Monday, December 22, 2014


Season of Goodwill… 
West Delivers Sanctions, Suffering and Conflict

By Finian Cunningham

December 21, 2014 "ICH" - "SCF" -  

It’s the Season of Goodwill – and Western governments are showering us with a medley of their «gifts». Sanctions, austerity, lethal military aid and red-hot coals of conflict.

Meanwhile, the contrast of Russian humanitarian aid to Ukraine could not be greater or more telling. This week another convoy of trucks from Russia – at least the tenth so far in recent months – is due to arrive in eastern Ukraine, bearing food, clothing, heating and toys for the war-torn children of Luhansk and Donetsk. 

Only in the cynical, mean-spirited West would such a juxtaposition of very different Russian conduct be misconstrued. 

As the world prepares to celebrate Christmas – an occasion of peace, joy and salvation for humanity – Washington and its allies in Canada and the European Union see fit to unleash more sanctions on Russia, fuel further misery and suffering in Ukraine, and perhaps most perniciously, to stoke conditions for larger war.

Hard-hearted Western rulers just don’t seem to have a redeeming bone in their bodies or cell in their brains. At least in Charles Dickens’ classic novel ‘A Christmas Carol’, a story of redemption and hope, his horrible miserable character Ebenezer Scrooge was able to recognise the meanness of his ways and, in the end, repent. No such change for Western governments, it seems, who press on in their destructive, blind arrogance.

As US President Barack Obama departed from the White House last Friday for Christmas holidays with his family in sunny Hawaii, he bequeathed his signature to a Congress «present» for the Kiev regime. Among the «goodies» are millions of dollars worth of lethal military aid for the regime that seized power in an illegal coup in February this year. That’s not an pejorative opinion about this regime: it is simply an objective fact. 

Of course, the Western governments and their media would disagree because they are inebriated on their own cocktails of propaganda. 

One wonders if Obama will remember when he is pulling crackers with his daughters around the Christmas dining table that the children of Ukraine will be cringing in fear from the crackle and thud of weapons that his government is funnelling into that country.

Obama also signed off on new sanctions to hit the people of Crimea, for their audacity to vote in a referendum in March to secede from the neo-Nazi regime that his CIA shunted into power. The executive order from the White House prohibits the export and import of goods, technology, services and investment because of, as Obama put it, Russia’s «annexation and occupation of Crimea».

Similar punitive measures were also forthcoming in the same week from the European Union and the Canadian government of Stephen Harper.

These latest Western moves come on top of previous rounds of economic and diplomatic sanctions imposed on Russia. This week – on the eve of the Christmas holidays – the Russian rouble hit new lows, partly as a result of Western sanctions, thus bringing uncertainty and anxiety to many Russian citizens. 

Moscow deplored the new round of sanctions as a reckless provocation, and in particular the approval by Washington to open the floodgate for weapons supply into Ukraine.  The country has already seen nearly 5,000 deaths over the past eight months since the Western-backed Kiev regime launched a military offensive on the eastern Donbas regions against the Russian-speaking civilian population, simply because the latter, much like their compatriots in Crimea, refuse to recognise the CIA-backed coup that ousted the elected government of Viktor Yanukovych. 

Under the subsequent «leadership» of oligarch Petro Poroshenko and CIA protégé Arseniy Yatsenyuk, along with a cabinet of foreign impostors, the regime has imposed an economic blockade on the people of Luhansk and Donetsk. Unable to win the military war against the people’s self-defence militia, the Kiev Reich has now resorted to a tactic of attrition and collective punishment. That is, more crimes against humanity. 

Western sanctions this week on Russia and promises of further military support will only embolden the already illegal regime in Kiev and its criminal conduct against the civilians of eastern Ukraine. Spare a thought for the children of Donbas who have to huddle around stoves in the midst of electricity black-outs and the constant fear of the Kiev military breaking the tentative ceasefire, as it has routinely flouted over the past two months. 
  
However, the benevolence of the Brussels plutocrats to their rogue progeny in Kiev is being strained. This week the unelected president of the European Council Jean-Claude Juncker warned that further financial aid is no longer possible. Already the Brussels elite has forked out some €1,800 million to the coup-regime. Petulant demands for «more money» from the Brussels cash cow by Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk are becoming unbearable.  

