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Round Table: Can the IMF save Ukraine?

From an excellent discussion/article at The Nation Magazine site"

http://www.thenation.com/article/209329/ukraine-crisis-heres-why-west-cant-save-it#

Salon: We are the propagandists: The real story about how The New York Times and the White House

We are the propagandists: The real story about how The New York Times and the White House has turned truth in the Ukraine on its head

A sophisticated game of manipulation is afoot over Russia: power, influence and money. U.S. hands are not clean


Vladimir Putin (Credit: AP/Mark Lennihan/Photo montage by Salon)

Excerpt:

Ever since the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, reality itself has come to seem up for grabs. Karl Rove, a diabolically competent political infighter but of no discernible intellectual weight, may have been prescient when he told us to forget our pedestrian notions of reality—real live reality. Empires create their own, he said, and we’re an empire now.

The Ukraine crisis reminds us that the pathology is not limited to the peculiar dreamers who made policy during the Bush II administration, whose idea of reality was idealist beyond all logic. It is a late-imperial phenomenon that extends across the board. “Unprecedented” is considered a dangerous word in journalism, but it may describe the Obama administration’s furious efforts to manufacture a Ukraine narrative and our media’s incessant reproduction of all its fallacies.

At this point it is only sensible to turn everything that is said or shown in our media upside down and consider it a second time. Who could want to live in a world this much like Orwell’s or Huxley’s—the one obliterating reality by destroying language, the other by making historical reference a transgression?

Language and history: As argued several times in this space, these are the weapons we are not supposed to have.

Ukraine now gives us two fearsome examples of what I mean by inverted reason.


Full Story:
http://www.salon.com/2015/06/03/we_are_the_propagandists_the_real_story_about_how_the_new_york_times_and_the_white_house_has_turned_truth_in_the_ukraine_on_its_head/

US Special Forces Are Operating in More Countries Than You Can Imagine


US Special Forces Are Operating in More Countries Than You Can Imagine
The Nation Magazine

What do you know about the special forces carrying out a secret war in more than half the nations on the planet?

Nick Turse


A US Special Forces trainer supervises a military assault drill in Sudan in 2013. (Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)

Excerpt:

Despite its massive scale and scope, this secret global war across much of the planet is unknown to most Americans. Unlike the December debacle in Yemen, the vast majority of special ops missions remain completely in the shadows, hidden from external oversight or press scrutiny. In fact, aside from modest amounts of information disclosed through highly-selective coverage by military media, official White House leaks, SEALs with something to sell and a few cherry-picked journalists reporting on cherry-picked opportunities, much of what America’s special operators do is never subjected to meaningful examination, which only increases the chances of unforeseen blowback and catastrophic consequences.

The Golden Age

“The command is at its absolute zenith. And it is indeed a golden age for special operations.” Those were the words of Army General Joseph Votel III, a West Point graduate and Army Ranger, as he assumed command of SOCOM last August.

His rhetoric may have been high-flown, but it wasn’t hyperbole. Since September 11, 2001, US Special Operations forces have grown in every conceivable way, including their numbers, their budget, their clout in Washington and their place in the country’s popular imagination. The command has, for example, more than doubled its personnel from about 33,000 in 2001 to nearly 70,000 today, including a jump of roughly 8,000 during the three-year tenure of recently retired SOCOM chief Admiral William McRaven.

Those numbers, impressive as they are, don’t give a full sense of the nature of the expansion and growing global reach of America’s most elite forces in these years. For that, a rundown of the acronym-ridden structure of the ever-expanding Special Operations Command is in order. The list may be mind-numbing, but there is no other way to fully grasp its scope.

The lion’s share of SOCOM’s troops are Rangers, Green Berets and other soldiers from the Army, followed by Air Force air commandos, SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen and support personnel from the Navy, as well as a smaller contingent of Marines. But you only get a sense of the expansiveness of the command when you consider the full range of “sub-unified commands” that these special ops troops are divided among: the self-explanatory SOCAFRICA; SOCEUR, the European contingent; SOCKOR, which is devoted strictly to Korea; SOCPAC, which covers the rest of the Asia-Pacific region; SOCSOUTH, which conducts missions in Central America, South America and the Caribbean; SOCCENT, the sub-unified command of US Central Command (CENTCOM) in the Middle East; SOCNORTH, which is devoted to “homeland defense”; and the globe-trotting Joint Special Operations Command or JSOC—a clandestine sub-command (formerly headed by McRaven and then Votel) made up of personnel from each service branch, including SEALs, Air Force special tactics airmen and the Army’s Delta Force, that specializes in tracking and killing suspected terrorists.


