has greatly accelerated the onset of the next GFC.


Chauncey Gardiner , December 14, 2018 at 2:01 pm

Thank you for this, Bill Black. IMO the long-term de-regulatory policies under successive administrations cited here, together with their neutering the rule of law by overturning the Glass-Steagall Act; de-funding and failing to enforce antitrust, fraud and securities laws; financial repression of the majority; hidden financial markets subsidies; and other policies are just part of an organized, long-term systemic effort to enable, organize and subsidize massive control and securities fraud; theft of and disinvestment in publicly owned resources and services; environmental damage; and transfers of social costs that enable the organizers to in turn gain a hugely disproportionate share of the nation's wealth and nearly absolute political control under their "Citizens United" political framework.

Not to diminish, but among other things the current president provides nearly daily entertainment, diversion and spectacle in our Brave New World that serves to obfuscate what has occurred and is happening.

RBHoughton , December 14, 2018 at 9:41 pm

I'm with you Chauncey. I believe the rot really got started with creative accounting in early 1970s. That's when accountants of every flavor lost themselves and were soon followed by the lawyers. Sauce for the goose.

Banks and Insurers and many industrial concerns have become too big. We could avoid all the regulatory problems by placing a maximum size on commercial endeavour.

chuck roast , December 14, 2018 at 4:28 pm

Sameo-sameo

A number of years ago I did both the primary capital program and environmental (NEPA) review for major capital projects in a Federal Region. Hundreds of millions of dollars were at stake. A local agency wanted us (the Feds) to approve pushing up many of their projects using a so-called Public Private Partnership (PPP). This required the local agency to borrow many millions from Wall Street while at the same time privatizing many of their here-to-fore public operations. And of course there was an added benefit of instituting a non-union shop.

To this end I was required to sit down with the local agency head (he actually wore white shoes), his staff and several representatives of Goldman-Sachs. After the meeting ended, I opined to the agency staff that Goldman-Sachs was "bullshit" and so were their projects.

Shortly thereafter I was removed to a less high-profile Region with projects that were not all that griftable, and there was no danger of me having to review a PPP.

Oh, and I denied, denied, denied saying "bullshit."

flora , December 14, 2018 at 10:08 pm

Thank you, NC, for featuring these posts by Bill Black.

I have more than a passing acquaintance with banking, banking regulation, and banking's rectitude (such an old fashioned word) in the importance for Main Street's survival, and for the country's as a whole survival as a trusted pivot point in world finance , or for the survival of the whole American project. I know this sounds like an over-the-top assertion on my part, however I believe it true.

Main Street also knows the importance of sound banking. Sound banking is not a 'poker chip' to be used for games. Sound banking is key to the American experiment in self-determination, as it has been called.

Politicians who 'don't get this" have lost touch with the entire American enterprise, imo. And, no, the neoliberal promise that nation-states no longer matter doesn't make this point moot.

flora , December 14, 2018 at 10:47 pm

adding: US founding father Alexander Hambleton did understand the importance of sound banking, and so Obama et al confusing "banking" with sound banking is too ironic, imo.

Tim , December 15, 2018 at 8:29 am

It was actually worse than this. The very deliberate strategy was to indoctrinate employees of federal regulatory agencies to see the companies they regulated not as "partners" but as "customers" to be served. This theme is repeated again and again in Bush era agency reports. Elizabeth Warren was viciously attacked early in the Obama Administration for calling for a new "watchdog" agency to protect consumers. The idea that a federal agency would dedicate itself to protecting citizens first was portrayed as dangerously radical by industry.

John k , December 15, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Models on Clinton and Bush. What's not to like? Why isn't msm and dem elites showing him the love when he's following their long term policies?
And we might assume these would be hills policies if she had been pushed over the line. A little thought realizes that in spite of the pearl clutching they far prefer him to Bernie.

[Dec 14, 2018] Whataboutism proclaim that each asserted truth stands on its own, and has no essential relation to any other past, present, or future asserted truth

Like the term "conspiracy theory "whataboutism" is a nasty and dirty propaganda trick. Truth can be understood only in historical context.
Notable quotes:
"... The detail of b's analysis that stands out to me as especially significant and brilliant is his demolition of the Guardian's reuse of the Merkel "quote." ..."
"... Related to the above, consider the nature of the recently christened thought-crime, "whataboutism." The crime may be defined as follows: ..."
"... "Whataboutism" is the attempt to understand a truth asserted by propaganda by way of relation to other truths it has asserted contemporaneous with or prior to this one. It is to ask, "What about this *other* truth? Does this *other* truth affect our understanding of *this* truth? And if so, how does it?" ..."
"... Whataboutism seems to proclaim that each asserted truth stands on its own, and has no essential relation to any other past, present, or future asserted truth. ..."
May 04, 2018 | moonofalabama.org
XXX | 12

The detail of b's analysis that stands out to me as especially significant and brilliant is his demolition of the Guardian's reuse of the Merkel "quote."

This one detail tells us so much about how propaganda works, and about how it can be defeated. Successful propaganda both depends upon and seeks to accelerate the erasure of historical memory. This is because its truths are always changing to suit the immediate needs of the state. None of its truths can be understood historically. b makes the connection between the documented but forgotten past "truth" of Merkel's quote and its present reincarnation in the Guardian, and this is really all he *needs* to do.

What b points out is something quite simple; yet the ability to do this very simple thing is becoming increasingly rare and its exercise increasingly difficult to achieve. It is for me the virtue that makes b's analysis uniquely indispensable.

Related to the above, consider the nature of the recently christened thought-crime, "whataboutism." The crime may be defined as follows:

"Whataboutism" is the attempt to understand a truth asserted by propaganda by way of relation to other truths it has asserted contemporaneous with or prior to this one. It is to ask, "What about this *other* truth? Does this *other* truth affect our understanding of *this* truth? And if so, how does it?"

Whataboutism seems to proclaim that each asserted truth stands on its own, and has no essential relation to any other past, present, or future asserted truth.

[Dec 03, 2018] Neoliberal myth: Austerity is caused by incompetent governments unable to balance their budgets

In reality this is mostly neocolonial way of dealing with countries. Allowing local oligarchy to steal as much loaned by foreign states money as they can and converting the country into the debt slave. Look at Greece and Ukraine for two prominent examples.
The position of OneCommentator is a typical position of defenders and propagandists of neoliberalism
IMF is part of "Washington Consensus" with the direct goal of converting countries into debt slaves of industrialized West. It did not work well with Acia counties, but it is great success in some countries in Europe and most of Africa and Latin America (with Argentina as the most recent example)
Notable quotes:
"... As central banks such as the FED and the ECB operate with insatiable greed and cannot be audited or regulated by any government body anywhere in the world, due to their charters having been set up that way, then bankers are free to meet secretly and plot depressions so as to gain full control over sovereign nations and manipulate markets so that their "chums and agents" in business can buy up assets and land in depressed economies – while possible wars could also make corporations and banks more money as well! ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com
OneCommentator -> petercs , 8 Jun 2013 11:46
@petercs -

..."neoliberal", concept behind the word, has nothing to do with liberal or liberty or freedom..

Wrong. Traditional liberalism supported both social and economic freedoms. That included support for most of the civil rights and freedoms we enjoy today AND free trade and free investments. It used to be that liberals were practically unpopular with right wing (traditional conservative for example) parties but more or less on the same side as left wing parties, mainly because of their social positions. More recently the left wing parties became more and more unhappy with the economic freedoms promoted by liberals while the right wing parties embraced both the economic and social freedoms to a certain degree.

So, the leftists found themselves in a bind practically having reversed roles which the the conservatives as far as support for liberalism goes. So, typically, they're using propaganda to cover their current reactionary tendencies and coins a new name for liberals: neoliberals which, they say, are not the same as liberals (who are their friends since liberal means freedom lover and they like to use that word a lot).

"austerity" is the financial sectors' solution to its survival after it sucked most the value out of the economy and broke it.

Austerity is caused by incompetent governments unable to balance their budgets. They had 60 years to do it properly after ww2 and the reconstruction that followed but many of them never did it. So now it is very simple: governments ran out of money and nobody wants to lend them more. That's it, they hit the wall and there is nothing left on the bottom if the purse.
OneCommentator , 8 Jun 2013 10:49

The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt.

It is a bit more complicated than that. Developed countries like Greece are supposed to run more or less balanced budgets over longer periods. Sure, they need to borrow money on a regular basis and may that is supposed to be done by issuing bonds or other forms of government debt that investors buy on the open market. For such governments the IMF is supposed to just fill in in a minor way not to provide the bulk of all the loans needed on a temporary basis. Because of incompetent governments Greece is practically bankrupt hence it is not going to be able to pay back most of the existing debts and definitely not newer debts. So practically the IMF is not, ending money to them, it is giving them the money. So, I would say that they have a good reason to wag its finger.

Malakia123 , 8 Jun 2013 11:15

LOGIC 101: Introductory Course of Study

If private, stockholder-held central banks such as the FED and the FED-backed ECB were not orchestrating this depression, and anybody who believed they were was a "wacko-nutcase conspiracy theorist", then why do they keep repeating the same mistakes of forcing un-payable bailout loans, collapsing banks, wiping out people's savings and then imposing austerity on those nations year after year – when it is clearly a failed policy?

Possible Answers :

1. Bank presidents are all ex-hippies who got hooked on LSD in the 70's and have not yet recovered fully as their brains are still fried!

2. Central bankers have been recruited from insane asylums in both Europe and America in government-sponsored programs to see whether blithering idiots are capable of running large, international financial institutions.

3. All catastrophic events in the banking/business world, such as the derivative and housing crash of 2008, the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and The Great Depression of 1929-40 were totally random events that just occurred out of nowhere and central banks were caught off guard – leaving them no option but to play with their willies for years on end until a major war suddenly happened to pull the whole world out of "bad times"!

4. As central banks such as the FED and the ECB operate with insatiable greed and cannot be audited or regulated by any government body anywhere in the world, due to their charters having been set up that way, then bankers are free to meet secretly and plot depressions so as to gain full control over sovereign nations and manipulate markets so that their "chums and agents" in business can buy up assets and land in depressed economies – while possible wars could also make corporations and banks more money as well!


Please choose one of the possible answers from above and write a short 500 word essay on whether it may or may not true – using well-defined logical arguments. I expect your answers in by Friday of this week as I would like to get pissed out of my mind at the pub on Saturday night!

petercs , 8 Jun 2013 10:44

The neoliberal idea is that the cultivation itself should be conducted privately as well. They see "austerity" as a way of forcing that agenda.

..."neoliberal", concept behind the word, has nothing to do with liberal or liberty or freedom...it is a PR spin concept that names slavery with a a word that sounds like the opposite...if "they" called it neoslavery it just wouldn't sell in the market for political concepts.

..."austerity" is the financial sectors' solution to its survival after it sucked most the value out of the economy and broke it. To mend it was a case of preservation of the elite and the devil take the hindmost, that's most of us.

...and even Labour, the party of trade unionism, has adopted austerity to drive its policy.

...we need a Peoples' Party to stand for the revaluation of labour so we get paid for our effort rather than the distortion, the rich xxx poor divide, of neoslavery austerity.

[Dec 01, 2018] In a separate interview, a retired four-star general, who has advised the Bush and Obama Administrations on national-security issues, said that he had been privately briefed in 2005 about the training of Iranians associated with the M.E.K. in Nevada

Dec 01, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

RobGehrke -> MonaHol , 30 Aug 2012 06:12

"What do you mean by claiming Hersh "cozys up" to MIC ppl? And what would be a specific example of a story he broke after doing that?"

Our Men in Iran?

"We did train them here, and washed them through the Energy Department because the D.O.E. owns all this land in southern Nevada," a former senior American intelligence official told me. ... In a separate interview, a retired four-star general, who has advised the Bush and Obama Administrations on national-security issues, said that he had been privately briefed in 2005 about the training of Iranians associated with the M.E.K. in Nevada

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/04/mek.html

His conversations with Lieutenant Calley are apparently what allowed him to break the My Lai massacre story as well, even though members of the military had already spoken out about it, and there had been already been charges brought. It just revealed the story to the general public, which prompted a fuller investigation and courts martial. I'm sure there are others.

So, obviously Hersh's "cozying up" (surely not the right term for it, though) is in the interests of raising public awareness of nefarious deeds, and is not scared of painting these organizations in a bad light, whereas Mazzetti's goal here seems to be to maintain his privileged access by providing favors - totally different motivations. It's rather easy to contrast the two, which "smartypants54" has even stated here.

Whatever the case, it's true that elements of the NYT have been mouthpieces more or less for government and corporate power for a long time. While I agree with Glenn about the faux cynicism perpetuating this kind of activity - "don't be naive, this is done all the time" - I can understand that it exists.

Such cynicism on the part of the public, rather than being an acknowledgment of acceptance and approval of such practices, can also be seen as part of a more radical critique of the corporate media in general, and the NYT particularly, in that such organizations - not that I totally agree with this - , by their very nature, can't be reformed and can never be totally effective checks on power because of the way they're structured, and who they answer to.

That's definitely not a reason to stop pointing it out, though.

[Nov 27, 2018] Ukraine To Impose Martial Law After Russia Fires At Ukraine Ships, Seizes Three Vessels Off Crimea

Nov 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Update 4 : A UN Security Council meeting has been called for 11am tomorrow after Ukraine incident with Russia, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a tweet.

* * *

Update 3 : according to media reports, on Monday Ukraine's president will propose imposing military law, amid the ongoing crisis with Russia.

* * *

Update 2: This is the moment when the escalating crisis started...

* * *

Update 1: Following reports from the Ukraine navy that Russian ships had fired on Ukraine vessels near the Kerch Strait, Ukraine accused Moscow of also illegally seizing three of its naval ships - the "Berdyansʹk" and "Nikopolʹ" Gurza-class small armored artillery boats and a raid tug A-947 "Jani Kapu" - off Crimea on Sunday after opening fire on them, a charge that if confirmed could ignite a dangerous new crisis between the two countries.

As reported earlier, Russia did not immediately respond to the allegation, but Russian news agencies cited the FSB security service as saying it had incontrovertible proof that Ukraine had orchestrated what it called "a provocation" and would make its evidence public soon. According to media reports, Russia said it has "impounded" three Ukrainian naval ships after they crossed the border with Russia

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko immediately called a meeting with his top military and security chiefs to discuss the situation.

Separately, the EU has urged both sides to rapidly de-escalate the tense situation at the Kerch strait:

NATO has confirmed it is "closely monitoring" developments and is calling for "restraint and de-escalation"...

" NATO is closely monitoring developments in the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait, and we are in contact with the Ukrainian authorities. We call for restraint and de-escalation.

NATO fully supports Ukraine's sovereignty and its territorial integrity, including its navigational rights in its territorial waters. We call on Russia to ensure unhindered access to Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea, in accordance with international law.

At the Brussels Summit in July, NATO leaders expressed their support to Ukraine, and made clear that Russia's ongoing militarisation of Crimea, the Black Sea, and the Azov Sea pose further threats to Ukraine's independence and undermines the stability of the broader region. "

Finally, Ukraine has called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting over 'Russian aggression' while Ukraine's secretary for national security, Oleksander Turchynov, accused Russia of engaging in an act of war: "We heard reports on incident and have concluded that it was an act of war by Russian Federation against Ukraine"

* * *

As we detailed earlier, the Ukrainian navy has accused Russia of opening fire on some of its ships in the Black Sea, striking one vessel, and wounding a crew member.

In a statement on its Facebook page , the Ukrainian navy said the Russian military vessels opened fire on Ukrainian warships after they had left the 12-mile zone near the Kerch Strait, leaving one man wounded, and one Ukrainian vessel damaged and immobilized, adding that Russian warships "shoot to kill."

Ukraine accused a Russian coastguard vessel, named the Don, of ramming one of its tugboats in "openly aggressive actions". The incident allegedly took place as three Ukrainian navy boats - including two small warships - headed for the port of Mariupol in the Sea of Azov, an area of heightened tensions between the countries.

Russia accused Ukraine of illegally entering the area and deliberately provoking a conflict.

Sky News reports that the Ukrainian president has called an emergency session of his war cabinet in response to the incident.

"Today's dangerous events in the Azov Sea testify that a new front of [Russian] aggression is open," Ukrainian foreign ministry spokeswoman Mariana Betsa said.

"Ukraine [is] calling now for emergency meeting of United Nations Security Council."

It comes after a day of rising tensions off the coast of Crimea, and especially around the Kerch Strait, which separates Crimea from mainland Russia after Ukrainian vessels allegedly violated the Russian border. The passage was blocked by a cargo ship and fighter jets were scrambled.

According to RT , Russia has stopped all navigation through the waterway using the cargo ship shown above. Videos from the scene released by the Russian media show a large bulk freighter accompanied by two Russian military boats standing under the arch of the Crimea Bridge and blocking the only passage through the strait.

"The [Kerch] strait is closed for security reasons," the Director-General of the Crimean sea ports, Aleksey Volkov, told TASS, confirming earlier media reports.

Russian Air Force Su-25 strike fighters were also scrambled to provide additional security for the strait as the situation remains tense. The move came as five Ukrainian Navy ships had been approaching the strait from two different sides.

According to RT, two Ukrainian artillery boats and a tugboat initially approached the strait from the Black Sea while "undertaking dangerous maneuvers" and "defying the lawful orders of the Russian border guards." Later, they were joined by two more military vessels that departed from a Ukrainian Azov Sea port of Berdyansk sailing to the strait from the other side.

The Russian federal security agency FSB, which is responsible for maintaining the country's borders, denounced the actions of the Ukrainian ships as a provocation, adding that they could create a "conflict situation" in the region. According to the Russian media reports, the Ukrainian vessels are still sailing towards the strait, ignoring the warnings of the Russian border guards.

According to Reuters , a bilateral treaty gives both countries the right to use the sea, which lies between them and is linked by the narrow Kerch Strait to the Black Sea. Moscow is able to control access between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea after it built a bridge that straddles the Kerch Strait between Crimea and southern Russia.

Reuters adds that tensions surfaced on Sunday after Russia tried to intercept three Ukrainian ships -- two small armored artillery vessels and a tug boat -- in the Black Sea, accusing them of illegally entering Russian territorial waters.

The Ukrainian navy said a Russian border guard vessel had rammed the tug boat, damaging it in an incident it said showed Russia was behaving aggressively and illegally. It said its vessels had every right to be where they were and that the ships had been en route from the Black Sea port of Odessa to Mariupol, a journey that requires them to go through the Kerch Strait.

Meanwhile, Russia's border guard service accused Ukraine of not informing it in advance of the journey, something Kiev denied, and said the Ukrainian ships had been maneuvering dangerously and ignoring its instructions with the aim of stirring up tensions.

It pledged to end to what it described as Ukraine's "provocative actions", while Russian politicians lined up to denounce Kiev, saying the incident looked like a calculated attempt by President Petro Poroshenko to increase his popularity ahead of an election next year. Ukraine's foreign ministry said in a statement it wanted a clear response to the incident from the international community.

"Russia's provocative actions in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov have crossed the line and become aggressive," it said. "Russian ships have violated our freedom of maritime navigation and unlawfully used force against Ukrainian naval ships."

Both countries have accused each other of harassing each other's shipping in Sea of Azov in the past and the U.S. State Department in August said Russia's actions looked designed to destabilize Ukraine, which has two major industrial ports there.

[Nov 25, 2018] Let s recap what Obama s coup in Ukraine has led to shall we?

Highly recommended!
CIA democrats of which Obama is a prominent example (and Hillary is another one) are are Werewolfs, very dangerous political beasts, probably more dangerous to the world then Republicans like George W Bush. But in case of Ukraine, it was easily pushed into Baltic orbit, because it has all the preconditions for that. So Nuland has an relatively easy, albeit dirty task. Also all this probably that "in five years we will be living like French" was pretty effective. Now the population faces consequences of its own stupidity. This is just neoliberal business as usual or neocolonialism.
Notable quotes:
"... populists on the right ..."
"... hired members of Ukraine's two racist-fascist, or nazi, political parties ..."
"... Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment ..."
"... @snoopydawg ..."
"... @snoopydawg ..."
"... @gulfgal98 ..."
"... @gulfgal98 ..."
Nov 25, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

Let's recap what Obama's coup in Ukraine has led to shall we? Maybe installing and blatantly backing Neo Nazis in Ukraine might have something to do with the rise of " populists on the right " that is spreading through Europe and this country, Hillary.

America's criminal 'news' media never even reported the coup, nor that in 2011 the Obama regime began planning for a coup in Ukraine . And that by 1 March 2013 they started organizing it inside the U.S. Embassy there . And that they hired members of Ukraine's two racist-fascist, or nazi, political parties , Right Sector and Svoboda (which latter had been called the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine until the CIA advised them to change it to Freedom Party, or "Svoboda" instead). And that in February 2014 they did it (and here's the 4 February 2014 phone call instructing the U.S. Ambassador whom to place in charge of the new regime when the coup will be completed), under the cover of authentic anti-corruption demonstrations that the Embassy organized on the Maidan Square in Kiev, demonstrations that the criminal U.S. 'news' media misrepresented as 'democracy demonstrations ,' though Ukraine already had democracy (but still lots of corruption, even more than today's U.S. does, and the pontificating Obama said he was trying to end Ukraine's corruption -- which instead actually soared after his coup there).

But wait there's more .... Remember that caravan of refugees making their way through Mexico? Guess where a number of them came from? Honduras. Yep. Another coup that happened during Obama's and Hillary's tenure.

Hard choices: Hillary Clinton admits role in Honduran coup aftermath

In a recent op-ed in The Washington Post, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a review of Henry Kissinger's latest book, "World Order ," to lay out her vision for "sustaining America's leadership in the world." In the midst of numerous global crises, she called for return to a foreign policy with purpose, strategy and pragmatism. She also highlighted some of these policy choices in her memoir "Hard Choices" and how they contributed to the challenges that Barack Obama's administration now faces.
**
The chapter on Latin America, particularly the section on Honduras, a major source of the child migrants currently pouring into the United States, has gone largely unnoticed. In letters to Clinton and her successor, John Kerry, more than 100 members of Congress have repeatedly warned about the deteriorating security situation in Honduras, especially since the 2009 military coup that ousted the country's democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. As Honduran scholar Dana Frank points out in Foreign Affairs, the U.S.-backed post-coup government "rewarded coup loyalists with top ministries," opening the door for further "violence and anarchy."

The homicide rate in Honduras, already the highest in the world, increased by 50 percent from 2008 to 2011; political repression, the murder of opposition political candidates, peasant organizers and LGBT activists increased and continue to this day. Femicides skyrocketed. The violence and insecurity were exacerbated by a generalized institutional collapse. Drug-related violence has worsened amid allegations of rampant corruption in Honduras' police and government. While the gangs are responsible for much of the violence, Honduran security forces have engaged in a wave of killings and other human rights crimes with impunity.

Despite this, however, both under Clinton and Kerry, the State Department's response to the violence and military and police impunity has largely been silence, along with continued U.S. aid to Honduran security forces. In "Hard Choices," Clinton describes her role in the aftermath of the coup that brought about this dire situation. Her firsthand account is significant both for the confession of an important truth and for a crucial false testimony.

First, the confession: Clinton admits that she used the power of her office to make sure that Zelaya would not return to office. "In the subsequent days [after the coup] I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere, including Secretary [Patricia] Espinosa in Mexico," Clinton writes. "We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot."

Clinton's position on Latin America in her bid for the presidency is another example of how the far right exerts disproportionate influence on US foreign policy in the hemisphere. up 24 users have voted. --

Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment


aliasalias on Fri, 11/23/2018 - 6:16pm

Count on Wikileaks for the unvarnished truth

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg Obama, Hillary and the rest of that administration knew it was a coup because that was the goal.

"..4. (C) In our view, none of the above arguments has any substantive validity under the Honduran constitution. Some are outright false. Others are mere supposition or ex-post rationalizations of a patently illegal act. Essentially: --
the military had no authority to remove Zelaya from the country;
-- Congress has no constitutional authority to remove a Honduran president;
-- Congress and the judiciary removed Zelaya on the basis of a hasty, ad-hoc, extralegal, secret, 48-hour process;
-- the purported "resignation" letter was a fabrication and was not even the basis for Congress's action of June 28; and
-- Zelaya's arrest and forced removal from the country violated multiple constitutional guarantees, including the prohibition on expatriation, presumption of innocence and right to due process. "
https://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09TEGUCIGALPA645_a.html

gulfgal98 on Fri, 11/23/2018 - 5:45am
How un-self aware is Hillary?

That evil woman thinks she has the right to preach to others about how to handle the very fallout from the horrific disasters that she HERself created? Hillary, look in the mirror, you evil woman.

From the Guardian article that snoopy linked above comes this not so shocking but arrogant statement by the evil queen herself.

Clinton said rightwing populists in the west met "a psychological as much as political yearning to be told what to do, and where to go, and how to live and have their press basically stifled and so be given one version of reality.

" The whole American system was designed so that you would eliminate the threat from a strong, authoritarian king or other leader and maybe people are just tired of it. They don't want that much responsibility and freedom. They want to be told what to do and where to go and how to live and only given one version of reality.

"I don't know why at this moment that is so attractive to people, but it's a serious threat to our freedom and our democratic institutions, and it goes very deep and very far and we've got to do a better job of shining a light on it and trying to combat it."

This arrogance of looking down on the populace is very part and parcel of the neoliberal attitude of the ruling class takes to the rest of us peons. They created this unreality for the American people and have suppressed our right to know what is really happening in the world. Obama destroyed the Occupy Movement with violent police attacks and kettling. And then disgustingly, Clinton comes out with her hubristic victim blaming.

The Clintons are nearly single handedly responsible for much of the destruction of the American middle class and the repression of poor and black people under Bill and the violent destruction of many countries under Hillary. And yet neither Clinton is willing to own up for all the human misery that they have caused wherever they go. Unfortunately, the one place they refuse to go is just away forever.

gulfgal98 on Fri, 11/23/2018 - 6:26am
Twitter is not too kind to Hillary, just a sampling

@gulfgal98

Apparently Hillary Clinton's 2020 platform will consist of two things:

1. We need to stop all these fucking brown people who sneak into our countries and ruin things for the nice, white population.

2. Bernie Sanders is a racist.

Well, that's one more than last time. #Progress https://t.co/H5jb5l5ZNK

-- "Angry Jon Snow" Graziano (@jvgraz) November 22, 2018

The belief that HRC & her circle are principled & progressive is just as fictitious as the belief that they lost to a reality TV host because of stolen emails, social media trolls, & a (fictitious) conspiracy between the reality TV host & the Kremlin: https://t.co/iyTC1M6uws

-- Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) November 22, 2018

Bombing a nation into smithereens like a real neocon, then refusing to help its people fleeing from the terror she created -like a real neocon.

Hillary Clinton, a progressive who gets things done -you know, like the neocon she really is. https://t.co/IQWFy4Rn3O

-- Amir (@AmirAminiMD) November 22, 2018

Clinton says Europe should make clear that "we are not going to be able to continue provide refuge & support." Isn't this the attitude we denounce Trump for? Speaking of irony, Clinton's regime wars in Libya & Syria (& Iraq, indirectly) fueled the migration she wants to stop. https://t.co/CIkkGRRKNd

-- Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) November 22, 2018

This ego-maniac sees the world's problems - which she had a huge hand in creating - only through the lens of her electability. Apparently, the only problems the world has are the one's that keep her from sitting in the Oval Office. Everything else is fine. She is deplorable.

-- Tom Hillgardner (@Tom4CongressNY6) November 22, 2018

Ah yes, Trump only won because the Democrats weren't harsh enough on immigration https://t.co/0ULBP23O4S

-- Abby Martin (@AbbyMartin) November 22, 2018

Hillary Clinton & Tony Blair now say migration issues "lit the flame" of RW populism in Europe and they must crack down.

Neither admits THEIR disastrous war & destabilization policy, neoliberal economics (incl sanctions) drive millions to flee https://t.co/8HUY2i25Sy pic.twitter.com/MaRiRkPjRM

-- Joanne Leon (@joanneleon) November 22, 2018

That evil woman thinks she has the right to preach to others about how to handle the very fallout from the horrific disasters that she HERself created? Hillary, look in the mirror, you evil woman.

From the Guardian article that snoopy linked above comes this not so shocking but arrogant statement by the evil queen herself.

Clinton said rightwing populists in the west met "a psychological as much as political yearning to be told what to do, and where to go, and how to live and have their press basically stifled and so be given one version of reality.

" The whole American system was designed so that you would eliminate the threat from a strong, authoritarian king or other leader and maybe people are just tired of it. They don't want that much responsibility and freedom. They want to be told what to do and where to go and how to live and only given one version of reality.

"I don't know why at this moment that is so attractive to people, but it's a serious threat to our freedom and our democratic institutions, and it goes very deep and very far and we've got to do a better job of shining a light on it and trying to combat it."

This arrogance of looking down on the populace is very part and parcel of the neoliberal attitude of the ruling class takes to the rest of us peons. They created this unreality for the American people and have suppressed our right to know what is really happening in the world. Obama destroyed the Occupy Movement with violent police attacks and kettling. And then disgustingly, Clinton comes out with her hubristic victim blaming.

The Clintons are nearly single handedly responsible for much of the destruction of the American middle class and the repression of poor and black people under Bill and the violent destruction of many countries under Hillary. And yet neither Clinton is willing to own up for all the human misery that they have caused wherever they go. Unfortunately, the one place they refuse to go is just away forever.

The Aspie Corner on Fri, 11/23/2018 - 6:46am
And amazingly, should she run, the 'left' will back her anyway.

@gulfgal98 Because they just HAVE to get a rich, far-right, patriarchal white woman elected at any cost for the sake of 'making history'. If these idiots really wanted to make history, they'd work like hell to put someone in charge who actually had the balls to hang the pigs and their collaborators for their crimes.

#5

Apparently Hillary Clinton's 2020 platform will consist of two things:

1. We need to stop all these fucking brown people who sneak into our countries and ruin things for the nice, white population.

2. Bernie Sanders is a racist.

Well, that's one more than last time. #Progress https://t.co/H5jb5l5ZNK

-- "Angry Jon Snow" Graziano (@jvgraz) November 22, 2018

The belief that HRC & her circle are principled & progressive is just as fictitious as the belief that they lost to a reality TV host because of stolen emails, social media trolls, & a (fictitious) conspiracy between the reality TV host & the Kremlin: https://t.co/iyTC1M6uws

-- Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) November 22, 2018

Bombing a nation into smithereens like a real neocon, then refusing to help its people fleeing from the terror she created -like a real neocon.

Hillary Clinton, a progressive who gets things done -you know, like the neocon she really is. https://t.co/IQWFy4Rn3O

-- Amir (@AmirAminiMD) November 22, 2018

Clinton says Europe should make clear that "we are not going to be able to continue provide refuge & support." Isn't this the attitude we denounce Trump for? Speaking of irony, Clinton's regime wars in Libya & Syria (& Iraq, indirectly) fueled the migration she wants to stop. https://t.co/CIkkGRRKNd

-- Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) November 22, 2018

This ego-maniac sees the world's problems - which she had a huge hand in creating - only through the lens of her electability. Apparently, the only problems the world has are the one's that keep her from sitting in the Oval Office. Everything else is fine. She is deplorable.

-- Tom Hillgardner (@Tom4CongressNY6) November 22, 2018

Ah yes, Trump only won because the Democrats weren't harsh enough on immigration https://t.co/0ULBP23O4S

-- Abby Martin (@AbbyMartin) November 22, 2018

Hillary Clinton & Tony Blair now say migration issues "lit the flame" of RW populism in Europe and they must crack down.

Neither admits THEIR disastrous war & destabilization policy, neoliberal economics (incl sanctions) drive millions to flee https://t.co/8HUY2i25Sy pic.twitter.com/MaRiRkPjRM

-- Joanne Leon (@joanneleon) November 22, 2018

[Nov 25, 2018] >How the US Creates 'Shthole' Countries

Notable quotes:
"... Essays on Palestine. ..."
Nov 25, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

November 19, 2018 • 104 Comments

A new collection of essays, edited by former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, clearly shows that it is the U.S. that is largely responsible for the poverty and suffering in these very nations, says Robert Fantina.

By Robert Fantina

In two years, the world has become accustomed to being shocked by the words and actions of United States President Donald Trump. In January of this year, he again showed his lack of diplomacy, tack and common decency, when he referred to many poorer countries as "sh*ithole countries", asking, "Why do we want all these people from sh*thole countries coming here?" Former member of the House of Representatives Cynthia McKinney, in the new book she has edited, How the US Creates 'Sh*thole' Countries , (Clarity Press) has gathered a collection of essays, including one of her own, that clearly shows that it is the U.S. that is largely responsible for the poverty and suffering in these very nations.

The first series of essays describes U.S. foreign policy, and its true motives. In the essay, The End of Washington's 'Wars on the Cheap' , The Saker sums up U.S. foreign policy as follows: "Here's the template for typical Empire action: find some weak country, subvert it, accuse it of human right violations, slap economic sanctions, trigger riots and intervene militarily in 'defense' of 'democracy', 'freedom' and 'self-determination' (or some other combo of equally pious and meaningless concepts)." The hypocrisy of such a policy is obvious. A weak and vulnerable nation is victimized by a far more powerful one. The U.S. has done this countless times in its history, and there appears to be no appetite in the government to change.

This introduction and explanation of U.S. foreign policy is followed by essays on some, but certainly not all, of the countries that have been victimized by the United States, usually following this template. As McKinney says in her essay, Somalia: Is Somalia the U.S. Template for All of Africa , " while mouthing freedom, democracy, and liberty, the United States has denied these very aspirations to others, especially when it inconvenienced the US or its allies. In Mozambique and Angola, the US stood with Portugal until it was the Portuguese people, themselves, who threw off their government and voted in a socialist government that vowed to free Portugal of its colonies."

