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Like everything else in Ukraine, IMF 'reforms' are coming apart at the seams

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© Sputnik / Evgeny Kotenko
The attempts to carry out reforms in Ukraine are "coming apart at the seams" and the Kiev authorities do not seem to be up to the task, a German MP said.

"We are concerned that current Ukrainian leadership is not strong enough to pass the necessary legislation through the parliament. We need groundbreaking reforms, not some stand-alone changes but a whole new system," noted Karl-Georg Wellmann, the head of the German-Ukrainian parliamentary group.

Wellmann is also concerned that the West might not find enough motivation to press Ukraine as much as it does Greece. "In other words, do what should be done to get the ball rolling," he told the ARD broadcaster.

Eye 1

Surprised? Ukraine's top military adviser establishes common ground between nationalists and neo-Nazis

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© AP Photo / Efrem Lukatsky

On May 14, Right Sector leader Dmitry Yarosh submitted to the Ukrainian parliament a bill on the Ukrainian volunteer corps. Earlier, he said there is mutual understanding between country's security forces and the volunteer corps on cooperation.


Dmitry Yarosh, leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement Right Sector, has reached an agreement on joint actions at "foreign and domestic fronts" with Nikolai Kokhanivsky, commander of the volunteer battalion of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalist (OUN).

Yarosh announced the agreement on his Facebook page.

Comment: Surprise, the psychopaths have tasted blood and power, and now they won't quit. Check out:


Bomb

Need more destruction: Pentagon's new multibillion dollar arms contracts with Israel and Saudi Arabia

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© Reuters / Paul Hanna
The Pentagon has announced new multibillion dollar arms contracts with the regimes in Israel and Saudi Arabia, America's primary allies in the Middle East. Both are knee-deep in military conflicts destabilizing the region.

The $1.9 billion deal with Israel implies supply of some 3,000 Hellfire precision missiles, 250 AIM-120C advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles, 4,100 GBU-39 small diameter bombs and 50 BLU-113 bunker buster bombs. The order also includes 14,500 tail kits for Joint Direct Attack Munitions for 220kg and 900kg bombs and a variety of Paveway laser-guided bomb kits.

Israeli media sees the deal as "compensation" for the rapprochement between Iran and the US, which Washington sees as trying to get Tehran's nuclear program under control.

Comment: Are there too many people in the world that we need so many weapons to kill them?


Bomb

Shells explode near Russian embassy in Damascus, 1 killed

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© Google Maps
One person has been killed and three injured by shells that landed near the Russian embassy in Damascus, an RT Arabic correspondent reports.

It is the second time in a week that shells have fallen near the embassy. No one was killed or injured in the previous incident, when one shell hit an administrative building and another landed near the embassy's main entrance Tuesday.

Comment: Is there a message being sent to Moscow?


Radar

China warns U.S. surveillance plane over South China Sea

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© CNN
The Chinese navy issued warnings eight times as a U.S. surveillance plane on Wednesday swooped over islands that Beijing is using to extend its zone of influence.

The series of man-made islands and the massive Chinese military build-up on them have alarmed the Pentagon, which is carrying out the surveillance flights in order to make clear the U.S. does not recognize China's territorial claims. The militarized islands have also alarmed America's regional allies.

Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell told CNN's Erin Burnett Wednesday night that the confrontation indicates there is "absolutely" a risk of the U.S. and China going to war sometime in the future.

Comment: Meanwhile Indonesia has blown up over 40 ships in the South China Sea:

According to The China People's Daily, Indonesia has just sank a large Chinese vessel and 40 other foreign ships caught fishing in The South China Sea. AP confirms that Indonesian authorities blew up and sank the 41 vessels... which seems like something that might just lead to some serious escalation if true...

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And AP's confirmation...
Indonesian authorities blew up and sank 41 foreign fishing vessels Wednesday as a warning against poaching in the country's waters.

The vessels from a variety of countries were blown up in several ports across the archipelago, which has some of the world's richest fishing grounds.

Navy spokesman First Adm. Manahan Simorangkir said 35 vessels were sunk by the navy and six by the coast guard police.

Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said Indonesia has blown up several other boats since the current government took over last year after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo was elected. Part of his platform was to preserve Indonesia's oceans to ensure future generations will benefit from its rich waters.

The boats, seized from Chinese, Malaysian, Philippine, Thai and Vietnamese fishermen, were blown up on National Awakening Day, which commemorates the first political movement toward Indonesia's independence.



Rocket

Moscow says it will retaliate if Ukraine hosts US anti-missile defenses

© Reuters
A Patriot anti-missile system
Russia will take retaliatory measures to protect itself if Ukraine decides to station US anti-missile defense systems in its territory, Kremlin spokesman told the media.

"Concerning Ukraine's plan to house anti-missile systems in its territory, we can only perceive it negatively," Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday. "Because it will be a threat to the Russian Federation. In case there are missile defense systems stationed in Ukraine, Russia will have to take retaliatory measures to ensure its own safety."

He was commenting on a recent statement by the head of Ukraine's Security Service, the SBU, Aleksandr Turchinov, which claimed that Ukraine faces a "Russian nuclear threat." In an interview-structured statement published by the Ukrainian Security Council's website, Turchinov claims Russia has stationed nuclear missiles on the Crimean peninsula.

