Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Vietnam - US Friendship Association

The Vietnam-US Friendship Association was established on October 17, 1945, 45 days after President Ho Chi Minh read the Proclamation of Independence, giving birth to the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam (now Socialist Republic of Viet Nam) on September 2, 1945. It is the first bilateral friendship association in Vietnam found by President Ho Chi Minh. For over 68 years, the association has made great contributions to promoting friendship between the two nations through people-to-people diplomatic activities.

READ MORE from Vietnam Pictorial magazine:

Through the Vietnam-US Friendship Association, the American war veterans
Association has so far provided Vietnam with about 300 files related to 10,000 
Vietnamese soldiers who died and went missing during the war and helped Vietnam 
search for and collect about 1,0000 martyrs.

As a result of the American War, Viet Nam has about 300,000 Missing-In-Action soldiers throughout the country. Trying to find their remains, repatriate them, and provide some closure for family and loved ones, remains a full-time mission.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

By Michael Hudson 
The Real News

"...If all of this is front-page news in Germany, front-page news in Russia -- why would President Obama directly lie to the American people?..."

for a different understanding of Ukraine and the world to the official narrative in corporate mainstream media.

Monday, April 14, 2014

New claims say Ankara worked with the US and Britain to smuggle Gaddafi's guns to rebel groups.  Continue

By Spencer Ackerman
Senate committee found CIA interrogations and detentions to be 'brutal'.  Continue

CIA’s Use of Torture Went Beyond Legal Authority, Senate Report Rays
By Ali Watkins, Jonathan S. Landay and Marisa Taylor
The CIA’s claim “is BS,” said a former U.S. official.  

Venezuela Shows That Protest Can Be A Defence Of Privilege
By Seumas Milne
Street action is now regularly used with western backing to target elected governments in the interests of elites.  Continue

Remember the almost-war in Syria last year? 

Western leaders and news media told us with certainty that Syria's government had used chemical weapons against civilians.

At the time, many voices in the alternative media knew otherwise. Well, now it is confirmed ~ we were right; they were wrong.


An explosive new report by American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh -- which our media won't touch -- is a must read!


For the first time, six former senior American officials issued a statement candidly accusing Israel of breaching international law and undermining peace talks.

China’s ban on US corn containing traces of unapproved genetically modified maize caused a significant drop in US exports that has cost US traders $427 million in sales. Last year Mexico banned GMO corn. Last week, Russia banned the import of GMO food into the country.

Joe Emersberger calls out Human Rights Watch on their latest attempt to “mislead” people about the content of Venezuelan media.

Why US Fracking Companies Are Licking Their Lips Over Ukraine
By Naomi Klein

The natural gas industry is supreme at exploiting crisis for private gain – what I call the shock doctrine.  Continue

Human Extinction In Our Lifetime?
By Professor Guy McPherson
Global warming is real - and possibly even worse than we've been told. Could it lead to the destruction of human civilization within just a few decades?

We Need an Apartheid-style Boycott to Save the Planet
By Desmond Tutu 

Twenty-five years ago people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse.  Continue

Neoliberalism and the Machinery of Disposability
By Henry A Giroux
Americans now live in a society in which almost everyone is spied on, considered a potential terrorist, and subject to a mode of state and corporate lawlessness in which the arrogance of power knows no limits.  Continue

Zombie Democracy in the U.S.
By Ajamu Baraka
I have always found discussions on democracy in the U.S. curious and at times hilarious.  Continue

White House Lies to EU about US Gas Supply
By William Engdahl
Recent statements by US President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are so patently false that it betrays an incredible desperation in Washington over the situation in Ukraine versus Moscow.  

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case 

By Robert Parry
Defenders of the old conventional wisdom blaming the Syrian government for the Aug. 21 Sarin gas attack are going after investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who implicates Syrian jihadists and Turkish intelligence. 

The Obama administration’s case against the Syrian government collapses, not that it was ever very sturdy.

"...If that is the case, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry owe it to the public to recant their rush to judgment of last summer and refocus U.S. intelligence on this clear and present danger. 

