Wednesday 23rd of July 2014

Recent Comments

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2014-07-23 10:18

yes John... now a bit of reality from the US:

 

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 may have been shot down by "mistake" by ill-trained pro-Russian separatists, US intelligence officials say, dismissing Moscow's accounts of the incident.

The officials said they decided to brief reporters partly to counter what they described as misleading propaganda from Russia and its state-controlled media over the incident.

Evidence gathered so far suggests separatists launched the SA-11 surface-to-air missile that blew up the Malaysian airliner, but it remains unclear "who pulled the trigger" and why, said a senior intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"The most plausible explanation ... was that it was a mistake," and the missile was fired by "an ill-trained crew" using a system that requires some skill and training, an official said on Tuesday.

Intelligence officials are cautioning the public not to expect a "Perry Mason moment" when all questions are definitively answered.

They cited previous incidents over the years in which both Russian and US forces have mistakenly shot down civilian airliners.

A Korean airliner was downed by a Soviet fighter jet in 1983 and US naval forces mistakenly shot down an Iranian civilian passenger plane in 1988.

"We've all seen mistakes in the past," the official told reporters.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-23/mh17-likely-shot-down-by-accident-by-russian-separatists/5616748

 

At the time of the downing of flight MH17, the airspace below 32,000 feet was closed to commercial airliners. Between you, me and a packet of budgie smugglers, there is very little difference between 32,000 and 33,000 feet as far as a war zone is declared. Ukraine would have had to know that the missiles used to down their planes at 25,000 feet were not toys and could go much further up. And was the SU25 shot down as well? Or was it a chimera in the imagination of a general...?

A sad mistake. May we all live in peace.

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2014-07-23 09:59

Typhoon Matmo made landfall along the east coast of Taiwan Tuesday night, local time, with winds over 100 mph.

Heavy rain fell across Lanyu Township, just east of the main island of Taiwan into Tuesday evening. Rainfall of 250-300 mm (10-12 inches) was been reported. Also, wind gusts over 100 mph have pelted the small island for several hours as the eye of the storm passed just to the northeast.

As Matmo moved inland across Taiwan, very heavy rain fell over eastern areas. Yuli township, near the central east coast, reported more than 460 mm (18 inches) of rain through early Wednesday morning, local time.

Heavy rain and strong winds will worsen across much of Taiwan through Wednesday morning as the storm crosses the island then moves into the Formosa Strait (Taiwan Strait) during the day on Wednesday.

read more: http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/typhoon-matmo-to-threaten-taiw-1/30703680

 

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2014-07-23 08:11

 

THE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT has appointed an Indigenous Adviser and, together, they have announced that they are creating efficiencies by cutting $600 million from the Indigenous Affairs portfolio to ‘eliminate waste.’

I recently commented on cuts to legal funding for Indigenous Australians, but one of the most recent cuts to be uncovered is the funding for Deadly Vibe, an initiative started by recently deceased Indigenous trailblazer Gavin Jones. Deadly Vibe was created to empower Indigenous people, it was a platform to celebrate the culture, the achievements of Indigenous people and overcome stereotypes.

Gavin understood Indigenous people; he recognised that there was a disparity between mainstream media and what the Indigenous community needed. He recognised that Indigenous people needed an outlet to feel pride as opposed to isolation and he set out to provide that outlet.

The Indigenous community is in mourning for Gavin, so it is a double blow for Indigenous Australians to not only lose Gavin but to effectively lose his legacy.

Gavin was one of the first to stand up and create a forum for recognition for the wonderful achievements of Indigenous Australians and aptly entitled it, the  ‘Deadly Awards’. The word ‘deadly’ for Indigenous people is synonymous with greatness, strength, courage and respect. To call someone ‘deadly’ is high praise.

....

 

The Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs has activated policies that widen the gap, disempower Indigenous Australians and illustrate contempt for communities seeking to retain any sense of their cultural practices. This Government, and its adviser Mundine, not only let down the Indigenous people but are blatant in their policies of assimilation.

On the surface, the employment and training programs are a great way in which Indigenous people can become more highly skilled and employable. However, employment training and recruitment are important and valid programs — but they should not be the only programs.