Full story:
http://www.thenation.com/article/195409/us-special-forces-are-operating-more-countries-you-can-imagine

The Future of a Failed State

The Future of a Failed State

Nations like Haiti don’t “fail” because of their people, 
but because they’ve been relentlessly exploited by 
the more “developed” world.


(Bettmann / Corbis / AP)

How does a state fail?

It’s a question you can’t help asking yourself as you make your way in Haiti, through the chaos left by four severe tropical storms in 2008 and the destruction wrought by the 2010 earthquake—some of which is still evident on the streets of Port-au-Prince today, five years later. It’s not just the unrebuilt infrastructure that raises this question, but also the human and political waste caused by so many years of corrupting collaboration with the United States, the United Nations and outside nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

A state doesn’t fail because of some innate inferiority in its people. I make this obvious point only because people who don’t know Haiti often try, as subtly as they know how, to claim this is the case. They’re wrong: a state fails because of its history.

Haiti from its inception has been a peculiarly globalized entity. The slavery with which the French colony enriched itself was a global labor and agricultural phenomenon, bringing people from Africa to the Americas in order to serve as free labor on plantations owned by Europeans. Haiti’s revolution, too, was a global phenomenon, linking those same three continents. Haiti’s early debt was global; its economics under slavery and, later, the US occupation were global as well—and still are.

Many readers of The Nation may know something of the remarkable history of this country, since the magazine has been following it for more than a century. But for those of you coming to it cold: Haiti had unbelievably promising beginnings. Though tarnished by centuries of slavery, the country was the creation of some of the great geniuses of the 1700s. But the enormous potential of these singular men was destroyed by France, which kidnapped and killed some of Haiti’s ablest leaders, most notably Toussaint Louverture. In 1825, a scant two decades after Haitian independence was declared, France demanded an indemnity of 150 million francs (roughly estimated at $20 billion in today’s dollars) for the property lost by French plantation owners during the quite bloody, quite fiery revolution—one that Haiti had won.

Full story:
http://www.thenation.com/article/198905/future-failed-state

Josh Cohen - Vladimir Putin calls Ukraine fascist and country’s new law helps make his case

(Note: This has now been passed and is no longer in draft)

Vladimir Putin calls Ukraine fascist and country’s new law helps make his case
Josh Cohen


A member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) waits to depart to the frontline
in eastern Ukraine, in central Kiev, March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich


As Ukraine continues its battle against separatists, corruption and a collapsing economy, it has taken a dangerous step that could further tear the country apart: Ukraine’s parliament, the Supreme Rada, passed a draft law last month honoring organizations involved in mass ethnic cleansing during World War Two.

The draft law — which is now on President Petro Poroshenko’s desk awaiting his signature — recognizes a series of Ukrainian political and military organizations as “fighters for Ukrainian independence in the 20th century” and bans the criticism of these groups and their members. (The bill doesn’t state the penalty for doing so.) Two of the groups honored — the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) — helped the Nazis carry out the Holocaust while also killing close to 100,000 Polish civilians during World War Two.

The law is part of a recent trend of contemporary Ukrainian nationalism promoted by those on the extreme right to break with the country’s Communist past and emphasize Ukraine’s suffering under the Soviet regime. In addition to the moral problem of forbidding the criticism of Holocaust perpetrators, the law hinders Ukraine’s European ambitions — and validates Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claims that the country is overrun by neo-Nazis.

The OUN was founded in 1929 as a revolutionary organization designed to liberate Ukraine from Soviet rule and create an independent Ukrainian state. Many OUN leaders were trained in Nazi Germany, and the group’s philosophy was influenced by Nazi racial theorists such as Alfred Rosenberg. OUN literature, for example, declared the need to “combat Jews as supporters of the Muscovite-Bolshevik regime… Death to the Muscovite-Jewish commune! Beat the commune, save Ukraine!”

