Crimea

The Anti-Empire Report #127

From the Keyboard of William Blum

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Published originally in The Anti-Empire Report April 7, 2014

Indoctrinating a new generation

Is there anyone out there who still believes that Barack Obama, when he’s speaking about American foreign policy, is capable of being anything like an honest man? In a March 26 talk in Belgium to “European youth”, the president fed his audience one falsehood, half-truth, blatant omission, or hypocrisy after another. If George W. Bush had made some of these statements, Obama supporters would not hesitate to shake their head, roll their eyes, or smirk. Here’s a sample:

“In defending its actions, Russian leaders have further claimed Kosovo as a precedent – an example they say of the West interfering in the affairs of a smaller country, just as they’re doing now. But NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years.”

Most people who follow such things are convinced that the 1999 US/NATO bombing of the Serbian province of Kosovo took place only after the Serbian-forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic deportations of large numbers of people did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a reaction to it, born of Serbia’s extreme anger and powerlessness over the bombing. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, 1999, and the few days following. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:

… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would now vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation.[emphasis added]

On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that nature.

But the propaganda version is already set in marble.

“And Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized, not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbors. None of that even came close to happening in Crimea.”

None of that even came close to happening in Kosovo either. The story is false. The referendum the president speaks of never happened. Did the mainstream media pick up on this or on the previous example? If any reader comes across such I’d appreciate being informed.

Crimea, by the way, did have a referendum. A real one.

“Workers and engineers gave life to the Marshall Plan … As the Iron Curtain fell here in Europe, the iron fist of apartheid was unclenched, and Nelson Mandela emerged upright, proud, from prison to lead a multiracial democracy. Latin American nations rejected dictatorship and built new democracies … “

The president might have mentioned that the main beneficiary of the Marshall Plan was US corporations , that the United States played an indispensable role in Mandela being caught and imprisoned, and that virtually all the Latin American dictatorships owed their very existence to Washington. Instead, the European youth were fed the same party line that their parents were fed, as were all Americans.

“Yes, we believe in democracy – with elections that are free and fair.”

In this talk, the main purpose of which was to lambaste the Russians for their actions concerning Ukraine, there was no mention that the government overthrown in that country with the clear support of the United States had been democratically elected.

“Moreover, Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. … But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state that could make decisions about its own future.”

The US did not get UN Security Council approval for its invasion, the only approval that could legitimize the action. It occupied Iraq from one end of the country to the other for 8 years, forcing the government to privatize the oil industry and accept multinational – largely U.S.-based, oil companies’ – ownership. This endeavor was less than successful because of the violence unleashed by the invasion. The US military finally was forced to leave because the Iraqi government refused to give immunity to American soldiers for their many crimes.

Here is a brief summary of what Barack Obama is attempting to present as America’s moral superiority to the Russians:

The modern, educated, advanced nation of Iraq was reduced to a quasi failed state … the Americans, beginning in 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one dubious excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, tortured without inhibition, killed wantonly … the people of that unhappy land lost everything – their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile … The air, soil, water, blood, and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lying in wait for children to pick them up … a river of blood running alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again. … “It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003,” reported the Washington Post. (May 5, 2007)

How can all these mistakes, such arrogance, hypocrisy and absurdity find their way into a single international speech by the president of the United States? Is the White House budget not sufficient to hire a decent fact checker? Someone with an intellect and a social conscience? Or does the desire to score propaganda points trump everything else? Is this another symptom of the Banana-Republicization of America?

Long live the Cold War

In 1933 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized the Soviet Union after some 15 years of severed relations following the Bolshevik Revolution. On a day in December of that year, a train was passing through Poland carrying the first American diplomats dispatched to Moscow. Amongst their number was a 29 year-old Foreign Service Officer, later to become famous as a diplomat and scholar, George Kennan. Though he was already deemed a government expert on Russia, the train provided Kennan’s first actual exposure to the Soviet Union. As he listened to his group’s escort, Russian Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov, reminisce about growing up in a village the train was passing close by, and his dreams of becoming a librarian, the Princeton-educated Kennan was astonished: “We suddenly realized, or at least I did, that these people we were dealing with were human beings like ourselves, that they had been born somewhere, that they had their childhood ambitions as we had. It seemed for a brief moment we could break through and embrace these people.”

It hasn’t happened yet.

One would think that the absence in Russia of communism, of socialism, of the basic threat or challenge to the capitalist system, would be sufficient to write finis to the 70-year Cold War mentality. But the United States is virtually as hostile to 21st-century Russia as it was to 20th-century Soviet Union, surrounding Moscow with military bases, missile sites, and NATO members. Why should that be? Ideology is no longer a factor. But power remains one, specifically America’s perpetual lust for world hegemony. Russia is the only nation that (a) is a military powerhouse, and (b) doesn’t believe that the United States has a god-given-American-exceptionalism right to rule the world, and says so. By these criteria, China might qualify as a poor second. But there are no others.

Washington pretends that it doesn’t understand why Moscow should be upset by Western military encroachment, but it has no such problem when roles are reversed. Secretary of State John Kerry recently stated that Russian troops poised near eastern Ukraine are “creating a climate of fear and intimidation in Ukraine” and raising questions about Russia’s next moves and its commitment to diplomacy.

NATO – ever in need of finding a raison d’être – has now issued a declaration of [cold] war, which reads in part:

“NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday [April 1, 2014] reaffirmed their commitment to enhance the Alliance’s collective defence, agreed to further support Ukraine and to suspend NATO’s practical cooperation with Russia. ‘NATO’s greatest responsibility is to protect and defend our territory and our people. And make no mistake, this is what we will do,’ NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. … Ministers directed Allied military authorities to develop additional measures to strengthen collective defence and deterrence against any threat of aggression against the Alliance, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said. ‘We will make sure we have updated military plans, enhanced exercises and appropriate deployments,’ he said. NATO has already reinforced its presence on the eastern border of the Alliance, including surveillance patrols over Poland and Romania and increased numbers of fighter aircraft allocated to the NATO air policing mission in the Baltic States. … NATO Foreign Ministers also agreed to suspend all of NATO’s practical cooperation with Russia.”

Does anyone recall what NATO said in 2003 when the United States bombed and invaded Iraq with “shock and awe”, compared to the Russians now not firing a single known shot at anyone? And neither Russia nor Ukraine is even a member of NATO. Does NATO have a word to say about the right-wing coup in Ukraine, openly supported by the United States, overthrowing the elected government? Did the hypocrisy get any worse during the Cold War? Imagine that NATO had not been created in 1949. Imagine that it has never existed. What reason could one give today for its creation? Other than to provide a multi-national cover for Washington’s interventions.

One of the main differences between now and the Cold War period is that Americans at home are (not yet) persecuted or prosecuted for supporting Russia or things Russian.

But don’t worry, folks, there won’t be a big US-Russian war. For the same reason there wasn’t one during the Cold War. The United States doesn’t pick on any country which can defend itself.

Cuba … Again … Still … Forever

Is there actually a limit? Will the United States ever stop trying to overthrow the Cuban government? Entire books have been written documenting the unrelenting ways Washington has tried to get rid of tiny Cuba’s horrid socialism – from military invasion to repeated assassination attempts to an embargo that President Clinton’s National Security Advisor called “the most pervasive sanctions ever imposed on a nation in the history of mankind”. But nothing has ever come even close to succeeding. The horrid socialism keeps on inspiring people all over the world. It’s the darnedest thing. Can providing people free or remarkably affordable health care, education, housing, food and culture be all that important?

