Tuesday, November 11, 2014

#OSCE denies allegations of a pro-Russian bias used in #Ukraine’s east

#OSCE denies allegations of a pro-Russian bias used in #Ukraine’s east

A Ukrainian serviceman (R) and OSCE observers wait on a road near Donetsk on September 20, 2014 before an exchange of captives, which are being freed under the terms of a ceasefire deal between Kyiv and the separatist forces. OSCE, which is a signatory to the deal, has faced allegations of pro-Russian bias for their work in Ukraine increasingly frequently.A Ukrainian serviceman (R) and OSCE observers wait on a road near Donetsk on September 20, 2014 before an exchange of captives, which are being freed under the terms of a ceasefire deal between Kyiv and the separatist forces. OSCE, which is a signatory to the deal, has faced allegations of pro-Russian bias for their work in Ukraine increasingly frequently. © ANATOLII STEPANOV / AFP
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A spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) refuted allegations of bias within its observation mission in eastern Ukraine voiced by an adviser to the defense minister earlier.

He said there is only one Russian1 working in the monitoring mission in Mariupol, and that was “definitely less than 80 percent,” which is what a defense ministry official implied.
Vasyl Budik, an adviser to the Defense Ministry, told Ukrainska Pravda website earlier on Tuesday that he has been told by mission representatives in Mariupol that 80 percent of the mission is composed of Russian nationals.

“What are Russia’s representatives doing in our positions? It’s not a secret that there is a war going on, and Russia is taking an active part in it. I am against Russians being a part of the mission. Do replace them with anyone else because they’re not doing the job they’re supposed to,” said Budik, according to the website.

He also said that most of those Russians come from secret services, and use derogatory forms of address when they describe Ukrainian soldiers. But Bociurkiw insisted that the main principles of work of the OSCE is neutrality and objectivity.

OSCE has been running an observation mission in eastern Ukraine and producing daily reports about its work in the region. It has also been a party in negotiations between Ukraine, Russia and separatists that have taken place in Minsk, and signatories of the cease-fire deal on Sept. 5.
This is not the first time the mission comes under fire for its work in Ukraine, however
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Dmytro Tymchuk, leader of Information Resistance, a civic initiative with a mission to inform the public about the war, had previously said in his public blog that he refused to meet with OSCE representatives because of their alleged bias towards Russia after it released a report about the shelling of school #63 in Donetsk last week, which killed two teenagers.

In the report, the mission said the shelling came from northwest of Donetsk, which many Russian and foreign media interpreted as coming from the Ukrainian positions. But OSCE denied it assigned blame, saying it only identified the direction from which the attack came.

Tymchuk said that his group has also recorded at least four cases when OSCE vehicles were used by Russia-backed separatists, and said OSCE recognized one such facts and issued an apology, stopping short of explaining how it could happen in the first place.

Tymchuk also alleged that his group has recorded cases when separatists knew beforehand of OSCE’s movements, and were able to remove heavy weaponry in time for the observation mission’s arrival.

Russia Bashing & Demonizing Vladimir Putin are Washington's Latest Fad

Russia Bashing & Demonizing Vladimir Putin, are Washington's Latest Fad

 by Peter Lavelle
 
Russia bashing and the demonization of Vladimir Putin are the West’s new political media fads of our time. The tone of the commentary is getting increasingly strident and any boundaries of what’s permissible disappear.
 
Washington's EU Puppets
 
 
 
 
Hating and getting things wrong related to Russia and Russians is a one-way bet; there is no downside when a journalist or politician is proven wrong when it comes to Russia. When caught they have a ready made and simple reply – “See! This is evidence of Kremlin propaganda at work!” 

Russia is certainly a vexing place for the West to understand. Russians, for the most part, see their country as a normal place in the world they love and demand others to respect.
 

Here are five reasons the West cannot understand and surely not accept about today’s Russia. 


1. Russians reject the West’s postmodernist agenda

Few in the West will ever admit it, but ever since the end of the Second World War a new faith was been invented and it is called Human Rights Religion. We are told promoting the United Nations Charter, democracy, human rights, women’s rights, gay rights, and all those other rights (should) now drive foreign policy statecraft. Realpolitik, we are told, is old fashioned and a primitive way to understand and pursue international relations. 

Russia’s political elites view the West’s Human Rights Religion contemptuously and for good reason. The West demands all follow this new faith to the letter, but at the same time the faith doesn’t not necessarily apply to the West itself all of the time. Why? Because the West believes it stands taller and can see farther. For Russia and a growing number of countries around the world, the West’s Human Rights Religion is seen for what it is: a scheme to disarm, de-legitimize, and eliminate any country in the world that challenges the West’s new faith. 

Russia sees the world differently; it has a modern perspective. Crimea is a good example of this. The West supported the violent coup that overturned a democratically elected government in Kiev. As a result of the coup, Ukraine’s constitutional order was destroyed – meaning all bets were off. The Crimea – inspired by 20th century self-determination — went to the polls and decided its fate. The West is not interested in an idea that drives Russia and Russians and it is called “identity.” The concept of “identity” has nothing to do with Human Rights Religion. 

2. Russia does not accept the West’s historical narrative

Russians know their history better than their Western peers, particularly Americans. Russians feel personally insulted by the lack of knowledge many in the West have about Russia’s (then the Soviet Union’s) role in the Second World War. The Western powers could not have defeated Nazi Germany and its allies without the Soviet war effort. But the Soviet Union most probably could have defeated the Hitler regime without Western intervention. This is a historical hypothetical that undermines the West’s narrative about the Second World War, the Cold War, and the ending of the Cold War.  

