Saturday 1st of November 2014

the neo-fascists are winning...

in case of emergency

From Chris Floyd

The fact is, of course, there would be no military conflict in Ukraine right now if the United States and its European allies had not backed -- with billions of dollars and feverish backroom maneuvering -- the ouster of a democratically elected president for choosing to sign an economic deal with Russia rather than the EU. This, even though elections were to be held later this year that would have almost certainly removed the corrupt president by democratic means. Instead, a new government was installed, with avowedly neo-fascist factions given prominent and powerful positions. Indeed, neofascist militias have been playing a large role in the new government's military assault on rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Now hundreds of civilians are dead -- including 40 ethnic Russians burned alive by neofascist militias in Odessa. Ukraine is mired in civil war. Russia has taken over Crimea. An airliner has been shot down. Putin's authoritarian regime has been strengthened at home. A new Cold War has begun, with all the lurking dangers of "hot war" flaring up. The world has been even more destabilized.

Seems a pretty high price to pay for one trade agreement.

But of course, it's not just about the economic deal. It's all part of the "great game" that Western powers have been playing across the world for centuries now. It's about extending dominance and bagging loot. It's about punishing, confining, degrading -- and sometimes, as in Iraq, destroying -- any nation that doesn't open itself up to exploitation or offers any resistance or any alternative to the "Washington consensus" of neoliberal predation. Washington and its Euro-satraps want a pro-Western Ukraine; they do not care about the consequences, or how much ruin, death and chaos it takes to get what they want. They also want a diminished, toothless, acquiescent Russia.  Doubtless they have the same attitude toward the consequences -- which means the world is in great peril.

I hold no brief for Hamas, Putin, the former Ukrainian government, the pro-Russian rebels. All of them are unsavory in their various ways. But the heedless insanity of Western policy -- led by the bipartisan American elite -- is building a future in hell for us all. Meddling, pushing, arming, funding, scheming, suborning, corrupting, colluding, drone-bombing, assassinating -- everywhere, all over the world, all the time, pressing for advantage that only ever accrues to their elites … while their own countries decay under brutal, unnecessary "austerity" and near-total political dysfunction. 

Because these reckless adventures do have consequences. (For a shattering view of the consequences of the American war crime in Iraq, see this piece by Dahr Jamail.) They don't simply pop up then go away when the news cycle moves on. They reverberate for years, for decades, in horrible, unseen ways. For example, consider the unbelievable folly of Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1979 -- arming "holy warriors" to destabilize Afghanistan and draw the Soviets into invading – which led directly to the "War on Terror." The CIA's machinations -- in two coups -- to put Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party into power led to the deaths of millions of people, from the two Gulf Wars, from the Western sanctions, from Saddam's repression and his American-backed war with Iran. The list could go on and on.

And why are we in the situation in Ukraine today, and the new Cold War it has engendered? (Or exacerbated.) Why is there a bristling, distrustful authoritarian regime in Russia? Why did Ukraine face such a stark choice between the West (or rather, the financial straitjacket of the EU's "austerity" program) and the dubious embrace of the Kremlin regime? How did we get from the bright promise of the early 90s, when the Soviet Union dissolved -- without civil war, without a color revolution, without NGOs and "democracy-building programs," without military intervention, without (gasp!) social media -- to the bloodstained muck of today? 

There are many elements at work in the development of the current situation, of course, but one very large component is clear: the deceit, arrogance and greed of American policy in the early days of Russia's faltering steps toward democracy. And as John Walsh makes clear in CounterPunch, this destructive policy was advanced with reckless abandon by Bill Clinton and his team -- which of course included that anointed future president of the United States (AFPOTUS), Hillary Clinton.

Ever more antiwar voices are clamoring for a Stop Hillary Clinton movement in the Democratic primaries – and with very good reason.  There are many alarming, indeed frightening, indictments of her tenures as one-half president in the 90s and then as Senator and Secretary of State.  Her estranged relationship with truth, her callousness toward human life and her love for every imperial military adventure and regime change scheme are beyond worrisome.  They are downright scary.