The largesse showered on this criminal regime (a UN human rights report last week cited systematic violations against civilians, including indiscriminate shelling of residential areas) is at the expense of EU citizens who are facing relentless austerity, unemployment, homelessness and welfare cuts. How is that for brazen cold blood among the Brussels bureaucrats? Unelected mandarins shovel public money to a neo-Nazi regime outside of the EU that is killing their own people and yet EU citizens are being denied basic human needs from austerity cutbacks – and at Christmas too! 

But, as noted, the EU plutocrats seem to be realising that the entity Washington and Brussels have sired in Kiev is a runaway train wreck, an insatiable Frankenstein monster.  

At the latest EU summit at the end of this week, Kiev’s tycoon-president Poroshenko was not invited to attend – a sharp change in tack from the customary indulgence afforded by Brussels.  

Also, when the arrogant Yatsenyuk was asked earlier this week when Kiev expected a further tranche of €200 million from the EU public purse, he snapped: «Let me put in a nutshell: yesterday!» To which European Commissioner Yohannes Hahn retorted that there would be no more money from EU taxpayers «until Kiev implemented certain reforms». 

Undeterred in his whining, Yatensyuk later told media: «We will do everything that was promised... but to overcome this period Ukraine needs to get some kind of cushion and this cushion is a new package of financial aid. It is difficult for us to fight with a nuclear state [Russia] which is armed to the teeth.» It was the usual shrill excuse-making, blaming everyone else, and expecting something for nothing. 

And what reforms does the EU want from Kiev? More neo-liberal economic reforms, privatisation, austerity, and general capitalist raping of the country. Nowhere in the EU-mandated reforms are an end to war, violations and crimes against humanity.  

A Christmas Carol? The EU is not only Scrooge unrepentant. It is also the biggest Stooge for American war-making. 

Happy Christmas everyone.

Finian Cunningham







John Pilger, film-maker and award winning journalist, talks to Going Underground host Afshin Rattansi about the headline events of the year, from CIA torture to the Ukraine crisis...

The real issue in democracies is ‘dissent being constrained’ physically on the streets. He believes it is ‘dangerous’ to protest in the way people did in 2003, whether you are an establishment figure, a journalist, or just a man on the street. He says the Sydney siege, whilst horrific, still has to be deconstructed to find what’s missing from it...

With Russia, he says he has never known the truth ‘so inverted’ over any one issue. 

He believes we are in the midst of a cold war more dangerous than the one he grew up with, comparing the raw propaganda of the prior to what we’re seeing now, with a ‘real possibility’ of a nuclear war. He compares it to Iraq, because both involved ‘fiction,’ the idea that Russia is attacking the West...

He says it was NATO and the US that took over Ukraine, to the point that Joe Biden’s son is on the board of Ukraine’s biggest private gas provider. 

At a meeting in Yalta in September 2013, the ‘takeover of Ukraine was planned’ by prominent politicians and multinationals. There was a ‘coup stage-managed by the Obama administration,’ and blame shifted to Russia, who acted purely defensively. 

He says there is a ‘real prospect of war’ with a nuclear power and strong conventional military, and Putin has now started ‘talking red lines’ himself. He describes ‘extraordinary propaganda’ promoting tension and demonising Russia, which ‘may end up being self-fulfilling.’
 
John is crowdfunding his new documentary, ‘The Coming War between America and China’, about the perceived threat to the US from China. 

You can find out more and contribute at:  
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/john-pilger-the-coming-war-documentary



WATCH THE VIDEO:




From Fabius Maximus:
The FBI told their story about North Korea attacking Sony. Read what they didn’t tell you.: 

Summary: The government blames North Korea of the Axis of Evil for the attack on Sony, a claim quite like the bogus claims of the past we so credulously believed. No matter how often they lie to us, (we) believe what the government tells us. They lie, we believe, their lies are exposed — rinse, repeat. It makes us easy to govern... We can do better. This is a great day to begin. Read this and decide for yourself. 
This is the most complete collection of information I’ve found on this story.
Follow-up post to:


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Free Fall of the Ruble 
A brilliant Ploy of Russian Economic Wizards? 
By Peter Koenig 
Russia and China are detaching their economies from that of the West.  

Continue


Ending the Cold War on Cuba?
From the Freezer to the Chiller

By Finian Cunningham

The move this week by Obama on Cuba is no more than a public relations manoeuvre.  