And now it’s “Cuban Twitter” – an elaborately complex system set up by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to disguise its American origins and financing, aiming to bring about a “Cuban Spring” uprising. USAID sought to first “build a Cuban audience, mostly young people; then the plan was to push them toward dissent”, hoping the messaging network “would reach critical mass so that dissidents could organize ‘smart mobs’ – mass gatherings called at a moment’s notice – that might trigger political demonstrations or ‘renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society’.” It’s too bad it’s now been exposed, because we all know how wonderful the Egyptian, Syrian, Libyan, and other “Arab Springs” have turned out.

Here’s USAID speaking after their scheme was revealed on April 3: “Cubans were able to talk among themselves, and we are proud of that.” We are thus asked to believe that normally the poor downtrodden Cubans have no good or safe way to communicate with each other. Is the US National Security Agency working for the Cuban government now?

The Associated Press, which broke the story, asks us further to believe that the “truth” about most things important in the world is being kept from the Cuban people by the Castro regime, and that the “Cuban Twitter” would have opened people’s eyes. But what information might a Cuban citizen discover online that the government would not want him to know about? I can’t imagine. Cubans are in constant touch with relatives in the US, by mail and in person. They get US television programs from Miami and other southern cities; both CNN and Telesur (Venezuela, covering Latin America) are seen regularly on Cuban television”; international conferences on all manner of political, economic and social issues are held regularly in Cuba. I’ve spoken at more than one myself. What – it must be asked – does USAID, as well as the American media, think are the great dark secrets being kept from the Cuban people by the nasty commie government?

Those who push this line sometimes point to the serious difficulty of using the Internet in Cuba. The problem is that it’s extremely slow, making certain desired usages often impractical. From an American friend living in Havana: “It’s not a question of getting or not getting internet. I get internet here. The problem is downloading something or connecting to a link takes too long on the very slow connection that exists here, so usually I/we get ‘timed out’.” But the USAID’s “Cuban Twitter”, after all, could not have functioned at all without the Internet.

Places like universities, upscale hotels, and Internet cafés get better connections, at least some of the time; however, it’s rather expensive to use at the hotels and cafés.

In any event, this isn’t a government plot to hide dangerous information. It’s a matter of technical availability and prohibitive cost, both things at least partly in the hands of the United States and American corporations. Microsoft, for example, at one point, if not at present, barred Cuba from using its Messenger instant messaging service.

Cuba and Venezuela have jointly built a fiber optic underwater cable connection that they hope will make them less reliant on the gringos; the outcome of this has not yet been reported in much detail.

The grandly named Agency for International Development does not have an honorable history; this can perhaps be captured by a couple of examples: In 1981, the agency’s director, John Gilligan, stated: “At one time, many AID field offices were infiltrated from top to bottom with CIA people. The idea was to plant operatives in every kind of activity we had overseas, government, volunteer, religious, every kind.”

On June 21, 2012, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) issued a resolution calling for the immediate expulsion of USAID from their nine member countries, “due to the fact that we consider their presence and actions to constitute an interference which threatens the sovereignty and stability of our nations.”

USAID, the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy (and the latter’s subsidiaries), together or singly, continue to be present at regime changes, or attempts at same, favorable to Washington, from “color revolutions” to “spring” uprisings, producing a large measure of chaos and suffering for our tired old world.

Notes

  1. William Blum, America’s Deadliest Export – Democracy: The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else, p.22-5
  2. Walter Isaacson & Evan Thomas, The Wise Men (1986), p.158
  3. Washington Post, March 31, 2014
  4. NATO takes measures to reinforce collective defence, agrees on support for Ukraine”, NATO website, April 1, 2014
  5. Sandy Berger, White House press briefing, November 14, 1997, US Newswire transcript
  6. Associated Press, April 3 & 4, 2014
  7. Washington Post, April 4, 2014
  8. Associated Press, June 2, 2009
  9. George Cotter, “Spies, strings and missionaries”, The Christian Century (Chicago), March 25, 1981, p.321

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

 

 

William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others.

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

 

 

Media War: The Battle for Crimea

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Global Research on March 17, 2014

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blackseaThe Western press has been deceiving readers, listeners, and viewers since the beginning of the so-called “Euromaidan” protests – from covering up the ultra-right wing ideology and literal Neo-Nazi flag wavers leading the mobs, to the role the West has played in organizing, funding, and equipping the protesters in the first place.  

 

With their proxies now entrenched in Kiev after violently overthrowing the elected government of  Viktor Yanukovych, the truth has begun to trickle out, and with it, Russia has gained ground against the West in its defense of the Ukrainian people from what is essentially and quite obviously a right-wing Nazi regime backed by foreign interests from the West once again occupying Ukrainian territory just as they had in World War II. And just like in WW II, the Crimea peninsula has become a pivotal battleground.

 

While there are Russia troops, permanently stationed in Crimea under a long-standing treaty, and the West has begun to posture militarily – the battle is currently being fought across the media.

 

Laying Out the Battleground in Crimea: Russia’s Case 

543Russia has defended Ukraine from fascism for decades, spending the blood of millions pushing the Nazis out of the region in the 1940′s and now again against literal Neo-Nazis occupying Kiev after yet another Western-backed coup has overthrown Ukraine’s elected government – the first being the US-engineered 2004 “Orange Revolution” (as covered in the Guardian’s article, “US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev“).

 

Russia insists that once again, fascism threatens the lives and freedoms of the Ukrainian people with whom Russia shares a collective history, long-standing socioeconomic and even linguistic and cultural ties. This is based not on “Russian propaganda,” but on demonstrated actions already carried out by the new Western-backed regime in Kiev.

 

Immediately after seizing power, the assault on Russian-Ukrainians began. The International Business Times in its article, “Watch Your Tongue: Language Controversy One Of Fundamental Conflicts In Ukraine,” pointed out that:

 

Immediately after the removal of President Viktor Yanukovych from power on Feb. 22, the Ukrainian Parliament repealed a controversial law passed in 2012 that allowed the use of “regional languages” – including Russian, Hungarian, Romanian and Tatar — in courts and certain government functions in areas of the country where such speakers constituted at least 10 percent of the population. (In 1991, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the newly independent state of Ukraine established Ukrainian as its sole official language.)

The West’s Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) would also find it necessary to condemn moves by the regime in Kiev to censor Russian media in Ukraine. A post appearing on OSCE’s official website titled, “OSCE media freedom representative concerned about new steps to restrict media plurality in Ukraine,” stated:

 

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today expressed concern about demands that cable operators in Ukraine stop transmitting certain Russian television channels. 

“I repeat my call to the authorities not to initiate these repressive measures,” Mijatović said. “Banning programming without a legal basis is a form of censorship; national security concerns should not be used at the expense of media freedom.” 

On 11 March the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine demanded that all cable operators stop broadcasts of the Russian television channels Rossiya 24, ORT, RTR Planeta and NTV-Mir.

It is clear that the West’s newly created regime in Kiev is pursing a dangerous and oppressive policy that amounts to fascism. With parties such as “Right Sector,” Svoboda, and the “Fatherland Party” forming its leadership and openly espousing hatred toward Jews, Russians, homosexuals and other minorities, it is no surprise that Ukraine’s predominantly Russia regions in the east seek to disassociate and remove themselves from the current regime in Kiev. Nor is it a surprise that Russia is mobilizing resources to defend against a historically familiar threat that once again lies directly along their border.

