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10 most compelling quotes Putin's annual Q&A marathon

putin q&a
© RIA Novosti / Aleksey Nikolskyi
Vladimir Putin, during his 4-hour Q&A session.
Ukraine's crisis was, predictably, at the center of Vladimir Putin's annual televised interview. He said the situation can only be solved through a compromise between internal players. Below are the president's ten most significant quotes.
"[Yanukovich] didn't have the heart to sign an act that would see force used against his citizens."
Answering a question from an ex-Berkut - Ukrainian special forces - commander as to whether the ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has always been such a "weakling and traitor," Putin said that Yanukovich did his duty as he thought was right, proper and necessary.

"I spoke with him, certainly, many times, during the crisis, and after he arrived in the Russian Federation; we talked about using force... The gist of his answer was that he thought about using force many times, but he didn't have the heart to sign an act that would see force used against his citizens," Putin said.

Comment: Once again, Putin proves to have more class, insight, decency and humor than any of his counterparts on the world stage. How many other leaders would be willing to sit down for four hours straight and actually answer peoples' questions?

Sherlock

The Red Line and the Benghazi Rat Line: Seymour Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels


Barack Obama and John Brennan
In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the 'red line' he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad's offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama's change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn't match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army's chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn't hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria's infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria's neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. 'We knew there were some in the Turkish government,' a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, 'who believed they could get Assad's nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria - and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.'

Comment: This article, unsurprisingly, has been all but blacked out in the U.S. and Western media generally.

See also:

Whose sarin? Fitting the intelligence around the policy, this time with respect to Syria

Boat

Was the Titanic deliberately sunk by JP Morgan?

A mind-blowing documentary about the unsinkable 'Titanic' that presents damning evidence of what really happened to the ship the night it hit the iceberg. The Titanic and its sister ship Olympic were owned by the White Star line, which was owned by banker JP Morgan. This documentary reveals that it was not the Titanic that sank that night, but its sister ship the Olympic; and that it was one of the first mass-cover ups in recent history. Watch it for yourself and decide!

Attention

Signs of change: Extreme weather, seismic activity, and meteor fireballs in March and early April 2014


Comment: More rain in California in one day than it got in the past year, a record cold winter in the U.S., a "1 in 100 years" flooding event in New Zealand, a meteor explosion that shook homes in New Mexico, giant hailstones in places that don't usually get any hail, record earthquakes in California, the Andaman Islands and all along the Ring of Fire, two meteor fireballs lighting up the East coast of Canada and northern U.S. states in the space of 24 hours, landslides and flash-flooding putting out wildfires in Western U.S. states, and the "worst flooding in living memory" on the Solomon Islands (at the same time as a strong earthquake)...

The following video compilation is a sample of just some of the planetary upheaval recorded in the last month.

Visit HawkkeyDavis's Youtube channel to check out the rest of his awesome work chronicling the 'signs of the times'.



The world has been overwhelmed with disasters in recent weeks. A series of fireballs and earthquakes has rocked and shaken this planet to its core. Meanwhile, the "one-in-100-year events" continue to strike...

Even though it looks like it sometimes, this series does not mean the world is ending! These are documentaries of series of extreme weather events that are leading to bigger earth changes. If you are following the series, then you are seeing the signs.

For those who can't view YT videos:

Arrow Down

America is declining into second-rate status at warp speed: Global Rankings study

us crumbling infrastructure
From access to healthcare and education, gender equality, attitudes toward immigrants and minorities, the U.S. looks like a second-rate nation.

If America needed a reminder that it is fast becoming a second-rate nation, and that every economic policy of the Republican Party is wrongheaded, it got one this week with the release of the Social Progress Index (SPI).

Harvard business professor Michael E. Porter, who earlier developed the Global Competitiveness Report, designed the SPI. A new way to look at the success of countries, the SPI studies 132 nations and evaluates 54 social and environmental indicators for each country that matter to real people. Rather than measuring a country's success by its per capita GDP, the index is based on an array of data reflecting suicide, ecosystem sustainability, property rights, access to healthcare and education, gender equality, attitudes toward immigrants and minorities, religious freedom, nutrition, infrastructure and more.

The index measures the livability of each country. People everywhere depend on and care about similar things. "We all need clean water. We all want to feel safe and live without fear. People everywhere want to get an education and improve their lives," says Porter. But economic growth alone doesn't guarantee these things.

While the U.S. enjoys the second highest per capita GDP of $45,336, it ranks in an underperforming 16th place overall. It gets worse. The U.S. ranks 70th in health, 69th in ecosystem sustainability, 39th in basic education, 34th in access to water and sanitation and 31st in personal safety.

More surprising is the fact that despite being the home country of global tech heavyweights Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Oracle, and so on, the U.S. ranks a disappointing 23rd in access to the Internet. "It's astonishing that for a country that has Silicon Valley, lack of access to information is a red flag," notes Michael Green, executive director of the Social Progress Imperative, which oversees the index.

If this index is an affront to your jingoistic sensibilities, the U.S. remains in first place for the number of incarcerated citizens per capita, adult onset diabetes and for believing in angels.
Vader

An empire beyond salvation: The reality of the U.S. today

Kerry meets Abbas
© US State Department
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on May 23, 2013 ()
US Secretary of State John Kerry couldn't hide his frustration anymore as the US-sponsored peace process continued to falter. After eight months of wrangling to push talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority forward, he admitted while in a visit to Morocco on April 4 that the latest setback had served as a 'reality check' for the peace process. But confining that reality check to the peace process is hardly representative of the painful reality through which the United States has been forced to subsist in during the last few years.

The state of US foreign policy in the Middle East, but also around the world, cannot be described with any buoyant language. In some instances, as in Syria, Libya, Egypt, the Ukraine, and most recently in Palestine and Israel, too many calamitous scenarios have exposed the fault lines of US foreign policy. The succession of crises is not allowing the US to cut its losses in the Middle East and stage a calculated 'pivot' to Asia following its disastrous Iraq war.

US foreign policy is almost entirely crippled.

For the Obama administration, it has been a continuous firefighting mission since George W. Bush left office. In fact, there have been too many 'reality checks' to count.

Per the logic of the once powerful pro-Israel Washington-based neoconservatives, the invasion of Iraq was a belated attempt at regaining initiative in the Middle East, and controlling a greater share of the energy supplies worldwide. Sure, the US media had then made much noise about fighting terror, restoring democracies and heralding freedoms, but the neo-cons were hardly secretive about the real objectives. They tirelessly warned about the decline of their country's fortunes. They labored to redraw the map of the Middle East in a way that they imagined would slow down the rise of China, and the other giants that are slowly, but surely, standing on their feet to face up to the post-Cold War superpower.
Cult

Chossudovsky: NATO trains terrorists who destabilize situation in Ukraine

NATO soldiers
© RIA Novosti
Contractors from private security companies are supposed to do what NATO cannot do openly, they train terrorists who destabilize situation in Ukraine, Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization told RIA Novosti Tuesday.

"Those organizations (private security companies) will do what NATO cannot do openly. They can train people to be terrorists," Chossudovsky said, adding that in Syria private contractors were training al-Qaeda.

"We are talking about the continuation of US policy of military intervention in Ukraine and a preparatory stage for a massacre in southeastern Ukraine," Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of the National Defense monthly Russian-language magazine said, adding that the deployment of mercenaries from a private company Greystone Ltd. may be financed by Ukrainian oligarchs and organized in coordination with the US State Department.

Michel Chossudovsky told RIA Novosti that mercenaries are normally hired by governments, but options are numerous as they operate covertly and do not identify themselves.
Che Guevara

Nicolás Maduro: Protests by rich are U.S. attempt to steal Venezuela's oil and subvert our democracy

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Venezuela's president claims the Obama administration is fomenting unrest with the aim of provoking a Ukraine-style 'slow-motion' coup

Venezuela's president has accused the US of using continuing street protests to attempt a "slow-motion" Ukraine-style coup against his government and "get their hands on Venezuelan oil".

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Nicolás Maduro, elected last year after the death of Hugo Chávez, said what he described as a "revolt of the rich" would fail because the country's "Bolivarian revolution" was more deeply rooted than when it had seen off an abortive US-backed coup against Chávez in 2002.

Venezuela, estimated to have the world's largest oil reserves, has faced continuous violent street protests - focused on inflation, shortages and crime - since the beginning of February, after opposition leaders launched a campaign to oust Maduro and his socialist government under the slogan of "the exit".

"They are trying to sell to the world the idea that the protests are some of sort of Arab spring," he said. "But in Venezuela, we have already had our spring: our revolution that opened the door to the 21st century".

Light Saber

Sergei Lavrov's olive branch to the West: "It's not Russia that is destabilising Ukraine - If we don't co-operate soon, chaos may take hold"

© ITAR-TASS/Barcroft Media
A rally for a secession referendum in Lenin Square, Donetsk, Ukraine. Federalization of the country looks like the only solution. Of course, 'balkanization' of Ukraine may have been the goal all along...
The west has been needlessly whipping up tension - if we don't co-operate soon, chaos may take hold

The profound and pervasive crisis in Ukraine is a matter of grave concern for Russia. We understand perfectly well the position of a country which became independent just over 20 years ago and still faces complex tasks in constructing a sovereign state. Among them is the search for a balance of interests among its various regions, the peoples of which have different historical and cultural roots, speak different languages and have different perspectives on their past and present, and their country's future place in the world.

Given these circumstances, the role of external forces should have been to help Ukrainians protect the foundations of civil peace and sustainable development, which are still fragile. Russia has done more than any other country to support the independent Ukrainian state, including for many years subsidising its economy through low energy prices. Last November, at the outset of the current crisis, we supported Kiev's wish for urgent consultations between Ukraine, Russia and the EU to discuss harmonising the integration process. Brussels flatly rejected it. This stand reflected the unproductive and dangerous line the EU and US have been taking for a long time. They have been trying to compel Ukraine to make a painful choice between east and west, further aggravating internal differences.

Comment:
...our country has steadily promoted a system of equal and indivisible security in the Euro-Atlantic area. We proposed signing a treaty to that effect, and advocated the creation of a common economic and human space from the Atlantic to the Pacific which would also be open to post-Soviet countries.
Unfortunately, Sergei, as we're sure you well know, this is precisely what the Anglo-American Western Alliance will not allow. They stirred up two World Wars to prevent it happening. They absolutely hate the idea that the Eurasian landmass will naturally come together and leave their millennial dream of world domination in tatters.

Geopolitics of Empire: Mackinder's Heartland Theory and the Containment of Russia

Wall Street

Palast on the 'End-Game Memo': How the top 5 U.S. banks conspired with the WTO in the late 90s to dump $88 trillion of worthless junk into the economies of 155 nation-states

Greg Palast on the secret 'Geithner-Summers End-Game Memo' - with Max Keiser.

Originally aired on 17 September 2013


Comment: See also:

The confidential memo at the heart of the global financial crisis

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