When considered on a deeper level – in the context of cuts to health, education, legal services, cultural linguistics and worst of all, cuts to the national representative body that would provide a compelling voice to First Australians – it becomes clear that the employment programs are an attempt to assimilate the Indigenous people into the Liberal agenda of individual wealth accumulation and tax paying. For us to forget our culture and fade into the wider community. It is the outrageous, racist policy championed by Liberal Party elder Peter Coleman recently on ABC Q&A.

read more: http://www.independentaustralia.net/australia/australia-display/abbott-cuts-all-about-indigenous-assimilation,6698

 

 

by John Richardson on Tue, 2014-07-22 22:53

Indeed Gus.

Whilst I’m sure some would share the flat-earth world view of ‘Mordochland’, that prime minister Tony Babbitt has handled the MH17 crisis with uncustomary diplomatic aplomb thus far, there are others perhaps more cynical who sadly but simply see the turning of a terrible tragedy into an instant media circus to be used to pump-up all the old ‘cold-war’ rhetoric on behalf of our masters on the Potomac.

Does anyone really believe that Prime Minister Tony Abbott & the keeper of the ‘death stare’, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, dreamt-up Australia’s attempted foreign policy mugging of Vladimir Putin all by themselves?

Does anyone really believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden?

And if they do, do they really believe that the clown who told Japan’s Prime Minister that Japan is our ‘bestie’ & who singlehandedly persuaded Indonesia to withdraw its Ambassador could suddenly morph into a little aussie Metternich?

I’ll bet my sheep station that Tony couldn’t wait to play catspaw for the gang on the Potomac & I also reckon they lent him the knuckledusters to drag-along the ground behind him!!

As to the alleged distaste by conservatives of our Security Council gig, surely old ‘Fishnets’ Alexander Downer proved just how much actors from that side of politics relish the prospect of being on the big stage?

Perhaps I would be more inclined to give the budgie smuggler the benefit of the doubt had he appeared less ready to poke Russia in the eye before the facts of the situation were even established. Add to this his persistent impugning of Russian intentions & we see the once-would-be-Jesuit for everything that he really is (it only takes one brief shining moment for those who care to look).

And as for G20 invitations, if I was Vladimir Putin, I think I’d be reaching for that old Groucho March epithet about not wanting to be a member of any club that would have him.

Tony Abbott is the only human being I can think of who makes ‘justice’ sound like a dirty word.

by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2014-07-22 19:40

 

Tony Abbott has labelled interference at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine a “cover-up”, describing it as “evidence-tampering on an industrial scale”.

After the success of an Australian UN resolution calling for a full and secure investigation of the site, the prime minister continued to step up his rhetoric against pro-Russian rebels.

“After the crime comes the cover-up,” the Australian prime minister said, hours after his UK counterpart, David Cameron, accused separatists of shooting down the plane and warned Russia to change its approach.

"What we have seen is evidence-tampering on an industrial scale, and obviously that has to stop,” Abbott said.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/22/tony-abbott-labels-mh17-crash-site-evidence-tampering-on-industrial-scale

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 We have evidence of cover up in Nauru and on the water by Abbott and his cronies...

 

by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2014-07-22 13:20

 

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?...  

by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2014-07-22 13:06

 

Moscow also denied supplying Ukrainian separatists with Buk missile systems or any other weapons, as it sought to head off international accusations it was responsible for the downing of the plane with 298 people on board.

Armed with slides, charts and images, two high-ranking officials of Russia’s general staff laid out a case against Ukraine at a specially called briefing.

Lieutenant-General Andrei Kartopolov said the plane strayed north of its planned route, adding that a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet, which is typically equipped with air-to-air missiles, had been recorded in the proximity of the Boeing 777.


The Malaysian plane “deviated from its route to the north ... the maximum deviation was 14 kilometres,” he said.

“An altitude gain was recorded for a Ukrainian armed forces plane. Its distance from the Malaysian Boeing was three to five kilometres,” he added, noting that the SU-25 is capable of reaching a height of 10,000 metres “for a brief time”.