 

The West’s Front in Crimea 

lgf01a201403091500Across the Western media, there have even been admissions that the “uprising” in Kiev was led by outright Nazis. The BBC’s short video report, “Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine,” exposes this otherwise intentionally ignored aspect of “Euromaidan.” Attempts to cover up the fascist nature of the regime in Kiev by the West is intentional – and to further misled the public, they have begun fabricating narratives portraying Russia as the “Hitler-style” aggressor.

 

In Crimea in particular, the West has attempted to portray the ethnic minority Tartars as facing impending doom as a result of closer ties with Russia. In the New York Times article, “Mindful of Past, Many Tatars Fear a Russian Future,” it claims:

 

As Crimea prepares to vote on Sunday on whether to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, the prospect of a renewed Russian presence in Crimea evokes for Tatars raw memories of Communist-era depredations. 

A Turkic Muslim minority with deep roots on the Black Sea peninsula, the Crimean Tatars see themselves as a native population, though they have had to struggle to maintain their place in their homeland. Under the Soviets, the Tatars lived through collectivization, Stalin’s purges, World War II and, in 1944, a brutal ethnic cleansing that sent nearly 200,000 into exile in the Gulag and Central Asia, unfairly accused of collaboration with the Nazis. Nearly half are believed to have died.

The West is attempting to manufacture an impending crisis by citing baseless anecdotes and deportations that occurred decades ago under Joseph Stalin and his political system that has long since ended. Buried deep within the New York Times piece is an admission that:

 

The Kremlin and the new Crimean government led by Sergei Aksyonov have expressed strong sympathy for the Tatars’ concerns. Russian leaders invited a former Soviet dissident and current member of the Ukrainian Parliament, Mustafa Dzhemilev, to Moscow, where he met with representatives of Russian Tatarstan and spoke for 30 minutes on Wednesday by phone with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. 

Earlier on Tuesday, the Crimean Parliament passed a resolution providing for protections of Tatar rights, including proportional representation in the new government and official status for the Crimean Tatar language.

So unlike the Western-backed regime in Kiev that has moved to oppress ethnic minorities across Ukraine, the Russian and Crimean leadership have taken steps to protect ethnic minorities in regions set to peel away from Kiev. And while the West attempts to spin, defend, or simply ignore the bigotry and oppression of their new regime in Kiev, they attempt to sow doubt and fear across the public in regards to Crimea’s closer ties with Russia.

 

While the vast majority of Crimea’s Tartars will continue living in peace with their neighbors, the West appears to be preparing to use a violent minority tied to the fascist regime now occupying Kiev to create a conflict they hope to exploit as they battle for Crimea. The New York Times, which cited Chechnya, appears to be laying the groundwork for a very unpleasant, armed destabilization orchestrated by the West.

 

Already, in the Christian Science Monitor’s article “Most Americans support Obama on Ukraine – tentatively,” calls for a wider (and armed) confrontation with Russia via Ukraine were signaled. The article reported:

 

“We may wish to believe, as President Obama has said, that we are not ‘in competition with Russia,’” Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona wrote in a New York Times op-ed column Friday. “But Mr. Putin believes Russia is in competition with us, and pretending otherwise is an unrealistic basis for a great nation’s foreign policy.” 

McCain urges sending arms and military trainers to Ukraine as soon as possible.

US Senator John McCain had taken to the stage in Kiev, side-by-side with the Neo-Nazis and bigots of Svoboda, and had previously been directly involved in the arming, funding, and political support of Al Qaeda in both Libya and Syria. His intentions to “arm” and “advise” fascist militants in Ukraine, only further vindicate Russia’s security concerns for Russian-Ukrainians within Crimea, and for security within its own borders.

 

Responsibility to Protect (R2P) 

While the West has taken the “responsibility to protect,” and abused it through a series of wars fought under fabricated pretenses, in Kiev verified Nazis are stripping the rights and liberties of Ukrainians and promoting an ideology that has already killed millions. For Russia, this is not a case of sending troops thousands of miles beyond its borders to “protect civilians,” it is a matter of maintaining peace and stability directly on its borders, within a nation its troops are already stationed in under treaty, and involving people who share the same language, culture, and history as the people of Russia.

 

The West has knowingly and intentionally placed Nazis into power – literal Nazis who are now oppressing the population both with legislation and roving bands of armed militants in the streets. Their intention is to erase Russian-Ukrainians and other “undesirables” from their culture, just as the Nazis did during World War II.

 

If ever there was a time to invoke the responsibility to protect, it would in Ukraine, and the time would be now.

Deep State Blues

Off the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler

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Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  March 16, 2014

 

     Those of you too caught up in Lady Gaga’s latest cutting edge art project — she arranged for another woman to vomit on her while seated at the keyboard to show, well, I guess to demonstrate that not even vomit can stop the power of pop music — may have missed the latest moves in our nation’s foreign policy quest to remain Hall Monitor of the World. It appears that the Crimean peninsula has voted rather persuasively to become part of adjoining Russia, a nation that they were functionally a province of longer than the USA has been the independent and exceptional beacon of liberty that we became. Now, all that’s left are some procedural formalities, and then our side has promised to do some very bad things to punish Russia for this dastardly outcome.

     Have the Lady Gaga fans forgotten that our country set this whole fiasco in motion by promoting a tug-o-war between a proposed Russian free trade zone (the Customs Union) and the European Union (another trade zone) with Ukraine as the rope? Alas, the rope broke in the early going, leaving the Russians to try to splice it back together in some way that aligns with the ethnic composition of the territory and their treaty perquisites regarding port facilities on the Black Sea. This “crisis” has got Secretary of State Kerry pulling his hair out, perhaps in his own personal quest to achieve mature male hair equality with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Mr. Kerry has more work to do before the world will stop calling him “a haircut in search of a brain.”

     Notice that for ten years the Russians have not been jumping up and down as the USA hops from one Central Asian state to the next blowing things up and arranging affairs so that hundreds of thousands of people get killed — quite a few by our cunning model airplanes controlled by military video gamesters, who blow away “folks” on morning watch before repairing to the nearest Taco Bell for an order of Doritos Locos (and a chance to watch Lady Gaga get vomit-tagged on their iPhones). I wonder how the USA would feel if the Russian foreign ministry ginned up an operation to persuade Texas to secede from the Union (again).

     What will be the next step of the menswear model in the oval office? Is he coordinating with the EU to make sure that Russia can’t sell its products to anyone, say, the EU, which really has nowhere else to buy a great deal of the methane gas it uses every winter to keep the pipes from freezing? Of course our country has made promises that it will export liquefied natural gas to Europe from the depleting shale plays of Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas — but, wait a minute (or maybe five years) because we have to build new pipelines, gas export terminals, and a fleet of compressed gas tanker ships before that’ll work. But maybe Europe will have five exceptionally mild winters until then. Note to Mr. Obama: increase National Prayer Breakfasts to once-a-month.

      Then there is the question of what Russia may offer to do to the USA in return. Perhaps nothing, because America is doing such a good job of imploding under its own fecklessness and inertia. If I were Mr. Putin — not saying I want to be, you understand, but in the spirit of conjecture — I would just kick back and tune in on the Web to watch this nation of overfed clowns and tattooed savages vomit over each other, since that is apparently now embroidered into the zeitgeist. Mr. Putin could also (in the spirit of the game of chess, which he is reputed to be good at) add some frisson to the situation by stealthily unloading quantities of Russian-held US Treasury paper, not to crash the market but just enough to turn the ten-year bond above the 3.00 percent line — a point at which the US government’s bankruptcy (that is, inability to service our debt) creeps above the horizon like a bad moon rising.

