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newthinking

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“US, Ukraine and Russia: What Went Wrong?” A talk by John Mearsheimer and Rick Rozoff, Evanston, Ill

“US, Ukraine and Russia: What Went Wrong?” A talk by John Mearsheimer and Rick Rozoff, Evanston, Illinois
Kim Scipes - January 22, 2015

Two widely recognized authorities on big power politics and NATO recently gave a public talk on the current situation in the Ukraine at the Evanston (Illinois) Public Library. Organized by the Evanston Neighbors for Peace, John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago (http://mearsheimer.uchicago.edu), and Rick Rozoff, a long-time activist who maintains the “Stop NATO—Opposition to Global Militarism” web site (https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com), spent three hours recently trying to cut through the lies and obfuscation that the US public has been fed around the current developments in Ukraine.

Excerpt below: Link to full article: http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=5396§ion=Article

Mearsheimer started off, noting the “significant deterioration in US-Russian foreign relations.” He argued this situation is “fundamentally wrong.”

He gave background to what’s going on. Basically, US-Russian relations were ok until February 22, 2014. Since then, things have gone “down the toilet bowl.” (On February 22, 2014, there was a coup in Kiev, Ukraine, where protestors—which the support of the US Government—overthrew the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych.)

Before February 22, there was no evidence of American or European policy makers being concerned with Ukraine. US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, stated there was “no reason to contain Russia,” and said that the US did not see [Russian President Vladimir] Putin as an “aggressor.” There was no evidence to suggest otherwise.

Since the coup, Russia has encouraged the citizens of Crimea—a Russian speaking area that had been given to Ukraine by Khrushchev in 1954—to reunite with Russia, which they did via a local referendum in March 2014. At the same time, there’s been a war “by virtually all accounts” in the Eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian government on one side, and Russia-supporting rebels on the other.

The US blames Putin for all of the turmoil. According to Mearsheimer, the US is acting “like kids who never understand what they’ve done wrong.” Some commentators have called Putin “a new Hitler,” which Mearsheimer says such arguments are “ludicrous in the extreme”: nothing that Putin has done has ever put him in the category of Hitler.


Link to full article: http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=5396§ion=Article

Death toll in Ukraine conflict exceeds 5,000, may be 'considerably higher' – UN

Death toll in Ukraine conflict exceeds 5,000, may be 'considerably higher' – UN


A resident of the Artema suburb of Sloviansk, Ukraine, in the rubble of what used to be her summer kitchen, in July 2014. Photo: UNHCR/Iva Zimova

Print

23 January 2015 – More than 5,000 people have now been killed since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine in mid-April last year, the United Nations human rights office said today as it expressed fear that the real figure may be 'considerably higher.'

Escalation of hostilities since 13 January has raised the total death toll in the country to at least 5,086 and some 10,948 people have been wounded between mid-April last year and 21 January 2015, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“In just nine days, between 13 and 21 January, at least 262 people were killed due to the hostilities. That is an average of at least 29 people killed per day. This has been the most deadly period since the declaration of a ceasefire on 5 September,” OHCHR spokesman Rupert Colville said at a press conference in Geneva.

In addition to the intense fighting and shelling in the embattled Donetsk region, shelling has also been reported in several towns of Luhansk region.

The killing of civilians when an artillery shell hit a bus stopping for passengers in the Leninskyi district of Donetsk yesterday was the second bus attack, with significant casualties, in the last 10 days. This has brought into 'stark focus' the impact of the ongoing hostilities on civilians.

“We are concerned about the lack of implementation of the 12 provisions of the Minsk Protocol and the continuing presence of foreign fighters in the east, allegedly including servicemen from the Russian Federation, as well as the presence of heavy and sophisticated weaponry in populated areas under the control of armed groups,” Mr. Colville said.

“Civilians held or trapped in these areas are subject to a total lack of respect for human rights and the rule of law,” he added, reminding all parties to the conflict that international humanitarian law prohibits the targeting of civilians and that the principles of military necessity, distinction, proportionality and precaution must be strictly respected.

