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Ukraine update: War could be finished for 7,000 trapped Ukrainian soldiers, Kiev facing 'catastrophic defeat'

eastern Ukraine
© Reuters / Alexander Ermochenko
A man walks near a damaged residential building in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine January 19, 2015
Fierce fighting continues around Debaltsevo. If NAF forces succeed in surrounding the estimated 6,000-8,000 Ukrainian troops in the area - which could happen in the next 24 hours or less - Kiev will be faced with a catastrophic defeat, one that will be hard to recover from.

For an excellent analysis of the current situation, we strongly recommend the latest from Fort Russ.

Here is the most recent update on the fighting that we could find:
According to official DNR evening briefing for 31.1.2015, the main military activity is in the Debaltsevo cauldron. With capture of Uglegorsk confirmed, Chernukhino about to be seized (indications today are, it has already fallen to NAF) and attempts by NAF to close the northern entry at Svetlodarsk/Luganskoye and establish a checkpoint north of Debaltsevo on the road from Luganskoye to Debaltsevo. Seems that NAF is not letting out any military vehicles from Debaltsevo, but is letting civilian vehicles pass.

Comment: Also see:

Magic Hat

SOTT Exclusive: ISIS refugee trojan horse plot foiled! Jihadists at the gates of Europe disguised as Muslim refugees

Last October, International Business Times cited unnamed US intelligence sources reporting that ISIS was plotting to smuggle jihadists into Europe disguised as Middle Eastern refugees so that they can launch terror attacks. US intelligence became aware of this after it "unravelled encrypted talks between the leadership of IS" which revealed the terrorists' plan to take advantage of "relaxed border controls that would allow IS militants to blend in with the thousands of genuine refugees spilling over the border in search of safety."
Isis (now known as the Islamic State) is plotting to smuggle its fighters into Western Europe disguised as Middle Eastern refugees, according to US intelligence sources.

German newspaper Bild reported that American intelligence authorities had unravelled encrypted talks between the leadership of IS.

The sources told the outlet IS was moving away from plans to conduct aircraft hijackings and attacks for fear of tight security and was looking to land a new strategy.

It is seeking to move militants across borders disguised as refugees in a "trojan horse" tactic that would see the fighters use fake passports once in Turkey to reach Western European countries in the hope of carrying out terror attacks.

"In view of the chaotic conditions on the Syria-Turkey border, it is nearly impossible to catch Isis terrorists in the wave of refugees," wrote Bild.
Fast-forward to the present year and we have al-Baghdadi's henchmen themselves admitting to such a plot. An anonymous Islamic State operative, along with his lackey refugee-smugglers in Turkey, allegedly admitted to BuzzFeed News that they are helping to sneak ISIS fighters into Europe disguised as Muslim refugees, where they are to wander around European countries with fake passports and plot terror attacks unchecked. Their somewhat counter-intuitive goal is to stage terror attacks in the West in order to break the resolve of the U.S.-led coalition involved in the airstrikes. According to the article, this is the first time an ISIS member involved in such plans decided to discuss them with the media.
An ISIS operative traveled across the Syrian border late last year, settled in a Turkish port city, and began work on a mission to sneak jihadis into Europe. It has been successful, he said, in an interview near the Turkey-Syria border: "Just wait."

The operative, a Syrian in his thirties with a close-cropped black beard, said ISIS is sending covert fighters to Europe - as did two smugglers who said they have helped. He smuggles them from Turkey in small groups, he said, hidden in cargo ships filled with hundreds of refugees. He said the fighters intend to fulfill ISIS's threat to stage attacks in the West.
The mastermind behind this 'Trojan Horse' operation went on to say that he went from being a member of the Syrian government's security forces to being part of the U.S.-funded Syrian 'opposition', before apparently defecting to ISIS, a rather common pattern in this unmitigated disaster of 'Western humanitarian intervention.'
Rocket

Peace talks in Minsk fail while Donetsk constantly shelled by Kiev

Donetsk
© RIA Novosti / Sergey Averin
A house destroyed by Ukrainian army's shelling in Kuybyshevsky district, Donetsk
Shelling of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk is continuing practically non-stop with shells landing in civilian areas after mediators' talks failed Saturday. Militia and Kiev forces are fighting for the strategically key area of Debaltsevo.

Officials of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) said at least three civilians have been killed by Ukrainian artillery fire targeting residential areas overnight.

"Overnight, the Ukrainian troops fired about 30 barrages at DPR cities. The night shelling injured 14 civilians" in two of the city's neighborhoods, reported Eduard Basurin, deputy defense minister in the DPR.

