Saturday 20th of January 2018

mister magic strikes again .....

mister magic strikes again .....

When NATO leaders meet in Romania on Wednesday to decide whether to put U.S. allies Georgia and Ukraine on a path toward eventual membership, they will find themselves uncomfortably wedged between Washington's firm backing of the former Soviet states' bids and a Kremlin digging in its heels against any further eastward expansion by the alliance. 

The Bush administration has been pushing hard for the 26-nation alliance to grant Georgia and Ukraine so-called Membership Action Plan status, a critical step toward qualifying for inclusion in the trans-Atlantic military organization. 

'I will continue to make America's position clear: We support MAP for Ukraine and Georgia,' President Bush said in Kiev on Tuesday after meeting with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. 

That support for NATO enlargement faces stiff resistance from the Kremlin, which in recent years has amassed the energy wealth and political muscle it needs to influence Western European NATO nations economically tied to Russia. 

Russia contends that NATO, established by the West in 1949 as a Cold War response to the military threat posed by the Soviet Union, has outlived its purpose. 

However, in the past the Kremlin watched helplessly as NATO approved expansion into 10 countries once within the Soviet fold. 

26 Nation Alliance Urged To Put Ukraine, Georgia On Membership Track

Eastern blood bank...

Nato agrees eventual membership for Ukraine and Georgia

Nato leaders agreed today the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia would one day join Nato despite opposition by former Soviet master Russia.

"We agreed today that these countries will become members of Nato," Nato Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a news conference, reading from a communique agreed at a summit of the defence alliance's 26 leaders in Bucharest.

"That is quite something," he said.

Alliance leaders failed yesterday to agree to offer Ukraine and Georgia a Membership Action Plan (MAP), a gateway to eventual membership, but decided today to review their progress in December, diplomats said.

But then others see the same thing differently

Nato has confirmed it will not yet offer membership to Georgia or Ukraine after the 26-member alliance was split amid strong objections from Russia.

Moscow said Nato's promise that the ex-Soviet republics would join one day was a "huge strategic mistake".

At a summit in Romania, Macedonia was also denied Nato entry but Albania and Croatia were given the green light.

US and Czech officials agreed to base a missile defence radar on Czech soil, a plan that has also angered Russia.

And President Nicolas Sarkozy indicated France would return next year to the Nato military command it left in 1966 in protest at the dominance of US commanders.

triumphs and toilet breaks

A bad day for Bush in Bucharest
April 3, 2008 2:03 PM

The Nato summit is thus far going brilliantly for the Russians and the Greeks. Both have demonstrated their power to keep Nato expansion in check.

Before Bucharest, British officials had said that Nato membership action plans (MAPs) for Georgia and Ukraine were a reasonable possibility and that a membership invitation for Macedonia, alongside Croatia and Albania, was almost in the bag. Greece's objections to Macedonia's name would be resolved.

That is not the way it has worked out. France and Germany, nervous about Russian reaction, put off MAPs for the former Soviet republics and the Greeks shrugged off the contempt of every other Nato member and blackballed Macedonia.

For those that believe that Nato membership provides a stable environment for the development of market economies and liberal democracies, this is a bad day for eastern fringes of "the west".

It's a bad day for George Bush, in particular. He apparently threatened to veto Croatian and Albanian membership if a Macedonian deal could not be reached, in a desperate attempt to force the issue. It failed.

I have just emerged from a Downing Street briefing inevitably portraying the summit so far, as highly satisfactory, if not an outright triumph.

The spokesman pointed out that Nato had resolved that all three rejected countries would one day become members, but that was essentially the situation before the summit.

He also said that all Macedonia had to do to join the club was to come to an agreement with Greece about its name, as if that had not been the problem all along.

Greece's claim is that because Macedonia has the same name as its northern province, it implies a territorial claim. Other Nato members giggle when they talk about this, but Greece got the last laugh.

 

but then, a good day for Bushit-the-proliferator: 

Nato countries have agreed to back US plans to site a missile defence system in Europe, at a summit in Romania.