     State Department chess players are gloating at the moment that the Russian ruble has lost ten percent of its value this year. No doubt a few functionaries in the Kremlin are going boo-hoo over this. But remember: they are a nation who lost about 8.6 million soldiers to overcome Hitler. Do you think a little austerity will persuade them to cede Ukraine to the Walt Disney Company? Has anyone in the pay of America’s Deep State asked themselves whether it really matters to us who runs Ukraine? Did it matter to us before and then after the Soviet regime collapsed? What was so terrible about Ukraine joining the Russian free trade zone that we felt compelled to go in and vomit all over it?

 

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

 

This Week in Doom

That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964Off the keyboard of Surly1

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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on 3/16/2014
Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

 

ze plane

“It is Nixon himself who represents that dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character that almost every country in the world has learned to fear and despise. . .  He speaks for the Werewolf in us; the bully, the predatory shyster who turns into something unspeakable, full of claws and bleeding string-warts on nights when the moon comes too close…”

― Hunter S. Thompson

Nixon may be gone, but that “dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character” still remains alive and well, and is currently driving American foreign-policy.

Watchers of doom are notorious for scoring at home, but even those of us in the cheap seats recognize when it’s time to spring to our feet in rapt attention. So it was with this past week’s news, chock-full of chewy nuggets of doom. Center stage, we have the United States fomenting conflict with Russia over Crimea and Ukraine, led by a foreign-policy establishment stuffed full of Bush–Cheney–era neocon salts, and featuring nouveau-cowboy John Kerry acting like he’s John McCain’s Secretary of State; news that Russian oligarchs are pulling their money out of Western banks ahead of expected economic sanctions; a renegade, do nothing, neo-Confederate House of Representatives, pledged to do nothing that will aid anybody outside of its paymasters, passing a law requiring Obama to enforce federal marijuana laws in states which have decriminalized the green (previously held “tenther” scruples and advocacy for “states rights” be damned);  and, oh yes, the missing Malaysian plane, of which the absence of news hasn’t prevented wall to wall cable news coverage, thus providing proof that in the absence of information, people will just make news up.

As of this writing, residents of the Crimea are heading to polls to vote a plebiscite about whether to join Russia, or to remain an independent state loosely affiliated with Ukraine. Since Crimeans are ethnic Russians, and the fact is that Russia’s Black Sea naval bases aren’t going anywhere, the result seems foregone. When Crimea becomes a Russian protectorate, the neocons screeching like howler monkeys inside the Obama administration (where they’ve been safely salted away since the Cheney administration) will gnash their teeth, utter dark oaths, and contrive to keep the United States and Russia on the kind of collision course unseen since the end of the Cold War. The stresses will occasion a new round of demands for high-tech weapons systems, unnecessary arms and airplanes, and high-tech geeks to run them, all of which will swell the profits of arms manufacturers.

Which is exactly the point.

 Let’s be clear: assistant secretary of state for European affairs Victoria Nuland (she of “Fuck the EU” fame,  remained in place along with Robert Gates, David Petraeus, and CIA apparatchik John Brennan. Nuland’s husband,  former Reagan administration official Robert Kagan, (himself an architect the Project for the New American Century, or PNAC),  was the first to call for destabilization of unwelcome regimes in Iraq.  That Obama has allowed such neocon cockroaches to fatten themselves in the foreign-policy apparatus of his administration may prove to be the most unwelcome and  far-reaching accomplishment of his administration.  Robert Parry has recently talked about this:

The crisis in Ukraine apparently caught the President off-guard, even though elements of the U.S. government were stoking the fires of political unrest on Russia’s border. Assistant Secretary Nuland was openly advocating for Ukraine’s “European aspirations” and literally passing out cookies to anti-government protesters.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy (essentially a three-decade-old neocon-controlled slush fund that pours money into “democracy building” or destabilization campaigns depending on your point of view), was running 65 projects in Ukraine. Last September, NED’s president Carl Gershman called Ukraine “the biggest prize” and expressed hope that “Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

In other words, even as Obama leaned on Putin to avert more wars in the Middle East, the U.S. government was seeking to embarrass and undermine Putin at home. Not surprisingly, this double-dealing has provoked the Russian government’s suspicion and confusion, made worse because the latest U.S. media swagger in support of the coup regime in Kiev has forced Obama to puff out his own chest and do some breast-beating at Putin’s expense.

. . . which led to the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, who in 2002 voted as a senator for the United States to invade Iraq on the basis of Dick Cheney’s hand selected, cherry picked evidence, to utter this bon mot, which may itself in the fullness of time resonate as much as Neville Chamberlain’s, “peace is at hand:”

You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text.”

Hilarity ensued.


(Remember the fall of the Berlin wall and the promised peace dividend? This “nuclear mafia,” this nexus of arms manufacturers, lobbyists, and general officers have claimed it for themselves and for the priorities of the Deep State.  By fomenting eternal war, they have commandeered the surplus of a nation, perverted the sense of domestic priorities, and presented a bill which is, in a literal sense, being paid for with the rapid disappearance of the middle class in this country,  and with it the “American way of life”.)  Well done, plutocrats.

We’re told that

Crimea’s referendum Sunday has been loudly condemned as illegitimate by much of the international community. As heavily armed forces apparently under Russian command have effectively taken control of the peninsula, the vote to join Russia has been widely criticized as a mere formality.

If you check up on Zerohedge, they will tell you that the Russian oligarchs, smart cookies that they are, already pulled their money out of Western banks to avoid the coming currency freeze and credit stranglehold that western sanctions will likely entail.

The Financial Times reported:

Russian companies are pulling billions out of western banks, fearful that any US sanctions over the Crimean crisis could lead to an asset freeze, according to bankers in Moscow.

Sberbank and VTB, Russia’s giant partly state-owned banks, as well as industrial companies, such as energy group Lukoil, are among those repatriating cash from western lenders with operations in the US. VTB has also cancelled a planned US investor summit next month, according to bankers.

The flight comes as last-ditch diplomatic talks between Russia’s foreign minister and the US secretary of state to resolve the tensions in Ukraine ended without an agreement.

ZH notes that the likely outcome of such sanctions will be to force China and Russia to engage far more actively in bilateral trade, and to conduct that train their own currencies, or even gold. Apparently it never occurs to those who think that the highest and best good in life is for the S&P 500 close up to realize that a country that is rich in commodities that others want– like natural gas–cares mostly commodity prices are high.

***

And the Tea Party House of Representatives, that gaggle of unmedicated, unrestrained sociopaths busy doing the bidding of the worst human beings on the planet,  managed to interrupt yet another vote repealing the Affordable Care Act in order to pass the “Enforce the Law Act,” a response to the Kenyan Usurper’s so-called “lawlessness.”

Upon the adoption of a resolution of a House of Congress declaring that the President, the head of any department or agency of the United States, or any other officer or employee of the United States has established or implemented a formal or informal policy, practice, or procedure to refrain from enforcing, applying, following, or administering any provision of a Federal statute, rule, regulation, program, policy, or other law in violation of the requirement that the President take care that the laws be faithfully executed under Article II, section 3, clause 5, of the Constitution of the United States, that House is authorized to bring a civil action in accordance with subsection (c), and to seek relief pursuant to sections 2201 and 2202 of title 28, United States Code. A civil action brought pursuant to this subsection may be brought by a single House or both Houses of Congress jointly, if both Houses have adopted such a resolution. 