But the most damning indictment yet of the Clintons on the world stage comes in the book Superpower Illusions by former Ambassador to the USSR, Jack Matlock. … [Matlock writes]:

“The Clinton administration’s decision to expand NATO to the East rather than draw Russia into a cooperative arrangement to ensure European security undermined the prospects of democracy in Russia, made it more difficult to keep peace in the Balkans and slowed the process of nuclear disarmament started by Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev. …

read more: http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2411-a-future-in-hell-the-bitter-fruits-of-bellicose-policy.html

Gus: the intent of the west has always been to degrade Russia by whatever means. And our own neo-fascist Turd-in-Chief is adding his two bob's worth...

 

a sad set of bad circumstances...

 

NatUS president Barack Obama has ratcheted up pressure on Russia in the aftermath of the attack on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Mr Obama stopped short of directly blaming Russia or Russian-backed separatists for the attacks. But he said it was clear the airliner, carrying 298 passengers and crew, was brought down by a surface-to-air missile and that Russian-backed separatists have shot down other planes in the same area.

Tellingly, Mr Obama added that the separatists are only capable of such action because of support from Russia.

read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-19/obama-urges-russia-to-end-support-for-separatists/5609094

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So, what's wrong for Russia to support Russians in East Ukraine, while we "support" rebels in Syria who are the same illegal "terrorists" who are creating havoc in Iraq? And what was a commercial airliner doing in such a dangerous air space?  

Someone has a theory on this:

I am not so sure that flight KH17 was shot down by accident or by the rebels. The missile origin or manufacture tells us nothing about the intentions, because that is standard for false-flag operations. It is the presence of KH17 in the East Ukraine no-fly zone which is most telling. Consider:
1. The US diverted Korean KAL flight "007" over USSR missile bases in the 1980s for surveillance, and it refused to change course despite fighter intercepts and was shot down. No admissions or apologies by the US to the passengers' relatives.
2. The Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight apparently normally passes to the south and was deliberately diverted over the East Ukraine no-fly zone- deliberately subjected to inordinate risk of being shot down.

We know that according to Eurocontrol, the airspace HAD BEEN CLOSED for a while to commercial traffic, by the Ukrainian Authorities to an altitude of 32,000 feet — all due to rebels shooting down planes IN THE AREA...

According to other information, MH17 could have been flying at 33,000 feet... but at this stage, no one precisely knows. If you want my humble opinion flying in that "dangerous" airspace is rather taking some mighty risks to safe fuel... The difference of 1000 feet is a very small margin of chance. Unfortunately, THIS was an accident waiting to happen, should rebels think the plane be a high-flying Ukrainian military plane...

This "accident" (possibly due to the lack of plane identification by rebels or due to other causes) could be a game changer. But is there a chance for example that there was a bomb on board but everyone is blaming the rebels in Ukraine? 


May we all rest in peace...

 

more dead and wounded...

The violence in Iraq has killed more than 5,500 civilians over the first six months of the year, according to a report by the United Nations that documents the massive humanitarian toll of the Sunni militant offensive.

The Islamic State (Isis) and other Sunni insurgents seized control of the city of Falluja, as well as part of nearby Ramadi in Anbar province in early January. The militants then launched an offensive in June that has brought a huge swath of northern and western Iraq under their control.

In its report, the UN mission to Iraq says at least 5,576 civilians were killed and another 11,665 wounded from 1 January until the end of June. Another 1.2 million have been driven from their homes by the violence, it adds.

The pace of civilian deaths over the first six months marked a sharp increase over the previous year. In all of 2013, the UN reported just over 7,800 civilians killed, which was the highest annual death toll in years.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/18/iraqi-civilian-death-toll-5500-2014-isis

Isis is discreetly (well, not so discreetly) supported by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Sunni gulf states "against the Shia"... So what do we do? The US has just signed an agreement to provide many jet fighters to Qatar...