"Nuclear weapons in Crimea will be targeted, first and foremost, at European countries. There is also real danger for Turkey, which is, by the way, a NATO member," Turchinov said.

Dollars

Monsanto bets $45 Billion on a pesticide-soaked future

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© sakhorn/Shutterstock
Once an industrial-chemical titan, GMO seed giant Monsanto has rebranded itself as a "sustainable agriculture company." Forget such classic post-war corporate atrocities as PCB and dioxin—the modern Monsanto "uses plant breeding and biotechnology to create seeds that grow into stronger, more resilient crops that require fewer resources," as the company's website has it.

That rhetoric may have to change, though, if Monsanto succeeds in buying its Swiss rival, pesticide giant Syngenta. On Friday, Syngenta's board rejected a $45 billion takeover bid. But that's hardly the end of the story. Tuesday afternoon, Syngenta's share price was holding steady at a level about 20 percent higher than it was before Monsanto's bid—an indication that investors consider an eventual deal quite possible. As The Wall Street Journal's Helen Thomas put it, the Syngenta board's initial rejection of Monsanto's overture may just be a way of saying, "This deal makes sense, but Syngenta can hold out for more."

Vader

Western intelligence agencies exploiting progressive social causes to further imperial agenda

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© GCHQ/Public Affairs Office
Over the weekend, the British surveillance agency GCHQ — the most extremist and invasive in the West — bathed its futuristic headquarters with rainbow-colored lights "as a symbol of the intelligence agency's commitment to diversity" and to express solidarity with "International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia." GCHQ's public affairs office proudly distributed the above photograph to media outlets. Referring to Alan Turing, the closeted-and-oppressed gay World War II British code-breaker just memorialized by an Oscar-nominated feature film, Prime Minister David Cameron's office celebrated GCHQ's inspirational lights:


This is so very moving. Gay Brits are now just as free as everyone else to spy on people, covertly disseminate state propaganda, and destroy online privacy. Whatever your views on all this nasty surveillance business might be, how can you not feel good about GCHQ when it drapes itself in the colors of LGBT equality?

This is all a stark illustration of what has become a deeply cynical but highly effective tactic. Support for institutions of militarism and policies of imperialism is now manufactured by parading them under the emotionally manipulative banners of progressive social causes.

Comment: It's clear that the Powers That Be in the U.S. government have discovered just how easily it is to manipulate the bleeding hearts of liberals to their own benefit. Whether you are liberal or progressive, there is a program to guide you towards the way of thinking that the American Empire wants you to think.


Star of David

Blowing smoke: Netanyahu vows commitment to two-state solution

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© AP Photo/ Dan Balilty
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised his commitment to two-state solution of the crisis in Israeli-Palestinian relations on Wednesday for the first time since his reelection.

Before the March election in Israel, Netanyahu had said he would oppose the creation of a Palestinian state if reelected.

"I want to reiterate my commitment to peace...My position hasn't changed. I don't support a one-state solution. I don't believe this is a solution at all. I support the vision of two states for two peoples - a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state," Netanyahu told EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, as quoted by the Haaretz newspaper.

Comment: Who can believe anything coming out of this man's mouth. He wants the impossible of having Palestinians recognize a Jewish state who stole their lands. Therefore there will not be a two-state solution.


Attention

Militarization is more than tanks and rifles: It's a cultural disease, acclimating the citizenry to life in a police state

"If we're training cops as soldiers, giving them equipment like soldiers, dressing them up as soldiers, when are they going to pick up the mentality of soldiers? If you look at the police department, their creed is to protect and to serve. A soldier's mission is to engage his enemy in close combat and kill him. Do we want police officers to have that mentality? Of course not."— Arthur Rizer, former civilian police officer and member of the military.
© rightwingnews.com
Militarized police.
Talk about poor timing. Then again, perhaps it's brilliant timing.

Only now—after the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security (DHS) and Defense have passed off billions of dollars worth of military equipment to local police forces, after police agencies have been trained in the fine art of war, after SWAT team raids have swelled in number to more than 80,000 a year, after it has become second nature for local police to look and act like soldiers, after communities have become acclimated to the presence of militarized police patrolling their streets, after Americans have been taught compliance at the end of a police gun or taser, after lower income neighborhoods have been transformed into war zones, after hundreds if not thousands of unarmed Americans have lost their lives at the hands of police who shoot first and ask questions later, after a whole generation of young Americans has learned to march in lockstep with the government's dictates—only now does President Obama lift a hand to limit the number of military weapons being passed along to local police departments.

Not all, mind you, just some.

Talk about too little, too late.

Months after the White House defended a federal program that distributed $18 billion worth of military equipment to local police, Obama has announced that he will ban the federal government from providing local police departments with tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, camouflage uniforms and large-caliber firearms.

Obama also indicated that less heavy-duty equipment (armored vehicles, tactical vehicles, riot gear and specialized firearms and ammunition) will reportedly be subject to more regulations such as local government approval, and police being required to undergo more training and collect data on the equipment's use. Perhaps hoping to sweeten the deal, the Obama administration is also offering $163 million in taxpayer-funded grants to "incentivize police departments to adopt the report's recommendations."