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Good luck! Russia wants regular, transparent reports on MH17 crash probe amid silence from the West

MH17 wreckage
© RIA Novosti / Andrei Stenin
Parts of wreckage are seen at the site where the downed Malaysian Boeing 777 flight MH17 crashed
Moscow wants the investigation into the crash of a Malaysian Boeing 777 to be as most transparent as possible, and insists on regular provision if prove reports in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution, a diplomatic source told RIA Novosti.

"Investigation into the reasons of the catastrophe should be carried out under international control, should be all-encompassing and transparent for the wide international audience and mass media," the source said. "We will keep pressing for it, demanding the implementation of the UNSC resolution 2166 which stipulates monthly reports about the course of the investigation."

Resolution 2166 adopted by the UN Security Council in July calls for a thorough and impartial investigation into the MH17 tragedy and requires the secretary-general to provide the Security Council with investigation progress reports.

The source stressed that the majority of Western media "seem to have been ordered to avoid the investigation issue for about two weeks."

"US official representatives who rushed to accuse Russia and Donetsk self-defense forces in the first hours following the tragedy, also maintain silence. America's allies, particularly the British and the Australian, who were also among the first accusers, stick to the same policy. The international community has not yet seen the promised "incontestable evidence." The explanation is that the truth could be inconvenient to Washington, London and Canberra," the source told RIA Novosti.

The source added that Kiev's official position is also telling.

"As the curtain of allegations is clearing, the specialists have more and more questions over the actions of the Ukrainian authorities and military toward the Boeing. Kiev still has not made public the recordings of the talks between air traffic control and the crew, which would allow to understand why the plane was in the combat area," the diplomatic source said.

Comment: Is it not curious that Russia -- the state accused by the West of being responsible for the downing of MH17 -- is practically the only state calling for all-encompassing, transparent, international information on the investigation? This fact alone suggests there is more to the story than the Western media and politicians are letting on. And that's not to mention the available evidence that strongly points toward Kiev's hand in the MH17 crash.

Treasure Chest

It belongs in a (Crimean) museum!: Kiev claims Scythian gold as its own, Netherlands too cowardly to make the right choice

scythian gold
© EPA/P Photo/Peter Dejong
Crimea is ready to give up part of its cultural heritage in swap for the Scythian gold collection which is currently on view in Amsterdam.

Andrei Malgin, director of the Tavrida Central Museum, told Itar-Tass that ancient artifacts had been found during excavations at the Nogaichinsky Kurgan in steppe Crimea in the 1970s. The archeologist handed over his archaeological findings to Kiev. These exhibits from the Ukrainian Museum of Historical Valuables are also part of "Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea" exhibition in the Netherlands.

"These things are very beautiful. They date back to a period of late antiquity. They are also part of Crimean cultural heritage," Malgin said.

"But Crimea might give up its claim to these things if Kiev leaves what belongs to us in peace. Otherwise, I do not see how we can reach a compromise," Malkin stressed.

Earlier this week, the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam decided to leave the disputed "Scythian gold" collection in the Netherlands until a qualified judge passes a decision or the sides reach a kind of compromise.

The exhibits have been claimed both by Kiev and Crimea but the Allard Pierson Museum is still at a loss to where they should be returned.

Comment: The situation is not so complicated. The pieces come from Crimea; they belong in Crimea. See also: Netherlands promises to resolve return of Scythian gold to Crimea by September

2 + 2 = 4

How quickly we forget: Russian envoy Churkin reminds UN that Kiev approved the aid convoy

Churkin
© EPA/ANDREW GOMBERT
Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin educating the braindead.
Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin has likened Friday evening's discussion on the situation in Ukraine to what he described as a Kingdom of Curved Mirrors. He explained he got this impression because some SC members looked worried not so much about the humanitarian disaster in the east of the country as the Russian truck convoy that had delivered humanitarian aid to Lugansk.

"What was happening in the UN Security Council reminded me of a Kingdom of Curved Mirrors, because some members did not care at all civilians were dying in the east of Ukraine. Nor did they care about the humanitarian disaster there. They were mostly alarmed by Russia's humanitarian aid being delivered to people in the line of fire," the diplomat said.

Churkin explained that Russia was keeping in touch with the Ukrainian authorities and hoped that there would be no problems with the delivery of humanitarian aid to its destination.

"After that discussion the tensions in the Security Council over the issue eased somewhat," Churkin said.

He addressed the SC members with a fresh reminder that Russia had dispatched humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine only when it had official consent from that country's government.

"As far as reproaches about respect for sovereignty are concerned, I can say once again that we received official consent from them. We discussed that issue. If they deceived us, it is their problem. We just wish to give help to those who need it," Churkin said.

According to the Russian diplomat, during the just-held discussion he recalled that the Security Council last July voted for Resolution 2165, which authorized direct supplies of humanitarian assistance to Syria without the country's government.

Comment: Precedents such as that in Syria get thrown out the window when the West has a target in their sights.

Ambulance

The significance of Russia's decision to move the humanitarian convoy into Novorussiya

Russian aid convoy
© RIA Novosti / Maksim Blinov
Trucks of a Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine, August, 22, 2014
It appears that the Russians got tired of waiting. I suggest that you all carefully parse the Statement of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs I posted earlier today. This is an interesting document because besides an explanation of the Russian decision to move it, it is also, potentially, a legal defense of an unprecedented Russian decision: to overtly violate the Ukrainian sovereignty. Let me explain.

First, the case of Crimea was also a "special case". The Russian were legally present there and, in the Russian rationale, all the "Polite Armed Men in Green" did was to protect the local population to make it possible for the latter to freely express its will. Only after that will was expressed did Russia agree to formally re-incorporate Crimea into Russia. So from the legal Russian point of view, none of the Russian actions in Crimea included any form of violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. I know, most western analysts will not agree, but that is the official Russian stance. And official stances are important because they form the basis for a legal argument.

Second, the aid which Russia has been sending to Novorussia has been exclusively covert. Covert operations, no matter their magnitude, do not form the basis for a legal position. The official position of Moscow has been that not only was there absolutely no military aid to Novorussia, but even when Ukie artillery shells landed inside Russia did the Kremlin authorize any retaliation, again in (official) deference to the Ukrainian national sovereignty.

This time, however, there is no doubt at all that the Russians did deliberately and officially chose to ignore Kiev and move in. Now, in fact, in reality, this is clearly the logically, politically and morally right thing to do. But in legal terms, this clearly a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. From a legal point of view, the Ukies had the right to keep the Russian convoy at the border for another 10,000 years if they wanted and Russia had no legal right to simply move in. What apparently happened this morning is that the Ukie officials did not even bother showing up, so the Kremlin just said "forget it!" and ordered the trucks in.

Comment: The official hysteria surrounding the aid convoy may be ridiculous lies, but it does tell us something: Russia has made an important move here: morally and politically. And that doesn't make the West happy, at all. Once again, it's looking like Putin has outplayed them.

Newspaper

Candid interview with Ukrainian general and hostage negotiator Vladimir Ruban: "The Militia are exactly the same Ukrainians"

ruban
© dnepr.com
Colonel-General Vladimir Ruban.
Preamble: The following is a translation of an interview given by Colonel-General Vladimir Ruban to the "Ukrainskaya Pravda" newspaper. There is much that is of great interest, and the General undoubtedly deserves great respect for the work he is involved in. Nonetheless, his connection to the Ukrainian Army and government gives us reason to doubt his claims of torture being conducted by the Militia.

Original article here
Translated by Vera Van Horne / Edited by @GBabeuf

General Ruban on militants in eastern Ukraine: "There are people who were standing with us on Maidan."

For more than three months Colonel-General Vladimir Ruban has been engaged in freeing people who were taken captive in eastern Ukraine. Recently, he founded a specialised centre that anybody whose relatives were taken hostage can contact.

For many, Ruban has already become a legend. He is even the only Ukrainian professional negotiator who, they say, is admired by "Demon" - the Gorlovka DNR Militia commander, Igor Bezler. It was Ruban who managed to negotiate improved conditions of detention and, later, to rescue seventeen people from captivity, including soldiers from the 72nd and 25th brigades and several civilians, including Basil Budika, whom Bezler "shot" on camera in May.

General Ruban rarely smiles. He has the look of a man with nerves of steel and perfect composure. It is impossible to crack him. It seems as though in his head he calculates many steps ahead, and his every response - it is but the tip of an iceberg.

The correspondent of "Ukrainskaya Pravda" talked with the General about what happens to detainees in captivity, the ethics of ransom and who is fighting on the territory of eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainskaya Pravda: How many people have you liberated so far?

General Ruban: More than a hundred. We stopped counting after one hundred.

Comment: What a difference between the hysterical rantings of people like Poroshenko and Yats, and someone like Colonel-General Ruban, who is actually committed to negotiation and understanding what is happening in Ukraine, and who gets results. One wonders, however, who makes up this so-called third party. Any guesses?

Black Magic

Brain-washed, brain-dead puppet speaking: Polish MEP urges Europe to stop Russian ruble trading

Ryszard Czarnecki polish MEP
© wikipedia.org
Ryszard Czarnecki
To make sanctions against Russia efficient, a Polish MEP said they need to be "preventive, prophylactic sanctions," rather than reactive. Ryszard Czarnecki represents one of the countries hardest hit in the "sanctions war" between Russia and the West.

"The Russian ruble should stop being a convertible currency, the ruble should be excluded from international financial turnover," RIA quotes Czarnecki speaking at Poland's parliament.

"To counter Russia's aggressive military actions, pre-emptive sanctions should be considered," Czarnecki added.

Cutting the Russian ruble out of the international financial markets would hit the country's economy hard, he said.

"When Visa and MasterCard refused to serve the customers of a Moscow bank, the effect was impressive."


Comment: Yes, it was. It has prompted the Kremlin to speed up developing its own credit card system. Soon Mastercard and Visa will be irrelevant to Russia and its trading partners.


Czarnecki also proposed to cut supplies of Russian energy, as well as control transit of Russian gas to Europe.

Poland is one of the countries hit the most by Russian countermeasures, with food exports of $1.5 billion in 2013. Together with the Netherlands and Germany, Poland was among Russia's top-three biggest food suppliers in the EU. Earlier this week Poland's Economic Ministry sent the European Commission a request to open an official complaint at the WTO to examine Russia's EU food embargo.


Comment: Geez, this guy seems almost eager to cut Poland's economic throat. Russia's actions were in response to the West's initial trade sanctions. Any sensible person could see that. Poland really is living in la la land.

Binoculars

National Guard begins withdrawing from Ferguson

© Reuters/Adrees Latif
National Guard troops stand at a staging area located at a shopping center parking lot in Ferguson, Missouri August 21, 2014.
Ferguson, Missouri remained relatively calm for the second night in a row. With only isolated arrests Wednesday and Thursday nights, a drawdown of the National Guard troops assigned with keeping the peace began Friday.

"[A] sense of normalcy" returned to the area along West Florissant Avenue ‒ the epicenter of continued protests against the police ‒ on Thursday. "People strolled to stores and city buses were back on schedule," USA Today reported.

Local clergy and civic leaders worked to keep the events of the night orderly, urging protesters to remain peaceful and to return to their homes after dark, the Associated Press wrote. Demonstrations have occurred since the death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson last Saturday.

"It was another good night,'' Missouri State Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said at a 1 a.m. briefing. "We're heading toward a sense of peace for our community. Through 12:30 a.m., there were just seven arrests, including five for failing to disperse."
.@emilykassie got some great shots in #Ferguson last night. Very calm evening. pic.twitter.com/JqbB2cA224
- Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 22, 2014

Comment: Worse than police brutality: "They invaded Ferguson like they invaded Iraq" - Ferguson residents say crackdown turns city into war zone

Red Flag

False flag! Former Israeli Supreme Court Justice: Israel fabricated rocket-fire to launch Deif assassination

Michael Ben Yair

Former Israeli attorney general, Michael Ben Yair, confirms IDF false flag operation leading to Deif assassination.
You'll recall a few days ago I posted a tantalizing clue from Haaretz' Amir Oren which noted that thirty years ago Israel fabricated an alleged terror provocation which it used to launch a military attack (or assassination) of its own. While I haven't been able to isolate which historical event he's referring to, given Oren's track record and journalistic style, I had a strong hunch he was trying to tell his readers something specific about the Deif assassination.

My guess is that he was saying that Israel fabricated the rocket fire which it claimed violated the truce agreement. After it informed the world about Hamas' violation, it was emboldened to launch the attack on the al Dalou home, where Deif and his family were sheltering. That bombing, which used American-made GBU28 bunker buster bombs delivered by U.S.-made war planes, killed 12 civilians including Deif's wife and two children. It may've also killed Deif, though no one knows for sure.

This false flag operation was clumsily mounted and will easily be exposed. It will further erode what little credibility Israel has in the world community. You remember when Israel cloned passports of citizens of allied nations as part of an assassination plot against Mahmoud al-Mabouh? In doing so, it endangered them and violated the trust and sovereignty of friends (and leading to the expulsion of a number of Mossad station chiefs)? In terms of the effect this will have on Israel's already tarnished reputation, it's a similar exercise in chicanery.

Comment: The Haaretz article referenced above contains the following:
[I]f the IDF's operational plan was to recreate the sudden assassination of Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari, which was the opening blow in Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, it only needed two conditions: the breaking of the cease-fire by the Palestinians, which would give Israel a pretext to attack but would take away the blame for renewing rocket fire, and the involvement of other groups, aside from Hamas, in the fire. If Deif was surprised on Tuesday by the assassination attempt against him from the air, it is a sign that he was surprised by the renewed rocket fire at Israel, because while the fire was carried out under his orders, he would have gone back into hiding.

In the past, more than 30 years ago, there were military and diplomatic Israeli officials who were not averse to staging an incident in order to have an excuse to respond to it, with a pre-planned operation. Assuming that the times have changed, that the leading personalities are more cautious and that secrets quickly expose, the so-called "rebellious" Palestinian organizations played in to Israel's hands with the renewal of fire, without informing Hamas in advance so that its leaders would manage to disappear from sight.


Eye 1

Facebook given four weeks to respond to 'largest privacy class action in Europe'

© AFP/Dieter Nagl
Austrian law student Max Schrems
Facebook has been given four weeks to respond to a class action, launched against it by an Austrian activist and supported by 60,000 users. The suit claims Facebook violated users' privacy, by cooperating with the NSA's PRISM program.

The class action initiated by Max Schrems, an Austrian lawyer, data privacy activist and founder of Europe vs. Facebook group has passed its first review in the Vienna Regional Court.

Facebook Ireland, which runs the social network's activities outside the US and Canada, has been given four weeks to respond to the action.
Vienna Court has reviewed our Class Action. @facebook ordered to respond within 4 weeks. http://t.co/UDcaMszwT4#EUDataP#PRISM#Datenschutz
- europe-v-facebook (@europevfacebook) August 21, 2014
"The order is very likely on the way to Facebook. The first step in the legal procedure is hereby taken," said a statement by Europe vs. Facebook on Thursday

The group has described the suit, joined by 25,000 users, as "the largest privacy class action in Europe" and specified that 35,000 more users have registered on www.fbclaim.com, expressing their will to join the action should it expand.

Comment: CIA monitoring Twitter, Facebook for intel and tips

Bad Guys

469 Gaza children killed, over 370,000 need 'psychosocial aid' - UNICEF

© Reuters / Mohammed Salem
At least 469 children have been killed and over 3,000 injured in Gaza since the start of the Israeli offensive, a senior UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) official said, adding that more than 370,000 Palestinian kids require "immediate psychosocial first aid."

Nine children have died in Gaza violence since Wednesday, the chief of UNICEF's Gaza field office, Pernilla Ironside, said at a press conference on Thursday in New York.

"There isn't a single family in Gaza who hasn't experienced personally death, injury, the loss of their home, extensive damage, displacement," Ironside said.

Comment: Israel isn't thinking of stopping any time soon with its massacre. For more information, see: Genocide in Gaza: Viable Palestinian strategic options in the face of Israeli tactics

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