“With what aim was a military plane flying along a civilian aviation route practically at the same time and at the same flight level as a passenger liner? We would like to receive an answer to this question.”

He also said the Russian Defence Ministry detected unusual activity from radar stations that are used to operate missile systems on the day of the tragedy.

“From July 17 [Thursday] the intensity of the operation of Ukrainian radar stations increased to the maximum,” General Kartopolov said.

He said seven radar stations were operating close to the area of the disaster on Tuesday, eight on Wednesday and nine on the day of the crash, Thursday. After the crash, just four radar stations were operating in the area on Friday and just two on Saturday, he added, citing data.

General Kartopolov insisted Russia had not supplied Ukrainian separatists with Buk missile systems or any other weapons. “I want to stress that Russia did not give the rebels Buk missile systems or any other kinds of weapons or military hardware.”

The general's explanation comes as US network NBC reported that a Russian broadcaster pinned the blame for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on the CIA.

The report, on Russia's Channel One, claimed the US had planned to do the same thing during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis - an event that brought the US and Russia close to nuclear war.

Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea in March has sparked the biggest East-West crisis since the Cold War. 

 

by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2014-07-22 11:46

Barclays and Deutsche Bank helped more than a dozen hedge funds avoid paying more than $6 billion in taxes on securities trades through the use of structured financial products, according to a Senate report due out Tuesday.

The report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations arrives as the Obama administration urges lawmakers to take action to stop American companies from reincorporating overseas in order to lower their tax bills, a practice known as tax inversion.

Multinational corporations have become skilled at exploiting loopholes to shift their tax burden to countries with lower rates and hiding portions of their global profits from taxation. The report shows that a number of firms are also relying on Wall Street banks to execute transactions in a way that allows them to circumvent federal taxes.

“These banks and hedge funds used dubious structured financial products in a giant game of ‘let’s pretend,’ costing the Treasury billions and bypassing safeguards that protect the economy from excessive bank lending for stock speculation,” Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the subcommittee, said at a news conference Monday.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/senate-report-barclays-and-deutsche-bank-helped-hedge-funds-skirt-6-billion-in-taxes/2014/07/21/d732664a-10e5-11e4-8936-26932bcfd6ed_story.html?tid=hpModule_79c38dfc-8691-11e2-9d71-f0feafdd1394

by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2014-07-22 08:52

...

America had already announced new sanctions against Russia just hours before the world learnt the plane had come down. Europe has not yet followed.

On the contrary, in recent weeks, Germany has made repeated efforts to broker direct negotiations among Kiev, Moscow and the rebels.

A policy of cooperation rather than confrontation with Russia is dear to many on the left in Germany, legatees of Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik, and also favoured by German business, which has significant commercial interests in Russia. But the demise of MH17 will make such cooperation much more difficult to justify to the rest of the world.

That is probably counterproductive. Even as their logic becomes irresistible to many in the West, sanctions will probably fail to force Putin to cut off the flow of weapons, money and recruits to the separatists. They might even strengthen his resolve to back them.

We forget that the rebellion in eastern Ukraine is, fundamentally, a geopolitical issue with its own logic to those embroiled in it. The passengers and crew of MH17 stumbled innocently into this conflict, but their tragic deaths won't change the underlying historical, cultural and strategic factors behind the rebellion or Russia's sponsorship of it.

By now, the story is well known.

Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has resented the eastward expansion of Western organisations such as NATO and the EU. It considers both organisations to have broken the commitments they made, in the early 1990s, to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev not to draw the countries of the former Eastern bloc or the old Soviet Union into an anti-Russian alliance or economic space.

Russia is particularly sensitive about Ukraine, whose people and territory it sees as culturally, historically and geographically Russian. Kievan Rus' was the first Eastern Slavic people to receive Orthodoxy, with the result that many Russians think of Kiev as "Mother of Russian cities", the font of their civilization, as Putin did expressly in his annexation speech on Crimea.

read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-22/dal-santo-west-needs-new-strategy-after-mh17-tragedy/5613310

The word "strategy" seems to invoke a system of tactics in 'war" — whether economical or in battles. I prefer the word "relationship"... It does not carry so much baggage.