Sure, it’s not what Obama and Kerry want to do – admit they misled the people about the certainty of the U.S. government’s case against Assad – but they have a responsibility to put their egos aside and assess what is possibly an actual terrorist threat.

Despite his role in deceiving the world, President Obama does deserve some credit for veering away from another catastrophe at the last moment. Obama accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan to have Syria’s government surrender all its chemical weapons, even as Assad continued to deny a role in the Aug. 21 attack.

But the mystery of who gassed the Ghouta suburb of Damascus – killing hundreds of people – is one that deserves a serious examination. 

If – as Sy Hersh reports – the U.S. government has evidence revealing collaboration between radical jihadists in Syria and Turkish intelligence, that should be revealed regardless of the political discomfort it might cause."

 Continue to read the article, and watch an interview with Seymour Hersh.

Good news. . . and about time!

China will re-open the old Silk Road as a new trading route linking Germany, Russia and China

By Peter Koenig

April 08, 2014 "ICH" -

Russia has just dropped another bombshell, announcing not only the de-coupling of its trade from the dollar, but also that its hydrocarbon trade will in the future be carried out in rubles and local currencies of its trading partners – no longer in dollars – see Voice of Russia

Russia’s trade in hydrocarbons amounts to about a trillion dollars per year. Other countries, especially the BRICS and BRCIS-associates (BRICSA) may soon follow suit and join forces with Russia, abandoning the ‘petro-dollar’ as trading unit for oil and gas. 

This could amount to tens of trillions in loss for demand of petro-dollars per year (US GDP about 17 trillion dollars – December 2013) – leaving an important dent in the US economy would be an understatement.

Added to this is the declaration today by Russia’s Press TV – China will re-open the old Silk Road as a new trading route linking Germany, Russia and China, allowing to connect and develop new markets along the road, especially in Central Asia, where this new project will bring economic and political stability, and in Western China provinces,where “New Areas” of development will be created. The first one will be the Lanzhou New Area in China’s Northwestern Gansu Province, one of China’s poorest regions.
“During his visit to Duisburg, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a master stroke of economic diplomacy that runs directly counter to the Washington neo-conservative faction’s effort to bring a new confrontation between NATO and Russia.” (press TV, April 6, 2014)
“Using the role of Duisburg as the world’s largest inland harbor, an historic transportation hub of Europe and of Germany’s Ruhr steel industry center, he proposed that Germany and China cooperate on building a new “economic Silk Road” linking China and Europe. The implications for economic growth across Eurasia are staggering.”
Curiously, western media have so far been oblivious to both events. It seems like a desire to extending the falsehood of our western illusion and arrogance – as long as the silence will bear.

Germany, the economic driver of Europe – the world’s fourth largest economy (US$ 3.6 trillion GDP) – on the western end of the new trading axis, will be like a giant magnet, attracting other European trading partners of Germany’s to the New Silk Road. 

What looks like a future gain for Russia and China, also bringing about security and stability, would be a lethal loss for Washington.

In addition, the BRICS are preparing to launch a new currency – composed by a basket of their local currencies – to be used for international trading, as well as for a new reserve currency, replacing the rather worthless debt ridden dollar – a welcome feat for the world.

Along with the new BRICS(A) currency will come a new international payment settlement system, replacing the SWIFT and IBAN exchanges, thereby breaking the hegemony of the infamous privately owned currency and gold manipulator, the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) in Basle, Switzerland – also called the central bank of all central banks.

To be sure – the BIS is a privately owned for profit institution, was created in the early 1930’s, in the midst of the big economic melt-down of the 20th Century. The BIS was formed precisely for that purpose – to control the world’s monetary system, along with the also privately owned FED and the Wall Street Banksters – the epitome of private unregulated ownership.

The BIS is known to hold at least half a dozen secret meetings per year, attended by the world’s elite, deciding the fate of countries and entire populations. 

Their demise would be another welcome new development.

As the new trading road and monetary system will take hold, other countries and nations, so far in the claws of US dependence, will flock to the ‘new system’, gradually isolating Washington’s military industrial economy (sic) and its NATO killing machine.