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/05/14/putin-ties-ukraines-government-to-neo-nazis-a-new-law-seems-to-back-him-up/

____________________________________________________________________________________

Ukraine bans Soviet symbols and criminalizes sympathy for communism

New laws also honor controversial nationalist groups that committed ethnic cleansing or allied with the Nazis for part of second world war


Two new laws that ban communist symbols while honoring nationalist groups that collaborated with the Nazis have come into effect in Ukraine, raising concerns that Kiev could be stifling free speech and further fragmenting the war-torn country in the rush to break ties with its Soviet past.

The first law “on the condemnation of the communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes” forbids both Soviet and Nazi symbols, making something as trivial as selling a USSR souvenir, or singing the Soviet national hymn or the Internationale, punishable by up to five years in prison for an individual and up to 10 years in prison for members of an organization.

It also makes it a criminal offense to deny the “criminal character of the communist totalitarian regime of 1917-1991 in Ukraine” in the media or elsewhere.

The second law recognizes controversial nationalist groups – including the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) – as “independence fighters” and makes it a criminal offense to question the legitimacy of their actions. While these two groups at different times fought both Soviet and German forces, they also collaborated with the Nazis and took part in ethnic cleansing. One of the authors of the law is the son of UPA leader Roman Shukhevych.


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/21/ukraine-bans-soviet-symbols-criminalises-sympathy-for-communism

Philip Zimmermann: king of encryption reveals his fears for privacy

Philip Zimmermann: king of encryption reveals his fears for privacy

The creator of PGP has moved his mobile-encryption firm Silent Circle to Switzerland to be free of US mass surveillance. Here he explains why

When Philip Zimmermann was campaigning for nuclear disarmament in the 1980s, he kept an escape plan in his back pocket. The inventor of the world’s most widely used email encryption system, Pretty Good Privacy – more commonly known as PGP – was ready to move his family from Colorado to New Zealand at a moment’s notice.

The button was never pressed and the Zimmermanns stayed put. Until this year, that is. At 61, the Internet Hall of Fame inductee and founder of three-year-old mobile encryption startup Silent Circle has just left the US for Switzerland. In the end, it was not the nuclear threat that convinced him to leave his homeland, but the surveillance arms race.

“Every dystopian society has excessive surveillance, but now we see even western democracies like the US and England moving that way,” he warns. “We have to roll this back. People who are not suspected of committing crimes should not have information collected and stored in a database. We don’t want to become like North Korea.”

Zimmermann stopped in London to host a reception at the Victoria & Albert Museum where his cryptographic handset, the Blackphone, is currently on display, alongside the remains of a laptop destroyed on government orders by Guardian editors wielding angle grinders, because it contained a trove of secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden.


Continued:
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/25/philip-zimmermann-king-encryption-reveals-fears-privacy

Security forces in Odessa arrest 30 more Bessarabia People’s Rada activists

Security forces in Odessa arrest 30 more Bessarabia People’s Rada activists

http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/index.php/sid/232040941

According to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, the activists staged a meeting calling for peace and formation of cultural autonomy within Ukraine

ODESSA, April 17. /TASS/. Police in Odessa, a port city on the Black Sea, on Thursday arrested 30 more activists of the People’s Rada of Bessarabia, including member of the presidium of this public organization Vera Shevchenko. According to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, the activists staged a meeting calling for peace and formation of cultural autonomy within Ukraine.

They also protested against the arrests of their fellow activists, among them the organization’s leader Dmitry Zatuliveter. "He disappeared immediately after the rada’s foundation conference that was held on April 6. We are very much concerned about Dmitry’s health and life, we are totally against the use of unauthorized methods of influence with regard to him, including force and, possibly, psychotropic agents," Shevchenko told reporters. Zatuliveter’s relatives and friends believe that he may be held by Ukrainian law enforcers, she added.

According to local media, the organization’s members detained by police were subjected to lengthy interrogations and intimidations by Ukraine’s Security Service officers.

Bessarabia is a region in south-eastern Europe between the Black Sea and the Danube, the Dniester and the Prut rivers. The Odessa region bordering the unrecognized Transdniestria Republic occupies part of Bessarabia.

http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/index.php/sid/232040941

In Horlovka, Eastern Ukraine, a Donetsk Republic Rises

Yegor Voronov is a left-wing activist, blogger and journalist from the coal mining and industrial city of of Horlivka, Donetsk region.