The Cold War blurred historical interpretations on both sides of the Berlin War. That is the nature of politics. However, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Warsaw Pact there comes into play a serious historical quarrel: who won and lost the Cold War (read: who is the loser?). Russians believe they liberated themselves from the Soviet regime. The West can dwell on Ronald Reagan’s “tear down this wall” speech and Star Wars all it wants claiming victory over Moscow, but the fact remains the Soviet Union collapsed itself. It was not invaded or destroyed by the West. In fact, the new Russia reached out the hand of friendship many times since 1991. The West refused to accept Russia’s handshake as an equal partner. The West simply does not understand that today’s Russia does not see itself as a defeated power.   

3. “Values gap”

The West claims moral superiority over much of the world, particularly, Russia due to what is called the “values gap.” The West presents itself as morally superior to all in the world in all ways. But reality and record are very much at odds with this view.  The world “values” has been hi-jacked by those who have nothing to do with the meaning of the word. It is only in the air-conditioned Washington offices (and some of their European counterparts) where there is a debate about “legal torture.” It is the West  - with great regularity – that violates the UN Charter and invades countries beyond the realm of international law. Those who hijack in Washington and Brussels the word “democracy” actually despise the concept. Democracy is only good when Washington and its Consensus say it is “good.” Russia has a “values gap” with this approach. 

4. Disenchantment with the West  

Russia is a conservative country and is becoming one more and more so with every passing day. Religious belief is on a comeback in Russia and in a very big way. All faiths happily see the population return to a code of values. Does the Kremlin promote this trend? Of course it does and with good reason. The vast majority of Russians have become disenchanted with the West and its messages. Breaded women, gay marriage, and non-traditional notions of the family are ideas from afar and not realities most in Russia accept at home. This does not mean there is an absence of tolerance. Non-traditional life styles and alternative believes are accepted, but not promoted by the state. This is a popular and supported position. 

5. Leadership and playing by the “rules” 

Vladimir Putin is a very popular leader among his own people and around the world. This infuriates the West. Western media and its political class have little understanding of what has transpired in Russia since the end of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. But Putin does and conveys an alternative narrative about Russia and world that is strikingly different from the one found in the West. Putin is also quick to point out the flaws and holes in the Western narrative about Russia and how global events are unfolding. The fact is Vladimir Putin is an uncomfortable reality for the West and rules are for everyone, not just those who make the rules.

Head of DNR: "we know names of Ukrainian gunners responsible for shelling school"

Head of DNR: "we know names of Ukrainian gunners responsible for shelling school"

November 09, 12:53 UTC+3
 
“We shall identify everyone. They will be brought to responsibility", - he said
 
© Mikhail Pochuyev/TASS
 
MOSCOW, November 9. /TASS/. Head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Alexander Zakharchenko said the authorities know names of all Ukrainian gunners who conducted shelling of Donetsk on the day, where a shell hit a school killing two children.

“We know names of all commanders of artillery and mortar batteries, even down to the commanders of gun crews. We know their names and last names… Now we shall find out names of soldiers,” he said on Sunday in an interview with LifeNews. “We shall identify everyone. They will be brought to responsibility.”

Earlier on Sunday, Eduard Basurin of the DPR’s defence ministry said they will insist on the international court proceedings against Ukrainian gunners, who had shelled Donetsk.
“An international tribunal should bring them to responsibility as war criminals,” he said adding the DPR was ready to cooperate with international institutions like the UN to bring to responsibility the Ukrainian military involved in shelling of the city
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On Wednesday, November 5, two children were killed in a shelling of Donetsk. On Thursday, Russia’s Investigative Committee said it was launching criminal proceedings over school shelling in Donetsk, interpreting it as an international crime. Investigators said servicemen of Ukraine’s armed forces and national guard, on an order from their commanders and Defense Ministry, army and national guard officials, carried out an aimed artillery shelling of high school No. 63 on Stepanenko Street in Donetsk.

 Later, Russia’s ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Andrei Kelin told TASS the Organisation confirmed the shelling of the school in Donetsk was delivered from positions of the Ukrainian military, while the Ukrainian side tried to fabricate proofs of its non-involvement.

“The report contains facts. The facts prove that the shelling was made from artillery from the direction and distance, which no doubt is at location of the Ukrainian military near the airport and the settlement of Peski,” he said.

“On Thursday, at the meeting of OSCE permanent council, Ukrainian diplomats presented pictures with television footage, where, they claimed, the drawn dots traced the shelling had been made from quite the opposite direction, from the eastern one, where the militia are,” he said. “That was a very prompt fabrication made within hours of the tragedy - a useless attempt to make others responsible.”
According to the UN, more than 4,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s southeast as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April, to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics
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The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire at OSCE-mediated talks on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.

The ceasefire took effect the same day but has reportedly occasionally been violated.
On September 19 in Minsk, the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE adopted a memorandum outlining the parameters for the implementation of commitments on the ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.

The document contains nine points, including in particular a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibres of over 100 millimetres to a distance of 15 kilometres from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.

The Most Honest Three Minutes In Televion History


The Most Honest Three Minutes In Television History



 

This probably has to be the best speech I've ever heard in the course of my ENTIRE life. But I gotta say, that fucking hurt. It didn't hurt because it's true it hurt because no one actually says this in real life. It hurt because a lot of people do not realize this and continue to act as it were true, and to boast that we are the "Greatest Country in the World". When the fact is, we aren't anymore.