Member states will endorse a communiqué backing the plan to position missile defence bases in the Czech Republic and Poland, US officials said.

...

The communiqué on missile defence, circulated by US officials, acknowledges ballistic missile proliferation as "an increasing threat to allied forces, territory and populations".

It says the US-led system will make a "substantial contribution to the protection of allies".

---------------- 

Gus: I see... NATO wants its own ballistic missile proliferation to protect allied forces, territory and populations from "missile proliferation"... Makes sense?

Now, where's the "ballistic missile proliferation" threat (or reality) coming from? Russia? China? Pakistan? Iran? Bin Laden? NATO? the US? Mugabe? Japan? NATO? the US? NATO? NATO? the US? Papua?

So, could I predict the Russians are not going to stay idle or knit-one purl-one during a long toilet break on their side of the border, as NATO is packing weapons specifically on the Western wall of their abode?... "even if these weapons are not aimed at Russia's windows?"

Arms race and a hardening of the arteries coming near you... the communiqué acknowledges "it's making sure it will happen"...

 

keeping the motor running, just in case....

 Barbarossa Revisited: Bush Goes Bear-Baiting in the East 
Written by Chris Floyd  
Wednesday, 02 April 2008

...

No, what they hate is that Putin won't play ball. He's got oil wealth -- thanks in large part to Bush's Terror War -- he's got nuclear weapons out the wazoo, and he doesn't have to dance to anyone's tune. And that really sticks in the craw of people who believe they have a divine right to "unipolar dominance" over the entire world.

You want to know how it really goes down at the summits like the one Bush will hold this weekend with Putin? Forget the earnest disquisitions from the Council on Foreign Relations or the interminable "process pieces" from the New York Times. Here's how it goes:

Bush: You ought to let our ole boys wet their beaks a little bit in that good stuff you got there, Vladimir. Cut us in on some of them oilfields and pipelines and all.

Putin: Naw, ain't gonna do it. Me and my ole boys are keeping it for our own selves.

Bush: That dawg won't hunt, son. You need to get your mind right on this. What if we was to stick us a big bunch of NATO ordnance down there in the Ukraine and Georgia?

Putin: You got it to do, hoss.


This is, without exaggeration, the precise moral, emotional and intellectual level at which relations between the world's two largest nuclear powers are being conducted. And as Raimondo notes, it will only degenerate further if John McCain -- a man who is perhaps even more ignorant and juvenile than George W. Bush, if such a thing can be imagined -- becomes president.

The only level of sophistication in the relationship is the cynical realization on both sides that all this renewed tension and tough talk strengthens the authoritarian, militarist, war-profiteering faction in each country. Putin can portray the continuing NATO expansion -- quite rightly -- as a strategic and military threat to Russia, and thus justify his military build-up and authoritarian policies as necessary "national security" measures. Likewise, the American militarists can point to the Russian build-up and crack-downs as justifications for "protecting" more nations from the big bad bear by bringing them under the NATO umbrella.

The immediate aim in expanding NATO, of course, is monetary: the militaries of new members must be made compatible with the rest of the alliance -- and that means large-scale purchases of military hardware from the West's arms merchants, particularly the American masters of war. Most of the money for these upgrades actually comes from the American taxpayer: the U.S. government "loans" the new member the money to buy, say, a fleet of warplanes; then the member hands the money straight to Boeing or Lockheed-Martin. (Who will then kick back a bit of the swag to the campaigns and causes of the politicians who engineered the deal.)

read more at http://www.chris-floyd.com/ 

George played dumb...

Putin Hints At Splitting Up Ukraine
The Moscow Times

President Vladimir Putin hinted at last week's NATO summit in Romania that Russia would work to break up Ukraine, should the former Soviet republic join the military alliance, Kommersant reported Monday.

Putin "lost his temper" at the NATO-Russia Council in Bucharest during Friday's discussions of Ukraine's bid to join NATO, Kommersant cited an unidentified foreign delegate to the summit as saying.

