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Showing posts from January, 2014

How Ukraine was brutalised by Brussels, by Sabine Reul, Spiked Online, Jan 31, 2014

Blundering EU officials ignited the violence in Kiev and beyond.  

In everyday life, if you see two or more parties arguing vigorously, the best thing to do is maintain a benevolent neutrality. This simple lesson also applies to diplomacy. But, as recent events in Ukraine demonstrate all too well, it is apparently one the leaders of the European Union have failed to heed.

The EU is pursuing what it calls its ‘European Neighbourhood Policy’ in relation to a group of countries – including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – that are normally seen as being within Russia’s sphere of influence. By furthering its economic and security interests, and in the guise of ‘exporting democracy’, the EU is challenging Russian interests. This is a serious misjudgement, with serious consequences for the people of Ukraine.

The EU is playing on a longstanding division within Ukr…

Debate: Is Ukraine’s Opposition a Democratic Movement or a Force of Right-Wing Extremism? Thurs., January 30, 2014

Blogger's Note: This transcript is a debate between Stephen Cohen and Anton Shekhovtsov, the former a specialist in Soviet & Russian politics, and the latter a researcher at the University College London. Shekhovtsov takes the ‘pro-democracy’ position of the western mainstream media, he contends the protesters want to connect with Western Europe for ‘freedom’. Cohen demurs, calling this half-truth an ‘untruth’ . He blames the EU for precipitating the crisis, as the EU insisted that there could be no 3-way deal, between Ukraine, the EU and Russia (as Russia wanted). The choice presented to Ukraine was the EU or nothing, with NATO military lines. According to Cohen the EU was and is supporting the overthrow of an elected government, and the EU "deal" would have been an economic catastrophe for Ukraine, as the EU was offering an Austerity package.



Stephen Cohen, professor emeri…

Strategic Africa: Why the U.S. and Europe are sending in the Troops, By Brian Stewart, CBC News, Jan 27, 2014

Blogger's Note: One of Canada's most experienced mainstream journalists and foreign correspondents, Brian Stewart is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Munk School for Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. The following report contains important information, although it is important to read between the lines. 

*  *  *  *  *  *
In the U.S. military's remarkably globalized world staff, officers deep in a special headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, are organizing training missions over three continents all dedicated to one special place — Africa.


What's striking is that this far-flung and little noticed U.S. Africa Command —​ AFRICOM as it's called — has been on a roll at a time when the Pentagon is undergoing a big downsizing.

But the move coincides with new thinking in Washington that big wars like Iraq and Afghanistan are far less lik…

In Ukraine, fascists, oligarchs and western expansion are at the heart of the crisis, Seumas Milne, Guardian, 29 January 2014

We've been here before. For the past couple of months street protests in Ukraine have been played out through the western media according to a well-rehearsed script. Pro-democracy campaigners are battling an authoritarian government. The demonstrators are demanding the right to be part of the European Union. But Russia's president Vladimir Putin has vetoed their chance of freedom and prosperity.

The Ukrainian faultine has the potential to draw in outside powers and lead to a strategic clash.'


It's a story we've heard in one form or another again and again – not least in Ukraine's western-backed Orange revolution a decade ago. But it bears only the sketchiest relationship to reality. EU membership has never been – and very likely never will be – on offer to Ukraine. As in Egypt last year, the president that the protesters want to force out was elected in a …

'We Lived Better Then' by By Stephen Gowans, in what's left, Dec 20, 2011

Over two decades ago Vaclav Havel, the pampered scion of a wealthy Prague family, helped usher in a period of reaction, in which the holdings and estates of former landowners and captains of industry were restored to their previous owners, while unemployment, homelessness, and insecurity—abolished by the Reds– were put back on the agenda.

(Photo: Soviet children in 1960s Kindergarden)

 Havel is eulogized by the usual suspects, but not by his numberless victims, who were pushed back into an abyss of exploitation by the Velvet revolution and other retrograde eruptions. With the fall of Communism allowing Havel and his brother to recover their family’s vast holdings, Havel’s life—he worked in a brewery under Communism—became much richer. The same can’t be said for countless others, whose better lives under Communism were swept away by a swindle that will, in the coming days, be lionized in the mass media on the occasion of…

Syria gov't slams U.S. rearmament of rebels as undermining Geneva II 2014-01-29


DAMASCUS, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian official delegation to the Geneva II conference slammed on Tuesday the U.S. decision to restart sending non-lethal help to the Syrian rebels, saying the move aims to thwart the success of the peace talks, according to the state-run SANA news agency.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said the U.S. decision "aims at thwarting the conference," stressing that the side which provides weapons to terrorist groups doesn't care about the conference's success.

"The U.S. decision is a very bad message because Washington has launched this conference, and it should not support the armed terrorist groups as they know that the weapons, which had been previously sent, flowed into the terrorists," Mekdad said, according to SANA.

The remarks came a day after Western reports said that Washington has restarted sending non-lethal aid to the "moderate&…

Ukraine and the Rebirth of Fascism by ERIC DRAITSER, in Counterpunch, Jan 29, 2014

the Menace Across the European Continent

Kiev Protests: Child holds portrait of Stepan Bandera (1909 – 1959) leader of Ukrainian national movement in Western Ukraine (Galicia), who headed the fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN)

The violence on the streets of Ukraine is far more than an expression of popular anger against a government. Instead, it is merely the latest example of the rise of the most insidious form of fascism that Europe has seen since the fall of the Third Reich.

Recent months have seen regular protests by the Ukrainian political opposition and its supporters – protests ostensibly in response to Ukrainian President Yanukovich’s refusal to sign a trade agreement with the European Union that was seen by many political observers as the first step towards European integration. The protests remained largely peaceful until January 17th when protesters armed with clubs, helmets, and impr…

The Special Ops Surge: America’s Secret War in 134 Countries by Nick Turse, from TomDispatch, Jan 16, 2014

They operate in the green glow of night vision in Southwest Asia and stalk through the jungles of South America.  They snatch men from their homes in the Maghreb and shoot it out with heavily armed militants in the Horn of Africa.  They feel the salty spray while skimming over the tops of waves from the turquoise Caribbean to the deep blue Pacific.  They conduct missions in the oppressive heat of Middle Eastern deserts and the deep freeze of Scandinavia.  All over the planet, the Obama administration is waging a secret war whose full extent has never been fully revealed -- until now. (Reuters)

Since September 11, 2001, U.S. Special Operations forces have grown in every conceivable way, from their numbers to their budget.  Most telling, however, has been the exponential rise in special ops deployments globally.  This presence -- now, in nearly 70% of the world’s nations -- provide…