  It took us a damn long time to become a real country that helped out their fellow man, even then we STILL had a long way to go. America had to go through a whole lot of things before it even scratched the surface of being the "Greatest Country in The World".

Even then, it only lasted a few years. Now look where we are, so deep in debt that we'll probably never get out. Our kids are (no offense) stupid, the adults care less, and our entire nation is in shambles all because of past errors that were not able to be corrected

We've spent more than a decade bickering with each other over pointless bullshit when there are more pressing things at hand. The people of today are more concerned about their own goals and well being than the well-being of the entire freaking country. 

 Now of course I know, that some of you will say "this isn't true" but you gotta admit. It really is. We've all done nothing but make dumbass decision after dumbass decision and guess what? Every year another generation is born to deal with then previous generations problems and no one is able to solve it. Each and every goddamn year in this country of ours no one has had the balls to just get up and said, "ENOUGH, I'VE HAD IT. NO MORE."

Now it's far too late and everyone is going to suffer. This country has been screwed ever since someone even bothered to utter the words "The Greatest Country in the World". The fact that it took this long to realize one of the most obvious things ever is what hurts me the most. America, we're not the Greatest Country in the World. We're the poorest, possibly dumbest, most corrupt country in the entire world and that needs to change..NOW.


Western News-Suppression about the Downing of MH-17 Malaysian Jet | Eric Zuesse


Western News-Suppression about the Downing of MH-17 Malaysian Jet

 
Eric Zuesse

The cause of the shooting-down of the Malaysian passenger plane MH-17 on July 17th (while that plane was flying over the conflict-zone during Ukraine’s civil war) is becoming clearer and clearer, despite the rigorous continuing attempts by Western ‘news’ media to cover it up and to hide from the public the evidence that clearly shows what brought down this airliner.

Western News-Suppression about the Downing of MH-17 Malaysian Jet

In the months since I headlined on August 24th the news, “MH-17 ‘Investigation’: Secret August 8th Agreement Seeps Out: Perpetrator of the Downing in Ukraine, of the Malaysian Airliner, Will Stay Hidden,” explaining why the leaders of Western nations want these black-box and other basic data to remain hidden, additional evidence has nonetheless become public, and all of it confirms and adds yet further details to the explanation that was first put forth by the retired German Lufthansa pilot Peter Haisenko, whose independent investigation had concluded that Ukrainian Government fighter-jets intentionally shot down this civilian plane.

Precisely how they did it is gradually becoming clearer, despite this continuation of Western secrecy regarding the contents of the black boxes, and of the U.S. satellite images, and of the Ukrainian air-traffic-control radar recordings, and of other evidence-sources that are held by the West and not made available to their ‘news’ media nor to anyone outside a tight official circle of those Western nations’ intelligence agencies.

Russia has thus been releasing its own investigations regarding MH-17; and, in the process, Russia is not only providing further details as to how the downing actually happened (it wasn’t by mistake, as the West contends it was), but they are also exposing the absurd impossibility of the Ukrainian Government’s ‘explanation’ of this event, which is the ‘explanation’ that is still being parroted unquestioningly and unflinchingly by officials in Washington, Europe, and NATO, and also by Western ‘news’ media.

(As my news-report explained, that secret August 8th agreement was signed by the four governments that were handed the black boxes to study — Ukraine, Belgium, Australia, and Netherlands — and it granted to the Ukrainian Government a veto over anything that the team’s official report would say, which is probably the reason why the subsequent officially released report on those black boxes said essentially nothing.

It was a brazen insult to the 298 victims’ families.)

Though Russia doesn’t possess those black boxes, they do possess, and they publicly reveal, evidence that’s conclusive on its own; and it is 100% consistent with Haisenko’s reconstruction of the event. Russian Television issued a 25-minute documentary recently on the event, and it starts with people whom they interviewed in that region, who were describing their having seen at least one and perhaps two planes rising toward the airliner, and then the airliner coming down from the sky. Other witnesses told them that they saw an SU-25 fighter plane take off in that general area just minutes before the airliner came down.

The BBC had previously posted to their website on 23 July 2014, just six days after the event itself, a news report in Russian via their Russian service, about the downing, but they quickly removed it without explanation. Fortunately, however, some Russian-speakers had managed to download it before it was yanked; and one of those downloads is still up at youtube, having been posted there on July 28th, with English subscripts, and with the headline, “UKRAINE Eyewitness Confirm Military Jet Flew Besides MH17 Airliner: BBC Censors Video 25Jul2014”. (Actually, there were several witnesses interviewed there, not just one “Eyewitness.”)

Furthermore, Global Research posted on September 10th a transcript of it, headlining, “Deleted BBC Report. ‘Ukrainian Fighter Jet Shot Down MHI7’, Donetsk Eyewitnesses.” So, this valuable eyewitness-testimony to the event is available despite Western ‘news’ media (or propaganda-media), and the reason for the news-suppression is clear from anyone who views that BBC report, which presents several eyewitnesses, all of whom were interviewed separately as individuals, not as a group, and yet all of whose testimonies report having observed the very same basic narrative, of at least one military jet rising toward the airliner just before it came down.

In other words: BBC had yanked this piece because it didn’t confirm the West’s story-line, which says that Ukrainian pro-Russian separatists fired a “Buk” ground-based missile at the airliner, thinking that the civilian plane was a Ukrainian Government war-plane about to bomb them and their families.