Apparently DC is an irony free zone, witness the sangfroid around Kerry’s pronouncement. The fact that Obama has not accompanied the bills he had signed with “signing statements” as Bush did, explaining how he would or would not enforce the law he had just signed, regardless of Congress’s intentions apparently means nothing as long as the incumbent is still uncomfortably black.  Harry Reid pronounced this act of legislative vandalism dead on arrival, and as long as Democrats control the Senate,  such bills, the purpose of which is simply to make it easier for sitting Republiconfederates to sue the president, will go nowhere. But this is an election year.

***

And oh yeah, the plane.  As everyone who is not been hidden in a bunker on a Philippine island waiting for the end of World War II already knows, the search for a Malaysia Airline Boeing 777 has now entered its 2nd week. Flight 370 disappeared from radar screens on its announced trajectory from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The airline’s CEO said Sunday the missing  jet took off with its normal allotment of fuel  on board, and without extra fuel that could have extended its range. The plane veered  deliberately and sharply away from its planned course to parts unknown. A search of the expected crash area revealed nothing.

Over the past several days, little of substance has been revealed, and the plane is still missing. In the absence of hard information, cable “news” networks  manufactured coverage by interviewing former pilots, aviation specialists, and those willing to speculate.

Humorist Andy Borowitz had it best:

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) — A total absence of actual information about the missing Malaysia flight is not in any way hindering twenty-four-hour coverage of the story, the major cable news networks confirmed today.

“As a news network, we regard a lack of news as a worthy challenge,” the CNN chief Jeff Zucker said. “Our people are doing a heroic job of filling the void with rumor and hearsay.”

A spokesperson for MSNBC, however, scoffed at Mr. Zucker’s assessment that there was no information about the missing plane. “We are receiving tons of erroneous and conflicting reports from authorities every hour, and the instant we get them we pass them on to our viewers,” he said.

Over at Fox, host Sean Hannity expressed confidence in his network’s coverage. “When it comes to broadcasting twenty-four hours a day with no verifiable facts, I wouldn’t trade our experience and expertise for anybody’s,” he said.

Promising that the network was working overtime to generate new unfounded conspiracy theories, Mr. Hannity said, “We’ve put our whole Benghazi team on this.”

Recent events as of this writing focus on investigation into the pilots and flight crew.  The Malaysian government has apparently concluded the light 370 was hijacked.

 

One finds it interesting that while the intelligence arm of the Deep State knows about our Amazon purchases, Google queries, porn searches, completed online forms, and every website and cat meme we retrieve, several trillion dollars of orbiting spyware has gotten them absolutely bupkus about the location of this plane. Or so they want us to believe.

The tinfoil hat types are already speculating that this was a deliberate hijacking, either by Islamic cell ready to wreak havoc upon the United States, or by the Deep State itself, the better to mount a false flag attack in the name of said Islamic caliphate. More proof  that, in the absence of news, people make up their own. A  hijacking, a hostage scenario,  the plane exploded or disintegrated, the plane was blown up by the Mossad/CIA/Al Qaeda,  the plane landed on a small, uncharted island, the plane will be repurposed an enormous flying bomb, alien abduction, a viral marketing campaign for Liam Neeson’s next movie, etc.  And they’re out there in droves on the inter-tubes.

Perhaps someone can riddle me this: there were 239 persons aboard this flight, it is reasonable to assume that at least some of them have cell phones. With every cell phone being its own transponder, why have we not heard from any of the people on this flight?

***

And now, doom fans, some bonus coverage. It is often entertaining to watch the Tea Party contort itself into a variety of yoga poses to escape the consequences of many of their utterances.  Here’s the story of one who instead chose to double down on crazy. The ongoing Republican war on women was evident for all to see over the last several years.  It continues apace, even in areas of the country from which one would expect better sense.  Here is the latest episode of Tea Party family values on display.

New Hampshire State Rep. Kyle Tasker, who is no stranger to controversy, yesterday told WMUR that he would not apologize for posting what some call an explicit graphic online. The graphic, pictured above, seemed to mock women who have suffered at the hands of sexual abuse.

“I didn’t mean that as a joke, it was a t-shirt print I thought was pretty ridiculous that someone would wear that around,” Tasker said.

Tasker is the same remarkable waste of skin who dropped one of the guns he was packing at the start of the committee meeting this past session.

State Rep. Steve Shurtleff (D-Concord), a member of the committee, said that he was sitting three seats away from Tasker in the committee room when he heard “a clang” and saw that the gun was on the floor. Shurtleff said Tasker routinely wears two guns in a shoulder holster to legislative meetings.

“I was glad it was his blood that he was giving and not someone else’s,” Shurtleff told The Huffington Post.

Reporters in the committee room confirmed the account. Josh McElveen , a reporter for WMUR posted on Twitter that Tasker had said the blood donation left him “loopy.” Tasker has not returned a call for comment.

The incident comes a year after the Tea Party-controlled House voted to allow guns in the Statehouse and the nearby Legislative Office Building. Shurtleff, a former deputy U.S. marshal, said he has been told that as many as 45 legislators, more than 10 percent of the full 400-member House, carry firearms to sessions.

“There are a couple of other members of our committee, about three or four, who are armed at any time,” Shurtleff said.

Who knew that serving the people of New Hampshire was such risky business?

What gives me pause is the thought, often attributed to Tocqueville, that “In a democracy, the people get the government that they deserve.”

 

***

  Surly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants and articles on this site, and has been active in the Occupy movement. He lives in Southeastern Virginia.

Ukraine: False Flag Manufacture?

Off the keyboard of John Ward

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Published on The Slog on March 6, 2014

ukraineballThe crisis in Ukraine: World Cup needle-match or boring friendly?

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UKRAINE: Analyse it objectively, and you will smell the fomenting of false flags.

False_FlagFROM FOOTIE TO FASCISM, NEOLIBERAL GLOBALISTS ARE THE REAL ENEMY

With the Arab States playing synchronised Ambassador withdrawal against Qatar, once again one is left wondering exactly what sort of World Cup tournament is going to be possible given the increasingly Islamist slant of the Government, the 45 degree temperatures, and the possibility of everyone boycotting everyone else. The assumption underlying even that, of course, is that there’ll be a world of which to be champion by then. Last night, England scraped a late goal 1-0 win over very poor Danish opposition, in a match so tediously coached on both sides I turned it off after half an hour. Our plucky boys in white have now scored just the one goal in their last three home matches. We simply aren’t good enough, thanks to Rupert Murdoch – the Undead One who sucked all the money out of the grassroots game and gave it to the performing ego-monkeys we see prancing about on the turf these days.

Take from the poor and give to the rich is the watchword of the neoliberal century, for without this (they keep insisting) nothing will work. With it, however, we find ourselves with the NHS going broke, malaria back in Greece, massive unemployment throughout the West, in a world slump and, seemingly, on the brink of World War 3. So if there’s still a choice (because deregulation was always supposed to be about choice) my vote goes to ‘without it’.

I say “seemingly” on the verge of nuclear war, because for myself I think all this ‘tension’ is so much hogwash. A US Navy warship is heading across the Black Sea today, but it doesn’t have nuclear weapons. Hillary Clinton says Vlad is Mad, but 71% of Russian citizens said in a poll yesterday that the country should more actively defend the interests of Russians in Crimea….and Putin’s personal ratings are sky high. The UN is meeting with EU officials to discuss the ‘crisis’, but Ukraine is not in the EU, so why is he doing that? And as Ukraine is not in the EU, why is it the EU that has frozen the assets of pro-Russian Ukrainian bigwigs? And why has Fatso Barroso lent the new Ukrainian Government €11 billion?

