Saturday, March 15, 2014

does the u.s. and its puppets want to start a war with russia?


voiceofrussia | Greetings citizens of the world. We are Anonymous Ukraine Operation Independence Ukraine continues.

Western hirelings and fascists are attempting to start a war with Russia in Ukraine.

Much of Ukraine is now under the control of the Bandera nazis but all is not lost. We are winning. We continue to uncover and expose to the world the evil plans the United States, NATO, the European Union, the NSA, the CIA, the IMF and their corporate banker masters have for Ukraine. We will not let this stand. We will expose every detail of their plan. We will never forgive them for what they have done to Ukraine and they will pay the cost.

Ukraine has no government. Those in the Verhovnaya Rada are self-appointed Nazi killers and do not represent the Ukrainian people.

We repeat. Anonymous Ukraine continues to support peace and the right of the people of Ukraine and the Crimea to self determination. The Bandera Nazis and fascist thugs that are pretending to be the voice of the people will be stopped. The US/NATO invasion of Ukraine will be stopped. Their puppets will be exposed and brought to justice.

Murderers and fascist thugs who kill police and members of the security services of Ukraine do not represent the will or the wishes of the people of Ukraine. Nazis who deny the Nuremberg Trials at the United Nations do not represent the will of the people.

Anonymous Ukraine supports the Russians, Poles, Hungarians, Tartars, Jews and others that the Bandera nazis want to kill. They are also Anonymous.

We have hacked the e-mail correspondence of the US Army and the Nazi Trident in Ukraine including the US Army Attaché’s Assistant in Kiev Jason Gresh and yet another high ranking Bandera Nazi from the Ukrainian General Staff Igor Protsyk.

The western hirelings and traitors are planning to conduct a series of attacks on Ukrainian military bases in order to destabilize the situation in Ukraine. The want to stop the referendum in Crimea. They want war with Russia.

The US Army writes to Igor Protsyk that it’s time to implement a plan that implies causing problems to the transport hubs in the south-east of Ukraine in order to frame-up the neighbor. It will create favorable conditions for Pentagon to act.

Russia is Ukraine’s friend. We Anonymous, have witnessed the support for the people of Ukraine by Russia. Russia has kept order in Crimea while the Bandera nazis have destroyed much of what the people cherish. The Bandera nazis want blood and war for Ukraine. Then they will sell Ukraine to NATO and the United States and take their money to another country like Julia Timoshenko whose accounts we have also hacked and which we can empty at will.

The United States and its puppets in Ukraine in Ukraine want to start a war with Russia.

will valodya invade ukraine?


20committee | As I write, Russian forces, reportedly close to 100,000 troops, are massing on the eastern borders of Ukraine for a possible invasion. The Kremlin is either about to start a major war, or wants the world to think it is: there is no third choice now. Given the scheduled referendum in the Crimea this Sunday, smart money has it that Putin, if he really launches an all-out push for Ukraine – which, as I’ve already explained, could be a disastrous move on his part – it will come early next week. Needless to add, this scenario brings chills to me and to anyone who understands the stakes in what would immediately be the biggest European war since 1945.

Yet that invasion, with its terrible consequences, is what many in Ukraine now expect. That mood of resignation, and what a Russian invasion might look like, are elaborated well in a new piece in Novoye Vremya (The New Times), a Moscow newsmagazine that is a rare outlet for anti-Kremlin views in Russia. The article by Maksim Shveyts, titled “Kyiv: Expecting War,” follows in toto, with my analysis following.

don giovanni may have gotten ghadafi, but he won't get assad...,


WaPo |  Three years into the revolt against his rule, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in a stronger position than ever before to quell the rebellion against his rule by Syrians who rose up to challenge his hold on power, first with peaceful protests and later with arms.

Aided by the steadfast support of his allies and the deepening disarray of his foes, Assad is pressing ahead with plans to be reelected to a third seven-year term this summer while sustaining intense military pressure intended to crush his opponents.

The strategy is not new, but in recent months it has started to yield tangible progress in the form of slow but steady gains on several key fronts on the battlefield that call into question long-held perceptions of a stalemate.

Most notably, the government has pushed the rebels back or squeezed them into isolated pockets in large swathes of the territory surrounding Damascus, diminishing prospects that the opposition will soon be in a position to seriously threaten the capital or topple the regime.

For those who joined the effort to unseat Assad three years ago, flush with the fervor of the Arab Spring protests sweeping the region, the realization that the rebellion is faltering is “deeply depressing,” said Abu Emad, a student activist who has watched as the government has steadily crushed the armed rebellion in his hometown of Homs, once regarded as the epicenter of the revolt.
Saturday marks the third anniversary of the initially tentative anti-government demonstrations that spiraled into civil war, and many Syrians are wondering whether the 140,000 deaths and the displacement of millions of people were worth the price, he said.

“More than ever there is no hope. Not on the ground and not politically,” Abu Emad said, using a pseudonym to protect his identity. “For the rebels to win, it will take a miracle.”

the neocons are anything but finished...,


commondreams |  Rather than being ostracized and marginalized – as they surely deserved for the Iraq War fiasco – key neocons were still held in the highest regard. According to his memoir Duty, Gates let neocon military theorist Frederick Kagan persuade him to support a “surge” of 30,000 U.S. soldiers into the Afghan War in 2009.

Gates wrote that “an important way station in my ‘pilgrim’s progress’ from skepticism to support of more troops [in Afghanistan] was an essay by the historian Fred Kagan, who sent me a prepublication draft.”

Defense Secretary Gates then collaborated with holdovers from Bush’s high command, including neocon favorite Gen. David Petraeus, and Secretary of State Clinton to maneuver Obama into a political corner from which he felt he had no choice but to accede to their recommendation for the “surge.”

Obama reportedly regretted the decision almost immediately after he made it. The Afghan “surge,” like the earlier neocon-driven Iraq War “surge,” cost another 1,000 or so dead U.S. soldiers but ultimately didn’t change the war’s strategic direction.

At Clinton’s State Department, other neocons were given influential posts. Frederick Kagan’s brother Robert, a neocon from the Reagan administration and co-founder of the neocon Project for the New American Century, was named to an advisory position on the Foreign Affairs Policy Board. Secretary Clinton also elevated Robert Kagan’s wife, Victoria Nuland, to be State Department spokesperson.

Though Obama’s original “team of rivals” eventually left the scene (Gates in mid-2011, Petraeus in a sex scandal in late 2012, and Clinton in early 2013), those three provided the neocons a crucial respite, time to regroup and reorganize. So, when Sen. John Kerry replaced Clinton as Secretary of State (with the considerable help of his neocon friend John McCain), the State Department’s neocons were poised for a powerful comeback.

Nuland was promoted to Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs and took personal aim at the elected government of Ukraine, which had become a choice neocon target because it maintained close ties to Russia, whose President Putin was undercutting the neocons’ “regime change” strategies in their most valued area, the Middle East. Most egregiously, Putin was helping Obama avert wars in Syria and Iran.

So, as neocon NED president Carl Gershman wrote in the Washington Post in September 2013, Ukraine became “the biggest prize,” but he added that the even juicier target beyond Ukraine was Putin, who, Gershman added, “may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

In other words, the ultimate goal of the Ukraine gambit is not just “regime change” in Kiev but “regime change” in Moscow. By eliminating the independent-minded and strong-willed Putin, the neocons presumably fantasize about slipping one of their ciphers (perhaps a Russian version of Ahmed Chalabi) into the Kremlin.

Then, the neocons could press ahead, unencumbered, toward their original “regime change” scheme in the Middle East, with wars against Syria and Iran.

As dangerous – and even crazy – as this neocon vision is (raising the specter of a possible nuclear confrontation between the United States and Russia), the neocons clearly appear back in control of U.S. foreign policy. And, they almost can’t lose in terms of their own self-interest, whichever way the Ukraine crisis breaks.

insatiable...,


RT | As I took in the opening night of Vancouver Opera’s Don Giovanni on the weekend, I realized there was something vaguely familiar about the libertine protagonist.

The unrepentant sociopath whose conquests number in the thousands and who remains indifferent to the pain and suffering he’s caused, didn’t just remind me of my ex boyfriend. 

No, there was something more in his smug hubris, his unabated appetites, something that recalled dramas happening outside the theatre, in the Middle East, Latin America and Eastern Europe. And then it dawned on me: Don Giovanni’s predatory technique of seduction and abandonment is nothing less than the modus operandum of US Foreign Policy. 

As jilted politicos – from Noriega to the Shah of Iran to Saddam Hussein – can attest, the only thing worse than being an enemy of the US is being a former ally. 

And yet the amazing thing is, just as with the seductive Don, people keep falling for the same tired old lines. “I think you’re really special, and I want to liberate you. Of course I’m not only interested in your oil fields. Your people deserve an autonomous state.” And let’s not forget the classic: “I’m here to bring you freedom and democracy honey.”
 
Why is it that so many folks – from the Free Syrian Army to the Ukrainian ‘rebels’ – are happy to sing Là ci darem la mano with their handsome suitor and head off to his gleaming palace, damning precedents notwithstanding? 

While Don Giovanni’s conquests, as Leporello tells his spurned lover Dona Elvira in the famous ‘Madamina, il catalogo è questo’ (‘My dear lady, this is the catalogue’) include ‘640 in Italy, 231 in Germany, 100 in France, 91 in Turkey, but in Spain, 1,003’, he still keeps on truckin’, preying on women of all shapes, sizes and nationalities. 

To date, as professor Zoltan Grossman notes, in his ‘History of US Military Interventions since 1890’, from Wounded Knee to Chile to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, the US has lots of ‘splainin to do.
They sure broke a lot of hearts in 1956 Budapest, 1968 Prague and 1991 in Southern Iraq to name only a few. And yet, just as the decidedly un-self-aware Don Giovanni, the US continues to sell itself as the apparently amnesiac romantic rescuer of the world’s unloved.

Friday, March 14, 2014

black to the future: american proxy warmaking in africa


tomdispatch | Lion Forward Teams? Echo Casemate? Juniper Micron?

You could be forgiven if this jumble of words looks like nonsense to you.  It isn’t.  It’s the language of the U.S. military’s simmering African interventions; the patois that goes with a set of missions carried out in countries most Americans couldn’t locate on a map; the argot of conflicts now primarily fought by proxies and a former colonial power on a continent that the U.S. military views as a hotbed of instability and that hawkish pundits increasingly see as a growth area for future armed interventions.     

Since 9/11, the U.S. military has been making inroads in Africa, building alliances, facilities, and a sophisticated logistics network.  Despite repeated assurances by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) that military activities on the continent were minuscule, a 2013 investigation by TomDispatch exposed surprisingly large and expanding U.S. operations -- including recent military involvement with no fewer than 49 of 54 nations on the continent.  Washington’s goal continues to be building these nations into stable partners with robust, capable militaries, as well as creating regional bulwarks favorable to its strategic interests in Africa.  Yet over the last years, the results have often confounded the planning -- with American operations serving as a catalyst for blowback (to use a term of CIA tradecraft). 

A U.S.-backed uprising in Libya, for instance, helped spawn hundreds of militias that have increasingly caused chaos in that country, leading to repeated attacks on Western interests and the killing of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. Tunisia has become ever more destabilized, according to a top U.S. commander in the region. Kenya and Algeria were hit by spectacular, large-scale terrorist attacks that left Americans dead or wounded.  South Sudan, a fledgling nation Washington recently midwifed into being that has been slipping into civil war, now has more than 870,000 displaced persons, is facing an imminent hunger crisis, and has recently been the site of mass atrocities, including rapes and killings. Meanwhile, the U.S.-backed military of Mali was repeatedly defeated by insurgent forces after managing to overthrow the elected government, and the U.S.-supported forces of the Central African Republic (CAR) failed to stop a ragtag rebel group from ousting the president.  

In an effort to staunch the bleeding in those two countries, the U.S. has been developing a back-to-the-future military policy in Africa -- making common cause with one of the continent’s former European colonial powers in a set of wars that seem to be spreading, not staunching violence and instability in the region.

this beezy again...,


washingtonexaminer |  Secretary of State John Kerry warned of serious repercussions for Russia on Monday if last-ditch talks over the weekend to resolve the crisis in Ukraine failed to persuade Moscow to soften its stance.

Kerry will travel to London for a Friday meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov ahead of a Sunday referendum vote in the Crimea region to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation

U.S. and European officials argue that Moscow is orchestrating the referendum and waging an intimidation campaign with thousands of Russian troops controlling the region. If Russian-backed lawmakers in Crimea go through with the Sunday referendum, Kerry said the U.S. and its European allies will not recognize it as legitimate under international law.

The U.S. and Europe on Monday would then unite to impose sanctions on Russia, Kerry told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Thursday during a hearing on the State Department's budget.
“There will be a response of some kind to the referendum itself,” Kerry said. “If there is no sign [from Russia] of any capacity to respond to this issue ... there will be a very serious series of steps on Monday.”

“Our hope is to have Russia join in respecting international law. ... There is no justification, no legality to this referendum that is taking place,” he said. “The hope is that reason will prevail but there is no guarantee of that.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and a top critic of President Obama's foreign policy, asked what the administration would do if Russian forces advance farther into the eastern area of Ukraine, and the new government in Kiev asks the U.S. for weapons to fight the Russians.
Kerry responded carefully, saying “we have contingencies – we are talking through various options that may or may not be available.”

why ukraine matters to many other nations


bloomberg | Ukraine doesn’t seem like the kind of place that world powers would want to tussle over. It’s as poor as Paraguay and as corrupt as Iran. During the 20th century it was home to a deadly famine under Stalin (the Holomodor, 1933), a historic massacre of Jews (Babi Yar, 1941), and one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters (Chernobyl, 1986). Now, with former President Viktor Yanukovych in hiding, it’s struggling to form a government, its credit rating is down to CCC, a recession looms, and foreign reserves are running low. Arseniy Yatsenyuk, head of the opposition party affiliated with former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, said on Feb. 24 in Parliament, “Ukraine has never faced such a terrible financial catastrophe in all its years of independence.”

But Ukraine is also a breadbasket, a natural gas chokepoint, and a nation of 45 million people in a pivotal spot north of the Black Sea. Ukraine matters—to Russia, Europe, the U.S., and even China.
President Obama denied on Feb. 19 that it’s a piece on “some Cold War chessboard.” But the best hope for Ukraine is that it will get special treatment precisely because it is a valued pawn in a new version of the Great Game, the 19th century struggle for influence between Russia and Britain.

Russia, which straddles Europe and Asia, has sought a role in the rest of Europe since the reign of Peter the Great in the early 18th century. An alliance with Ukraine preserves that. “Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire,” the American political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in 1998. Russian President Vladimir Putin wants Ukraine to join his Eurasian Union trade bloc, not the European Union. Russia’s Black Sea naval fleet is headquartered in Sevastopol, a formerly Russian city that now belongs to Ukraine. Last year Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom (OGZPY) sold about 160 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe—a quarter of European demand—and half of that traveled through a maze of Ukrainian pipelines. Those pipelines also supply Ukrainian factories that produce steel, petrochemicals, and other industrial goods for sale to Mother Russia. “Ukraine is probably more integrated than any other former Soviet republic with the Russian economy,” says Edward Chow, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

yawning is a form of jaw dropping too?


rsn |  Today, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein released an astonishing statement on her committee's investigation into torture by the CIA – and the intelligence agency's shocking, and possibly illegal, activities to spy on the committee itself.

A bit of important background: The investigation into the CIA's "enhanced techniques" of interrogation – doublespeak for torture – began late last decade, after it was revealed that video tapes of the CIA's torture sessions had been destroyed, over the objection of George W. Bush's White House Counsel and the Director of National Intelligence.

In lieu of the destroyed video evidence, the CIA began by providing its Senate overseers with "CIA operational cables describing the detention conditions and the day-to-day CIA interrogations."

Here the 11 most jaw dropping disclosures and accusations from Feinstein's statement:

double-0 knew the sissy pit was bout to get hit and didn't give a sh**....,


kcstar | The CIA's director and its top lawyer told White House attorneys in advance about their plans to file an official criminal complaint accusing Senate Intelligence Committee aides of improperly obtaining secret agency documents, the White House confirmed Wednesday.

Lawyers in the White House counsel's office did not approve the CIA's move to refer its complaint to the Justice Department or provide any advice to the agency, presidential spokesman Jay Carney said.
"There was no comment, there was no weighing in, there was no judgment," Carney said, citing protocol not to interfere in the ongoing inquiries into the matter by the FBI and the CIA's inspector general.

The public controversy erupted on Wednesday when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, head of the intelligence panel, accused the CIA of snooping in a computer network it had set up for committee aides conducting an investigation, possibly violating the Constitution as well as federal law.

She also disclosed that a top CIA lawyer had filed papers with the Justice Department saying committee personnel may have violated the law by possessing certain agency documents.
Carney made his comments at the White House as the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee avoided taking sides in the dispute between Feinstein, D-Calif., and the spy agency.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said in a brief speech on the Senate floor he does not know all the facts, and a special investigator may be needed to find out what happened. He said pointedly that GOP staff aides were not involved in the activities at the heart of the dispute.

Carney did not say whether President Barack Obama was directly aware of the decision. "The president has been aware in general about the protocols and the discussions and occasional disputes involved," he said.

Obama avoided commenting on his involvement in the dispute at the end of a meeting Wednesday with female Democratic lawmakers on women's economic issues. He added that "with respect to the issues that are going back and forth between the Senate committee and the CIA, (CIA Director) John Brennan has referred them to the appropriate authorities. And they are looking into it. And that's not something that is an appropriate role for me and the White House to weigh into at this point."

Carney's confirmation of the White House's awareness of the CIA's decision deepens the complicated chronology that led the committee head to denounce the CIA and top officials Tuesday for allegedly trying to intimidate and monitor congressional overseers.

Feinstein's committee has been investigating the CIA's now-shuttered "black site" overseas prison system and harsh interrogation of prisoners. The committee's long-overdue report has been stymied by its inability to fully review a classified CIA report on the George W. Bush-era secret interrogations, while CIA officials have questioned whether Senate investigators breached a classified computer system in their efforts to press for the material.

Carney said Brennan and the acting general counsel, Robert Eatinger, informed White House officials about the decision to make a referral to the Justice Department. Carney would not say when the notification occurred.

A spokesman for James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said Wednesday that Clapper has been "fully aware of the circumstances related to this matter and is in regular contact with Director Brennan." The DNI spokesman, Shawn Turner, did not say whether Clapper was told in advance of the CIA's plans to file its complaint to Justice or whether he approved of the decision.
"Commenting on this issue while it is under review by the Justice Department would be inappropriate for someone in his position," Turner said.

Feinstein castigated Eatinger, though not by name, and characterized the move as "a potential effort to intimidate this staff, and I am not taking it lightly."

She contends CIA officials monitored Senate aides as they worked on their report, raising concerns of a clash between the legislative and executive branch.

Brennan said the CIA was "not in any way, shape or form trying to thwart this report's progression."
Obama said he was "absolutely committed" to declassifying the Senate Intelligence Committee's report. "I would urge them to go ahead and complete the report, send it to us," Obama said. "We will declassify those findings so that the American people can understand what happened in the past, and that can help guide us as we move forward."

nsa's industrial-scale botnet strategery..,


firstlook | Top-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process.

The classified files – provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – contain new details about groundbreaking surveillance technology the agency has developed to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware “implants.” The clandestine initiative enables the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks.

The covert infrastructure that supports the hacking efforts operates from the agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, and from eavesdropping bases in the United Kingdom and Japan. GCHQ, the British intelligence agency, appears to have played an integral role in helping to develop the implants tactic.

In some cases the NSA has masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target’s computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive. In others, it has sent out spam emails laced with the malware, which can be tailored to covertly record audio from a computer’s microphone and take snapshots with its webcam. The hacking systems have also enabled the NSA to launch cyberattacks by corrupting and disrupting file downloads or denying access to websites.

The implants being deployed were once reserved for a few hundred hard-to-reach targets, whose communications could not be monitored through traditional wiretaps. But the documents analyzed by The Intercept show how the NSA has aggressively accelerated its hacking initiatives in the past decade by computerizing some processes previously handled by humans. The automated system – codenamed TURBINE – is designed to “allow the current implant network to scale to large size (millions of implants) by creating a system that does automated control implants by groups instead of individually.”

In a top-secret presentation, dated August 2009, the NSA describes a pre-programmed part of the covert infrastructure called the “Expert System,” which is designed to operate “like the brain.” The system manages the applications and functions of the implants and “decides” what tools they need to best extract data from infected machines.

AI poses extinction risk to humanity?


HuffPo | Artificial intelligence poses an "extinction risk" to human civilisation, an Oxford University professor has said.

Almost everything about the development of genuine AI is uncertain, Stuart Armstrong at the Future of Humanity Institute said in an interview with The Next Web.

That includes when we might develop it, how such a thing could come about and what it means for human society.

But without more research and careful study, it's possible that we could be opening a Pandora's box. Which is exactly the sort of thing that the Future of Humanity Institute, a multidisciplinary research hub tasked with asking the "big questions" about the future, is concerned with.

"One of the things that makes AI risk scary is that it’s one of the few that is genuinely an extinction risk if it were to go bad. With a lot of other risks, it’s actually surprisingly hard to get to an extinction risk," Armstrong told The Next Web.

a glow in the dark


shalereporter | Here’s a problematic fracking by-product that never occurred to me: radioactive socks.
When I first read the phrase I thought of of weary drillers trudging out of fracking fields late at night, invisible but for a glowing green inch of material between their shoes and trouser hems. But then I kept reading and discovered the socks in question were actually filter socks, which look like tube socks designed for an elephant.


When chemical-laced water is injected into the ground during a hydraulic fracturing operation, some of it returns to the surface and must be collected. The flowback contains water, chemicals, salts, metals  and organic compounds; it all passes through filter socks, which capture the solid particles. The liquid is disposed of in various ways, and filter socks are disposed of at municipal and residual waste landfills.

Unless they happen to be radioactive.

This is quite a problem in North Dakota, where naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) is common in certain parts of the Bakken shale. North Dakota landfills will not accept waste with radioactive levels higher than 5 picocuries per gram, and the average filter sock’s level ranges from five to eighty, although one did clock in at 374.

A year ago, after landfill Geiger counters began clicking incessantly, the government helpfully distributed pamphlets listing businesses that would accept radioactive waste. Since the nearest ones were in South Dakota, Colorado and Utah, this has led to a spate of radioactive sock dumping.
Thirty were found during a cleanup day at the Fort Berthold Reservation. A hundred were found in a Williston city garbage can. 250 were dropped into a container box near New Town and picked up by an unsuspecting trucker. Last spring, after the snow melted in Tioga, a “large sack of them” were found along a highway. “They appeared to have fallen off a truck,” reported a local paper, just like the radioactive rod that fell off a truck in Texas, and the radioactive gauge that fell off a truck in West Virginia.

“There are only a few places that have facilities designed to take radioactive materials, and North Dakota is not one of them,” says Kurt Rhea, the CEO of the Colorado-based radioactive waste removal company Next Generation Solutions. Rhea’s company has contracts with certain companies fracking the Bakken shale; picking up a container of waste, trucking it out of state, and disposing with it properly costs about $8,000. He guesses that approximately 20% of North Dakota's radioactive waste is being disposed of properly. What about the rest?

“Good question,” he responds.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

vis-a-vis ukraine: tribalizing and digesting formerly multiethnic sovereign states is our standard operating procedure

alternet | On the campaign trail, the Clinton camp has held up Kosovo as a successful model for how to conduct US foreign policy and Clinton criticized Bush for taking "so long for us to reach this historic juncture."
Perhaps a little of that history is in order. If Kosovo is her idea of solid US foreign policy, it speaks volumes to what kind of president she would be. The reality is that there are striking similarities between the Clinton approach to Kosovo and the Bush approach to Iraq.
On March 24, 1999, President Bill Clinton began an 11-week bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. Like Bush with Iraq, Clinton had no UN mandate (he used NATO) and his so-called "diplomacy" to avert the possibility of bombing leading up to the attacks was insincere and a set-up from the jump. Just like Bush with Iraq.
A month before the bombing began, the Clinton administration issued an ultimatum to President Slobodan Milosevic, which he had to either accept unconditionally or face bombing. Known as the Rambouillet accord, it was a document that no sovereign country would have accepted. It contained a provision that would have guaranteed US and NATO forces "free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout" all of Yugoslavia, not just Kosovo. It also sought to immunize those occupation forces "from any form of arrest, investigation, or detention by the authorities in [Yugoslavia]," as well as grant the occupiers "the use of airports, roads, rails and ports without payment." Additionally, Milosevic was told he would have to "grant all telecommunications services, including broadcast services, needed for the Operation, as determined by NATO." Similar to Bush's Iraq plan years later, Rambouillet mandated that the economy of Kosovo "shall function in accordance with free market principles."
What Milosevic was actually asked to sign is never discussed. That it would have effectively meant the end of the sovereignty of the nation was a non-story. The dominant narrative for the past nine years, repeated this week by William Cohen, Clinton's defense secretary at the time of the bombing, is this: "We tried to achieve a peaceful resolution of what was taking place in Kosovo. And Slobodan Milosevic refused." Refused peace? More like he unwisely refused one of Don Corleone's famous offers. Washington knew he would reject it, but had to give the appearance of diplomacy for international "legitimacy."
So the humanitarian bombs rained down on Serbia. Among the missions: the bombing of the studios of Radio Television Serbia where an airstrike killed 16 media workers; the cluster bombing of a Nis marketplace, shredding human beings into meat; the deliberate targeting of a civilian passenger train; the use of depleted uranium munitions; and the targeting of petrochemical plants, causing toxic chemical waste to pour into the Danube River. Also, the bombing of Albanian refugees, ostensibly the people being protected by the U.S.
Similar to Bush's allegations about Iraqi WMDs in the lead up to the US invasion, in 1999 Clinton administration officials also delivered stunning allegations about the level of brutality present in Kosovo as part of the propaganda campaign. "We've now seen about 100,000 military-aged men missing ....They may have been murdered," Cohen said five weeks into the bombing. He said that up to 4,600 Kosovo men had been executed, adding, "I suspect it's far higher than that." Those numbers were flat out false. Eventually the estimates were scaled back dramatically, as Justin Raimondo pointed out recently in his column on Antiwar.com, from 100,000 to 50,000 to 10,000 and "at that point the War Party stopped talking numbers altogether and just celebrated the glorious victory of 'humanitarian intervention.'" As it turned out "there was no 'genocide' -- the International Tribunal itself reported that just over 2,000 bodies were recovered from postwar Kosovo, including Serbs, Roma, and Kosovars, all victims of the vicious civil war in which we intervened on the side of the latter. The whole fantastic story of another 'holocaust' in the middle of Europe was a fraud," according to Raimondo.
Following the NATO invasion of Kosovo in June of 1999, the US and its allies stood by as the Albanian mafia and gangs of criminals and paramilitaries spread out across the province and systematically cleansed Kosovo of hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Romas and other ethnic minorities. They burned down houses, businesses and churches and implemented a shocking campaign to forcibly expel non-Albanians from the province. Meanwhile, the US worked closely with the Kosovo Liberation Army and backed the rise of war criminals to the highest levels of power in Kosovo. Today, Kosovo has become a hub for human trafficking, organized crime and narcosmuggling. In short, it is a mafia state. Is this the "democracy" Hillary Clinton speaks of "promoting" in "the heart" of Europe?

sissy pit pretends a hissy fit, but who is calling the tune?


firstlook | Two top Senate leaders declared Tuesday that the CIA’s recent conduct has undermined the separation of powers as set out in the Constitution, setting the stage for a major battle to reassert the proper balance between the two branches.

Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), in a floor speech (transcript; video) that Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) immediately called the most important he had heard in his career, said the CIA had searched through computers belonging to staff members investigating the agency’s role in torturing detainees, and had then leveled false charges against her staff in an attempt to intimidate them.

“I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principle embodied in the United States Constitution, including the speech and debate clause,” she said. “It may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function.”

She concluded: “The recent actions that I have just laid out make this a defining moment for the oversight of our intelligence community. How Congress responds and how this is resolved will show whether the Intelligence Committee can be effective in monitoring and investigating our nation’s intelligence activities, or whether our work can be thwarted by those we oversee. I believe it is critical that the committee and the Senate reaffirm our oversight role and our independence under the Constitution of the United States.”

She also accused the CIA of obstructing her committee’s torture inquiry in general, and of disputing findings that its own internal inquiry had substantiated.

The document at the heart of this confrontation is an internal review conducted by the CIA of the materials it had turned over to Feinstein’s committee during the course of the four-year congressional investigation into the Bush-era torture practices.

Feinstein said the document, which has become known as the Panetta Review after then-director of the CIA Leon Panetta, was first discovered by committee staff using CIA-provided search tools in 2010. It became particularly relevant later, after the committee completed a scathing 6,300-page report in December 2012, and the CIA sent its official response in June 2013.

The committee’s detailed report is still classified, but it is known to be highly critical of both the CIA’s role in the torture regime and its campaign to deceive Congress about it. The CIA vehemently took issue with those conclusions.

what's leaking at the waste isolation pilot program?


Located near Carlsbad, New Mexico this Department of Energy (DOE) experimental nuclear waste dump is attempting to store leftover radioactive plutonium and americium from the US weapons program. On February 14, 2014 there was a nuclear safety failure at the site and the Department of Energy is not being honest about it. In this film Fairewinds Energy Education's Arnie Gundersen pieces together what happened and points out Fairewinds' major concerns about the facility, the accident and the lack of transparency at the DOE.


major radiation release in carlsbad n.m.?


potr |  A proven reliable source with inside information on the internal happenings at the WIPP  Plutonium disaster has provided us with radiation reading for Saturday 2/22/14, taken before and after HEPA filtration of the exhaust air from the WIPP mine shaft. Based on that information, and using risk mitigating assumptions, we calculated that Plutonium and Americium are CURRENTLY being RELEASED INTO THE OUTSIDE AIR at a rate of 400,000 Disintegrations Per Minute (DPM), for every single minute the ventilation system is running. For those more comfortable with the Becquerel as a unit of measure, that works out to the plant exhausting 6,667 Becquerels of Plutonium and Americium PER MINUTE into the outside air.

Our source informed us that at Station A (prior to HEPA filtration) that the small amount of air which is being sampled returned a reading of several hundred DPM's; and that the POST HEPA FILTERED AIR was reading approximately 20 DPM's.

WIPP planning documents indicated that their ventilation system has 3 fans, which which add up to at total ventilation capacity of 20,000 Cubic Meters of Air per minute. The ventilation system has 4 circuits. It is unclear which circuits are running, or at what rates. It is also unclear if there are even higher concentrated released going out of the other shafts at the plant. But given the information available, the wise risk mitigation based measurement for current releases is 400,000 DPM's every single minute.

It is also important to note that the sampling filters are tiny in comparison to the over all airflow, only a small subset of air is measured. The photos of the Station A sensors/ filters show a pipe roughly 1/2 inch in diameter as the air sample source. The actual exhaust pipe is tall enough for a person to walk in. The plant also has 4 ventilation zones, it is unclear which zones are currently being ventilated. Hence 400K DPM per minute is the MINIMUM Radiation release number on which a wise person would base risk mitigation decisions.

During the first 30 seconds of the disaster before HEPA filtration started, we calculate that a Plutonium + Americium cloud of 6.6 BILLION DPM's (110,000,000 Becquerels) passed by a radiation monitor 1/2 a mile North West of the Plant.

Those numbers do involve assumptions forced upon us by DOE and CERMC because they don't release the full context of the their detections (they prefer to use Bananas as a basis of radiation exposure). Our numbers are based on conservatively risk mitigating public health exposure, with context derived from WIPP data gleaned from the EPA permitting documents.

In that regard, understand that when  WIPP and CERMC release this data in a few days, you can expect AT BEST they will only mention 20 DPM being measured. Don't expect them to deliver the truthful context of what that means, nor should you expect them to release the RAW DATA and info to check their calculation. It is of utmost importance to them that they control the narrative of what is happening at WIPP.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

are you just soft machines?


theatlantic | Aristotle’s definition of man as a rational animal has recently taken quite a beating.
Part of the attack comes from neuroscience. Pretty, multicolored fMRI maps make clear that our mental lives can be observed in the activity of our neurons, and we’ve made considerable progress in reading someone’s thoughts by looking at those maps. It’s clear, too, that damage to the brain can impair the most-intimate aspects of ourselves, such as the capacity to make moral judgments or to inhibit bad actions. To some scholars, the neural basis of mental life suggests that rational deliberation and free choice are illusions. Because our thoughts and actions are the products of our brains, and because what our brains do is determined by the physical state of the world and the laws of physics—perhaps with a dash of quantum randomness in the mix—there seems to be no room for choice. As the author and neuroscientist Sam Harris has put it, we are “biochemical puppets.”

This conception of what it is to be a person fits poorly with our sense of how we live our everyday lives. It certainly feels as though we make choices, as though we’re responsible for our actions. The idea that we’re entirely physical beings also clashes with the age-old idea that body and mind are distinct. Even young children believe themselves and others to be not just physical bodies, subject to physical laws, but also separate conscious entities, unfettered from the material world. Most religious thought has been based on this kind of dualist worldview, as showcased by John Updike in Rabbit at Rest, when Rabbit talks to his friend Charlie about Charlie’s recent surgery:
“Pig valves.” Rabbit tries to hide his revulsion. “Was it terrible? They split your chest open and ran your blood through a machine?”

“Piece of cake. You’re knocked out cold. What’s wrong with running your blood through a machine? What else you think you are, champ?”

A God-made one-of-a-kind with an immortal soul breathed in. A vehicle of grace. A battlefield of good and evil. An apprentice angel …

“You’re just a soft machine,” Charlie maintains.

body-image pressure "infecting" boys minds too...,

theatlantic | Culturally, we’re becoming well attuned to the pressure girls are under to achieve an idealized figure. But researchers say that lately, boys are increasingly feeling the heat.

A new study of a national sample of adolescent boys, published in the January issue of JAMA Pediatrics, reveals that nearly 18 percent of boys are highly concerned about their weight and physique. They are also at increased risk for a variety of negative outcomes: Boys in the study who were extremely concerned about weight were more likely to be depressed, and more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors such as binge drinking and drug use.

The trend toward weight obsession among boys is cause for worry, says Dr. Alison Field, an associate professor of pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and the lead author of the study. “You want people to be concerned enough about their weight to make healthy decisions,” she says, “but not so concerned that they’re willing to take whatever means it takes—healthy or unhealthy—to achieve their desired physique.”

Of the boys who were highly concerned with their weight, about half were worried only about gaining more muscle, and approximately a third were concerned with both thinness and muscularity simultaneously. Meanwhile, less than 15 percent were concerned only with thinness. Those statistics reflect a major difference between boys and girls when it comes to weight concerns: whereas girls typically want to be thinner, boys are as likely to feel pressure to gain weight as to lose it.

“There are some males who do want to be thinner and are focused on thinness,” Field says, “but many more are focused on wanting bigger or at least more toned and defined muscles. That’s a very different physique.”

anything called a "multi-dimensional classroom experience" is a load of crap


canisius |  Jennifer E. Beebe, PhD, assistant professor of counseling and human services at Canisius College, says that to prevent or stop bullying, schools must implement collaborative programs that involve teachers, administrators and school counselors.  
 
“It is integral that bullying prevention and intervention efforts address the specific needs of the students, schools and communities,” says Beebe, who conducts research in the areas of bullying and cyber-bullying.  Such interventions can include the implementation of social and emotional learning standards into school curriculum.

 “It’s just as important to teach social and emotional skills to students as it is to teach them science,” says Beebe. “We can increase consciousness of positive behaviors by incorporating those ideals into the educational system. Many students may not learn them otherwise.”

Beebe recently completed a study, which examined disrespect, bullying behaviors and physical aggression among 350 elementary and middle school students in three schools in Illinois. The behaviors were negatively impacting students’ academic achievement and school attendance. In many cases, these behaviors crossed over into the cyber world. Beebe’s research was awarded the Dean’s Scholarship from The Canisius College School of Education and Human Services.

Students learned several tenets from a 12-week long intervention that was integrated into students’ regular classroom lessons for approximately one hour. “Students were taught concepts such as loyalty, obedience, bystander intervention and respect.” Beebe adds.  

The research was the result of a collaborative effort with a non-profit organization in Illinois, The COREMatters Project. The intervention is a multi-dimensional classroom experience focusing on social emotional learning, empathy and respect building instruction utilizing cooperative learning activities, role playing, classroom discussions, individual work, as well as physical activities that involve Martial Arts.

crimea's case for leaving ukraine


rsn |  If you were living in Crimea, would you prefer to remain part of Ukraine with its coup-installed government – with neo-Nazis running four ministries including the Ministry of Defense – or would you want to become part of Russia, which has had ties to Crimea going back to Catherine the Great in the 1700s?

Granted, it’s not the greatest choice in the world, but it’s the practical one facing you. For all its faults, Russia has a functioning economy while Ukraine really doesn’t. Russia surely has its share of political and financial corruption but some of that has been brought under control.

Not so in Ukraine where a moveable feast of some 10 “oligarchs” mostly runs the show in shifting alliances, buying up media outlets and politicians, while the vast majority of the population faces a bleak future, which now includes more European-demanded “austerity,” i.e. slashed pensions and further reductions in already sparse social services.

Even if the U.S.-backed plan for inserting Ukraine into the European Union prevails, Ukrainians would find themselves looking up the socio-economic ladder at the Greeks and other European nationals already living the nightmare of “austerity.”

Beyond that humiliation and misery, the continuing political dislocations across Ukraine would surely feed the further rise of right-wing extremists who espouse not only the goal of expelling ethnic Russians from Ukraine but Jews and other peoples considered not pure Ukrainian.

This troubling racist element of the “inspiring” Ukrainian uprising has been mostly airbrushed from the U.S. media’s narrative, but more honest sources of news have reported this disturbing reality. [For instance, watch this report from the BBC.]

Monday, March 10, 2014

the professorial president and the small strutting hard man


medialens | Channel 4 News did have one welcome exception to its 'mainstream' news coverage on Ukraine when it published a blog piece by its correspondent Alex Thomson. He noted that much of the media coverage of the protests in Kiev had been 'completely one-sided', adding:

'Vladimir Putin is an easy bogeyman. He is everything we want a "Big Bad Russian" to be. In his shirt-removing, animal hunting absurdity he is too easy to pigeon-hole. [...] for now "big bad Russia", "big nasty Putin" and "poor heroic Ukraine" looks a little too simplistic to me.'

But such a refreshingly realistic perspective appeared to be too dangerous for the 'pinko-liberal' Jon Snow-fronted C4 news as broadcast on television. Perhaps Thomson is tolerated on the C4 News team so long as he doesn't become too pushy, and instead restricts his hardest-hitting journalism to the blog.

Other dark, dingy corners of the internet harbouring the few further examples of well-rewarded journalists expressing dissent included the Mail Online, of all places. Peter Hitchens noted

'What continues to strike me about this whole row is the inability of most people to view Russia as a country, or Russians as people. Russia is portrayed as a bogeyman, and its people as either oppressed or as tools of a new Hitler.

Hitchens added:

'I still hope this will end without tears or blood, but the overblown, piously shocked rhetoric of western politicians and media is making that much harder.'

And indeed the danger of violent conflict tragically remains high. Chris Marsden notes today that:

'Washington spent the weekend ramping up pressure on its allies to intensify the provocations and threats against Russia over Ukraine.'

Marsden adds some of the vital context that is so lacking in 'mainstream' news coverage:

'The US has spent the past two decades seeking to eliminate Ukraine as a strategic buffer between Russia and the West, sponsoring the "Orange Revolution" in 2004 in an ultimately abortive attempt to install a wholly pro-Western government. Washington and its allies have tried to do the same in other former Soviet states by integrating them into the structures of NATO and the European Union, encouraging Georgia, in particular, and former Soviet republics in Central Asia to take the path of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

'Washington has been funnelling money into the region for years and has now opened the taps all the way. According to an admission in December by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, the US had invested "over $5 billion" to "ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine."'

Nuland is the US official who infamously said in a leaked phone call last month: 'Fuck the EU', letting slip the US's intention to interfere in Ukrainian domestic affairs. As Patrick O'Connor observed:

'The Obama administration's rhetoric about "democracy" and the Ukrainian people's right to determine their own future is a charade, concocted for public consumption. Behind the scenes, government officials speak frankly with one another about the real agenda—advancing Washington's geo-strategic and economic interests in Eastern Europe by installing pro-US and anti-Russian puppet figures in the Ukrainian capital.'

By contrast, as we noted at the start, BBC News continues to portray Obama as a 'professorial president' with decent intentions, striving to export democracy, good governance and freedom around the world. The huge chasm between image and reality is an appalling media deception perpetrated on the public which is paying for it out of its own pocket, as well as in terms of the awful consequences of this cynical propaganda.

in the lawyers vs. warriors struggle, I'ma bet on the warriors....,


commondreams |  International law is suddenly very popular in Washington. President Obama responded to Russian military intervention in the Crimea by accusing Russia of a “breach of international law.” Secretary of State John Kerry followed up by declaring that Russia is “in direct, overt violation of international law.”

Unfortunately, during the last five years, no world leader has done more to undermine international law than Barack Obama. He treats it with rhetorical adulation and behavioral contempt, helping to further normalize a might-makes-right approach to global affairs that is the antithesis of international law.

Fifty years ago, another former law professor, Senator Wayne Morse, condemned such arrogance of power. “I don’t know why we think, just because we’re mighty, that we have the right to try to substitute might for right,” Morse said on national TV in 1964. “And that’s the American policy in Southeast Asia—just as unsound when we do it as when Russia does it.”

Today, Uncle Sam continues to preen as the globe’s big sheriff on the side of international law even while functioning as the world’s biggest outlaw.

Rather than striving for an evenhanded assessment of how “international law” has become so much coin of the hypocrisy realm, mainline U.S. media are now transfixed with Kremlin villainy.

On Sunday night, the top of the New York Times home page reported: “Russian President Vladimir V. Putin has pursued his strategy with subterfuge, propaganda and brazen military threat, taking aim as much at the United States and Europe as Ukraine itself.” That was news coverage.

Following close behind, a Times editorial appeared in print Monday morning, headlined “Russia’s Aggression,” condemning “Putin’s cynical and outrageous exploitation of the Ukrainian crisis to seize control of Crimea.” The liberal newspaper’s editorial board said that the United States and the European Union “must make clear to him that he has stepped far outside the bounds of civilized behavior.”

Valodya role-ing like a BOSS!!!


WaPo | References to Vladi­mir Putin’s invasion of Crimea as some sort of “19th-century behavior” misjudge the enormity of recent events. He hasn’t miscalculated; Putin is redefining 21st-century warfare.

Before Putin invaded Georgia in August 2008, he spent months deploying the traditional machinery of war: He rebuilt railroads and highways to move tanks and thousands of troops. He sent warplanes menacingly over Georgian territory. He also used state propaganda to muddle the narrative about who started the war. 

But Putin is no longer bound by the constraints of nation-state warfare. Years of confrontations with separatists, militants, terrorists and stateless actors influenced his thinking. In Crimea, Putin debuted a pop-up war — nimble and covert — that is likely to be the design of the future.

First, the hidden army appeared out of nowhere. Soldiers-of-no-nation were outfitted for troublemaking and street-fighting. These troops, denied by Putin, are also seemingly unconstrained by the laws, rules and conventions governing warfare — Putin’s biggest brush-off yet to international order. They are Putin’s hybrid of soldiers and terrorists: hidden faces, hidden command-and-control, hidden orders, but undoubtedly activated to achieve state objectives. The lack of an identified leader gums up the international community’s response: There is no general with whom to negotiate a cease-fire or surrender; if violence erupts, there is potentially no way to end it short of stopping each gunman. 

These irregular forces are also a psychological menace for the local population and Ukrainians nationwide, who don’t know where else the hidden army awaits.

The second component of Putin’s 21st-century warfare is cyber. Calling it propaganda diminishes the insidious and poisonous nature of this information battle

Cyber-tactics have been streamlined to Putin’s latest purpose: interrupting the communications of legislators and governance, even as the stream of Russian-language misinformation heralding the new war on “fascisti” continues to flow. 

Putin has manufactured a version of reality to propagate the narrative he needs to destabilize Ukraine. He decided an ethno-lingual division was needed to achieve his objectives — and then cast parts. Now the story is being acted out on hundreds of fronts and posted on social media, a virtual live-stream of content for Putin’s argument of oppression, victimization and fear in Russian-speaking Ukraine. 

Reality plays no role in all this. Itar-Tass ran a story last weekend, later picked up by Forbes and others, that 675,000 Ukrainians had recently sought political asylum in Russia. Recall that in August 2008, Moscow claimed that 2,000 civilians had been killed in South Ossetia, a region of Georgia into which it sent and still maintains troops. Human Rights Watch investigators later found that only 44 civilians had died. But Western news agencies cover Putin’s fake news as if it were worthy of debate. His distortions and the resulting intimidation slow responses to his actions and dilute the resolve of those who would stand against him. 

Third, Putin is using financial markets as a polemical tool. With a personal net worth said to be in the tens of billions, he understands financial might. Russia’s wealth has allowed it to forge “partnerships” based on mutual financial interest, and Putin is relying on that web of connections.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

blustering bankster beehotches be wyhlin....,


BI |  On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the Kremlin annexing Crimea would “close any available space for diplomacy.”

The warning is disconcerting because there are three general ways that this crisis could play out: Russia keeps advancing into east and south Ukraine, Russia annexes Crimea and then applies further financial and political pressure on the new government in Kiev, or Russia makes limited concessions and the crisis de-escalates.

By Kerry saying that the diplomatic window is closed if Russia annexes Crimea — which is almost a forgone conclusion — then the best path for de-escalation is obstructed.

"We need a de-escalation and that can only happen via talks," German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who spoke with Putin in Moscow last week, told Der Spiegel. "It's not a question now of whether we react in a 'hard' or 'soft' manner; rather we have to act in a clever manner."

Furthermore, on Sunday U.S. national security official Tony Blinken said that America won't recognize the March 16 referendum and will increase sanctions on Moscow if and when Crimea secedes. 
Meanwhile, experts agree that Vladimir Putin is not going to give up Crimea.

war devolving back to its killer-ape roots...,


normanfinkelstein | Why has the outcome of revolutions that started with such high hopes been so toxic? Since 1999, I have covered Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, and in each case the armed opposition has progressively undergone criminalisation and what might be called “Talibanisation”. The circumstances are not identical, but the similarities are striking.

A reason for the Talibanisation is that only Islam appears capable of mobilising people prepared to fight to the death. This is important because wars are determined not by the number of people supporting a cause, but by the number prepared to die for it. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, national causes were often led by communists, who might begin as a small minority, as they did in the Spanish Civil War, but rapidly expanded because of their organisation and fanatical commitment.

In the Middle East, there is a failing common to beleaguered regimes and their secular opponents that weakens them both. The old nationalist rulers of Egypt, Syria, Libya and Iraq from Nasser on justified their monopoly of political and economic power by claiming that only thus could they make national self-determination a reality. In the early stages they had their successes: Nasser triumphed over Britain and France in the Suez crisis in 1956; Gaddafi took over and raised the price of Libya’s oil in 1973, and Hafez al-Assad successfully confronted Israel in Lebanon in the 1970s and 1980s. By 2011, however, these governments had turned into self-serving cliques whose nationalist slogans were long discredited and whose corruption delegitimised the nation state.

The mistake of civic activists and non-sectarian revolutionaries in 2011 was not to see that emphasis on human and civil rights did not mean much unless a strong nation state could be regenerated. Nationalism may be out of fashion, but without it gluing society together, the alternative is sectarianism, tribalism and foreign domination. As paymasters, the Sunni oil states of the Gulf set the agenda and it is a deeply reactionary one. It is hypocritical and absurd for Western powers to pretend that they are seeking to build secular democracies in alliance with theocratic absolute monarchies in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

The future does not look bright. Once sectarian furies are released they become next to impossible to contain. For all the turmoil in Turkey, it is more of a complete nation state than elsewhere in the region. But then that is partly because a fifth of the Turkish population was Christian in 1914 and, following the Armenian massacres and the expulsion or exchange of the Greeks, the proportion fell to about 1 per cent 10 years later.

People ask why the revolutions in Eastern Europe at the time of the fall of communism were so much less violent than in the Middle East. A less than comforting answer is that the East European minorities had been murdered, expelled or forced to flee during or shortly after the Second World War. The same fate could be waiting for the minorities of Syria.

valodya shows admirable restraint in the blood vs. money conflict on his back porch....,


ICH |  According to a report in Kommersant-Ukraine, the finance ministry of Washington’s stooges in Kiev who are pretending to be a government has prepared an economic austerity plan that will cut Ukrainian pensions from $160 to $80 so that Western bankers who lent money to Ukraine can be repaid at the expense of Ukraine’s poor.  It is Greece all over again.

Before anything approaching stability and legitimacy has been obtained for the puppet government put in power by the Washington orchestrated coup against the legitimate, elected Ukraine government, the Western looters are already at work. Naive protesters who believed the propaganda that EU membership offered a better life are due to lose half of their pension by April. But this is only the beginning.

The corrupt Western media describes loans as “aid.” However, the 11 billion euros that the EU is offering Kiev is not aid. It is a loan. Moreover, it comes with many strings, including Kiev’s acceptance of an IMF austerity plan.

Remember now, gullible Ukrainians participated in the protests that were used to overthrow their elected government, because they believed the lies told to them by Washington-financed NGOs that once they joined the EU they would have streets paved with gold. Instead they are getting cuts in their pensions and an IMF austerity plan.

The austerity plan will cut social services, funds for education, layoff government workers, devalue the currency, thus raising the prices of imports which include Russian gas, thus electricity, and open Ukrainian assets to takeover by Western corporations.

Ukraine’s agriculture lands will pass into the hands of American agribusiness.

One part of the Washington/EU plan for Ukraine, or that part of Ukraine that doesn’t defect to Russia, has succeeded. What remains of the country will be thoroughly looted by the West.

The other part hasn’t worked as well. Washington’s Ukrainian stooges lost control of the protests to organized and armed ultra-nationalists. These groups, whose roots go back to those who fought for Hitler during World War 2, engaged in words and deeds that sent southern and eastern Ukraine clamoring to be returned to Russia where they resided prior to the 1950s when the Soviet communist party stuck them into Ukraine.