But, first of all, the Ukrainian Government was virtually admitting there that they were bombing these villagers, which means that they were perpetrating an ethnic cleansing there, which indeed that Government was doing; but, secondly, the Ukrainian Government’s statement also acknowledged that if the event had happened in that way, it would have been unintentional, a tragic accident on the part of the rebels there. So, then, why did “the international community” respond with massive economic sanctions against Russia on account of this downing?

The whole Western propaganda position was designed for a public of sheer fools, if not of outright psychopathic ones, who cared not a bit about the plights of the victims of an ethnic-cleansing campaign. The West’s basic storyline doesn’t make sense without recognizing that we are financing ethnic cleansing to clear the land in southeastern Ukraine, and that any support that Russia would be providing to those separatists would be defensive in nature, not offensive. Yet Russia gets the blame when this passenger jet goes down? In any case, that storyline is false, from start to finish.

Here is how outright ludicrous it actually is, and sound reason in itself that anyone in the military had to have known, from the very get-go, that the “Buk” ‘explanation’ was a line of pure malarkey:
The Russian documentary was titled, “MH-17: The Untold Story,” and it presents videos of several “Buk” missiles being fired. Here’s one:


That passage shows the missile, a 9K37 Buk SA-11 Gadfly, which is a bit longer than ten yards (30 feet)  – this large (and certainly not inconspicuous) missile — being launched from its standard launch-base.

The documentary then notes:


And then this:


And then this:


And then this:


So, when even the BBC’s reporter wasn’t able to find anyone in that entire region who recounts having seen anything of the sort, just how likely would the Ukrainian Government’s line on that matter actually be? Obviously, any person with any military knowledge whatsoever had to have recognized virtually immediately that the Ukrainian Government’s story-line on the MH-17 downing was a pile of sheer malarkey, but did anyone in the Western ‘news’ media report that it was — that the Western line there was not just a lie, but an absurd one, one that requires an ignorant public in order for it to be able to be taken seriously at all by the public? One that requires an ignorant public, to remain  ignorant? This is supposed to be the Western ‘news’ media, with a free press, and a democracy, a truthfully informed citizenry, who can vote based upon truths, not on mere lies?
Here is the way that the Russian TV documentary opens:


Several of the locals there told Russian TV’s reporter that they had seen a military jet rise toward the airliner; and not a one of these individuals were any of the same ones who had testified the exact same thing to the BBC’s reporter, whose news-piece had been squelched by her managers.
Now, to the substance of the explanation of how this plane was actually brought down:

Earlier, I summarized the evidence for Peter Haisenko’s reconstruction of the event, but I questioned his having accepted the eyewitness testimony to the effect that the planes that shot down the airliner were SU-25s. In Haisenko’s Russian TV interview, he sticks by his belief that it was probably SU-25s instead of SU-27s or Mig 29s, both of which are also in the Ukrainian Air Force, and all three of which use 30-millimeter machine-guns or “cannons.” But since the fact is that all three of those attack-plane models use machine-guns (“cannons”) with 30-caliber bullets (which is the size that clearly was used, especially on the cockpit), the effect would be identically-sized round 30-caliber entry-holes, no matter what. My last major report on that evidence was “Systematically Reconstructing the Shoot-Down of the Malaysian Airliner: The Guilt Is Clear and Damning.”  That basically fills in (and the links in that report document with pictures and videos) the actual way that this plane was downed and why it was downed. Obama (via the regime that he had installed in a February 2014 coup in Kiev) succeeded there in getting the international sanctions against Russia that he had been wanting. Obama, not Putin, was behind this.

International actions are based upon such fabrications, and ‘evidence’ taken out of its full context, as this from the far-right Forbes  commentator Paul Roderick Gregory, but there are no such fakes, nor out-of-context items of evidence, in the case that has been presented here. That’s the difference between news-reporting and propaganda; but, in the United States today, propaganda passes as if it were ‘news,’ and authentic news that doesn’t fit the regime’s cooked-up narrative is suppressed entirely.

Western governments, and their ‘news’ media, are treating their citizens, their own publics, not really as citizens, but as suckers. They are treating them as subjects, instead of as citizens. This is not authentic democracy. It is neo-feudal; it is, in fact, a sophisticated form of fascism.

The entire “Buk” ‘explanation’ of the downing of the Malaysian airliner is for suckers only; and everyone in official circles, and in the press, who peddles it, is just as fake as the ridiculous story-line that he or she is peddling. To fall for it, after being provided all of the authentic evidence, which has been linked to here, is to be a willing slave to psychopaths.

So, now we know why Western governments have hidden, instead of making available to the public, the black-box data and the other evidence that they still refuse to provide to the public. They are aiming to scam the public, not to inform it. Lying is their game. And they call it ‘patriotism.’ But, of course, they would! Traitors would do that. Traitors to any  country would do it. And, so, they do.
Unfortunately, the people they fool become their tools, and everyone else are purely their victims — helpless to oust the tyrants who make things bad for everyone but themselves and their colleagues.

VIDEO: The Ukrainian Armed Forces are ready to apply howitzer "Peony"

VIDEO: The Ukrainian Armed Forces are ready to apply howitzer "Peony"

 
Kiev junta ordered to reopen world's most powerful Soviet howitzer "Peony" in order to send them to the Donbass, Ukrainian media report.
 