But here’s the one pair of quotes that sum it up or me, at euronews today:

An anti-Russian Ukrainian leader in Donetsk: “I’m against the war, against the separation. One thing is federation or autonomy – but I want to live under the Ukrainian flag. I don’t want to live in Russia.”

A pro-Russian leader in Donetsk: “We don’t want to be separated from Ukraine, but we want a federation here so nobody can touch us.”

Now it would be something of an understatement to say that euronews is biased in favour of the European Commission of the EU. Yet here it is quite freely reporting that while non-Russian speaking Ukrainians found President Viktor Yanukovych something of a corrupt fascist arsehole (which he undoubtedly is) they don’t want separation, with a pro-Yanukovych bloke saying he’d like a federation and remain Ukrainian. Very few people, it seems, want to be either a Russian satellite or an EU vassal. Hmm.

I posted recently to suggest that ‘the EU is way out of its depth in Ukraine. It hasn’t so much bitten off more than it can chew as popped a red-hot potato into its omnivorous mouth’. That was back on February 23rd.

So here’s another conundrum to chew upon. Hungary’s Viktor Orban has, on several occasions, told the EU to f**k off and mind its own business. Hungary is part of the EU, it has rejected almost all the Troika guff about repayment schedules and gone its own way. Orban is every bit as anti-press freedom, anti-fair voting and equivocal about the EU as Viktor Yanukovych. But he is, as it were, already inside the tent.

President Yanukovych, on the other hand, is dangerously outside the EU concentration camp tent, and thus when his government rejected a far-reaching accord with the European Union in November 2013 in favour of stronger ties with Russia, well….join up the dots.

Now of course, there were protests immediately from Ukrainian speaking opponents of the President’s high-handed very-big-house-all-to-myself style of Baronial rule; but on the other hand, Mario Draghi also has a big f**k-off building in Frankfurt all to the greater glory of a bankrupt currency, and the EC itself is so crooked, after nineteen years in existence there is still not an accountancy firm on the planet that will sign its accounts.

The bottom line remains this: an EU member every bit as truculent and illiberal as the rest of the gargoyles has been left alone, but a non-EU member with few if any ties to Western Europe has been encouraged to revolt, and then lent money to tide it over.

What is the difference, qualitatively, between Putin withdrawing funds because his man is facing revolt, and the EU supplying funds for the same reason?

I suspect we need a new word for geopolitics these days. Something that would fit well in the context of what I believe we are witnessing here – a blockbuster Hollywood production-cum-pissing contest. No doubt Darryl Zanuck would’ve called such a movie, “UKRAINE IF YOU WANT TO: IN FULL HYPOCRISURROUND SOUND’.

It’s too early to diagnose the moves behind this one as yet. But I smell the acrid odour now of fomentation, now of a set-up designed to benefit both sides. What I don’t see is anybody listening very hard to what the people of Ukraine want…that is, a canton-style federation. It seems to work for Switzerland, and they have three cultures with which to contend.

The case continues. Stay tuned.

Let’s You and Him Fight

Off the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler

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Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  March 3, 2014
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     So, now we are threatening to start World War Three because Russia is trying to control the chaos in a failed state on its border — a state that our own government spooks provoked into failure? The last time I checked, there was a list of countries that the USA had sent troops, armed ships, and aircraft into recently, and for reasons similar to Russia’s in Crimea: the former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, none of them even anywhere close to American soil. I don’t remember Russia threatening confrontations with the USA over these adventures.

     The phones at the White House and the congressional offices ought to be ringing off the hook with angry US citizens objecting to the posturing of our elected officials. There ought to be crowds with bobbing placards in Farragut Square reminding the occupant of 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue how ridiculous this makes us look.

     The saber-rattlers at The New York Times were sounding like the promoters of a World Wrestling Federation stunt Monday morning when they said in a Page One story:

“The Russian occupation of Crimea has challenged Mr. Obama as has no other international crisis, and at its heart, the advice seemed to pose the same question: Is Mr. Obama tough enough to take on the former K.G.B. colonel in the Kremlin?”

     Are they out of their chicken-hawk minds over there? It sounds like a ploy out of the old Eric Berne playbook: Let’s You and Him Fight. What the USA and its European factotums ought to do is mind their own business and stop issuing idle threats. They set the scene for the Ukrainian melt-down by trying to tilt the government their way, financing a pro-Euroland revolt, only to see their sponsored proxy dissidents give way to a claque of armed neo-Nazis, whose first official act was to outlaw the use of the Russian language in a country with millions of long-established Russian-speakers. This is apart, of course, from the fact Ukraine had been until very recently a province of Russia’s former Soviet empire.

     Secretary of State John Kerry — a haircut in search of a brain — is winging to Kiev tomorrow to pretend that the USA has a direct interest in what happens there. Since US behavior is so patently hypocritical, it raises the pretty basic question: what are our motives? I don’t think they amount to anything more than international grandstanding — based on the delusion that we have the power and the right to control everything on the planet, which is based, in turn, on our current mood of extreme insecurity as our own ongoing spate of bad choices sets the table for a banquet of consequences.

     America can’t even manage its own affairs. We ignore our own gathering energy crisis, telling ourselves the fairy tale that shale oil will allow us to keep driving to WalMart forever. We paper over all of our financial degeneracy and wink at financial criminals. Our infrastructure is falling apart. We’re constructing an edifice of surveillance and social control that would make the late Dr. Joseph Goebbels turn green in his grave with envy while we squander our dwindling political capital on stupid gender confusion battles.

     The Russians, on the other hand, have every right to protect their interests along their own border, to protect the persons and property of Russian-speaking Ukrainians who, not long ago, were citizens of a greater Russia, to discourage neo-Nazi activity in their back-yard, and most of all to try to stabilize a region that has little history and experience with independence. They also have to contend with the bankruptcy of Ukraine, which may be the principal cause of its current crack-up. Ukraine is deep in hock to Russia, but also to a network of Western banks, and it remains to be seen whether the failure of these linked obligations will lead to contagion throughout the global financial system. It only takes one additional falling snowflake to push a snow-field into criticality.

     Welcome to the era of failed states. We’ve already seen plenty of action around the world and we’re going to see more as resource and capital scarcities drive down standards of living and lower the trust horizon. The world is not going in the direction that Tom Friedman and the globalists thought. Anything organized at the giant scale is now in trouble, nation-states in particular.  The USA is not immune to this trend, whatever we imagine about ourselves for now. 

 

 

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

 

 

…and so it BEGINS

Off the keyboard and microphone of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on March 2, 2014

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The Frosbite Falls Daily Rant is the latest Feature of the Collapse Cafe on the Doomstead Diner.  It can be found daily on the Homepage of the Diner on the right menu bar.

The transcript for this rant can be found at the bottom of this article.

Day 2 has arrived here in the Valve War between Ukraine and Russia, centered mainly in Crimea at the moment, but bound to move Eastward as time goes by here.  I covered a few of the main issues in the daily rant yesterday, for today we will look a little more closely at the logistics involved here.

As you can see from the Infographic at the top of the page, this isn’t a small military exercise by any means.  More than 10,000 troops are being repositioned, which is quite a tidy sum considering the Ruskies were downsizing their Military.

2008 Russian military reform

(H/T Newzy Joe on the Diner for this table)

While the Ruskie military is still pretty large, you have to remember that all “active personnel” are not “Boots on the Ground” aka Grunts who do the dirty work and get regularly sent to the Great Beyond in one of these actions.  So Vlad is committing quite a large percentage of what is left of his military assets to try and take control of Ukraine.