"Do you understand, George, that Ukraine is not even a state!" Putin told U.S. President George W. Bush at the closed meeting, the diplomat told Kommersant.

After saying most of Ukraine's territory was "given away" by Russia, Putin said that if Ukraine joined NATO it would cease to exist as a state, the diplomat said.

Putin threatened to encourage the secession of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and eastern Ukraine, where anti-NATO and pro-Moscow sentiment is strong, the diplomat said, Kommersant reported.

countries within countries...

Propelled by historically high oil prices, Gazprom is poised to earn enough cash in 2008 to end the year as the world's second most profitable company.

Its net income will rise as high as $41.5 billion, leaving it only slightly behind global leader ExxonMobil, Alfa Bank said in a research note released Thursday.

The U.S. energy major will turn a profit of around $45 billion, according to consensus estimates. Royal Dutch Shell is projected to finish a distant third, with around $25 billion in net income, analysts have said.

If Gazprom lives up to Alfa's estimates, its profits will be equal to the budget of a small country. Ukraine, for example, has forecast budget revenues of $43 billion for 2008.

--------------------

 

Russian window of opportunity

Deals With Libya Could Top $10Bln

17 April 2008

Reuters,MT

President Vladimir Putin plans to oversee the signing of deals worth more than $10 billion on a trip to Libya aimed at grabbing a slice of a market opening up to the world after years of sanctions, his spokesman said.

Putin shook hands with with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in front of his former central Tripoli home, which has been kept in ruins since it was bombed by U.S. aircraft in 1986.

The raid marked one of the lowest points in the decades the North African OPEC member spent being seen as an outlaw state that supported terrorism.

"The main point of the visit is to compensate for losses our bilateral relations suffered during the sanctions, which we observed strictly, in contrast with some Western competitors," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The former outcast state, whose oil and gas riches earned it more than $40 billion in 2007, is now aggressively courted by Western companies seeking contracts from big state infrastructure projects aimed at modernizing Libya's rundown public services.

Putin was to hold talks with Gadhafi at a dinner Wednesday and on Thursday and oversee the signing of a political declaration and an accord on investment guarantees, Russian officials said.

Russia's bid for lucrative contracts is helped by what analysts see as Gadhafi's desire to balance growing political and economic ties with the West with alternative sources of international support.

That offers a limited window of opportunity for Russia, seeking to revive its role as a global power, which diminished after the Soviet Union collapsed.

"Russia plays the role of a foil to the United States, which remains the major power," said Alexander Kliment, of Eurasia Group.

Libya's ties to the West have warmed since it abandoned its weapons of mass destruction programs in 2003, prompting the removal of most international sanctions imposed for what the West called Gadhafi's support of terrorism.

Putin Denies Reports of Divorce...

Putin Denies Reports of Divorce; Newspaper Suspended

By C. J. CHIVERS
Published: April 19, 2008

MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin, who during eight years of centralized rule has kept his private life largely sealed from view behind the Kremlin’s walls, on Friday bluntly dismissed rumors that he had secretly divorced his wife for the affections of a gymnast less than half his age.

The moment, prompted by a question from a Russian journalist while Mr. Putin held a news conference at an Italian villa with Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister-elect of Italy, was met with the mix of relish and confrontation that Mr. Putin has often displayed in his sessions with journalists.

He paused and answered another question, and then returned to the subject and pushed back. “What you are saying has not a single word of truth,” he said.

The question followed the publication on Thursday of an unusual article in Moskovsky Korrespondent, a Moscow newspaper owned by a former Soviet intelligence officer, which said that Mr. Putin, 56, planned to marry Alina Kabayeva, 24, an Olympic gold medalist in rhythmic gymnastics who has been voted in polls as one of Russia’s most beautiful women. Interfax reported Friday evening that publication of Moskovsky Korrespondent had been suspended “for financial reasons,” according to its parent company, National Media Company.

non-aligned status

The Ukrainian parliament has approved a bill that effectively rejects any ambition to join Nato.