Howitzer "Peony" can fire tactical nuclear weapons. One shell with a conventional explosive is able to bulldoze a multi-storey building. From the time when Ukraine renounced nuclear weapons, they have been preserved and are not even used in exercises. Now Ukrainian authorities intend to apply them against the civilian population of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republic.

 

Human Rights Watch reported on the use of incendiary weapons in the Donbas

Kharkiv - Novorossia

Human Rights Watch reported on the use of incendiary weapons in the Donbas

__________________________________

International human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported the use of incendiary munitions in Ukraine; which side of the conflict could take this kind of weapons, human rights activists did not specify. This is stated in the statement of the organization.

Evidence on the use of incendiary munitions in Ukraine and Syria defenders intend to unveil at the Geneva talks (which go from 10 to 14 November) under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (Convention CCW). Speech defenders is scheduled for 14 am local time on 12 November.

HRW has previously published a report which said that Ukraine security forces used cluster munitions in populated areas of Donetsk in early October 2014. The use of cluster munitions in populated areas violates the laws of war and may be a war crime because this weapon strikes indiscriminately, noted human rights activist. On Tuesday, Foreign ukrovermahta said the findings are not supported by HRW concrete evidence.


 

The New York Times doesn’t want you to understand this Vladimir Putin speech...

The New York Times doesn’t want you to understand this Vladimir Putin speech...

The Russian leader delivers an important foreign policy address we should consider. The Times botches it badly



The New York Times doesn't want you to understand this Vladimir Putin speechVladimir Putin (Credit: Reuters/Yves Herman)
 
Give me a sec to count. In my lifetime the Soviet Union and latterly the Russian Federation have had nine leaders. Stalin’s death elevated Malenkov and then Khrushchev, and the banishing of Khrushchev led to Brezhnev. Then came a pair of forgettables, then Gorbachev and on to the ever-inebriated Yeltsin (whom one wants dearly to forget). For 15 years, counting the Dmitry Medvedev interval, Vladimir Putin has held the wheel of the Russian bus.

Of all these figures only Stalin, and only in his post-“Uncle Joe” years, has been vilified to the extent of the current Russian leader.

The question is obvious and I hope not too complicated: Why?
There are always plenty of answers floating around. I take almost all of them to lie somewhere between misguided and malevolent by intent, but I will get to this in a minute. In as few words as I can manage, here is my thought: Putin has fallen drastically afoul of Washington — and his war is with Washington more than the Europeans — because those in deep slumber do not like to be awakened.

It is an irresistible time to consider this problem for two reasons. One, in history two sure signs of imperial decline are deafness and blindness in the imperial capital, and as of the past year or so Washington exhibits seriously deteriorating symptoms. The willful refusal of our foreign policy cliques to look squarely at our world and listen to those in it is getting dangerous.

Two, Putin has just delivered a speech every American deserves to hear and consider. Few will have done so for the simple reason that our media declined to tell you about the Russian leader’s presentation to an annual gathering of leaders and thinkers called the Valdai International Discussion Club, a Davos variant. Here is the Kremlin transcript, and now readers have two things to decide: What they think of the speech and what they think of the American media for not reporting it.

The theme at Valdai this year was “The World Order: NewRules, or a Game Without Rules.” With the Ukraine crisis bumbling along toward a conclusion (or not) and the horrifically pointless mess America has made of the Middle East and now worsens daily, the either/or title is just about right: We cannot continue on in the post-Cold War era as we have until now.


A Russian commentator named Dmitry Orlov, whom I do not know of, said of Putin’s contribution, “This is probably the most important political speech since Churchill’s ‘Iron Curtain’ speech of March 5, 1946.” I have no archive of political speeches and cannot cast a vote, but Putin’s remarks certainly have an amplitude that makes ignoring them unforgivable. Paying-attention readers can compare them with the speech Putin gave as Crimea was annexed last March. Churchillian or no, this is once again big stuff.

“Let me say I will speak directly and frankly,” Putin begins. “Some of what I say might seem a bit too harsh, but if we do not speak directly and honestly about what we really think, then there is little point in even meeting in this way. We need to be direct and blunt today not so as to trade barbs, but so as to attempt to get to the bottom of what is actually happening in the world, try to understand why the world is becoming less safe and more unpredictable, and why the risks are increasing everywhere around us.”

Right away, clear language, shorn of obfuscation. No wonder no one from Washington of any rank attended this talkfest. Plain speaking is no longer in the American repertoire. And guess what else Putin marshaled: historical reference. Out, out, out of the question for the American policy cliques.
I was tempted to read this speech as a postmortem of the Ukraine crisis, a looking back.

There is something to this, but not overmuch. Putin has his point to make about Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea: “We did not start this.” But in reply to a question from Dominique de Villepin, a former French premier, Putin noted, “I believe Dominique referred to the Ukrainian crisis as the reason for the deterioration in international relations. Naturally, this crisis is a cause, but this is not the principal cause. The crisis in Ukraine is itself a result of an imbalance in international relations.”

Not Kosovo, not Iraq, not Libya, not Syria, not Ukraine — all are best understood less as causes than as symptoms. These are America’s “follies,” as Putin called them, Washington’s “theory of controlled chaos” at work.

In essence — the speech is long, carefully phrased and difficult to summarize — Putin argues that the New World Order the Bush I administration declared as the Soviet Union collapsed was a fundamental misreading of the moment. It is now a 20-odd-year failure hacks such as Tom Friedman compulsively term the successful spread of neoliberalism in the face of abundant evidence otherwise.
“A unilateral diktat and imposing one’s own models produces the opposite result,” Putin asserted. “Instead of settling conflicts it leads to their escalation, instead of sovereign and stable states we see the growing spread of chaos, and instead of democracy there is support for a very dubious public ranging from open neo-fascists to Islamic radicals.”