In the essay, How the U.S. Perpetuates the Palestinian Tragedy', Sami Al-Arian writes:

" It might be understandable, if detestable, for Israel and its Zionist defenders to circulate false characterizations of history and myths to advance their political agenda. But it is incomprehensible, indeed reprehensible, for those who claim to advocate the rule of law, believe in the principle of self-determination, and call for freedom and justice to fall for this propaganda or to become its willing accomplices. In following much of American political leaders' rhetoric or media coverage of the conflict, one is struck by the lack of historical context, the deliberate disregard of empirical facts, and the contempt for established legal constructs and precedents."

The U.S. leads in these distortions, with its officials proclaiming, each time that Israel bombs Gaza, that "Israel has a right to defend itself". There is hardly mention of the brutal, illegal occupation and blockade; never a discussion of the fact that Palestine has no army, navy or air force, and Israel's military is one of the world's most powerful thanks to the U.S. It is never stated that international law allows an occupied people to resist the occupation in any way possible, including armed struggle. The countless United Nations resolutions condemning Israeli actions in Palestine are ignored by U.S. officials.

Once again, U.S. hypocrisy is on very public display.

The third section of this informative book describes the United States' mostly-successful efforts to camouflage its vile intentions and international crimes. Christopher Black, in his essay Western Imperialism and the Use of Propaganda", clearly articulates how this is done:

" The primary concern they [U.S. government officials] have, in order to preserve their control, is for the preservation of the new feudal mythology that they have created: that the world is a dangerous place, that they are the protectors, that the danger is omnipresent, eternal, and omnidirectional, comes from without, and comes from within. The mythology is constructed and presented through all media; journals, films, television, radio, music, advertising, books, the internet in all its variety. All available information systems are used to create and maintain scenarios and dramas to convince the people that they, the protectors, are the good and all others are the bad. We are bombarded with this message incessantly."

Our memories are short, indeed, if we have forgotten both President George W. Bush and his Secretary of State, Colin Powell, telling the world from the United Nations the blatant lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, threatening civilization. We are not paying attention if we are unaware of the many innuendos given of the 'dangers' of all Muslims. Yes, the government fosters fear, proclaiming subtly and not so subtly that there is danger everywhere, and it is the role of the mighty United States to protect the world, whether or not such protection is wanted or needed.

Lastly, the U.S. Itself can be described as a 'sh*thole' country. Its many violations of international law, and crimes against humanity, are summarized by Richard Falk, in his essay The Sh*thole Phenomenon at Home and Abroad:

" This kind of nationalist pride covered up and blindsided crimes of the greatest severity that were being committed from the time of the earliest settlements: genocide against native Americans, reliance on the barbarism of slavery to facilitate profitable cotton production and the supposedly genteel life style of the Southern plantations. This unflattering national picture should be enlarged to include the exploitation of the resources and good will of peoples throughout Latin America, who, once freed from Spanish colonial rule, quickly found themselves victimized by American gunboat diplomacy that paved the way for American investors or joined in crushing those bold and brave enough to engage in national resistance against the abuse of their homelands."

The final essay is the Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights on his Mission to the United States of America, authored by Philip Alston. While Trump decries "sh*thole" countries, the conditions that the U.S. put those countries in are not unknown in the U.S. A few facts from Alston's report will suffice:

The U.S.'s " immense wealth and expertise stand in shocking contrast with the conditions in which vast numbers of its citizens live. About 40 million live in poverty, 18.5 million in extreme poverty, and 5.3 million live in Third World conditions of absolute poverty. It has the highest youth poverty rate in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the highest infant mortality rates among comparable OECD States. Its citizens live shorter and sicker lives compared to those living in all other rich democracies, eradicable tropical diseases are increasingly prevalent, and it has the world's highest incarceration rate, one of the lowest levels of voter registrations in among OECD countries and the highest obesity levels in the developed world." " The United States has the highest rate of income inequality among Western countries. The $1.5 trillion in tax cuts in December 2017 overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and worsened inequality." " For almost five decades the overall policy response has been neglectful at best, but the policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment and make even basic health care into a privilege to be earned rather than a right of citizenship."

The information in these essays is all rigorously documented with extensive footnotes. The writing is clear and the facts are presented in a concise manner that is highly beneficial for the average reader or academic.

For anyone who questions U.S. policies, at home or abroad, and who has perhaps become more aware of such issues since Trump's election,

How the US Creates 'Sh*thole' Countries is an indispensable read.

Robert Fantina is a journalist and the author of Essays on Palestine.

[Nov 25, 2018] Felix Keverich

Nov 25, 2018 | www.unz.com

says: November 24, 2018 at 5:38 pm GMT 100 Words @Big Bill They fought that it was Russia, that was holding them back, and by separating they could quickly achieve Western European standard of living. The first guy to become president of independent Ukraine promised people that they were going to "live like France" .in 5 years (!). lol

So their plan was something like this:

step 1: Separate from Russia.

step 2:

step 3: France

Lately, they began to think that the Ukraine's path to prosperity goes through EU membership, hence popular support for Euromaidan, and you know the results Phanar Phantom


Felix Keverich , says: November 24, 2018 at 5:53 pm GMT

@FB

You're full of shit what the heck do you know about industry you useless little fart ? are you an industrial engineer do you have any technical qualifications whatsoever or do you just pull buzzwords like 'marketable skills' out your wazoo, as needed ?

Your industries are worth ZERO, if you're unable to sell your products, and the Ukraine struggled to sell its manufactured goods after 1991. Its traditional customer – Russia began to import Western goods.

You sound like Martyanov. lol It doesn't take any "special qualification" to figure out that Soviet-era factories were churning out worthless crap – there is a reason why that system fell apart, you know.

Now, off to ignore list with you.

FB , says: November 24, 2018 at 6:25 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich Thanks for confirming that you have zero credentials in any technical field yet you are somehow posing as someone qualified to talk about industry

Glad you are blocking me you little worm the Ostrich response do you cover your eyes and ears when your teacher or parent [or caregiver, since you are obviously retarded] says something that is true but which you don't want to hear ?

As for Soviet era factories churning out 'worthless crap' that would include the world's best rocket engines, decades ahead of the west's technology ?

What a worthless little shrimp

Sergey Krieger , says: November 24, 2018 at 6:46 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich Liberast opinion. People with this views destroyed the country, caused massive displacement and demographic and social catastrophes. People with your views should not be allowed to the levers of power for the distance of avangard shot. If to follow your logic USA and China must dismantle and sell as scrap metal their MIC as they both clearly cannot compete with Russian MIC. National manufacturing of everything is not about competition. It is about souverenity in everything and national capability to provide own population both with goods and means to make a living via manufacturing of everything needed. Current situation with so much of everything made in China is an abomination that hurts too much people around the globe. People with your views in Russia should be purged and preferably executed for crimes against former Soviet people.
Sergey Krieger , says: November 24, 2018 at 6:56 pm GMT
I find it strange that shamir who professes communist views is paying so much attention to this basically religious spat about power and money. Wasn't it once th as t that religion is opium for masses. It is here to keep population down so that it is easily fleeced by thieves. The only value for Russia in orthodoxy at the moment is that the country completely devote of ideology as per constitution there must be something to hold people together and give some meaning to their existence.

[Nov 22, 2018] Ukraine, where it's already snowing, isn't ready for winter

Nov 22, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Warren November 20, 2018 at 11:37 am

Vesti News
Published on 19 Nov 2018
Subscribe to Vesti News
Since Monday, we've been watching Poroshenko's panic. On the one hand, he was throwing rude tantrums because his project to create a "new Church of Ukraine" didn't go as planned. He only managed to create a branch of the Constantinople Patriarchate in Kiev, which is not the division-building thing Poroshenko dreamed of. On the other hand, Ukraine, where it's already snowing, isn't ready for winter.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/8D6e7YZf1lA

Jen November 20, 2018 at 1:35 pm
My suspicion then that Poroshenko must have intended for this new Church of Ukraine to be subservient to Kiev so that all its properties could be declared state properties and the Church's wealth could be Kiev's (and Poroshenko's) for the taking only increased when I saw this report. Interesting too that Poroshenko only now, near the end of his Presidency, is selling off the assets he should have sold off at the start of his Presidency in compliance with Ukrainian law.
Mark Chapman November 20, 2018 at 5:35 pm
Gee; who could ever have imagined such a thing would happen? Russia should handle any emerging crisis very carefully, because Kiev will want to find a way to blame all Ukraine's problems on Russia, as usual. Russia might win quite a few allies if it boxes clever.

No need to write Poroshenko's epitaph just yet; he's only sold off a ratty old shipyard that likely was not making him any money anyway. That's not a bellwether of panic; not yet. But he is almost certain to lose to Tymoshenko, and she will be a double whammy for Ukraine because she has no more idea how to solve the problem than does Poroshenko, is steadfastly loyal to the west although it has done nothing since the glorious Maidan but mess Ukraine up even more than it already was, with the added bonus that she will probably usher in a circuses-but-no-bread distraction of gunning for Poroshenko and his government, using the premise that they are to blame for Ukraine's disintegration. That's broadly true, but Tymoshenko has no plan at all for what comes after Ukrainians' fury is sated.

[Nov 22, 2018] Ukraine is actually ruled by a small group of tycoons; according to the European Council on Foreign Relations (which wants Ukraine to succeed as a western satellite, so you can bet anything negative about it will be soft-pedaled), the 50 5ichest Ukrainians pre-maidan controlled 45% of national GDP.

Nov 22, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman November 19, 2018 at 5:08 pm

"On Nov.14, just a day before the decision to cut assistance, the European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a nonbinding resolution saying Moldova has become a "state captured by oligarchic interests" that exert their influence over most parts of Moldova's society. The country is actually ruled by a small group of tycoons."

Ukraine is actually ruled by a small group of tycoons; according to the European Council on Foreign Relations (which wants Ukraine to succeed as a western satellite, so you can bet anything negative about it will be soft-pedaled), the 50 5ichest Ukrainians pre-maidan controlled 45% of national GDP.

https://www.ecfr.eu/publications/summary/survival_of_the_richest_how_oligarchs_block_reform_in_ukraine6091

Anyone want to present the case that the situation has improved since its oligarchic president took power, and used it to continuously enrich himself and his family, maintaining his status as a wealthy businessman even as he takes the odd moment out now and again to see how the country's doing? I thought not.

http://uacrisis.org/54793-top-5-ukrainian-oligarchs

Last year, after the country has had quite a generous spell to throw off the shackles of its oligarchy, the top FIVE Ukrainian oligarchs alone control 13% of the nation's GDP – Rinat Akhmetov, Ihor Kolomoyskiy, Victor Pinchuk, Petro Poroshenko and Dmytro Firtash. Waiting in the wings to take over the helm, Yulia Tymoshenko, once known as 'the Gas Princess", and another oligarch who has been rich since she was very young, whose past performance suggests Ukraine is in for another round of nest-feathering and struggle for financial gain among its wealthy citizens, with not a toss given for the rest.

Think we'll see the EU cut them off from funding any time soon? Me, either.

[Nov 22, 2018] Ukraine 5 years after Euromaidan: Have ordinary citizens benefitted from the Western-backed 'revolution'?

Notable quotes:
"... "trade suicide" ..."
"... "limited results" ..."
"... "governance issues" ..."
"... "It's basically a high level of corruption and the rule of man instead of the rule of law" ..."
"... "We're getting a lot of inquiries from various investors, they come to talk to us, and we see the opportunities in Ukraine, but time after time we hear the concerns about the governance." ..."
"... "meaningful progress" ..."
"... "inefficient court system continues to obstruct the administration of justice." ..."
Nov 21, 2018 | www.sott.net

Originally from RT

It has been five years to the day since Ukraine's 'Euromaidan' protest movement began, with anti-government protesters demanding an end to corruption and a closer relationship with the European Union. But what became of the dream?

On the evening of November 21, 2013, pro-West protesters began flocking to Kiev's Maidan Square, carrying banners and waving EU flags. Hours earlier, then-president Viktor Yanukovych had suspended preparations to sign a European Association Agreement, which would have been a potential step on the road to joining the EU - and a move which Russia had warned would be "trade suicide" for the post-Soviet state. The West, on the other hand, was determined to wrangle Ukraine out of Russia's "orbit" and lure it into its own.

Ukraine was facing an economic crossroads. The country was being pulled in two directions, asked to choose between closer alignment with the EU or Russia. When Yanukovych chose Russia by refusing to sign the Association Agreement, it sparked outrage within the EU and a protest movement which would quickly be hijacked and used to engineer a Western-backed coup - a shortcut to bringing a pro-West government to power.

Such interference, manipulation and exploitation of Ukraine's internal political and societal divisions was not without consequences. More than 10,000 died during an insurgency in the eastern regions which began when the ethnic Russian population began to fear it would be swallowed into an anti-Russia nationalist state backed by Western powers. But the West ignored dangerous signs of growing nationalism - and outright Nazi-style fascism - in Ukraine, bargaining that anything was better than Russia 'winning' in a game of geopolitical chess.

Five years on, what has become of the protesters' dreams to rid Ukraine of corruption and build an equal, transparent and functional democracy? The sad answer is that Ukraine's revolution was a disaster which left the country teetering on the edge of becoming a failed state.

An anti-corruption revolution?

Corruption is still rampant in Ukraine. A recent assessment by the International Monetary Fund suggested that corruption wipes about two percent off the country's GDP growth per year.

The IMF and World Bank also scolded the Ukrainian government for the "limited results" that have been seen in fighting corruption, with no high-level officials convicted - something which is said to be keeping investors out of the country.

World Bank Country Director for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine Satu Kahkonen said that "governance issues" were forcing investors to steer clear. "It's basically a high level of corruption and the rule of man instead of the rule of law" that have prevailed in Ukraine, she said. "We're getting a lot of inquiries from various investors, they come to talk to us, and we see the opportunities in Ukraine, but time after time we hear the concerns about the governance."

Higher living standards?

Ukraine is also emerging as Europe's poorest country , with a GDP per capita of just €2,960 - well below Estonia's €22,420 and Slovenia's €26,590 GDP per capita.

In fact, according to a recent Credit Suisse report, Ukrainians rank among the world's poorest people, coming a dismal 123rd out of 140 countries, with the net wealth of the country's citizens lagging behind Bangladesh and Cameroon. Another recent study by the United Nations Development Program found that, despite continuing economic growth, 60 percent of Ukrainians live below the poverty line.

Less income inequality?

Meanwhile, Ukraine's richest 100 citizens have seen their wealth increase significantly in the years after the Euromaidan protests. A recent report from the Novoe Vremya magazine showed that the wealth of the country's richest people is growing 12 times faster than Ukraine's total GDP. Pro-West President Petro Poroshenko is the country's sixth richest man, increasing his wealth by 10 percent to about $1.1 billion, all while average Ukrainians see little or no improvement in their own living standards or net wealth.

Political reforms?

While some recent reforms in education, pensions and healthcare were welcomed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in its l atest country report , there has still been a lack of "meaningful progress" in the reform of governance and an "inefficient court system continues to obstruct the administration of justice."

European values?

Scant attention has also been paid by the Ukrainian government - and Western powers and media - to the increasingly worrying growth of neo-Nazi sentiment in Ukraine. When, in October 2017, Ukraine witnessed its biggest neo-Nazi march in years, Western media all but ignored it. In fact, in deeds and words, Ukraine's government has almost encouraged this kind of sentiment, by praising as an "inspiration" the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) fighters who the Nazi marchers were commemorating. In recent months, mainstream media have done more to acknowledge this creeping fascism in Ukraine, but the admission comes far too late.

On the world stage, too, Ukraine's pro-West President Petro Poroshenko has faded into near irrelevance, barely acknowledged by US President Donald Trump at recent Armistice Day commemorations in Paris, as geopolitics returned to business-as-usual with Kiev fading from the headlines.

[Nov 16, 2018] Food scarcity and malnutrition of children under the age of 5, places the Ukraine in percentage terms lower than Pakistan, Ethiopia, Libya, Iraq

Nov 16, 2018 | thesaker.is

PeterP on November 12, 2018 , · at 9:06 pm EST/EDT

Food scarcity and malnutrition of children under the age of 5, places the Ukraine in percentage terms lower than Pakistan, Ethiopia, Libya, Iraq .the Ukraine welcomes the Cookie Monster (stats National Geographic)

[Nov 16, 2018] The Meaning Of A Multipolar World

Nov 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

The Meaning Of A Multipolar World

by Tyler Durden Fri, 11/16/2018 - 00:05 4 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Saker Blog,

Right now, we live in a monopolar world.

Here is how U.S. President Barack Obama proudly, even imperially, described it when delivering the Commencement address to America's future generals, at West Point Military Academy, on 28 May 2014 :

The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation . [Every other nation is therefore 'dispensable'; we therefore now have "Amerika, Amerika über alles, über alles in der Welt".] That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. America must always lead on the world stage. If we don't, no one else will...

Russia's aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China's economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us. [He was here telling these future U.S. military leaders that they are to fight for the U.S. aristocracy, to help them defeat any nation that resists.] ...

In Ukraine, Russia's recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe. But this isn't the Cold War. Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away. [He was proud of the U.S. Government's effectiveness at propaganda, just as Hitler was proud of the German Government's propaganda-effectiveness under Joseph Goebbels.] Because of American leadership, the world immediately condemned Russian actions; Europe and the G7 joined us to impose sanctions; NATO reinforced our commitment to Eastern European allies; the IMF is helping to stabilize Ukraine's economy; OSCE monitors brought the eyes of the world to unstable parts of Ukraine.

Actually, his - Obama's - regime, had conquered Ukraine in February 2014 by a very bloody coup , and installed a racist-fascist anti-Russian Government there next door to Russia, a stooge-regime to this day, which instituted a racial-cleansing campaign to eliminate enough pro-Russia voters so as to be able to hold onto power there. It has destroyed Ukraine and so alienated the regions of Ukraine that had voted more than 75% for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom Obama overthrew, so that those pro-Russia regions quit Ukraine. What remains of Ukraine after the U.S. conquest is a nazi mess and a destroyed nation in hock to Western taxpayers and banks .

Furthermore, Obama insisted upon (to use Bush's term about Saddam Hussein) "regime-change" in Syria. Twice in one day the Secretary General of the U.N. asserted that only the Syrian people have any right to do that, no outside nation has any right to impose it. Obama ignored him and kept on trying. Obama actually protected Al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate against bombing by Syria's Government and by Syria's ally Russia, while the U.S. bombed Syria's army , which was trying to prevent those jihadists from overthrowing the Government. Obama bombed Libya in order to "regime-change" Muammar Gaddafi, and he bombed Syria in order to "regime-change" Bashar al-Assad; and, so, while the "U.S. Drops Bombs; EU Gets Refugees & Blame. This Is Insane." And Obama's successor Trump continues Obama's policies in this regard. And, of course, the U.S. and its ally UK invaded Iraq in 2003, likewise on the basis of lies to the effect that Iraq was the aggressor . (Even Germany called Poland the aggressor when invading Poland in 1939.)

No other nation regularly invades other nations that never had invaded it. This is international aggression. It is the international crime of "War of Aggression" ; and the only nations which do it nowadays are America and its allies, such as the Sauds, Israel, France, and UK, which often join in America's aggressions (or, in the case of the Sauds' invasion of Yemen, the ally initiates an invasion, which the U.S. then joins). America's generals are taught this aggression, and not only by Obama. Ever since at least George W. Bush, it has been solid U.S. policy. (Bush even kicked out the U.N.'s weapons-inspectors, so as to bomb Iraq in 2003.)

In other words: a mono-polar world is a world in which one nation stands above international law, and that nation's participation in an invasion immunizes also each of its allies who join in the invasion, protecting it too from prosecution, so that a mono-polar world is one in which the United Nations can't even possibly impose international law impartially, but can impose it only against nations that aren't allied with the mono-polar power, which in this case is the United States. Furthermore, because the U.S. regime reigns supreme over the entire world, as it does, any nations -- such as Russia, China, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Ecuador -- that the U.S. regime (which has itself been scientifically proven to be a dictatorship ) chooses to treat as an enemy, is especially disadvantaged internationally. Russia and China, however, are among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and therefore possess a degree of international protection that America's other chosen enemies do not. And the people who choose which nations to identify as America's 'enemies' are America's super-rich and not the entire American population, because the U.S. Government is controlled by the super-rich and not by the public .

So, that's the existing mono-polar world: it is a world that's controlled by one nation, and this one nation is, in turn, controlled by its aristocracy, its super-rich .

If one of the five permanent members of the Security Council would table at the U.N. a proposal to eliminate the immunity that the U.S. regime has, from investigation and prosecution for any future War of Aggression that it might perpetrate, then, of course, the U.S. and any of its allies on the Security Council would veto that, but if the proposing nation would then constantly call to the international public's attention that the U.S. and its allies had blocked passage of such a crucially needed "procedure to amend the UN charter" , and that this fact means that the U.S. and its allies constitute fascist regimes as was understood and applied against Germany's fascist regime, at the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1945, then possibly some members of the U.S.-led gang (the NATO portion of it, at least) would quit that gang, and the U.S. global dictatorship might end, so that there would then become a multi-polar world, in which democracy could actually thrive.

Democracy can only shrivel in a mono-polar world, because all other nations then are simply vassal nations, which accept Obama's often-repeated dictum that all other nations are "dispensable" and that only the U.S. is not. Even the UK would actually gain in freedom, and in democracy, by breaking away from the U.S., because it would no longer be under the U.S. thumb -- the thumb of the global aggressor-nation.

Only one global poll has ever been taken of the question "Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?" and it found that, overwhelmingly, by a three-to-one ratio above the second-most-often named country, the United States was identified as being precisely that, the top threat to world-peace . But then, a few years later, another (though less-comprehensive) poll was taken on a similar question, and it produced similar results . Apparently, despite the effectiveness of America's propagandists, people in other lands recognize quite well that today's America is a more successful and longer-reigning version of Hitler's Germany. Although modern America's propaganda-operation is far more sophisticated than Nazi Germany's was, it's not entirely successful. America's invasions are now too common, all based on lies, just like Hitler's were.

On November 9th, Russian Television headlined "'Very insulting': Trump bashes Macron's idea of European army for protection from Russia, China & US" and reported that "US President Donald Trump has unloaded on his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, calling the French president's idea of a 'real European army,' independent from Washington, an insult." On the one hand, Trump constantly criticizes France and other European nations for allegedly not paying enough for America's NATO military alliance, but he now is denigrating France for proposing to other NATO members a decreasing reliance upon NATO, and increasing reliance, instead, upon the Permanent Structured Cooperation (or PESCO) European military alliance , which was begun on 11 December 2017, and which currently has "25 EU Member States participating: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden." Those are the European nations that are now on the path to eventually quitting NATO.

Once NATO is ended, the U.S. regime will find far more difficult any invasions such as of Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2012-, Yemen 2016-, and maybe even such as America's bloody coup that overthrew the democratically elected Government of Ukraine and installed a racist-fascist or nazi anti-Russian regime there in 2014 . All of these U.S. invasions (and coup) brought to Europe millions of refugees and enormously increased burdens upon European taxpayers. Plus, America's economic sanctions against both Russia and Iran have hurt European companies (and the U.S. does almost no business with either country, so is immune to that, also). Consequently, today's America is clearly Europe's actual main enemy. The continuation of NATO is actually toxic to the peoples of Europe. Communism and the Soviet Union and its NATO-mirroring Warsaw Pact military alliance, all ended peacefully in 1991, but the U.S. regime has secretly continued the Cold War, now against Russia , and is increasingly focusing its "regime-change" propaganda against Russia's popular democratic leader, Vladimir Putin, even though this U.S. aggression against Russia could mean a world-annihilating nuclear war.

On November 11th, RT bannered "'Good for multipolar world': Putin positive on Macron's 'European army' plan bashed by Trump (VIDEO)" , and opened:

Europe's desire to create its own army and stop relying on Washington for defense is not only understandable, but would be "positive" for the multipolar world, Vladimir Putin said days after Donald Trump ripped into it.

" Europe is a powerful economic union and it is only natural that they want to be independent and sovereign in the field of defense and security," Putin told RT in Paris where world leader gathered to mark the centenary of the end of WWI.

He also described the potential creation of a European army "a positive process," adding that it would "strengthen the multipolar world." The Russian leader even expressed his support to French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently championed this idea by saying that Russia's stance on the issue "is aligned with that of France" to some extent.

Macron recently revived the ambitious plans of creating a combined EU military force by saying that it is essential for the security of Europe. He also said that the EU must become independent from its key ally on the other side of the Atlantic, provoking an angry reaction from Washington.

Once NATO has shrunk to include only the pro-aggression and outright nazi European nations, such as Ukraine (after the U.S. gang accepts Ukraine into NATO, as it almost certainly then would do), the EU will have a degree of freedom and of democracy that it can only dream of today, and there will then be a multi-polar world, in which the leaders of the U.S. will no longer enjoy the type of immunity from investigation and possible prosecution, for their invasions, that they do today. The result of this will, however, be catastrophic for the top 100 U.S. 'defense' contractors , such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Raytheon, because then all of those firms' foreign sales except to the Sauds, Israel and a few other feudal and fascist regimes, will greatly decline. Donald Trump is doing everything he can to keep the Sauds to the agreements he reached with them back in 2017 to buy $404 billion of U.S. weaponry over the following 10 years . If, in addition, those firms lose some of their European sales, then the U.S. economic boom thus far in Trump's Presidency will be seriously endangered. So, the U.S. regime, which is run by the owners of its 'defense'-contractors , will do all it can to prevent this from happening.

* * *

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .

[Nov 10, 2018] US Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan Killed 500,000 by Jason Ditz

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Over 60,000 US troops either killed or wounded in conflicts ..."
"... The study estimates between 480,000 and 507,000 people were killed in the course of the three conflicts. ..."
"... Civilians make up over half of the roughly 500,000 killed, with both opposition fighters and US-backed foreign military forces each sustaining in excess of 100,000 deaths as well. ..."
"... This is admittedly a dramatic under-report of people killed in the wars, as it only attempts to calculate those killed directly in war violence, and not the massive number of others civilians who died from infrastructure damage or other indirect results of the wars. The list also excludes the US war in Syria, which itself stakes claims to another 500,000 killed since 2011. ..."
Nov 10, 2018 | news.antiwar.com

Over 60,000 US troops either killed or wounded in conflicts

Brown University has released a new study on the cost in lives of America's Post-9/11 Wars, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The study estimates between 480,000 and 507,000 people were killed in the course of the three conflicts.

This includes combatant deaths and civilian deaths in fighting and war violence. Civilians make up over half of the roughly 500,000 killed, with both opposition fighters and US-backed foreign military forces each sustaining in excess of 100,000 deaths as well.

This is admittedly a dramatic under-report of people killed in the wars, as it only attempts to calculate those killed directly in war violence, and not the massive number of others civilians who died from infrastructure damage or other indirect results of the wars. The list also excludes the US war in Syria, which itself stakes claims to another 500,000 killed since 2011.

The report also notes that over 60,000 US troops were either killed or wounded in the course of the wars. This includes 6,951 US military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11.

The Brown study also faults the US for having done very little in the last 17 years to provide transparency to the country about the scope of the conflicts, concluding that they are "inhibited by governments determined to paint a rosy picture of perfect execution and progress."

Those wishing to read the full Brown University study can find a PDF version here .

[Nov 06, 2018] US-British Threats Against Russia Have a Long History by T.J. Coles – Matthew Alford

Notable quotes:
"... Union Jackboot: What Your Media and Professors Don't Tell You About British Foreign Policy ..."
"... There seems to be a consensus that we need a strong military because Russia is on the rise. What do you think about that rationale? ..."
"... What about military threats? ..."
"... So we've extended NATO to pretty much the Russian border? But there's a hard border there. Everyone knows we're never going to attack Russia, both for reasons of morality and self-preservation. So maybe this situation is safer than you imply. ..."
"... Brexit White Paper ..."
"... T. J. Coles is a postdoctoral researcher at Plymouth University's Cognition Institute and the author of several books. ..."
"... Matthew Alford teaches at Bath University in the UK and has also written several books. Their latest is ..."
"... The Rise and Fall of the British Empire ..."
"... Bolshevism and Imperial Sedition ..."
"... Power without Responsibility ..."
"... Russian Roulette: A Deadly Game: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot ..."
"... Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community ..."
"... Vision for 2020 ..."
"... Russian Nuclear Weapons: Past, Present, and Future ..."
"... The New Atlanticist ..."
"... The United Kingdom's relations with Russia ..."
Nov 06, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

In their new book Union Jackboot: What Your Media and Professors Don't Tell You About British Foreign Policy (Até Books), doctors T.J. Coles and Matthew Alford debate the rationale of Anglo-American policy towards Russia.

Alford: There seems to be a consensus that we need a strong military because Russia is on the rise. What do you think about that rationale?

Coles: There's no consensus, except among European and American elites. Europe and America are not the world.

There are a lot of issues to consider with regards to Russia. Is it a threat? If so to whom? What kind of threat is Russia? So let's consider these questions carefully. As far as the British establishment is concerned, Russia is an ideological threat because it is a major power with a substantial population. It's also self-reliant where oil and gas is concerned, unlike Britain. So there's lots of potential for Russian political ideology to undermine Britain's status. In fact, there are European Council on Foreign Relations papers saying that Putin's Russia presents an "ideological alternative" to the EU. [i] And that's dangerous.

Britain, or more accurately its policymaking elites, have considered Russia a significant enemy for over a century. Under the Tsar, the so-called Great Game was a battle for strategic resources, trading routes, and so on. The historian Lawrence James calls this period the first Cold War, which went "hot" with the Crimean War (1853-56). [ii] Britain had a mixed relationship with the Tsars because, on the one hand, theirs' were repressive regimes and Britain tended to favour repressive regimes, hence their brief alliance with Russia's enemy, the Ottomans. On the other hand, Russia was a strategic threat to Britain's imperial interests, and thus the Crimean War (1853-56).

When the Bolsheviks took over Russia, beginning 1917, the relationship became much less ambiguous – Russians, and especially Bolsheviks, were clearly the enemy. Their ideology posed a threat internally. So Winston Churchill, who began as a Liberal and became a Conservative, considered the Labour Party, which was formed in 1900, as basically a front for Bolsheviks. [iii] That shows the level of paranoia among elites. The Labour Party, at least at the beginning, was a genuine, working man's political organisation – women couldn't vote then, remember. So by associating this progressive, grassroots party representing the working classes as an ideological ally or even puppet of the brutal Bolshevik regime, the Tories had an excuse to undermine the power of organised, working people. So you had the Zinoviev letter in 1924, which we now know was a literal conspiracy between the secret services and elements of the Tory party to fabricate a link between Labour and Moscow. And it famously cost Labour the general election, since the right-wing, privately-owned media ran with the story as though it was real. It's an early example of fake news. [iv]

That's the ideological threat that Russia has posed, historically. But where there's a threat, there's an opportunity. The British elites exploited the "threat" then and as they do today by associating organised labour with evil Bolshevism and, in doing so, alienate the lower classes from their own political interests. Suddenly, we've all got to be scared of Russia, just like in 1917. And let's not forget that Britain used chemical weapons – M-Devices, which induced vomiting – against the Bolsheviks. Chemical weapons were "the right medicine for the Bolshevist," in Churchill's words. This was in 1919, as part of the Allied invasion of Russia in support of the White Army. [v]

So if we're talking about the historical balance of forces and cause and effect, Britain not Russia initiated the use of chemical weapons against others. But this history is typically inverted to say that Russia poses a threat to the West, hence all the talk about Novichok, the Skripals, and Dawn Sturgess, the civilian who supposedly came into contact with Novichok and died in hospital a few days later.

The next question: What sort of threat is Russia? According to the US Army War College, since the collapse of the Soviet Union and since pro-US, pro-"free market" President Boris Yeltsin resigned in 1999, Russia has pursued so-called economic nationalism. And the US doesn't like this because markets suddenly get closed and taxes are raised against US corporations. [vi] That's the real threat. But you can't tell the public that: that we hate Russia because they aren't doing what we say. If you look through the military documents, you can find almost nothing about security threats against the US in terms of Russian expansion, except in the sense that "security" means operational freedom. You can find references to Russia's nuclear weapons, though, which are described as defensive, designed "to counter US forces and weapons systems." [vii] Try finding that on the BBC. I should mention that even "defensive" nukes can be launched accidentally.

The real goal with regards to Russia is maintaining US economic hegemony and the culture of open "free markets" that goes with it, while at the same time being protectionist in real life. (US protectionism didn't start under Trump, by the way.) Liberal media like the New York Times run sarcastic articles about Russian state oil and gas being a front for Putin and his cronies. And yes, that may be true. But what threat is Russia to the US if it has a corrupt government? The threat is closing its markets to the US. The US is committed to what its military calls Full Spectrum Dominance. So the world needs to be run in a US-led neoliberal order, in the words of the US military, "to protect US interests and investment." [viii] But this cannot be done if you have "economic nationalism," like China had until the "reforms" of the '70s and '80s, and still has today to some extent. Russia and China aren't military threats. The global population on the whole knows this, even though the domestic US and British media say the opposite.

Alford: What about military threats?