Continue


The Problem with Obama’s Cuba Speech
By Matt Peppe 

Raul Castro has demonstrated Cuba’s continued willingness to engage without animosity the country who has carried out an invasion, decades of terrorism, and a half-century-long, unprovoked economic war.  
Continue



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Australia should not embrace America, writes a former conservative prime minister, but preserve itself from Washington’s reckless overreach. 

The US: Australia's Dangerous Ally

By Malcolm Fraser 

December 17, 2014 "ICH" - "NI" -  

It is time for Australia to end its strategic dependence on the United States. The relationship with America, which has long been regarded as beneficial, has now become dangerous to Australia’s future. We have effectively ceded to America the ability to decide when Australia goes to war. 

Even if America were the most perfect and benign power, this posture would still be incompatible with the integrity of Australia as a sovereign nation. It entails not simply deference but submission to Washington, an intolerable state of affairs for a country whose power and prosperity are increasing and whose national interests dictate that it enjoy amicable, not hostile, relations with its neighbors, including China. . . 

. . . At the end of the day, we need to ask ourselves what Australia’s independence—Australia’s integrity—is worth to Australians. Australia must regain the ability to deny any other power the capacity to decide whether we stay at peace or go to war. Only by embarking upon a new course can Australia recapture its squandered sovereignty. 

Malcolm Fraser is a former Liberal (Conservative) Prime Minister of Australia.

Read more of this important and insightful article:





By Eric Zuesse
For America’s elite, the Cold War never ended, because it was never really about communism versus capitalism. Continue




By Martin Hellman
The Göring Doctrine has proved as tempting to democratic leaders as to fascist dictators. Witness these examples drawn from recent American history. Continue




Palestinians: US to veto UN resolution 'to end occupation': US Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly told the Palestinians the United States will veto a proposed Palestinian resolution "to end the occupation" at the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, Palestinian sources said.

European Parliament passes motion in favor of Palestine recognition: The European Parliament accepted, with a large majority, a decision expressing support "in principle" of the recognition of a Palestinian state, along with furthering negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Geneva Conventions invoke rights of Palestinians: The international community delivered a stinging rebuke to Israel's settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, saying Wednesday the practice violates its responsibilities as an occupying power.

EU court orders Hamas removed from terror list: Court delays implementing the ruling to allow appeals, drawing ire from Israeli PM Netanyahu and praise from Hamas as a 'human rights' victory.


How ‘Awesome’ Is America?
By Robert Parry

America has an extraordinary capacity to submerge unpleasant truths about its past and present, from African-American slavery and Native-American genocide to bloodbaths in Vietnam and Iraq. Continue


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Media reports of the US Congress passing bills “unanimously” give a false impression that everyone in Congress voted in support. In reality, this anti-Russian bill was introduced and passed sneakily by only 3 members! Referring to it as passing “unanimously” is very deceiving, as Dennis Kucininch explains:

Three Members of Congress Just Reignited the Cold War While No One Was Looking

By Dennis Kucinich

December 16, 2014 "ICH" - "Truthdig"

...
The second provocative anti-Russian legislation in a week, it further polarizes our relations with Russia, helping to cement a Russia-China alliance against Western hegemony, and undermines long-term America’s financial and physical security by handing the national treasury over to war profiteers.


Here’s how the House’s touted “unanimity” was achieved:

...That the recent Russia sanctions bill was advanced, “unanimously,” without debate in the House, portends that our nation is sleepwalking through the graveyards of history, toward an abyss where controlling factors reside in the realm of chance, what Thomas Hardy termed “crass casualty.” Such are the perils of unanimity.

Click to read what really happened, and read/post public comments


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

". . . it is incredibly ironic that, on the eve of the Senate Intelligence Committee condemnation of America's abuse of human rights,  President Obama, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the incoming Senate Intelligence Committee itself all declared that they would leave the torture in the past and not follow up on the report, while the U.S. Congress voted to sanction Venezuela, a leader of one of the few regions in the world that did not help or accommodate America’s human rights abuses, for human rights abuses. . ."

America’s Ironic Sanctioning of Venezuela

By Ted Snider

December 15, 2014 "ICH" - "Znet" - 

...America has made such a banality out of hypocrisy that there is no longer any irony: only naïveté for having expected something different... 


But it is only ironic if we still expected something different than what was realized. America has made such a banality out of hypocrisy that there is no longer any irony: only naïveté for having expected something different.