In Horlovka, Eastern Ukraine, a Donetsk Republic Rises
by YEGOR VORONOV

The culmination of the Anti-Maidan movement in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine was the founding of the Donetsk People’s Republic in April 2014. A declaration was issued on April 7.

At that time, even the most marginal political figures involved could not have imagined that one year later, the new entity would be on the way to real self-affirmation as a state. Neither “Kremlin agents“, nor “separatists“, of the future Donetsk People’s Republic, occupying the regional administration building in Donetsk at several key moments in March and April of 2014, nor anyone else for that matter, could have given such a powerful momentum for the pro-federalization (autonomy) movement of Donbas as the governing officials in Kyiv.

All along, Kyiv ignored the concerns and basic democratic demands of countless rallies in eastern Ukraine of people who were defending Lenin monuments against destruction and who simply wanted the right to live and work in their language. Their rallies were also forms of popular referendums, demanding an end the reign of the oligarchs (against whom the Maidan movement allegedly fought). Officials of the new government that came to power in Kyiv in February 2014 on the back of the Maidan movement has demonstrated time and again to Donbas residents that it quite literally does not consider them as human beings.

Kyiv’s ‘Anti-Terrorist Operation‘ launched in April 2014 by the Armed Forces of Ukraine and extreme-right militias convinced thousands of indignant residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions to join self-defense militias. These were ordinary citizens who would not have imagined they could take such action, but Kyiv’s violence drove them to create not only self-defense militias but, eventually, something resembling a standing army. Similarly, the cutting by Kyiv of pensions and social payments to Donbas residents beginning last summer [1] has now led to the creation of a pension and social welfare system of the Donetsk People’s Republic.


"The fact is, and this may seem a paradox, when Kyiv authorities decided to starve elderly people already suffering from shelling and cold by cutting off their pensions, they expected this would bring the Donetsk People’s Republic to its knees. However, Kyiv officials, who hate the coal dust-tainted proletarians of the Donetsk region, have achieved quite the opposite effect. Their inhumane initiatives have served to further legitimize the new Republic in the eyes of the local residents. They realize, ‘Kyiv does not pay us pensions which we earned and deserved through a life of working hard. It has placed us in a ghetto, surrounded by guns, tanks and soldiers. Isn’t it quite natural for us to assume that this is not our government anymore, that it cares nothing about our fate?’ "


Continued here:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/07/in-horlovka-eastern-ukraine-a-donetsk-republic-rises/

German Documentary - The atrocities of Odessa on May 2, 2014

English subtitles

The anniversary of this event is today in Ukraine and is a huge event for many Ukrainians. There were so many concerns about protests in Odessa that the government sent in hundreds of police and brought in military from throughout the country to supervise Odessa.



(This was the second video on another post, but the documentary deserves to be posted on it's own and is a must see for anyone wanting to understand the events)

The Pentagon’s ‘Long War’

The Pentagon’s ‘Long War’
by PEPE ESCOBAR

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/01/the-pentagons-long-war/

Whatever happens with the nuclear negotiations this summer, and as much as Tehran wants cooperation and not confrontation, Iran is bound to remain — alongside Russia — a key US geostrategic target.

As much as US President Barack Obama tried to dismiss it, the Russian sale of the S-300 missile system to Iran is a monumental game-changer. Even with the added gambit of the Iranian military assuring the made in Iran Bavar 373 may be even more efficient than the S-300.

This explains why Jane’s Defense Weekly was already saying years ago that Israel could not penetrate Iranian airspace even if it managed to get there. And after the S-300s Iran inevitably will be offered the even more sophisticated S-400s, which are to be delivered to China as well.

The unspoken secret behind these game-changing proceedings actually terrifies Washington warmongers; it spells out a further frontline of Eurasian integration, in the form of an evolving Eurasian missile shield deployed against Pentagon/NATO ballistic plans.

A precious glimpse of what’s ahead was offered at the Moscow Conference on International Security (MICS) in mid-April.

Continued:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/01/the-pentagons-long-war/
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