The law, submitted by President Viktor Yanukovych, cements Ukraine's status as a military non-aligned country - though it will co-operate with Nato.

President Yanukovych was elected earlier this year, vowing to end Ukraine's Nato membership ambitions and mend relations with Russia.

His predecessor, Viktor Yushchenko, had pursued a pro-Western foreign policy.

Under him, relations with Moscow had declined dramatically, with the Kremlin refusing to talk to him.

Since his February inauguration, Mr Yanukovych has wasted no time in re-shaping Ukraine's foreign policy in a more Moscow-friendly way, the BBC's David Stern in Kiev says.

------------------

see toon at top

attempts of unidentified enemies

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has claimed victory in Russia's presidential election.

With tears rolling down his cheeks at a victory rally on Sunday, Putin said the Russian people had clearly rejected the attempts of unidentified enemies to "destroy Russia's statehood and usurp power".

"The Russian people have shown today that such scenarios will not succeed in our land," said Putin, flanked by outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev. "They shall not pass!"

"I promised you we would win. We have won. Glory to Russia," Putin told the rally attended by tens of thousands of supporters in central Moscow. "We won in an open and fair struggle."

Putin led the pack in early results announced by the Russian central electoral commission seconds after polls closed in the country's presidential election.

With half of the votes counted, Putin was leading by a landslide 63.4 per cent.

"It' very clear that very many Russians have voted for Putin, but they've done so without the same enthusiasm they've had in the past," Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull said from Moscow.

"Either because they felt there was no viable choice, or because they had been convinced by the Kremlin rhetoric that Russia would crumble without him."

Exit polls showed that Putin is set to win with a big majority, effectively ruling out a second round of voting


http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2012/03/201234174822513879.html

 

see toon at top...

when cash and corruption are not enough to win a war...

 

...

But the battle for Debaltseve has already been quite instructive – about what Russian President Vladimir Putin likes to describe as an army of former miners and tractor-drivers can do, if given access to the weapons warehouses of a superpower; and about the awful training, morale and discipline of what pass for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Should Washington start shipping weapons, it is likely that Russian-armed separatists will always best Ukrainian national forces, with or without weapons supplied by the US. These ideas, along with Ukraine's muddied history in the Moscow sphere, seemed to make sense of Obama's initial resort to an asymmetric response to the conflict: if Moscow's regional military superiority gave the separatists the upper hand, didn't it make sense for the West to ignore the separatists and to go after Putin with escalating economic sanctions? Why not let Putin go bang-bang for as long as he liked in the bomb craters of eastern Ukraine, while Washington and other capitals co-opted the corporate boardrooms of the world, to fix a gradually tightening sanctions tourniquet on the Russian economy?

Playing catch-up with Moscow as arms supplier to the other side would in all likelihood prove a costly zero-sum game – by one count, the separatists already have more than 500 Russian tanks, more than the German, British or French armies.

read more:

http://www.smh.com.au/world/ukraines-latest-defeat-confronts-west-and-ob...

 

 

Gus:

The dynamics here is that the West did not honour its agreement with Russia in regard as to leave former Soviet Union countries alone. All the west's "agent provocateurs", all the west's spy agencies, all the west diplomatic efforts have been made to remove Ukraine out of the Russians' influence... The west even made offer of cash (which the west does not have in its reserves without printing more cash) as well as encourage a shift of Ukrainian government from "post-communism" to fascism... It's a zero sum game, with nuclear war at stake eventually and nobody is caring about the fallout...

The west wants its oyster.

Eventually, the west will have to share half of it with Russia. See toon at top... 

a loose cannon on the world...

 

The American Century Is Over

 

A state that can't keep its citizens secure at Camden Yards is not going to make Ukraine safe for neoliberalism.

 

Someday American politicians will recognize that the world isn’t asking for their leadership. The image of America as benevolent superpower may endure in parts of Eastern Europe and in the former Soviet Republics, where some imagine American jets are going to abolish geography and clear out the Russians. But nowhere else.