Such is Putin’s take on how we got here. His view of where we have to go now is yet more compelling. Our systems of global security are more or less destroyed — “weakened, fragmented, and deformed,” in Putin’s words. In the face of this reality, multipolar cooperation in the service of substantial reconstruction agreements, in which the interests of all sides are honored, is mandatory.
“Given the global situation, it is time to start agreeing on fundamental things,” Putin said. Then:
What could be the legal, political and economic basis for a new world order that would allow for stability and security, while encouraging healthy competition, not allowing the formation of new monopolies that hinder development? It is unlikely that someone could provide absolutely exhaustive, ready-made solutions right now. We will need extensive work with participation by a wide range of governments, global businesses, civil society, and such expert platforms as ours. However, it is obvious that success and real results are only possible if key participants in international affairs can agree on harmonizing basic interests, on reasonable self-restraint, and set the example of positive and responsible leadership. We must clearly identify where unilateral actions end and we need to apply multilateral mechanisms.
It is essential to read this as an attack on the U.S. because it is one. But there is a follow-on recognition not to be missed: This is the speech not of some kind of nostalgic empire builder — Putin dismisses the charge persuasively — but of a man genuinely afraid that the planet is close to tipping into some version of primitive disorder. Absent less adversarial international relations, we reach a moment of immense peril.

Before I explain my view of the Putin presentation, I urge readers to try a simple exercise. In the mind’s eye, strip all names and identifiers out of the Web page where the speech is printed. Read the words for the words alone. Then make up your minds as to the wisdom or otherwise of the thinking.
O.K. Now I feel a little safer relating my perspective.

Putin’s speech is so many magnitudes more sensible and credible than anything we have heard from Washington in who can say how long that one must either laugh or do the other thing. He has always seemed to me to honor history, and here he speaks with its authority. This is where the world is now, these are the mistakes that made it this way, and this is how we can correct them. And since it is all oars in the water, wake from your slumber, Americans.

This is precisely what Washington cannot bear the thought of. Any idea of global history that suggests a diminution of American power and prerogative is either to be ignored or actively extinguished.

As to the man who delivered these remarks, there ought to have been no need for me to propose the above experiment — reading the speech while forgetting the speaker. But this is where America’s childish, undignified name-calling and demonization, as awful as anything in “Lord of the Flies,” lands us.

What about Putin’s human rights record? What about the oligarchs? What about the “fervent nationalism,” Russian nationalism always being fervent when described by American hacks? What about “autocracy”? And that Christian fundamentalism of Putin’s? What about the Russian press, and the judges, the well-meaning NGOs taking American funding and …?

These are not bad questions. They are simply not the germane questions, and they are best answered by Russians in any case. The question for us is, What are dissenters from the orthodoxy to do as they recognize that Putin stands for the right of non-Western nations to be non-Western, to escape imitation, to create and solve their problems themselves? It is because Putin insists this right must be part of a truly new world order that he is singled out in the long list of Russia’s postwar leaders.
Do not ask why a leader as evil as Beelzebub by our reckoning enjoys an approval rating of nearly 90 percent. I have just told you why.

Even the Financial Times correspondent in Sochi, where the Valdai gathering was held, acknowledged the significance of Putin’s presentation. “The speech,” Neil Buckley wrote, “was one of Mr. Putin’s most important foreign policy statements since he surprised the West in Münich in 2007 by accusing the U.S. of ‘overstepping its boundaries in every way’ and creating new dividing lines in Europe.”

Well done, Neil Buckley. I would say your coverage was standout except that almost no one else covered it, so cheap thrills thus. On our side of the pond, recognition is due Alex Jones, the slightly paranoid conspiracy theorist, who at least put the speech and a commentary across to Americans by reprinting the Dmitry Orlov item cited above.

The New York Times coverage was notable, as in notably bad even by its poor standards of objectivity. So let’s end noting it, briefly.

The news piece was brief, buried and written by Neil MacFarquhar, a correspondent in the Moscow bureau whose habit of slanting coverage has been a topic in this space previously. MacFarquhar missed the point entirely — he had to, as the Times can hardly be expected to render an account that actually got to what Putin said and meant.

The taker of the cake for me, however, was an opinion piece by Serge Schmemann which you can read here. Do so: You will see a classic case of Times’-style innuendo and the use of language as instruction in what to think. And you will understand, if you do not already, why I think American responses to Putin can fairly be called childish.

Putin’s appearance at Sochi was “his chance to sound off on a global stage,” we have to know in the first sentence, insinuating him into the tinpot dictator file. Then a quotation from the speech:
“‘It looks like the so-called ‘winners’ of the Cold War are determined to have it all and reshape the world into a place that could better serve their interests alone.’” This was not simply an observation, we must understand: It was “one notable riff.” Anyone have any idea what a notable riff would be in this case?

Here is Schmemann on the Ukraine passages of the presentation: “In Mr. Putin’s version of the Ukrainian crisis, the United States was the instigator of the protests in Kiev that led to a ‘coup’ against President Viktor Yanukovych and the subsequent fighting. One American participant told Mr. Putin she was hard put to recognize her country as the one he was describing.”