Saudi Arabia has more US supplied jet fighters and European armament than pilots and soldiers can use in a lifetime...

a pilot's view...

A pilot interviewed on PBS of course raised the question why some airlines were flying in that airspace which had been closed to commercial air traffic, 1000 feet below, at 32,000 feet. All pilots and airlines have a responsibility to "have a plan B" in case of turbulence, sudden decompression or any other emergencies — which who demand a rapid drop in altitude of the aircraft. Flying in a narrow vertical band, above a war zone, where Ukrainian planes have been shot down before, is ultimately taking a risk. Most European airlines and US airlines have avoided this airspace since the conflict flared up. 

May we live in peace.

 

Note: on Channel Ten, tonight, the reporter saying that the airspace had been approved by European authorities. This is a very grey area.

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From DW

 

 

DW: The crash of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine has raised many questions about why the airline was flying over a conflict zone airspace. Who decides whether or not airspace is safe?

Ken Thomas: The deciding body whether an airspace is safe or not belongs to the state - through their air navigation service provider and their civil aviation authorities. It's actually the state that owns the airspace to decide whether the airspace is open for civilian traffic, or if it's not safe they will close it for civilian air traffic.

In this case, Ukraine deemed this airspace to be safe for civilian aircraft?

They deemed this to be safe above 32,000 feet (9,750 meters). Below 32,000 feet, this particular airspace in eastern Ukraine where the crash occurred had been closed by the Ukrainian authorities.

This plane was allegedly flying at 33,000 feet. Details about the crash are still unclear but are you surprised that a plane flying at that level can apparently be shot down by a missile?

I'm surprised unless it is a very sophisticated missile system.

Do pilots also have the authority to determine which route they are going to fly?

Yes, the pilot actually has the final authority to decide whether or not to fly in an airspace that is open. If the airspace is closed, he may not fly there. And we will actually check that and stop his flight plan if he - by mistake - flies through a closed airspace.

Quite a few airlines that fly between Europe and Asia had already decided not to fly over Ukraine. Is it also a question of cost for some airlines? If you are going to reroute a plane, that does mean an increase in fuel and flight time, doesn't it?

Well, of course, when you make the risk assessment, you need to take all factors into account. Fuel would be one factor of many other factors. We expect that roughly a quarter of the airlines previously flying over that airspace above 32,000 feet were not flying there - but 75 percent were still using it.

Is your organization making any recommendations in the aftermath of this crash?

We are a technical and operational organization, so we now concentrate on the situation where a larger part of Ukrainian airspace, or a larger part then before - the east, not only the southeastern part - where we have airspace closure. And in order to accommodate flights to fly around these areas in the best possible way for them, but we are also looking at what is the impact on the neighboring air traffic control centers so that they do not get more traffic than they can safely handle.

Ken Thomas is Head of Network Operations Management Coordination with Eurocontrol, an organization involved with air safety.

 

yes, tony, a grim day...

Twenty-eight Australians as well as eight non-citizen residents, who were all living in Victoria, were returning home with Malaysia Airlines, but never made it. For their families and friends, life will never be the same.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott spoke for many when he said the tragedy was "a grim day for our country and a grim day for the world."

He said: "We bleed for them, we grieve for them and we will do everything we can."

Here are those so far known to have lost their lives.

Read more at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-18/mh17-australian-victims/5607188

Do whatever you can as long as you don't jump the gun and blame or harm anyone else in the process. It's time for reflection, not revenge. Revenge is no justice.

May we live in peace...

a neo-fascist press for the neo-fascist business...