 

At the time of this writing, an Orioles-White Sox game in Baltimore has been cancelled because of rioting in the city, while on Saturday 37,000 fans were confined inside the stadium for hours after a game ended because of mayhem outside. The state, which cannot protect crowds of dating couples and parents with children outside of Camden Yards, is not going to make eastern Ukraine safe for neoliberalism.

In the run-up to the Baltimore riots, Congress debated ways to tell Europeans what their Mideast policies should be. Working with an AIPAC-drafted playbook, Maryland senator Ben Cardin and Illinois representative Peter Roskam attached language to a large trade bill intended to squelch the growing movement in Europe to label as such Israeli products that originate in the occupied territories. The AIPAC amendments defined as primary American goals in trade talks the discouragement of European economic sanctions against Israel. Mike Coogan’s account of the behind-the-scenes maneuvers highlighted some glimpses of House legislators stunned at the brazenness of AIPAC in action. First hearings on the bill were moved to a smaller room to keep out the public. Then, at the last moment, pro-Israel anti-boycott amendments were tacked on, with language treating Israel and “Israeli-controlled territories” as identical. One congressman asked Chairman Paul Ryan why members of the Ways and Means Committee were unable to consider public health, or labor standards, or food safety in debating the trade legislation, but were able on short notice to rubberstamp an AIPAC-sponsored amendment. He didn’t receive an answer.

read more: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-american-century-is-over/

 

See toon at top...

 

the fascist in ukraine...

SPIEGEL: Conditions have been poor in your republic since the economic blockade began. What are you doing to combat the problem?

Zakharchenko: We have started paying out pensions, we are slowly getting coal production up and running again and the railroad will be operating again soon. Be it coal or metal, we will return to 2014 production levels.

SPIEGEL: Is the money for the pensions coming from Russia? Is that why they are being paid in rubles?

Zakharchenko: We supply coal to Russia, and we are paid in rubles. But do you think Ukraine could survive without our coal? It is buying through all kinds of circuitous routes. The EU is also interested, including Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and especially Spain. That means we get rubles, hryvnia and dollars.

SPIEGEL: Who do you think should pay for the reconstruction of the Donbas?

Zakharchenko: Ukraine, of course. It destroyed everything here.

SPIEGEL: Ukraine is practically bankrupt.

Zakharchenko: We don't care if Ukraine is bankrupt. We are not citizens of Ukraine. We will present them with our bill. Perhaps German money will also help.

During the interview, Zakharchenko repeatedly mentions the "fascists" in Kiev. He is critical of the fact that Poroshenko's government is receiving €500 million ($550 million) from the "iron chancellor," Angela Merkel. He insists that his People's Republic is in fact entitled to the money, as compensation for its war losses. But the German money is being "stolen" in Kiev, he argues. It is obvious that the leader of the People's Republic is entirely reliant on Russia. The ruble has already found its way into Donetsk, where the Russian currency can be used to pay for gasoline at filling stations. Ruble cash registers can also be found in supermarkets and items on restaurant menus are priced in rubles.

Still, there is a touch of melancholy in Zakharchenko's final answer. The interview has already been underway for an hour, and at times it has turned into a heated argument. In the end, a long argument ensues between the separatist leader and the reporter over whether the uprising on Maidan Square in Kiev was a coup d'état and the current Kiev government is a "fascist junta." Zakharchenko still insists that his republic is fighting fascists, and says that Russia feels the same way.

SPIEGEL: Nevertheless, your former prime minister, Alexander Borodai, regrets that Russia doesn't support the desire for independence by the people in the Donbas in the same way it supports Russians in Crimea. Do you agree?

Zakharchenko: That's his personal opinion. But if there were a "Russian spring" here, as there was in Crimea, I would vote for it with both hands.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

read more: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/interview-with-donetsk-separatist-leader-on-hopes-for-annexation-a-1031270.html

stolen moneys...

In an interview with Sputnik, Igor Kovalev of the Moscow-based Higher School of Economics, specifically pointed to the West and international organizations starting to review their position on Ukraine.