This Economic Sea Change may bring the empire to its knees, without spilling a drop of blood. An area of new hope for justice and more equality, a rebirth of sovereign states, may dawn and turn the spiral of darkness into a spiral of light.

Peter Koenig is an economist and former World Bank staff. He worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources.    Continue

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Many people have engaged with me on the subject of the crisis in Ukraine. Thank you for that. I have been following the unfolding crisis with concern, reading many reports and articles in both the mainstream and alternative media. Of course, it is quite complex, with many conflicting points of view.     The most important thing is to try to make sense of this confusion, and find a rational, peaceful solution that serves the best interests of the ordinary people. Here are a few thoughts from me. What do you think? 

I think today's controversial vote in Crimea was made inevitable by the Western-supported violent coup in Kiev. The people of the autonomous region of Crimea are entitled to express their preferred choice for their future. 

Clearly, most people in Crimea really fear the extremists now controlling the Ukraine government. They would support closer relations with Russia rather than being dominated by Kiev, and integrated into the EU and NATO.

Joining the EU would open Ukraine up to the austerity policies that are so unpopular now in Greece and elsewhere, whereas friendly relations with both the West and Russia may improve their economic independence and welfare. 

They would probably really prefer genuine neutrality and autonomy within Ukraine, even more than integration with Russia, but that choice is not available to them now, due to the urgency of the crisis resulting from the Western-supported interference and violent coup in Kiev. 

The sad thing for me is that this whole crisis was unnecessary. 

It is the result of a long history of selfish Western imperial policy, which now threatens years of instability and divisive hatreds, possibly a destructive civil war, and, in the worst-case scenario, even a nuclear war, if the hotheads in the U.S., and their supporters, continue to recklessly provoke the Russian bear.

Instead, Ukraine could have remained a neutral buffer between EU/NATO and Russia, with mutually-beneficial economic relations and friendship, the Russians keeping their vital naval base agreement, and Ukraine not joining NATO or allowing the U.S. to place nuclear missiles on its territory, etc.  

I think Russia would also have preferred the status quo to continue. But the West has now made that impossible, and Russia has no choice but to protect its strategic interests on its vital border - and it will.

Throughout this crisis, the one-sided media coverage in the West, almost exclusively blaming Russia for everything, demonizing Putin, and omitting or downplaying important details, makes me smell a rat.

We have a right to be suspicious, when the mass media sets a single, simplistic narrative on any issue of great importance, and does not fairly consider the perspectives and interests of all sides.

I certainly do not agree with Putin on everything. It is always healthy to 'mistrust' people in power, at least until trust has been earned, but it does seem to me that Putin has shown himself to be a far more level-headed, rational and skilled diplomat than Obama, Kerry or anyone else in the West. 

He showed this with vetoing escalation of the war in Syria - another foreign-sponsored destabilization, using known terrorists, and fueled by lies about chemical weapons. Putin and Lavrov used their diplomatic skills to thwart Obama's imminent bombing spree there, much to the annoyance of the neo-cons who dominate U.S. government policy-making. 

Unfortunately, Putin failed to do the same to prevent the destruction of Libya, but I think that taught him a lesson. He will not be tricked again by the West, especially over Ukraine, which has obvious strategic interest to Russia.

I believe those who oppose the legitimacy of the vote in Crimea are being hypocritical, for their own political purposes, since they have no problem supporting similar democratic votes in Scotland, Quebec, and everywhere else.
Also, they supported the violent separation of Kosovo from Serbia, so their talk of "respecting national sovereignty" is meaningless.  

There are so many examples of hypocrisy, blatant violation of international law, warmongering, and lack of respect for national sovereignty by the West and its supporters, which makes me conclude they have zero credibility to lecture anyone on Crimea, or anything else. 

U.S. government foreign policy around the world just continues its very long history of causing deaths, suffering and chaos, regardless of the political colour of the occupant of the White House. My theory is that this is all quite deliberate and cold-blooded - "the Chaos Theory". Through such engineered chaos they 'divide and conquer', and loot the world's resources for Wall Street. Or, maybe my theory is wrong, and they are just insane!