Mr. Colville also expressed concern over the impact on civilians of the recent decision by the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine to restrict movement in and out of the areas controlled by armed groups. As of 21 January, people travelling to and from these areas need to obtain special passes and provide documents to justify the need to travel.

Full story:
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49882

I know the truth about what happened in Crimea, starting with a constitutional crisis in Ukraine

I also know the actual order of events, which the media and governments have purposely distorted.

I have posted on this before.

First off, Crimea has always fought to be part of Russia. When the Soviet Union disbanded there was a big fight over it. The compromise was autonomy with it''s own constitution and government. In Ukraine basically by border only.
Corrupt Ukrainian judges declared that compromise null and replaced the Ukraine constitution during the banditry of the 90s which was bitterly fought against.

That is why the two options in the vote were
1. Become part of Russia
2. Stay with Ukraine and restore the original Crimea constitution.

When the government in Kiev was overthrown Crimea saw it as unconstitutional (I believe accurately). They came together, called a constitutional crisis. During that time the militia was formed and the first "little green men" were not Russian army, they were Crimean Militia.

Then Crimean felt threatened and asked for Russian military aid (because the people that are now essentially the Azov and Adar Battalions were roaming the country "enforcing order" and some were on the way to Crimea.)

Here is documentary proof from reporting coverage that shows the order of events. The large rallies were already occurring and the border was already being manned by militia - before Russian army members reinforced the border. Those russian army members were already legally in Crimea as They had remained there by contract since the fall of the USSR.




Most Censored of 2014: #9. US Media Hypocrisy in Covering Ukraine Crisis

US Media Hypocrisy in Covering Ukraine Crisis
Project Censored
October 1, 2014



http://www.projectcensored.org/9-us-media-hypocrisy-covering-ukraine-crisis/

Russia’s occupation of Crimea has caused US corporate media and government officials to call for a stern US response. Secretary of State John Kerry declaimed the Russian intervention as “a nineteenth-century act in the twenty-first century.” What Russia’s US critics seem to forget, Robert Parry reported, is the United States’ own history of overthrowing democratic governments, including the illegal invasion of Iraq, which Kerry supported.

Corporate media also fail to acknowledge that Putin ordered the occupation of Kiev after a coup led at least partly by neo-Nazis—conditions arguably less criminal than the US invasion of Iraq, which the US legitimized with false claims. “If Putin is violating international law by sending Russian troops into the Crimea after a violent coup spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias ousted Ukraine’s democratically elected president,” wrote Parry, “then why hasn’t the US government turned over George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and indeed John Kerry to the International Criminal Court for their far more criminal invasion of Iraq?” (In a similar vein, Noam Chomsky has written about the US occupation of Guantánamo in Cuba as another instance of the contradiction between the US position toward Russia and its own lack of respect for national sovereignty.)

Further, Ukraine’s democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, fled Kiev for his life after the coup and sought Russia’s help quelling the neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine, citing their oppression of the country’s native Russian population. It was only after this that Putin requested the Russian parliament’s permission to deploy Russian troops in to stop the expansion of neo-Nazi control to areas that have deep historical ties to Russia.
Nevertheless, while downplaying these details, US corporate media accuse Russia of violating international law. “The overriding hypocrisy of the Washington Post, Secretary Kerry and indeed nearly all of Official Washington, is their insistence that the United States actually promotes the principle of democracy or, for that matter, the rule of international law,” wrote Parry. “Those are at best situational ethics when it comes to advancing US interests around the world.” In a subsequent report, Parry wrote that, despite evidence to the contrary, US policy makers and corporate media have intentionally neglected to report that neo-Nazi militias played a central role in the February 22, 2014, overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych. Parry reported, “The US media’s take on the Ukraine crisis is that a ‘democratic revolution’ ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, followed by a ‘legitimate’ change of government. So, to mention the key role played by neo-Nazi militias in the putsch or to note that Yanukovych was democratically elected—and then illegally deposed—gets you dismissed as a ‘Russian propagandist.’”