The interview came after the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s mission chief for Ukraine, Ron Van Rooden, said that Ukraine's $3 billion debt to Russia will be taken into consideration when the IMF is making its decision on the next tranche to Kiev. The $3 billion loan was secured by the government of then-President Viktor Yanukovych in late 2013. Moscow has repeatedly stated that Kiev's inability to pay back the debt means a default thus rendering Ukraine unable to receive IMF help.

The IMF, for its part, altered its policy on defaulting debtors in late 2015, allowing the fund to continue lending to countries that have partially defaulted on their sovereign debt. Russia has filed a lawsuit against Ukraine over the issue.

Speaking to Sputnik, Kovalev described Ron Van Rooden's statement as a transparent signal toward Ukraine. "I think the IMF's statement indicates that the West (the US, Western Europe and international organizations) is reviewing its stance on Ukraine.They realize the fact that the reforms initiated by Ukrainian authorities are not effective and that these reforms are stalled. No one wants to continue to keep Ukraine and pay the money which is, as a rule, immediately stolen,” he said.


According to him, Ukraine will have to change its position on its hefty debt to Russia because "the IMF is most likely to return to its original practice stipulating that the organization does not allocate tranches to the countries that have the due-to-be-paid debts and do not recognize these debts, trying to challenge them, as Ukraine does. 


Kovalev pointed out that Kiev should not expect financial assistance from the IMF. "The IMF will not fully reimburse the debt of Ukraine to Russia. I think Kiev will finally have to repay the debt all by itself without hoping for a large-scale assistance from the IMF," he said. Ron Van Rooden has, meanwhile, said that it will take Ukraine a generation to catch up with the Central European economy even if the GDP growth rate increases up to five percent. He added that the IMF wants to see the acceleration of reforms in Ukraine required for receiving the fund's financial aid.

Read more: https://sputniknews.com/world/201612181048706245-russia-ukraine-debt-position/

 

Read from top...

putin is correct: ukraine is run by fascist thugs...

Two days ago Reuters published this report, headlined “How Trump can show he’s tough on anti-Semitism”. I’m not sure why Trump – who has never been called an anti-Semite before, never publicly criticised Israel and whose daughter and son-in-law are both Jewish – suddenly needs to show he’s “tough” on anti-Semitism, but apparently he does.

How is Mr Trump going to achieve this? He’s going to denounce Ukraine…because the government is endorsing fascism.

For the sake of brevity I will present a bullet point list of the Ukrainian issues that so trouble the article’s author, Josh Cohen:

  • “…local authorities [in Kiev] recently voted to rename a major street after a former Nazi collaborator and anti-Semite named Roman Shukhevych.”
  • “In 2015, Ukraine passed a law honoring the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, (OUN-UPA)”
  • “Numerous Holocaust memorial sites – including Babi Yar, where over 33,000 Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis – have been vandalized or desecrated by anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas.”
  • “…the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (UINM) is drafting a law to posthumously exonerate OUN-UPA members convicted of murdering Polish and Jewish civilians during and after the war.”
  • “The elevation of OUN-UPA has been accompanied by a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents in Ukraine.” 
  • “A retired general affiliated with Ukraine’s security services called for the destruction of the country’s Jews;”
  • “…a Ukrainian official called Ukraine’s SS Galizien division – created with the support of Heinrich Himmler – “heroes””

These statements will no doubt shock people who only ever read the mainstream media during the right-wing coup and beginning of the subsequent civil war in Ukraine. During that period the MSM was devoting a large part of its resources to dispelling the “myth” that Ukraine was full of Nazis, deriding the notion as “Russian propaganda”, and dismissing those that said it as “Putinbots”.

Indeed, the below-the-line suppression of discussion on this topic is the main reason this website even exists.