Coles: The best sources you can get are the US military records. Straight from the horse's mouth. The military plans for war and defence. They have contingencies for when political situations change. So they know what they're talking about. There's a massive divide between reality, as understood from the military records, and media and political rhetoric. Assessments by the US Army War College, for instance, said years ago that any moves by NATO to support a Western-backed government in Ukraine would provoke Russia into annexing Crimea. They don't talk about Russia spontaneously invading Ukraine and annexing it, which is the image we get from the media. The documents talk about Russia reacting to NATO provocation. [ix]

If you look at a map, you see Russia surrounded by hostile NATO forces. The media don't discuss this dangerous and provocative situation, except the occasional mention of, say, US-British-Polish war-gaming on the border with Russia. When they do mention it, they say it's for "containment," the containment of Russia. But to contain something, the given thing has to be expanding. But the US military – like the annual threat assessments to Congress – say that Russia's not expanding, except when provoked. So at the moment as part of its NATO mission, the UK is training Polish and Ukrainian armed forces, has deployed troops in Poland and Estonia, and is conducting military exercises with them. [x]

Imagine if Scotland ceded from the UK and the Russians were on our border conducting military exercises, supposedly to deter a British invasion of Scotland. That's what we're doing in Ukraine. Britain's moves are extremely dangerous. In the 1980s, the UK as part of NATO conducted the exercise, Operation Able Archer, which envisaged troop build-ups between NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries. Now-declassified records show that the Russians briefly mistook this exercise for a real-world scenario. That could have escalated into nuclear war. This is very serious. [xi]

But the biggest player is the USA. It's using the threat of force and a global architecture of hi-tech militarism to shape a neoliberal order. Britain is slavishly following its lead. I doubt that Britain would position forces near Russia were it not for the USA. Successive US administrations have or are building a missile system in Europe and Turkey. They say it's to deter Iran from firing Scud missiles at Europe. But it's pointed at Russia. It's a radar system based in Romania and Turkey, with a battery of Patriot missiles based in Poland. The stationing of missiles there provoked Russia into moving its mobile nuclear weapons up to the border in its Kaliningrad exclave, as it warned it would do in 2008. [xii] Try to find any coverage of that in the media, except for a few articles in the print media here or there. If Western media were interested in survival, there would be regular headlines: "NATO provoking Russia."

But the situation in Ukraine is really the tipping point. Consider the equivalent. Imagine if Russia was conducting military exercises with Canada or Mexico, and building bases there. How would the US react? It would be considered an extreme threat, a violation of the UN Charter, which prohibits threats against sovereign states.

Alford: So we've extended NATO to pretty much the Russian border? But there's a hard border there. Everyone knows we're never going to attack Russia, both for reasons of morality and self-preservation. So maybe this situation is safer than you imply.

Coles: There's no morality involved. States are abstract, amorphous entities comprised of dominant minorities and subjugated majorities who are conditioned to believe that they are relatively free and prosperous. The elites of those states act both in their self-interests – career, peer-pressure, kickbacks, and so on – and in the interests of their class, which is of course tied to international relations because their class thrives on profiting from resource exploitation. So you can't talk about morality in this context. Only individuals can behave morally. The state is made up of individuals, of course, but they're acting against the interests of the majority. As we speak, they are acting immorally – or at least amorally – but creating the geopolitical conditions that imperil each and every one of us.

As for invasion, we're not going to invade Russia. This isn't 1918. Russia has nuclear weapons and can deter an invasion. But that's not the point. Do we want to de-escalate an already tense geopolitical situation or make it worse to the point where an accident happens? So while it's not about invading Russia directly, the issue is about attacking what are called Russia's "national interests." Russia's "national interests" are the same as the elites' of the UK. National interest doesn't mean the interests of the public. It means the interests of the policymaking establishment and the corporations. For example, the Theresa May government sacrificed its own credibility to ensure that its Brexit White Paper (2018) appeased both the interests of the food and manufacturing industries that want a soft Brexit – easy trade with the EU – and the financial services sector which wants a hard Brexit – freedom from EU regulation. Everyone else be damned. That's the "national interest."

So for its real "national interest," Russia wants to keep Ukraine in its sphere of influence because its oil and gas to Europe pass through Ukraine. About 80% of Russia's export economy is in the oil and gas sector. It's already had serious political tensions with Ukraine, which on several occasions hasn't paid its energy bills, so Russia has cut supplies. If Europe can bump Ukraine into its own sphere of influence it has more leverage over Russia. This is practically admitted in Parliamentary discussions by Foreign Office ministers, and so forth. [xiii] Again, omitted by the media. Also, remember that plenty of ethnic Russians live in eastern Ukraine. In addition, Russia has a naval base in Crimea. That's not to excuse its illegal action in annexing Ukraine, it's to highlight the realpolitik missing in the media's coverage of the situation.

T. J. Coles is a postdoctoral researcher at Plymouth University's Cognition Institute and the author of several books.

Matthew Alford teaches at Bath University in the UK and has also written several books. Their latest is Union Jackboot (Até Books).

SOURCES

[i] Mark Leonard and Nicu Popescu (2007) 'A Power Audit of EU-Russia Relations' European Council on Foreign Relations, Policy Paper, p. 1 http://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR-02_A_POWER_AUDIT_OF_EU-RUSSIA_RELATIONS.pdf .

[ii] 'Anglo-Russian relations were severely strained; what was in effect a cold war lasted from the late 1820s to the beginning of the next century'. The Crimean War seems to have set a precedent for today. James writes:

[It] was an imperial war, the only one fought by Britain against a European power during the nineteenth century, although some would have regarded Russia as essentially an Asiatic power. No territory was at stake; the war was undertaken solely to guarantee British naval supremacy in the Mediterranean and, indirectly, to forestall any threat to India which might have followed Russia replacing Britain as the dominant power in the Middle East.

Lawrence James (1997) The Rise and Fall of the British Empire London: Abacus, pp. 180-82.

[iii] Churchill said in 1920:

All these strikes and rumours of strikes and threats of strikes and loss and suffering caused by them; all this talk of revolution and "direct action" have deeply offended most of the British people. There is a growing feeling that a considerable section of organized Labour is trying to tyrannize over the whole public and to bully them into submission, not by argument, not by recognized political measures, but by brute force

But if we can do little for Russia [under the Bolsheviks], we can do much for Britain. We do not want any of these experiments here

Whether it is the Irish murder gang or the Egyptian vengeance society, or the seditious extremists in India, or the arch-traitors we have at home, they will feel the weight of the British arm.

Winston Churchill (1920) Bolshevism and Imperial Sedition . Speech to United Wards Club. London: The International Churchill Society https://winstonchurchill.org/resources/speeches/1915-1929-nadir-and-recovery/bolshevism-and-imperial-sedition/ .

[iv] The fake letter says:

A settlement of relations between the two countries [UK and Russia] will assist in the revolutionising of the international and British proletariat, [and] make it possible for us to extend and develop the propaganda and ideas of Leninism in England and the colonies.

It also says that 'British workmen' have 'inclinations to compromise' and that rapprochement will eventually lead to domestic '[a]rmed warfare'. It was leaked by the services to the Conservative party and then to the media. Richard Norton-Taylor (1999) 'Zinoviev letter was dirty trick by MI6' Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/politics/1999/feb/04/uk.politicalnews6 and Louise Jury (1999) 'Official Zinoviev letter was forged' Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/news/official-zinoviev-letter-was-forged-1068600.html . For media coverage at the time, see James Curran and Jean Seaton (1997) Power without Responsibility London: Routledge, p. 52.

[v] Paul F. Walker (2017) 'A Century of Chemical Warfare: Building a World Free of Chemical Weapons' Conference: One Hundred Years of Chemical Warfare: Research, Deployment, Consequences pp. 379-400 and Giles Milton (2013) Russian Roulette: A Deadly Game: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot London: Hodder, eBook.

[vi] 'The Russian Federation has shown repeatedly that common values play almost no role in its consideration of its trading partners', meaning the US and EU. 'It often builds relationships with countries that most openly thwart Western values of free markets and democracy', notably Iran and Venezuela. 'In this regard, the Russian Federation behaves like "Russia Incorporated." It uses its re-nationalized industries to further its wealth and influence, the latter often at the expense of the EU and the U.S.'. Colonel Richard J. Anderson (2008) 'A History of President Putin's Campaign to Re-Nationalize Industry and the Implications for Russian Reform and Foreign Policy' Senior Service College, US Army War College, Pennsylvania: Carlisle Barracks, p. 52.

[vii] Daniel R. Coats (2017) Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Washington, DC: Office of the Director of

National Intelligence, pp. 18-19 https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Newsroom/Testimonies/SSCI%20Unclassified%20SFR%20-%20Final.pdf .

[viii] US Space Command (1997) Vision for 2020 Colorado: Peterson Air Force Base https://ia802705.us.archive.org/10/items/pdfy-j6U3MFw1cGmC-yob/U.S.%20Space%20Command%20Vision%20For%202020.pdf .

[ix] The document also says: 'a replay of the West-sponsored coup against pro-Russian elites could result in a split, or indeed multiple splits, of the failed Ukraine, which would open a door for NATO intervention'.Pavel K. Baev (2011) 'Russia's security relations with the United States: Futures planned and unplanned' in Stephen J. Blank (ed.) Russian Nuclear Weapons: Past, Present, and Future Strategic Studies Institute Pennsylvania: Carlisle Barracks, p. 170, www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB1087.pdf.

[x] Forces Network (2016) 'British troops to deploy to Poland' https://www.forces.net/news/tri-service/british-troops-deploy-poland .

[xi] For example, Nate Jones, Thomas Blanton and Christian F. Ostermann (2016) 'Able Archer 83: The Secret History' Nuclear Proliferation International History Project Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/able-archer-83-the-secret-history .

[xii] It was reported in the ultra-right, neo-con press at the time that:

[Russian] President Dmitri Medvedev announced in his first state-of-the-nation address plans to deploy the short-range SS-26 ("Iskander") missiles in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad if the U.S. goes ahead with its European Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Medvedev told parliament that the deployment would "neutralize" U.S. plans for a missile defense shield based in Poland and the Czech Republic [now in Romania), which the U.S. claims as vital in defending against missile attacks from 'rogue states' such as Iran.

Neil Leslie (2008) 'The Kaliningrad Missile Crisis' The New Atlanticist , available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/the-kaliningrad-missile-crisis.

[xiii] For example, a Parliamentary inquiry into British-Russian relations says of the newly-imposed US-British ally in Ukraine:

President Poroshenko's Government is more openly committed to economic reform and anti-corruption than any previous Ukrainian Administration. The reform agenda has made considerable progress and has enjoyed some successes including police reform, liberalisation of the energy market and the launch of an online platform for government procurement

The annexation of Crimea also resulted in a ban on importing products from Crimea, on investing in or providing services linked to tourism and on exporting certain goods for use in the transport, telecoms and energy sectors.

House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (2017) The United Kingdom's relations with Russia Seventh report of session 2016-17, HC 120 London: Stationary Office, pp. 28, 31 https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmfaff/120/120.pdf

[Nov 01, 2018] Ukraine s depopulation crisis by Jason Melanovski

This is the net result of neoliberalism enforced debt slavery for the country. And there is no chances for Ukrainians to climb back from this debt hole.
Notable quotes:
"... Ukraine's SSS has acknowledged that so far this year, the population has already decreased by 122,000. ..."
"... While the country's low birth rate of approximately 1 birth for 1.5 deaths is a contributing factor to the country's depopulation, emigration is by far the biggest factor. ..."
"... Between 2002 and 2017, an estimated 6.3 million Ukrainians emigrated with no plans to return. ..."
"... Through 2015 and 2017, as a result of the ongoing war in the Donbass region and the plunging value of the Ukrainian hryvnia, migration increased notably: 507,000 people went to Poland; 147,000 to Italy; 122,000 to the Czech Republic; 23,000 to the United States; and 365,000 to Russia or Belarus. ..."
"... The easing of visa-free travel by the European Union (EU) in September 2017 only increased the flow of Ukrainians to countries such as Poland, which is facing its own demographic crisis and in need of workers. In 2018 alone, more than 3 million Ukrainians applied for passports that would allow them to work in Poland. Poland is the only EU country that allows Ukrainians to obtain seasonal work visas with just a passport. Ukrainians have received 81.7% of all work visas issued in Poland this year. ..."
"... Between 1 and 2 million Ukrainian workers now reside in Poland, where they are often forced to take jobs "under the table," are easily exploited by employers, and work in dangerous conditions. Many Ukrainian laborers are recruited to Poland by scam offers of employment, only to then find themselves stranded and forced to work for whatever wage they can get. ..."
"... While Russia is constantly demonized in the Ukrainian and Western press as the eternal enemy of Ukraine, 2 million Ukrainian citizens now live or work in Russia. According to Olga Kirilova, between 2014 and 2017, 312,000 Ukrainians were granted Russian citizenship and Ukrainians make up the vast majority of immigrants to Russia. ..."
"... The migration of Ukrainian workers abroad has reached such a level that remittances from migrants now constitute 3 to 4 percent of the country's GDP. They exceed the amount of foreign investment in Ukraine. Nonetheless, such transfers are not nearly enough to make up for the negative impact of the currency's falling value, inflation, and the disappearance of skilled workers. ..."
"... The Ukrainian ruling class acknowledges that the country is in serious trouble. "One of the main risks of the current scenario is the continuation of the outflow of labor from Ukraine, which will create a further increase in the imbalance between demand and supply in the labor market," noted a report from the country's national bank. ..."
"... The Corrupt, extreme right wing government of Poroshenko, that has driven large proportions of the Ukrainian population into poverty and despair has only been able to take power and remain I office thanks to US imperialism and Angela Merkel's scheming and regime change program. ..."
"... Popular support for the "maidan" in the Ukraine was based on misleading and dishonest claims by pro EU and Pro US opportunistic political operators that such "regime change" would lead to total integration with Europe and open borders.... ..."
"... One of the most horrific consequences of the dismantling of the Soviet Union was the explosion of sex trafficking and very large numbers of Ukrainian women were caught up in this horrific exploitation and continue to be. ..."
"... Oh the benefits of US installed dictatorships. ..."
"... "Welcome to Europe, Ukraine. Here are your rubber gloves and toilet cleaning brush. Oh, you're a young woman? The red light district is three blocks that way". ..."
"... In Baltic states after being "freed from communism and Soviet occupation" the population decline is also very prominent, the same reasons as in Ukraine too. ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | www.wsws.org

As fascist far-right nationalist groups regularly parade through the country demanding "Ukraine for Ukrainians," Ukraine faces a massive depopulation crisis. Millions of people of all ethnicities are leaving the country, fleeing poverty and war.

Since the restoration of capitalism in 1991, the overall population of Ukraine has declined from just over 52 million to approximately 42 million today, a decrease of nearly 20 percent. If the separatist-controlled provinces of the Donbass region and Crimea are excluded, it is estimated that just 35 million people now live in the area controlled by the government of Petro Porosehnko.

Ukrainian governments, including the current one, have been loath to carry out an official census, as it is widely believed that the population estimates reported by the country's State Statistics Service (SSS) are inflated by including deceased individuals. One aim of this is to rig elections. An official country-wide census has not been held since 2001. In late 2015, the Poroshenko government postponed the 2016 census until 2020.

Despite the lack of reliable official numbers, all independent reports point to a sharp reduction in the population. According to Ukraine's Institute of Demography at the Academy of Sciences, by 2050 only 32 million people will live in the country. The World Health Organization has estimated that the population of the country will drop even further, to just 30 million people.

Ukraine's SSS has acknowledged that so far this year, the population has already decreased by 122,000.

Such data are a testament to the monumental failure of capitalism to provide a standard of living that matches, much less exceeds, that which existed during the Soviet period over 25 years ago.

While the country's low birth rate of approximately 1 birth for 1.5 deaths is a contributing factor to the country's depopulation, emigration is by far the biggest factor.

Between 2002 and 2017, an estimated 6.3 million Ukrainians emigrated with no plans to return.

Facing poor employment prospects, deteriorating social and medical services, marauding far-right gangs, and the ever-present prospect of a full-scale war with Russia, Ukrainian workers are fleeing the country in great numbers, either permanently or as temporary labor migrants.

According to a report from the Center for Economic Strategy (CES), almost 4 million people, or up to 16% of the working-age population, are labor migrants. Despite having Ukrainian citizenship and still technically living in Ukraine, they actually reside and work elsewhere. Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has put the number of Ukrainian migrant workers even higher, at 5 million.

Through 2015 and 2017, as a result of the ongoing war in the Donbass region and the plunging value of the Ukrainian hryvnia, migration increased notably: 507,000 people went to Poland; 147,000 to Italy; 122,000 to the Czech Republic; 23,000 to the United States; and 365,000 to Russia or Belarus.

The easing of visa-free travel by the European Union (EU) in September 2017 only increased the flow of Ukrainians to countries such as Poland, which is facing its own demographic crisis and in need of workers. In 2018 alone, more than 3 million Ukrainians applied for passports that would allow them to work in Poland. Poland is the only EU country that allows Ukrainians to obtain seasonal work visas with just a passport. Ukrainians have received 81.7% of all work visas issued in Poland this year.

Between 1 and 2 million Ukrainian workers now reside in Poland, where they are often forced to take jobs "under the table," are easily exploited by employers, and work in dangerous conditions. Many Ukrainian laborers are recruited to Poland by scam offers of employment, only to then find themselves stranded and forced to work for whatever wage they can get.

While migrant workers in Poland are constantly subjected to anti-immigrant rhetoric from the right-wing PiS government in Warsaw, the Polish state classifies Ukrainian laborers as "refugees" in order to comply with EU quotas and reject refugees from Syria and elsewhere.

According to polls of Ukrainian migrants in Poland, over half are planning to move to Germany if the labor market there is ever open to them.

While Russia is constantly demonized in the Ukrainian and Western press as the eternal enemy of Ukraine, 2 million Ukrainian citizens now live or work in Russia. According to Olga Kirilova, between 2014 and 2017, 312,000 Ukrainians were granted Russian citizenship and Ukrainians make up the vast majority of immigrants to Russia.

The dearth of a working-age population in Ukraine is putting further strain on an already struggling pension system. According to Ukraine's SSS, as a result of widespread labor migration, only 17.8 million out of 42 million Ukrainians are economically active and paying into the pension system.

The migration of Ukrainian workers abroad has reached such a level that remittances from migrants now constitute 3 to 4 percent of the country's GDP. They exceed the amount of foreign investment in Ukraine. Nonetheless, such transfers are not nearly enough to make up for the negative impact of the currency's falling value, inflation, and the disappearance of skilled workers.

The Ukrainian ruling class acknowledges that the country is in serious trouble. "One of the main risks of the current scenario is the continuation of the outflow of labor from Ukraine, which will create a further increase in the imbalance between demand and supply in the labor market," noted a report from the country's national bank.

However, the government can do nothing to slow the mass emigration, as it is thoroughly under the control of international finance capital and committed to implementing the austerity programs demanded by Western states and banks.

Despite assurances from the Poroshenko regime that the economy will improve, the emigration and emptying of the country shows no signs of slowing.


John Upton • 5 hours ago

The Corrupt, extreme right wing government of Poroshenko, that has driven large proportions of the Ukrainian population into poverty and despair has only been able to take power and remain I office thanks to US imperialism and Angela Merkel's scheming and regime change program.

Without the working class intervening the only ones remaining in Ukraine will be those unable to leave and those that have their noses in the trough.

Kalen7 hours ago
Another excellent report of decaying of artificial entity of Ukraine (and capitalism specializes in collapsing societies) that never even existed before 1992 in European history and was resurrected ( from brief self declared by Bandera racist state status in 1941) and funded by Germany, Canada and US only to nurture their Fascist and actual Nazi traditions starting from Doncov to Bandera terror of hundreds of thousands dead 1941-1948 of OUN-B, UPA and Ukrainian SS, all against Russia, as Ukrainian "Country" was and is used as a Trojan horse to push Putin to submit to the west even more than he does now.

Pain and suffering of Ukrainian people is enormous as only 5% of population of Ukrainian Nazi thugs terrorist nation like like Hitler street thugs in 1932-1934. It is tragedy that capitalism instigated, exasperated and augmented and should be a lesson for the left what nationalism does, divides working class that was rendered powerless in Ukraine as Ukrainian industry tied to Russia collapsed and forces massive migration and de-cohesion of communities, divisions of working class and eradication of any real leftist leadership via murder, intimidation and exile.

Just a note. All that anti Russia hoopla after 2014 and ensuing NATO belligerence and warmongering and sanctions all were focused on so called annexation of Crimea to Russia which was nothing but reunification of land under control of Russia since 1754.

I was shocked watching an episode of Columbo, crime series in 1970s when one of characters proudly referred to California joining in US 1845 as annexation from Mexico, with no shame or condemnation like hinting that it was international aggression of US as Alta California was never part of US before that.

Well, it was before 1984 and Orwellian newspeak.

Note that Crimea remained autonomous region, not a part of Russia but part of Russian Federation.

solerso8 hours ago
Popular support for the "maidan" in the Ukraine was based on misleading and dishonest claims by pro EU and Pro US opportunistic political operators that such "regime change" would lead to total integration with Europe and open borders.... That would have allowed (so the misconception went) Ukrainians to flee the country much more openly with less red tape and hassle at the borders. So, far from being politically or ideologically supportive of Europe or the US or opportunist/nationalist Ukrainian politicians, the vast majority of Ukrainians only wanted to be allowed to flee, as they experience it, a social shipwreck
Charles8 hours ago
One of the most horrific consequences of the dismantling of the Soviet Union was the explosion of sex trafficking and very large numbers of Ukrainian women were caught up in this horrific exploitation and continue to be.
John Upton • 9 hours ago
Victoria Newland and Geoffrey Pyatt, both US officials, were recorded at the time of the right wing and fascist led coup that overthrew Russian backed Yanakovic, boasting that Washington had poured $5 billion into Ukraine ensuring that their man, an ex World Bank executive, was elected.

Since then the most rabid anti working class/ anti Russian governments have ruled the roost. Only those unable to flee this hell- hole and those whose snout is in the trough will soon be left there. Oh the benefits of US installed dictatorships.

Warren Duzak13 hours ago
In addition to emigration, Ukraine's decreasing population is a result of a higher infant mortality rate than surrounding countries. High infant mortality rates always indicate economic and social stress.
According to The World Bank 2017 figures for infant mortality in that region, the rate per 1,000 births in Ukraine is 7.5 compared to the following rates in surrounding countries:
Poland - 4.0
Romania - 6.6
Russia - 6.5
Belarus - 2.8
Hungary -3.8
Slovak Republic - 4.6
Only poor Moldova is higher at 13.3
Terry Lawrence15 hours ago
Kinda shot themselves in the foot with their "Revolution of Dignity" fascist coup. "Welcome to Europe, Ukraine. Here are your rubber gloves and toilet cleaning brush. Oh, you're a young woman? The red light district is three blocks that way".

Life in Crimea must be looking pretty good to them now.

Richard Mod • 16 hours ago
including the deceased in the population statistics brings to mind Gogol's "Dead Souls"!
erika16 hours ago
This is an important update on developments in the Ukraine.
Raycomeau17 hours ago
The puppet of the USA, Poroshenko , needs to go, and the USA should get the hell out of the Ukraine plus NATO has no business being on the borders of Russia. This is all the fault of the USA, And, the current immigration problem world wide is because the USA bombs countries eviscerating them yet the USA refuses to admit refugees which are fleeing from the USA wars.
Terry Lawrence Raycomeau5 hours ago
NATO has no business even existing, Ray.
manchegauche18 hours ago
Very illuminating article - great topic to choose. NIce one
лидия19 hours ago
In Baltic states after being "freed from communism and Soviet occupation" the population decline is also very prominent, the same reasons as in Ukraine too.
Human6 лидия5 hours ago
These same right-wing, fascist Ukrainian Banderovitzes love to yell and scream about the bogus "Holodomor" hoax (which has been debunked by serious scholars such as Pers Anders Rudling, and others, as well as Thottle). They falsely claim that the USSR tried to "depopulate" Ukrainians, when they are the ones who have depopulated Ukraine.

They are such shameless, low down, dirty liars.

[Nov 01, 2018] Trade between Russia and Ukraine hit a low of $10.26 Billion in 2016, but struggled back up to $12.9 Billion last year. Pre Maidan it was more than $50 Billion annually.

Nov 01, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman November 1, 2018 at 11:48 am

Speaking of Ukraine, the Russian sanctions against Ukraine have been announced. Predictably, Poroshenko considers them to be 'an award', or so he says. I don't know why he feels qualified to speak for those so honoured, since he was not on the list.

https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1N6564

Trade between Russia and Ukraine hit a low of $10.26 Billion in 2016, but struggled back up to $12.9 Billion last year. Mind you, pre-glorious-Maidan it was more than $50 Billion annually. Never mind; I'm sure Yurrup will pick up the slack, just like it did after the glorious Maidan. Amazingly, the New York Times is still referring to Poroshenko as a 'chocolate tycoon', in the same sentence in which it calls Viktor Pinchuk an oligarch.

[Oct 25, 2018] Entrepreneurs of political violence: the varied interests and strategies of the far-right in Ukraine

Oct 25, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

UKRAINE. " Entrepreneurs of political violence: the varied interests and strategies of the far-right in Ukraine" In Open Democracy no less.

Bit by bit the word is seeping out. IMF rates Ukraine the poorest country in Europe .

This piece gives a summary of its problems with Hungary, Poland and Belarus .

[Oct 24, 2018] It does seem that the murder allowed the war and killing in Yemen to move to the foreground

Oct 24, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Nemesiscalling , Oct 23, 2018 2:37:45 PM | link

B, it does seem that the k affair has risen the crisis in Yemen to the foreground just as many predicted. Thank goodness.

You are correct in that many are looking too far into this as some kind of conspiracy. I am reminded by this of many who put forth that it made no difference as to who won the prez election. It did make a difference to the military as well as Hillary's backers in the cIa and fbI.

The Saudis screwed up and they will get their comeuppance it seems. Russia might be able to wiggle their way into the middle then, filling the vacuum of uncle Sam at the circle jerk. The Saudis will have to curtail their operation in Yemen and no quarter will be given to wahhabi-terrorists by ksa who wish retribution against Russia. Win-win.

m , Oct 23, 2018 3:11:58 PM | link

Interesting take by Ghassan Kadi on the Saker's blog, for those who still sense a conspiracy in this. https://thesaker.is/insights-into-the-khashoggi-ordeal-who-and-why/ Goes back to this 'fiance', but adds Gullen to the mix and makes Erdy out to be an instigator. Good to have a viewpoint from someone who has lived in Sawdi land.

[Oct 23, 2018] Bezos blog (Washington Post) does not love Saudi Arabia. Who knew?

It looks like CIA turned on MBS and want to replace him.
Oct 23, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"The Saudis say they are countering Iran, which backs the Houthis. But the Houthis are an indigenous group with legitimate grievances, and the war has only enhanced Iranian influence . As has been obvious for some time, the only solution is a negotiated settlement. But the Saudis have done their best to sabotage a U.N.-led peace process. Talks planned for Geneva in September failed when Saudi leaders would not grant safe travel guarantees to Houthi leaders." Bezos' editorial board at WaPo

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

Beneath the largely specious argument that Saudi Arabia has the US by the cojones economically lies the true factor that has caused the two countries to be glued together.

This factor is the Israeli success in convincing the US government, and more importantly, the American people, that Iran is a deadly enemy, a menace to the entire world, a reincarnation of Nazi Germany, and that Saudi Arabia, a country dedicated to medieval methods of operation, is an indispensable ally in a struggle to save the world from Iran. The successful effort to convince us of the reality of the Iranian menace reflects the previous successful campaign to convince us all that Iraq was also Nazi Germany come again.

The Iran information operation was probably conceived at the Moshe Dayan Center or some other Israeli think tank. and then passed on in the form of learned papers and conferences to the Foreign Ministry, the Mossad and the IDF. After adoption as government policy the Foreign ministry and Zionist organizations closely linked to media ownership in the US and Europe were tasked for dissemination of the propaganda themes involved. This has been a brilliantly executed plan. The obvious fact that Iran is not presently a threat to the US has had little effect in countering this propaganda achievement.

Last Saturday morning, the Philadelphia based commentator Michael Smerconish openly asked on his popular talk show why it is that US policy favors the Sunni Muslims over the Shia. i.e., Saudi Arabia over Iran. To hear that was for me a first. This was an obvious defiance of the received wisdom of the age. I can only hope that the man does not lose his show.

It is a great irony that the barbaric murder of a personally rather unpleasant but defiant exiled journalist has caused re-examination of the basis and wisdom of giving strategic protection to a family run dictatorship. pl

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/this-is-the-first-step-to-recalibrating-us-saudi-relations/2018/10/22/fb9eb598-d61f-11e8-a10f-b51546b10756_story.html?utm_term=.f3a1169429e7

Posted at 09:32 AM in Current Affairs , Media , Middle East , Saudi Arabia | Permalink | 3 Comment


TTG , 3 hours ago

Erdogan called the Khashoggi murder brutal and premeditated, but did not reveal any damning audio or video evidence. Elijah Magnier surmises Erdogan extracted a heavy payment from both the Saudis and the Americans in exchange for his relative silence. We shall see if the economic pressure on Turkey dissipates in the coming days and weeks.

It appears the central pillar of the Borg creed, so eloquently and precisely described here by Colonel Lang, will survive this bout of heretical thinking. Will journalists and other members of the press be able to keep challenging the Borg? With Trump so thoroughly assimilated into the Borg, will the "resistance" keep the issue of Saudi perfidy alive? I have my doubts. The Israeli information operations machine is a juggernaut. Few have the stamina and will to resist it. But it is a fight worth fighting.

Onslaw , 5 hours ago
Too little, too late to derail this Zioconned merdias campaign. Soon enough kashoggi will be forgotten and the looney toons will be back in force...
jnewman , 6 hours ago
There are some interesting threads to chew on in this:
https://off-guardian.org/20...

[Oct 20, 2018] According to Global Wealth Report by the personal wealth of the population Ukraine is in the 123rd place (out of 140 countries ranked).

Oct 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

AP says: October 18, 2018 at 9:58 pm GMT 100 Words @Gerard2

This months gas tariff for "Ukrainians" increases by 24%!!

The context is that Ukrainian consumers have the lowest gas rate in Europe. Moldovan households pay more for gas than do Ukrainian ones. Even with a 24% price increase Ukraine will still have the cheapest gas in Europe for its consumers:

https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Natural_gas_price_statistics

AP says: October 19, 2018 at 12:46 am GMT @Gerard2

The price increase will go past 40% in May

Which will make gas prices for Ukrainian consumers more or less tied with those in Moldova as the cheapest in Europe.

For whatever reason IMF wanted Ukrainian consumers not be subsidized as much as they have been.

AnonFromTN , says: October 19, 2018 at 2:51 pm GMT

@Anon According to Global Wealth Report ( https://www.credit-suisse.com/corporate/en/articles/news-and-expertise/global-wealth-report-2018-us-and-china-in-the-lead-201810.html ), by the personal wealth of the population Ukraine is in the 123rd place (out of 140 countries ranked).
By this measure Ukraine is behind Nepal, Cameroon, Kenia, Bangladesh, and Lesotho, just ahead of Zambia. But there are 135 people in Ukraine with personal wealth greater than $50 million.

A huge line for free food at the charity kitchen in Kiev can be seen here: http://rusvesna.su/news/1539952343 (those who read Russian can find details in the accompanying news item).

I guess all of this is a great achievement of Maidan. Ukies, please comment.

[Oct 19, 2018] You'll learn a great many things you didn't know before from Putin and Lavrov interviews. I certainly did!

Oct 19, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ross , Oct 18, 2018 6:08:19 PM | link

@ben | Oct 18, 2018 5:09:50 PM | 40

If you are finding your way out of the dark forest of propaganda there are two speeches by Putin that I point people toward. First, at the Munich Security Conference in 2007. Video here : Transcript here

Second, at the UN General Assembly September 2015, Video here : Transcript here .

I fail to see how any rational person could disagree with the sentiments he expresses. Warning! You may become a Putin-bot!

karlof1 , Oct 18, 2018 8:40:07 PM | link

Lots of interviews: Putin, Medvedev, and Lavrov twice. The only two I haven't linked to are Lavrov's --done!

Putin's Valdai Club transcript isn't 100% complete yet, but the summary I linked to earlier @11 has the video. The Medvedev link's @21.

You'll learn a great many things you didn't know before from these interviews. I certainly did!

[Oct 19, 2018] This is about spreading our liberal values" (translation: the American people don't need to be informed about the region are changes are non-negotiable).

Oct 19, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kadath , Oct 18, 2018 5:49:18 PM | link

just watched the Atlantic council's Championing the Frontlines of Freedom: Erasing the "Grey Zone", only interesting thing to come out of the conference was Kurt Volker's (US Special Representative for Ukraine) comments;

  1. Escalating sanctions vs Russia every 1-2 months there will be new & expanded sanctions on Russia.
  2. Stable borders should not be a requirement to be a part of NATO, "Occupied" states can be taken into NATO and receive support from NATO to liberate themselves (he stressed that the US would not be escalate the conflict, but how the hell could anyone guarantee that).
  3. Opposition to Russia is now bipartisan, regardless of the Nov elections, US Senate & Congress are unified against Russia
  4. when asked how "We" (the Atlantic council) can make political elites care about Baltic states (plus Ukraine/Georgia), WITHOUT knowing the historical and political details of these states he, unsurprisingly answered "this is about spreading our liberal values" (translation: the American people don't need to be informed about the region are changes are non-negotiable). the long and the short of the 3 hour conference was the new cold war vs Russia will continue indefinitely, I would say this is the start of another generation conflict that will last 10-20 years at least

Mark2 , Oct 18, 2018 5:55:03 PM | link

Ok i'l stick my neck out !
It's over for America ! That's my assessment their day is d d d done ! Am basing my view on the worldwide picture politically, the mind set of the general public I talk to, the many sites I visit on the net left and right. Plus overall wisdom and overstanding (a Rasta thing) Empires fall, this one has more than had its day. If it was a buseness what does it produce ? And at what cost? It just robs other peoples hard earned resources and assets! For all it's wealth it treats it's own public like dirt milking them dry. It's intelligent public it curupt's. Nature abbor's greed, and wil correct that imbalance.

I think Putin understands this, and understands as I do 'desperate people do desperate things' hence his speech.
Censoring the truth on a massive network like the internet is truly impossible and plainly desperate !!!

[Oct 12, 2018] Kuwait and Bahrein might reevaluate relations with Syria, the UAE might slowly move out the Yemen war

Oct 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Virgile , Oct 12, 2018 10:40:45 AM | link

Qatar is jubilating! Turkey, too! Saudi Arabia will be criticized and isolated as most GCC countries would dissaprove and prefer to dissociate from such a crime. Dismembering the body of a dead moslem man is a very serious crime in Islam.

Kuwait and Bahrein are already cozyng up with Syria, the UAE is slowly moving out the Yemen war and reviewing ist relation with Syria.