Continued:

http://www.projectcensored.org/9-us-media-hypocrisy-covering-ukraine-crisis/

What are Ukrainians Fighting For?

Repelling Fascism
What are Ukrainians Fighting For?
by HALYNA MOKRUSHYNA

What is truth? Can it be absolute? There is a saying in Ukrainian which says: “Everybody has her/his own truth”.

Ukrainians have their own truth – they are fighting a war against imperialist Russia, against “Rascists”(a play on words – Russia plus fascists). A patriotic drive sweeps across the country: people collect money to buy equipment and uniform for their sons, husbands, brothers who are going to the east to fight in war. Ordinary Ukrainians, whose earnings have been cut in half by inflation and a nearly fifty per cent depreciation of the national currency, are sending text messages to urge donations to support the Ukrainian army.

The high command of the Ukrainian army sends the sons of the Ukrainian nation to the meat grinder in Donbas [the region of southeast Ukraine where the war is raging] unprepared, underequipped and ignorant about the current situation on the battlefield. Those who present themselves to the recruitment centers are told they must buy their own ammunition.

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

In the spring of last year, Ukrainian soldiers and Donbas rebels were sitting at the same table–eating the same food, drinking the same vodka and singing the same songs. These are the words of one of the officers of the Ukrainian army, who was born in Donetsk. He pronounced them during Skype talks with a leader of the insurgency, Alexei Mozghovoi, that were broadcast on the Internet. These local talks were initiated by the Ukrainian side in the hope of finding a peaceful solution to this absurd, fratricide war. There are other signs of Ukrainians reaching out to rebellious Donbas.

This war is absurd. When one watches videos of the ruins in Donetsk and interviews with local people, they are all saying: “We do not want this war. Stop it!”

The Ukrainian President recently stated that he will restore the ‘Ukrainianness’ in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. What ‘Ukrainianness’ does he mean? A European one, to which western Ukraine believes to have belonged all throughout its history? Judging by his speeches, this is what Poroshenko means.


Halyna Mokrushyna is currently enrolled in the PhD program in Sociology at the University of Ottawa and a part-time professor. She holds a doctorate in linguistics and MA degree in communication. Her academic interests include: transitional justice; collective memory; ethnic studies; dissent movement in Ukraine; history of Ukraine; sociological thought. Her doctoral project deals with the memory of Stalinist purges in Ukraine. In the summer of 2013 she travelled to Lviv, Kyiv, Kharkiv and Donetsk to conduct her field research. She is currently working on completing her thesis. She can be reached at halouwins@gmail.com.


Complete article :

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/23/what-are-ukrainians-fighting-for/

PBS-TV’s Frontline’s Misrepresents Russia’s Vladimir Putin

PBS-TV’s Frontline’s Misrepresents Russia’s Vladimir Putin
January 19th, 2015

Eric Zuesse
thepeoplesvoice.org



On January 13th, the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) telecast the FRONTLINE documentary, “Putin’s Way,” which purported to be a biography of Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin.

The press release about this film states: "Drawing on firsthand accounts from exiled Russian business tycoons, writers and politicians, as well as the exhaustive research of scholar and best-selling Putin’s Kleptocracy author Karen Dawisha, the film examines troubling episodes in Putin’s past, from alleged money-laundering activities and ties to organized crime, to a secret personal fortune said to be in the billions. … These accounts portray a Russian leader who began by professing hope and democracy but now is stoking nationalism, conflict and authoritarianism.”

