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Tue, 09 Feb 2016
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South Front Crisis News 23 June: Ukrainian Defense Ministry Aid joins DPR militias

An aide to Ukraine's Defense Minister, Aleksandr Kolomiyets, has joined the forces of the Donetsk People's Republic. "I am Aleksandr Kolomiyets, a major-general of the Ukrainian Armed Force, and my latest position was that of a chief military analyst and aide to the Ukrainian defense minister," he told a news conference at the Donetsk News Agency. Many of his former fellow servicemen, too, were prepared to join the republics' militias, he said.

Comment: Foreign Policy Diary 'The New War of Transnistria':


Ron Paul: Sino-Russian currency will dethrone dollar

Former US congressman Ron Paul says Washington's increasing pressure on Moscow might force Russia and China to make a new currency to dethrone the US dollar.

In an article published on his website on Sunday, the former presidential candidate explained that President Vladimir Putin would react to the Obama administration's anti-Russia policies.

"Continued economic pressure from the West may very well necessitate a Sino-Russian monetary arrangement that will eventually dethrone the dollar," Paul wrote.

"The end result of this needless bullying by the United States will hasten the one thing Washington fears the most: a world monetary system in which the US has no say and the dollar is relegated to playing second fiddle," he added.


NATO is the root cause of Europe's migrant crisis

© Reuters/Jalal Al-Mamo
Aleppo, Syria.
The scale of the migrant crisis Europe is facing today cannot be understated. It is truly unprecedented. What is habitually understated, however — and in fact almost completely ignored by mainstream media — are the real roots of the crisis.

The debate around migration into the EU is happening nearly entirely without reference to the causes of the recent influx of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East. The elephant in the room is NATO and nobody really wants to talk about it.

Hundreds of articles, laden down with numbers and proposals and predictions fail to make any direct link between cause and effect. News anchors sit seemingly baffled, mouths agape, at the apocalyptic-like pictures they are seeing land on their desks, and yet few are willing to draw the appropriate conclusions. But it is such a basic and logical connection that it's hard to believe it is not being made very loudly and very persistently.

Comment: Also see: Why Europe lets people drown

Arrow Up

Putin and the Saudi Caravan

© Sputnik/Sergey Guneev
Russian President Vladimir Putin's working trip to St. Petersburg.
No one - as usual - saw it coming.

So guess who walks into a room in St. Petersburg this past Thursday; Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince - and Defense Minister - Muhammad bin Salman, favorite son of King Salman; Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (former ambassador to the US and very close to key players in the Beltway); and all-powerful Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi. They were all there for a face-to-face with President Vladimir Putin, on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum.

In principle, there could not be a more spectacular game-changer-in-waiting. A royal Saudi caravan offering tribute, in the form of incense, gold and myrrh (or higher oil prices)? No one knows, yet, how this will play out in the New Great Game in Eurasia, of which a major spin-off is Cold War 2.0 between the US and Russia.

Putin and King Salman - very discreetly — had been in touch over the phone for weeks. The King's son invited Putin to Riyadh. Accepted. Putin invited the King to Moscow. Accepted. No question, the suspense is already killing everybody. But is this real life? Or smoke and mirrors?

Eye 2

The Euro is wrecking all of Europe

© Matt Kenyon
'This is what the noble European project is turning into: a grim march to the bottom. This isn’t about creating a deeper democracy, but deeper markets.'
The single currency has driven down wages across the continent and hit workers in its leading economy the hardest

Nearly every discussion of the Greek fiasco is based on a morality play. Call it Naughty Greece versus Noble Europe. Those troublesome Greeks never belonged in the euro, runs this story. Once inside, they got themselves into a big fat mess - and now it's up to Europe to sort it all out.

Those are the basics all Wise Folk agree on. Then those on the right go on to say feckless Greece must either accept Europe's deal or get out of the single currency. Or if more liberal, they hem and haw, cough and splutter, before calling for Europe to show a little more charity to its southern basketcase. Whatever their solution, the Wise Folk agree on the problem: it's not Brussels that's at fault, it's Athens. Oh, those turbulent Greeks! That's the attitude you smell when the IMF's Christine Lagarde decries the Syriza government for not being "adult" enough. That's what licenses the German press to portray Greece's finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, as needing "psychiatric help".

There's just one problem with this story: like most morality tales, it shatters upon contact with hard reality. Athens is merely the worst outbreak of a much bigger disease within the euro project. Because the single currency isn't working for ordinary Europeans, from the Ruhr valley to Rome.

On saying this, I don't close my eyes to the endemic corruption and tax-dodging in Greece (nor indeed, does the outsiders' movement Syriza, which came to power campaigning against just these vices). Nor am I about to don Farage-ist chalkstripes. My charge is much simpler: the euro project is not only failing to deliver on the promises of its originators, it's doing the exact opposite - by eroding the living standards of ordinary Europeans. And as we'll see, that's true even for those living in the continent's number one economy, Germany.

Comment: Regardless of terms, the Western elite on both sides of the Atlantic are on the same page. Only Russia appears to be bucking the trend. Two examples:


Ideologies at war: Western 'liberalism' vs Russian conservatism

© Unknown
It's a truism that America is a liberal place. Americans emphasize the importance of the individual and tend to reject notions of hierarchy and authority. Russia by contrast is known to be a more conservative society, one where the interests of the group come ahead of those of the individual; and where, for centuries, respect for hierarchy and authority has usually been the norm.

All the same, the "news" of Russia's return to conservatism has hit many observers in the West like the proverbial ton of bricks. The typical response has been to blame the Russian president for steering Russia away from the liberal path, the path of becoming a "normal country" with "Western values."

Others have sought to understand Russian political culture on its own terms. A recent analysis ("The New Eurasians," Times Literary Supplement, May 13, 2015) stands out from the crowd by making a serious effort to read present-day Russian conservatism in its historical context. Lesley Chamberlain dismisses the glib reduction of Russia to its present-day leader. Russia, she writes, is not ruled by Vladimir Putin: to the contrary, "the power that rules Russia is tradition." Far from it being the case that a benighted Russian public is being led to conservatism artificially by its government, the reverse is the case: the vast majority of Russians, perhaps eighty percent "are intensely conservative."

Comment: On the political stage, ideology is more often than not used as a psychopath's "mask of sanity," hiding their depraved way of viewing human nature and justifying their crimes. This is how destroying Libya can be billed as a "humanitarian intervention", since the West is so "liberal" and opposed to authoritarianism (an authoritarianism which they fabricate out of thin air, by the way).

Comparing Russia and the US in terms of ideology, therefore, serves to mask the major psychological differences between the leaders of the two countries. In Russia there may be the Conservatives defending their tradition, but they are also intelligent, normal human beings showing signs of maladjustment to the ponerized cultures of the West. And those currently calling the shots in the West are, essentially, psychopaths who refuse to let Russia make her own decisions and lead the world out of America's global dystopia. Check out:

Arrow Down

US Defense Dept: Mustard gas experiments done on WWII soldiers

© YouTube
Mustard gas was used in WWI.
National Public Radio has announced the U.S. Department of Defense has finally admitted they carried out race-based tests on American troops during WWII as part of its research on the effects of mustard gas.

Exposure of soldiers to chemical, biological and radiological agents or devices during a war has always been a concern, not just in the U.S., but with other countries.

During WWI, the most notable substance used was mustard gas, and later, in Vietnam, the U.S. used Agent orange, a defoliant that has since been attributed to numerous illnesses, many of them with long-term effects.

It could be said that WWII was one war where dangerous chemicals were seldom used on the battlefield.

But, it has now been revealed that 60,000 U.S. military personnel were exposed to mustard gas, and not at the hands of the enemy.

A total of 60,000 enlisted men were part of a secret government program that wasn't declassified until 1993 that tested mustard gas and other chemical agents on U.S. troops during WWII.


As hypocrisy reigns supreme in the West, a community of outcast nations form alliances in the East

The European Union has hypocritically extended sanctions on Russia and the Russian autonomous Republic of Crimea in support of the politically- and economically-failed state of Ukraine. At the same time, the EU has threatened the sovereignty of Greece for failing to adhere to confiscatory and usurious financial policies set by the banking gnomes of Frankfurt and London, the same bankers that are propping up a corrupt government in Kiev. Nothing spells hypocrisy more than what is taking place in Europe at the direction of the «Eurocrats» of Brussels, their military centurions in NATO, and their overall puppet masters in Washington.

While the Group of 7 leaders gathered at Adolf Hitler's favorite vacation spot, Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps, their host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, warned Greece to reach an austerity-ridden financial loan deal with the European «troika» of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), EU, and European Central Bank or face swift retaliation from the global bankers. Meanwhile, Ukraine was offered generous IMF and European bail out deals in return for steering the country further into the clutches of the EU and NATO. Only among the G-7 is Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras seen as more of an international problem than either Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko or Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. However, it is not only in pressuring Greece, the cradle of democracy, and in backing an all-but-failed state, Ukraine, that the G-7 becoming an irrelevant relic of the past while stumbling and bumbling on the international stage.


Russia will provide Greece with financial assistance if it's needed

© Reuters / Grigory Dukor
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2015 (SPIEF 2015) in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 19, 2015.
With the Greek government locked in negotiations with international creditors - the IMF, the ECB and the European Commission - over its €240 billion debt, fears are mounting that the country could default on its massive loan and exit the Eurozone.

On Friday, Russia and Greece signed a deal to create a joint company for the construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline across Greek territory, which will supply 47 billion cubic meters of gas a year. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the EU should "applaud" the deal since it will help create desperately needed new jobs in Greece.

On the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich spoke to RT about cooperation between Russia and Greece, as well as other topics.

Eye 1

Snowden docs: NSA and GHCQ worked to subvert security software companies that helped protect against government surveillance

© Reuters / Sergei Karpukhin
US and British spy agencies worked to reverse-engineer antivirus software in order to "exploit such software and to prevent detection of our activities." Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab was particularly targeted.

Citing documents leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden more than two years ago, The Intercept reported Monday that the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) teamed up to subvert antivirus and security software made by the likes of Kaspersky Lab.

In addition, 23 total security firms -- including the antivirus company F-Secure of Finland, Avast from the Czech Republic, and DrWeb of Russia -- were targets of the NSA's "Project CAMBERDADA."

The spy agencies sought to remain ahead of the software companies -- which often flag state-sponsored malware -- in order to give the US and UK governments an advantage during official hacking operations.

Kaspersky Lab was a particularly crucial target, according to the Snowden documents.