Kashoogi's alleged martyr may save Yemenis lives and may have the Western world faced to the reality that in the region, the evil is not Iran but their best friend, Saudi Arabia and its smiling monster MBS.

Kashoogi may have succeeded unintentionally to destabilize MBS and probably trigger his removal. The USA will have no problem in sacrificing MBS for the sake of keeping the Saudi milking under control. The only problem will be that it will reflect on Kushner-MBS Grand Palestinian plan.

Maybe Kashoogi's love for fiancee made him take the risk to get a divorce paper from the Saudi Arabia consulate and be killed.

A sad ending to a love story.

dh , Oct 12, 2018 3:19:01 PM | link

@75 Why should Trump make a big issue about some dead Arab? Because he was a journalist? Trump hates journalists.

If bleeding heart progressives want to make a fuss so be it. He knows his base don't give a shit about the world outside the USA as long as they buy American arms.

[Oct 09, 2018] During the attack on Serbia, US flew more than 90% of NATO missions and it managed to destroy three missile batteries and one radar station (using HARM)

Notable quotes:
"... Thanks to media, to this day very few people in the West know that towards the end of the 78-day war, US and UK deliberately targeted several completely civilian facilities (bridges, hospitals and schools) and in just a few days of such targeting killed about 200 civilians. ..."
Oct 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

Kiza says: October 7, 2018 at 7:50 am GMT 500 Words @Quartermaster I am not going to insult you personally, but as a cheap paid troll you have absolutely no clue about the subject you are typing about for your Israeli masters. FB has not explained everything perfectly but what he wrote is correct. It is not true that an airforce would target radar installations only with HARM missiles, which all NATO countries and Israel have, but in practice HARM are the only missiles to reliably target mobile air defence. During the attack on Serbia, US flew more than 90% of NATO missions and it managed to destroy three missile batteries and one radar station (using HARM). But the mobility of the Serbian immobile air defences had two major effects:
1) Unlike Iraq, Serbia let NATO bomb targets without always switching on its air defences to be detected and destroyed; this grossly reduced NATOs air effectiveness because with every bomber they had to constantly send at least one support plane with jammers, HARMs etc. NATO tried to claim a virtue out of this by saying that they were soft on Serbia and will get tougher, but in reality their military attack was becoming difficult to manage, expensive and risky (the NATO unity was beginning to fray).
2) It was a running joke in Serbia how NATO planes would attack some completely empty hill (Serbia is a relatively hilly country), create literally free fireworks for the villagers, just because there was an air defense installation on the hill maybe 5-10 hours ago. A similar joke was how the Serbian military or even the local villagers would spread a strip of black builders plastic over a river and NATO planes flying at above 5 km to avoid manpads would blast this $2 bridge with $200,000 worth of bombs (adding mission cost to the cost of bombs).

Regarding US F117, it was more "stealth" than F35 and similar stealth to the smaller F22, but the Serbians used the Checkoslovakian TAMARA passive radar, using ionospheric scatter, and also launched multiple operator guided missiles at F117 without a proper engagement radar to be HARMed. Self-confident in stealth the pilots of F117 did not manoeuvre, thus it was easy to predict their path even without the targeting and engagement radar.

Forcing US to retire F117 was the second costliest damage the Serbians have done (Lockheed did not cry, through their lobbyists they turned the loss into an opportunity to sell more rubbish). But the biggest cost to US was that Milosevic sold several unexploded cruise missiles and all F117 parts to China and used the money to rebuild and repair all civilian buildings in Serbia destroyed by NATO. Later, UK and US did a colour revolution in Serbia, got their hands on Milosevic, who then died from a health "accident" in NATO jail.


Kiza , says: October 7, 2018 at 8:16 am GMT

@Cyrano You are spot-on. The Serbian military fought NATO to a draw, proven by the fact that the peace treaty signed in Kumanovo in FYRM, did not contain the Rambouye clauses and even left Kosovo under Serbian jurisdiction as per UNSC 1244.

Even this military draw was forced on Serbia by increased bombardment of civilian targets in Serbia combined with open threats of carpet bombing by US B57. Serbia is a fairly densely populated country, no jungles to hide in as in Vietnam. The civilian targets were bombed to show that they could do carpet bombing with impunity (with the help of MSM). Thanks to media, to this day very few people in the West know that towards the end of the 78-day war, US and UK deliberately targeted several completely civilian facilities (bridges, hospitals and schools) and in just a few days of such targeting killed about 200 civilians.

Naturally, any agreements with the West are totally pointless. After the Kumanovo agreement, US and UK organized a color revolution in Serbia, took Kosovo away and got their Serbian puppets to agree to all Rambouye demands. Serbia did not lose the war, but it lost the agreement peace with the West.

FB , says: October 8, 2018 at 5:03 pm GMT
@Kiza

' to my knowledge the Serbians did not use a radiating radar to shoot-down one/two F117. They used a passive radar, which does not emit at all, it only receives a rough and noisy location of the stealth plane '

This is complete nonsense once again you choose to pontificate on things in which you have no knowledge

In your earlier comment, you identified this 'passive radar' allegedly used by the Serbs as the Czech 'Tamara' system which the Serbs did not possess

Not only that but this kind of system is not used for guiding SAM shots, and is certainly not any kind of 'anti-stealth' weapon this category of device is known as an emitter locator system [ELS], and is used to listen in on radio emissions from hostile aircraft and to then track them, by means of a number of geometrically deployed antennas that can then triangulate the bearing and direction of the aircraft

However, the basic physics involved means that these emitter locators are effective at tracking signals OTHER THAN the aircraft's onboard radar this would include the IFF [identification friend or foe transponder signal] and other onboard radio emitters which are OMNIDIRECTIONAL emitters

An aircraft radar's narrow pencil beam could not reach multiple [at least 2] ELS antenna [which would be geographically dispersed] to provide the needed triangulation

Once again Dr Carlo Kopp provides an excellent technical overview of ELS systems here

' A topic which appears to crop up with monotonous regularity [is] Warsaw Pact equipment "capable of detecting stealth aircraft".

These claims invariably involve either the Czech designed and built Tesla-Pardubice KRTP-86 Tamara or ERA Vera Emitter Locating Systems, or the Ukrainian designed and built Topaz Kolchuga series of Emitter Locating Systems.

More than often this equipment is described as 'anti-stealth radar', 'radar' or 'passive radar', all of which are completely incorrect.

Much of everything else you have farted out here regarding the Serb takedown of the F117 is similar bullshit

The 3′rd battery of the 250′th Air Defense missile Brigade, commanded by then Lt Col Zoltan Dani killed both F117s [the second one made it back to Aviano, Italy but was scrapped, as USAF Col Riccioni confirms in his F22 report I linked to earlier] as well as the kill on the F16 of then 555′th squadron Commander, then Lt Col David Goldfein, who, since 2016 happens to be Gen Goldfein and the USAF Chief of Staff

Here is Goldfein's F16 canopy and tail feathers on display at the Belgrade Aviation Museum

Incidentally, Col Riccioni mentions in that same report that Goldfein was doing 'other than what he was supposed to be doing' when shot down I guess in today's USAF that means you have the 'right stuff' to become The Chief

Also incidentally, the Goldfein kill was overseen by Col Dani's Deputy Maj Bosko Dotlic, as Col Dani was off duty at the time

The point is that that one single S125 battery accounted for ALL the confirmed kills of the Serb IADS in 1999 [although there are many more 'probable' kills that either ditched in the Adriatic, or limped back but were scrapped]

This speaks to my earlier point about human competence and the 'hawks' and 'doves' just like a small fraction of fighter pilots rack up the overwhelming majority of kills the same goes for air defense commanders, submarine captains, tank commanders etc

You have spewed here a whole lot of garbage about 'secret' anti-stealth weapons and 'lucky shots' etc which is a complete insult to the historical record and the great work by Col Dani and his men and to the entire principle of working and training hard to achieve professional competence in a military skill

Here is a picture of the side of the 3′rd Battery Command Cabin, with Three kills stenciled in the F117 [black] on top a B2 [not confirmed] and Goldfein's F16 in white at bottom

The battery used the standard SNR125 'Low Blow' engagement radar [1960s vintage technology] which operates at 9 GHz, so it is NOT a low-frequency radar proving that low frequency is not necessary to take out 'stealth' aircraft

As per standard Russian air defense design doctrine, the S125 uses a separate acquisition and tracking radar which DOES operate at a lower frequency in this case the P15 'Flat Face' which operates in the decimetric wavelength band [which is similar to ATC radar frequency of about 1.2 to 1.4 GHz...ie L band]

As explained previously the acquisition radar serves to find and track the target at long range and cues the engagement radar to scan a precise sector where the acquisition radar has found the target the engagement radar's increased precision [due to its higher frequency and antenna size] then provides pinpoint accuracy to guide the missile

It is this combination of separate radars working together that allows the targeting of low observable aircraft and what the 3′rd Battery did was a textbook example of using the equipment to its full potential despite the fact that this old radar technology was in fact susceptible to jamming, which the Nato forces employed massively

Col Dani also trained his men hard to be able to disassemble their radar and launchers within 90 minutes and load everything up on trucks and move to another location he also exercised strict discipline with regard to emissions allowing the radar to be turned on only for very short bursts at a time about a minute or two at most

This is all textbook Soviet operating procedure and the difference was the exceptional work ethic and competence that Col Dani maintained in his unit

It should be noted here that the Serb air defense was in fact very successful overall war is a game of survival and attrition and what the Serbs accomplished was noted by air combat practitioners

'The air campaign over Kosovo severely affected the readiness rates of the United States Air Force's Air Combat Command during that period. Units in the United States were the most badly affected, as they were were stripped of their personnel and spare parts to support ACC (Air Combat Command) and AMC (Air Mobility Command) units involved in Operation Allied Force.

The Commander of the USAF's Air Combat Command, General Richard E Hawley, outlined this in a speech to reporters on 29 April, 1999.[10] Further, many aircraft will have to be replaced earlier than previously planned, as their planned fatigue life was prematurely expended.

PGM inventories needed to be re-stocked, the warstock of the AGM-86C Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile dropping to 100 or fewer rounds.[11] Of the more than 25,000 bombs and missiles expended, nearly 8,500 were PGMs, with the replacement cost estimated at $US1.3 billion.[12]

Thus the USAF suffered from virtual attrition of its air force without having scored a large number of kills in theatre. Even if the United States' best estimates of Serbian casualties are used, the Serbians left Kosovo with a large part of their armoured forces intact.

–Andrew Martin RAAF [retired]

Incidentally, several years ago the downed USAF pilot Col Dale Zelko, traveled to Serbia to visit the man who shot him down Col Dani a film The Second Meeting was made here is a trailer

PS I will have more to say later, as you have littered this thread with all kinds of technically incorrect crapola

Vojkan , says: October 9, 2018 at 12:25 am GMT
@Johnny Rico NATO failed to defeat the Yugoslav army so NATO targeted Serbian civilians. You have suffered far more losses than you acknowledge so you started killing women and children. You rained the main marked and the main hospital of my hometown with cluster bombs. That's why Serbia accepted UN resolution 1244 and the Kumanovo agreement. Given the ultimatum in Rambouillet, that's not what I would call a capitulation. The only reason Serbia signed was because you threatened to mass murder Serbian civilians. Why would you threaten to massacre civilians if you had so soundly defeated the Yugoslav army? Never have so many American military died during training exercises than during the aggression against Serbia. We consider you to be shit at war. Extremely armed fags who pee in their pants when they face opposition. But believe what you want.
Vojkan , says: October 9, 2018 at 12:44 am GMT
@Kiza The Russians failed to defend Serbia in 1999. That's the Serbian approach.
Why on Earth would Russians defend Serbs who only remember "Russian" brothers when they're in dire straits?
Why would the Russian "love" us more than we "love" them? What is their interest? Because Serbs love "Tolstoevsky"?
Don't blame the Russian for Serbian failures. In true love as in a true contract, you have to give in order to take. Russia has given us a lot with no expectance of return. If she expected anything, we have given her nothing. We aren't Russia's spoiled child.
peterAUS , says: October 9, 2018 at 12:55 am GMT
@Vojkan

NATO failed to defeat the Yugoslav army so NATO targeted Serbian civilians.

Actually, they started to target civilian infrastructure. The objective was to intimidate the regime in Belgrade into surrender by pushing the country towards stone age.

I guess you could be onto something here:

You have suffered far more losses than you acknowledge .

and

Never have so many American military died during training exercises than during the aggression against Serbia.

As for

That's why Serbia accepted UN resolution 1244 and the Kumanovo agreement.

there was a little matter of Russia guaranteeing something too, I guess. While the drunkard was in the Kremlin.

Perceptions aside (Argentinians still believe they sank Royal Navy aircraft carrier in '82, for example) NATO delivered what its political masters wanted at the time.
Serbs lost .BADLY.

That's all what matters, really.

Beefcake the Mighty , says: October 9, 2018 at 1:43 am GMT
@Vojkan Yes. It's pretty much standard American practice to bomb civilian infrastructure immediately, regardless of the degree of resistance put up by the opposing military.
Cyrano , says: October 9, 2018 at 1:48 am GMT
@Vojkan I don't mean to interfere in inter-Serbian squabble, but I'll volunteer an opinion anyway. I think you are exaggerating what Russia has done for Serbia for example. How so? As a proud Balkaneer ( I am exaggerating here a little bit myself – the proud part) I have to say that we in the Balkans have always benefited from the simple fact that usually Russia's enemies are our enemies too, so when Russia takes care of their enemies, they automatically take care of our enemies too.

But I don't think that the Russians would necessarily put their neck on the line for the Balkan Slavs to defend them against enemies that are not their enemies as well. So, unfortunately for Serbia, that equation didn't work for them in the 90's – simply put – Serbia's enemies were not automatically Russia's enemies too. Russia was still trying to be friends with the west. I forgot who it was, but some prominent Russian politician at the time said: "We are not going to start nuclear war with US over Serbia".

But it seems that Serbia is always the canary in the mine – whenever someone attacks Serbia – Russia is next. That's why that buffoon Yeltsin had to go. Friendship with the west was over the moment they attacked Yugoslavia (Serbia). Now the Russia didn't start a nuclear war over Serbia, but they still might have to – to defend themselves, and as always Serbia will benefit from this – if anything is left over from this world after things go nuclear.

Vojkan , says: October 9, 2018 at 1:54 am GMT
@peterAUS Serbs did lose badly. Albeit not on the battlefield. Though there never was a real battlefield.
I have no reason to doubt the accounts of my friends in the military who sought in the rare conversations I've had with them on the subject, to humble down their achievements.
I believe Russians capitalised on the Serb's defeat. I can't blame them for that. No one is responsible for what happened to Serbs, as it happened, but Serbs. They're so keen on making the wrong decisions for the sake of appearing glorious, you can't blame the devil for that. It's their informed choice
Vojkan , says: October 9, 2018 at 2:09 am GMT
@Beefcake the Mighty To be fair, they only did it after they realised that the Serb military were too smart to be depleted by aerial bombardment and that in order to defeat them, you'd have to fight them on the ground. That's why NATO bombarded civilians. On a man to man basis, Serbs and Russians are the best soldiers in the world. No navy seal, no marine, no SAS can match them. Fighting for their homes gives them the little bit of adrenaline needed to prevail.
Vojkan , says: October 9, 2018 at 2:40 am GMT
@Cyrano My point was never "Russians" are our brothers. My point is, whatever cultural, religious or blood affinity I have with the Russians, they have their interests and we have ours. I cannot expect of Russians to defend Serbia for "ses beaux yeaux". The same goes the other way around. To some people Russia has "betrayed" Serbia, to some other Serbia has "betrayed" Russia. Yet the West sees us as one whole, Russia and little "Russia". I didn't ask myself before but now I love Russia infinetely more than the West. Russia has asked me nothing, has given me nothing and is expecting nothing from me.
If we can have a mutually beneficial relationship with Russia, great. We will never have that with the USA or the UK or Germany or France. They're guilty of the spoilation of Serbs' lives and private properties. Russians never spoiled Serbs of anything.

[Oct 08, 2018] NATO Bombed You To Protect You Stoltenberg Explains 1999 Bombings During Visit To Serbia

Oct 08, 2018 | southfront.org

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that people having "poor" memories of NATO's 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia are wrong because the military bloc did this to protect civilians and save lives.

"I stressed that we did this to protect civilians and to stop the Milosevic regime," Stoltenberg stated during a meeting with the students of Belgrade University.

The NATO secretary stated further that the bloc supports a "dialogue" between Serbia and its breakaway region [now a self-proclaimed state] of Kosovo. According to him, Belgrade has to "look into the future" for furher cooperation between the two sides.

The attitude showed by Stoltenberg is a common example how the US-NATO propaganda works. Any actions, incluindg illegal military interventions, false flag provocations and mass civilian casualties, are being explained by the need to "defend democracy", "protect civilians" and "save lives".

https://www.youtube.com/embed/2M42BAJAk84?feature=oembed

[Sep 23, 2018] NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia ended Moscow's partnership with the West.

Sep 23, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Patient Observer September 21, 2018 at 12:08 pm

https://theduran.com/clinton-yeltsin-docs-shine-a-light-on-why-deep-state-hates-putin-video/?mc_cid=fc46ed9187&mc_eid=d04cb5a32d

Lots of interesting information regarding conversations between Bill Clinton and Yeltsin but allow me to focus on the NATO bombing of Serbia:

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow's enthusiastic partnership with the West.

"Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO," the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. "I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that."

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of "our relationship" and "peace in Europe."

The declassified White House Yeltsin files reveal the drama at the turning point in US-Russia relations, when Yeltsin pleaded, threatened and despaired trying to make Clinton call off the bombing of Yugoslavia.

"It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons," Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn't cede ground.

Clinton to Yeltsin on Milosevic: "It will be your decision if you decide to let this bully destroy the relationship we worked hard for over six and a half years to build up I'm sorry he is a Serb. I wish he were Irish or something else, but he is not."

"Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future," Clinton told Yeltsin.

It was much more than the all-out bombing campaign by NATO. Serbia resisted for more than 70 days by courage and intelligence including bagging at least one stealth aircraft and its army remaining virtually untouched and ready to take on a NATO land invasion.

et Al September 21, 2018 at 12:45 pm
If I remember correctly, Clinton or whomever threatened to carpet bomb Belgrade if Russia did not stop supporting Serbia.

[Sep 19, 2018] Infamy at Sea Israel's Attack on the USS Liberty 50 Years Later by Jeffrey St. Clair

Notable quotes:
"... Attack on the Liberty ..."
"... Attack on the Liberty ..."
"... Dangerous Liaison, ..."
Jun 02, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

In early June of 1967, at the onset of the Six Day War, the Pentagon sent the USS Liberty from Spain into international waters off the coast of Gaza to monitor the progress of Israel's attack on the Arab states. The Liberty was a lightly armed surveillance ship.

Only hours after the Liberty arrived it was spotted by the Israeli military. The IDF sent out reconnaissance planes to identify the ship. They made eight trips over a period of three hours. The Liberty was flying a large US flag and was easily recognizable as an American vessel.

Soon more planes came. These were Israeli Mirage III fighters, armed with rockets and machine guns. As off-duty officers sunbathed on the deck, the fighters opened fire on the defenseless ship with rockets and machine guns.

A few minutes later a second wave of planes streaked overhead, French-built Mystere jets, which not only pelted the ship with gunfire but also with napalm bomblets, coating the deck with the flaming jelly. By now, the Liberty was on fire and dozens were wounded and killed, excluding several of the ship's top officers.

The Liberty's radio team tried to issue a distress call, but discovered the frequencies had been jammed by the Israeli planes with what one communications specialist called "a buzzsaw sound." Finally, an open channel was found and the Liberty got out a message it was under attack to the USS America, the Sixth Fleet's large aircraft carrier.

Two F-4s left the carrier to come to the Liberty's aid. Apparently, the jets were armed only with nuclear weapons. When word reached the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara became irate and ordered the jets to return. "Tell the Sixth Fleet to get those aircraft back immediately," he barked. McNamara's injunction was reiterated in saltier terms by Admiral David L. McDonald, the chief of Naval Operations: "You get those fucking airplanes back on deck, and you get them back down." The planes turned around. And the attack on the Liberty continued.

After the Israeli fighter jets had emptied their arsenal of rockets, three Israeli attack boats approached the Liberty. Two torpedoes were launched at the crippled ship, one tore a 40-foot wide hole in the hull, flooding the lower compartments, and killing more than a dozen American sailors.

As the Liberty listed in the choppy seas, its deck aflame, crew members dropped life rafts into the water and prepared to scuttle the ship. Given the number of wounded, this was going to be a dangerous operation. But it soon proved impossible, as the Israeli attack boats strafed the rafts with machine gun fire. No body was going to get out alive that way.

After more than two hours of unremitting assault, the Israelis finally halted their attack. One of the torpedo boats approached the Liberty. An officer asked in English over a bullhorn: "Do you need any help?"

The wounded commander of the Liberty, Lt. William McGonagle, instructed the quartermaster to respond emphatically: "Fuck you."

The Israeli boat turned and left.

A Soviet destroyer responded before the US Navy, even though a US submarine, on a covert mission, was apparently in the area and had monitored the attack. The Soviet ship reached the Liberty six hours before the USS Davis. The captain of the Soviet ship offered his aid, but the Liberty's conning officer refused.

Finally, 16 hours after the attack two US destroyers reached the Liberty. By that time, 34 US sailors were dead and 174 injured, many seriously. As the wounded were being evacuated, an officer with the Office of Naval Intelligence instructed the men not to talk about their ordeal with the press.

The following morning Israel launched a surprise invasion of Syria, breaching the new cease-fire agreement and seizing control of the Golan Heights.

Within three weeks, the Navy put out a 700-page report, exonerating the Israelis, claiming the attack had been accidental and that the Israelis had pulled back as soon as they realized their mistake. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara suggested the whole affair should be forgotten. "These errors do occur," McNamara concluded.

***

In Assault on the Liberty , a harrowing first-hand account by James Ennes Jr., McNamara's version of events is proven to be as big a sham as his concurrent lies about Vietnam. Ennes's book created a media storm when it was first published by Random House in 1980, including (predictably) charges that Ennes was a liar and an anti-Semite. Still, the book sold more than 40,000 copies, but was eventually allowed to go out of print. Now Ennes has published an updated version, which incorporates much new evidence that the Israeli attack was deliberate and that the US government went to extraordinary lengths to disguise the truth.

It's a story of Israel aggression, Pentagon incompetence, official lies, and a cover-up that persists to this day. The book gains much of its power from the immediacy of Ennes's first-hand account of the attack and the lies that followed.

Now, decades later, Ennes warns that the bloodbath on board the Liberty and its aftermath should serve as a tragic cautionary tale about the continuing ties between the US government and the government of Israel.

The Attack on the Liberty is the kind of book that makes your blood seethe. Ennes skillfully documents the life of the average sailor on one of the more peculiar vessels in the US Navy, with an attention for detail that reminds one of Dana or O'Brien. After all, the year was 1967 and most of the men on the Liberty were certainly glad to be on a non-combat ship in the middle of the Mediterranean, rather than in the Gulf of Tonkin or Mekong Delta.

But this isn't Two Years Before the Mast. In fact, Ennes's tour on the Liberty last only a few short weeks. He had scarcely settled into a routine before his new ship was shattered before his eyes.

Ennes joined the Liberty in May of 1967, as an Electronics Material Officer. Serving on a "spook ship", as the Liberty was known to Navy wives, was supposed to be a sure path to career enhancement. The Liberty's normal routine was to ply the African coast, tuning in its eavesdropping equipment on the electronic traffic in the region.

The Liberty had barely reached Africa when it received a flash message from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to sail from the Ivory Coast to the Mediterranean, where it was to re-deploy off the coast of the Sinai to monitor the Israeli attack on Egypt and the allied Arab nations.

As the war intensified, the Liberty sent a request to the fleet headquarters requesting an escort. It was denied by Admiral William Martin. The Liberty moved alone to a position in international waters about 13 miles from the shore at El Arish, then under furious siege by the IDF.

On June 6, the Joint Chiefs sent Admiral McCain, father of the senator from Arizona, an urgent message instructing him to move the Liberty out of the war zone to a position at least 100 miles off the Gaza Coast. McCain never forwarded the message to the ship.

A little after seven in the morning on June 8, Ennes entered the bridge of the Liberty to take the morning watch. Ennes was told that an hour earlier a "flying boxcar" (later identified as a twin-engine Nord 2501 Noratlas) had flown over the ship at a low level.

Ennes says he noticed that the ship's American flag had become stained with soot and ordered a new flag run up the mast. The morning was clear and calm, with a light breeze.

At 9 am, Ennes spotted another reconnaissance plane, which circled the Liberty. An hour later two Israeli fighter jets buzzed the ship. Over the next four hours, Israeli planes flew over the Liberty five more times.

When the first fighter jet struck, a little before two in the afternoon, Ennes was scanning the skies from the starboard side of the bridge, binoculars in his hands. A rocket hit the ship just below where Ennes was standing, the fragments shredded the men closest to him.

After the explosion, Ennes noticed that he was the only man left standing. But he also had been hit by more than 20 shards of shrapnel and the force of the blast had shattered his left leg. As he crawled into the pilothouse, a second fighter jet streaked above them and unleashed its payload on the hobbled Liberty.

At that point, Ennes says the crew of the Liberty had no idea who was attacking them or why. For a few moments, they suspected it might be the Soviets, after an officer mistakenly identified the fighters as MIG-15s. They knew that the Egyptian air force already had been decimated by the Israelis. The idea that the Israelis might be attacking them didn't occur to them until one of the crew spotted a Star of David on the wing of one of the French-built Mystere jets.

Ennes was finally taken below deck to a makeshift dressing station, with other wounded men. It was hardly a safe harbor. As Ennes worried that his fractured leg might slice through his femoral artery leaving him to bleed to death, the Liberty was pummeled by rockets, machine-gun fire and an Italian-made torpedo packed with 1,000-pounds of explosive.

After the attack ended, Ennes was approached by his friend Pat O'Malley, a junior officer, who had just sent a list of killed and wounded to the Bureau of Naval Personnel. He got an immediate message back. "They said, 'Wounded in what action? Killed in what action?'," O'Malley told Ennes. "They said it wasn't an 'action,' it was an accident. I'd like for them to come out here and see the difference between an action and an accident. Stupid bastards."

The cover-up had begun.

***

The Pentagon lied to the public about the attack on the Liberty from the very beginning. In a decision personally approved by the loathsome McNamara, the Pentagon denied to the press that the Liberty was an intelligence ship, referring to it instead as a Technical Research ship, as if it were little more than a military version of Jacques Cousteau's Calypso.

The military press corps on the USS America, where most of the wounded sailors had been taken, were placed under extreme restrictions. All of the stories filed from the carrier were first routed through the Pentagon for security clearance, objectionable material was removed with barely a bleat of protest from the reporters or their publications.

Predictably, Israel's first response was to blame the victim, a tactic that has served them so well in the Palestinian situation. First, the IDF alleged that it had asked the State Department and the Pentagon to identify any US ships in the area and was told that there were none. Then the Israeli government charged that the Liberty failed to fly its flag and didn't respond to calls for it to identify itself. The Israelis contended that they assumed the Liberty was an Egyptian supply ship called El Quseir, which, even though it was a rusting transport ship then docked in Alexandria, the IDF said it suspected of shelling Israeli troops from the sea. Under these circumstances, the Israeli's said they were justified in opening fire on the Liberty. The Israelis said that they halted the attack almost immediately, when they realized their mistake.

"The Liberty contributed decisively toward its identification as an enemy ship," the IDF report concluded. This was a blatant falsehood, since the Israelis had identified the Liberty at least six hours prior to the attack on the ship.

Even though the Pentagon knew better, it gave credence to the Israeli account by saying that perhaps the Liberty's flag had lain limp on the flagpole in a windless sea. The Pentagon also suggested that the attack might have lasted less than 20 minutes.

After the initial battery of misinformation, the Pentagon imposed a news blackout on the Liberty disaster until after the completion of a Court of Inquiry investigation.

The inquiry was headed by Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd. Kidd didn't have a free hand. He'd been instructed by Vice-Admiral McCain to limit the damage to the Pentagon and to protect the reputation of Israel.

The Kidd interviewed the crew on June 14 and 15. The questioning was extremely circumscribed. According to Ennes, the investigators "asked nothing that might be embarrassing to Israeland testimony that tended to embarrass Israel was covered with a 'Top Secret' label, if it was accepted at all."

Ennes notes that even testimony by the Liberty's communications officers about the jamming of the ship's radios was classified as "Top Secret." The reason? It proved that Israel knew it was attacking an American ship. "Here was strong evidence that the attack was planned in advance and that our ship's identity was known to the attackers (for it its practically impossible to jam the radio of a stranger), but this information was hushed up and no conclusions were drawn from it," Ennes writes.

Similarly, the Court of Inquiry deep-sixed testimony and affidavits regarding the flag-Ennes had ordered a crisp new one deployed early on the morning of the attack. The investigators buried intercepts of conversations between IDF pilots identifying the ship as flying an American flag.

It also refused to accept evidence about the IDF's use of napalm during the attacks and choose not to hear testimony regarding the duration of the attacks and the fact that the US Navy failed to send planes to defend the ship.

"No one came to help us," said Dr. Richard F. Kiepfer, the Liberty's physician. "We were promised help, but no help came. The Russians arrived before our own ships did. We asked for an escort before we ever came to the war zone and we were turned down."

None of this made its way into the 700-page Court of Inquiry report, which was completed within a couple of weeks and sent to Admiral McCain in London for review.

McCain approved the report over the objections of Captain Merlin Staring, the Navy legal officer assigned to the inquiry, who found the report to be flawed, incomplete and contrary to the evidence.

Staring sent a letter to the Judge Advocate General of the Navy disavowing himself from the report. The JAG seemed to take Staring's objections to heart. It prepared a summary for the Chief of Naval Operations that almost completely ignored the Kidd/McCain report. Instead, it concluded:

that the Liberty was easily recognizable as an American naval vessel; that it's flag was fully deployed and flying in a moderate breeze; that Israeli planes made at least eight reconnaissance flights at close range; the ship came under a prolonged attack from Israeli fighter jets and torpedo boats.

This succinct and largely accurate report was stamped Top Secret by Navy brass and stayed locked up for many years. But it was seen by many in the Pentagon and some in the Oval Office. But here was enough grumbling about the way the Liberty incident had been handled that LBJ summoned that old Washington fixer Clark Clifford to do damage control. It didn't take Clifford long to come up with the official line: the Israelis simply had made a tragic mistake.

It turns out that the Admiral Kidd and Captain Ward Boston, the two investigating officers who prepared the original report for Admiral McCain, both believed that the Israeli attack was intentional and sustained. In other words, the IDF knew that they were striking an American spy ship and they wanted to sink it and kill as many sailors as possible. Why then did the Navy investigators produce a sham report that concluded it was an accident?

Twenty-five years later we finally found out. In June of 2002, Captain Boston told the Navy Times: "Officers follow orders."

It gets worse. There's plenty of evidence that US intelligence agencies learned on June 7 that Israel intended to attack the Liberty on the following day and that the strike had been personally ordered by Moshe Dayan.

As the attacks were going on, conversations between Israeli pilots were overheard by US Air Force officers in an EC121 surveillance plane overhead. The spy plane was spotted by Israeli jets, which were given orders to shoot it down. The American plane narrowly avoided the IDF missiles.

Initial reports on the incident prepared by the CIA, Office of Naval Intelligence and the National Security Agency all reached similar conclusions.

A particularly damning report compiled by a CIA informant suggests that Israeli Defense minister Moshe Dayan personally ordered the attack and wanted it to proceed until the Liberty was sunk and all on board killed. A heavily redacted version of the report was released in 1977. It reads in part:

"[The source] said that Dayan personally ordered the attack on the ship and that one of his generals adamantly opposed the action and said, 'This is pure murder.' One of the admirals who was present also disapproved of the action, and it was he who ordered it stopped and not Dayan."

This amazing document generated little attention from the press and Dayan was never publicly questioned about his role in the attack.

The analyses by the intelligence agencies are collected in a 1967 investigation by the Defense Subcommittee on Appropriations. Two and half decades later that report remains classified. Why? A former committee staffer said: "So as not to embarrass Israel."

More proof came to light from the Israeli side. A few years after Attack on the Liberty was originally published, Ennes got a call from Evan Toni, an Israeli pilot. Toni told Ennes that he had just read his book and wanted to tell him his story. Toni said that he was the pilot in the first Israeli Mirage fighter to reach the Liberty. He immediately recognized the ship to be a US Navy vessel. He radioed Israeli air command with this information and asked for instructions. Toni said he was ordered to "attack." He refused and flew back to the air base at Ashdod. When he arrived he was summarily arrested for disobeying orders.

***

How tightly does the Israeli lobby control the Hill? For the first time in history, an attack on an America ship was not subjected to a public investigation by Congress. In 1980, Adlai Stevenson and Barry Goldwater planned to open a senate hearing into the Liberty affair. Then Jimmy Carter intervened by brokering a deal with Menachem Begin, where Israel agreed to pony up $6 million to pay for damages to the ship. A State Department press release announced the payment said, "The book is now closed on the USS Liberty."

It certainly was the last chapter for Adlai Stevenson. He ran for governor of Illinois the following year, where his less than perfect record on Israel, and his unsettling questions about the Liberty affair, became an issue in the campaign. Big money flowed into the coffers of his Republican opponent, Big Jim Thompson, and Stevenson went down to a narrow defeat.

But the book wasn't closed for the sailors either, of course. After a Newsweek story exposed the gist of what really happened on that day in the Mediterranean, an enraged Admiral McCain placed all the sailors under a gag order. When one sailor told an officer that he was having problems living with the cover-up, he was told: "Forget about it, that's an order."

The Navy went to bizarre lengths to keep the crew of the Liberty from telling what they knew. When gag orders didn't work, they threatened sanctions. Ennes tells of the confinement and interrogation of two Liberty sailors that sounds like something right out of the CIA's MK-Ultra program.