We would do well to remember that what happens in Europe is of more than passing interest to the rest of the world. So far, two world wars started there, and humanity might not survive a third!

What do you think?

For further information ~ 
there's more to the news than the mainstream media is telling you ~    

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Western media routinely "demonizes" Russian President Putin, with selective and dishonest reporting. Before jumping on that bandwagon, read this transcript of an informative talk given by Putin to reporters. Make up your own mind who is talking sense:

Who was really behind the violence in Kiev, where protestors and police were killed?:

By David Peterson 
 A stunning example of suppression of an important revelation, plain and simple. Continue

When it comes to Western-sponsored "regime change", there has been a pattern of peaceful demonstrations turning very violent, with unknown snipers firing into the crowds:

The Momentum for “Regime Change”: 
Snipers Are Commonly Used as “False Flag” Terrorists ...

While the Western media dishonestly presents Russia as the bogey man in Ukraine, let's remind ourselves of a little bit of history that they would prefer you to never know:

A handy, but incomplete, history guide -- from A (Argentina) to Z (Zaire)


And while the world's attention is focused on Ukraine, the Empire is up to its dirty tricks yet again in Venezuela:

Venezuela, the United States, and Obama
By Paul Street

If Obama assisted right wing coups to preserve oligarchic and military rule in the relatively small and economically insignificant nations of Honduras and Paraguay, it’s not much of a reach to imagine he would like to see regime change in socialist Venezuela.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Madeleine Sharp obituary

By Peter Lidgard 

Madeleine Sharp
Madeleine Sharp became a supporter of the Medical Aid Committee for Vietnam in 1965, which combined both aspects of her life's work

She was born in London, but the family moved to Newcastle when her father's work as a patent agent moved out of the capital. Her mother was the secretary of the British/Russian friendship society, and it was probably she who encouraged Madeleine to go into medicine. 

Her family could not afford to send her to medical school, however, so she began training as a nurse and enlisted in the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps, serving in India.

This experience had a profound effect on her and she would spend the rest of her life campaigning for peace and seeking ways of helping the poor and sick of south-east Asia.

At the end of the second world war she fulfilled her wish to become a doctor. With the advent of the National Health Service, she was able to get a grant to study at Edinburgh University. Shortly after qualifying, she answered an advertisement for a locum at a practice in Coventry. The temporary position there soon became a permanent one and grew into a partnership in the practice, where she worked as GP for 30 years.

Madeleine joined the movement that protested about the US involvement in Vietnam. In 1965 she became a supporter of the Medical Aid Committee for Vietnam, combining both aspects of her life's work. 

The following years saw her involvement increase in both the charity, which became Medical and Scientific Aid to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and her peace campaigning, while continuing as a much-loved and respected GP. 

She took on the role of honorary secretary to MSAVLC from 1987 to 2009, and for many years she was also chair of the City of Coventry Lord Mayor's Peace Committee.

Madeleine first visited Vietnam in 1989, and made numerous trips there to see the many projects supported by MSAVLC. She was always a welcome visitor to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and made many friends; her last visit was a three-week tour in 2009.

She was appointed MBE for services to human rights and humanitarian causes in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in 2002. She received the Coventry peace prize in 2004, the Vietnamese government's Order of Friendship in 1992 and its Order of Merit in 2013.

By Peter Lidgard


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

I have been following the unfolding crisis in Ukraine with concern, reading and watching the mainstream news reports with anger and frustration at their consistent incompetence to report truthfully.

I have also been following the real journalism in various alternative news sources. Once again, the mainstream media is utterly appalling and wrong in its coverage. It is totally Orwellian, where Lies (of both commission and omission) have become the accepted 'Truth'. 

It is like we are living on two parallel universes - the propaganda nonsense of the mainstream media, versus another very different reality only to be found in the quality alternative media. No wonder people are confused and misled, if they choose a diet of only junk news! 

These differences can easily be seen by reading the best source of daily news - Information Clearing House:

Has Russia Invaded Ukraine?
Propaganda Rules The News

By Paul Craig Roberts

Gerald Celente calls the Western media “presstitutes,” a term that I often use. Presstitutes sell themselves to Washington for access and government sources and to keep their jobs. Ever since the corrupt Clinton regime permitted the concentration of the US media, there has been no journalistic independence in the United States except for some Internet sites. 
Glenn Greenwald points out the independence that RT, a Russian media organization, permits Abby Martin who denounced Russia’s alleged invasion of Ukraine, compared to the fates of Phil Donahue (MSNBC) and Peter Arnett (NBC), both of whom were fired for expressing opposition to the Bush regime’s illegal attack on Iraq. The fact that Donahue had NBC’s highest rated program did not give him journalistic independence. 

Anyone who speaks the truth in the American print or TV media or on NPR is immediately fired. Russia’s RT seems actually to believe and observe the values that Americans profess but do not honor.

I agree with Greenwald. You can read his article here: Greenwald is entirely admirable. He has intelligence, integrity, and courage. He is one of the brave to whom my just published book, How America Was Lost, is dedicated. 

As for RT’s Abby Martin, I admire her and have been a guest on her program a number of times.

My criticism of Greenwald and Martin has nothing to do with their integrity or their character. I doubt the claims that Abby Martin grandstanded on “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” in order to boost her chances of moving into the more lucrative “mainstream media.” My point is quite different. 

Even Abby Martin and Greenwald, both of whom bring us much light, cannot fully escape Western propaganda.

For example, Martin’s denunciation of Russia for “invading” Ukraine is based on Western propaganda that Russia sent 16,000 troops to occupy Crimea. 

The fact of the matter is that those 16,000 Russian troops have been in Crimea since the 1990s. Under the Russian-Ukrainian agreement, Russia has the right to base 25,000 troops in Crimea.

Apparently, neither Abby Martin nor Glenn Greenwald, two intelligent and aware people, knew this fact. 

 Washington’s propaganda is so pervasive that two of our best reporters were victimized by it.

As I have written several times in my columns, Washington organized the coup in Ukraine in order to promote its world hegemony by capturing Ukraine for NATO and putting US missile bases on Russia’s border in order to degrade Russia’s nuclear deterrent and force Russia to accept Washington’s hegemony. 

Russia has done nothing but respond in a very low-key way to a major strategic threat orchestrated by Washington.

It is not only Martin and Greenwald who have fallen under Washington’s propaganda. They are joined by Patrick J. Buchanan. Pat’s column calling on readers to “resist the war party on Crimea” opens with Washington’s propagandistic claim: “With Vladimir Putin’s dispatch of Russian Troops into Crimea.”

No such dispatch has occurred. Putin has been granted authority by the Russian Duma to send troops to Ukraine, but Putin has stated publicly that sending troops would be a last resort to protect Crimean Russians from invasions by the ultra-nationalist neo-nazis who stole Washington’s coup and established themselves as the power in Kiev and western Ukraine.

So, here we have three of the smartest and most independent journalists of our time, and all three are under the impression created by Western propaganda that Russia has invaded Ukraine.

It appears that the power of Washington’s propaganda is so great that not even the best and most independent journalists can escape its influence.

What chance does truth have when Abby Martin gets kudos from Glenn Greenwald for denouncing Russia for an alleged “invasion” that has not taken place, and when independent Pat Buchanan opens his column dissenting from the blame-Russia-crowd by accepting that an invasion has taken place?

The entire story that the presstitutes have told about the Ukraine is a propaganda production. 

The presstitutes told us that the deposed president, Viktor Yanukovych, ordered snipers to shoot protesters. On the basis of these false reports, Washington’s stooges, who comprise the existing non-government in Kiev, have issued arrest orders for Yanukovych and intend for him to be tried in an international court. 

In an intercepted telephone call between EU foreign affairs minister Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign affairs minister Urmas Paet who had just returned from Kiev, Paet reports: 

“There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.” 

Paet goes on to report that “all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides . . . and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened.” 

Ashton, absorbed with EU plans to guide reforms in Ukraine and to prepare the way for the IMF to gain control over economic policy, was not particularly pleased to hear Paet’s report that the killings were an orchestrated provocation. 