Four more people have been killed on Sunday, the militia said, while the total number of injured over the past 24 hours is being counted at over 20. They blamed Ukrainian units holding two villages northwest of the city and several infiltration groups for the violence.


Comment: The NAF's recent successes (which match their successes last year before the nominal ceasefire went into effect) put them in a stronger position to bargain. But whether Kiev will take the sane option and agree to a new demarcation line - as opposed to stubbornly sending thousands more new conscripts to die - is another matter. Debaltsevo is almost totally encircled, trapping thousands of Ukrainian troops. Again, the sane thing would be to lay down arms and get out of there, not try to fight their way out under siege conditions. Up until now, Kiev has been all too willing to simply throw in more cannon fodder, and use NATO weapons to bomb civilians.



Bad Guys

No surprise: Obama admits US role in 2014 Ukraine coup

© REUTERS/ Kevin Lamarque
The United States took an active part in the February 2014 coup in Ukraine, which installed pro-Western authorities, US President Obama told CNN Sunday.

"And since Mr. Putin made this decision around Crimea and Ukraine - not because of some grand strategy, but essentially because he was caught off-balance by the protests in the Maidan and [Ukraine's then-President Viktor] Yanukovych then fleeing after we had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine," Obama said in an interview.


Comment: Crimea made the decision, not Putin.


Yanukovych's decision to not sign association agreement with the European Union in late 2013 triggered a mass wave of protests across Ukraine, which culminated in the February coup. Following the February events and the rise of aggressive nationalism in the country, Crimea seceded from Ukraine and joined Russia in March 2014, following a referendum, in which 96 percent of voters were in favor of reunifying with Russia.

Comment: No surprise. The US was the leading figure in the Ukraine coup.

Wall Street

Nomi Prins: The sinister evolution of our modern banking system

I quit Wall Street and decided that it was time to talk more about what was going on inside it, as it had changed. It had become far more sinister and far more dangerous.

~ Nomi Prins
Today, the 'revolving door' connecting our political and financial systems is evident to anyone with eyes. But this entwined relationship between Washington DC and Wall Street is nothing new, predating even the formation of the Federal Reserve.

To chronicle the evolution to where we find ourselves today, we welcome Nomi Prins, Wall Street veteran turned financial industry reformist, and author of the excellent expose All The Presidents Bankers.

In this well-detailed interview, Nomi goes into depth of the rationale and process behind the creation of the Federal Reserve, and more important, how its mandate -- and the behavior of the banking system overall -- metastasized into the every-banker-for-himself regime of sanctioned theft we now live with.
Bomb

Terrorism hits Thailand: Ousted regime that vowed violent reprisals finally follows through


Thaksin Shinawatra deployed some 300 heavily armed terrorists in Bangkok in 2010 triggering bloodshed that would claim nearly 100 lives and leave the city in flames after a final day of serial arson was carried out by his political supporters.
Ousted regime that vowed violent reprisals, finally follows through.

Two powerful bombs exploded in downtown Bangkok Sunday night, just days after ousted prime minster Yingluck Shinawatra was impeached from office amid threats from her political party that violence would follow.

Indeed just days ago the Nation would report in an article titled, "Strong reaction to impeachment," that:
Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra's impeachment yesterday was hailed by her opponents as the dawn of a new era, but characterised by her supporters as a new chapter that would ignite political violence and deepen division.
The political violence referred too of course, was not to be "spontaneous" in nature, but rather openly carried out by leading members of Shinawatra's political party. The Nation more recently reported in an article titled, "Junta vows crackdown on provocateurs," that (emphasis added):
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday pledged to take legal action against people who threaten to use violence to protest against the government and state officials.The premier referred to politicians who said they would stage rallies and violence against the government to stop reconciliation, and would create violence like that seen in the South.
Once again, the ousted regime of Yingluck Shinawatra, along with her deposed brother Thaksin Shinawatra, has promised and now carried through with acts of terrorism and violence aimed at destabilizing, dividing, and destroying the nation.

Thaksin Shinawatra, a convicted criminal living abroad to evade a two-year jail sentence for corruption and a long list of pending court cases has for the past decade led brutal campaigns of mass murder, terrorism, and targeted assassinations against his opponents and the people of Thailand, all with enthusiastic Western backing.

Comment: It will be interesting to see how the Western media spins this latest terror attack in Thailand.

According to Cartalucci: "The Western media is going to insinuate the Thai army did this to justify martial law (even though they already have welcomed, popular, total control of the country already)."

Hourglass

Eurocrats say no chance of Greek debt write-down: US-led EU slouching towards war?