I am outraged by the Sunday Turdograph this morning... But then what else is new... It has no compunction in placing the blame of MH17 directly in the hands of Vladimir Putin. It also points out to Isis taking over the place in Iraq and Syria. But its analysis of the whole lot is specifically designed to laud the virtue of what has now become the neo-fascism of business. Business via international agreements and multi-nationals that have enough cash to buy countries while paying little taxes, are now running our ideas, our though patterns and our desires — and those who oppose this state of affairs are often deemed against freedom or anti-business. Anti-Tyranny of business for sure, but anti-freedom? Neo-fascism of business hates pure freedom while it hypocritically touts it on the roof tops. 

Here in the Turdograph we see a simplistic one-eyed vision of the world. Children who die in Gaza will not even get a mention on page 44 — an infamous page where often the "other news" in the world (or in the country) are compacted in, while the outrage... what am I say, while the RAGE is running white hot from the front page in... While I am not disputing the fact that innocent children where killed in what seems to have been an error of identification in a warring air-space, They are not the only one. 80 per cent of people killed in Gaza are civilians of which many of them are just kids. Are we going to treat Bibi as a war criminal or are we to laud his armies?

Some people will say that it is different, that the Israeli are fighting back... One can say the same about the Russians of Ukraine who are fighting to preserve their space — with unfortunate "collateral damage" EVERYWHERE. The Russians in the street are blaming the Ukrainian government and the US for this latest MH17 tragedy... Who can prove them wrong in this tit-for-tat demolition derby with collateral damage that we ignore in our heroic action Hollywood movies.

We have no choice but to defend peace without hypocrisy. For example the Isis crisis is indirectly supported by the US. I know this is a big statement to make, but by supporting the supporters of Isis (Saudi Arabia and all the Gulf States), the US is ultimately supporting rebellion. And to some extend, Vladimir has been doing its best to keep his cool in the face of the West trying hard to "steal" Ukraine by corrupt means. 

But the Turdograph has chosen to antagonise Russia. It's its call. I don't think Vladimir will be bothered by being shown in such light by a turdy Murdoch newspaper. He might take pity on those clowns.

 

One must remember that Putin cleverly and ruthlessly stopped the rape of Russia by the West. The West still hates him for that.

 

 putin

Meanwhile, I would suggest that it would have been better for the DT to dedicate its front page entirely to the children, rather than pepper it with some not very delicate promotion of its other content:

children

 

Yes... Meow... Comm Game guide.... Bitumen Babies.... Rape... Bacon and Eggs... and that ghastly royal promotion again... Ugly, more raging than caring... and distasteful to boot...

 

Read also: http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/969

 

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and see: http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/tribute-to-children-in-conflict-zones-shows-the-real-tragedy-of-war--xJsGYAL5be

In a week where 300 people were lost in a plane accident and nearly the same amount in the on-going Israel-Gaza conflict, it can be hard to quantify the true tragedy of the loss of human life.

A simple number so often sanitises the terrible reality of death. When you consider that every single one of those lost has a network of family, friends and loved ones whose lives have also been changed forever, the impact is suddenly amplified.

And perhaps that is why this tribute by Israeli artist Amir Schiby to the four innocent boys who were inexplicably killed on a Gaza beach on Wednesday has struck a chord with so many. 

flying higher for cash...

 


Ukraine bears responsibility for keeping its airspace open to flights like the doomed MH17, says the chief executive of the International Air Transport Association, Tony Tyler.

“Airlines depend on governments and air traffic control authorities to advise which air space is available for flight, and they plan within those limits,” he said.


“It is very similar to driving a car. If the road is open, you assume that it is safe. If it’s closed you find an alternate route.”

However, an industry source said in this case, the “road” was more like a toll road, as the cash-strapped Ukrainian government was receiving overflight fees for each commercial flight above its territory and therefore had a financial incentive to keep the airspace open as long as possible.

Three days before MH17 was apparently shot down by a surface-to-air missile, Ukraine had raised the minimum altitude open for commercial flights over the eastern part of its country to 32,000 feet, from 26,000 feet previously after a military cargo jet was downed at 21,000 feet.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/aviation/ukraine-responsible-for-airspace-safety-iata-20140720-zuzmp.html#ixzz380YFpHOM

 

divorce...