"In an incredible abuse of authority, military officers held two young Liberty sailors against their will in a locked and heavily guarded psychiatric ward of the base hospital," Ennes writes. "For days these men were drugged and questioned about their recollections of the attack by a 'therapist' who admitted to being untrained in either psychiatry or psychology. At one point, they avoided electroshock only by bolting from the room and demanding to see the commanding officer."

Since coming home, the veterans who have tried to tell of their ordeal have been harassed relentlessly. They've been branded as drunks, bigots, liars and frauds. Often, it turns out, these slurs have been leaked by the Pentagon. And, oh yeah, they've also been painted as anti-Semites.

In a recent column, Charley Reese describes just how mean-spirited and petty this campaign became. "When a small town in Wisconsin decided to name its library in honor of the USS Liberty crewmen, a campaign claiming it was anti-Semitic was launched," writes Reese. "And when the town went ahead, the U.S. government ordered no Navy personnel to attend, and sent no messages. This little library was the first, and at the time the only, memorial to the men who died on the Liberty."

***

So why then did the Israelis attack the Liberty?

A few days before the Six Days War, Israel's Foreign Minister Abba Eban visited Washington to inform LBJ about the forthcoming invasion. Johnson cautioned Eban that the US could not support such an attack.

It's possible, then, that the IDF assumed that the Liberty was spying on the Israeli war plans. Possible, but not likely. Despite the official denials, as Andrew and Leslie Cockburn demonstrate in Dangerous Liaison, at the time of the Six Days War the US and Israel had developed a warm covert relationship. So closely were the two sides working that US intelligence aid certainly helped secure Israel's devastating and swift victory. In fact, it's possible that the Liberty had been sent to the region to spy for the IDF.

A somewhat more likely scenario holds that Moshe Dayan wanted to keep the lid on Israel's plan to breach the new cease-fire and invade into Syria to seize the Golan.

It has also been suggested that Dayan ordered the attack on the Liberty with the intent of pinning the blame on the Egyptians and thus swinging public and political opinion in the United States solidly behind the Israelis. Of course, for this plan to work, the Liberty had to be destroyed and its crew killed.

There's another factor. The Liberty was positioned just off the coast from the town of El Arish. In fact, Ennes and others had used town's mosque tower to fix the location of the ship along the otherwise featureless desert shoreline. The IDF had seized El Arish and had used the airport there as a prisoner of war camp. On the very day the Liberty was attacked, the IDF was in the process of executing as many as 1,000 Palestinian and Egyptian POWs, a war crime that they surely wanted to conceal from prying eyes. According to Gabriel Bron, now an Israeli reporter, who witnessed part of the massacre as a soldier: "The Egyptian prisoners of war were ordered to dig pits and then army police shot them to death."

The bigger question is why the US government would participate so enthusiastically in the cover-up of a war crime against its own sailors. Well, the Pentagon has never been slow to hide its own incompetence. And there's plenty of that in the Liberty affair: bungled communications, refusal to provide an escort, situating the defenseless Liberty too close to a raging battle, the inability to intervene in the attack and the inexcusably long time it took to reach the battered ship and its wounded.

That's but par for the course. But something else was going on that would only come to light later. Through most of the 1960s, the US congress had imposed a ban on the sale of arms to both Israel and Jordan. But at the time of the Liberty attack, the Pentagon (and its allies in the White House and on the Hill) was seeking to have this proscription overturned. The top brass certainly knew that any evidence of a deliberate attack on a US Navy ship by the IDF would scuttle their plans. So they hushed it up.

In January 1968, the arms embargo on Israel was lifted and the sale of American weapons began to flow. By 1971, Israel was buying $600 million of American-made weapons a year. Two years later the purchases topped $3 billion. Almost overnight, Israel had become the largest buyer of US-made arms and aircraft.

Perversely, then, the IDF's strike on the Liberty served to weld the US and Israel together, in a kind of political and military embrace. Now, every time the IDF attacks defenseless villages in Gaza and the West Bank with F-16s and Apache helicopters, the Palestinians quite rightly see the bloody assaults as a joint operation, with the Pentagon as a hidden partner.

Thus, does the legacy of Liberty live on, one raid after another.

A version of this essay appeared in The Politics of Anti-Semitism by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair.

[Sep 16, 2018] US goal was to take Ukraine into the future that it deserves. Now with grivna devaluation of over 300% we see what they meant

Notable quotes
... "What we have is a desperate corporate media, dutifully parroting the nonsense from the US State Department, and investing virtually nothing in on-the-ground investigative reporting. But real evidence? We are in very, VERY short supply of that."
... From article: He [Clegg] also argued that the country should lose the right to host the 2018 World Cup after Russian troops allegedly downed the civilian airliner Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine last July. Well, there's evidence in itself. Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. (The burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies). He wants to punish before the publication o the report. It's like a mediaeval witch-hunt. The law of the jungle seems to be Clegg's guiding principle. No surprise he's been banned.
..."I can only assume it is as badge of honour if you buy into all the dimwitted propaganda being published by the western corporate media -- who seem to have a daily axe to grind against the Russian state, but who say nothing about the warmongering actions of the US. I imagine I would have the same opinion of you if I was to uncritically swallow such toxic rubbish."
..."The only way to effectively block people from other regions (blanket censor them, in other words) would be to positively identify the source. All that you would likely achieve is blocking actual individual commentators and letting through the government astroturfers.
Why you would want to resort to such tactics is worth asking. The 'Western side' may be losing the propaganda war with Russia because our lies are bigger and harder to sell -- rather than Pooty-poot being cleverer. Repeated debunked claims in our media are also going to be far more damaging than anything similar in Russia. The problem doesn't lie with those you are asserting to be 'trolls' that are disputing the reporting -- the problem lies with the reporting.
Notable quotes:
"... But it's very suspect when you say things like "Putin's created a criminal war in East Ukraine" when it was Kiev which started the violence in reaction to the Russian Ukrainians voting for Federalization in response to the coup in Kiev. It means that everything else you write has to be treated as suspect. ..."
"... alpamysh ... you've merely regurgitated the standard NeoCon list of justifications for why a democratically-elected leader needed to be overthrown ..."
"... The article isn't worth the headline really. The new cold war is on and obviously they'll be barring each other. ..."
"... On the other hand the EU has also put an entry ban on leading Russian politicians, among which are the chairman of the Federation council, politicians from the state Duma and also close advisors to the Russian president Vladimir Putin. It is not anticipated that either side will lift the entry bans in the near future. (Excerpt and rough translation from German) ..."
"... "In December, Nuland reminded Ukrainian business leaders that, to help Ukraine achieve "its European aspirations, we have invested more than $5 billion." She said the U.S. goal was to take "Ukraine into the future that it deserves," by which she meant into the West's orbit and away from Russia's. ..."
"... But President Yanukovych rejected a European Union plan that would have imposed harsh austerity on the already impoverished Ukraine. He accepted a more generous $15 billion loan from Russia, which also has propped up Ukraine's economy with discounted natural gas. Yanukovych's decision sparked anti-Russian street protests in Kiev, located in the country's western and more pro-European region. ..."
"... By late January, Nuland was discussing with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who should be allowed in the new government. ..."
"... "Yats is the guy," Nuland said in a phone call to Pyatt that was intercepted and posted online. "He's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He's the guy you know." By "Yats," Nuland was referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had served as head of the central bank, foreign minister and economic minister - and who was committed to harsh austerity. ..."
"... Well, there's evidence in itself. Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. (The burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies). He wants to punish before the publication o the report. It's like a mediaeval witch-hunt. The law of the jungle seems to be Clegg's guiding principle. No surprise he's been banned. ..."
"... "Putin wants sanctions" ... what a bunch of silly conjecture. As for "Putin style rule" and "Tzar" .. you presumably know that Russia held democratic elections which Putin won. ..."
"... let me guess, The list probably contains politicians whose real loyalty maybe is with the US? Judge from the 2 names mentioned, Malcolm Riffkind is Co-Vice Chair of the Global Panel Foundation – America – with Dr. Dov S. Zakheim, the former U.S Under-Secretary of Defense and Comptroller of the Armed Forces. ..."
"... your constant anti-Russia/Putin comments mark you as a shill/troll ..."
"... What we have is a desperate corporate media, dutifully parroting the nonsense from the US State Department, and investing virtually nothing in on-the-ground investigative reporting. But real evidence? We are in very, VERY short supply of that. ..."
"... I can only assume it is as badge of honour if you buy into all the dimwitted propaganda being published by the western corporate media - ..."
"... We're the global overlords, and so second-rate nations aren't allowed to reciprocate our petulant actions. When they do so it causes some people to question the assumed status of the 'Western' hegemony (and our claimed system of morally superior 'values'). We can't allow that sort of thing, Popeyes. ..."
"... The Guardian has a clear pro-EU/USA position on the new cold war against Russia. ..."
"... The 'Western side' may be losing the propaganda war with Russia because our lies are bigger and harder to sell -- rather than Pooty-poot being cleverer. ..."
"... The problem doesn't lie with those you are asserting to be 'trolls' that are disputing the reporting -- the problem lies with the reporting. ..."
May 31, 2015 | The Guardian

JordanFromLondon -> Havingalavrov 31 May 2015 12:26

"Look at the Moscow apartment bombings"... look at any number of CIA false flag operations. As for "most of the national T.V is Putin press." ... Murdoch has a controlling interest in printed press and a large share of TV news in Australia and the UK. Maybe you are one of the CIA-employed agitators against Russia, or maybe you have a chip on your shoulder about a failed relationship with a Russia bride. I can't be sure from your comments.

But it's very suspect when you say things like "Putin's created a criminal war in East Ukraine" when it was Kiev which started the violence in reaction to the Russian Ukrainians voting for Federalization in response to the coup in Kiev. It means that everything else you write has to be treated as suspect.

Huo Fu Yan 31 May 2015 12:24

I don't see a big issue with that list. If some people from that list travel anywhere, it will be considered wasting tax payer money anyways. They aren't even embraced by a majority in their own countries, some of them belonging to totally irrelevant weird initiative, shouting and crying about this and that.

For others on that list, being linked to military organisations, the should be banned naturally. As for vacation, I don't think Russia was on those guys list either

JordanFromLondon -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 12:14

alpamysh ... you've merely regurgitated the standard NeoCon list of justifications for why a democratically-elected leader needed to be overthrown (e.g. Egypt's Morsi). If we take your "Hitler was elected" argument, we can apply that one to any election outcome. If you won your high school "class monitor" election ... we'll Hitler won an election too. It's nothing more than a lazy smear by association. If we take your "rigs the right of the opposition" argument, well there goes Israel's claims to democracy. They arrest/ban viable Arab opposition figures to prevent them standing in elections. Also, we have to eliminate Ukraine, who have assassinated about 12 of Yanukovich's inner circle since the coup.

uzzername 31 May 2015 12:09

The article isn't worth the headline really. The new cold war is on and obviously they'll be barring each other.

Russia, along with the rest of BRICS is an emerging economy. While in the developed economies big corporations scramble for every penny they rip off off the consumers, the BRICS are a goldmine for adventurous capitalists as you can score quite a bit of dope in one scoop if you invest enough in it.

That's why some of them suits on the list are pissed off. Obvs not because their summer holiday in Siberia has gone into smithereens.

umweltAT2100 31 May 2015 12:04

According to a report in ARD (German state media) the entry ban is a reaction / retaliation in response to the entry ban imposed on Russians in connection with the Crimea annexation. Approximately 200 people are on the Russian black list. The largest number are from the USA, with the Republican John McCain declared "persona non grata", followed by Canadian politicians.

On the other hand the EU has also put an entry ban on leading Russian politicians, among which are the chairman of the Federation council, politicians from the state Duma and also close advisors to the Russian president Vladimir Putin. It is not anticipated that either side will lift the entry bans in the near future. (Excerpt and rough translation from German)

Russian entry ban for dozens of politicians – Moscow's black list is out. (Hermann Krause, ARD Radio studio, Moscow, 30.05.2015)

Russische Einreiseverbote für Dutzende Politiker Moskaus "schwarze Liste" ist raus. Von Hermann Krause, ARD-Hörfunkstudio Moskau, 30.05.2015

http://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/russland-einreiseverbot-103.html

Danish5666 -> dralion 31 May 2015 12:03

Victoria Nuland and the neocons to be more precise,

"In December, Nuland reminded Ukrainian business leaders that, to help Ukraine achieve "its European aspirations, we have invested more than $5 billion." She said the U.S. goal was to take "Ukraine into the future that it deserves," by which she meant into the West's orbit and away from Russia's.

But President Yanukovych rejected a European Union plan that would have imposed harsh austerity on the already impoverished Ukraine. He accepted a more generous $15 billion loan from Russia, which also has propped up Ukraine's economy with discounted natural gas. Yanukovych's decision sparked anti-Russian street protests in Kiev, located in the country's western and more pro-European region.

Nuland was soon at work planning for "regime change," encouraging disruptive street protests by personally passing out cookies to the anti-government demonstrators. She didn't seem to notice or mind that the protesters in Kiev's Maidan square had hoisted a large banner honoring Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles.

By late January, Nuland was discussing with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who should be allowed in the new government.

"Yats is the guy," Nuland said in a phone call to Pyatt that was intercepted and posted online. "He's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He's the guy you know." By "Yats," Nuland was referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had served as head of the central bank, foreign minister and economic minister - and who was committed to harsh austerity.

As Assistant Secretary Nuland and Sen. McCain cheered the demonstrators on, the street protests turned violent. Police clashed with neo-Nazi bands, the ideological descendants of Bandera's anti-Russian Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazi SS during World War II.

With the crisis escalating and scores of people killed in the street fighting, Yanukovych agreed to a E.U.-brokered deal that called for moving up scheduled elections and having the police stand down. The neo-Nazi storm troopers then seized the opening to occupy government buildings and force Yanukovych and many of his aides to flee for their lives."
https://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/02/what-neocons-want-from-ukraine-crisis/

JordanFromLondon -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 11:53

What proof do you have that the Russian elections were phony ? The results were in line with independent opinion polls. Which referendums was phony ? The first Iraqi election after Sadam was toppled was certainly phony. The US military whisked away the ballot boxes for a week after voting was completed before announcing that the Shia (60% of Iraqis) had failed to get a majority (despite the 20% Bathist Sunni boycotting the election so only the 20% Kurds voted against the 60% Shia).

geedeesee -> SnarkyGrumpkin 31 May 2015 11:50

From article: He [Clegg] also argued that the country should lose the right to host the 2018 World Cup after Russian troops allegedly downed the civilian airliner Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine last July.

Well, there's evidence in itself. Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. (The burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies). He wants to punish before the publication o the report. It's like a mediaeval witch-hunt. The law of the jungle seems to be Clegg's guiding principle. No surprise he's been banned.

JordanFromLondon -> Havingalavrov 31 May 2015 11:45

"Putin wants sanctions" ... what a bunch of silly conjecture. As for "Putin style rule" and "Tzar" .. you presumably know that Russia held democratic elections which Putin won. That's more than many of the US/UK allies can say (take your pick of the Gulf state leaders). Don't buy into the mindless anti-Russian propaganda doing the rounds. I suspect that it's intended to soften public opnion for anti-Russian attrocities committed in our name to come.

Huo Fu Yan -> David Port 31 May 2015 11:36

It's true, 1/3 the list are politicians and military leader from Poland and baltics with no intend to enter Russia anyways. The rest are merely people engaged in military organisations (should be banned naturally) or weird political groups and initiatives.

Furthermore, there are a few irrelevant politicians on the list for whatever reason. To be frank, a few people from that list you wouldt want in your own country either.

meewaan 31 May 2015 11:07

let me guess, The list probably contains politicians whose real loyalty maybe is with the US? Judge from the 2 names mentioned, Malcolm Riffkind is Co-Vice Chair of the Global Panel Foundation – America – with Dr. Dov S. Zakheim, the former U.S Under-Secretary of Defense and Comptroller of the Armed Forces.

Not sure about banning Nick Clegg, - has his wife remunerated by her work for companies linked to the US? Take, for example, Mrs Clegg's firm's advertisement (again, on its website) of the fact it makes considerable sums from helping rich people avoid inheritance tax, saying that it offers 'personal estate planning advice and financial and tax-planning services to high net worth individuals'.

'We combine sophisticated estate planning skills with international resources . . . We help U.S. and non-U.S. trustees and beneficiaries transfer wealth efficiently through lifetime and testamentary trusts designed to minimise tax exposure.'

SuchindranathAiyer 31 May 2015 10:35

It required a "Tit for Tat" to establish that sanctions are working? Here is the geo-political back drop:

Reigan and Gorby arrived at certain agreements and understandings which Clinton (the husband) violated. He pulled Poland and others into NATO and bombed Russian ally Belgrade, violating international law, while a helpless Russia fumed, for 84 days to given Islam its first ethnically cleansed enclaves (Bosnia and Kosovo) after 1489.

Bush (the son), declared the "Star Wars" missile shield in direct violation of the Regan-Gorbachev agreements while Russia continued to fume, but began to re arm and prepare itself for war. Apart from, of course, violating International Law and invading Russian ally Iraq to distract anger over 9/11 from Saudi Arabia and its Nuclear-Terrorist sword arm Pakistan and threw thriving communities of Jews, Christians, Yazidis, discos and bars that the Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis resented into the maws of Islam.

Russia fumed and continued to rearm and began to rally around Putin's nationalism. The US commenced "regime change" operations in Russian (and Iraqi) Secular ally Syria, throwing even more Jews, Christians, Yazidis and Kurds into the maws of Islam. US was to weakened by Iraq to wage war unilaterally in Syria. China and Russia blocked the US at the UN. Putin wrote an open letter to Obama on Syria in the NY Times which gained traction with the American Citizens, bending Obama's nose and driving the US regime change operation in Syria further under ground (covert). Prince Bandar (what an appropriate name!) head of Saudi intelligence went ot Moscow to bribe Putin to back the putsch in Syria. Putin refused and told Bandar that if Islam tried a Beslan at Sochi, he would bomb the Q'aba. This bent the Saudi nose. So the US commenced operation regime change in Ukraine. This sparked the secession of Crime to Russia. The US fumed and fretted because its more develoed and intelligent NATO allies (France and Germany) would not back the US backed fascist regime in Ukraine. The US shot down MH-17 in a false flag operation and started a canard against Russia to revive NATO. There is a NATO now imposing US-Saudi conceived sanctions on Russia. We are now in the Second Cold War so NATO won't go away. Russia and China will ally because, Clinton to Obama, the US has demonstrated the dangers of a unipolar world, particularly as Islamic Petro Dollars own the decision and opinion makers of the West and have used the US military to further the Islamic agenda as much as carry on with the old anti-Communist prejudices. (While Russia is not Totalitarian, China is. India is really the last Soviet franchise in the World with its "Animal Farm" totalitarian Constitution and thinking which is why the US is an ally of Pakistan and as hostile to India as to Russia. Consider that as recently as 2012, the man who lolls in Lutyen's drawing room today moved "retrospective" legislation in the same Parliament that nationalized 20% of private (non minority) education and removed the truth from Govt approved History text books, in the highest traditions of Nehru, Ambedkar and Indira Gandhi.)

wilpost37 -> AbsolutelyFapulous 31 May 2015 10:33

Absolutely/Goman

Almost all the tourists of Crimea were Ukrainians before 2014. They stopped coming, and likely are spending their vacation elsewhere.

Crimea is rebuilding its infrastructures (Kiev had neglected them for 22 years), and its tourist base.

It expects to have over 4 million visitors in 2015 and 5 million in 2016, because many Russians are no longer going to EU countries, and are going to Crimea, Sochi, etc., instead. It will take time, but Crimea is a beautiful area.

Crimea became part of the Russian Empire by conquest over the Tartars in 1793.

The Tartars had been kidnapping nearby people (several million over many decades) and selling them to the Turks. Catherine the Great put an end to that.

Khrushev was stupid to give it to Ukraine in 1954.

After the CIA/FBI-assisted coup of Kiev, the Crimean people, 67% Russian, feared for their future, as did the Donbas people.

SHappens 31 May 2015 10:24

"Just one thing remains unclear: did our European co-workers want these lists to minimise inconveniences for potential 'denied persons' or to stage a political show?"

It is pretty clear that it turned out to be another media circus.

Socraticus -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 10:12

Lesson 1 - everyone on this site is a guest, you included
Lesson 2 - the majority of posters herein are actually westerners, not 'Russian trolls'
Lesson 3 - all politicians lie to advance their own social/economic/political agendas
Lesson 4 - all MSM distort/suppress the truth to support governmental narratives
Lesson 5 - many of us westerners actually bother to investigate the true facts
Lesson 6 - if a leader's being demonized its because they won't capitulate to the US
Lesson 7 - every illicit invasion is preceded by demonization of a leader/country
Lesson 8 - your constant anti-Russia/Putin comments mark you as a shill/troll
Lesson 9 - you can educate yourself or remain blind to facts - your choice
Lesson 10 - you will learn the consequences of your choices

UnsleepingMind -> EssoBlue 31 May 2015 10:12

You realise that Russia is one the most important members of the BRICS and that they group has recently established a development bank? That's hardly the sign that the other BRICS nations are not reading from the same hymn sheet as Russia...

http://www.scmp.com/comment/article/1580523/brics-development-bank-should-challenge-washington-consensus

Russia has also joined China's Asian Infrastructure Bank. Another clear sign that it is strengthening its relations with other BRICS members.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2015/03/29/russia-joins-chinas-asian-infrastructure-bank-but-doubts-its-power-against-imf/

44theorderofknights 31 May 2015 09:57

What did anyone expect flowers from russia from the unfair treatment it's getting. The west paying for Ukraine part nazi government and creating a coup in a democratically ekected president last february. Then sanctioning the Russian people expecting them to turn in yheir president. The west should be ashamed of what they accomplished that being fronting a proxy war against Russia.

Vijay Raghavan -> Huo Fu Yan 31 May 2015 09:54

Developing all-round military-to-military relations. China's armed forces will further their exchanges and cooperation with the Russian military within the framework of the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between China and Russia, and foster a comprehensive, diverse and sustainable framework to promote military relations in more fields and at more levels

http://eng.mod.gov.cn/Database/WhitePapers/2015-05/26/content_4586715.htm

They made that statement in their white paper issued last week.Offcourse Guardian or BBC will not keep up with such "Breaking News".

UnsleepingMind -> EssoBlue 31 May 2015 09:49

1) Yes, the BRICS countries are very much behind Russia.

2) Russia, unlike the US, has tabled a resolution to condemn Nazism and Nazi movements in the highest forum possible (the UN). The US, along with Canada, and its puppet government in Ukraine, voted against it (in defiance of most of the world's nations).

[1] http://russia-insider.com/en/de-dollarization-du-jour-russia-backs-brics-alternative-swift/ri7566
[2] http://rt.com/news/207899-un-anti-nazism-resolution/

UnsleepingMind -> Tom20000 31 May 2015 09:43

You would think, with all the technology at the disposal of the US security state, that it might (just might) be able to provide us with real, irrefutable evidence of a ground invasion. You know, perhaps some high resolution satellite imagery, the odd photo of a modern Russian tank moving over the Ukrainian border, some chatter from the wires between embassy officials and security personnel, etc., etc.

But of course we have nothing of the sort. What we have is a desperate corporate media, dutifully parroting the nonsense from the US State Department, and investing virtually nothing in on-the-ground investigative reporting. But real evidence? We are in very, VERY short supply of that.

UnsleepingMind -> ponott 31 May 2015 09:34

I can only assume it is as badge of honour if you buy into all the dimwitted propaganda being published by the western corporate media -- who seem to have a daily axe to grind against the Russian state, but who say nothing about the warmongering actions of the US. I imagine I would have the same opinion of you if I was to uncritically swallow such toxic rubbish.

UnsleepingMind -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 09:30

'Because we have the right to ban people who invade other countries'.

That's why we've recently arrested George Bush (who, with the help of Tony Blair invaded Iraq and Afghanistan), Barack Obama (who bombed Libya, engineered coups in Honduras and Ukraine, and is now funding Islamic extremists in Syria)...

We reserve the right to ban, but we use that 'right' to ban official enemies (i.e. anyone daring to follow a geopolitical game plan that is distinctly at odds with our own).

Also, your suggestion that Putin's Russia has invaded 'other countries' is preposterous. The western media has been spewing this nonsense for months now and yet there is not a shred of real evidence (including hi-res satellite imagery) to back it up. And if you are referring to Crimea, let me say this: Russia troops have been staged in Crimea for many, many years; moreover, the people of Crimea voted to break with Ukraine in a recent referendum (not that that squares with your hectoring rhetoric).

PyrrhicVictory 31 May 2015 09:27

The doors of the gravy train for politicians like Clegg are fast closing. When we exit the EU, then the Brussels gravy train will also be beyond him. He might, just might, having to start behaving like an honest politician for once and earn a decent wage based on truth not lies.

johnsmith44 -> NegativeCamber 31 May 2015 09:25

Why dont you go spread democracy to some oil-producing Third World country, together with your poodles the brits? And make sure you do it properly, so that monstrosities like ISIS are guaranteed?

more democracy exporting: http://multipletext.com/2011/images/3-22-US-democracy.jpg

and more: https://syrianfreepress.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/we-will-help-the-syrian-people-to-achieve-democracy-20140603.jpg

and more: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/76/31/c0/7631c0787ae47cfc74cd8488390cc5d5.jpg

johnsmith44 -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 09:21

1) Google for "Operation Northwoods", that is, CIA's proposal to Kennedy to shoot down a passenger jet over Cuba.

2) Read here: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/07/29/obama-should-release-ukraine-evidence/

ex-CIA personnel openly describing their involvement in the dowining of Korean Airlines passenger flight 007 over Siberia on August 30, 1983 and I believe it becomes apparent who downed MH-17.

Jerome Fryer -> Popeyes 31 May 2015 09:11

We're the global overlords, and so second-rate nations aren't allowed to reciprocate our petulant actions. When they do so it causes some people to question the assumed status of the 'Western' hegemony (and our claimed system of morally superior 'values'). We can't allow that sort of thing, Popeyes.

davidncldl 31 May 2015 09:10

The Guardian has a clear pro-EU/USA position on the new cold war against Russia. Mr Putin is their democratically elected leader and he is enormously popular. Only an imbecile would be surprised or indignant about Russia retaliating for unjust EU/US sanctions. What do the globalisers and bankers' friends at the Guardian expect? I imagine you think that the ruination of the Venezuelan and Russian economies by the manipulation of the oil price is just "free market" activity.

Hass Castorp 31 May 2015 09:07

"More than 6,200 people have been killed in fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists."

This is a language of propaganda, Guardian. Last i checked Guardian advertised to be a newspaper, not a bulletin of The Ministry of Truth.

My reformulation; "More than 6200 (in some estimates up to 50.000) have been killed and up to 1 million civilians displaced (who mostly fled to Russia) by Ukrainian government troops and private terrorist kommandos of Ukrainian oligarchs."

Jerome Fryer -> henry919 31 May 2015 09:03

The only way to effectively block people from other regions (blanket censor them, in other words) would be to positively identify the source. All that you would likely achieve is blocking actual individual commentators and letting through the government astroturfers.

Why you would want to resort to such tactics is worth asking. The 'Western side' may be losing the propaganda war with Russia because our lies are bigger and harder to sell -- rather than Pooty-poot being cleverer.

Repeated debunked claims in our media are also going to be far more damaging than anything similar in Russia. The problem doesn't lie with those you are asserting to be 'trolls' that are disputing the reporting -- the problem lies with the reporting.

(If your argument must be protected against criticism then it is a weak argument.)

[Sep 16, 2018] Ending the Secrecy of the Student Debt Crisis

Pervasive racketeering rules because we allow it to, especially in education and medicine. Both are self-destructing under the weight of their own money-grubbing schemes.
Notable quotes:
"... Because of the loans' disgracefully high interest rates, my family and I have paid more or less the equivalent of my debt itself in the years since I graduated, making monthly payments in good faith -- even in times of unemployment and extreme duress -- to lenders like Citigroup, a bank that was among the largest recipients of federal bailout money in 2008 and that eventually sold off my debt to other lenders. This ruinous struggle has been essentially meaningless: I now owe more than what I started out owing, not unlike my parents with their mortgage . ..."
"... By Daniela Senderowicz. Originally published in Yes! Magazine ..."
"... Activists are building meaningful connections among borrowers to counter the taboo of admitting they can't pay their bills. ..."
"... Gamblers and reality TV stars can claim bankruptcy protections when in financial trouble, but 44 million student loan borrowers can't. Unemployed, underpaid, destitute, sick, or struggling borrowers simply aren't able to start anew. ..."
"... With a default rate approaching 40 percent , one would expect armies of distressed borrowers marching in the streets demanding relief from a system that has singled out their financial anguish. Distressed student debtors, however, seem to be terror-struck about coming forward to a society that, they say, ostracizes them for their inability to keep up with their finances. ..."
"... When we spoke to several student borrowers, almost none were willing to share their names. "I can't tell anyone how much I'm struggling," says a 39-year-old Oregon physician who went into student loan default after his wife's illness drained their finances. He is terrified of losing his patients and reputation if he speaks out about his financial problems. ..."
"... Debtors are isolated, anxious, and in the worst cases have taken their own lives . Simone confirms that she has "worked with debtors who were suicidal or had psychological breakdowns requiring psychiatric hospitalization." ..."
"... "Alienation impacts mental health issues," says New York mental health counselor Harriet Fraad. "As long as they blame themselves within the system, they're lost." ..."
"... A recent manifesto by activist and recent graduate Eli Campbell calls for radical unity among borrowers. "Young people live in constant fear that they'll never be able to pay off their debt. We're not buying houses or able to afford the hallmarks of the American dream," he explains. ..."
"... Do a little research on car selling and you will see the pressures on the dealer sales force to suck the vast majority of buyers into long term debt. Car loans are now five or six years, routinely. ..."
Sep 16, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. This article describes how the stigma of struggling to pay student debt is a burden in and of itself. I wish this article had explained how little it take to trigger an escalation into default interest rates and how punitive they are. The piece also stresses the value of activism as a form of psychological relief, by connecting stressed student debt borrowers with people similarly afflicted.

But the bigger issue is the way indebtedness is demonized in a society that makes it pretty much impossible to avoid borrowing. One reader recounted how many (as in how few) weeks of after tax wages it took to buy a car in the 1960s versus now. Dealers don't want to talk to buyers who want to pay in full at the time of purchase. And if you don't have installment credit or a mortgage, the consumer credit agencies ding you!

It goes without saying that the sense of shame is harder to endure due to how shallow most people's social networks are, which is another product of neoliberalism.

In keeping, the New York Times today ran an op-ed by one of its editors on how student debtors are also victims of the crisis, reprinted from a longer piece in The Baffler (hat tip Dan K). Key sections :

Because of the loans' disgracefully high interest rates, my family and I have paid more or less the equivalent of my debt itself in the years since I graduated, making monthly payments in good faith -- even in times of unemployment and extreme duress -- to lenders like Citigroup, a bank that was among the largest recipients of federal bailout money in 2008 and that eventually sold off my debt to other lenders. This ruinous struggle has been essentially meaningless: I now owe more than what I started out owing, not unlike my parents with their mortgage .

Many people have and will continue to condemn me personally for my tremendous but unexceptional student debt, and the ways in which it has made the recession's effects linger for my family. I've spent quite a lot of time in the past decade accepting this blame. The recession may have compounded my family's economic insecurity, but I also made the conscious decision to take out loans for a college I couldn't afford in order to become a journalist, a profession with minimal financial returns. The amount of debt I owe in student loans -- about $100,000 -- is more than I make in a given year. I am ashamed and embarrassed by this, but as I grow older, I think it is time that those profiting from this country's broken economic system share some of my guilt

[At my commencement in 2009] Mrs. Clinton then echoed a fantasy of boundless opportunity that had helped guide the country into economic collapse, deceiving many of the parents in attendance, including my own, into borrowing toward a future that they couldn't work hard enough to afford. "There is no problem we face here in America or around the world that will not yield to human effort," she said. "Our challenges are ones that summon the best of us, and we will make the world better tomorrow than it is today." At the time, I wondered if this was accurate. I now know how wrong she was.

By Daniela Senderowicz. Originally published in Yes! Magazine

Activists are building meaningful connections among borrowers to counter the taboo of admitting they can't pay their bills.

Gamblers and reality TV stars can claim bankruptcy protections when in financial trouble, but 44 million student loan borrowers can't. Unemployed, underpaid, destitute, sick, or struggling borrowers simply aren't able to start anew.

With a default rate approaching 40 percent , one would expect armies of distressed borrowers marching in the streets demanding relief from a system that has singled out their financial anguish. Distressed student debtors, however, seem to be terror-struck about coming forward to a society that, they say, ostracizes them for their inability to keep up with their finances.

When we spoke to several student borrowers, almost none were willing to share their names. "I can't tell anyone how much I'm struggling," says a 39-year-old Oregon physician who went into student loan default after his wife's illness drained their finances. He is terrified of losing his patients and reputation if he speaks out about his financial problems.

"If I shared this with anyone they will look down upon me as some kind of fool," explains a North Carolina psychologist who is now beyond retirement age. He explains that his student debt balance soared after losing a well-paying position during the financial crisis, and that he is struggling to pay it back.

Financial shame alienates struggling borrowers. Debtors blame themselves and self-loathe when they can't make their payments, explains Colette Simone, a Michigan psychologist. "There is so much fear of sharing the reality of their financial situation and the devastation it is causing in every facet of their lives," she says. "The consequences of coming forward can result in social pushback and possible job -- related complications, which only deepen their suffering."

Debtors are isolated, anxious, and in the worst cases have taken their own lives . Simone confirms that she has "worked with debtors who were suicidal or had psychological breakdowns requiring psychiatric hospitalization."

With an average debt of just over $37,000 per borrower for the class of 2016 , and given that incomes have been flat since the 1970s , it's not surprising that borrowers are struggling to pay. Student loans have a squeaky-clean reputation, and society tends to view them as a noble symbol of the taxpayers' generosity to the working poor. Fear of facing society's ostracism for failure to pay them back has left borrowers alienated and trapped in a lending system that is engulfing them in debt bondage.

"Alienation impacts mental health issues," says New York mental health counselor Harriet Fraad. "As long as they blame themselves within the system, they're lost."

Student debtors can counter despair by fighting back through activism and political engagement, she says. "Connection is the antidote to alienation, and engaging in activism, along with therapy, is a way to recovery."

Despite the fear of coming forward, some activists are building a social movement in which meaningful connections among borrowers can counter the taboo of openly admitting financial ruin.

Student Loan Justice, a national grassroots lobby group, is attempting to build this movement by pushing for robust legislation to return bankruptcy protections to borrowers. The group has active chapters in almost every state, with members directly lobbying their local representatives to sign on as co-sponsors to HR 2366. Activists are building a supportive community for struggling borrowers through political agitation, local engagement, storytelling, and by spreading a courageous message of hope that may embolden traumatized borrowers to come forward and unite.

Julie Margetaa Morgan , a fellow at The Roosevelt Institute, recently noted that student debt servicers like Navient have a powerful influence on lawmakers. "Student loan borrowers may not have millions to spend on lobbying, but they have something equally, if not more, powerful: millions of voices," she says.

A recent manifesto by activist and recent graduate Eli Campbell calls for radical unity among borrowers. "Young people live in constant fear that they'll never be able to pay off their debt. We're not buying houses or able to afford the hallmarks of the American dream," he explains.

In his call for a unified national boycott of student loan payments, inevitably leading to a mass default on this debt, Campbell hopes to expose this crisis and instigate radical change. In a recent interview he explained that the conditions for borrowers are so bad already that debtors may not join the boycott willingly. Instead, participation may simply happen by default given the lack of proper work opportunities that lead to borrowers' inability to pay.

While a large-scale default may not happen through willful and supportive collective action, ending the secrecy of the crisis through massive national attention may destigmatize the shame of financial defeat and finally bring debtors out of the isolation that causes them so much despair.

Activists are calling for a significant conversation about the commodification of educating our youth, shifting our focus toward investing into the promise of the young and able, rather than the guarantee of their perpetual debt bondage. In calling for collective action they soothe the hurt of so many alienated debtors, breaking the taboos that allow them to say, "Me, too" and admit openly that in this financial climate we all need each other to move forward.


Jane , September 16, 2018 at 4:15 am

How much are the interest rates on student loans there in the USA? Here in India its 11.5% if you want to finance studies abroad. 8.5 for some select institutions.

JVR , September 16, 2018 at 5:36 am

I wonder if the media's obsession with "millenials" isn't primarily a way to try to divide people with shared interests, above all around the topics of student debt and the job market and to make the problems seem like they have shallower roots than they really do. The individuals mentioned here are older than that 24-37 age cohort, one of them much older.

Epistrophy , September 16, 2018 at 6:42 am

Dealers don't want to talk to buyers who want to pay in full at the time of purchase.

Yes Yes. Car manufacturers are actually finance houses selling products manufactured by subcontractors – such is the state of American industry – but their dream is to move to a SaaS model where ownership, of anything, becomes a relic of the past (except for the overlords and oligarchs).

This could not be possible without government corruption and revolving-door regulation. Maybe these PAYG vehicles will contain built-in body scanners too; for our own security, of course.

In his call for a unified national boycott of student loan payments, inevitably leading to a mass default on this debt, Campbell hopes to expose this crisis and instigate radical change.

Default, or radical change, would bring the economy to it's knees. But when there is another economic downturn, this is going to happen anyway. Terrible situation; negative real interest rates destroying the pensions of the elderly, student loan servitude destroying the youth and the middle class being squeezed to oblivion. What can be done to fix it, I ask?

Yet they are doing God's work, are they? Well, this is not a God I choose to worship.

JTMcPhee , September 16, 2018 at 8:33 am

Well good for you. How many cars, of what age, have you bought, for your anecdote to rate as anything vaguely resembling the wide reality, and how does your personal financial situation let you just write checks for $30 or $70,000?

Do a little research on car selling and you will see the pressures on the dealer sales force to suck the vast majority of buyers into long term debt. Car loans are now five or six years, routinely.

And one wonders what the investment is in trying to impeach the points of this report, wth such an unlikely and atypical claim.

UserFriendly , September 16, 2018 at 6:57 am

NYT ran the same story , interesting they edited out his total debt and major though.

JTMcPhee , September 16, 2018 at 8:39 am

Maybe a little traction, then, for the notion, and increasingly the inescapable reality, of #juststoppaying on those "remember Joe Biden" virtually non-dischargeable, often fraudulently induced, "student loan" debt shackles?

[Sep 15, 2018] The Khmer Rouge victory in Cambodia was precipitated by the U.S. bombings

Sep 15, 2018 | www.unz.com

Mike P , says: September 14, 2018 at 9:51 pm GMT

@anarchyst I see stuff written about the Vietnam war and it never fails they don't talk at all about the whole picture. The Vietnam war was a war to stop the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia. In that aspect it won some and lost some. Vietnam had nothing to do with oil or Colonialism. Any look at a map would show it's vast strategic location for the Communist. It has one the best ports in Asia. They talk about Tet defeating us. Nothing could be further from the truth. It ended forever the Viet Cong in the South. From then on all the attacks were from the North. The next big attack...

And in Viet Nam the North sent 150,000 men south with as much armor as the Wehrmacht had in many WW II engagements. That was in 1973, and of that 150,000 fewer than 50,000 men and no armor returned to the North, at a cost of under 1,000 American casualties. Most would count that an outstanding victory.

(Alas, in 1975 North Viet Nam had another army of over 100,000 and sent it South; the Democratic Congress voted our South Vietnamese 20 cartridges and 2 hand grenades per man, but refused naval and air support; Saigon predictably became Ho Chi Minh city as we pushed helicopters off the decks of out carriers in our frantic evacuation; but that is hardly the fault of the US military).

The South lost when they ran out of ammunition. During the time we were fighting in Vietnam all the other Asian countries with their own Commies attacking them were fighting also. Many of them won. The ones that fell like Cambodia paid a harsh price. By all measurement of what we went to Vietnam for we didn't lose. It did stop the spread of Communism to all Asia. Rarely in any wars do you get all you want.

The Democrat party has been saying that the Vets fought a losing war when in actuality the Democrats directly are responsible for the loss of South Vietnam. There are only a few highways leading South and they were packed with tanks and troop transport in 75. It would have been a complete turkey shoot like the war in Kuwait. We even had battleships at that time that could have pounded them from the coast. If we would have attacked it would have probably caused them such a defeat that they would have never attacked again maybe even the government of the North would have been overthrown by the people for such incompetence. Unfortunately the Nixon was gone and Ford was directly told if he helped the Vietnamese with air power he would be impeached.

The idea that the Vietnam vets died for nothing is a huge psyops by the Democrats. The South had defeated all the guerillas. All they needed was support to hold off the North and the Democrats sold them out. If the South Vietnamese had not fell it's very likely that the Cambodian Genocide would have never happened.
The Democrats had said the war was lost so many times that they had to prove it so by actually losing it.

we were fighting in Vietnam all the other Asian countries with their own Commies attacking them were fighting also. Many of them won. The ones that fell like Cambodia paid a harsh price.

On the other hand, the Khmer Rouge victory in Cambodia was precipitated by the U.S. bombings:

Estimates vary widely on the number of civilian casualites inflicted by the campaign; however,as many as 500,000 people died as a direct result of the bombings while perhaps hundreds of thousands more died from the effects of displacement, disease or starvation during this period.

The Khmer Rouge, previously a marginalized guerrilla group, propagandized the bombing campaign to great effect; by the CIA's own intelligence estimates, the US bombing campaign was a key factor in the increase in popular support for the Khmer Rouge rebels. After their victory in 1975, the Khmer Rouge oversaw a period in which another one-to-two million Cambodians died from execution, hunger and forced labour.

(from http://rabble.ca/toolkit/on-this-day/us-secret-bombing-cambodia )

The U.S. also utterly devastated Laos, killed millions of Vietnamese ultimately all for nothing, or rather worse than nothing.

[Sep 14, 2018] This Memorial Day, remember the 116,516 Americans President Wilson killed in that senseless war.

Sep 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Steve Naidamast , says: June 13, 2018 at 7:14 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer My recent tribute to World War I:

May 28, 2018 - A Memorial to the Great War Disaster

Books about World War I are not popular in the USA because they are depressing. The world's great European powers destroyed a generation of men in pointless bloody battles. Few Americans realize that World War I was America's worst foreign policy blunder that killed millions and set the stage for World War II.

When the "Great War" began in 1914, royals and generals hoped for swift victories. However, advances in technology, mostly machine guns and rapid fire artillery, allowed concentrated firepower to annihilate attacking formations. The war in France bogged down into a bloody stalemate and the construction of fortified positions ensured that any offensive would grind to a stop. The king of England and Germany were first cousins who grew up together, so a peaceful resolution was likely in 1916.

The problem was that British bankers had loaned its government lots of money and most could not be repaid. They wanted to win the war so they could loot Germany by requiring Germans to pay reparations so the British government could repay them. If they could lure the powerful USA to join the war, victory was assured. They blocked peace efforts and used their agents of influence to manipulate the USA into joining the war. Soon after President Wilson was elected with the promise to stay out the war, he worked with Congress to declare war.

As a result, the war dragged on for two more bloody years before enough American men and material arrived in France to turn the tide. The war was unpopular back home, leading Wilson to censor the US mail by blocking anti-war newsletters and magazines. He threw thousands of political opponents in jail, implemented a draft to fill out the Army, and sent these reluctant Americans into battle with little training and poor equipment. The Americans fought bravely, but the Germans had three years of combat experience and chewed up American units foolishly thrown into frontal attacks that had little chance of success. After four years of war, the Germans had no more manpower to replace losses, and surrendered based on a just peace promised by President Wilson. That never happened and Germany was looted and humiliated, which led to the rise of the Nazis and World War II.

So this Memorial Day, remember the 116,516 Americans President Wilson killed in that senseless war. Moreover, the American intervention extended the war and resulted in World War II. American GIs slaughter Germans so British bankers could collect debts, with interest! I was inspired to write this blog post after reading the brilliant David Stockman's recent essay about America's disastrous intervention in World War I.

https://original.antiwar.com/David_Stockman/2018/05/16/why-the-empire-never-sleeps-the-indispensable-nation-folly-part-2/ I have to agree with much of what stated in his reply. But I would like to also add my own in-depth notes

I tend to concentrate my military studies on World War I (in addition to the "War for Southern Independence" and the inter-war years (1919-1939)). And as everyone here has concluded, World War I was an abomination of an atrocity.

Professor Bacevich, a man I have great respect for, did however make some minor but critical errors in this piece.

Kaiser Wilhelm had no desire to enter into a world conflagration. When he realized that events were spinning out of control, he did everything in his power to contact his cousin, the Russian Czar, to request that Russian Mobilization be halted, the actual cause of the start of the conflict. Due to the fact that diplomacy, unlike the military (which had adopted wireless and wired communications), was still using traditional methods of face-to-face discussion or formal letters for diplomacy, the Kaiser was unable to get through to his cousin in time to stop what the Czar most likely could not halt in any event. Mobilization of forces at the time had taken on a life of their own due to the technologies of modernized train transport.

In 1915 or 1916, the German high command attempted to offer to negotiate peace with Britain and France but Britain, with the war being run basically by Churchill (a warmonger of the first order) refused to talk to the Germans, since he loathed them for whatever reasons.

The war was won by Germany in the winter of 1917 at which point the megalomaniacal Woodrow Wilson pushed the US into the conflict with his god-like notion that he could create peace on Earth. The man was truly clinically insane (but functional) as much recent documentation has attested to (see the late Thomas Fleming's, "Illusion of Victory" for a thrill ride through Wilson's addled thinking).

Had the US not entered the war, there would have been an amenable peace developed in 1917 among the European belligerents. And probably as a result, no World War II.

England was the cause of the war indirectly with her centuries old "balance of power" politics applied to continental Europe. In this vein, fearful of the loss of her dominance on the high seas as a result of the Kaiser's excellent buildup of the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy), which in turn would threaten her empire, the British military started to collude with the French military, I believe as early as 1906, to develop joint operational plans in case of war with Germany. This latter of course, the British were very much hoping would happen. And with Churchill being one of the most influential cabinet members on the matter, there was little doubt that Britain would need very little pretext to enter a conflict.

However, it was France's alliance with Russia that was directly responsible for the initiation of the entire conflagration. This alliance was centered upon loans to Russia from France for Russian domestic development and French fears that if Germany attacked her she would be left on her own to defend herself. Russia agreed in principal to ally herself with France but used the French loans instead to rebuild her military (though it did her little good against superior German arms).

Germany, bound in alliance with Austro-Hungary, did in fact support Austria's punitive strike into Serbia and provided what some have called a "blank check", which provided for military and financial support as a result of the alliance. Austria's military, one which had a very spotty historical record of being on and off again as far as quality was concerned, was definitively off in 1914 and was summarily defeated by superior Serbian Forces.

Franz-Josef of Austria had no expectation of a world war when he committed Austria to such an incursion into Serbian territory and by that time no else did either as a result of the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand since royal assassinations had become pretty common place in Europe from 1880 onward. However, on the Austrian side we have general Conrad von Hotzendorf to thank for this strike at Serbia. He hated Serbia probably as much as Churchill hated the Germans but Conrad had good reason to since the Balkan nation was always causing all sorts of problems on the Austro-Hungarian borders. Unfortunately, Conrad was not all that good a military man and cost Austrian hundreds of thousands of combatant deaths during the conflict.

As a result, this assassination, a real non-event, has been touted to school children ever since as the cause of World War I. In reality, it was simply window dressing for idiots in the US educational system to latch onto.

The reaction of Russia to the attack on Serbia was to fully mobilize her military, which up through World War II has always been seen as an imminent sign of war.

This automatically dragged France into war, which in turn dragged England as a result of the secret military partnership. Austria then was forced to follow suit and formally declare war, which brought the final player into the conflict, Germany, who with the exception of some in the German high command really had questions about engaging in such a widening war, which was supposed to be a localized conflict.

Seeing that there was no hope to ending the conflict on amenable terms, the Kaiser abdicated in 1918 and fled for the Royal Netherlands where he was taken in and granted political asylum. However, by this time General Ludendorf had become a de-facto military dictator of Germany. And though both he and his senior military aide. Max Hoffman, , who did the majority of the planning, developed superior battlefield strategy, Ludendorf's political decisions caused untold problems for the German social infrastructure, some of which was a reaction to the new pressures that US Forces were finally bringing to bare on German arms.

The original number of deaths for World War I began at around ten million but had been upgraded over the years to around twenty million. However, this does not take into account the highly damaging effects of what would become known as the Spanish Flu in 1918. Recent research into this aspect of the war is now postulating of up to sixty million deaths all told.

The Spanish Flu was actually a very mild flu; not the devastating epidemic that again idiot educators and historians have touted over the years. What made this particular strain of Flu so devastating was not the virus itself but the need for adequate health-care and recovery. However, within the field armies that were facing each other, the deprivations that the war had brought to continental Europe, and the very poorly developed 33 US training camps in the States, affected personnel and civilian populace did not have the proper facilities and health-care required to allow them to recover quickly and properly from this disease. The result was that patients lingered in terrible conditions making recovery impossible and allowing death to ensue.

Finally, it was not just British bankers who wanted their loans paid back but the US banks desired it as well for their own loans; a first in the annals of military history between allies. However, the Wilson Administration never considered the US an ally to Britain or France. It instead viewed itself as an "associated nation", whatever that meant. However, Wilson was famously known for his ridiculous vagueness and slogans ("saving the world for democracy", which even at the time no one could quite figure out the meaning of). As a result, the US would not sign a peace agreement until 1922.

Talk about stupid

[Sep 14, 2018] The current endless "War on Terra" can be seen as an increasingly desperate attempt of a fading American Empire to hold on to and maintain its power and hegemony, again with the material, human, and moral cost of this war actually accelerating its demise.

Sep 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

MarkinPNW , says: June 13, 2018 at 5:49 am GMT

The World Wars (I and II) can be seen as an increasingly desperate attempt of a fading British Empire to hold on to and maintain its power and hegemony, with the material, human, and moral cost of the wars actually accelerating the empire's demise.

Likewise, the current endless "War on Terra" can be seen as an increasingly desperate attempt of a fading American Empire to hold on to and maintain its power and hegemony, again with the material, human, and moral cost of this war actually accelerating its demise.

But in the meantime, in both examples, the Bankers and the MIC just keep reaping their profits, even at the expense of the empires they purportedly support and defend.

Tom Welsh , says: June 13, 2018 at 10:05 am GMT
'There has never been a just [war], never an honorable one–on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful–as usual–will shout for the war. The pulpit will– warily and cautiously–object–at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it." Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity. Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers–as earlier– but do not dare to say so. And now the whole nation–pulpit and all– will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception'.

- Satan, in Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger" (1908)

Z-man , says: June 13, 2018 at 11:52 am GMT

Today, Washington need not even bother to propagandize the public into supporting its war. By and large, members of the public are indifferent to its very existence. And given our reliance on a professional military, shooting citizen-soldiers who want to opt out of the fight is no longer required.

Yep, I was looking for a quote like this. We have a mercenary military now so the ruling elite can send them anywhere they want with little agitation from the general public. That's why I advised my son not to join, not that he was leaning in that direction anyway. (Grin)

Mike P , says: June 13, 2018 at 12:26 pm GMT
Ludendorff's book is available on archive.org , an amazing resource.
AnonFromTN , says: June 13, 2018 at 3:19 pm GMT
I posted this in another thread, but here it is more appropriate:
That's what happens when hubris replaces strategy. In the US today only MIC has a strategy: produce any fakes necessary to keep the gravy train rolling. The leadership of the country is wholly owned by MIC and allied forces (AIPAC is one of those) and mostly resembles biblical blind lead by the blind
renfro , says: June 13, 2018 at 5:07 pm GMT

Andrew J. Bacevich is hard at work writing a book about how we got Donald J. Trump.

Buying his book would be a waste of money I can tell you for free.

Trump was elected out of the sheer desperation of a large number of Americans fed up to death with a corrupt government and noxious [neo]liberalism. period.

Unfortunately he was a fraud ..but the most desperate are still clinging, hoping against hope.

[Sep 14, 2018] The US are not interested in winning and leaving they want to continue disrupting the peaceful integration of East, West, and South Asia.

Sep 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Mike P , says: June 8, 2018 at 4:33 pm GMT

No, it's not the generals who have let us down, but the politicians to whom they supposedly report and from whom they nominally take their orders.

I'd say both. The generals have greatly assisted in stringing along the trusting public, always promising that victory is just around the corner, provided the public supports this or that final effort. Petraeus in particular willingly played his part in misleading the public about both Iraq and Afghanistan. His career would be a great case study for illuminating what is wrong with the U.S. today.

As to the apparent failure of the Afghanistan war – one must be careful to separate stated goals from real ones. What kind of "lasting success" can the U.S. possibly hope for there? If they managed to defeat the Taliban, pacify the country, install a puppet regime to govern it, and then leave, what would that achieve? The puppet regime would find itself surrounded by powers antagonistic to the U.S., and the puppets would either cooperate with them or be overthrown in no time. The U.S. are not interested in winning and leaving – they want to continue disrupting the peaceful integration of East, West, and South Asia. Afghanistan is ideally placed for this purpose, and so the U.S. are quite content with dragging out that war, as a pretext for their continued presence in the region.

TG , says: June 8, 2018 at 7:44 pm GMT
An interesting and thoughtful piece.

I would disagree on one point though: "Today, Washington need not even bother to propagandize the public into supporting its war. By and large, members of the public are indifferent to its very existence."

This is an error. A majority of the American public think that wasting trillions of dollars on endless pointless foreign wars is a stupid idea, and they think that we would be better off spending that money on ourselves. It's just that we don't live in a democracy, and the corporate press constantly ignores the issue. But just because the press doesn't mention something, doesn't mean that it does not exist.

So during the last presidential election Donald Trump echoed this view, why are we throwing away all this money on stupid wars when we need that money at home? For this he was attacked as a fascist and "literally Hitler" (really! It's jaw-dropping when you think about it). Despite massive propaganda attacking Trump, and a personal style that could charitably be called a jackass, Trump won the election in large part because indeed most American don't like the status quo.

After the election, Trump started to deliver on his promises – and he was quickly beaten down, his pragmatist nationalist advisors purged and replaced with defense-industry chickenhawks, and now we are back to the old status quo. The public be damned.

No, the American people are not being propagandized into supporting these wars. They are simply being ignored.

Left Gatekeeper Dispatch , says: June 8, 2018 at 9:10 pm GMT
When are you going to stop insulting our intelligence with this Boy's State civics crap? You're calling on political leaders to stop war, like they don't remember what CIA did to JFK, RFK, Daschle, or Leahy. Or Paul Wellstone.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/tribute-to-the-last-honorable-us-senator-the-story-of-paul-wellstones-suspected-assassination-2/5643200

Your national command structure, CIA, has impunity for universal jurisdiction crime. They can kill or torture anyone they want and get away with it. That is what put them in charge. CIA kills anybody who gets in their way. You fail to comprehend Lenin's lesson: first destroy the regime, then you can refrain from use of force. Until you're ready to take on CIA, your bold phrases are silent and odorless farts of feckless self-absorption. Sack up and imprison CIA SIS or GTFO.

smellyoilandgas , says: June 13, 2018 at 4:48 am GMT
@TG An interesting and thoughtful piece.

I would disagree on one point though: "Today, Washington need not even bother to propagandize the public into supporting its war. By and large, members of the public are indifferent to its very existence."

This is an error. A majority of the American public think that wasting trillions of dollars on endless pointless foreign wars is a stupid idea, and they think that we would be better off spending that money on ourselves. It's just that we don't live in a democracy, and the corporate press constantly ignores the issue. But just because the press doesn't mention something, doesn't mean that it does not exist.

So during the last presidential election Donald Trump echoed this view, why are we throwing away all this money on stupid wars when we need that money at home? For this he was attacked as a fascist and "literally Hitler" (really! It's jaw-dropping when you think about it). Despite massive propaganda attacking Trump, and a personal style that could charitably be called a jackass, Trump won the election in large part because indeed most American don't like the status quo.

After the election, Trump started to deliver on his promises - and he was quickly beaten down, his pragmatist nationalist advisors purged and replaced with defense-industry chickenhawks, and now we are back to the old status quo. The public be damned.

No, the American people are not being propagandized into supporting these wars. They are simply being ignored. While I agree the slave-American is ignored, I think the elected, salaried members of the elected government are also ignored.. The persons in charge are Pharaohs and massively powerful global in scope corporations.
Abe Lincoln, McKinnley, Kennedy discovered that fact in their fate.

Organized Zionism was copted by the London bankers and their corporations 1897, since then a string of events have emerged.. that like a Submarine, seeking a far off target, it must divert to avoid being discovered, but soon, Red October returns to its intended path. here the path is to take the oil from the Arabs.. and the people driving that submarine are extremely wealthy Pharaohs and very well known major corporations.

I suggest to quit talking about the nation states and their leaders as if either could beat their way out of a wet paper sack. instead starting talking about the corporations and Pharaohs because they are global.

[Sep 14, 2018] Infinite War: The Gravy Train Rolls by Andrew J. Bacevich

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Erster General-Quartiermeister ..."
Jun 07, 2018 | www.unz.com

" The United States of Amnesia ." That's what Gore Vidal once called us. We remember what we find it convenient to remember and forget everything else. That forgetfulness especially applies to the history of others. How could their past, way back when, have any meaning for us today? Well, it just might. Take the European conflagration of 1914-1918, for example.

You may not have noticed. There's no reason why you should have, fixated as we all are on the daily torrent of presidential tweets and the flood of mindless rejoinders they elicit. But let me note for the record that the centenary of the conflict once known as The Great War is well underway and before the present year ends will have concluded.

Indeed, a hundred years ago this month, the 1918 German Spring Offensive -- codenamed Operation Michael -- was sputtering to an unsuccessful conclusion. A last desperate German gamble, aimed at shattering Allied defenses and gaining a decisive victory, had fallen short. In early August of that year, with large numbers of our own doughboys now on the front lines, a massive Allied counteroffensive was to commence, continuing until the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, when an armistice finally took effect and the guns fell silent.

In the years that followed, Americans demoted The Great War. It became World War I, vaguely related to but overshadowed by the debacle next in line, known as World War II. Today, the average citizen knows little about that earlier conflict other than that it preceded and somehow paved the way for an even more brutal bloodletting. Also, on both occasions, the bad guys spoke German.

So, among Americans, the war of 1914-1918 became a neglected stepsister of sorts, perhaps in part because the United States only got around to suiting up for that conflict about halfway through the fourth quarter. With the war of 1939-1945 having been sacralized as the moment when the Greatest Generation saved humankind, the war-formerly-known-as-The-Great-War collects dust in the bottom drawer of American collective consciousness.

From time to time, some politician or newspaper columnist will resurrect the file labeled "August 1914," the grim opening weeks of that war, and sound off about the dangers of sleepwalking into a devastating conflict that nobody wants or understands. Indeed, with Washington today having become a carnival of buncombe so sublimely preposterous that even that great journalistic iconoclast H.L. Mencken might have been struck dumb, ours is perhaps an apt moment for just such a reminder.

Yet a different aspect of World War I may possess even greater relevance to the American present. I'm thinking of its duration: the longer it lasted, the less sense it made. But on it went, impervious to human control like the sequence of Biblical plagues that God had inflicted on the ancient Egyptians.

So the relevant question for our present American moment is this: once it becomes apparent that a war is a mistake, why would those in power insist on its perpetuation, regardless of costs and consequences? In short, when getting in turns out to have been a bad idea, why is getting out so difficult, even (or especially) for powerful nations that presumably should be capable of exercising choice on such matters? Or more bluntly, how did the people in charge during The Great War get away with inflicting such extraordinary damage on the nations and peoples for which they were responsible?

For those countries that endured World War I from start to finish -- especially Great Britain, France, and Germany -- specific circumstances provided their leaders with an excuse for suppressing second thoughts about the cataclysm they had touched off.

Among them were:

mostly compliant civilian populations deeply loyal to some version of King and Country, further kept in line by unremitting propaganda that minimized dissent; draconian discipline -- deserters and malingerers faced firing squads -- that maintained order in the ranks (most of the time) despite the unprecedented scope of the slaughter; the comprehensive industrialization of war, which ensured a seemingly endless supply of the weaponry, munitions, and other equipment necessary for outfitting mass conscript armies and replenishing losses as they occurred.

Economists would no doubt add sunk costs to the mix. With so much treasure already squandered and so many lives already lost, the urge to press on a bit longer in hopes of salvaging at least some meager benefit in return for what (and who) had been done in was difficult to resist.

Even so, none of these, nor any combination of them, can adequately explain why, in the midst of an unspeakable orgy of self-destruction, with staggering losses and nations in ruin, not one monarch or president or premier had the wit or gumption to declare: Enough! Stop this madness!

Instead, the politicians sat on their hands while actual authority devolved onto the likes of British Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, French Marshals Ferdinand Foch and Philippe Petain, and German commanders Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff. In other words, to solve a conundrum they themselves had created, the politicians of the warring states all deferred to their warrior chieftains. For their part, the opposing warriors jointly subscribed to a perverted inversion of strategy best summarized by Ludendorff as "punch a hole [in the front] and let the rest follow." And so the conflict dragged on and on.

The Forfeiture of Policy

Put simply, in Europe, a hundred years ago, war had become politically purposeless. Yet the leaders of the world's principal powers -- including

Allow me to suggest that the United States should consider taking a page out of Lenin's playbook. Granted, prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, such a suggestion might have smacked of treason. Today, however, in the midst of our never-ending efforts to expunge terrorism, we might look to Lenin for guidance on how to get our priorities straight.

As was the case with Great Britain, France, and Germany a century ago, the United States now finds itself mired in a senseless war. Back then, political leaders in London, Paris, and Berlin had abrogated control of basic policy to warrior chieftains. Today, ostensibly responsible political leaders in Washington have done likewise. Some of those latter-day American warrior chieftains who gather in the White House or testify on Capitol Hill may wear suits rather than uniforms, but all remain enamored with the twenty-first-century equivalent of Ludendorff's notorious dictum.

Of course, our post-9/11 military enterprise -- the undertaking once known as the Global War on Terrorism -- differs from The Great War in myriad ways. The ongoing hostilities in which U.S. forces are involved in various parts of the Islamic world do not qualify, even metaphorically, as "great." Nor will there be anything great about an armed conflict with Iran , should members of the current administration get their apparent wish to provoke one.

Today, Washington need not even bother to propagandize the public into supporting its war. By and large, members of the public are indifferent to its very existence. And given our reliance on a professional military, shooting citizen-soldiers who want to opt out of the fight is no longer required.

There are also obvious differences in scale, particularly when it comes to the total number of casualties involved. Cumulative deaths from the various U.S. interventions, large and small, undertaken since 9/11, number in the hundreds of thousands . The precise tally of those lost during the European debacle of 1914-1918 will never be known, but the total probably surpassed 13 million .

Even so, similarities between the Great War as it unspooled and our own not-in-the-least-great war(s) deserve consideration. Today, as then, strategy -- that is, the principled use of power to achieve the larger interests of the state -- has ceased to exist. Indeed, war has become an excuse for ignoring the absence of strategy.

For years now, U.S. military officers and at least some national security aficionados have referred to ongoing military hostilities as " the Long War ." To describe our conglomeration of spreading conflicts as "long" obviates any need to suggest when or under what circumstances (if any) they might actually end. It's like the meteorologist forecasting a "long winter" or the betrothed telling his or her beloved that theirs will be a "long engagement." The implicit vagueness is not especially encouraging.

Some high-ranking officers of late have offered a more forthright explanation of what "long" may really mean. In the Washington Post , the journalist Greg Jaffe recently reported that "winning for much of the U.S. military's top brass has come to be synonymous with staying put." Winning, according to Air Force General Mike Holmes, is simply "not losing. It's staying in the game."

Not so long ago, America's armed forces adhered to a concept called victory , which implied conclusive, expeditious, and economical mission accomplished. No more. Victory , it turns out, is too tough to achieve, too restrictive, or, in the words of Army Lieutenant General Michael Lundy, "too absolute." The United States military now grades itself instead on a curve. As Lundy puts it, "winning is more of a continuum," an approach that allows you to claim mission accomplishment without, you know, actually accomplishing anything.

It's like soccer for six-year-olds. Everyone tries hard so everyone gets a trophy. Regardless of outcomes, no one goes home feeling bad. In the U.S. military's case, every general gets a medal (or, more likely, a chest full of them).

"These days," in the Pentagon, Jaffe writes, "senior officers talk about 'infinite war.'"

I would like to believe that Jaffe is pulling our leg. But given that he's a conscientious reporter with excellent sources, I fear he knows what he's talking about. If he's right, as far as the top brass are concerned, the Long War has now officially gone beyond long. It has been deemed endless and is accepted as such by those who preside over its conduct.

Strategic Abomination

In truth, infinite war is a strategic abomination, an admission of professional military bankruptcy. Erster General-Quartiermeister Ludendorff might have endorsed the term, but Ludendorff was a military fanatic.

Check that. Infinite war is a strategic abomination except for arms merchants, so-called defense contractors, and the " emergency men " (and women) devoted to climbing the greasy pole of what we choose to call the national security establishment. In other words, candor obliges us to acknowledge that, in some quarters, infinite war is a pure positive, carrying with it a promise of yet more profits, promotions, and opportunities to come. War keeps the gravy train rolling. And, of course, that's part of the problem.

Who should we hold accountable for this abomination? Not the generals, in my view. If they come across as a dutiful yet unimaginative lot, remember that a lifetime of military service rarely nurtures imagination or creativity. And let us at least credit our generals with this: in their efforts to liberate or democratize or pacify or dominate the Greater Middle East they have tried every military tactic and technique imaginable. Short of nuclear annihilation, they've played just about every card in the Pentagon's deck -- without coming up with a winning hand. So they come and go at regular intervals, each new commander promising success and departing after a couple years to make way for someone else to give it a try.

It tells us something about our prevailing standards of generalship that, by resurrecting an old idea -- counterinsurgency -- and applying it with temporary success to one particular theater of war, General David Petraeus acquired a reputation as a military genius. If Petraeus is a military genius, so, too, is General George McClellan. After winning the Battle of Rich Mountain in 1861, newspapers dubbed McClellan "the Napoleon of the Present War." But the action at Rich Mountain decided nothing and McClellan didn't win the Civil War any more than Petraeus won the Iraq War.

No, it's not the generals who have let us down, but the politicians to whom they supposedly report and from whom they nominally take their orders. Of course, under the heading of politician, we quickly come to our current commander-in-chief. Yet it would be manifestly unfair to blame President Trump for the mess he inherited, even if he is presently engaged in making matters worse .

The failure is a collective one, to which several presidents and both political parties have contributed over the years. Although the carnage may not be as horrific today as it was on the European battlefields on the Western and Eastern Fronts, members of our political class are failing us as strikingly and repeatedly as the political leaders of Great Britain, France, and Germany failed their peoples back then. They have abdicated responsibility for policy to our own homegrown equivalents of Haig, Foch, Petain, Hindenburg, and Ludendorff. Their failure is unforgivable.

Congressional midterm elections are just months away and another presidential election already looms. Who will be the political leader with the courage and presence of mind to declare: "Enough! Stop this madness!" Man or woman, straight or gay, black, brown, or white, that person will deserve the nation's gratitude and the support of the electorate.

Until that

[Sep 10, 2018] Washington Quietly Increases Lethal Weapons to Ukraine

Continuation of this civil war is important tool for Washington in destabilizing Russia.
Sep 10, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Secretary of Defense James Mattis acknowledges that U.S. instructors are training Ukrainian military units at a base in western Ukraine. Washington also has approved two important arms sales to Kiev's ground forces in just the past nine months. The first transaction in December 2017 was limited to small arms that at least could be portrayed as purely defensive weapons. That agreement included the export of Model M107A1 Sniper Systems, ammunition, and associated parts and accessories, a sale valued at $41.5 million.

A transaction in April 2018 was more serious. Not only was it larger ($47 million) , it included far more lethal weaponry, particularly 210 Javelin anti-tank missiles -- the kind of weapons that Barack Obama's administration had declined to give Kiev.

Needless to say, the Kremlin was not pleased about either sale. Moreover, Congress soon passed legislation in May that authorized $250 million in military assistance, including lethal weaponry, to Ukraine in 2019. Congress had twice voted for military support on a similar scale during the last years of Obama's administration, but the White House blocked implementation. The Trump administration cleared that obstacle out of the way in December 2017 at the same time that it approved the initial small-weapons sale. The passage of the May 2018 legislation means that the path is now open for a dramatic escalation of U.S. military backing for Kiev.

On September 1, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker disclosed during an interview with The Guardian that Washington's future military aid to Kiev would likely involve weapons sales to Ukraine's air force and navy as well as the army. "The Javelins are mainly symbolic and it's not clear if they would ever be used," Aric Toler, a research scholar at the Atlantic Council, asserted . One could well dispute his sanguine conclusion, but even Toler conceded: "Support for the Ukrainian navy and air defence would be a big deal. That would be far more significant."

Volker's cavalier attitude about U.S. arms sales to a government locked in a crisis with Russia epitomizes the arrogance and tone-deaf nature of the views that too many U.S. foreign policy officials exhibit regarding the sensitive Ukraine issue. "We can have a conversation with Ukraine like we would with any other country about what do they need. I think that there's going to be some discussion about naval capability because as you know their navy was basically taken by Russia [when the Soviet Union dissolved]. And so they need to rebuild a navy and they have very limited air capability as well. I think we'll have to look at air defence."

One suspects that Americans would be incensed at comparable actions by Moscow if the geo-strategic situations were reversed. Imagine if Russia (even a democratic Russia) had emerged from the wreckage of the Cold War as the undisputed global superpower, and a weakened United States had to watch as the Kremlin expanded a powerful, Russian-led military alliance to America's borders, conducted alliance war games within sight of U.S. territory, interfered in Canada's internal political affairs to oust a democratically elected pro-American government, and then pursued growing military ties with the new, anti-U.S. government in Ottawa. Yet that would be disturbingly similar to what Washington has done regarding NATO policy and U.S. relations with Ukraine.

The Much Diminished Russian Bear Let's See Who's Bluffing in the Criminal Case Against the Russians

Moreover, although Kiev's cheerleaders in the Western (especially U.S.) media like to portray Ukraine as a beleaguered democracy that plays the role of David to Russia's evil Goliath, the reality is far murkier. Putin's government overstates matters when it alleges that Ukraine's 2014 Maidan revolution was a U.S.-orchestrated coup that brought outright fascists to power in Kiev. Nevertheless, that version contains more than a little truth. Prominent, powerful U.S. figures, most notably the late Senator John McCain and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, openly sided with demonstrators seeking to unseat Ukraine's elected government. Indeed, Nuland was caught on tape with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt scheming about the desired composition of a new government in Kiev.

It is unfair to portray Ukraine's current administration led by President Petro Poroshenko as a neo-fascist regime. Post-revolution elections appear to have been reasonably free and fair, and there are major factions that are committed to genuine democratic values. But Ukraine also is hardly a model of Western-style democracy. Not only is it afflicted with extensive graft and corruption, but some extreme nationalist and even neo-Nazi groups play a significant role in the "new" Ukraine. The notoriously fascist Azov Battalion, for example, continues to occupy a prominent position in Kiev's efforts to defeat separatists in Ukraine's eastern Donbass region. Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic in the pro-Russia rebel-occupied city of Donetsk, was assassinated on September 1 and officials there and in Russia are blaming Kiev. The Ukrainian government has denied involvement.

Other ultranationalist factions act as domestic militias that attempt to intimidate more moderate Ukrainians. Even the Poroshenko government itself has adopted troubling censorship measures and other autocratic policies. Officials in both the Obama and Trump administration have taken a much too casual attitude toward U.S. cooperation with extremist elements and a deeply flawed Ukrainian government.

Both the danger of stoking tensions with Moscow and becoming too close to a regime in Kiev that exhibits disturbing features should caution the Trump administration against boosting military aid to Ukraine. It is an unwise policy on strategic as well as moral grounds. Trump administration officials should refuse to be intimidated or stampeded into forging a risky and unsavory alliance with Kiev out of fear of being portrayed as excessively "soft" toward Russia. Instead, the president and his advisers need to spurn efforts to increase U.S. support for Ukraine. A good place to start would be to restore the Obama administration's refusal to approve arms sales to Kiev. Washington must not pour gasoline on a geo-strategic fire that could lead to a full-blown crisis between the United States and Russia.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at TAC , is the author of 10 books, the contributing editor of 10 books, and the author of more than 700 articles on international affairs .

[Sep 08, 2018] The West must acknowledge its responsibility in the making of the original crisis in Kiev, which equals if not exceeds that of Moscow's in deepening the crisis in Crimea and Donbass by Gordon M. Hahn

Notable quotes:
"... The crisis in Ukraine is a direct result of the two policies of NATO expansion and EU enlargement, which led NATO to declare Ukraine (and Georgia) will be NATO members at numerous NATO summits and in other fora, led the EU to push too hard and too early for an association agreement with the corrupt Viktor Yanukovych government, and led the West, especially Washington, to lend opposition-promotion assistance to revolutionaries and endorse a clearly illegal oligarch-ultranationalist revolt in February 2014 despite an agreement that essentially ensured Yanukovych's departure from the presidency in ten months. In Syria, Putin's Russia has won. Regime change is over. ..."
Sep 08, 2018 | gordonhahn.com

Rather than dealing with secondary issues, those which are easiest to resolve, or those in which we have common interests, contacts must address the core problems in the inter-state US-Russian or larger Western-Russian relationship. Those issues are NATO expansion, EU expansion, U.S. missile defense, Ukraine, Syria, and interference in each other's domestic politics.

Rather, than expanding Western institutions in complete disregard of Russian interests, the West must work closely with Moscow. The West must acknowledge its responsibility in the making of the original crisis in Kiev, which equals if not exceeds that of Moscow's in deepening the crisis in Crimea and Donbass.

The crisis in Ukraine is a direct result of the two policies of NATO expansion and EU enlargement, which led NATO to declare Ukraine (and Georgia) will be NATO members at numerous NATO summits and in other fora, led the EU to push too hard and too early for an association agreement with the corrupt Viktor Yanukovych government, and led the West, especially Washington, to lend opposition-promotion assistance to revolutionaries and endorse a clearly illegal oligarch-ultranationalist revolt in February 2014 despite an agreement that essentially ensured Yanukovych's departure from the presidency in ten months. In Syria, Putin's Russia has won. Regime change is over.

The U.S. in its hubris miscalculated in going a bridge too far. Ambition led to supply weapons either intentionally or accidentally -- and in denial of the obvious -- to Islamists and jihadists. This was a direct consequence of US President Barak Obama's haste to carry forth his gravely misguided Muslim Brotherhood-based regime change strategy in the Islamic world. Syria's longstanding ties to Moscow and the presence of North Caucasus-based mujahedin within the ranks first of the Al Qa`ida-affiliated 'Jabhat al-Nusra' jihadi group and then of the Islamic State or ISIS prompted Putin's limited and strategically successful intervention.

More globally, the West has been and remains the 'champion' when it comes to interference in the politics of other states. For financial reasons alone, Russia cannot hold a candle to US efforts in this regard, no less those of the entire West. Rather than seeking to dominate or willfully 'transforming' Eurasia in the Western image, the West should more gently propose democratization and work on strengthening its own democratic order to serve as a model for non- and less democratic states to emulate.

Those living in non- or less democratic states who want change have access to all the information they need on the Internet, except in the most authoritarian countries. Even in the latter, access is possible if more difficult. The native population and opposition leaders understand the intricacies of their nation's culture far better than outsiders do and can therefore better fashion a peaceful, stable regime transformation. If this is not what they want, then they are unlikely to establish a democratic order when they seize power.

Change the Goal and Strategy

The core problem in Western-Russian relations has been Western, especially, NATO expansion. NATO expansion, carried forth on the back of EU expansion, effectively 'militarized' Western democracy-promotion and EU expansion, insulting Russian 'honor' and trust in the West in the wake of Cold War-ending Western promises that NATO would not expand beyond reunified Germany and turning Russia away from democracy. Washington and Brussels must discard, therefore, its basic goal of expanding the community of democracies in brinksmanship-like fashion–everywhere and immediately, regardless of those expansions' effects on the Russian and Chinese geostrategic calculation. This means abandoning the strategy of achieving that goal: NATO and EU expansion. These two prongs of the main strategy, especially NATO expansion, have added greater cost of driving Russia into China's increasingly powerful arms, as I predicted a quarter of a century ago.

New Goal and Strategy

Regarding security, the West should seek to integrate Europe and Eurasia first in the area of negotiating ongoing conflicts and preventing new conflicts by reinvigorating the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as the main multilateral forum for Western-Eurasian relations. It should also become the locus of negotiations between NATO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on building a new European security architecture (NESA). During the life of the NESA negotiations, the West should institute an openly declared moratorium on NATO expansion. After such the NESA is in place negotiations might begin with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on a Eurasia-wide security architecture. Similarly, the European Union should learn from its misbegotten unilateral expansionism and 'Eastern Partnership' and seek to negotiate a gradual integration of the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

... ... ...

There is very likely to be some agreement towards extending the START nuclear arms treaty by executive order as well as negotiating a replacement treaty to be signed at the end of the first or beginning of a second Trump term.

For the Ukrainian crisis, Trump might propose the creation of a US-Russian working group to assist the Minsk process. Should Trump be convinced that only US involvement can resolve the issue, perhaps the group could be incorporated into the Minsk process. He might also hint that in return for some Moscow concessions on Ukraine, such as backing a more expanded version of the proposed peacekeeping mission beyond the line of contact, he might be willing to put pressure on Kiev to finally fulfill its Minsk agreement obligation to engage a dialogue with the Donbass rebel regions' representatives:

(1) on the modalities related to conducting elections in the Donbass,

(2) on a Ukrainian law to be adopted according to Minsk-2 'On the temporary order of local government in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions,' or

(3) 'with respect to the future operation of these areas on the basis of the Law,' or, for that matter,

(4) on any other subject related to the crisis. Washington pressure on Kiev to talk directly with the rebels may be possible now that four years too late some of the Washington institutions that supported the Maidan revolt and illegal overthrow of Yanukovych such as the Atlantic Council and Freedom House, are waking up to the neofascist threat on the edges of the Maidan regime and in society.

About the Author – Gordon M. Hahn, Ph.D., Expert Analyst at Corr Analytics, http://www.canalyt.com and a Senior Researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, San Jose, California, www.cetisresearch.org .

Dr. Hahn is the author of Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West, and the 'New Cold War (McFarland Publishers, 2017) and three previously and well-received books: Russia's Revolution From Above: Reform, Transition and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, 1985-2000 (Transaction Publishers, 2002); Russia's Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007); and The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia's North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014).He has published numerous think tank reports, academic articles, analyses, and commentaries in both English and Russian language media and has served as a consultant and provided expert testimony to the U.S. government.

Dr. Hahn also has taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State Universities and as a Fulbright Scholar at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia. He has been a senior associate and visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Kennan Institute in Washington DC as well as the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Lyttenburgh, July 7, 2018 at 6:25 am

"and agreed to meet in neighboring Sweden"

Finland.

"This suggests the level of distrust Putin has towards Washington, his low expectations for a successful summit, and the high price he is likely to demand for concessions on his part."

It suggests nothing of the sort. You are too dramatic.

"[T]he approach of dealing with issues that are easiest to resolve or where we have common interests alone is insufficient and a non-starter as far as putting the relationship where it should be. By definition, an approach that seeks to avoid areas where there are disagreements will not resolve a deeply troubled relationship that is putting international security and peace at risk. Only addressing the core differences complicating relations can a qualitatively new relationship be forged."

Finally someone is willing to admit that! You can't willy-nilly go and ask your neighbor to borrow some sugar after you wrecked his fence and expect him to "cooperate" on such small issue out of sheer goodness.

"It also means abandoning the approach of designing policies from hubris rooted in the sense that Western democracy is morally superior to authoritarianism. Although the latter is true"

In what way? I (and quite a lot of people) see particular Western "democracy" as morally bankrupt compared to what it seemingly randomly calls "authoritarianism"

"In Syria, Putin's Russia has won."

And that writes a man who detest the term, devoting so much ink and time to show to the ignorant that, no – it's Russia's Putin. Why not say Russia, or Moscow, or even "Pro-Assad coalition"?

"Rather than seeking to dominate or willfully 'transforming' Eurasia in the Western image, the West should more gently propose democratization and work on strengthening its own democratic order to serve as a model for non- and less democratic states to emulate."

What, you forgot the immortal words of Paul Wolfowitz so soon? For, you see, "We Are An Empire Now". Crawling back in the shell won't help to solve the domestic very partisan issues – finding a common enemy does that. Your tactics are good for a neutered housecat of a nation – not for the mighty Great Again (And Forever) lion which both the elite and the commoners of the West consider their Republic.

" and turning Russia away from democracy."

Wrong. It turned Russia away from liberalism – not democracy. You know the difference, right? Because your following analysis suggests otherwise:

"Washington and Brussels must discard, therefore, its basic goal of expanding the community of democracies"

"Putin's Russia" is democracy. As well as Poland under PiS, Hungary under Orban and Turkey under Erdogan. Hell, even Ukraine is democracy! Democracy is just a mode of rule.

"driving Russia into China's increasingly powerful arms"

Yeah, that's bad for the US. For the rest – not so.

"During the life of the NESA negotiations, the West should institute an openly declared moratorium on NATO expansion."

Absolutely meaningless and easily revertible promise that runs directly against the West self-identification as the only Empire on the planet.

The list of topics of your Grand Design that follows is too far fetch, unrealistic and abstract that they are basically the equivalent of "charming" Russian naïve natives with the glass beads. As for your fanatical support of the free trade – it's era has gone. Again. If you fail to grasp that it was precisely Russian objections of EU version of free trade coming to the Ukraine which lead to 2013-14 conflict on Maidan – well, nothing can help you.

"Non-Western partners must also be willing to sacrifice some of their present interests for the sake of the benefits of stability and cooperation that will accrue in future. "

Like I said – land for the glass beads.

"In Ukraine, the U.S. must get more involved in the Minsk 2 negotiating process."

No, they shouldn't.

"Without a clear signal from Trump that Washington is not interested in expanding NATO to Ukraine or using the crisis to isolate Moscow through sanctions and the like and intends to lead the search for a solution, Moscow is unlikely to make any meaningful concessions."

You don't see it, do you? It's Kiev for whom the conflict is more beneficial. It allows all sort of, yes, authoritarian things and policies without fear of the "real war". You can silence all your critics with – "but Putin might attack us!" or "are you a secret separ?!". Kiev has no other viable strategy but to commit an ethnic cleansing of DNR or LNR should they be returned to it. Simple as that.

BTW – have you read Minsk II accords? How about Kiev fulfils its part first?

"Washington could be able to convince Moscow to abandon its support for the elements of the Iran presence in Syria and Lebanon that arrived in the context of the Syrian civil war."

Nothing of the sort will happen. Sowing division among potential USA rivals is a viable tactic – but don't take everyone for an idiot.

"There is very likely to be some agreement towards extending the START nuclear arms treaty"

Wanna bet, that there won't be? Also – nothing of the Ukraine, nothing on NATO. A little something on Syria (officially) with, maybe, an unofficial concession of the defeat of the West-backed "unicorns".

Tl;dr. This is not about coming Trump-Putin summit. You are just venting off your fantasy about Bright Future. You present solely pro-US perspective of the summit, enumerating things that Trump must "ask", nay, "demand" either for free or some minor concessions on his part. Have you ever tried to think what Russia might want of the summit instead?

Salsibury Watchdog, July 11, 2018 at 2:19 am

"It also means abandoning the approach of designing policies from hubris rooted in the sense that Western democracy is morally superior to authoritarianism. Although the latter is true"

Mr. Khan, if what Western elites are doing to other sovereign nations is 'a democracy' why is it done so covertly: through murky slash funds, secrets coups and illegal bombings?

I've never seen a referendum asking people in the US whether they wanted to fund another war. Had they been asked, people would've chosen affordable healthcare, housing and access to education instead, and you know it as well I do.

Yet you're still talking about 'Western democracy'?

Get real.

[Sep 06, 2018] A question of attitude by PaulR

Notable quotes:
"... Autonomy for Donbass within Ukraine. ..."
"... Transformation of the rebel state and military structures into political parties . ..."
"... Comprehensive and unconditional amnesty for everyone involved in the war. ..."
"... No elections in Donbass for two to three years. ..."
Aug 24, 2018 | irrussianality.wordpress.com

A couple of Ukraine-related items caught my attention this week.

The first is a report by Baylor University professor Serhiy Kudelia which discusses how to bring peace to Donbass. Kudelia starts by saying that Western states have regarded the resolution of the war in Donbass as being dependent on changing Russian behaviour. This is insufficient, he says, for 'the successful reintegration of Donbas into Ukraine rests on designing a new institutional framework that can provide long-term guarantees to civilians and separatist insurgents.' Kudelia says that academic literature on conflict resolution would suggest four elements to such a framework:

  1. Autonomy for Donbass within Ukraine. Such autonomy would come with risks, by entrenching local rulers with patronage networks outside of central control and with the means to challenge central authority. To reduce these risks, Kudelia suggests giving autonomy not just to the territories currently controlled by the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR & LPR), but to the whole of Donbass, thereby bringing within the autonomous region some more pro-Ukrainian elements of the population as well as groups not connected to the DPR/LPR power structures. He also suggests devolution of power within the autonomous region to weaken the potentially disruptive consequences of hostile elements controlling the region's government.
  2. Transformation of the rebel state and military structures into political parties. Experience in other countries suggests that when this happens, the prospects of a successful transition increase substantially.
  3. Comprehensive and unconditional amnesty for everyone involved in the war. For obvious reasons, rebel leaders won't agree to the first two proposals without an amnesty. Past experience speaks to the necessity of this measure.
  4. No elections in Donbass for two to three years. Kudelia notes that, 'Holding elections in a volatile post-conflict environment creates ample opportunities for voter intimidation, electoral fraud, and disinformation campaigns that could build on conflict-related divisions.' Kudelia doesn't say who would rule Donbass in the meantime. I would have to assume that it would mean that the existing authorities would remain in place. That could be problematic.

With the exception of that last point, these are sensible suggestions. But when boiled down to their essentials, they don't differ significantly from what is demanded in the Minsk agreements -- i.e. special status for Donbass and an amnesty. As such, while I don't think that the leadership of the DPR and LPR would like these proposals, my instincts tell me that they would be quite acceptable to the Russian government, which would probably be able to coax the DPR and LPR into agreeing to them. If implemented, the results would be something Moscow could portray as a success of sorts.

And there's the rub. For that very reason, I can't see Kiev agreeing to any of this. Kudelia's argument is founded on the idea that there's more going on in Donbass than Russian aggression. Accepting that something has to be done to 'provide long-term guarantees to civilians and separatist insurgents' means accepting that there are civilians and insurgents who need reassuring, not just Russian troops and mercenaries. And that means changing the entire narrative which Kiev has adopted about the war. So while Kudelia's proposals make sense (after all, what's the alternative? How could Donbass be reintegrated into Ukraine without autonomy and an amnesty?), what's lacking is any sense of how to get there.

A large part of the problem, it seems, is the attitude in Kiev. This becomes very clear in the second item which caught my attention -- an article on the website Coda entitled 'Now Healthcare is a Weapon of War in Ukraine.' The article describes how the DPR and LPR are encouraging Ukrainians to come to rebel territory to receive free medical treatment, and then using this as propaganda to win support for their cause. This is despite the fact, as the article shows, that the medical facilities in the two rebel republics are in a very poor state. Author Lily Hyde isn't able to confirm how many Ukrainians have taken up the rebel offer of free medical aid, but does repeat a claim by the rebel authorities that 1,200 people have done so.

What interests me here is not the sensationalist headlines about healthcare being weaponized, but the question of why Ukrainians might feel it necessary to go to the effort of crossing the front lines to get treatment. And the article provides an answer, namely that parts of Donbass 'are trapped in a precarious limbo, still under Ukrainian government control but cut off from key services like healthcare.' The war destroyed much of the healthcare system in Donbass, but 'Ukraine provides no financial or other incentives for medics to work in frontline areas', and has done little to repair shattered infrastructure. Healthcare seems to be a lower priority than fighting 'terrorism'.

While the DPR and LPR use healthcare as a 'weapon' by providing it to people, Kiev has 'weaponized' health in another way -- by depriving people of it. As the article reports:

Kiev has not outlawed receiving medical treatment in occupied Donetsk or Luhnaks. But collaborating with the separatists -- or supporting their propaganda efforts -- is illegal. How exactly such charges are defined is not clear, but past experience has taught both individuals and organizations to be wary of such accusations. The Ukrainian authorities have investigated non-governmental organizations (NGOs) based in Ukraine who have provided foreign-funded medicines and other supplies to occupied Donetsk and Luhansk. NGOs working there have been banned by the de fact authorities [of the DPR and LPR] on similar charges. Doctors have found themselves placed on blacklists by both Ukrainian officials and the separatists, accused of being 'terrorist collaborators' by one side, or of being spies by the other.

Hyde contrasts the Ukrainian government's policies towards the DPR and LPR with that of Georgia, where:

The government offers free healthcare for people from Abkhazia, a breakaway territory it still claims which is now under de facto Russian occupation. The government is building a modern hospital in the nearest town to the boundary line, aimed at people from Abkhazia.

Essentially, says Hyde, it's 'a question of attitude'. She cites Georgy Tuka, Ukraine's Deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories -- '"There's a wish to punish people," Tuka acknowledged.'

That's quite an admission from a government minister.

Even if the details need fleshing out, the institutional framework required to reintegrate Donbass into Ukraine has been pretty obvious for a long time now. The problem has been getting people to accept it. It is indeed, therefore, 'a question of attitude'. Sadly, the prevailing attitude stands firmly in the way of the institutional changes required for peace. The desire seems to be to punish people, not to reach agreement with them in order to promote reintegration and reconciliation. The issue, then, is whether this attitude can be changed (and if so, how) or whether it is now so firmly entrenched that there is nothing which can be done. Sadly, I fear that it may be the latter.

Guest says: August 25, 2018 at 1:14 pm
It's too late for the reintegration of Donbas into Ukraine, there will be no implementation of any agreement.

-- Ukraine have gone full neo-Nazi
-- language law is offensive to all minorities not just Russian speakers
-- Russophobia is rampant
-- attacks on the orthodox church

Why would anyone in DPR/LPR want to be part of this.

Aslangeo says: August 26, 2018 at 4:20 am
I agree with the other commentators integration of the Donbass into an aggressive nationalist Ukraine which is not capable of respecting minority rights is not possible. A more sensible option would be for Ukraine to divide into a nationalist part and a rusdophone part, this may be in a confederation like Belgium. As you say the Kiev government wants complete victory rather than a peace based on reconciliation the conflict will continue at low level if the Kiev regime believes that they cannot win but will ignite into another major war if they believe that they can. What should Russia do ? In my opinion provide suitable aid to the people of the Donbass to ensure their survival and build institutions, a stable and peaceful Pridnistrovye type situation is the best that can be achieved in the foreseeable future
Guest says: August 31, 2018 at 1:42 pm
Sad news from Donbas

Zakharchenko was killed by a bomb in a cafe

The article is called a question of attitude – We see the attitude of the Kiev regime in this action of killing one of the signatories of Minsk 2.

Lyttenburgh says: September 1, 2018 at 2:58 am
Just a direct quote from prof. S Kudelia "Peace plan" linked above:

" Rebel Disarmament, Demobilization, and Conversion

Reaching an agreement on power-sharing is one precondition for beginning to disarm and demobilize combatants in civil wars. Another component is the inclusion of former rebels in the competitive political process through "rebel-to-party transformations Integration of the party tied to former rebel groups can eliminate potential spoilers, develop stakeholding in the new system, provide non-violent means of conflict resolution, make them more accountable to their constituency, and increase legitimacy of the election process and new authority structures. However, some of the positive effects from rebel conversion depend on the prior organizational structure of separatist groups and their political wings. Groups with a highly integrated political and military structure are the least likely to undergo a successful transformation into an exclusively political force . This points to major challenges in achieving rebel conversion in Donbas.

The leaders of the armed groups in Donbas have already established their own political organizations, which participate in separatist-administered elections, control local councils throughout the conflict region, and engage with residents. They have turned into what a security analyst Benedetta Berti calls "hybrid politico-military organizations" tightly linking political activities and armed struggle. In both "republics" military and political wings are subordinated to a single leader

However, an integrated political-military structure also presents three important challenges for successful transition into the political arena. First, in contrast to political wings of rebel forces in other countries, these organizations emerged as key tools for separatist governance in DPR and LPR. Their ideological program promotes independence for these regions and would be incompatible with participation in Ukraine's institutional politics. Their reintegration would require a major revision of their principles and goals with an emphasis on accommodation with the Ukrainian state and acceptance of its jurisdiction over the entire region . Otherwise, their inclusion in the political process risks deepening the war-based dividing lines and hampering reconciliation. Second, the centrality of the leaders of these groups in organizing an armed struggle against Ukrainian forces and their direct involvement in the fighting delegitimizes them in Ukrainian public opinion and with the central government . The recently adopted law on "temporarily occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts" describes the ruling structure of the "republics" as an "occupational administration of the Russian Federation." This further complicates their post-conflict acceptance as legitimate regional representatives. Hence, leadership turnover in separatist groups is a crucial precondition for the beginning of their direct talks with the Ukrainian authorities . Finally, the current control that DPR/LPR leaders exercise over the separatist military apparatus means that even following disarmament and demobilization they would maintain some influence over local law enforcement. This, in turn, would allow these leaders to rely on an informal personal militia after demobilization or revive the military component of their organizations if they sensed a threat to their power status.

The conversion of rebel groups into recognized political organizations could be one of the most complex and contested elements of the transition."

Full stop. Now, ask yourself – Qui bono?

[Sep 03, 2018] Ukraine conflict- Blast kills top Donetsk rebel Zakharchenko - BBC News

Sep 03, 2018 | bbc.co.uk

Ukraine conflict: Blast kills top Donetsk rebel Zakharchenko

Related Topics
Alexander Zakharchenko Image copyright REUTERS
Image caption Alexander Zakharchenko in a 2017 photo

A leader of Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, Alexander Zakharchenko, has been killed in an explosion at a cafe in Donetsk city.

"The head of the DNR [Donetsk People's Republic]... has died as the result of a terrorist attack," Zakharchenko's spokeswoman told AFP news agency.

Russia's foreign ministry said it suspected Ukraine of organising the latest killing.

The Ukrainian government has denied any involvement.

Some observers have attributed previous deaths of rebel leaders in Donetsk to infighting among the rebels, or moves by Moscow to eliminate inconvenient separatist leaders.

What are the two sides saying?

Rebel and Russian news reports say the separatists' "finance minister" Alexander Timofeyev was wounded in the blast at the Separ cafe that killed Zakharchenko.

Ukrainians suspected of being behind the blast were arrested nearby, a security source was quoted as saying.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said "there is every reason to believe that the Kiev regime is behind the murder".

She said the Kiev "party of war" was "violating its pledges about peace and has decided on a bloodbath".

However, recent reports suggested that Zakharchenko had fallen out of favour with Russia.

A spokeswoman for Ukraine's state security service, Yelena Gitlyanskaya, rejected Moscow's accusations.

She said the killing was a result of "internal fighting... between the terrorists and their Russian sponsors".

What is happening in eastern Ukraine?

Heavily armed rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk regions refuse to recognise the Ukrainian government in Kiev.

The rebels seized large swathes of territory there in an uprising in April 2014. Since then, thousands of people have died in fighting between the rebels and Ukrainian government forces.

Ukraine map - rebel-held territory

Moscow denies sending regular troops and heavy weapons to the separatists, but admits that Russian "volunteers" are helping the rebels.

The frontline between them and Ukrainian government troops has remained largely static for months, but skirmishes continue despite a fragile ceasefire deal.

There has been shooting on the frontline despite a "back-to-school truce" that was supposed to take effect on Wednesday. International monitors reported 70 ceasefire violations on that day alone.

Who was Alexander Zakharchenko?

He played a key role in the Russian-backed separatist military operation from its very beginning.

In early 2014, soon after Ukraine's pro-Russian government was toppled by the Maidan revolution, he took part in the seizure of the Donetsk regional administration building by people saying they were protesting against the new pro-Western authorities.

Later that year, he was chosen as the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic by its parliament, the "Supreme Council".

He had been in the role ever since, assuming the title of president, and was among the signatories of the stalled Minsk peace agreement.

He was wounded twice in combat, and survived a car bomb blast in August 2014.

Who else has been assassinated in Donetsk?

[Sep 03, 2018] Ambassador Kurt Volker- US To Drastically Expand Military Assistance To Ukraine

Expensive weapon systems for export is Trump administration official policy, his Military Keyseanism stance.
Notable quotes:
"... The US is to render substantial military assistance to a country with an economy in the doldrums , reforms that have foundered , a democracy that is in question , and corruption that is widespread . ..."
Sep 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

... Kurt Volker , US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, said in an interview with the Guardian published on September 1 that "Washington is ready to expand arms supplies to Ukraine in order to build up the country's naval and air defense forces in the face of continuing Russian support for eastern separatists ." According to him, the Trump administration was "absolutely" prepared to go further in supplying lethal weaponry to Ukrainian forces than the anti-tank missiles it delivered in April .

" They need lethal assistance," he emphasized.

Mr. Volker explained that "[t]hey need to rebuild a navy and they have very limited air capability as well. I think we'll have to look at air defense."

The diplomat believes Ukraine needs unmanned aerial vehicles, counter-battery radar systems, and anti-sniper systems. The issue of lethal arms purchases has been discussed at the highest level.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 allocated $250m in military assistance to Ukraine, including lethal arms. The US has delivered Javelin anti-tank missile systems to Kiev but this time the ambassador talked about an incomparably larger deal. Former President Barack Obama had been unconvinced that granting Ukraine lethal defensive weapons would be the right decision, in view of the widespread corruption there. This policy has changed under President Trump, who - among other things - approved deliveries of anti-tank missiles to Kiev last December.

Ukraine has officially requested US air-defense systems. According to Valeriy Chaly, Ukraine's ambassador to the United States, the Ukrainian military wants to purchase at least three air-defense systems. The cost of the deal is expected to exceed $2 billion, or about $750 million apiece. The system in question was not specified, but it's generally believed to be the Patriot.

Volker's statement was made at a time of rising tensions in the Sea of Azov, which is legally shared by Ukraine and Russia. It is connected to the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait. The rhetoric has heated up and ships have been placed under arrest as this territorial dispute turns the area into a flashpoint. Russia has slammed the US for backing Ukraine's violations of international law in the area. According to a 2003 treaty, the Sea of Azov is a jointly controlled territory that both countries are allowed to use freely.

The US military already runs a maritime operations center located within Ukraine's Ochakov naval base. The facility is an operational-level warfare command-and-control organization that is designed to deliver flexible maritime support throughout the full range of military operations. Hundreds of US and Canadian military instructors are training Ukrainian personnel at the Yavorov firing range.

NATO has granted Ukraine the status of an aspirant country - a step that is openly provocative toward Russia. Macedonia, Georgia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina are also aspirant nations. Last year, Ukraine's parliament adopted a resolution recognizing full membership in NATO as a foreign policy goal. In 2008, NATO agreed that Ukraine along with Georgia should become a full-fledged member. In March, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia announced the formation of an alliance to oppose Russia.

The US is to render substantial military assistance to a country with an economy in the doldrums, reforms that have foundered, a democracy that is in question, and corruption that is widespread. It will be no surprise if those weapons fall into the wrong hands and are used against the US military somewhere outside of Europe. lIt was the US State Department itself that issued a report this year slamming Ukraine's human-rights record. The UN human-rights commissioner tells the same story. So do human-rights monitors all over the world.

[Sep 03, 2018] Michael Hudson: Argentina's New $50 Billion IMF Loan Is Designed to Replay its 2001 Crisis

Notable quotes:
"... Alberto Nisman and Argentina's History of Assassinations and Suspicious Suicides ..."
"... Whether the crusading prosecutor's death is found to be a suicide or homicide, many Argentines probably won't believe it. The past has taught them to always look for the sinister explanation. ..."
"... Decades after the military murdered thousands, Mothers of Plaza de Mayo warn that the current era of alternative facts poses a new threat ..."
"... They'll gain the world but lose their souls They'll gain the world but lose their souls ..."
"... Don't believe politicians and thieves They want our people on their bended knees Pirates and robbers, liars and thieves You come like the wolf but dressed like the sheep ..."
"... If you go to Lagos what you find, vampires If you go to Kinshasa what you find, vampires If you go to Darfur what you find, vampires If you go to Malabo what you find, vampires ..."
"... Lies and theft Guns and debt Life and death IMF ..."
"... When the bank man comes to your door Better know you'll always be poor Bank loans and policies They can't make our people free ..."
"... You live on the blood of my people Everyone knows you've come to steal You come like the thieves in the night The whole world is ready to fight ..."
Jul 25, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on July 25, 2018 by Yves Smith

Yves here. In this Real News Network interview, Micheal Hudson explains why IMF "programs" inevitably hurt workers.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/N5ZHD9-zdkQ?rel=0&showinfo=0

SHARMINI PERIES: It's The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.