Well, confused American participant, you make an interesting point. Washington has created a version of events in Ukraine that amounts to a parallel reality, and people such as Schmemann are paid to perpetuate it. If it is of any help: There was a coup, there were neo-fascists among its leaders, the State Department backed it, and the evidence of all this is indisputable.

(Transparency: I was briefly a colleague of Schmemann’s during the International Herald Tribune’s final years.)

“What is hard to gauge listening to Mr. Putin,” Schmemann writes, “is whether he really means to put the blame for all things wrong on the United States, or whether he is cynically using the old Soviet gimmick of projecting onto America and the West all the faults of which the U.S.S.R. itself was accused.”

Hmmm. The thought never occurred to me. I suppose it is a strange idea to some of us, but I think even Russians can mean what they say, I think Putin did, and we are better off for his having said it.
Patrick Smith is the author of “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century.” He was the International Herald Tribune’s bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote “Letter from Tokyo” for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter, @thefloutist.
 

Propaganda, Lies and What the New York Times Believes, Is Everything you really need to know about Ukraine


Propaganda, Lies and What the New York Times Believes, Is Everything you really need to know about Ukraine


You need a machete these days to whack through the thicket of misinformation, disinformation, spin, propaganda and straight-out lying that daily envelopes the Ukraine crisis like kudzu on an Alabama telephone pole. But an outline of an outcome is now faintly discernible.

Here is my early call: We witness an American intervention in the process of failing, and the adventure’s only yields will be much pointless suffering among Ukrainians and life for years to come in the smothering embrace of a justifiably suspicious Russian bear.

Nice going, Victoria Nuland, you of the famous “F the E.U. tape,” and your sidekick, Geoffrey Pyatt, ambassador in Kiev. Nice going, Secretary of State Kerry. For this caper, Nuland and Pyatt should be reassigned to post offices in the bleak reaches of Kansas, Khrushchev-style. Kerry is too big to fail, I suppose, but at least we now know more about what caliber of subterfuge lies behind all those plane trips, one mess following another in his jet wash.

On the ground, Vladimir Putin continues to extend the Russian presence in Crimea, and we await signs as to whether he will go further into Ukraine. This is very regrettable. Viewed as cause-and-effect, however, it is first a measure of how miscalculated the American intervention plot was from the first.

Pretending innocent horror now is a waste of time. The Ukraine tragedy is real estate with many names on the deed. This must not get lost in the sauce.

On the diplomatic side, the big charge now is intransigence. Washington calls Moscow intransigent because Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, decline to talk to the self-appointed government in Kiev, which Putin refuses to recognize. Moscow calls Washington intransigent because Kerry declines to meet Lavrov unless the latter agrees first to meet the Kiev provisionals.

The American line: The provisionals are legitimate, they are democrats worthy of support, and there was no coup when they hounded President Viktor Yanukovych from office Feb. 21. The protesters behind them with clubs, pistols and bottle bombs are democrats, too.

The Russian line: The provisionals are illegitimate, they took power in a coup driven in considerable part by nationalist fanatics with a fascist streak evident in their ranks, they are now dependent on same, and they merit neither support nor recognition.

This is it as of now, simplified but not simplistic, story and counter-story.


It is difficult but not impossible to interpret these narratives. The first step, admittedly hard for many Americans, is to drop all Cold War baggage and see beyond the West’s century-and-a-half habit of demonizing Russia as the emblematic power of the inherently autocratic East. “Oriental despotism” was a passing fad conjured by a scholar-stooge named Karl Wittfogel in the late 1950s. It died a deserved death — around the time of hula hoops, I think — but the prejudice lingers, remarkably, in many Western minds.

Here comes the bitter bit. The Russian take in the Ukraine crisis is more truthful than the artful dodge Washington attempts. The above forecast of the outcome rests on the thought that the dodge is simply too flimsy to last.

You cannot make a call such as this without looking closely. So let’s.

Putin and Lavrov are open to negotiations with the U.S. and the European Union. Putin commits to supporting Ukrainian elections set for May and backs the agreement struck between Yanukovych and his opponents just before the latter abandoned it and deposed him, even as Putin did not like it at the time. No, Moscow does not recognize the provisionals in Kiev, with sound reasons, but it does not require that Washington drop its support before getting to the mahogany table.

In the climate our media have generated, I almost feel the need to apologize for this but will refuse: I cannot locate the intransigence in this.

Now to Kerry and President Obama. Last week Lavrov invited Kerry to Sochi for face time with Putin, and Kerry considered it. Then he abruptly declined on the argument that the Russians must first commit to talks with the new crowd in Kiev. Here is the problem: Kerry’s demand does not hold up as a precondition; it is logically a point of negotiation. Set it as a precondition and you have, so far as I can make out, intransigence.

What is the preoccupation with a Moscow-Kiev gathering, anyway? This gets interesting, and you have to recall the dramatis personae in the Nuland tape of Feb. 7.

Insisting on direct talks between Russia and the provisional government in Kiev is to insist the former recognize the latter, a trap Putin cannot possibly be stupid enough to fall into. Recognition, in turn, would complete the Nuland-Pyatt project to gift Ukrainians with a post–Yanukovych puppet government. This is Kerry’s unstated intent.

It is remarkable what a good road map the Nuland tape has proven. She mentioned three names in her exchange with Pyatt: Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Oleh Tyahnybok and Vitali Klitschko.

The first, Nuland’s favorite, is now prime minister; Tyahnybok was running ahead of Yanukovych in polls at the time Nuland was taped and remains the vigorously anti-Russian head of Svoboda, a power-balancing party of rightists; Klitschko is not in the government but plans to run for president in the May elections.