In the Atlantic, in 2014, Ukrainian Nazis were dismissed as a “phantom menace”. Luke Harding wrote a (brilliantly argued) column in the Guardian saying that “there weren’t any Nazis in Ukraine because one of the Maidan protesters was Jewish.” Politico magazine mocked “Putin’s Imaginary Nazis”, whilst US News warned against Russia’s “Neo-Nazi Propaganda”. The Guardian simply headlined: “Don’t believe the Russian propaganda about Ukraine’s ‘fascist’ protesters!

There never were Nazis in Ukraine.

Except now there are.

(This textbook example of double-think is never addressed in the article, which can’t even fully accept the truth itself, referring to the “brave guerilla war” fought by the fascist UON after WW2, with no reference to the CIA funding they received, or the war crimes they carried out.)

Three years later the fascism that it is being nurtured in Ukraine is acknowledged as a political reality. Why? Because of the violence being visited on the people of East Ukraine? No. Because of the terrorist attacks carried out against the people of Crimea? No. But because it is a handy political angle to attack a president who must be undermined at every turn in the news cycle.

read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2017/06/24/reuters-finally-realize-there-are-na...

 

It started under G W Bush (possibly planned before) see toon at top...

the US mess from ukraine to north korea...

North Korea’s success in testing an intercontinental ballistic missile that appears able to reach the United States was made possible by black-market purchases of powerful rocket engines probably from a Ukrainian factory with historical ties to Russia’s missile program, according to an expert analysis being published Monday and classified assessments by American intelligence agencies.

The studies may solve the mystery of how North Korea began succeeding so suddenly after a string of fiery missile failures, some of which may have been caused by American sabotage of its supply chains and cyberattacks on its launches. After those failures, the North changed designs and suppliers in the past two years, according to a new study by Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Such a degree of aid to North Korea from afar would be notable because President Trump has singled out only China as the North’s main source of economic and technological support. He has never blamed Ukraine or Russia, though his secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, made an oblique reference to both China and Russia as the nation’s “principal economic enablers” after the North’s most recent ICBM launch last month.

Analysts who studied photographs of the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, inspecting the new rocket motors concluded that they derive from designs that once powered the Soviet Union’s missile fleet. The engines were so powerful that a single missile could hurl 10 thermonuclear warheads between continents.

Those engines were linked to only a few former Soviet sites. Government investigators and experts have focused their inquiries on a missile factory in Dnipro, Ukraine, on the edge of the territory where Russia is fighting a low-level war to break off part of Ukraine. During the Cold War, the factory made the deadliest missiles in the Soviet arsenal, including the giant SS-18. It remained one of Russia’s primary producers of missiles even after Ukraine gained independence.

But since Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was removed from power in 2014, the state-owned factory, known asYuzhmash, has fallen on hard times. The Russians canceled upgrades of their nuclear fleet. The factory is underused, awash in unpaid bills and low morale. Experts believe it is the most likely source of the engines that in July powered the two ICBM tests, which were the first to suggest that North Korea has the range, if not necessarily the accuracy or warhead technology, to threaten American cities.

“It’s likely that these engines came from Ukraine — probably illicitly,” Mr. Elleman said in an interview. “The big question is how many they have and whether the Ukrainians are helping them now. I’m very worried.”

Bolstering his conclusion, he added, was a finding by United Nations investigators that North Korea tried six years ago to steal missile secrets from the Ukrainian complex. Two North Koreans were caught, and a U.N. report said the information they tried to steal was focused on advanced “missile systems, liquid-propellant engines, spacecraft and missile fuel supply systems.”

Investigators now believe that, amid the chaos of post-revolutionary Ukraine, Pyongyang tried again.

Mr. Elleman’s detailed analysis is public confirmation of what intelligence officials have been saying privately for some time: The new missiles are based on a technology so complex that it would have been impossible for the North Koreans to have switched gears so quickly themselves. They apparently fired up the new engine for the first time in September — meaning that it took only 10 months to go from that basic milestone to firing an ICBM, a short time unless they were able to buy designs, hardware and expertise on the black market.

read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/14/world/asia/north-korea-missiles-ukraine-factory.html

Ukraine biting the US hand that fed it crap?... read from top...

 

when the west lied to gorbachev...

 

 

In 1990, Western politicians repeatedly assured Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO wouldn’t expand east of Germany’s borders, but broke that promise less than a decade later, say insider archives from both sides of negotiations following the dismantling of the Berlin Wall.

Researchers from the respected George Washington University-based National Security Archive, which specializes in obtaining key declassified information from the government, have put together 30 crucial documents that clearly show several top Western officials vowing to Gorbachev in unison that NATO would not expand eastward. Some of these have been publicly available for several years, others have been revealed as a result of Freedom of Information requests for the study

 

Through 1990 as the two Germanies, and the leaders of four World War II victors, the USSR, the US, the UK and France, negotiated a reunification treaty, signed by the six parties in Moscow in September, the capitalist states tried to defuse Moscow’s fears that a reunified state in the heart of Europe would present a threat to the Soviet Union.

In February, George H. W. Bush’s secretary of state, James Baker, assured his Soviet counterpart, Eduard Shevardnadze, that in a post-Cold War Europe NATO would no longer be belligerent – “less of a military organization, much more of a political one, would have no need for independent capability.”

Nonetheless, Baker promised Shevardnadze “iron-clad guarantees that NATO’s jurisdiction or forces would not move eastward.” On the same day in Moscow, he famously told the Soviet General Secretary that the alliance would not move “one inch to the east.”

The following day, February 10, 1990, Helmut Kohl, the future chancellor of a united Germany, repeated the same thought to Gorbachev, even as they disagreed on other issues.

“We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity. We have to find a reasonable resolution. I correctly understand the security interests of the Soviet Union, and I realize that you, Mr. General Secretary, and the Soviet leadership will have to clearly explain what is happening to the Soviet people,” Kohl said.

Later that month, talking with Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Havel, President George H. W. Bush himself said that “we will not conduct ourselves in the wrong way by saying, ‘We win, you lose.’”

“Tell Gorbachev that… I asked you to tell Gorbachev that we will not conduct ourselves regarding Czechoslovakia or any other country in a way that would complicate the problems he has so frankly discussed with me,” the US president said, talking to the Czech reformer and former dissident.

The French president, Socialist Francois Mitterand, went further and said that he was not in favor of even a unified Germany joining NATO, something he openly shared with the Soviet leader.

In the end, the Soviets moved their forces out of Germany, and later other eastern European states, without a single hostile incident. Among those going home was KGB officer Vladimir Putin, who was stationed in Dresden between 1985 and 1990.

The promise lasted only until 1997, however, when Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary were invited into the alliance. In total, 13 Eastern European states have become NATO members since then.

Gorbachev and subsequently Putin have frequently bemoaned the West’s broken promise, with the latter insisting that it fundamentally undermined the fragile trust between an internationally retreating Russia and an ascendant US.

Meanwhile, in "New Cold War" news, declassified US documents prove that Russia WAS promised NATO wouldn't expand eastwards after 1991. Since then it has added 13 new members. All former communist states. But, you know, expansionist Russia, Putin etc https://t.co/pm0yUqXlPjpic.twitter.com/gVFpFHALKh

— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) December 13, 2017

Nonetheless NATO and top Western officials have continued to claim that there was no promise. None of the assurances of non-expansion were included in any treaty documents, which means they were just that – words.

“NATO allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded. There is no record of any such decision having been taken by NATO. Personal assurances, from NATO leaders, cannot replace alliance consensus and do not constitute a formal NATO agreement,” the alliance said in its official explainer on its website.

Robert Zoellick, a key negotiator during the reunification talks, has also spoken of the promise as a “misperception,” while former US ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul has labeled the idea of a reneged promise a “myth” in an interview given last year.

But the weight of evidence now uncovered suggests that these stances are disingenuous at best and duplicitous at worst.

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/413029-nato-gorbachev-expansion-promises/

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The US have always been a country of opportunism and deceit.... What else can you expect from this outfit of pirates, gangsters and thieves?... Read from top