This documentary opens by describing the corruption that pervaded post-Soviet Russia and the Presidential Administration of Putin’s sponsor Boris Yeltsin during the transitional period of ending communism and starting capitalism, which was the period of privatization of the former Soviet Government’s assets. This film ignores the role that the U.S. and especially the then-World-Bank President Lawrence Summers and his protege Andrei Shleifer and other members of Harvard’s Economics Department played in planning and largely overseeing that entire process. Yeltsin brought that team in, to plan and oversee the process, because he figured that Harvard would know how to set up capitalism. On 10 February 2006, the Harvard Crimson headlined about the result, “Tawdry Shleifer Affair’ Stokes Faculty Anger Toward Summers‘,” and noted that the affair was such an embarrassment to the University that, “Shleifer, the Jones professor of economics, was found liable by a federal court in 2004 for conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government while leading a Harvard economic reform program in Russia as it transitioned to capitalism in the 1990s. Shleifer settled the case for $2 million.” An extensive article by David McClintick in Institutional Investor magazine described the sleazy details of this affair, under the banner of “How Harvard Lost Russia.” However, this FRONTLINE documentary ignores all of that history, and pretends that Yeltsin established Russia’s crony-capitalism with no help or guidance from the U.S., the World Bank, and Harvard’s economists. Putin is instead portrayed as having been, and as now being, just a continuation of Soviet-era corruption, not at all as functioning in what was, to a significant extent, actually a U.S.-headed transition into capitalism.


Continued:

http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/TPV3/Voices.php/2015/01/19/pbs-tv-s-frontline-s-misrepresents-russi

Project Censored: Top 25 Most Censored Stories of 2013-2014

[font size=2]Top 25 Most Censored Stories of 2013-2014

The presentation of the 2013-2014 Top 25 stories extends the tradition originated by Professor Carl Jensen and his Sonoma State University students in 1976, while reflecting how the expansion of the Project to include affiliate faculty and students from campuses across the country has made the Project even more diverse and robust. During this year’s cycle, Project Censored reviewed 237 Validated Independent News stories (VINs) representing the collective efforts of 260 college students and 49 professors from 18 college and university campuses that participate in our affiliate program.

Link to all 25 subjects on the Project Censored website:

http://www.projectcensored.org/category/top-25-censored-stories-of-2014/page/2/
[/font]


25. “Chaptered Out”: US Military Seeks to Balance Budget on Backs of Disabled Veterans

24. Restorative Justice Turns Violent Schools Around

23. Number of US Prison Inmates Serving Life Sentences Hits New Record

22. Corporate News Media Understate Rape, Sexual Violence

21. Questioning the Charter School Hype

20. Estonia a Global Example of E-Government, Digital Freedom, Privacy, and Security

19. Agribusiness Giants Attempt to Silence and Discredit Scientists Whose Research Reveals Herbicides’ Health Threats

18. National Database of Police Killings Aims for Accountability

17. 2016 Will Find Gaza out of Drinking Water

16. The Beef Industry’s “Feedlot Feedback Loop”

15. Reporting Miscarriages, Criminalizing Pregnant Women’s Bodies

14. Accumulating Evidence of Ongoing Wireless Technology Health Hazards

13. Lawsuit Challenges Nuclear Power Industry Immunity from Liability in Nuclear Accidents

12. Pentagon Awash in Money Despite Serious Audit Problems

11. Wealthy Donors and Corporations Set Think Tanks’ Agendas

10. World Health Organization Suppresses Report on Iraqi Cancers and Birth Defects

9. US Media Hypocrisy in Covering Ukraine Crisis

8. Corporate News Ignores Connections Between Extreme Weather and Global Warming

7. FBI Dismisses Murder Plot against Occupy Leaders as NSA and Big Business Cracks Down on Dissent

6. The Deep State: Government “without Reference to the Consent of the Governed”

5. Bankers Back on Wall Street Despite Major Crimes

4. Corporate Internet Providers Threaten Net Neutrality

3. WikiLeaks Revelations on Trans-Pacific Partnership Ignored by Corporate Media

2. Top Ten US Aid Recipients All Practice Torture

1. Ocean Acidification Increasing at Unprecedented Rate


All 25 subjects on the Project Censored site:
http://www.projectcensored.org/category/top-25-censored-stories-of-2014/

In Just 60 Years, Neoliberal Capitalism Has Nearly Broken Planet Earth

Published on
Friday, January 16, 2015
by Common Dreams

That Was Easy: In Just 60 Years, Neoliberal Capitalism Has Nearly Broken Planet Earth

Pair of new studies show how various forms of human activity, driven by a flawed economic system and vast consumption, is laying waste to Earth's natural systems

by Jon Queally, staff writer


The conclusion that the world's dominant economic model—a globalized form of neoliberal capitalism, largely based on international trade and fueled by extracting and consuming natural resources—is the driving force behind planetary destruction will not come as a shock, but the model's detailed description of how this has worked since the middle of the 20th century makes a more substantial case than many previous attempts. (Photo: NASA)


Humanity's rapacious growth and accelerated energy needs over the last generation—particularly fed by an economic system that demands increasing levels of consumption and inputs of natural resources—are fast driving planetary systems towards their breaking point, according to a new pair of related studies.

"It is difficult to overestimate the scale and speed of change. In a single lifetime humanity has become a geological force at the planetary-scale." —Prof. Will Steffen


Prepared by researchers at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the first study looks specifically at how "four of nine planetary boundaries have now been crossed as a result of human activity." Published in the journal Nature on Thursday, the 18 researchers involved with compiling evidence for the report—titled 'Planetary Boundaries 2.0'—found that when it comes to climate change, species extinction and biodiversity loss, deforestation and other land-system changes, and altered biogeochemical cycles (such as changes to how key organic compounds like phosphorus and nitrogen are operating in the environment), the degradation that has already take place is driving the Earth System, as a whole, into a new state of imbalance.

"Transgressing a boundary increases the risk that human activities could inadvertently drive the Earth System into a much less hospitable state, damaging efforts to reduce poverty and leading to a deterioration of human well-being in many parts of the world, including wealthy countries," said Professor Will Steffen, a researcher at the Centre and the Australian National University, Canberra, who was lead author for both studies.

Full story:
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/01/16/was-easy-just-60-years-neoliberal-capitalism-has-nearly-broken-planet-earth

Forget Lobbyists: Big Business Wants To Control American Minds, Not Just Their Lawmakers

Published on
Thursday, January 15, 2015
by Center for Public Integrity
Forget Lobbyists: Big Business Wants To Control American Minds, Not Just Their Lawmakers

Who needs lobbyists? See what big business spends to win American minds. List of top contractors for trade associations dominated by message mavens.
by
Erin Quinn, Center for Public Integrity

?itok=C1ICEpwg
Screenshot from an ad, paid for by the American Petroleum Institute, which was part of a
"Vote 4 Energy" campaign from 2012. (Image: via Youtube)


Forget lobbying. When Washington, D.C.’s biggest trade associations want to wield influence, they often put far more of their money into advertising and public relations, according to a new Center for Public Integrity investigation.

Take, for example, the American Petroleum Institute. The oil and gas industry trade group spent more than $7 million lobbying federal officials in 2012. But that sum was dwarfed by the $85.5 million it paid to four public relations and advertising firms to, in effect, lobby the American public — including $51.9 million just to global PR giant Edelman.

From 2008 through 2012, annual tax filings show, the API paid Edelman a staggering $327.4 million for advertising and public relations services, more than any other contractor.

It’s been well-publicized how much industry spends on lobbying the government, but little is known about how much money goes toward influencing the public. In an effort to find out more, Center for Public Integrity reporters examined the tax returns for trade associations that spent more than $1 million on lobbying in 2012. The IRS requires the groups to report their top five contractors.

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/01/15/forget-lobbyists-big-business-wants-control-american-minds-not-just-their-lawmakers

CrossTalk: Battling Narratives

Another excellent roundtable debate with a variety of viewpoints expressed (including a former British diplomat).
Levelle gets a little overexcited, but overall an excellent watch.


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