You can listen to the conversation between Paet and Ashton here:

What has happened in Ukraine is that Washington plotted against and overthrew an elected legitimate government and then lost control to neo-nazis who are threatening the large Russian population in southern and eastern Ukraine, provinces that formerly were part of Russia. These threatened Russians have appealed for Russia’s help, and just like the Russians in South Ossetia, they will receive Russia’s help.

The Obama regime and its presstitutes will continue to lie about everything.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest books are, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and How America Was Lost. 


Spring Fails in Ukrainian Plunderland

By Pepe Escobar

"Russia will abandon the US dollar as a reserve currency if the United States initiates sanctions against the Russian Federation."

"Asia Times" - Here's the US's exceptionalist promotion of "democracy" in action; Washington has recognized a coup d'etat in Ukraine that regime-changed a - for all its glaring faults - democratically elected government.

And here is Russian President Vladimir Putin, already last year, talking about how Russia and China decided to trade in roubles and yuan, and stressing how Russia needs to quit the "excessive monopoly" of the US dollar. He had to be aware the Empire would strike back.

Now there's more; Russian presidential adviser Sergey Glazyev told RIA Novosti, "Russia will abandon the US dollar as a reserve currency if the United States initiates sanctions against the Russian Federation."

So the Empire struck back by giving "a little help" to regime change in the Ukraine. And Moscow counter-punched by taking control of Crimea in less than a day without firing a shot - with or without crack Spetsnaz brigades (UK-based think tanks say they are; Putin says they are not).

Putin's assessment of what happened in Ukraine is factually correct; "an anti-constitutional takeover and armed seizure of power". It's open to endless, mostly nasty debate whether the Kremlin overreacted or not. Considering the record of outright demonization of both Russia and Putin going on for years - and now reaching fever pitch - the Kremlin's swift reaction was quite measured.

Putin applied Sun Tzu to the letter, and now plays the US against the EU. He has made it clear Moscow does not need to "invade" Ukraine. The 1997 Ukraine-Russia partition treaty specifically allows Russian troops in Crimea. And Russia after all is an active proponent of state sovereignty; it's under this principle that Moscow refuses a Western "intervention" in Syria.

What he left the door open for is - oh cosmic irony of ironies - an American invention/intervention (and that, predictably, was undetectable by Western corporate media); the UN's R2P - "responsibility to protect" - in case the Western-aligned fascists and neo-nazis in Ukraine threaten Russians or Russian-speaking civilians with armed conflict. Samantha Power should be proud of herself.

Don't mess with Russian intelligence
The "West" once again has learned you don't mess with Russian intelligence, which in a nutshell preempted in Crimea a replica of the coup in Kiev, largely precipitated by UNA-UNSO - a shady, ultra-rightwing, crack paramilitary NATO-linked force using Ukraine as base, as exposed by William Engdahl.

And Crimea was an even murkier operation, because those neo-nazis from Western Ukraine were in tandem with Tatar jihadis (the House of Saud will be heavily tempted to finance them from now on).

The Kremlin is factually correct when pointing out that the coup was essentially conducted by fascists and ultra-right "nationalists" - Western code for neo-nazis.
Svoboda ("Freedom") party political council member Yury Noyevy even admitted openly that using EU integration as a pretext "is a means to break our ties with Russia."

Western corporate media always conveniently forgets that Svoboda - as well as the Right Sector fascists - follow in the steps of Galician fascist/terrorist Stepan Bandera, a notorious asset of a basket of "Western" intel agencies. Now Svoboda has managed to insert no less than six bigwigs as part of the new regime in Kiev.

Then there are the new regional governors appointed to the mostly Russophone east and south of Ukraine. They are - who else - oligarchs, such as billionaires Sergei Taruta posted to Donetsk and Ihor Kolomoysky posted in Dnipropetrovsk. 

People in Maidan in Kiev were protesting mostly against - who else - kleptocrat oligarchs. Once again, Western corporate media - which tirelessly plugged a "popular" uprising against kleptocracy - hasn't noticed it.