While the mostly Russian speaking eastern Ukrainians are mostly lined up with Vlad, even they don’t necessarily want to become a vassal state of Russia again.  They only got out from under the old USSR hegemony 20 years ago!  The Western half of the population definitely isn’t too happy about this state of affairs, so you basically have now a War in all but official declaration, and even that gets closer all the time.

NATO and Obama-sama still haven’t done anything but bluster, and it is unlikely they will do much on the military end at this time.  The NATO countries don’t have that many troops they can call up at the drop of a hat (or bomb), and most available FSoA military assets are currently deployed far and wide at a bazillion global Military bases as well as being mired down in places like Afghanistan.

However, just because they don’t have military assets to throw at this problem doesn’t make them helpless, they do have financial ones.  Accelerating Capital Flight out of both Ukraine and Russia can do a lot more damage to Vlad the Impaler’s political control than a Firefight in Sevastopol.  So this is probably where we have to look for the Action to be next week from the NATO/western Illuminati end.

http://www.downloadswallpapers.com/wallpapers/2012/agosto/medio/navios-e-naves-no-oceano-wallpaper-21713.jpgLogistically speaking, all the “Big Power” Militaries of the Ruskies, the Chinese and the FSoA are over-extended past what they can actually support anymore to try and control far flung regions of the earth.  The Chinese are buying up African Land and Oz Mines, but they need their own Million Man Army right at home to keep control.  The Ruskies have the same problem, their last failed adventure outside of their own region in Afghanistan was  a magnificent failure, and subsequent adventures inside their sphere have not faired much better.  All their border states like Georgia are contantly in virtul revolt; just keeping the lid on there stretches them pretty thin.  For the FSoA part, we send Carrier Groups willy-nilly around the world as a “show of force” in each latest Hotspot, but we only got like 11 or so of these Carrier Groups I believe.  Drop a couple in the Mediterranean, a couple in the Indian Ocean, a couple in the South China Sea, a couple in the North Atlantic, a couple off the coast of Brasil and one in the Gulf of Mejico and POOF, you are frehs OUT of Carrier Groups!  Not to mention all a Carrier Group does at best is to allow you to control the local Sea Lanes and drop Death From Above on the nearby locals, they don’t allow you to put enough Boots on the ground in ANY of these places to do much more than take over a few Goobermint Buildings in the central city, for that you gotta mobilize a lot of troops ships, land tanks and APC yadda yadda.

In all likelihood at this point, it appears that the “Powerful” Goombermints and Militaries of Russia, china and the FSoA will soon be engaged much more in keeping their own Local Populations in control, so trying to control anywhere else is pretty much a non-starter.  Ukraine is close enough physically to Russia with enough traditional ties they can make this physical attempt one more time, but they will face a constant state of revolt inside Ukraine, just like Georgia and the rest of the peripheral states now really starting to hurt.

The problems in Ukraine will move themselves quickly enough to Poland, Hungary, Belarus etc, and the Western European states will see Blowback as Gazprom energy gets shut off at critical Valves through Central Europe.  This further roils the markets and their economies, already very shaky to begin with, so they too will begin to topple.

Building up this whole interconnected Global system has been ongoing for 500 years here.  It will come apart a whole lot quicker than that.  The World Trade Center is the best analogy I can come up with here.  The project had it’s inception right near the end of WWII in 1943, took until the 60s to get funding, and didn’t open up until 1973.

The idea of establishing a World Trade Center in New York City was first proposed in 1943. The New York State Legislature passed a bill authorizing New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey to begin developing plans for the project[11] but the plans were put on hold in 1949.[12] During the late 1940s and 1950s, economic growth in New York City was concentrated in Midtown Manhattan. To help stimulate urban renewal in Lower Manhattan, David Rockefeller suggested that the Port Authority build a World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.[13]

Initial plans, made public in 1961, identified a site along the East River for the World Trade Center.[14] As a bi-state agency, the Port Authority required approval for new projects from the governors of both New York and New Jersey. New Jersey Governor Robert B. Meyner objected to New York getting a $335 million project.[15] Toward the end of 1961, negotiations with outgoing New Jersey Governor Meyner reached a stalemate.[16]

At the time, ridership on New Jersey’s Hudson and Manhattan Railroad (H&M) had declined substantially from a high of 113 million riders in 1927 to 26 million in 1958 after new automobile tunnels and bridges had opened across the Hudson River.[17] In a December 1961 meeting between Port Authority director Austin J. Tobin and newly elected New Jersey Governor Richard J. Hughes, the Port Authority offered to take over the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad to have it become the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH). The Port Authority also decided to move the World Trade Center project to the Hudson Terminal building site on the west side of Lower Manhattan, a more convenient location for New Jersey commuters arriving via PATH.[16] With the new location and Port Authority acquisition of the H&M Railroad, New Jersey agreed to support the World Trade Center project.[18]


A good 20-30 years to get those buildings up.  They came down in seconds.  So it will go with this as well, when it Blows, it will Blow Big and it will Blow Fast.  In the words of Leonard Cohen,

Everybody knows it’s coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Transcript of the Ukraine-Russia War Rant

Greetings Doomfans, and welcome to another edition of the Frosbite Falls Daily Rant.

Tonight we are revisiting a topic from a few nights ago, the ongoing spinout in Ukraine. A few nights ago it was a Civil War in progress, tonight it is a WORLD WAR in the making.

Reason? Vlad the Impaler, the Noble ex-head of the KGB over in Ruskieville decided since he could not or would not Pony Up $35-50B in FOREX scratch the Ukrainians need to keep their version of the Industrial Society running, the better option was simply to roll over them with APCs, Helicopters and Troop ships!

On the NATO side of this battle, John Kerry offered up chump change of $1B in loans from the sharks at the IMF, which barely could keep an Oligarch in Maseratis and Airbus Double Decker Private Jets for a week or two, much less pay off on Pensions to the Ukrainian Population.

Why does EITHER side here give a Flying Fuck who is wandering the halls of the Ukrainian Parliament and running the show there? Why not just leave them alone and let them work out their OWN fucking problems?

Two main reasons. First off, Ukraine has a shit load of pipelines running across the territory which ship Gazprom Energy from Mother Russia over to Western Europe, which is a MAJOR source of FOREX revenue for the Ruskie Oligarchs, including of course Vlad the Impaler.

Second reason is Ukraine is (like everybody else) in HUGE debt to the TBTF banks, and if they don’t get some new Hard Currency FOREX Scratch to roll over their old loans, they will default. This will play nasty HAVOC with the Russian banks, which have the biggest exposure, but of course all the TBTF banks in the West are exposed to this mess also in the Daisy Chain Circle Jerk of derivatives, interbank loans and Worthless Collateral they used to rehypothecate still other loans made elsewhere. If anybody here on either side has to write down Ukrainian debt, the TBTF banks will have to pay a LOT of Overtime to their Accountants so they can cover it up and not be blatantly Insolvent, just Shadow Insolvent.

For their own part, the Ukrainians hold one Ace in the Hole, they actually have their fingers on the valves that transit NG over from Mother Russia to Eurotrash. If SOMEBODY doesn’t pony up some more money for them to keep going here, the average J6P Ukrainian has NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE, so why not blow a few Pipelines and pass the Suffering on to the folks to the West and East of them? They shut down the pipelines, the Eurotrash runs short on energy to keep the Lights on, and the ruskies run short of Forex to keep the Rouble floating as a Happy Currency. Everybody suffers with them!