The U.S. will not follow up on the Senate Torture Report or provide any consequences. That, in itself, should be unbelievable. As a signatory to the U.N. Convention Against Torture, the U.S. is legally obliged to prosecute torturers. They have now confessed to harbouring torturers. Therefore, they are obliged to prosecute them. 

But instead, they will prosecute Venezuela, one of the apparently few countries in the world that was not bullied or bribed into accommodating America in its extraordinary renditions or torture programs.

Immediately following the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report, the House of Representatives voted to authorize the president to impose sanctions on Venezuelan officials for human rights abuses against protestors that took to the streets earlier this year. The Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act bill has already passed in the senate.

But Venezuela was not abusing the human rights of its citizens by suppressing protest. 

While Secretary of State John Kerry complained in February that “We are particularly alarmed by reports that the Venezuelan government has arrested or detained scores of anti-government protesters,” he didn’t add the, not unimportant, detail that the arrested protestors had committed crimes. 

Mark Weisbrot reports that protestors attacked police, threw Molotov cocktails, burned cars, set fire to government buildings and committed other acts of violence and vandalism. Fernando Vegas adds throwing stones, burning barricades and damaging government buildings. 

According to the Venezuelan Interior Affairs Minister, as of February 17, of the 120 people arrested in recent protests, only 14 remain in custody, and they have all been charged with specific acts of vandalism and violence. 

The Venezuelan government repeatedly called for dialogue with the protestors, and members of the security forces who were accused of violations were detained and investigated.

And the protests the government was responding to were no ordinary peaceful protests: they were a self identified coup attempt against the legitimately elected Maduro government. 

Defeated right wing opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez—who was also involved in the 2002 coup attempt against Hugo Chavez—called for his supporters to take to the streets and insisted that the violence go on until they “got rid of Maduro.”. . .

The plan’s intent is to destabilize Venezuela in order to “facilitate an opposition victory.” In order to facilitate the change in government, the plan sets out the intention to “Create situations of crisis in the streets that will facilitate U.S. intervention, as well as NATO forces, with the support of the Columbian government.” The plan tacks on the line “Whenever possible, the violence should result in death or injuries.”. . .

But Venezuelans have not been crying out to America for help. They have been doing the opposite. They gave Hugo Chavez’ Bolivarian Revolution a second incarnation when, upon his death, they elected his chosen successor Nicolás Maduro. Though his margin of victory was narrow, his support from the people of Venezuela has expanded. In the most recent municipal elections, Maduro and his allies won 76% of the mayoral races. . . 

Since America’s Senate Intelligence Committee’s thorough examination of six million pages of CIA documents has indicted American officials and operatives for torture, and since U.N. Convention Against Torture leaves America no choice but to prosecute torturers, one would expect America to prosecute the American officials who are guilty of human rights abuses. 

So, it should be ironic that congress announced that it would sanction Venezuela officials for human rights abuses instead. But there is no more irony in American politics: only the naïveté of those who still expected different. 

American exceptionalism has long demanded pardoning America for things it did do, while confronting countries for those same things, though it did not.


Ted Snider has a graduate degree in philosophy and writes on analyzing patterns in U.S. foreign policy and history.


See also -
Nicaragua to ban 2 U.S. lawmakers over sanctions on Venezuela: Nicaragua’s president said he is banning Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from traveling to the Central American country in protest of the Venezuela sanctions the two helped pass in Congress on Wednesday, according to a newspaper report.

ALBA Summit Concludes, Rejects US Interference in the Region: The bloc of Latin American and Caribbean countries condemned new U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and demanded Washington end its economic blockade on Cuba.


Click to read the entire article, and read/post public comments

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


The United States of Torture
It's who we are
That's just how empires are run

by , December 10, 2014
"...The idea that "this isn’t who we are," as President Obama has said, and that we have to expose this so that it "never happens again," as Sen. Feinstein put it, is pure nonsense. This is indeed who we are: it is what we became once we acquired a global empire. Waterboarding is nothing new for Americans: we did it to the Philippine rebels when we decided to "liberate" them from the Spaniards. We did worse in Vietnam. What’s more, our proxy armies – the Nicaraguan contras, the Afghan mujahideen during the 1980s, the Syrian rebels today – have engaged in torture worldwide. And don’t forget the many authoritarian regimes we’ve propped up with aid, arms, and diplomatic support, while they torture their own people..."