Europe, which the EU is supposed to represent, is fighting a double war that could ravage it beyond recognition - against Greece within its own borders, and against Russia in Ukraine.

An exhibition in Rome could not - inadvertently - be more graphic in defining the zeitgeist: "The Age of Anxiety - from Commodus to Diocletian." Well, Roman emperors could barely imagine it would get much worse under the EU.

The tantalizingly tense face-off between Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem and new Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has set up the battlefield; the EU won't accept a "unilateral" Greece, and Greece won't accept a bailout extension or the diktats of the troika (EU, ECB, IMF).

Legend has already taken over; after Varoufakis was firm on the "no troika" talk - as in no more economic terrorism - at the end of their press conference in Athens, Dijsselbloem murmured something in his ear that Greek officials have interpreted as a Pulp Fiction-style "I'ma get medieval on your ass."

So now it's all-out Athens against the Masters of the Universe (the EU division). Independent observers would be tempted to see it as post-modern Perseus trying to slay the EU Medusa - a monster so frightful that no living thing could behold her without being turned into stone.

The Medusa is now the troika. Medusa Queen Merkel and her minions - like Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble ("we won't be blackmailed"), plus the usual faceless officials using sub-Homeric metaphors such as "tied to the mast of confrontation" - are ramping up the pressure with no debt reduction. After the Dijsselbloem-Varoufakis face-off, it would be up to the European Commission (EC) bureaucratic nightmare to come up with a feasible alternative for a Greek debt write-down.
Better Earth

Propaganda? Belarus President Lukahsenko distancing himself from Russia

Lukashenko
© Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko
As the conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government closes in on its first anniversary, fighting in the east of the country intensified this month as the rebels advanced in the areas of Donetsk and Luhansk. About 745 miles away in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, a longtime Russian ally, scared by the war, may be making plans to distance himself from President Vladimir Putin's Russia -- depriving Moscow of its closest friend among Slavic nations.

After the annexation of Crimea in March and the outbreak of war in eastern Ukraine in April, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, a strongman who has been called the last dictator in Europe, minced no words. "No matter who comes to the Belarusian land, I will fight. Even if it is Putin," he told the Russian independent television channel Dozhd.

Those comments marked newly strained relations with Moscow. Along a similar line, Belarus refused to join countersanctions by Russia against the West last year. In response, Russia banned all meat product imports from Belarus, as GlobalMeatNews reported.

Comment: There's a difference between 'depriving Russia of an ally' and simply acting as a sovereign state. According to Stratfor, Lukashenko also emphasized Belarus's strong integration with Russia in the same speech. So it's not black and white. Belarus has also been a key mediator in the Minsk talks between Ukraine and Russia, and Moscow plans to give Minsk $1 billion this year.

Handcuffs

'Great American villain' Henry Kissinger faces citizen's arrest inside a Senate hearing room

© Reuters
CODEPINK Protesters Attempt Citizens Arrest of Henry Kissinger for War Crimes.
In an action that has already made headlines around the world, Code Pink stole the show yesterday with an attempted citizen's arrest of Henry Kissinger for War Crimes committed during his tenure as Secretary of State from 1973-1977.

As the 91 year old Kissinger took to his seat at the witness table alongside former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and George Shultz for a hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee on global threats and national security strategy, chants of "Arrest Henry Kissinger for War Crimes, arrest Henry Kissinger for War Crimes, arrest Henry Kissinger for War Crimes" began pulsating throughout the chambers. Press hovered over the scene, and Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin began speaking for the voiceless, calling for the citizen's arrest of Kissinger for war crimes:
In the name of the people of Chile

In the name of the people of Vietnam

In the name of the people of East Timor

In the name of the people of Cambodia

In the name of the people of Laos

Comment: We can only hope more citizens will stand up and voice their opposition to the war mongers of the world.

Wine n Glass

Extravagant alcohol spending with public funds causes headache for Netanyahu

© AP Photo/ Gali Tibbon, Poo
Zionist Camp party co-chair and former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has pointed the finger at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who she claimed spends more money on alcohol than some Israelis earn per month, according to Israel's Haaretz newspaper.

"This week it was published that Netanyahu spent 100,000 shekels ($25,450) of public funds over two years on alcohol. Do you know how much that is in a month? 4,200 shekels a month," Livni said.

"The price of the alcohol Netanyahu drinks in a month is like the monthly salary of nearly one million workers in Israel, but they use it for rent, city tax, water, electricity, education, and food," she added.

Comment: Shining the spotlight on our world leader's behavior as the rest of the people suffer. Of course the 'leaders' deny it because it is normal behavior for them. They don't see anything wrong.

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