Ukraine, as we know it, is dead. The country is irrevocably broken into two by ethnicity, language, geography and now blood. The sooner the people of Ukraine accept this, and the European Community, the Russians and the Americans accept this, the sooner the nation can divide into its two natural parts and move on.

It is more than 20 years since the orderly, democratic, bloodless dissolution of Czechoslovakia took place on January 1, 1993, when the Czech Republic and Slovakia came into being as two sovereign nations. Like Ukraine, this was a nation divided with geographic neatness between language and ethnicity.

There is no mystery about how this point has been reached. There is also no mystery as to who is to blame for staining Ukraine with the murder of 298 people on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. There is no need for conspiracy theories.

Soon after the aircraft was shot down, a social network page of Igor Strelkov, "defence minister" of the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic, posted this message:

"We just downed an An-26 near Torez.”

He would soon delete this post, but it was too late. The Ukrainska Pravda news site also posted an audio recording of intercepted field communications between Ukrainian separatists.

"We just downed a plane," a rebel identified as Bes (Demon), said.

A second recording, between two militants, was released and included the following exchange in Russian:

“How are things going there?”

“Well, we are 100 per cent sure that it was a civilian plane.” 

“What plane is that?” 

“I haven’t figured out yet. I haven’t got close to the main wreckage. Now I’m nearby the place where first bodies started falling...”

“Are there any weapons? 

“Nothing at all. Civilian belongings, medical scraps, towels, toilet paper. 

“Are there any documents? 

“Yes. One belonging to a student from Indonesia.”

Before this exchange, a message has been posted on the official Twitter account of the Donetsk People's Republic which said:  "@dnrpress: self-propelled Buk surface-to-air missile systems have been seized by the DNR from (Ukrainian) surface-to-air missile regiment A1402".

That tweet, too, was later deleted, but again too late.

Over the weekend the Ukrainian government said Buk missiles had been observed being secreted across the Russian border.

This was clearly a monumental mistake by a group of murderers who want the Russian-speaking Donetsk region to secede from Ukraine.

Let them secede. They have managed in poisoning the well of Ukrainian nationhood so successfully that the sooner there is national plebiscite on secession the better.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/time-for-ukraine-to-divide-20140720-zv19c.html#ixzz383ZMKsD0


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Poisoned the well of Ukraine nationhood? I think that the situation has been poisoned from all side, as usual... I agree with Paul Sheehan that Ukraine should be split along its strong ethnic lines. But it's not for me to say, and like divorce, should it happen, it should be done as a no-blame separation whatever the circumstances. 
The sabre rattling against Russia has nothing to do with decency of understanding the situation. It has to do with the west trying hard to prise Ukraine away from Russia, for its own capitalistic neo-fascist benefit... This has been on the card for more than 20 years, slowly but surely with infiltrating and creation of dissent in the mood of that country. That Russia and its Russian Ukrainians have worked hard at stopping the pulling away is part of the dynamics of ethnicity and political allegiances. 
Our Turd-in-Chief seems to have toned down a couple of notches his blaming of Russia in the MH17 downing... I suppose from a psycho to another his conversation with Putin would have been loaded with sneaky questions and shifty replies... 
May we live in peace.

our turd in chief has a block of wood instead of a heart...

 

The Australian government has argued its international obligations of non-refoulement – returning asylum seekers to countries they have fled in fear of persecution – do not apply to interceptions outside Australian territorial waters.

Government defence documents filed to the high court case examining the interception, procedure and treatment of more than 150 Tamil asylum seekers who left southern India in early June, also reveal that the decision not to allow the asylum seekers to be transferred to Australia was taken by the national security committee, tasked with “major international security issues of strategic importance to Australia” and chaired by the prime minister.

The boat carrying the Tamils was intercepted in Australia’s “contiguous zone”, near Christmas Island.