December 21, 1968: Da Nang, Vietnam

On Jan. 21, 1968, The Washington Post ran a front-page photo of a U.S. soldier supervising the waterboarding of a captured North Vietnamese soldier near Da Nang. The caption said the technique induced "a flooding sense of suffocation and drowning, meant to make him talk." This picture led to an Army investigation and, two months later, the court martial of the soldier.

waterboarding.org

"His sufferings must be that of a man who is drowning, but cannot drown." -Lt. Grover Flint, Philippine-American War



READ MORE: 



"...The neocons who manipulate America’s clueless politicians have not got us into a new Cold War. It is much worse..."

Washington’s Frozen War Against Russia
By Diana Johnstone 
December 09, 2014 "ICH" - "Counterpunch" -  


For over a year, the United States has played out a scenario designed to (1) reassert U.S. control over Europe by blocking E.U. trade with Russia, (2) bankrupt Russia, and (3) get rid of Vladimir Putin and replace him with an American puppet, like the late drunk, Boris Yeltsin.

The past few days have made crystal clear the perfidy of the economic side of this U.S. war against Russia.

It all began at the important high-level international meeting on Ukraine’s future held in Yalta in September 2013, where a major topic was the shale gas revolution which the United States hoped to use toweaken Russia. Former U.S. energy secretary Bill Richardson was there to make the pitch, applauded by Bill and Hillary Clinton. 

Washington hoped to use its fracking techniques to provide substitute sources for natural gas, driving Russia out of the market. This amounts to selling Europe a pig in a poke.

But this trick could not be accomplished by relying on the sacrosanct “market”, since fracking is more costly than Russian gas extraction. A major crisis was necessary in order to distort the market by political pressures. 

By the February 22 coup d’état, engineered by Victoria Nuland, the United States effectively took control of Ukraine, putting in power its agent “Yats” (Arseniy Yatsenyuk) who favors joining NATO. 

This direct threat to Russia’s naval base in Crimea led to the referendum which peacefully returned the historically Russian peninsula to Russia. But the U.S.-led chorus condemned the orderly return of Crimea as “Russian military aggression”. This defensive move is trumpeted by NATO as proof of Putin’s intention to invade Russia’s European neighbors for no reason at all.

Meanwhile, the United States’ economic invasion has gone largely unnoticed.

Ukraine has some of the largest shale gas reserves in Europe. Like other Europeans, Ukrainians had demonstrated against the harmful environmental results of fracking on their lands, but unlike some other countries, Ukraine has no restrictive legislation. Chevron is already getting involved.

As of last May, R. Hunter Biden, son of the U.S. Vice President, is on the Board of Directors of Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer. The young Biden will be in charge of the Holdings’ legal unit and contribute to its “international expansion”.

Ukraine has rich soil as well as shale oil reserves. The U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill is particularly active in Ukraine, investing in grain elevators, animal feed, a major egg producer and agribusiness firm, UkrLandFarming, as well as the Black Sea port at Novorossiysk. 

The very active U.S.-Ukraine Business Council includes executives of Monsanto, John Deere, agriculture equipment-maker CNH Industrial, DuPont Pioneer, Eli Lilly & Company. Monsanto plans to build a $140 million “non-GMO corn seed plant in Ukraine”, evidently targeting the GMO-shy European market. It was in her speech at a Chevron-sponsored meeting of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council a year ago that Victoria Nuland mentioned the five billion dollars spent by the U.S. in the last twenty years to win over Ukraine.

On December 2, President Poroshenko swore in three foreigners as cabinet ministers: an American, a Lithuanian and a Georgian. He granted them Ukrainian citizenship a few minutes before the ceremony.

U.S. born Natalie Jaresko is Ukraine’s new Finance Minister. With a Ukrainian family background and degrees from Harvard and DePaul universities, Jaresko went from the State Department to Kiev when Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union, in order to head the economic department of the newly opened U.S. embassy. Three years later she left the U.S. Embassy to head the U.S. government-financed Western NIS Enterprise Fund. In 2004 she established her own equity fund. As a supporter of the 2004 Orange Revolution, she served on “Orange” victor President Viktor Yushchenko’s Foreign Investors Advisory Council.

Lithuanian investment banker Aivaras Abromavicius is the new Economy Minister, putting government economic policy clearly under U.S. influence, or rather control.

The new Health Minister, Aleksandr Kvitashvili from Georgia, is U.S.-educated and does not speak Ukrainian. He had served as health minister in his native Georgia, when U.S. puppet Mikheil Saakashvili was President.