This is precisely the constellation Nuland described as her work in progress: Yatsenyuk in, the others more useful outside for now. As a measure of Washington’s unseemly haste to lend legitimacy, Obama meets Yatsenyuk in Washington as I write — an unelected leader of who knows whom sitting in the White House.

Just for good measure, Nuland also mentioned one Robert Serry, a U.N. official Washington arm-twisted Ban Ki-moon into sending to Kiev to give a veneer of multi-sided consensus. And there was Serry in the news last week — when Crimeans chased him across their border at gunpoint. They must be reading the papers carefully, those Crimeans.

At writing, the Obama scrum is debating whether to impose swift, cutting sanctions on the Russians (the political people) or ease off for fear of self-inflicted damage (the trade and business people). Leading the charge for tough stuff are none other than Nuland and Pyatt.

Maybe they are scared of getting sent to Kansas if the project does not come good.

The more I scrutinize it, the more the American case on Ukraine is held together with spit and baling wire. Were I Obama or Kerry, I would be looking for an out by now, cutting losses on a commitment to intervention that was sheer hubris from the first.

Significantly in this connection, the contorted logic of just who is running things in Kiev is soon to fail, in my view. Washington is all out in denying the character of the protest movement and the provisionals, casting Putin as a paranoid in his characterizations. It is wishful thinking. Incessantly repeated untruths never transform into truths.

The decisive influence of ultra-right extremists, some openly committed to an ideology of violence, some whose political ancestors sided with the Nazis to oppose the Soviets, is a matter of record.

Svoboda and Right Sector, the two most organized of these groups, now propose to rise into national politics. Right Sector’s leader, Dmytro Yarosh, intends to run for president. The New York Times just described him as “an expert with firebombs” during the street protest period.

These people are thugs by any other name. One cannot see how this can be in question — or why the Times suggests that Russia’s descriptions of them as such amount to “a fun house mirror.”

And it is no good pretending their influence does not continue. They remain in the street and maintain the barricades, and they are happy to tell you (as one told a network correspondent last week) that they could take down the new government, too, if they so chose. You can stop wondering why the provisionals show zero interest in conducting promised investigations into the origins of the violence that toppled Yanukovych. Washington seems to have lost track of that idea, too.

On the other side of the piles of tires, ultra-rightists hold three portfolios in the 18–member provisional cabinet. Yarosh is deputy director of the security council. (I suppose he would be assigned to investigate the violence were anyone to get the job.) It is near to preposterous that Kerry would insist that Moscow officials meet with this man or others like him.

I read Ukraine as a case of what happens when so much of policy, in all kinds of spheres, is conducted in secret. Ordinary citizens cannot see events and are left to judge them blind. And the media are not going to help you. However, there have been notable exceptions to the media’s cooperation in keeping things from us instead of informing.

Earlier this week, Leslie Gelb let loose with a vigorous blast in the Daily Beast, calling on the Americans (and others) to “stop their lies and self-destructive posturing or pay costs they’re loath to admit.” Gelb is a longtime presence in foreign policy cliques — former Times columnist, former State Department official, now president emeritus at the Council on Foreign Relations. The critique reveals a significant breach in the orthodoxy.

Not to root for the home team, but Nicholas Davies just published in Salon an inventory of 35 cases wherein Washington has split the sheets with fascists in the interest of intervention. Read it. Splendidly timed, it demolishes all argument that what is in front of our eyes is somehow not. History so often does the job, I find.

Elsewhere, things go from bad to execrable. Here I have to single out Timothy Snyder, a Yale historian, who froths at the mouth in a three-part blog series published by the New York Review of Books. This guy should be brought up on charges under toxic waste laws.

You get lies: Yanukovych refused to sign the February compromise with his opposition. (It was signed in his office so far as I understand.) You get bent logic: The new cabinet includes three Jews, proving (somehow) it is legitimate. The ultra-right has only three cabinet posts. (Only? That is 16 percent of it. Why any?)

And you get radical miscalculations. Snyder compares Putin with Hitler — unwise given the composition of the government and the barricades people he wants to say are fine. In trying to persuade us that the extremist bit is Moscow’s propaganda, he produces lengths of propaganda, some of it — no other word — extremist.

I carry no hatchet for Snyder, though the Yale professorship causes me to wonder. But in bravely defending every aspect of the Washington orthodoxy, Snyder gives a faithful map of all its fault lines. So it is useful reading, here, here and here, providing you know what you are getting.

Next Sunday Crimeans will vote in a referendum as to whether they wish to break with the rest of Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. The semi-autonomous region’s parliament has already voted to do so, and good enough that they put the thought to a popular vote.

But no. Self-determination was the guiding principle when demonstrators and pols with records as election losers pushed Yanukovych out and got done via a coup (I insist on the word) what they could not manage in polling booths. But it cannot apply in Crimea’s case. The Crimeans are illegitimate and have no right to such a vote.

Simply too shabby. I cannot see how it can hold much longer.

Monday, November 10, 2014

National Anthem of Novorossiya & National Anthem of Donetsk People's Republic

National Anthem of Donetsk People's Republic — "Gimn Donetskoy Narodnoy Respublik" 

 

National Anthem of Novorossiya (Новороссия) — "Zhivi, Novorossiya!" ("Живи, Новороссия!") 

 

 Slaviansk Lugansk Donetskaya Republic Freedom Fighters. Anthem Of Russia