The defence also concedes, as lawyers acting for the asylum seekers had argued, that the intercepted Tamil asylum seekers, being held at sea by a government border protection vessel, have been split up. But it says they are allowed three hours to move around the vessel in daylight.

It had previously been reported there were 153 Tamils on board the boat that left Pondicherry in Tamil Nadu, southern India, but the defence shows there were in fact 157.

The government denies the asylum seekers have not been given access to interpreters, arguing that three of them speak English and have acted for the rest of the group.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/22/australia-says-its-obligations-to-asylum-seekers-do-not-apply-outside-its-waters

 

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Gus: as one who speaks several languages, I can say that having an interpreter present is necessary to make sure there is no bullshit being peddled back and forth in such cases... Meanwhile arguing about "duty of care" wherever shows that the turdish Abbott regime has only a heart when it's politically convenient... That my friend is duplicitous and psychopathic. And when it will be "proven" that MH17 was shot down by the Ukrainian government, who will have egg on their faces?...  

blaming russia for something it has not done yet...

 

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she fears Russia is "undermining" attempts to investigate the MH17 tragedy, adding that as many as 80 bodies could remain at the crash site.

For four days in a row, unarmed Australian Federal Police and their European counterparts have failed to make it across a battle front to the Malaysia Airlines wreckage.

"We've had the strongest possible support from the Ukrainian government but still the fighting goes on and there is no ceasefire," Ms Bishop told AM.

"My great fear is Russia is actively undermining this process."

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-31/fears-russia-is-actively-undermining-mh17-investigation/5636892

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Now Ms Bishop, is your fear well founded? Is Russia "undermining this process" and what undermining and what process is it?

Would you allow an armed gang of 200 Russians or Chinese roaming around in a war zone (should there be one) in say Woopwoopville-Australia, because one of their civilian planes had been shot down by accident?...  I guess you would diplomatically refuse and say you would be capable to do the investigation yourself — as being there on the ground would be too dangerous...

I believe that people like Julie live in their own mind, have their own mind and often believe the rest of the world exists only to help their interests... It ain't so, m'am...

 

the abbott whose church is on fire...

 

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, one of too few to have stepped up to the political-economic challenge, has nonetheless been slammed for arguing on the weekend that if spending cannot be cut, taxes would have to rise.

Labor's Bill Shorten branded that "extortion", choosing to see the statement as a threat to increase taxes. But what other options are there? If outlays for health and pensions etcetera exceed revenue and are projected to be growing at a faster rate than inflation - as all agree they are - what other options will there be? Assuming that doing nothing is not an option, that only leaves either reducing spending, or increasing revenue.

The fact that Cormann has been howled down for such frankness by senators who feel no sanction in blocking savings measures designed to address the imbalance, speaks to the abject political authority of the government right now.

And that in turn stems from its self-created budget confusion.

If the government cannot even ensure that its own ministers and backbenchers run a consistent line on the case for fiscal contractions, why would voters be convinced.

Abbott has proved a more effective prime minister than his many detractors had envisioned - particularly in his handling of the international aspects of the job.

Into this basket can also be placed his success of stopping the boats.

This has been achieved despite fierce opposition at home and despite the strains on relations with Indonesia and Malaysia.

But on the purely domestic front, Abbott has been let down.

Over the next two weeks, leading to his September 7 anniversary, he must find the right tone for communicating his government's economic plan - and build the parliamentary case needed to make it happen.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-has-two-weeks-to-fix-12-months-20140825-1084ia.html#ixzz3BPjIwAmM
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We all know what Abbott will do in this circumstance: Blame the Russians for his budget woes...
One of the cartoons in the Moscow Times was quite funny... It shows a boomerang with the word Sanctions on it, passing overhead of a smiling Putin as the boomerang is actually "turning back"...
And I disagree with Mark Kenny: Abbott is an opportunistic idiot... Giving Abbott credit, for windmilling populous rhetoric against Russia, is missing the point.

 

 

 

Tony Abbott is the idiot who let himself, and us, down.