The U.S. grip on Ukraine’s economy is now complete. The stage is set to begin fracking, perhaps transforming Hunter Biden into Ukraine’s newest oligarch.

Nobody is mentioning this, but the controversial trade agreement between the E.U. and Ukraine, whose postponement set off the Maidan protests leading to the U.S.-steered February 22 coup d’état, removes trade barriers, allowing free entry into E.U. countries of agricultural exports produced in Ukraine by U.S. corporations. 

The Ukrainian government is deeply in debt, but that will not prevent American corporations from making huge profits in that low-wage, regulation-free and fertile country. European grain producers, such as France, may find themselves severely damaged by the cheap competition.

The Russophobic Kiev government’s assault on Southeastern Ukraine is killing the country’s industrial sector, whose markets were in Russia. But to Kiev’s rulers from Western Ukraine, that does not matter.   The death of old industry can help keep wages low and profits high.

Just as Americans decisively took control of the Ukrainian economy, Putin announced cancellation of the South Stream gas pipeline project. The deal was signed in 2007 between Gazprom and the Italian petrochemical company ENI, in order to ensure Russian gas deliveries to the Balkans, Austria and Italy by bypassing Ukraine, whose unreliability as a transit country had been demonstrated by repeated failure to pay bills or syphoning of gas intended for Europe for its own use. The German Wintershall and the French EDF also invested in South Stream.

In recent months, U.S. representatives began to put pressure on the European countries involved to back out of the deal. South Stream was a potential life-saver for Serbia, still impoverished by the results of NATO bombing and fire-sale giveaways of its privatized industries to foreign buyers. Aside from much-needed jobs and energy security, Serbia was in line to earn 500 million euros in annual transit fees. Belgrade resisted warnings that Serbia must go along with E.U. foreign policy against Russia in order to retain its status as candidate to join the E.U.

The weak link was Bulgaria, earmarked for similar benefits as the landing point of the pipeline. U.S. Ambassador to Sofia Marcie Ries started warning Bulgarian businessmen that they could suffer from doing business with Russian companies under sanctions. The retiring president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso from Portugal, who used to be a “Maoist” back when “Maoism” was the cover for opposition to Soviet-backed liberation movements in Portugal’s African colonies, threatened Bulgaria with E.U. proceedings for irregularities in South Stream contracts. This refers to E.U. rules against allowing the same company to produce and transfer gas. In short, the E.U. was attempting to apply its own rules retroactively to a contract signed with a non-EU country before the rules were adopted.

Finally, John McCain flew into Sofia to browbeat the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski, to pull out of the deal, leaving South Stream out in the Black Sea without a point of entry onto the Balkan mainland.

This is all very funny considering that a favorite current U.S. war propaganda theme against Russia is that Gazprom is a nefarious political weapon used by Putin to “coerce” and “bully” Europe. The only evidence is that Russia has repeatedly called on Ukraine to pay its long-overdo gas bills. In vain.

Cancellation of South Stream amounts to a belated blow to Serbia from NATO. Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic bewailed the loss of South Stream, noting that: “We are paying the price of a conflict between big powers”.

Italian partners to the deal are also very unhappy at the big losses. But E.U. officials and media are, as usual, blaming it all on Putin.

Perhaps, when you are repeatedly insulted and made to feel unwelcome, you go away. Putin took his gas pipeline project to Turkey and immediately sold it to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan. This looks like a good deal for Russia, and for Turkey, but the whole affair remains ominous.

Russian oil as a means of coercion? If Putin could use Gazprom to get Erdogan to change his policy on Syria, and drop his determination to overthrow Bachar al Assad, in order to defeat the Islamic State fanatics, that would be an excellent outcome. But so far, there is no sign of such a development.

The switch from the Balkans to Turkey deepens the gulf between Russia and Western Europe, which in the long run is harmful to both. But it also sharpens the economic inequality between Northern and Southern Europe. Germany still gets gas deliveries from Russia, notably from Gerhard Schroeder’s co-project with Putin, Nord Stream. But Southern European countries, already in deep crisis caused largely by the euro, are left out in the cold.   This turn of events might contribute to the political revolt that is growing in those countries.

As voices were being raised in Italy complaining that anti-Russian sanctions were hurting Europe but leaving the United States unscathed, Europeans could take comfort in kind words from the Nobel Peace Prize winner in the White House, who praised the European Union for doing the right thing, even though it is “tough on the European economy”.

In a speech to leading CEOs on December 3, Obama said the sanctions were intended to change Putin’s “mindset”, but didn’t think this would succeed. He is waiting for “the politics inside Russia” to “catch up with what’s happening in the economy, which is why we are going to continue to maintain that pressure.” 

This was another way of saying that stealing Russia’s natural gas market, forcing Europe to enact sanctions, and getting Washington’s bigoted stooges in Saudi Arabia to bring down petroleum prices by flooding the market, are all intended to make the Russian people blame Putin enough to get rid of him. Regime change, in short.

On December 4, the U.S. House of Representatives officially exposed the U.S. motive behind this mess by adopting what must surely be the worst piece of legislation ever adopted: Resolution 758.   The Resolution is a compendium of all the lies floated against Vladimir Putin and Russia over the past year. Never perhaps have so many lies been crammed into a single official document of that length. And yet, this war propaganda was endorsed by a vote of 411 to 10. 

If, despite this call for war between two nuclear powers, there are still historians in the future, they must judge this resolution as proof of the total failure of the intelligence, honesty and sense of responsibility of the political system that Washington is trying to force on the entire world

Ron Paul has written an excellent analysis of this shameful document.

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2014/December/04/reckless-congress-declares-war-on-russia/ and http://original.antiwar.com/paul/2014/12/05/reckless-congress-declares-war-on-russia/#.VILpR1Ost4I.gmail

Whatever one may think of Paul’s domestic policies, on international affairs he stands out as a lone – very lone – voice of reason. (Yes, there was Dennis Kucinich too, but they got rid of him by gerrymandering his district off the map.)

After a long list of “Whereas” lies, insults and threats, we get the crass commercial side of this dangerous campaign. The House calls on European countries to “reduce the ability of the Russian Federation to use its supply of energy as a means of applying political and economic pressure on other countries, including by promoting increased natural gas and other energy exports from the United States and other countries” and “urges the President to expedite the United States Department of Energy’s approval of liquefied natural gas exports to Ukraine and other European countries”.

The Congress is ready to risk and even promote nuclear war, but when it comes to the “bottom line”, it is a matter of stealing Russia’s natural gas market by what so far is a bluff: shale gas obtained by U.S. fracking.

Worse Than Cold War

The neocons who manipulate America’s clueless politicians have not got us into a new Cold War. It is much worse. The long rivalry with the Soviet Union was “Cold” because of MAD, Mutual Assured Destruction. Both Washington and Moscow were perfectly aware that “Hot” war meant nuclear exchanges that would destroy everybody.

This time around, the United States thinks it already “won” the Cold War and seems to be drunk with self-confidence that it can win again. It is upgrading its nuclear weapons force and building a “nuclear shield” on Russia’s border whose only purpose can be to give the United States a first strike capacity – the ability to knock out any Russian retaliation against a U.S. nuclear attack. This cannot work, but it weakens deterrence.

The danger of outright war between the two nuclear powers is actually much greater than during the Cold War. We are now in a sort of Frozen War, because nothing the Russians say or do can have any effect. 

The neocons who manufacture U.S. policy behind the scenes have invented a totally fictional story about Russian “aggression” which the President of the United States, the mass media and now the Congress have accepted and endorsed. Russian leaders have responded with honesty, truth and common sense, remaining calm despite the invective thrown at them. It has done no good whatsoever. The positions are frozen. When reason fails, force follows. Sooner or later.



Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book, Queen of Chaos: the Foreign Policy of Hillary Clinton, will be published by CounterPunch in 2015. She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr


Thursday, December 04, 2014

My sentiments exactly! . . .
New York Times propagandists exposed: Finally, the truth about Ukraine and Putin emerges
NATO was the aggressor and got Ukraine wrong. 
Many months later, the media has eventually figured out the truth
Well, well, well. Gloating is unseemly, especially in public, but give me this one, will you?
It has been a long and lonely winter defending the true version of events in Ukraine, but here comes the sun. We now have open acknowledgment in high places that Washington is indeed responsible for this mess, the prime mover, the “aggressor,” and finally this term is applied where it belongs. NATO, once again, is revealed as causing vastly more trouble than it has ever prevented.
Washington, it is now openly stated, has been wrong, wrong, wrong all along. The commentaries to be noted do not take on the media, but I will, and in language I use advisedly. With a few exceptions they are proven liars, liars, liars — not only conveying the official version of events but willfully elaborating on it off their own bats. . .
READ MORE:  http://www.salon.com/2014/12/04/new_york_times_propagandists_exposed_finally_the_truth_about_ukraine_and_putin_emerges/
This is not news to me. I have been posting such truths on this blog since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine. The official narrative in the Western mainstream media has always been contradicted by the alternative media. Once again, who has been proved right?
(Bruce)


“… The Ukrainians will suffer badly as their country is trashed and looted... Maybe there will be counter revolution when it gets really bad. There is no pretense at fostering 'capitalism' and 'efficient markets' anymore. It is all about theft, the gold has gone, the goons are in place, public assets will be sold off, benefits/pensions slashed.....etc.”                                                                  Comment from Nexus789 at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40379.htm


Made in the USA
How the Ukrainian Government is Giving Away Citizenships so Foreigners Can Run the Country


By Michael Krieger
"...At the top of the list is American, Natalie Jaresko, who runs private equity fund Horizon Capital. She will now be Ukraine’s Finance Minister..."



Ukraine: US investment banker is the new finance minister The American investment banker Natalia Jaresko got fast-tracked the Ukrainian citizenship, so that the woman can become finance minister of ‘Jaz’ Yatsenyuk. She is also CEO of a US state financial investor. Prior to her work in the financial sector she was an employee at the US Department of State.


“The reaction to the cancellation of the South Stream project has been a wonder to behold and needs to be explained very carefully. . ."


The Importance Of The Cancellation Of South Stream 

By Alexander Mercouris

December 03, 2014 "ICH" - "The Saker" -

"...Russia has dealt a devastating blow to the energy future of the EU. A few years down the line Europeans will start to discover that moralising and bluff comes with a price..."


It is definitely worth reading all this excellent article, (and the comments at the original source), which explains the situation very well, but here are some more helpful extracts:



. . .By redirecting gas away from Europe, Russia by contrast leaves behind a market for its gas which is economically stagnant and which (as the events of this year have shown) is irremediably hostile. 

No one should be surprised that Russia has given up on a relationship from which it gets from its erstwhile partner an endless stream of threats and abuse, combined with moralising lectures, political meddling and now sanctions. 

No relationship, business or otherwise, can work that way and the one between Russia and Europe is no exception. . .

The point is it was Russia which pulled the plug on South Stream when it had the option of going ahead with it by accepting the Europeans’ conditions. . . 

The Russians decided they could afford to cancel it because they have decided Russia’s future is in selling its energy to China and Turkey and other states in Asia (more gas deals are pending with Korea and Japan and possibly also with Pakistan and India) than to Europe. 

Given that this is so, for Russia South Stream has lost its point. That is why in their characteristically direct way, rather than accept the Europeans’ conditions, the Russians pulled the plug on it. 

In doing so the Russians have called the Europeans’ bluff. So far from Russia being dependent on Europe as its energy customer, it is Europe which has antagonised, probably irreparably, its key economic partner and energy supplier. . .

All the EU countries, even those with historic ties to Russia, have supported the EU's various sanctions packages against Russia notwithstanding the doubts they have expressed about the policy. 

Last year Greece, another country with strong ties to Russia, pulled out of a deal to sell its natural gas company to Gazprom because the EU disapproved of it, even though it was Gazprom that offered the best price. . .

Whenever the Russians act in the way they have just done, the Europeans respond with bafflement and anger, of which there is plenty around at the moment. The EU politicians who make the decisions that provoke these Russian actions seem to have this strange assumption that whilst it is fine for the EU to sanction Russia as much as it wishes, Russia will never do the same to the EU. When Russia does, there is astonishment, accompanied always by a flood of mendacious commentary about how Russia is behaving “aggressively” or “contrary to its interests” or has “suffered a defeat”. None of this is true. . .


In July the EU sought to cripple Russia’s oil industry by sanctioning the export of oil drilling technology to Russia. That attempt will certainly fail as Russia and the countries it trades with (including China and South Korea) are certainly capable of producing this technology themselves. 

By contrast through the deals it has made this year with China, Turkey and Iran, Russia has dealt a devastating blow to the energy future of the EU. A few years down the line Europeans will start to discover that moralising and bluff comes with a price. 


Regardless, by cancelling South Stream, Russia has imposed upon Europe the most effective of the sanctions we have seen this year.