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Eye 2

Walled off: In non-rebel eastern Ukraine, frustrations mount with Kiev

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© Fred Weir/The Christian Science Monitor
Col. Alexander Kruk, commander of Kharkiv region border guards, stands amid a completed section of the planned border wall. On one side, barbed-wire topped fence, watchtowers with cameras and motion detectors. On the other, berms and tank traps to slow down invading forces.

He says it will stop smugglers, illegal immigrants, subversives and, in a pinch, slow down an armored assault for a few minutes. "It's a border. It has to be defended, doesn't it?" he says.
It's been nicknamed the "Great Wall of Ukraine." Its planned combination of barbed-wire fences, watchtowers, berms, and tank traps along Ukraine's 1,300-mile border with Russia look like something you'd find on one of Israel's borders with its hostile neighbors.

If it's ever completed, the wall will seal a frontier that, until last year, had always been wide open. Inaugurating construction here last fall, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk indicated that much more than just a physical barrier was intended. "This will be the eastern border of Europe," he said.

But in nearby Kharkiv, an overwhelmingly Russian-speaking city of one-and-a-half million, mention of the wall is mostly greeted with snorts of irritation. The idea of splitting permanently and irrevocably from Russia wins virtually no acceptance. Many people here have family and friends in Russia, the local economy is heavily dependent on trade with Russia, and some say they just can't wrap their heads around the idea of a frontier being there in the first place.

Comment: It is sad to see the people of Kharkiv in such a confused state with no outlet to live their life as it once was.


Cowboy Hat

Russia and Argentina seal energy package, $3 billion in deals

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© RIA Novosti / Alexey Druzhinin
Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner seen during the ceremony of signing joint documents on the results of Russian-Argentinian talks in the Kremlin, April 23, 2015.
Russia plans to invest $2 billion in Argentinian nuclear power plants, and Russia's Gazprom has signed a deal to explore oil and gas fields in Argentina, a project worth another $1 billion.

Argentinian President Cristina de Kirchner and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a renewed energy pact at a news conference in Moscow on Thursday.

Russia's state nuclear energy company, Rosatom, said it will provide funds to build a sixth reactor at the Atucha nuclear power plant in Buenos Aires province.

"The amount of Russian investment is about $1.9 billion," Putin said.

Comment: The US won't be pleased but shouldn't be surprised. Great Britain will also raise their eyebrows over the Falkland Islands.


Pistol

SOTT Exclusive: U.S. troops and mercs bringing glory to Ukraine, protecting Poroshenko from his own troops

About 250 US troops are now in western Ukraine for the purpose of 'training' Kiev's poorly trained, demoralized, and significantly reduced 'reserve' of cannon fodder for US perfidy and belligerence. President Petro "PeePee" Poroshenko had this to say: "My decision, as the commander-in-chief, to build a new quality army, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, is beginning to become a reality with the help of our American partners." Yep, that's right. Until now your army has been anything but 'quality' - evidenced by the fact that both Minsk agreements only came about because your joke of an armed forces got themselves surrounded by the ex-miners and laborers making up the bulk of the militias in Donetsk and Lugansk. In fact, the most effective Ukrainian fighters have been the nationalistic, fascist, Bandera-worshiping nutjobs in the nazi volunteer battalions.

The Americans plan to stay for the next six months, understandably angering the Russians. Who can blame them? While they are constantly, and falsely, accused of sending troops into east Ukraine - and sanctioned based on these false claims, not to mention demonized in the Western press - the U.S. sends troops there, no doubt to prolong the conflict, and no one so much as raises an eyebrow. Oh, America, you 'exceptional nation', you! How dare anyone presume - even if only in your sick, fantasy version of reality - to usurp your monopoly on foreign interference, violent proxy warfare and all-around thuggery.

But Donetsk and Lugansk may not have to worry too much about a revived, "quality" Ukrainian Armed Forces. Just take a look at the quality and level of training they're receiving from the American 'experts':


Chess

Senator Warren challenges Obama administration to make secretive terms of TPP trade agreement public

© MSNBC
President Obama and top Republicans pushing hardest for TPP are saying people should just take their word that it would be a good deal, explained Sen. Warren on The Rachel Maddow Show on Wednesday evening. "I just don't think that's reasonable."
Senator explains that real reason TPP remains so secret, even as Congress begins voting on measures to ram it through, is because 'if the American people saw what was in it, they would be opposed to it.'

Prove it. Let the American voters, the press, and the global public see and read the fine print of this so-called "free trade" deal.

That's the basic message contained in a new statement released by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) after President Obama said earlier this week that she and other opponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) were "wrong" when it came to their objections to the pending 12-nation agreement.

Comment: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is being negotiated in total secrecy by 12 countries. Despite the wide-ranging effects on the global population, few people have access to the full text of the draft agreement and the public, who it will affect most, have none at all. The secrecy surrounding the terms is a broad hint that the beneficiaries of this agreement will primarily be transnational corporations and the majority of the global population may well suffer from its effects.


Eye 1

Washington's chaos: Kiev has lost control of the neo-Nazi battalions

Rogue volunteer battalions engaged in Ukraine's civil war, many brandishing neo-Nazi symbols, now pose a real danger to the country as they have spun out of Kiev's control, according to the German newspaper Die Zeit.
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© Alexander Maksimenko
Ukraine is now facing the danger of the so-called volunteer battalions, which already cannot be pressured by Kiev, the German newspaper Die Zeit reported.

The newspaper quoted Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak as saying recently that there are no volunteer units in the area of the anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine. By saying so, Poltorak meant that all these units fighting for Kiev in the Donbass region have already become part of the Ukrainian army or the Ukrainian National Guard, according to the newspaper.

Comment: Of course Kiev's allegiance is to the US empire, and they have no intention of restricting these neo-Nazi battalions. See: The ties that bind: US training Nazis along with a media full of cover stories


Airplane Paper

Drone containing camera, traces of radiation found on roof of Japanese PM's office

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© Thomas Peter/Reuters
Officials carry a blue box reportedly containing a drone from the rooftop of Shinzo Abe’s offices in Tokyo.
Traces of radiation reportedly detected on drone carrying camera and bottle with unidentified contents

Japanese authorities have launched an investigation after a small drone reportedly containing traces of radiation was found on the roof of the prime minister's office, sparking concerns about drones and their possible use for terrorist attacks.

No injuries or damage was reported from the incident on Wednesday. The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who is at present in Indonesia, works at the building during the day and commutes from his own private home roughly 15 minutes away.

Police said it was not immediately known who was responsible for the drone.

The significance was not immediately clear, but a Japanese court on Wednesday approved the restart of a nuclear power station, rejecting nuclear power safety worries in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima radiation disaster.

The chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said the incident was a wakeup call to the potential dangers of drones, including possible terror attacks when Japan hosts the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

It was not clear when the drone landed. It was found on Wednesday by an official who was reportedly taking new employees on a tour of the prime minister's office in central Tokyo.

Network

Hungary, Greece, Cyprus to resume trade with Russia regardless of Western sanctions

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© Flickr/ Bart Koop-Henzen
Hungary, Greece and Cyprus may soon be allowed to export fruit and vegetables to the Russian market, according to a report in the newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Russian health authorities are conducting audits of suppliers in all three countries, as well as India, Alexey Alexeyenko, the director of Rosselkhoznadzor (the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance) is quoted as saying.
"About 20 companies will be verified in Greece and Hungary. In India — less, around four to five. Cyprus has requested a delay for technical reasons and therefore, the audits will begin on April 27, where seven to eight companies will be checked."
The US, the EU and other western countries have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Moscow in 2014 and early 2015. Russia responded by embargo of several foodstuffs, including dairy products, meat, fruits and vegetables from the EU, Canada, Australia and Norway.

Comment: US influence over these ridiculous sanction measures can only last so long, and it seems the Greek-Russian partnership is opening the doors to a bit of sanity for some in the EU.


Sheeple

War: The birth and health of the State

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Randolph Bourne
In my essay "The Herd Mind," I explained how "War is the health of the State," according to Randolph Bourne: in particular, how war causes a country to regress from a diverse civilization to a uniform herd locked in fight-or-flight mode, and easily driven by the government.

As I mentioned in my talk "How the Fed Feeds War," this propensity is not lost on those in government, which explains why so many of them are so wont to start and expand wars. War is a pressure point on the body politic which the government strikes to disable resistance and obtain submission. By repeatedly striking that nerve, and thereby inducing war fever and triggering fight-or-flight, a government continually renews its subject population's sense of alarm and dependence, its pliability and support.

Bad Guys

Revealed: Child sex abuse gang 'with tentacles that go round the world'

Full details of paedophile ring's activity can be reported for first time after trial of two of them, John Denham and Matthew Stansfield, ended with convictions.

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© National Crime Agency
Left to right, top row: Adam Toms, David Harsley, John Denham (previously known as Benjamin Harrop), Christopher Knight; L-R bottom row: Matthew Stansfield, Robin Hollyson and Matthew Lisk.
Seven members of a paedophile gang were involved in the rape and abuse of babies, toddlers and children in attacks that were streamed on the internet and seen on every continent.

The sex ring - described as having "tentacles that go round the world" - preyed on the families of the children they targeted, in one case grooming a mother and father before their baby was born.

Comment:


Megaphone

Monsanto sued in Los Angeles County for false advertising

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© T. Matthew Phillips
Today a class action lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County, California against the Monsanto corporation. The suit alleges that Monsanto is guilty of false advertising by claiming that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, targets an enzyme only found in plants and not in humans or animals. Monsanto makes this claim to support the contention that glyphosate is harmless to humans.

In the lawsuit, the argument is made that the targeted enzyme, EPSP synthase, is found in the microbiota which reside in our intestines and therefore this enzyme is found in humans and animals. It is further stated in the lawsuit that there are many human and animal health problems associated with the disruption of our intestinal microbes.

Comment: Read more about how GMO farming and food is making our gut flora unfriendly: