Thursday, October 30, 2014

Irresponsibly Targeting Russia

Irresponsibly Targeting Russia

by Stephen Lendman

Russia is geopolitical enemy No. 1. Not for wrongdoing. Or posing an existential threat. Or acting irresponsibly in any way. 

For defending its sovereign independence responsibly. Lawfully. Wanting other nations respecting it. Believing rule of law principles are inviolable.

For Vladimir Putin, Sergey Lavrov and other officials telling it like it is. Expressing important views candidly, forthrightly and unambiguously.

Polar opposite duplicitous Western politicians. Especially Obama. A caricature of a leader. 

Arguably America's worst ever. A serial liar. A moral coward. A war criminal multiple times over.

A shameless head of state. A deplorable one. A dangerous one. A lawless one. A ruthless one. 

Neoliberal, reactionary, belligerent, pro-war, pro-monied interests, anti-democratic, anti-progressive, anti-populist, anti-labor and anti-social justice.

A world-class thug. A threat to global peace at the most perilous time in world history. Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Rogozin commented.

He explained Moscow's response to real existential threats. It's proud independence. Able to defend its interests effectively.

Not about to roll over for Washington or other rogue Western partners. More on his remarks below.

Welcome to Cold War 2.0. The first one never ended. Since Soviet Russia's 1991 dissolution, Western policy remained hard-wired in place. 

Russia bashing persists. Intensely. Raging daily. Exceeding the worst of Soviet era levels. 

Daily vilifying a maliciously reinvented Evil Empire. It's back to the future. Unsurprisingly. 

Neocons infest Washington. Other Western capitals. Business as usual continues. At stake is world peace.

Numerous incidents occur. Contrived ones. Invented to vilify Moscow recklessly.

Sweden's so-called search for "foreign underwater activity" heghtened regional tensions irresponsibly.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said:

"Such unfounded actions of the Swedish Defense Department, fueled by the Cold War-style rhetoric, are only leading today to escalation of tension in the region."

He referred to "never-ceasing speculations" about Sweden claiming a Russian submarine's presence in Stockholm archipelago region waters.
Moscow denied the accusation. Sweden announced readiness to use force. 

It ludicrously claimed Russian Baltic Sea area challenging activity. With no corroborating evidence whatever.

Acting provocatively without cause. Suspending defense cooperation with Moscow. Perhaps on orders from Washington. 

Willingly serving as a convenient US stooge. Sacrificing its sovereign independence in the process.

The latest incident involved UK Royal Air Force warplanes intercepting a Latvian cargo plane. Threatening to down it. 

Claiming it failed to respond to air traffic control over Kent in Southern England. UK media irresponsibly broadcast a British pilot saying:

"I am instructed by Her Majesty's government of the United Kingdom to warn you that, if you do not respond immediately to my orders, you will be shot down."

Doing so heightened fear without just cause. Communications with civilian pilots were restored. Everything was in order. Things were resolved without force.

Media scoundrels wrongfully reported a Russian cargo plane. Then switching to "Russian-made."

It was a Latvian-owned Ukrainian one. It didn't matter. Frenzied reporting claimed Russian military aircraft in Atlantic and Black Sea waters.

US-led NATO said it intercepted four groups of Russian planes since Tuesday. According to an Alliance statement:

"These sizable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace."

Media reports left unexplained what was most important. Russian planes were legally in international airspace. They crossed no territorial borders. They threatened no one.

Reuters quoted a Norwegian military spokesman saying:

"We see Russian aircraft near our airspace on a regular basis but what was unusual is that it was a large number of aircraft and pushed further south than we normally see."

Unexplained was they posed no threat whatever. Nor violated air space rules. Had they been US or other Western planes, nothing whatever would have been reported.

Cold, calculated Russia bashing changed things. Expect lots more ahead. Intense. Irresponsible. Malicious. Uncalled for.

Washington's dirty hands bear full responsibility. Rogue EU partners share it. Dark side geopolitics continues. No end in sight looms.

Dmitry Rogozin commented on Russia's response. It's militarily modernizing to meet potential threats. With the "most ultra-modern weapons."

By 2015, to be 30% equipped. By 2020, 70%. Perhaps 100% or close to it. "In fact, our Army and Navy will be the best armed and equipped in the world," Rogozin believes.

In terms of "efficiency, quality and price," he thinks Russia "will be able to realize (its) goal."

"We have to make weapons that will be more straightforward and cheaper than" America's. In terms of efficiency, they must equal or surpass its capability.

Washington relies on military power, said Rogozin. "It's an old formula, known since old mafia times. A gun lying on the table makes negotiations more effective."

"That is to say, a kind word can solve a lot, but a kind word with a gun can solve a lot more."

Washington operates this way. With help from NATO partners. "(H)aving evaluated the military threat, (we) understand that our weapons must be able to reflect not only an attack from one aggressor, but from an aggregate number of countries (with) a high level of technology and can use force against us."

At the same time, "(w)e have to create a compact army, so it can be mobile and transferred" wherever a threat of war exists.

Russia has the largest territorial country in the world by far. With a population of only 135 million. 

Adequate protection requires 600 million, Rogozin believes. "Therefore, out task is to create a weapon that will allow each soldier and officer to replace five people."

"So we must have lots of weapons. Military personnel at all levels should be trained as "universal soldier(s)." Able to operate complex weapons.

Since people are few compared to territorial expanse to protect, every soldier's life is important. "(M)ov(ing) (them) as far away as possible from the actual line of fire" is essential.

Doing so requires "funding for the advancing (of) cutting-edge area(s) of science. (W)e need to stay ahead of the world. If we lag behind, we will lose."

"Will we have types of weapons (Putin says) will surprise our Western colleagues?"

"I can only say one thing. The formation of the technical basis for strategic nuclear forces is going at a surprising pace."

Russia is ahead of earlier plans. A nuclear submarine fleet is being created. 

With strategic nuclear weapons "capable of reaching any country on any continent, if it suddenly becomes the aggressor and our topmost national interests come under threat."

"(M)ulti-purpose vessels (will be) capable of autonomous navigation to deal with any obstacles and that can compete in an armed confrontation with (an) entire enemy fleet."

"With regard to the Strategic Missile Forces, the President has already adopted and is implementing strategies."

"(W)e updated almost the entire fleet of strategic bombers. We have restored the capability of unique engines" lost earlier.

"(F)ramework has been laid for the creation of an advanced aviation complex for a long-range aircraft."

"Design works have been initiated to create a heavy bomber, which will be a powerful replacement for the strategic aviation which we inherited from the Soviet era."

Efforts began "to create a new missile complex, which will replace the current one." Everything is being produced in Russia.

Including electronics, engines, nuclear warheads, special part and other device management systems, Rogozin explained.

Ukraine's disintegration began when Soviet Russia dissolved, he said. The country was "up for grabs." Competing elements "gnawing each other's throats."

Reliance on Ukrainian military imports is ending. "In 2.5 years at most, we will fully replace everything" Kiev supplied.

"For Ukraine, it is the end. (A) complete demise of (its) state as an an industrial country." Their products and technology are outdated.

"What they are doing right now is suicide." Its science and industry are incompetent. Putin months earlier tried "wretch(ing) Ukraine from a tailspin."

To no avail once putschists usurped power. Ukraine is "finished. It is a personal tragedy" for its people. They can either accept mediocracy or move to Russia. 

They're coming, said Rogozin. Those doing so know where their future lies. Able to continue working as scientists, experts, engineers, "but now in Russia as Russians," Rogozin explained.

They'll help Moscow's defense/industrial complex. Added competence against Washington's threat.

Rogozin calls its behavior "amusing, quite selective. They're saying (they) want to create problems for the Russian space, for the Russian rocket-space industry."

"They are trying to squeeze us out of the market where Russian companies gained opportunities to launch foreign satellites."

They're "attempting to cause as much damage as possible to the development of Russian space."

At the same time, they're dependent on Russia to transport astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station.

Until 2018, they have no other way. They're "completely dependent on our goodwill." They're biting the hand feeding it.

Moscow is up to the challenges it faces, Rogozin stressed. It understands them. It's acting accordingly. Responsibly.

It bears repeating. It's not rolling over for Washington. Or rogue European partners. It's preparing to address future challenges successfully.

Rogozin believes its state-of-the-art technology, competent professionals and commitment to achieve goals shows it's able to confront potential adversaries effectively.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

America's Deplorable Afghanistan Legacy

America's Deplorable Afghanistan Legacy

by Stephen Lendman

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg absurdly calls Afghanistan an Alliance success story. 

As ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) "completes" its "mission at the end of this year."

"This unprecedented international effort has contributed to a better future for Afghan men, women and children," Stoltenberg claims. "And it has enhanced global security."

Disaster more accurately describes things. Conditions are horrific. Perhaps worse than ever. A testimony to US-led NATO high crimes against peace.

Afghanistan's new puppet government agreed to let around 10,000 US troops remain indefinitely. 

Immune from Afghan laws. Free to rampage with impunity. On the pretext of serving in an advisory capacity.

Afghanistan today reflects "the grand illusion of the American cause." What CIA officials called Vietnam decades earlier.

After over 13 years of neo-colonial war, Washington won't cut its losses and leave. For good reason.

Afghanistan is strategically important. A geopolitical prize. Straddling the Middle East, South and Central Asia. In Eurasia's heartland.

Permanent occupation is planned. War won't end. At issue is exploiting Eurasia's vast oil, gas and other resources. 
Significant Afghan resources rarely discussed.

Controlling the world's largest opium supply. Flooding world markets with heroin. 

Providing enormous profits for Wall Street. Giving CIA crime bosses access to billions of dollars in ilicit drug money.

Giving America a strategically located land-based aircraft carrier. Part of its plan to encircle Russia and China with military bases.

Both nations represent the only challengers to US global dominance. Imperial supremacy depends on neutralizing their alliance.

Sabotaging their governments. Replacing them with pro-Western stooge ones.

China is the world's largest economy. Based on purchasing power parity (PPP). What a representative basket of goods in one country costs v. another.

By 2019, IMF economists expect it to be 20% larger than America. Based on PPP. It's perhaps the greatest economic success story in modern times. 

Thirty-five years ongoing. The best America achieved was around 25 years in colonial times.

Russia is a formidable military power. The only nation able to challenge America's military might.

With enormous oil and gas resources. Both nations benefit strategically by allying. 

Doing so weakens America longterm. The new great game pits Washington against Sino/Russian unity. 

In the long run, hegemons fail. America is no different from earlier ones.

Afghanistan is its longest war in history. Its most fruitless. One of its most brutal. Most expensive. More on this below.

A previous article discussed US Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis. He assessed conditions accurately. His unclassified report called them disastrous.

"How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding," he asked? His report's opening comments said:

"Senior ranking US military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the US Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable." 

"This deception has damaged America’s credibility among both our allies and enemies, severely limiting our ability to reach a political solution to the war in Afghanistan."

His classified report was more explicit, saying: 

"If the public had access to these classified reports, they would see the dramatic gulf between what is often said in public by our senior leaders and what is actually true behind the scenes." 

"It would be illegal for me to discuss, use, or cite classified material in an open venue, and thus I will not do so."

Davis traveled thousands of miles throughout the country. He spoke to US commanders, subordinates, and low-ranking soldiers. 

He talked at length with Afghan security officials, civilians and village elders. What he learned bore no resemblance to rosy scenario official accounts. 

Insurgent forces control "virtually every piece of land beyond eyeshot of a US or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) base," he said

Everywhere he visited, "the tactical situation was bad to abysmal."
Afghanistan's government can't "provide for the basic needs of the people." At times, local security forces collude with insurgents.

Davis hoped to learn something positive. He "witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level." 

One senior enlisted leader spoke for others. He hoped to get out alive in one piece.

War without end continues. No end in sight looms. Afghanistan's so-called government controls little more than Kabul. 

Other than ISAF bases and pockets Taliban fighters haven't yet taken over. Don't expect Obama to explain. Or Pentagon commanders.

It's hard imagining a more long-suffering people. Humanitarian aid enough to matter is sorely lacking. Millions of Afghans are on their own.

US imperial victims. Suffering horrifically. Only 6% have reliable electricity sources. Only 30% have semi-safe potable water. Nearly 80% of Afghan children lack access.

Only 6% of them are registered at birth. Most are nonpersons. With no legal identity. Vulnerable. Unprotected. Defenseless.

Washington doesn't give a damn about them. Whether they live or  die, lack basic services, suffer, or experience horrific indignities.

Few Afghans have telephones. They're mostly in Kabul. Millions of internally and externally displaced refugees are largely on their own.

According to to the World Food Program (WFP), life expectancy is 44.5 years for men. It's 44 for women. Afghanistan has one of the world's highest maternal mortality rates.

Many thousands of women die annually. From no access to obstetrical and other health services. 

Infant mortality is high. Around 165 deaths per thousand births occur before age one. Over 20% of children perish before age five.

No one's sure from day to day who'll live or die. US drone attacks kill mostly noncombatants. Claims otherwise are Big Lies. 

Millions are vulnerable to preventable diseases. Epidemic levels of malnutrition persist.

Vital infrastructure is lacking. Severe poverty is overwhelming. So is environmental contamination. 

Mass unemployment goes unnoticed. Healthcare, housing, education, proper sanitation and other vital needs are sorely lacking.

Human misery is a growth industry. So is hunger. Thousands starve to death for lack of food. 

Millions suffer chronic malnutrition. Tens of thousands of children have protruding bones.

Like famine victims. With distended stomachs. Begging in streets for whatever help they can get.

Chronic malnutrition and overall depravation deprive them of anything approaching normality.

Iron deficiency alone disrupts brain development. Around 75% of Afghan children are affected.

Iodine deficiency is the world's leading cause of mental impairment. Insufficient vitamin A harms immune system functioning.

Micronutrients deprivation causes enormous harm. Millions of Afghans can't afford minimally healthy diets. 

In some provinces, only one in five have anything close to what's needed. Conditions were woefully inadequate before America's war. They're far worse now.

Afghanistan's troubled history goes back centuries. Its people endured what few can imagine.

In the 1980s, America's involvement began. US recruited mujahideen fighters battled Soviet occupiers. 

In 1989 they left. A ravaged country remained. Civil war followed. Then 9/11. US-led naked aggression. 

Invasion. Occupation. Millions of deaths. Mass destruction, and horrific human suffering to this day.

Washington doesn't give a damn about ordinary Afghans. Whether they live or die. Starve or succumb to violence or preventable diseases.

Imperial priorities matter most. Long-suffering Afghans remain on their own out of luck. 

Perhaps millions more will perish before conflict ends. Who knows when or how.

A Final Comment

Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz wrote earlier on the true cost of the Iraq war. She believes Washington's Iraq and Afghan wars alone will cost up to $6 trillion.

Including longterm medical care and disability compensation for vets and families.

Over 2.5 million men and women served in both wars. Over 1.5 million left active duty by September 2012.

Over half of them get government medical care. Another 50% applied for permanent disability benefits.

Costs are staggering. Increasing exponentially. Eventually they'll approach $1 trillion. Over 600,000 service members were seriously harmed.

Over 250,00 suffered traumatic brain injury. According to Bilmes:

"Research from previous wars has shown that these veterans are at a higher risk for lifelong medical problems, such as seizures, decline in neurocognitive functioning, dementia, and chronic diseases."

Medical and personnel costs skyrocketed. In future years they'll be much greater than now.

Over $2 trillion was borrowed to finance the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, said Bilmes. Debt service is huge. Even at low interest rates.

The human and financial cost of US wars is staggering. Trillions of dollars down a black hole to make America safe for war profiteers.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Lavrov on Ukraine

Lavrov on Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

Ukraine's so-called government is a US-installed fascist dictatorship. It has no legitimacy whatever.

Tyranny masquerades as democracy. None exists. Ordinary people have no say. Like in America. 

Monied interests run things in both countries. One fascist regime supports another.

Sunday's snap parliamentary elections were farcical. Expect worse than ever business as usual going forward.

Sergey Lavrov is a world class diplomat. He combines candor and statesmanship with tactfulness, discretion, thoughtfulness and prudence.

His comments warrant highlighting. He addressed post-electoral Ukraine. He did so for Moscow's Life News television and Izvestia.

He believes Russia will recognize Ukraine's election results. Even though they fell short of international standards nationwide.

It's "critically important for Ukraine to obtain, at long last, a leadership that will not engage in petty infighting and drag the country from east to west and back again, but one that will address real Ukrainian problems, Lavrov said. 

"Ukraine needs a government that will think how the nation should regain unity. It needs a government to guarantee an equal status to all Ukrainian citizens irrespective of the language they speak and political convictions they have." 

"No one should be victimised on political and other grounds, as has been the case until recently."

He called radical ultranationalist extremist parties in parliament "rather alarming." He referred to Oleg Tyahnybok's Svoboda and Oleg Syashko's Radical Party.

In December 2012, European parliamentarians expressed concern about "rising nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine, expressed in support for the Svoboda party, which, as a result, is one of the two new parties to enter" Ukraine's parliament.

Their "racist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic views go against the EU's fundamental values," they said.

Europe's parliament "appeal(ed) to pro-democratic parties in (Ukraine's legislature) not to associate with, endorse, or form coalitions with" these elements.

All is forgiven. EU officials look the other way. They turn a blind eye. They embrace what they denounced earlier. They accept illegimate coup d'etat authority.

They march in lockstep with Washington hardliners. They mock democratic values they claim to support.

Svoboda's platform "confirms adherence to the principles laid out in the declaration which expressed solidarity with Hitler's New Order in Europe," said Lavrov.

He's "confident (Russia has Ukrainian) partners to negotiate with in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) and in the Ukrainian government." 

He referred to "the Petr Poroshenko Bloc, which is bound to become the leading party in the new parliament, and he is Russia's and President Vladimir Putin's partner in negotiating the Minsk peace agreements between the Ukrainian government and the self-defence forces in Lugansk and Donetsk, reached with a significant contribution from Russia and the OSCE."

Poroshenko "declared his commitments to these agreements, also at the 17 October meeting with Vladimir Putin in Milan and at meetings in broader format (the so-called Normandy format)." 

"I believe the new Ukrainian government - which is bound to be a coalition government - will nevertheless be comprised of ministers who are devoted to the president's policy of peace, national accord and reconciliation in Ukraine. At least Poroshenko, in his contacts with Putin, firmly states that he will not allow a relapse into war. This is what matters most now."

It remains to be seen if Lavrov is right. Poroshenko violated past agreements. War continues in Southeastern Ukraine.

Fascists have power in Kiev. Washington supports and encourages them. Russia bashing continues relentlessly. 

Putschist prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk looks likely to retain his post as oligarch president Petro Poroshenko's main coalition partner.

He's hardline. Extremely anti-Russian. Recently saying "Moscow is determined to make Ukraine freeze," said Lavrov.

He called it "an outrageous statement." He made numerous similar ones. Irresponsible bald-faced lies. 

When Donetsk and Lugansk got limited self-rule, "Interior Minister Arsen Avakov publicly said he would not observe this law," said Lavrov.

Fascist regimes operate this way. It's hard being optimistic under these circumstances.

Lavrov put a brave face on a deplorable situation. He hopes for improvement going forward. Regional peace and stability depend on it. So far, there's none in sight.

Achieving it is touch and go at best. Unlikely at worst. Washington abhors it. Conflict and instability serve its agenda. 

It's manipulating things covertly. At issue is regime change in Russia. Washington wants pro-Western stooge governance replacing Moscow's sovereign independence.

Lavrov understands. He supports Ukrainian neutrality. Strategically positioned in Europe's heartland. 

Aligned neither solely East or West. What's extremely unlikely going forward. Washington wants things its way. It's going all-out to control Ukrainian affairs.

On Sunday, Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics will hold real democratic elections. They reject fascist rule. 

They want fundamental freedoms too precious to lose. Ones they fought and died for. And keep defending.

Moscow intends recognizing their electoral results. Lavrov called doing so "one of the most important aspects of the Minsk agreements." 

"We expect the elections to proceed as planned… We also hope that the results will be the freely expressed will of the people, without any outside interference undermining that."

Both People's Republics "categorically refused to accept the military coup and its aftermath, and who rejected the Bandera (Nazi) ideology and the Ukrainian National Assembly - Ukrainian People's Self-Defence policy, which the triumphant Maidan leaders tried to impose on the entire country." 

Post-February coup, "atrocities began." Egregious human and civil rights violations occurred. "Political opponents were arrested and thrown into jail without any investigation or trial…"

"So people decided to defend themselves and to escape the unacceptable consequences of the coup. So they took up arms and tried to defend their homes."

They had every right to do so. They still do. For precious liberties sorely absent in today's Ukraine. It bears repeating. Fascist regimes operate this way.

"We have consistently called for national dialogue between all the Ukrainian regions and political forces at every level, including international," said Lavrov. 

"The new Ukrainian government made a commitment to start a dialogue in the Geneva statement with the United States, European Union and Russia, signed in April 2014." 

"But this was never acted on. The need for national dialogue was reaffirmed in the Minsk agreements." 

"This new commitment was signed by a representative of Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko and opposition leaders. We insist that this process begin as soon as possible."

September 5 and 19 Minsk protocol violations continue, said Lavrov. Attempts are being made to resolve things. So far without success.

War without mercy continues. High Kiev crimes against peace reflects things.

Thousands died. Many more wounded. Huge numbers internally and externally displaced.

Conflict resolution remains distant. Whether possible remains to be seen. Unlikely any time soon. At risk is things going from bad to much worse.

Kiev hardliners yield nothing. Or Washington. Poroshenko is a convenient US stooge. So is Yatsenyuk. Agreements they sign aren't worth the paper they're written on.

Lavrov "firmly believe(s) national reconciliation…is a process that should include the restoration of justice and punishment of the guilty parties."

"What judicial agency could do this? Ukraine is not a party to the Statute of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and so an ICC prosecutor cannot initiate an investigation. This is not done." 

"The ICC agencies can only initiate this investigation in a country that is a party to the Rome Statute. As it is, Ukraine can refer the situation in its territory to the Court, which it has done, but only regarding the February events on Independence Square."

Kiev whitewashed state-sponsored Maidan and Odessa killings. The Mariupol tragedy. Similar crimes ongoing for months. Others continuing.

"…Russian legislation stipulates the possibility to investigate crimes committed in the territory of foreign countries if these crimes directly affect the interests of Russia and Russian citizens, because many Russian citizens, primarily journalists, have been affected by the arbitrary actions of the Ukrainian military, and journalists from several Russian media outlets, including Life News, were taken prisoner in Ukraine," said Lavrov. 

"Some of their less fortunate colleagues have died there. Russia's Investigative Committee has initiated an investigation into these cases." 

"We will continue using all means available to ensure that justice is served. People can also take their cases to the European Court of Human Rights, even though the court’s judges took politically motivated decisions in a number of high-profile cases." 

"However, this court is equipped to establish the truth if the investigation is conducted objectively."

Lavrov addressed anti-Russian sentiment. Its "surge…is well coordinated," he said. Vilifying Russia continues. "(N)o one is ever immune from a partner unethically babbling…"

Russia "take(s) a philosophical approach" to what's ongoing, Lavrov said. It conducts its own affairs responsibly. It can't control what other countries do. Or their top officials.

Western, mainly US, anti-Russian policies were planned long ago. Before Ukrainian crisis conditions emerged.

Things started after Soviet Russia's dissolution, said Lavrov. Western nations "missed a historic chance to create truly equal and indivisible security in Europe and a common humanitarian and economic space." 

"Back then, if they had embarked on a path of transforming the OSCE into a real organisation with its own charter and legally binding security assurances for all members, things could have turned out differently."

"We (could) now be living in a completely different Europe and world…(O)ur Western colleagues opted for mindless and boundless expansion of NATO, telling us bluntly that legal security guarantees are reserved for members of the North Atlantic Alliance."

"Our proposal to conclude a European security treaty, which would legally ensure security and provide the appropriate guarantees to all the countries of NATO and the CSTO which remain militarily and politically neutral was rejected, as was later rejected our proposal to begin to develop the concept for a common economic and humanitarian space, removing travel barriers, and harmonising the integration processes in the EU and the former Soviet Union." 

"All this was brushed aside." Western nations refus(ed) to cooperate with us on an equal footing." 

"They were not going to cooperate on an equal footing with anyone else either, as demonstrated by the Eastern Partnership programme, which was drafted in Brussels." 

"It was a non-negotiable and condescending offer extended to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus."

"Then, during Ukraine crisis, they stated expressly that the EU does not want to conduct any negotiations on harmonising economic, trade and investment relations between Ukraine and the EU and Ukraine and Russia."

"No one is going to investigate the bloodshed during the Maidan protests or the abundant evidence pointing to" anti-former President Yanukovich elements now in power.

"The West…was clearly upset to learn that the Russia of the 1990s is gone - the Russia that almost always said 'yes' and never tried to defend its interests, believing that its alliance with the West would resolve almost all of its problems." 

"This was an anomaly, something absolutely inconsistent with history, Russia's place in the world or the need to ensure a fair and equitable dialogue on matters of legitimate concern to us." 

"When we began to defend our legitimate rights in the international arena, someone thought, “Why? Everything is so clear now. What got into the Russians?” This is not good."

"This is basically a return to imperial thinking, which is particularly frustrating given our numerous initiatives aimed at finding a balance between our interests." 

"After all, we do not impose our interests on anyone and are willing to make concessions, because we recognise the legitimate interests of our partners that are within international law."

"We never advocate ideas that assert our interests in violation of international law…If our partners were a bit more pragmatic and a bit more focused on maintaining a constructive dialogue with us rather than imposing their values and interests to the detriment of Russia’s interests and values, many difficulties in our relations could have been avoided."

Russia is ready for constructive dialogue on all issues, Lavrov stressed. Impossible without likeminded partners. 

Especially Washington. Hegemons want things solely their way. One-way. All take and no give. 

Mutually beneficial cooperation isn't Washington's long suit. Or prioritizing peace, stability, equity and responsible good relations with all nations. 

Russia's best efforts are for naught. Washington bears full responsibility. Rogue EU partners share it. 

Expect no change going forward. Heightened confrontation appears most likely.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Duplicitous Ukrainian Electoral Postmortems

Duplicitous Ukrainian Electoral Postmortems

by Stephen Lendman

MSM scoundrels suppress what people most need to know. So do right-wing think tanks. Shameless rubbish substitutes. 

The New York Times is America's unofficial propaganda ministry.  Featuring managed news misinformation Big Lies.

Treating readers like mushrooms. Well watered. In the dark. Unaware of what most affects them.

It's longstanding Times practice. Vilifying governments Washington opposes. Supporting despotic US allies.

Brazenly justifying the unjustifiable. Cheerleading war. Backing the worst of US imperial lawlessness. Supporting US-led NATO's killing machine. 

Championing its inexorable drive East. Targeting Russia confrontationally. Belligerently. Surrounding it with US military bases.

Sanitizing mass slaughter and destruction. Denigrating responsible diplomatic solutions. Ignoring US caused human misery.

Supporting Ukraine's putschist fascist government. Brazenly on the wrong side of history.

What John McMurtry calls "another variation on the great crisis of the world - the undeclared global war of transnational corporate money sequences to multiply themselves through human societies and life on earth in the diagnosable form of an invasive cancer."

On October 27, Times editors headlined "Hope, and Hard Work, in Ukraine." It turned truth on its head calling Kiev's illegitimate president and parliament "legitimate."

Ludicrously saying they're "committed to reform…" Polar opposite what Ukrainians want and deserve.

Not according to Times editors, saying "a large majority" of Ukrainians "support reform and a Westward course."

"At this critical juncture, it is imperative that the United States and European Union support (Kiev) with immediate, tangible and generous support."

They omitted explaining what's most important. Washington's dirty hands. Orchestrating what happened. Ousting Ukraine's democratically elected president.

Elevating fascist putschists to power. The most brazen European coup since Mussolini's 1922 march on Rome.

Times editors ignored it entirely. Pretending Ukrainian tyranny is democracy.

Irresponsibly calling Russia an existential threat. Backing lawless sanctions.

Featuring one Big Lie after another. Propaganda wars. Scurrilous reporting. Burying vital truths. 

Shameless double standard hypocrisy. Exceeding the worst of Cold War bluster. Betraying their readers in the process. Doing so unapologetically.

Washington Post editors focused on Putin's straight talk Valdai International Discussion Club (VIDC) address.

Telling it like it is. Doing so courageously. Shaming his Western counterparts. Making Obama look buffoon-like by comparison.

Not according to WaPo editors. They repeated past lies. Indefensibly accusing Putin of "aggression."

Turning truth on its head saying:

He "poured out a poisonous mix of lies, conspiracy theories, thinly veiled threats of further aggression and, above all, seething resentment toward the United States."

WaPo editors mocked the notion of Ukrainian coup d'etat authority. Putin explaining what's patently obvious.

Vital truths WaPo editors, commentators and correspondents go all-out to bury. Supporting wrong over right consistently. 

Shamelessly claiming Russia invaded Crimea. Wrongfully accusing Putin of refusing to support nuclear arms reduction.

Ignoring Obama opting for a "credible deterrent." Despite America having no enemies. Except ones it invents to advance its imperium.

Putin goes all-out for peace and stability. Obama is polar opposite. He prioritizes war.

Spending more on militarism than the rest of the world combined. Developing more powerful weapons of mass destruction.

Deploying them globally. Maintaining a growing empire of bases. Hundreds in over 150 countries. 

Encroaching menacing close to Russian and Chinese borders. Doing so belligerently. Threatening world peace.

Obama’s nuclear reduction proposal is virtually none at all. He reserves the right to use nuclear weapons preemptively. 

Without just cause. Against manufactured enemies. Non-nuclear ones.

US-style strategic arms reduction is more smoke and mirrors than substance. Nuclear reduction is illusory. Proliferation continues.

Disarmament isn't envisioned. America's arms race continues. Unconscionable amounts are spent. Popular needs go begging. War-making comes first.

So-called New Start leaves America unconstrained. Its global strike capability uncompromised. 

Developing upgraded humanity-destroying weapons continues. Obama's brave nuke world is unsafe to live in.

Don't expect WaPo editors to explain. Big Lies substitute for truth and full disclosure.

Shamelessly claiming Putin wants "dominion over Ukraine and whatever other parts of Eurasia (he) chooses to claim…"

No evidence whatever shows he's revanchist. Clear facts prove otherwise. WaPo editors turn truth on its head suggesting otherwise. It's consistent WaPo practice.

Brookings Institution calls itself "devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions." 

It's brazenly imperial. Pro-corporate. Anti-populist. Unconcerned about unprecedented US inequality. 

Supporting wealth, power and privilege alone. Doing it unapologetically. Shamelessly. Since its 1916 founding.

It discussed Ukraine's parliamentary elections. Substituting Big Lies for vital truths. "(T)he election produced good news," it said.

OSCE "and other (pro-Western) observers gave (it) high democratic marks…By all appearances, (things) proceeded normally…That's good news for democracy in Ukraine."

"The election will bring many newcomers to the Rada’s ranks, including reform activists who decided that they must work from within the system to effect dramatic change."

"On the whole, (it) showed the practical, moderate side of the Ukrainian electorate."

"A strong Rada coalition that works with Mr. Poroshenko to advance a reform agenda will send a useful signal to Russia." 

"Moscow cannot be pleased by the election results and the number of votes that went to pro-European Union parties." 

"If the Rada fails to produce a stable coalition, however, the Kremlin will be tempted to engage in political mischief-making in Kyiv with the goal of making it harder for Ukraine to pursue needed policies."

Fact check

Ukraine's election assures business as usual. Fascist power won. Democracy was nowhere in sight. it's strictly verboten. 

Expect harder than ever hardline rule to follow. Reneging on promises made. Continuing war without mercy against Southeastern Ukrainian citizens.

Murdering them in cold blood. Doing so to assure nationwide fascist rule. Ruthlessly targeting nonbelievers. With full US support and encouragement.

So-called "good news" is none at all for ordinary Ukrainians. They'll discover they were had soon enugh. How they react remains to be seen.

London's Guardian ludicrously bid "farewell to old guard politics." It's more solidified that ever. Hardline. Iron-fisted. Lawless.

All take and no give. Serving wealth, power and privilege alone. Expect well-connected oligarchs to benefit hugely. Not according to Guardian editors. Ludicrously claiming otherwise.

"True, the president is an oligarch," they said. A "reform(ist) one." Oxymoronic logic for sure.

Billionaires make money the old-fashioned way. They want unlimited amounts. 

Any way they can get them. To make billions more. At the expense of ordinary people.

Guardian editors ludicrously claimed Sunday's vote "demonstrated that far-right elements around which Moscow weaves its dark tales of resurgent fascism remain relatively minor actors on the political stage."

They're more entrenched than ever. By rigged voting. Intimidation. Excluding real democrats from participating. 

At times threatening, bullying and beating them. They're lucky to be alive. 

Guardian editors didn't explain. Burying vital truths in the process. Ones exposing Kiev's dark side. How fascist governments operate.

"(T)he possibility now opens up that Ukraine can decisively repudiate both the Communist past and the murky era that followed, and transform itself into a healthy democracy," said Guardian editors.

No such possibility exists. Not with illegitimate fascists in power. With Washington manipulating things covertly. 

Targeting Russia irresponsibly. Wanting regime change. Risking East/West confrontation in the process.

Guardian editors didn't explain. "The fly in the ointment is President Putin," they said. He "has not given up his Ukrainian ambitions."

He aims "to bring Ukraine back into the Russian sphere of influence. Failing that, he will use his military leverage in the east of the country and his economic leverage in trade and gas supplies to prevent or limit the political and economic consolidation Ukraine needs."

Truth is polar opposite Guardian Big Lies. Including wrongfully claiming "Russian troops (operate) covertly inside Ukraine."

"Everyone knows there will be no quick fix in Ukraine. But there will be no fix at all, and the problem may well worsen, if Mr Putin sees western resolve fade."

In mid-October, Edward Snowden and Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger won this year's Rights Livelihood Award (RLA). It's the "Alternative Nobel Prize."

"(F)or outstanding vision and work on behalf of our planet and its people." Honoring the best and most deserving.

Perhaps RLA committee members should reconsider Rusbridger's award. Unless a separate one exists for disgraceful propaganda.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Ukrainian Electoral Postmortems

Ukrainian Electoral Postmortems

by Stephen Lendman

Obama reacted as expected. He "congratulated the people of Ukraine on holding successful parliamentary elections…"

He "commend(ed)" its government. The same illegitimate fascist putschist one he installed. He lied claiming its electoral process was "largely in line with international standards."

Russia bashing Big Lies followed, saying:

"it is clear that (its) authorities occupying Crimea and Russian-backed separatists in parts of eastern Ukraine prevented many Ukrainian citizens from exercising their democratic rights to participate in national elections and cast their votes."

"The United States will not recognize any election held in separatist-held areas that does not comport with Ukrainian law and is not held with the express consent and under the authority of the Ukrainian government."

Sunday's "parliamentary vote represents another important milestone in Ukraine's democratic development." 

"We look forward to the convening of the new parliament and the quick formation of a strong, inclusive government." 

"The United States stands ready to support the choices of the Ukrainian people and Ukraine's new government as it enacts and implements the reforms necessary to promote further democratic development, strengthen the rule of law, and foster economic stability and growth in Ukraine." 

"The United States also will continue to support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity as it works toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the east and a return of Crimea, and will stand with its people as they seek to build a more secure, prosperous, and democratic future."

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso issued a joint statement.

It disgracefully praised Sunday's sham election. It ludicrously called it "a victory of the people of Ukraine and of democracy." It called on Kiev to initiate "much needed political and economic reforms."

Fact check:

Washington ousted Ukraine's democratically elected president. It elevated fascist putschists to power. They have no legitimacy whatever.

Crimeans and Donbass region Ukrainians reject fascist rule. They want no part of tyranny masquerading as democracy.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reacted guardedly. He hopes Ukrainian officials will honor their commitments.

In line with Minsk protocol September 5 and 19 agreed on terms. What hasn't happened so far.

"We presume that the government will pay attention to its commitments under the Minsk agreements, such as launching a broad nationwide dialogue involving all the regions, political forces of the country to carry out a constitutional reform that has been promised a long time ago but has not still begun,” said Lavrov.

"We wait for the final results. We hope that the election of the new Verkhovna Rada will make it operatively form the government, which will not be aimed at continuing heightening confrontation moods in the society and in Russia but which will be constructive and directed at working with Russia that is indispensable to meet the interests of the Ukrainian people."

"Particularly, the solution of social and economic problems and the implementation of the Minsk agreements, which in addition to the ceasefire and the disengagement of the parties, the withdrawal of heavy weaponry, envision priority attention to humanitarian problems in Donbass and mobilizing efforts for the restoration of the economy and infrastructure in the south-east."

"We leave aside the many violations that occurred during the preparations for the elections and the methods of coercion that were applied to a number of candidates and the measures to bar other political forces from the political process and participation in elections. Nevertheless, the voting did take place."

If not entirely nationwide. With Southeastern Ukrainian regions opting out for good reason. Democracy was nowhere in sight. 
.
Fascists want things their way. They reject government of, by and for everyone equitably. Rogue states operate this way. 

Ukraine is Europe's worst. Its most dangerous. A potential East/West confrontation igniting flashpoint.

Lavrov believes Moscow will recognize electoral results. Because "it is very important for us to see Ukraine at last has authorities not involved in internal rifts or tug-of-war, pulling Ukraine to the West or to the East, but busy with the real problems that the country is facing," he said.

Things able to spill cross-border. Russia shares a 1,500 km land and sea border with Ukraine. Instability affects both countries.

Days earlier Lavrov said:

"No one (can) predict how long" Ukrainian crisis conditions will last. "The main task now is to focus on what has been achieved so far, namely the Minsk agreements and their implementation." 

"The process has not been easy: the parties continue to exchange fire, and unfortunately Kiev continues to use heavy weaponry, destroying the economic and social infrastructure in the southeast of Ukraine."

"It is extremely important to continue to coordinate the disengagement line to ensure a lasting ceasefire." 

"Next, all other provisions of the Minsk agreements should be implemented, including the launch of an inclusive national dialogue on how to live together."

"Remember that Kiev pledged to enter into dialogue on 17 April, when Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the EU adopted a statement in Geneva on the immediate start of a nationwide dialogue with all regions and political forces." 

"This commitment has not been honoured. In Minsk, the representatives of President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine signed a document affirming the need to initiate dialogue. We’ll see if they follow through."

Commenting on Crimea, he added:

"In truth, the opinion of Western countries on this issue doesn't interest me, just like their opinion on other aspects of Russia's internal affairs."

On October 28, he accused Kiev of war crimes in Southeastern Ukraine. He called what continues "impermissible." 

Thousands killed bear testimony to Kiev's brutality. Including mass graves with hundreds of bodies discovered in areas government forces control.

On October 28, Putin commented on the 70th anniversary of Russia's liberation from fascist invaders.

Mindful of how Ukraine's extremist government threatens regional peace and stability, he said:

"In the years of the Great Patriotic War, the power of spirit and unity of our multinational nation, valor and sustaining power of warriors-liberators, guerrillas, resistance movement fighters and workers of the rear was showed in all their grandeur during heavy and bloody battles for Ukraine."

"Our grandfathers and fathers together, in common ranks, were fighting courageously and selflessly for the freedom and independence of the Motherland, were defeating the enemy and were bringing a long-awaited victory closer."

"We should preserve carefully remarkable traditions of fraternal friendship and mutual assistance they left." 

"This is extremely important to raise the growing generation with high patriotic values, actively counteract any attempts at reviving fascist ideology, instigation of inter-ethnic strife and falsification of our common history."

Putin wished “Ukrainian veterans of the Great Patriotic War good health, well-being and strong spirit and peace and prosperity to all fraternal people of Ukraine."

Italian politician/journalist Giuletto Chiesa believes Ukraine's new parliament won't likely change things. It's stacked with old guard operatives and their relatives.

"Stability is still very far away," Chiesa said. "Apparently after the elections, the prevailing presence of right-wing parties inside the Verkhovna Rada will be used as a pretext for an offensive" against Donbas region freedom fighters.

He believes Ukrainian politicians intend involving pro-Western forces. "There is Poland and there are the Baltic republics. Apparently, there are people who may be preparing all this."

Washington most of all. "It engineered crisis…to provoke Russia." It's a dagger threatening its security. A "big stick," said Chiesa.

Its aim "has not yet been achieved yet, so it will be moving further one. I have the impression that the US leadership is determined to stop at nothing," he stressed.

Resolving crisis conditions depends on European "awareness of the danger looming over it…"

Because US meddling "would be an operation not just against Russia, but against Europe as well."

"(T)here will be no stopping the Americans as long as Europe fails to offer a different response."

Western opinion no longer is unanimous. "(T)angible forces (are) eager to cooperate with Russia."

Major European companies deplore sanctions. They want one thing. Their governments another.

Ukrainian lustration legislation requires special scrutiny of “persons empowered to perform state or local self-government functions."

It bans deposed President Viktor Yanukovych allies from politics. It affects all members of his government, law enforcers, civil servants, and local officials, as well as others in power before Soviet Russia's dissolution.

Namely, Ukraine's Communist party. Poroshenko abhors it. On October 26, he said:

It "belongs in the past by decision of the Ukrainian people and not by virtue of some regulation."

"During the presidential campaign, I expressed my strong belief that because of the crimes it committed in the past and present the Communist Party has no right to remain on the political horizon in Ukraine."

It "must exit to the past not by presidential decree or by decision of the Verkhovna Rada or by a judgment of the court. This must happen after the main judgment on the Communists is delivered by the people of Ukraine."

Deputy Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Grigoory Karasin expects official confirmation of elections results shortly. Information on them is "quite controversial," he said.

"But even now it is obvious that the elections have taken place, despite a hard struggle and dirty tricks,” he added.

"he forming balance of forces will probably allow the Ukrainian authorities to deal with some rooted problems in the society."

Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin called campaigning ahead of Sunday's election "dirty and cynical." Results won't exclude Moscow cooperating with Ukrainian officials.

Russia's upper house Federal Assembly monitoring commission head Vladimir Dzhabarov said Moscow will try cooperating with Ukraine's government despite doubts of its legitimacy.

"The southeast has not voted and there were lots of violations,” he said. New Rada members are more radicalized than earlier ones.

"We will attempt to cooperate in any case. We hope that reason would prevail among our new colleagues." Dzhabarov added.

"We cannot but attempt to build cooperation with the Rada because we have common history and we are neighbors."

Federation Council Constitutional Law Committee head Andrey Klishas said Russia intends cooperating with Ukrainian officials to end civil war.

Oppose Nazism's reemergence. And correct intolerable civil and human rights violations.

"Ukrainians themselves cannot fail to notice the mass violations of human rights during the latest parliamentary campaign," he said. 

"These were the ban of free speech, attacks on opposition candidates, mass violence in the form of the so called 'popular gatherings,' even lynch mobs on the side of the pro-fascist political forces."

On Monday, oligarch president Petro Poroshenko's Bloc and putschist prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's People's Front began coalition governance talks.

According to Poroshenko spokesman Yuriy Lutsenko:

They "just beg(an) between the president and prime minister and a meeting on a broader scale with representatives from both political forces" followed later on Monday.

Both sides want government formed as soon as possible. Together they lack a majority. They'll need to enlist a third coalition partner. So far, it's unclear which one.

Around three million Southeastern Donbas region Ukrainians will hold real democratic elections on Sunday, November 2.

They reject illegitimate fascist rule. They want government of, by and for everyone equitably. They intend getting what they fought and died for.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.