Herein lies the big PROBLEM with Vlad the Impaler’s physical takeover of the apparatus of Goobermint in Ukraine, the Western interests don’t necessarily have to retaliate with rolling their own APCs and Helicopter Gunships into Ukraine on a UN Sponsored “Peacekeeping” Mission, they can simply mount a concerted Financial Attack on the Rouble. Putin’s Goobermint already has plenty of issues maintaining control over the pretty vast Ruskie territory (even though shrunk from the Lacyon days Back in the USSR), if the Rouble gets driven down in FOREX trade and they can’t sell NG to Western Europe, their own economy will flush down the toilet in a big hurry.

For the Ruskies to take control of this problem on the Physical Level, they have to control the ENTIRE transit of Energy from the Ruskie Gas Fields across to the Eurotrash Konsumers of that energy, and they cannot do that simply by holding Crimea, which they also can’t do with a few 1000 Shock Troops. All that enables them to do is hold a few Goobermint Buildings and install some Puppet Leaders there. They have to roll across the WHOLE of Ukraine, and they have to not only prop up Puppet Leaders in Goobermint, they have to keep the local VERY unhappy population from dropping a few IEDs at critical nodes in the NG pipeline transport system. That will take a LOT more boots on the ground to do, and it is highly questionable that Vlad the Impaler could bring such a force to bear. Very similar to NATO trying to control the energy transit down in MENA with so many of the locals hostile to them.

It remains to be seen how this will play out medium to long term, and in what manner. However, both sides are between a Rock & a Hard Place. Under no circumstances can I see will the Energy flow through Ukraine continue Unimpeded. This will negatively affect all of Europe and Russia too. Neither side can back down here, so escalation seems likely. Duck and cover Doomers, we are now at DefCon Orange.

And that’s all the Doom, this time until next time here on the Frostbite Falls Daily Rant.

 

12 Signs That Russia Is Ready To Fight A War Over Crimea

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on Economic Collapse on February 27, 2014

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Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

Russia will never, ever give up Crimea without a fight.  Anyone that thinks otherwise is just being delusional.  The Russian Black Sea fleet’s main base at Sevastopol is far too strategically important.  In addition, ethnic Russians make up approximately 60 percent of the population of Crimea, and most of the population is rabidly pro-Russian.  In fact, many prominent Crimean politicians are already calling for reunification with Russia.  So if you have been thinking that Russia is just going to fold up shop and go home now that pro-European protesters have violently seized power in Kiev, you can quit holding your breath.  The truth is that Russia is more than willing to fight a war over Crimea.  And considering the fact that vitally important pipelines that pump natural gas from Russia to the rest of Europe go right through Ukraine, it is not likely that Russia will just willingly hand the rest of Ukraine over to the U.S. and the EU either.  If the U.S. and the EU push too hard in Ukraine, a major regional war may erupt which could ultimately lead to something much larger.

Russia and Ukraine have very deep historical ties.  Most Americans may not think that Ukraine is very important, but the Russians consider Ukraine to be of the utmost strategic importance.

As an American, how would you feel if another nation funded and organized the violent overthrow of the democratically-elected Canadian government and replaced it with a government that was virulently anti-American?

By doing this to Ukraine, the United States and the EU are essentially sticking a pin in Russia’s eye.  Needless to say, Russia is extremely angry at this point and they are gearing up for war.

The following are 12 signs that Russia is ready to fight a war over Crimea…

#1 More Russian military vehicles continue to pour into Crimea.  Just check out this video.

#2 Russian military vehicles have been photographed in the main square of Sevastopol.

#3 Russian military jets near the border with Ukraine have been put on combat alert.

#4 Russia has ordered “surprise military exercises” along the Ukrainian border.

#5 In connection with those “exercises”, it is being reported that Russia has deployed 150,000 troops along the border with Ukraine.

#6 Russia already has approximately 26,000 troops stationed at their naval base in Sevastopol.

#7 Russian ships carrying additional soldiers have been spotted off the coast of Crimea…

Russia’s large landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov has arrived near the Russia Black Sea Fleet’s base at Sevastopol, which Russia has leased from Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The ship is reported to be carrying as many as 200 soldiers and has joined four additional ships carrying an unknown amount of Special Forces troops. Flot.com also reported over the weekend that personnel from the 45th Airborne Special Forces unit and additional divisions had been airlifted into Anapa, a city on Russia’s Black Sea coastline.

#8 Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made the following statement to reporters on Wednesday…

“Measures are taken to guarantee the security of our facilities.”

#9 An unidentified Russian official has told the Financial Times that Russia is willing to use military force to protect Crimea…

Moscow earlier revealed that it would be ready to go for war over the Crimea region in order to protect the large population and army installations.

“If Ukraine breaks apart, it will trigger a war. They will lose Crimea first [because] we will go in and protect [it], just as we did in Georgia,” an unidentified Russian official told the Financial Times.

#10 Officials in Sevastopol have “installed” a Russian citizen as mayor of the city.

#11 Approximately 120 pro-Russian gunmen have seized the Crimean parliament building and have raised the Russian flag.

#12 There are rumors that Russian authorities have offered protection to ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych…

Viktor F. Yanukovych, the ousted president of Ukraine, declared on Thursday that he remained the lawful president of the country and appealed to Russia to “secure my personal safety from the actions of extremists.” Russian news agencies reported that he had already arrived in Russia, but officials did not immediately confirm that.

No matter what the “new government” in Kiev says, and no matter how hard the U.S. and the EU push, Russia will never give up Crimea.  The following is what a recent Debka article had to say about the matter…

There is no way that President Vladimir Putin will relinquish Russian control of the Crimean peninsula and its military bases there – or more particularly the big Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol. This military stronghold is the key to Russia’s Middle East policy. If it is imperiled, so too are Russia’s military posture in Syria and its strategic understandings with Iran.

And you know what?

The people of Crimea do not want Russia to leave either.  In fact, they overwhelmingly want Russia to help defend them against the “new government” in Kiev.

As you read this, militia groups are being formed in Crimea to fight back against the “nationalist invasion” that they are anticipating.  Just check out the following excerpt from a recent Time Magazine article

Many of the people at the rally in Sevastopol were not just ready to believe. They were convinced of the imminent nationalist invasion. What scared them most were the right-wing political parties and militant groups that have played a role in Ukraine’s revolution. “What do you think they’re going to do with all those weapons they seized from police in Kiev? They’re going to come here and make war,” said Sergei Bochenko, who identified himself as the commander of a local militia group in Sevastopol called the Southern Russian Cossack Battalion.

In preparation, he said, his group of several hundred men had armed themselves with assault rifles and begun to train for battle. “There’s not a chance in hell we’re going to accept the rule of that fascist scum running around in Kiev with swastikas,” he said. That may be overstating the case. Nowhere in Ukraine has the uprising involved neo-Nazi groups, and no swastikas have appeared on the revolution’s insignia. But every one of the dozen or so people TIME spoke to in Sevastopol was certain that the revolt was run by fascists, most likely on the payroll of the U.S. State Department.

And just remember what happened back in 2008 in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  The Russians have already shown that they are not afraid to militarily intervene in order to protect Russian citizens.

So what would the U.S. and the EU do if a war erupts between Russia and Ukraine?

Would they risk a direct military confrontation with Russia in order to help Ukraine?

I am very concerned about where all of this could be heading.

What about you?

What do you think?

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