Once again, follow the money
Ukraine's foreign currency reserves, only in the past four weeks, plunged from US$17.8 billion to $15 billion. Wanna buy some hryvnia? Well, not really; the national currency, is on a cosmic dive against the US dollar. This is jolly good news only for disaster capitalism vultures.

And right on cue, the International Monetary Fund is sending a "fact-finding mission" to Ukraine this week. Ukrainians of all persuasions may run but they won't hide from "structural adjustment". They could always try to scrape enough for a ticket with their worthless hryvnia (being eligible for visa on arrival in Thailand certainly helps).

European banks - who according to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) hold more than $23 billion in outstanding loans - could lose big in Ukraine. Italian banks, for instance, have loaned nearly $6 billion.

On the Pipelineistan front, Ukraine heavily depends on Russia; 58% of its gas supply.
It cannot exactly diversify and start buying from Qatar tomorrow - with delivery via what, Qatar Airways?

And even as 66% of Russian gas exported to the EU transits through Ukraine, the country is fast losing its importance as a transit hub. Both the Nord Stream and South Stream pipelines - Russia not on-the-ground but under-seas - bypass Ukraine. The Nord Stream, finished in 2011, links Russia with Germany beneath the Baltic Sea. South Stream, beneath the Black Sea, will be ready before the end of 2015.

Geoeconomically, the Empire needs Ukraine to be out of the Eurasian economic union promoted by the Kremlin - which also includes Kazakhstan and Belarus. And geopolitically, when NATO Secretary General, the vain puppet Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said that an IMF-EU package for the Ukraine would be "a major boost for Euro-Atlantic security", this is what clinched it; the only thing that matters in this whole game is NATO "annexing" Ukraine, as I examined earlier.

It has always been about the Empire of Bases - just like the encirclement of Iran; just like the "pivot" to Asia translating into encirclement of China; just like encircling Russia with bases and "missile defense". Over the Kremlin's collective dead body, of course.

Let's plunder that wasteland
US Secretary of State John Kerry accusing Russia of "invading Ukraine", in "violation of international law", and "back to the 19th century", is so spectacularly pathetic in its hypocrisy - once again, look at the US's record - it does not warrant comment from any informed observer. Incidentally, this is as pathetic as his offer of a paltry $1 billion in "loan guarantees" - which would barely pay Ukraine's bills for two weeks.

The Obama administration - especially the neo-cons of the "F**k the EU" kind - has lost is power play. And for Moscow, it has no interlocutor in Kiev because it considers the regime-changers illegal. Moscow also regards "Europe" as a bunch of pampered whining losers - with no common foreign policy to boot.

So any mediation now hinges on Germany. Berlin has no time for "sanctions" - the sacrosanct American exceptionalist mantra; Russia is a plush market for German industry. And for all the vociferations at the Economist and the Financial Times, the City of London also does not want sanctions; the financial center feeds on lavish Russian politico/oligarch funds. 

As for the West's "punishment" for Russia by threatening to expel it from the Group of Eight, that is a joke. The G-8, which excludes China, does not decide anything relevant anymore; the G-20 does.

If a wide-ranging poll were to be conducted today, it would reveal that the majority of Ukrainians don't want to be part of the EU - as much as the majority of Europeans don't want the Ukraine in the EU. 

What's left for millions of Ukrainians is the bloodsucking IMF, to be duly welcomed by "Yats" (as Prime Minister Yatsenyuk is treated by Vic "F**k the EU" Nuland).

Ukraine is slouching towards federalization. The Kiev regime-changers will have no say on autonomous Crimea - which most certainly will remain part of Ukraine (and Russia by the way will save $90 million in annual rent for the Sevastopol base, which until now was payable to Kiev.)

The endgame is all but written; Moscow controls an autonomous Crimea for free, and the US/EU "control", or try to plunder, disaster capitalism-style, a back of beyond western Ukraine wasteland "managed" by a bunch of Western puppets and oligarchs, with a smatter of neo-nazis.

So what is the Obama/Kerry strategic master duo to do? Start a nuclear war? 

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at

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