For several months now. Argentines have been taking to the streets to protest against neoliberal austerity measures of President Mauricio Macri. The most recent such protest took place on July 9 on Argentine's Independence Day. There has also been three general strikes thus far. In the two years since he took office, President Macri has laid off as many as 76,000 public sector workers, and slashed gas and water and electricity subsidies, leading to a tenfold increase in prices, in some cases.

Now, the government argues that all of this is necessary in order to stem inflation, and the decline of the currency's value. Last month, Macri received the backing of the International Monetary Fund. The IMF agreed to provide Argentina with a $50 billion loan, one of the largest in IMF history. In exchange, the Macri government will deepen the austerity measures already in place.

Joining me now to analyze Argentina's economic situation and its new IMF loan is Michael Hudson. Michael is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri Kansas City. Welcome back, Michael.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Good to be back, Sharmini.

SHARMINI PERIES: Michael, why is it that Argentina needs such a huge credit line from the IMF?

MICHAEL HUDSON: For precisely the reason that you explained. The neoliberal policy has its aim rolling back any of the wage increases in employment that Mrs. Kirschner, the former president, implied, as part of the class war. So in order to shrink the economy, you have to basically cut back business, cut back employment. And so the purpose of the IMF loan was to enable the wealthy Argentinians, the oligarchy that's run the country for a century, to get all its money out and run. So like almost all IMF loans, the purpose is to subsidize capital flight out of Argentina so that the wealthy Argentinians can take their money and run before the currency collapses.

The aim of the loan is to indebt Argentina so much that its currency will continue to go down and down and down, essentially wrecking the economy. That's what the IMF does. That's its business plan. It makes a loan to subsidize capital flight, emptying out the economy of cash, leading the currency to collapse, as it is recently collapsed. As soon as the $50 billion was expended, or wasted, in letting wealthy Argentinians take their pesos, convert them into dollars, move them offshore to the United States, to England, to the Dutch West Indies, and offshore banking centers. Then they let the currency collapse so that the IMF model, which it's announced for the last 50 years, the model is if you can depreciate a currency what you're really lowering is the price of labor. Because raw materials and capital have an international price. But when a currency goes down it makes imports much more expensive, and that causes a price umbrella over the cost of living; that labor has to pay the equivalent international price for grain, for food, for oil and gas, for everything else.

And so what Macri has done is they agree with the IMF to wage class war with a vengeance, devaluation, leaving Argentina so hopelessly indebted that it can't possibly repay the IMF loan. So what we're seeing is a replay of what happened in 2001.

SHARMINI PERIES: Exactly. I was going to ask you, now, that was only 17 years ago, Michael. Argentinians do have memory here. They know what happened. They experienced it as well. Now, that was back in 2001 during the economic crisis when unemployment had increased so dramatically. That country went through a series of presidents and went through a series of crises. And we saw images of, you know, very similar to what we had seen in, in Greece not too long ago. Now, tell us more about that history. What exactly happened during that crisis, and then eventually how did Nestor Kirschner relieve the economy and come out of that crisis?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, the IMF staff said, don't make the loan. There's no possible way Argentina can pay the loan. It's all going to be made to the oligarchy for capital flight. You're giving the IMF money for crooks, and you're expecting the Argentine people to have to pay. So Argentina very quickly was left totally broke, as the IMF intended it to be. And so although it was 17 years ago, for the last 17 years the IMF has had a slogan: No more Argentinas. In other words, they said, we're never going to make the loan that is only given to oligarchs for capital flight to steal. It's as if you make a loan to the Ukraine, or to the Russian kleptocrats, or to the Greek banks to move offshore.

And yet here, here again, we're having a replay of what happened was, after Mrs. Kirschner came in, it was obvious to the [inaudible] to everybody, as it had been to the IMF staff, many of whom had resigned, that Argentina couldn't pay. So about 80 percent of Argentines' bondholders agreed to write down the debt to something that could be paid. They said, OK, you know, either it's a total default because they can't pay anything, or we'll write it down very substantially to what could be paid. Because the IMF really made a completely incompetent- not incompetent, directly corrupt insider deal. Well, unfortunately, the oligarchy had a fatal clause put in the original bond issue, saying they would agree to U.S. arbitration and to U.S. law if there was any dispute.

Well, after the old Argentine bonds depreciated in price, the bonds that were not renegotiated as part of the 80 percent, you had vulture funds buy them out. Especially Paul Singer, the Republican campaign donor who tends to buy politicians, along with foreign government bonds. And sued, and said, we want 100 percent on the dollar, not, you know, the 40 cents on the dollar or whatever they'd settled. And the case went to a senile, dying judge, Griesa in New York City, who said, well, there was something that's about a clause that said investors have to be treated separately. And Argentina said, well, that's fine, we'll pay the other 20 percent [inaudible] the 80 percent of all agreed to. The majority rules. And Griesa said, no, no, you have to pay the 80 percent all the money that the 20 percent demands. That's symmetry, because only if you let the hedge funds win can you go bankrupt again, wreck the government, and bring in oligarchy.

And so that ruling caused absolute turmoil. The United States State Department set out to support the oligarchy by doing everything it could to destabilize Argentina. And the Argentine people said, well, we'd better vote in a government that's supported by the United States. Maybe it will be nice to us. I don't know why foreign countries think that way, but they thought maybe if they voted the neoliberal that the United States would agree to forgive some of its debt. Well, that's not what neoliberals do. The neoliberal did just what you said at the beginning of the program; announced that he was going to cut employment, lower, stop inflation by making the working class bail, bear all of the costs, and would borrow- actually, it was the largest loan in IMF history, the $50 billion to enable the Argentine wealthy class to move its money offshore, leaving the economy a bankrupt shell. That's what the IMF does.

SHARMINI PERIES: Right. So let's imagine you are given the opportunity to resolve this issue. How would you be advising the Argentine government in terms of what can they do to stabilize the economy, given the circumstances they're facing right now?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Very simple. I'd say this debt is an odious debt. There is no way that Argentina can pay. The clause that bankrupted us was put in as a result of tens of thousands of professors, labor leaders, [land] people being assassinated. The United States financed an assassination team throughout Latin America after Pinochet in Chile to have basically a proxy government, and the Argentine loan that said we will, we will follow U.S. rules, not Argentine rules, basically should disqualify that debt from having to be paid. And it should say the IMF debt is an odious debt. It was given under fraudulent purposes solely for purposes of capital flight. We will not pay.

SHARMINI PERIES: Now, Michael, just one last question. Did you want to add something to what you were saying?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, once it doesn't pay the foreign debt, its balance of payments will be, will be there. The problem is that the creditors have always used violence in order to get their way. I don't see how the Argentina situation can be solved without violence, because the creditors are using police force, covert assassination. They're just as bad as the dirty war that had that mass assassination period in the late, into the early '90s. There's obviously going to be not only the demonstrations that you showed, but an outright war, because it's broken out in Argentina more drastically than anywhere else right now in Latin America, except in Venezuela.

SHARMINI PERIES: Michael, at the moment, the Fed is gradually increasing interest rates and the dollar is gaining in value. This is sucking the financial capital not only in Argentina but in many places around the world. Also, you know, they're going to be soon in crisis as well. What is, what can the developing economies do?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Here's the problem. When the United States raises interest rates, that causes foreign money to flow, flow into the dollar, because the rest of the world, Europe and other areas, are keeping low interest rates. So as money goes into the dollar, to take advantage of the rising interest rates, the dollar rises. Now, that makes it necessary for Argentina or any other country, third world country, to pay more and more pesos in order to buy the dollars to pay that foreign debt. Because Argentina and third world countries have violated the prime rule of credit. And that is never to denominate a debt in another currency that you can't pay. And all of a sudden, the dollar debts become much more expensive in peso terms, and as a result, all throughout the world right now you're having a collapse of bond prices of third world debt. Argentine bonds, Chilean bonds, African bonds, near Eastern bonds. Third world debt bonds are plunging, because the investors realize that the countries can't pay. The game looks like it may be over.

The good side of this is that Argentina now can join with other third world countries and say we are going to redenominate the debts in our own currency, or we just won't pay, or we will do what the world did in 1931 and announce a moratorium on intergovernmental debts. Now, that was done on German reparations and the World War I inter-ally debts. Something like that. Some international conference to declare a moratorium and say, what is the amount that actually can be paid? And to write down third world debts to the amount that should be paid.

Because the principle that countries have to say is that no country should be obliged to sacrifice its own economy, its own employment, and its own independence to pay foreign creditors. Every country has a right to put its own citizens first and its own economy first before foreign creditors, especially when the loans are made under false pretenses, as the IMF has made pretending to stabilize the currency instead of subsidizing capital flight to destabilize the currency.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, Michael. I thank you so much. And we'll continue this conversation. There's so much more to discuss, and so many countries here in this situation for that discussion as well. I thank you so much for joining us today.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Thanks. I think it's going to get worse, so we'll have a lot to discuss.

SHARMINI PERIES: And thank you for joining us here on The Real News Network.


tawal , July 25, 2018 at 3:12 am

Why does the IMF have a US dollar credit line at the US FED, and Argentina does not; countries like Canada do, as do companies like Harley Davidson. Why the discrimination?

vlade , July 25, 2018 at 3:26 am

I'd really like your source on HD having a line with Fed .

tawal , July 25, 2018 at 10:05 am

Here's one: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/2010/12/article/harley-davidson-loaned-2-3-billion-from-fed/

I recall Bloomberg doing quite an expose, when the FED databases were forced to be released.

Disturbed Voter , July 25, 2018 at 7:00 am

"The IMF was originally laid out as a part of the Bretton Woods system exchange agreement in 1944. During the Great Depression, countries sharply raised barriers to trade in an attempt to improve their failing economies. This led to the devaluation of national currencies and a decline in world trade."

IMF is an anachronism, a perpetual organization seeking new reasons for its continued existence.

And like all Western post WW II institutions, is part of the Cold War. Of course any actions by US connected entities in Latin America/Caribbean are part of the Monroe Doctrine ;-(

Thuto , July 25, 2018 at 7:55 am

Gas prices in Egypt have just been raised by 75% as part of the austerity measures attached to the $12bn loan granted by the IMF. Regular folk barely have two pennies to rub together and have been battered by this and other measures ostensibly designed to "lift the economy and lure back investors (as per the IMF rationale behind these crushing loan conditions). I wonder if the same sleight of hand outlined by Prof Hudson applies here (I.e. whether this is an IMF subsidised capital flight scheme designed to aid the Egyptian oligarchy in repatriating its loot) and whether we should cast a suspicious eye towards the oligarchs in any country the IMF extends a loan to.

michael hudson , July 25, 2018 at 8:33 am

That's my point, of course.

The Rev Kev , July 25, 2018 at 9:02 am

This puts me in mind of a blog that I came across sometime ago at http://ferfal.blogspot.com/ which has relevance here. Yeah, he tries to flog a lot of survival gear and the like but this site came out of his experiences in the first crash in Argentina in 2001. If you are prepared to dig deep into his files you will find all sorts of stories about what life was like in Argentina and it was awful and desperate. Probably the best place to start is at http://ferfal.blogspot.com/search/label/Argentine%20Collapse

Alejandro , July 25, 2018 at 10:52 am

From your link, this jumped out, as agnotological apologetics:

" Right now with President Mauricio Macri there's hope, but the change the country needs will take decades "

He didn't make much of an effort to clarify, who holds this "hope" nor what "change the country needs". OTOH Michael Hudson, in his last two interviews on NC, did. He (Feral) also seems oblivious to the neoliberal projects role in Latin America, and in Argentina's 2001 crises.

And this:

"Anyway, that's what happened in Argentina and this is why in spite of the good president we now have we need another 10 or 20 years for an entire generation of people to know something other than populism and corruption as a way of life."

Again, oblivious to the neoliberal projects role in Latin America, and in Argentina's 2001 crises. Who benefits from austerity, and how?

Bud-in PA , July 25, 2018 at 9:48 am

"As soon as the $50 billion was expended, or wasted, in letting wealthy Argentinians take their pesos, convert them into dollars, move them offshore to the United States, to England, to the Dutch West Indies, and offshore banking centers"

Not sure I understand this. Who is converting the Oligarch pesos to dollars? Crooks in the Argentine government?

Synoia , July 25, 2018 at 10:35 am

The Argentinian Banks, and their US correspondent Banks. The US is one of the largest safe havens for foreign "hot money" in the world.

"Free flow" of Capital is a key feature of "Free Trade."

Mel , July 25, 2018 at 10:39 am

As I understand it, it's the Oligarchs' butlers and footmen in the Argentine government that do it. If the Argentine government has a policy of pegging the peso at some set number of pesos per dollar, then the government is obliged to hand over this many dollars in exchange for that many pesos. That's what a peg is. One way to get the dollars would be through a loan which the IMF would "reluctantly" give them, conditional on a few crushing social policies.
Like I said before, this so much resembles a leveraged buy-out.

Ba Wang Long , July 25, 2018 at 11:51 am

Could someone please explain the mechanisms by which the $50B loan leaves the country. Exactly how do the elites get their hands on this money and then get it out of the country?

Mel , July 25, 2018 at 1:10 pm

If you haven't already read it, check Prof. Hudson's previous article . It describes more about the methods.
Of course, if you have, then I'm not helping.

HotFlash , July 25, 2018 at 1:14 pm

Ah yes! As they taught us back in accounting classes, it is easy to cook the books, the hard part is getting the cash out.

I heard this excellent podcast from Democracy at Work earlier this week wherein Michael Hudson explains it very clearly.

Synoia , July 25, 2018 at 5:59 pm

They convert their liquid cash into Dollars. Then wire it to Banks outside the Argentine, and invest, (typically buy property). In addition, they take out loans against their Argentinian assets or property, and convert those pesos into dollars, and export those dollars as well.

All legal and above board.

When the peso collapses, they repatriate some of their dollars, and pay of the now deflated loans.

Jim Haygood , July 25, 2018 at 12:42 pm

'The Argentine loan that said we will, we will follow U.S. rules, not Argentine rules, basically should disqualify that debt from having to be paid.'

Most foreign currency bonds floated by developing economies specify New York or London legal jurisdiction because of (1) well-developed case law; (2) creditors don't trust the objectivity of courts in borrower countries.

If all developing country debt were considered "odious" merely because of New York or English legal jurisdiction, lending to developing countries would stop cold.

'I don't see how the Argentina situation can be solved without violence, because the creditors are using police force, covert assassination.'

Cite one -- just one -- link showing "covert assassination" occurring in Argentina. The Dirty War of the 1970s and early 1980s doesn't count. You can't keep waving the bloody shirt of military dictatorship in South America more than thirty years after it ended.

JTMcPhee , July 25, 2018 at 1:33 pm

I'm sure there is a nice polite clear unassailable explanation for what happened in this instance:

" Alberto Nisman and Argentina's History of Assassinations and Suspicious Suicides

Whether the crusading prosecutor's death is found to be a suicide or homicide, many Argentines probably won't believe it. The past has taught them to always look for the sinister explanation. "

https://www.propublica.org/article/alberto-nisman-argentinas-history-of-assassinations-and-suspicious-suicides

And maybe creditors like to have their loan docs choose US/NY courts and law as the basis for dispute resolution because both are stacked in favor of creditors? Home court "white shoe lawyer" advantage? No history of support for the great creditor scams of the past? the word "jackal" has no meaning? There was no reason for that guy to write a sequel to "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man"?

Really, there's no need for the "bloody shirt," now is there, given current right-wing dictators supported by "us," what the Empire and Banksters and the rest are doing in and to central and South America, now is there? But it's a great distraction, I'll grant, and might even work as impeachment for some folks

Plenue , July 25, 2018 at 7:09 pm

I'm shocked that Haygood would confidently talk about something he doesn't understand. Shocked!

Roberto , July 25, 2018 at 6:18 pm

Further, from a previous MH article here

"No country should be obliged to pay its bondholders if the price of paying means austerity, unemployment, shrinking population, emigration, rising suicide rates, abolition of public health standards, and selloffs of the public domain to monopolists."

These sorts of rules would put a dead stop to foreign loans.

JTMcPhee , July 25, 2018 at 7:59 pm

Something always bothers me about the "bondholder" sanctity meme. Bonds are "investments," right? And there are RISKS associated with investments, right? And there's supposed to be a "risk premium" built into the "price" of the bond, right?

At least Investopedia and other sources say so, basically that these are NOT God-sanctioned absolute-right deals where the bondholder takes priority over everyone else in the world, right? https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/05/bondrisks.asp

And bonds are sort of contracts, subject to the rules and defenses that apply in contract disputes, albeit specialized rules, right? Impossibility and stuff? Fraud?

So why are the rest of us, like where "the government" is dumb or corrupt (CalPERS?)enough to "obligate" the wealth and future of a country by "selling bonds" to "investors," as security for "loans" that get siphoned off by corruption and stupidity, dumb enough to usually just roll over and accept that we have to live like serfs to "pay off the bonds?" Especially when the same scam has been pulled by the same set of Banksters over and over?

And yes, in the financialized westernized world, we mopes are tied to the "paying for progress [some definition of same] by borrowing," aren't we?

Interesting that the hated Sharia Law, the banking and investment part of it, kind of makes those allegedly risk-free kinds of fee- and profit- and reacketeer-generating "deals" not only unlawful, but against the will of G_D? https://shariabanking.com/

We could do better, couldn't we?

knowbuddhau , July 25, 2018 at 7:03 pm

Who are you to say when?

How telling. Was only 7 years ago that the torture-murderer of mothers and nuns, the Blonde Angel of Death himself, Alfredo Ignacio Astiz, was sentenced to life in prison. Per Wikipedia:

Astiz, a specialist in the infiltration of human rights organizations, was implicated in the December 1977 kidnapping of twelve human rights activists, including Azucena Villaflor and two other founders of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, and two French nationals, Léonie Duquet and Alice Domon, who were Catholic nuns. None of the twelve was seen alive again outside detention and all were believed killed, rumored to be among the bodies washed up on beaches south of Buenos Aires in late 1977.

To this day, torturers and murderers hold public offices. But I'm sure that's all in the past. Anyone who still talks about the US-sponsored 16 years of Dirty War, from 1967-1983, is a bloody shirt-waving fool, amirite Jim?

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (CNN) [2 March 1998] -- Argentina's "dirty war" ended 15 years ago, but it is an ugly episode that cannot be buried and refuses to be silenced.

Aging mothers and grandmothers march each week as the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, carrying banners and chanting, "We will not be stopped. We will not be broken. We have held on for 20 years."

They demand to know the whereabouts of sons and daughters and husbands and wives who were detained by the ruling military junta between 1976 and 1983, and then disappeared.

The junta seized power in Argentina in March 1976 and began a systematic campaign to wipe out left-wing terrorism. But the terror it spread exceeded anything the leftists ever dreamed of, claiming the lives of dissidents as well as innocent civilians.

More than 9,000 people disappeared during the dirty war, and some human rights groups say as many as 30,000 may have been tortured and killed.

"We only want to know where our sons and daughters are -- alive or dead," says one woman. "We are anguished because we don't know whether they are sick or hungry or cold. We don't know anything. We are desperate, desperate because we don't know who to turn to.

"Consulates, embassies, government ministries, churches. Every place is closed to us. Everywhere they shut us out. We beg you to help us. We beg you."

40 years later, the mothers of Argentina's 'disappeared' refuse to be silent [Guardian 28 April 2017]

Decades after the military murdered thousands, Mothers of Plaza de Mayo warn that the current era of alternative facts poses a new threat

Torturers and murderers hold public office, thanks to an amnesty. But I'm sure no one today, in the whole of Argentina, would ever consider what well, actually has long been standard operating procedure in Argentina.

ChrisAtRU , July 25, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Nation State Debtor's Prison the beatings will continue

Chauncey Gardiner , July 25, 2018 at 4:55 pm

While not precisely on point, reminds me of a monologue to music titled "FMI", the Portuguese abbreviation for IMF, by Portuguese poet Mario Branco. Salient lyrics (English translation) of IMF:

"It's 'Monetary Internationalism' The IMF doesn't exist The IMF is a mask."

"There can't exist a reason for so much suffering."

ChrisAtRU , July 25, 2018 at 5:37 pm

Thievery Corporation were far more brutal in their Fela-Kuti-inspired "Vampires"

Lyrics (abridged):

They'll gain the world but lose their souls
They'll gain the world but lose their souls

Don't believe politicians and thieves
They want our people on their bended knees
Pirates and robbers, liars and thieves
You come like the wolf but dressed like the sheep

If you go to Lagos what you find, vampires
If you go to Kinshasa what you find, vampires
If you go to Darfur what you find, vampires
If you go to Malabo what you find, vampires

Lies and theft
Guns and debt
Life and death
IMF

When the bank man comes to your door
Better know you'll always be poor
Bank loans and policies
They can't make our people free

You live on the blood of my people
Everyone knows you've come to steal
You come like the thieves in the night
The whole world is ready to fight

knowbuddhau , July 25, 2018 at 5:44 pm

This:

The clause that bankrupted us was put in as a result of tens of thousands of professors, labor leaders, [land] people being assassinated. The United States financed an assassination team throughout Latin America after Pinochet in Chile to have basically a proxy government, and the Argentine loan that said we will, we will follow U.S. rules, not Argentine rules, basically should disqualify that debt from having to be paid. And it should say the IMF debt is an odious debt. It was given under fraudulent purposes solely for purposes of capital flight. We will not pay.

And this:

The problem is that the creditors have always used violence in order to get their way.

Are why I so love Michael Hudson. There's the blood so studiously avoided in the desanguinated language of "economics." Its absence is the tell-tale of the kind of disembodiment described by Nancy Krieger (h/t Lambert ).

Embodiment, in other words, is literal. The
ecosocial premise is that clues to current and
changing population patterns of health, includ-
ing social disparities in health, are to be found
chiefly in the dynamic social, material, and
ecological contexts into which we are born,
develop, interact, and endeavour to live mean-
ingful lives. The contrast is to pervasive aetiolo-
gical hypotheses concerned mainly with
decontextualised and disembodied ''behaviours''
and ''exposures'' interacting with equally decon-
textualised and disembodied ''genes.'' The dis-
tinction is more than simply between
''determinants'' and ''mechanisms.'' Consider,
for example, contending -- and longstanding --
claims about racism compared with ''race'' as
causes of racial/ethnic disparities in health.

An embodied approach promotes testing hypoth-
eses to ascertain if the observed disparities are a
biological expression of racial discrimination,
past and present; by contrast, a disembodied
and decontextualised approach promulgates
research focused on detrimental genes and/or
''lifestyles.'' The vastly different implications
of these approaches for generating epidemiolo-
gical knowledge and informing policy underscore
the utility of clarifying the significance of
''embodiment'' for epidemiological inquiry.
[Footnotes omitted, emphasis added.]

Ah yes, but talking about our ideas about the problem, or talking about the talking about the problem, is so much better for catapulting the propaganda.

Also, if it looks, walks, and bankrupts Argentina over and over exactly like an Economic Hit Job aka mass murder and looting under the color of law by the Suits in broad g.d. daylight, then yes. Yes it is.

Scott1 , July 25, 2018 at 9:30 pm

In the '70s at the best universities Ecology Classes were instituted and the young well off students were told first, that the climate was being altered as a result of human activities.
Nixon was told by the CIA that overpopulation was the main treat to future US Security.

The Vatican quashed that way of looking at it. Gopsay policies are all the same as Vatican policies.
Loyalty to the nation of their birth for a rich person & their wealthy families was thrown out the window.
The jetsetter class now buys the best deal far as taxes and protections.

Their goal is to eliminate any harm to them or their families from "Forces beyond their control." If the leaders of the world are going to co-operate with them, those leaders will be paid. For the majority who are born to labor and become labor those things done by bankers and their leaders become for them "Forces beyond their control."

The rich know that overpopulation is already the fact at 7.5 billion. They will bond together on the tarmacs hanging around their jets for little talks as took place between Bill Clinton and Lauretta Lynch.
"All those people that don't like how we get rich, who are taking up space we want, well, let them starve. The science says there are too many of them anyway."
(Wasn't a discussion of how to engineer revolts wonderful to crush, but is used as illustrative of how jet setters get around to meetings that lead to this or that policy of the day.)

This is the essence of "Scientific Socialism". Current Trump Administration policies will cause the withdrawal of US lands devoted to agriculture. What was for Stalin destruction of the Kulaks and collectivization starvation of Armenians, or Peasants, or the Intellogemtsia, or all those ambivalent about who is in power and are therefore Counter-Revolutionaries, starving them all leaves only the ignorant, cowed, or lucky alive.

Creating the conditions for civil wars is a great thing for the banks and their loyal patrons, the war materiel`s industries. The people rebel and oligarchs at the top have them killed.

Trotsky made the point that the weapons in the arsenals are the peoples. Somehow soldiers and police in nation after nation don't see it that way. In the US the police are made soldiers in the drug war. Keeping the peace is not their primary job. No pot smoking peaceniks are to be hired so the ranks are securely filled by thugs and incompetents made special by law. They shoot Black people at the drop of a hat. They shoot the poor driven crazy pretty often as well.

Somebody wondered why in the US Blues & Reds or Democrats, the Leftists silo and don't talk civilly to each other. Trump supporters show and shoot guns or as in Charlottesville Virginia run as many people as possible over and are obviously willing to kill other Americans. In Weimar Germany the "Scientific Socialists" had their uniformed enforcers.

Dictators have their own organizations exultant at the opportunity to be rewarded for beating and killing the people who object to the destruction of civilization. Spectaculars in stadiums, like Trump's to come Military Parade become more common as if such is civilization when it is more indicative of a break down of civilization itself.

I have no means to remove myself and my wife from the roiling clouds of more murder in the streets. I'll be "collapsing in place" as described by Lambert Strether. These things and the ideologies behind them happening are not accidental of "Forces Beyond My Control".

Thanks

Chauncey Gardiner , July 25, 2018 at 10:18 pm

The true purposes of the IMF loan are questionable to me.

1.) Over the past few years, we have seen market rigging by large transnational banks in both the LIBOR and foreign exchange markets. This raises the question of whether there was covert market manipulation to rapidly drop the Argentine peso and coerce the Argentine government to borrow funds from the IMF to defend the peso in order to assure that nation was able to pay for necessary imports?

2.) Was this debt undertaken to facilitate capital flight for a small, wealthy segment of the Argentine population without the consent of or benefit to the people of Argentina, or for some other unstated reason?

If either of these is true, this debt can legitimately be considered as "odious debt" by the people of Argentina and potentially repudiated.

It also appears to me that there is a high probability that the austerity measures likely to be imposed under this $50 billion loan to Argentina by the IMF could violate the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Not an attorney, nor knowledgeable about international law. Just my opinion as an ordinary citizen based on my reading of the post and Wikipedia.

[Sep 02, 2018] A few are beginning to wake up to the reality that snatching Ukraine away from Russia was never about prosperity and security for its people, and all about destabilizing Russia by MARK CHAPMAN

Notable quotes:
"... Washington – does not give a fuck about the economic well-being of Ukrainians, does not have even the brotherly connection of being of the same ethnic group, and for so long as Ukraine is willing to suffer being poor in silence, for that long it will not be a problem for its new 'partners'. ..."
Sep 02, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MARK CHAPMAN August 30, 2018 at 8:05 am

A few are beginning to wake up to the reality that snatching Ukraine away from Russia was never about prosperity and security for its people, and all about destabilizing what the west perceived as the quickening of an unwelcome regional influence, and curbing it. The EU – and its string-puller, Washington – does not give a fuck about the economic well-being of Ukrainians, does not have even the brotherly connection of being of the same ethnic group, and for so long as Ukraine is willing to suffer being poor in silence, for that long it will not be a problem for its new 'partners'.

Nationalist Nazi nutjobs are always proposing the border be sealed ever-tighter, if it were feasible to build a stainless-steel wall between Ukraine and Russia which reached to low earth orbit, they would vote for it. But the Great Wall Of Yatsenyuk never materialized, he's enjoying his Florida condo, and there is no practical way to limit commerce between the two countries while the people are increasingly motivated toward its continuing.

Ukraine is on the edge of collapse, and I don't think any force on earth can prevent its sliding over the edge. The west is not going to pony up the $170 Billion or so it would take to rescue it; if it did so, Porky and his minions would steal most of it for themselves, and Russia is unlikely to ever permit again the degree of fraternal closeness that existed between the two countries, since it is clear it would take only another western intervention to render it once again an untrustworthy spoiler. Once Nord Stream II is built, Ukraine will have lost its leverage and will be of no further significant value to the western purveyors of destabilization.

More such core realization is necessary to prevent Ukraine from officially blaming its collapse on anyone but itself. The government will try that course, naturally, and you don't need to be able to see very far into the future to know that it is Russia who will be blamed, despite plenty of empirical evidence that Russian investors and Ukrainian refugees working in Russia were all that kept it alive before the end. But in order that Ukrainians know in their heart of hearts that their government stepped on its own dick over and over, and that they passively failed to correct it, there needs to be more such public confession. I can show you plenty of analysis, in English, published before things went pear-shaped in the dying moments of 2013, which proposed that severing trade relationships with Russia as the nationalists insisted would cost Ukraine just about exactly what the Rada now says will happen, years too late. But they got one thing right – Ukraine and Russia cannot be brothers, not even friends, for so long as Ukraine harbours that nutty nationalist element.

Give western Ukraine to Poland, and encourage all the nationalists to go to the new paradise, and ensure that happens. They can bore the Poles with their raptures about Kievan Rus. Then maybe some relationship could be salvaged.

[Sep 02, 2018] Zakharchenko was a soldier and knew the risks, many others are ready to take his place

This war is tremendous waste of resources on both sides with no clear victory in sight. Killing of individual commanders does not change the strategic situation. It just invites retaliation.
Although the war did increase the coherence of the Ukrainian society (like any war does) the price is way too high.
Sep 02, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Aaron Hillel -> johngaltfla Fri, 08/31/2018 - 22:41 Permalink

No, they wont.

Zakharchenko was a soldier and knew the risks, many others are ready to take his place.

VV Putin could have occupied the whole so-called ukraine in the same manner he occupied Crimea, even better, he could've sent volunteers to shoot CIA and Mossad agents during the maidan events.Lots of volunteers.

He didnt.

Please consider that ukraine project is an infinite black hole sucking money and resources (agents, weapons, influence) from the Hegemon, at the same time bringing him absolutely nothing.

Especially the Debaltsevo cauldron was painful, as lots of modern artillery control gear was lost in pristine state and sent directly to Moscow.Without considering the humiliation of German and Canadian mercenaries being caught and released for indeterminate price.

In exchange the Hegemon learned that Russian artillery is still as dangerous as in '45, at Saur Mogila whole battalions of Ukrainian army disappeared literally in minutes when caught by Buratino fire.

Perhaps some remember the shellshocked Ukrainian infantry lieutenant, when interviewed by CNN freshly out of Ilovaisk, screaming into the mic that *two meters, you must dig two meters, or you die!* , well-intentioned American female reporter decidedly confused.

The show will go on until Hegemon decides that he had enough, and gives green light to the ukrainian army to coup the govt, exterminate the nazi battalions, and begin a very slow and painful ascension back into a semblance of normality first, then re-unification with the Motherland next.

As usual, the most vulnerable, old people, women, workers will suffer the most, and the guilty will go unpunished.

Ace006 -> Aaron Hillel Sat, 09/01/2018 - 02:57 Permalink

The Russians didn't "occupy" Crimea. They were already there. It's not like they needed to subdue a hostile local populace.

Aaron Hillel -> Ace006 Sat, 09/01/2018 - 08:22 Permalink

I meant *occupy* in military sense, as in denying a sector to the enemy.

[Aug 31, 2018] A few are beginning to wake up to the reality that snatching Ukraine away from Russia was never about prosperity and security for its people

Aug 31, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MOSCOW EXILE August 29, 2018 at 9:50 pm

" it is under $500 million and is likely mostly money from Ukrainians working in Russia. I do not see any corporate level investment happening in the current climate. "

The above linked RBK article goes on to read:

According to the presented data, during the period from January to June, the Ukraine received $1,259 billion, of which $436 million came from Russia. In second place was Cyprus, which invested $219 million and in third place amongst the largest investors was the Netherlands ($207.7 million).

In addition, contributions were made to the Ukraine economy by Austria ($58.7 million), Poland ($54.1), France ($46.9) and the UK ($43.4).

The report says that almost 60% of these funds ($750 million) were invested in the financial and insurance sphere; 9.6% of of the funds were invested by the Ukrainian authorities into the wholesale and retail trade; 8.2% into industry and 7.9 per cent. into information and telecommunications.

In mid-August, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said that Russia had been the main trading partner of the Ukraine since 2014 and because of this the return of the Crimea and the resolution of the conflict in the Donbass were becoming impossible. "There is no plan for victory in this state. Because you are not behaving like people who want a victory. You are already slaves", he said.

In response to Yushchenko's statement, the ex-head of the Ukrainian Ministry of the Economy, Viktor Suslov, said that the words of the former Ukrainian leader were "absurd" and considered any damage to Kiev caused by breaking off trade with Russia as being "colossal".

Doesn't sound like all of this money sloely consists of that sent off to "Independent" Ukraine by economic migrants from that country who are eking out a living in the Evil Empire.

MOSCOW EXILE August 29, 2018 at 10:14 pm

Verkhovna Rada Deputy Vadym Rabinovich on air of TV channel "112 Ukraine" said that the termination of trade with Russia will destroy Ukrainian economy.

According to him, Russia remains the largest trading partner of the Ukraine, as trade turnover between the two countries is growing every month.

"The trade balance with Russia is growing every month for one simple reason: the free economic zone with Europe has brought us only losses", said Rabinovich.

He noted that the interruption of trade between Moscow and Kiev is fraught with the loss, of "approximately one third of the gross national product".

"With all of the stupidity that you have done in the country, then with another unbalanced step you'll destroy the economy", summed up the Rada deputy.

Earlier, former head of the Main Department of the Ukrainian security Service, Vasily Vovk, proposed that the border with Russia be completely blocked and that ties with her be cut.

Source: