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E. Ukraine leaders order ceasefire, voice amendments to constitution

RT | February 14, 2015

The eastern Ukrainian militias have stopped all military action in accordance with the Minsk peace deal. They will suppress any provocations that may be organized by Kiev forces, said Aleksandr Zakharchenko, head of Donetsk People’s Republic.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has ordered troops to cease fire at Sunday midnight local time (22:00 GMT) in line with the Thursday Minsk agreement. Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on his Facebook page that “all National Guard and Interior Ministry units will halt fire at midnight.”

Meanwhile, Defense Ministry spokesman of Donetsk People’s Republic, Eduard Basurin, has ordered that all eastern Ukrainian militia units halt fighting “on the entire line of contact,” RIA Novosti reports. A similar statement has come out of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic, saying that local militia are to stop all combat actions at midnight.

Earlier, leaders of the restive Ukrainian republics said their regions have ratified the peace deal.

The militias will stop all military action outside the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Zakharchenko said. However, he said that the self-defense forces will reply to any provocative actions by the Kiev troops, including assaults and precision fire.

The DPR leader also said that rebels won’t release a large group of Ukrainian troops, who have been entrapped near the village of Debaltsevo since early February.

“Their every attempt to break out will be suppressed,” Zakharchenko is cited by RIA-Novosti news agency.

The rebels’ leader reminded that “there wasn’t a word mentioning Debaltsevo in the agreements” signed in Minsk on February 12, which means that “Ukraine simply betrayed the 5,000 people trapped in the Debaltsevo ‘cauldron’.”

Earlier, Basurin said that the Ukrainian troops near Debaltsevo won’t be shelled, but won’t be released as well, with surrender being the only option.

Zakharchenko has put his signature under a decree, which foresees the beginning of the ceasefire at 01:00 AM local time on Sunday – midnight for Kiev and 2200 GMT.

The DPR head also said that the Donetsk People’s Republic won’t grant control over its border with Russia to Ukrainian border guards: “Today an order will be issued to create the border guard service. Not a single Ukrainian soldier will enter our territory.”

Poroshenko warns of martial law

Meanwhile, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has once again warned that if the Minsk agreements fail, “martial law will be implemented not only in Donetsk and Lugansk, but in the whole country”.

Moscow has expressed hopes Kiev and the rebels, as well as all the sides, which supported the Minsk peace deal, including France and Germany, “will do everything for the signed agreements to be scrupulously implemented,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“Ukraine’s official representatives… as well as those of several Western countries, the US in particular, have essentially expressed solidarity with the opinion of radical nationalists in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) and have began distorting the contents of the Minsk agreements,” the ministry said.

On Saturday, Poroshenko spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on the phone, with the three heads of state stressing that all sides must fulfill the obligations they’ve taken according to Minsk agreements, first of all, those concerning the ceasefire.

The Ukrainian president also had a telephone conversation with US president Barack Obama, during which the two leaders “agreed on the further coordination of efforts in the event of an escalation” in Ukraine’s southeast.

Poroshenko and Obama “discussed the situation in Donbass and expressed concerns about the situation in Debaltsevo,” according to the Ukrainian president’s website.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart, John Kerry, also discussed the situation in southeastern Ukraine on the phone, and stressed “the importance of strict implementation of the ceasefire regime by the conflicting sides.”

Lavrov also emphasized that the Minsk peace deal “also includes obligations by Kiev to remove the financial and economic blockade of the [Ukrainian] southeast; to provide an amnesty; to stage a constitutional reform by the end of the year and adopt legislation on the special status of Donbass,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on its Facebook page.

The contact group, which includes representatives from the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, held video consultations on Saturday, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said.

According to the OSCE, all parties agreed to take necessary measures to establish the agreed truce and de-escalation of the conflict, including in the areas of Debaltsevo and Mariupol.

The contact group will continue holding consultations on a regular basis to ensure the implementation of the Minsk agreements, a statement from the watchdog added.

Constitutional change

The Minsk agreement provides for a security zone separating the Kiev forces and the rebels, a ceasefire beginning on Sunday and a heavy weapons pullout to be completed in 14 days. The deal was signed by the contact group, which includes the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, a representative of the OSCE, Ukraine’s former president Leonid Kuchma, and the Russian ambassador to Ukraine,

A separate declaration supporting the deal was agreed upon by the so-called “Normandy Four” leaders – French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who also gathered in Belarusian capital.

In accordance with the deal, on Saturday the eastern Ukrainian republics also proposed amendments to the constitution. One of the key demands is to grant certain regions the right to define and form the structure of local governments themselves, Denis Pushilin, DPR representative at the Minsk talks, said.

The rebels also want the official status for the Russian language and other minority languages, spoken in Ukraine’s central regions, he said. Another proposed amendment foresees the decentralization of fiscal and tax systems, “up to the possibility of creating in free economic zones and other special economic regimes on certain territories,” Pushilin is cited by TASS news agency.

While the Minsk deal is hoped to secure an end to the bloody and devastating internal conflict that has taken the lives of over 5,300 people in the UN’s estimates since last April, shelling in Donetsk was reported throughout the whole of Saturday.

READ MORE: Ukraine ultranationalist leader rejects Minsk peace deal, vows ‘to continue war’

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel divestment narrowly fails at Stanford

The Stanford University undergraduate senate needed a two-thirds majority to approve a resolution calling on the school to “divest from companies violating human rights in occupied Palestine,”  and it came close: Nine in favor and five against, with one abstention.

But the 64% in favor vote, sponsored by Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine, a coalition of 19 campus organizations including the Black Student Union, MEChA, and Students for Justice in Palestine, wasn’t enough for passage of the resolution according to the Stanford Daily.

Updated Resolution 2/9/2015

A Resolution to Divest from Companies Violating Human Rights in Occupied Palestine

WHEREAS the Stanford University Code of Conduct states that all members of the Stanford University community “are responsible for sustaining the highest ethical standards of this institution, and of the broader community in which we function,[1]”

WHEREAS in managing university investments, Stanford University Trustees have a fiduciary responsibility to consider both financial risk and “substantial social injury,” defined as “proximate corporate direct or indirect actions that cause injury to… individuals, or groups… [and] violat[e], subver[t], or frustrat[e] enforcement of rules of domestic or international law intended to protect individuals and/or groups against deprivation of health, safety, basic freedoms or human rights,”[2]

WHEREAS Stanford University has a rich history of calling for ethical oversight of its endowment as a non-violent strategy towards social change, which has included divestment from companies violating human rights in South Africa and Sudan, the adoption of criteria pertaining to conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and divestment from coal mining companies following last year’s fossil free divestment student campaign,

WHEREAS international humanitarian law recognizes the right of all people, including Israelis and Palestinians, to life, security[3] and self-determination[4],

WHEREAS Israel has been recognized by international law since 1967 as an occupying power in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza[5], hereafter referred to as the Occupied Palestinian Territories,

WHEREAS this resolution calls for targeted divestment from multinational corporations causing substantial social injury by violating international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, regardless of which countries contract said corporations,

WHEREAS multinational corporations disproportionately conduct business in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as compared to other conflict areas (e.g. Syria or North Korea), where binding law often prevents engagement with human rights violators,

WHEREAS many of the same companies profiting from human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories also profit from such violations against communities of color within the United States,[6]

WHEREAS Stanford’s May 2014 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings demonstrate past direct holdings in Raytheon and Eaton Corp[7], corporations that are implicated in such violations of international humanitarian law[8], suggesting that Stanford’s current and future investment portfolios are likely to include similar companies,

WHEREAS investment in these companies shows implicit support for such violations, and the only way to achieve financial neutrality is to end our investment in such companies,

WHEREAS selective divestment, as in the context of South Africa and Sudan, does not seek to determine a political solution nor target a particular ethnic or religious community, but rather the actions of a set of multinational corporations that facilitate human rights abuses and violations of international law,

WHEREAS our peers at many university student associations, including Wesleyan University, Oberlin College, DePaul University, Evergreen State College, UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UCLA, and UC Davis have passed resolutions calling for divestment from companies that violate international law and human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories,

WHEREAS the petition asking Stanford’s Board of Trustees to selectively divest from companies that violate international law and human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has been signed by over 1500 current students and 19 Stanford student groups, including Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Students for Alternatives to Militarism (SAM), the Asian American Student Association (AASA), MEChA de Stanford, Stanford National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (Stanford NAACP), Black Student Union (BSU), Student And Labor Alliance (SALA), Stanford Asian American Activism Committee (SAAAC), Muslim Students Awareness Network (MSAN), Pilipino American Student Union (PASU), Arab Students’ Association at Stanford (ASAS), First Generation Low Income Partnership (FLIP), International Socialist Organization at Stanford (ISO), Stanford Students for Queer Liberation (SSQL), Stanford American Indian Organization (SAIO), Islamic Society of Stanford University (ISSU), Pakistanis at Stanford (PaS), Stanford University Students for  UNICEF (SUSU), and the Stanford Law School chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (SLS-NLG),

WHEREAS these companies’ actions affect the Stanford community directly, including students whose families live under occupation, and thus attend an institution complicit in violence against their own communities,

WHEREAS the Associated Students of Stanford University has been authorized “to exercise major privileges and responsibilities” with the express purpose of “[encouraging] responsible citizenship and the exercise of individual and corporate responsibility on the part of students,”[9]

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Associated Students of Stanford University Undergraduate Senate, exercising its representative authority on behalf of all undergraduates:

THAT the ASSU Undergraduate Senate calls upon the Stanford University Trustees to divest from companies that violate international humanitarian law by:

  1. Maintaining the illegal infrastructure of the Israeli occupation, in particular settlements and separation wall, which includes companies like Veolia Transdev and Elbit Systems[10]
  2. Facilitating Israel and Egypt’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians, which includes companies like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Eaton Corp[11]
  3. Facilitating state repression against Palestinians by Israeli, Egyptian or Palestinian Authority security forces, which includes companies like Combined Tactical Systems and G4S,[12]

THAT the ASSU Undergraduate Senate calls upon the Stanford University Trustees to withdraw investments in securities, endowments, mutual funds, and other monetary instruments with holdings in Veolia Transdev, Caterpillar, Raytheon, Eaton Corp, Lockheed Martin, Combined Tactical Systems, G4S, and all corporations that are similarly complicit in violating these criteria, at such time and in such manner as to be determined by the Board of Trustees with the goal of maintaining the divestment until they cease these specific practices deemed as unethical by the Stanford community,

THAT this is not a resolution concerning boycotts nor sanctions from any nation state,

THAT this resolution overrules the previous resolution UGS-W2013-10 that passed in the 14th  Undergraduate Senate,

LET IT FINALLY BE RESOLVED that the ASSU Undergraduate Senate, exercising its representative authority on behalf of all undergraduates, calls upon our university to affirm its commitment to justice for all people by divesting from companies implicated in our criteria for substantial social injury in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, many of which facilitate parallel injury against communities of color here in the United States.

[1] https://adminguide.stanford.edu/chapter-1/subchapter-1/policy-1-1-1

[2] Stanford University’s Statement on Investment Responsibility

[3] http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

[4] UN General Assembly, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 999, p. 171, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3aa0.html

[5] Geneva Convention, UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch; http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE15/007/2009/en/4c407b40-e64c-11dd-9917-ed717fa5078d/mde150072009en.html#2.2.1.2.%20Law%20of%20occupation|outline

[6] See supplementary document.

[7] Stanford’s May 2014 SEC Filings: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1315828/000106299314002805/xslForm13F_X01/form13fInfoTable.xml

[8] See supplementary document.

[9] The Constitution of of the Associated Students of Stanford University: http://assu.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/ASSU-Constitution.pdf,4.

[10] In violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. See supplement.

[11] In violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. See supplement.

[12] In violation of the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. See supplement.

Supplementary Document 
Background on our Criteria for Substantial Social Injury

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

UMass restrictions on Iranian students worrying: NIAC

Press TV – February 14, 2015

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) has expressed deep concern over restrictions imposed on Iranian students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The university has decided to no longer admit Iranian nationals as students in certain engineering and science programs, claiming the move aims to avoid violating US sanctions against Iran.

The university announced it would no longer accept Iranian nationals into graduate programs in chemical, computer, and mechanical engineering as well as the natural sciences.

The university also requires all Iranian students certify their compliance with anti-Iran sanctions, explaining that the decision has been made based on a 2012 federal law, which declares Iranian citizens ineligible for US visas if they seek higher education in preparation for careers in Iran’s energy sector or any field related to nuclear power.

NIAC stance

However, the NIAC, which is a US-based organization, said it is up to the State Department and Homeland Security to enforce US sanctions polices, not the university.

The NGO has called on the UMass to reverse its decision.

In 2012, US Congress enacted a broad sanctions bill that excludes Iranian citizens from education in the United States if they plan to focus on energy related research in Iran.

No change in federal policy

A US State Department official said the department was aware of the UMass decision, adding there had been no changes in federal policy regarding Iranian students.

He said the department will contact UMass to discuss the decision and will answer any questions from other academic institutions about the law.

“All visa applications are reviewed individually in accordance with the requirements of the US Immigration and Nationality Act and other relevant laws that establish detailed standards for determining eligibility for visas and admission to the United States,” the official said in an e-mail.

He added that Washington does not prohibit qualified Iranian nationals from educating in science and engineering and noted that each application is reviewed on a “case-by-case” basis.

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

Thousands of Palestinian homes on Israeli demolition ‘shortlist’

israeli-bulldozers-demolishing-palestinian-home-beit-hanina

MEMO | February 14, 2015

More than 20,000 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem have been shortlisted to be demolished by the Israeli occupation authorities, Jerusalem Centre for Social and Economic Rights (JCSER) has revealed.

The centre’s head, Ziad Hamouri, said that the reason these homes have been shortlisted for demolition is that they were built without building licences issued by the Israeli municipality in the occupied city. Applications for such licences from Palestinians are rarely approved.

According to Hamouri, the Israelis use the licence issue as a pretext to get rid of the centuries-old Palestinian existence in Jerusalem. Few Palestinians can afford a building licence even if an application is approved. “The Israeli demands for a construction licence are punitive financially and procedurally,” said Hamouri. “Every licence takes from five to eight years to be issued and they cost from $30,000 t0 $50,000 each.”

Such measures do not apply to Jews living in the city, who even find apartments ready-made for them to move into and are exempt from frequent and very high taxes.

The Palestinian Authority has called for the international community to stop Israel taking ever more Palestinian land by stealth.

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kejriwal sworn in as New Delhi chief minister

Press TV – February 14, 2015

Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man Party), has taken the oath as the chief minister of India’s capital city of New Delhi.

The swearing-in ceremony took place at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on Saturday in front of thousands of supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party, which won 67 out of the 70 seats in the February 7 elections of the city’s state assembly.

During the open-air ceremony, Manish Sisodia, Kejriwal’s associate, was also sworn in as deputy chief minister along with five other ministers.

In an address to the crowd, Kejriwal vowed to tackle graft in Delhi and end its “VIP culture”.

“I will make Delhi corruption-free within five years. If somebody asks for a bribe, don’t say no. Just take your mobile out of your pocket and record it on your phone. You then come and give it to me. We will take the toughest action against the offenders,” he said.

In 2013, the 46-year-old former civil servant was also sworn in as Delhi’s chief minister, but he resigned after 49 days in a row over an anti-corruption bill.

An estimated 67-percent turnout was recorded at Delhi’s 70-seat legislative assembly elections, which was widely considered as a test of the popularity of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came second in the polls with only three seats.

In May 2014, the BJP won 274 seats in the 543-seat lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha. However, the ruling party lacks a majority in the Asian country’s upper house.

The Indian premier needs to win most of the state elections over the next four years in order to gain control of both houses of parliament, where he is attempting to push through reforms to revive the country’s economy.

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Corruption | | Leave a comment

Washington Wastes No Time to Sabotage Minsk

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 14.02.2015

s28654With their noses out of joint and egos bruised, the United States and its European lieutenants immediately got to work to undermine the Minsk ceasefire deal by twisting the terms of the accord and seeking to frame Russia for its imminent failure.

A Washington Post headline set the pace with this headline hours after the Minsk negotiations wrapped up in the Belarus capital. ‘Putin announces ceasefire with Ukraine,’ declared the Post, mendaciously implicating Russia as a protagonist in the year-old conflict, which, it is inferred, is now suing for a peace settlement.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, along with trusty British and Polish allies, warned Russia of more sanctions if the Minsk truce was not “fully implemented”.

“The United States is prepared to consider rolling back sanctions on Russia when the Minsk agreements of September 2014, and now this agreement, are fully implemented,” Kerry said in a statement.

In other words, Washington is still peddling the hoary narrative that Moscow is an aggressor and is to blame for the conflict. Rolling back sanctions “when” Minsk is “fully implemented” is the US giving itself a licence to covertly sabotage the ceasefire at every turn and to maintain its unwarranted sanctions on Russia, as well as following up on promised supply of weapons to the Kiev regime.

There seems little doubt that the Americans are reeling from the diplomatic coup that Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled off in Minsk this week, along with German and French leaders, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande.

Amid threats from the US last week that it was going to flood Ukraine with more heavy weapons, Putin and his European counterparts managed to broker a ceasefire to the conflict after marathon 17-hour negotiations. The truce is to be implemented this weekend and, it has to be said, constitutes only a slim prospect of bringing the civil war in Ukraine to a halt. It is fraught with many thorny issues, such as withdrawal of fighting units on both sides and the accepted definition of a demarcation line. The autonomous status of the separatist Donbas region is also far from clear, or whether Kiev is prepared to follow up with mutual negotiations with the breakaway ethnic Russian population.

Nevertheless, the mere agreement, in principle, by the Kiev regime and the pro-separatist rebels of the eastern Ukrainian region is a welcome chance for a cessation in violence that has cost nearly 5,500 lives and more than one million refugees. That Putin, along with Merkel and Hollande, managed to achieve this tentative breakthrough is something of a feat in diplomatic skills and commitment. The development also tends to negate the official Western narrative that purports to paint Russia as an aggressor and threat to European peace.

The Minsk deal properly frames the conflict as a civil war between the Kiev regime and the Donbas separatists, which Russia is trying to dampen by acting as a facilitator of negotiations between the warring sides.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was on the mark when he said after the Minsk talks that Russia is a guarantor of the peace deal, not a party obliged to fulfil its implementation. He reiterated that Moscow is not a participant in the conflict, as Western media have, and continue, to assert.

“Russia is the country that was called by the parties of the conflict,” said Peskov. “This is the country that called on the parties of the conflict to sign a complex of measures to fulfil the Minsk agreements. But Russia is not one of the parties to fulfil these measures. This is the country that is acting as the guarantor, that comes forward with a call, but, obviously, it’s not a party that needs to take any actions for [the fulfilment]. We simply can’t do this physically because Russia is not a participant in the conflict,” added the Kremlin spokesman.

It was left to the British premier David Cameron and the ex-Polish president Donald Tusk to undermine the latest Minsk chance for peace by casting aspersions on Russia and re-framing the conflict as one of external aggression on Ukraine.

Cameron talked, with typical British haughtiness, of Putin needing to change his behaviour, while Tusk added to the narrative of demonising the Russian leader by insinuating that he is not trustworthy.

Cameron, speaking at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, said: “If this is a genuine ceasefire, then of course that would be welcome. But what matters most of all is actually actions on the ground rather than just words on a piece of paper. I think we should be very clear that Putin needs to know that unless his behaviour changes, the sanctions we have in place won’t be altered.”

Tusk, who is now the European Council President, said: “If [the Minsk agreement] does not happen we will not hesitate to take the necessary steps. Our trust in the goodwill of President Putin is limited. This is why we have to maintain our decision on sanctions.”

Given that the Western-backed Kiev regime has serially violated past ceasefires, which led to the latest escalation of violence, it would be naive to expect that the latest peace bid will be honoured. The Kiev junta has been emboldened to prosecute its criminal war against the Donbas population because of the unswerving political, financial and military support that Washington has indulged. Massive, systematic war crimes by Kiev have been whitewashed and absolved by Washington with spurious, unfounded claims of “Russian aggression”.

This is because the US-backed regime-change operation in Ukraine that brought the Kiev junta to power last February is fundamentally predicated on Washington’s long-term objective of destabilising Russia. That is why the prospects of a ceasefire being implemented are something of an oxymoron. A peace settlement in Ukraine would only be an impediment to Washington’s geopolitical objective of undermining Russia.

The criminal regime in Kiev has become something of a specialist in committing false flag terrorist atrocities, which it and its Western sponsors then duly attribute to “Russian-backed rebels”. The massacre in Donetsk on January 21, in Mariupol on January 24, and this week in Kramatorsk, in which up to 17 people were killed from Smerch rockets, have all the hallmarks of false-flag operations perpetrated by the US-backed, trained and equipped Kiev regime forces.

In the Kramatorsk incident, on the eve of the Minsk summit, the Kiev regime claimed that the Smerch rockets were fired from separatist-held Gorlovka, which is 80 kilometres away, and the outer limit of the munition’s range. The separatists denied the attack, saying that they do not target civilian areas. Hours after the massacre, Kiev President Petro Poroshenko arrived in Kramatorsk for photo-opportunities with victims lying on hospital beds. That Poroshenko would hurry to a town that is under fire is doubtful if the rebel threat was real. Also speaking as if from a script, he said: “It is savages who use cluster bombs against civilians. It is a crime against humanity when civilians are killed by Russian weapons in their homes.”

The next day, the “outraged” Poroshenko was in Minsk warmly shaking hands with Putin. So much for Russia war crimes.

To say that the latest ceasefire will be easily sabotaged is an understatement, given the past conduct of the Kiev regime. All it has to do is to keep fighting and committing crimes and that will be “evidence” of Russia not implementing Minsk. That will then allow Washington and its dutiful British and Polish allies, along with the obliging Western news media propagandists, to blame Russia for the failure in “fully implementing” the ceasefire. More American weapons can then be funnelled into Ukraine and more sanctions ratcheted up.

Russian President Vladimir Putin deserves huge credit for showing statesmanlike leadership over the Ukraine crisis. The trouble is that the Americans are playing a very different and dirty game in which there are no rules to abide by.

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 4 Comments

Ms. Merkel and Peace

By Dagmar Henn | Oceania Saker | February 12, 2015

What a lot of theatrical activity during the last days — Angela Merkel’s hasty trip to Kiev and Minsk (carrying Hollande as hand luggage), and then the appearances at the Munich “Security Conference” … truly a heroic effort to save peace? That at least is what we are expected to think.

But how realistic is this idea? Is that possibly what she honestly wants?

Actually there are simple criteria to test her interest in peace — sober, technical criteria.

One can assume that all European governments, including Ms Merkel’s, are well informed about the real situation in the Donbass. In public they talk about the ‘evil separatists’, but they do know that the Ukrainian army shells the cities. They know the extent of destruction and they know who is responsible. Why? Because OSCE delivers this information daily to their desks. Publicly the OSCE acts as though it is not capable of calculating from the remains of a rocket stuck in the ground the direction from which it came. The reality is different. We can assume that all the atrocities committed by the Ukranian regime throughout the last months are well known. That includes the humanitarian situation in the Donbass.

That means, they know the consequences a closure of the Russian border would have under the present conditions —  that it would not only cut off military supplies for the militias, but also any humanitarian support by Russia. They know that such a step would be impossible, and that any reasonable person could consider it only if the menace from the other side were to disappear. That it would require a completely different government in Kiev, also where it’s military power is concerned. Recently a retired Russian General said it explicitly in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung: “Don’t you Europeans understand that? Closing the border would mean the physical extermination of a significant part of the Donbass population.”

Throughout all these months just one single phrase could be heard from Merkel and Steinmeier regarding the Minsk agreement. Nothing about the continued shelling of Donbass cities. Nothing about the difficulties regarding the exchange of POWs. Nothing about the blockade of humanitarian assistance through Kiev. Nothing about the use of forbidden weapons. Nothing about Kiev’s refusal to discuss a line of demarkation, nothing about non-withdrawal of heavy armaments. Just one single phrase was repeated over and over again: Russia must close its border to the Donbass.

Did anything change? Did the position towards the Kiev junta change? You can listen to Merkel’s speech at the ‘Security Conference’ – no, there has been no change. Not by a single inch did she criticize the rulers of Kiev, never mind  coming closer to any mention of the realities. Instead she explicitly repeated the demand that the border be closed . She still demands that the Donbass become a Gaza Strip on speed.

But she is against arms deliveries to Kiev. Couldn’t that be considered some kind of peaceful intent?

Not at all. She gives some reasons why she doesn’t want to take that step. First: it doesn’t make sense. More weapons won’t enable the junta to win. That’s a point where — exceptionally — she is right. Second: she says quite clearly she would give preference to economic warfare. That’s an area where the German government is truly experienced and successful; several European neighbour countries can tell the tale. Anyone who wants to know a bit more about the effects of German economic warfare should watch the Greek documentary Agora (which was broadcast by the German channel WDR on 05.02). Third (and this is what she actually said): there isn’t sufficient control over public opinion. (One can try to imagine on his/her own what that means regarding our remaining democratic rights; months of uninterrupted propaganda don’t seem sufficient to Ms Merkel, she demands more).

The arguments she cites in calling for “peaceful” alternatives, seem to be purely decorative. The West, she says, won the Cold War through persistence and because it offered “more prosperity to those who made more of an effort”. Even Ms. Merkel should realize that those times are gone and the promises of prosperity have been museum ripe for some time already.

At this point we must consider the same probability as we faced regarding the conflict situation in the Donbass. Ms Merkel may tell a certain story. But she must know better. She knows about the gigantic black hole of fictional capital which has been thrown at one country after the other. She knows what was done to the people of Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and so on, in order to save the German banks. She was one of the people that arranged it. So she also knows that the attractiveness of the West is somewhat limited, to put it diplomatically. So these sentences are pure propaganda. It’s a game which cannot be repeated.

But if the idea, that she and her US allies could reach their goals by ‘peaceful means’ via a remake of the Cold War, is a fiction, and yet there seems to be no moving away from the goal of Russia’s submission, where is the difference between them and the USA?

That is the one thing she didn’t spell out.

Now, let’s take a short diversion. Some believe this ‘Security Conference’ trip was caused by fear. Merkel and Hollande had suddenly realized that they would not escape unscathed in a real war against Russia. They would try now to save their own skins (and possibly even ours).

It wasn’t only the interview in the Süddeutsche. Sometimes one gets the impression that the Russian side tries to explain very slowly three times to intellectually challenged people of Berlin the effects of what they are actually doing at the moment. I would consider the interview with Fedorov in this context — a kind of tedious pedagogic effort. Could it be that Merkel saw this video and became deeply frightened, when she heard that in case of a Ukrainian attack against Russia “Washington and Berlin would be burned to ashes”?

Well, some decades ago someone, after meeting Merkel — at that time minister of enviromental issues — commented that she is not any more intelligent than her appearance suggests. But it would need someone incapable to count up to three not to understand that we are talking about a real and massive risk of a nuclear war. This risk has existed since the day of the coup in Kiev, and we have escaped it twice already — through the reunification of the Crimea with Russia, and through the uprising in the Donbass, which has up to now prevented an attack of the junta against the Crimea.

So even if this specific question more or less escaped public attention until today, and now suddenly becomes so acute that even Der Spiegel remembers it, the leading players in Germany must have realised this tiny problem right from the start. (And they should have been able to imagine what it might mean if creatures like members of the Right Sector gained access to nuclear weapons, which might have happened, had their access to the Crimea not been blocked so promptly).

So let’s go back to what Merkel didn’t spell out.

She said Washington’s idea to deliver weapons would be foolish playing around without any practical use. She hinted at the possibility that ‘diplomatic efforts’ (the phrase used repeatedly for the same blackmailing) might be doomed to fail. She should know that the possibilities for economic warfare have far greater limitations than is apparent.

So what is left? Sending troops?

In that connection her remark about ‘hybrid warfare’ and her opinion that better control of public opinion is needed suddenly makes sense. For the installation of sanctions, the small amount of freedom of thought remaining outside of corporate media was not a menace. But the intention to send the residents of this country personally to the front, to the war zone, that could cause greater resistance — the people might develop foolish ideas.

She wants to win time, in order to strangle any opposition, and then to act in whatever way she thinks is efficient. Which goes much further than the delivery of weapons. But for that she first needs a ceasefire… somehow.

For months, Merkel and Obama seem to have been following a good cop/bad cop scenario. It looks about the same considering the Cease fire/Weapons delivery alternatives. But what guarantee is there that the one acting as the good cop is actually the good guy?

Right, there is none.

For those who believe the German government is being forced into this position — any politician who has a bit of experience is capable of saying one thing and meaning the opposite. He/she understands the technique of pinning undesirable statements onto others; also, how to counter one coercion by another one that they might have set in scene themselves. At all these levels it is as if nothing had happened. They intend it like that. There is no reason at all to let them escape responsibility.

PPS. In the sense that Fedorov in this case may be something like a semi-official channel in the interview, the nasty attack that Elmar Brock made against Lavrov at the Munich conference might be considered a semi-official attack by Merkel. Brock is the political mouthpiece of Bertelsmann, Germany’s big media corporation, and Bertelsmann-owner Liz Mohn is Merkel’s close friend. No wonder that Lavrov nearly lost patience at that moment.

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

UK dispatches troop carriers to Ukraine

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Press TV – February 14, 2015

Britain has delivered a number of troop transporters to Ukraine as fighting rages on unabated in the eastern parts of the former Soviet country despite a peace deal.

Ukrainian media reported on Friday that 20 British Saxon armored vehicles were handed in to Kiev, with another 55 expected to arrive soon.

The UK’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) said that the vehicles were transferred by a private firm under a 2013 deal with the eastern European country.

The troop carriers were first used by the MoD in the 1980s, but went out of service some three years ago, according to an MoD spokesperson.

The spokesperson stressed that the British government has been supplying “non-lethal assistance” to the Ukrainian army since the beginning of the crisis in the country.

“There has been no change to this and we have not provided lethal assistance. These vehicles were provided unarmed under a commercial contract dating 2013 by a private company,” the spokesperson added.

Earlier this week, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond also noted that London was keeping under review a decision not to arm Ukraine, adding it could not allow the Ukrainian army to collapse.

This is while Russia has repeatedly criticized plans by Western countries to supply weapons to Ukraine, saying it would only aggravate the situation in the country’s restive provinces.

The UK’s decision to send troop carriers to Ukraine came one day after Kiev reached a ceasefire agreement with pro-Moscow forces operating in the country’s volatile east following marathon peace talks in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, with leaders of Russia, Germany and France.

The mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia activists and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence protests there in mid-April 2014.

More than 5,500 people have died and some 12,200 wounded in the conflict, the UN says. Around 1.5 million people have been also forced from their homes over the past months of turmoil.

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment