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Bullseye

Lavrov continues to merit his good reputation, calls for more aid, obeying international law, investigating MH17 and Maidan snipers

© ITAR-TASS/Dmitry Rogulin
Thanks, Russia! Where is the rest of the world?!
Russian trucks carried nothing but humanitarian cargo for southeastern Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

"All trucks have returned to Russia," he said.

Russia has sent a note to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry about its plans to send a new humanitarian aid convoy, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a media briefing on Monday.

"We have sent a note to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry about our plans to prepare a next humanitarian aid convoy," Lavrov said, adding that Russia had proposed a list of cargoes which were being prepared for delivery.

"We are ready for closest cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)," the foreign minister added.

Humanitarian aid distribution involving Red Cross International Committee's representatives begins in the city of Luhansk on Monday.

Russia will remain donor of Red Cross missions, Lavrov said. Delays in sending new humanitarian convoy will violate the norms of international law, he added.

Misinformation on Ukrainian developments

Enough misinformation exists on "Russia's invasion of Ukraine", Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

"There are reports saying the Ukrainian army destroyed a Russian military convoy and that airborne assault vehicles carrying certain documents had been seized. Even if one can imagine this as being the truth, who would carry so many documents? This is ridiculous," he said.

Comment: Watch Lavrov's press conference below:




Popcorn

Summit in Minsk: What will Poroshenko hear from Putin?

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© Unknown
Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko's upcoming summit in Minsk will be the first in-depth meeting between the leaders of Russia and Ukraine in six months. During that period Ukraine has become embroiled in a civil war and teeters on the verge of an economic meltdown - but officials in Kiev continue to blame everything on Russia. Is there any point in holding a meeting with a hostile Poroshenko?

On August 26 Minsk will host a summit between the leaders of the Customs Union (soon to be known as the Eurasian Economic Union) and the president of Ukraine. Putin, Lukashenko, and Nazarbayev will meet with Petro Poroshenko, who will not arrive on his own, but will be accompanied by representatives of the European Union.


Comment: I guess it's too dangerous to leave the puppet Poroshenko alone.


Instead of European Commission President Barroso, those representatives will consist of three European Commissioners, led by Baroness Ashton, the European diplomatic leader. The agenda has yet to be announced - but during a time of war (a hot one in Ukraine and a cold one between Russia and the West), it would obviously be ridiculous to limit the discussions to the purely economic issues stemming from the new association between Ukraine and the EU. Especially since this will literally be the first opportunity for Poroshenko and Putin to meet - that 15-minute quadrilateral meeting with Merkel and Hollande in Normandy can hardly be considered an in-depth encounter. Even if no separate bilateral meeting is held in Minsk, negotiations between the Eurasian troika and Poroshenko will make it possible for everyone to look one another right in the eye and state exactly what it is they really want. What will the presidents of Russia and Ukraine talk about? Will they be able to reach any kind of agreement? And if not - what is the point of such a meeting?

Bomb

More provocation from Kiev: 6 unexploded shells found in Russian Rostov region in 4 days

© Itar-Tass
Archive photo.
Two unexploded Ukrainian shells were found in Russia's southern Rostov Region on Monday, the regional emergency department spokesman, Vladimir Nakonechny, said.

The area has been cordoned off. A mine-clearing operation is being prepared.

On Friday, August 22, three unexploded Ukrainian shells were found in the village of Marfinka, four kilometres from the border. Damage to a local gas pipeline was reported.

On Saturday, August 23, an unexploded Ukrainian shell was found 500 metres from the border with Ukraine in the Rostov region.

Comment: Interesting timing: the weekend that Russia crossed the border with their aid convoy. And yet Russia maintains their restrained response to the military violation of their borders. Rather than bomb the hell out of Ukraine (like Israel would do), they choose to send aid to the people suffering in the east, instead. Russia is leading by example. Who will follow suit?


Bizarro Earth

From Germany: America frightens us

In the aftermath of the downing of the Malaysian airliner in Ukraine, the Western media followed Washington's lead and manipulated reports in order to make Europeans believe that Russia and Russian-supported separatists in eastern Ukraine were responsible for downing the airliner. In Germany, the press was an extension of Washington's propaganda machine despite the lack of evidence from both Washington and Kiev to support their irresponsible claims.

It was not long, however, before the public mood in Europe began to turn. A pivotal factor was openly voiced U.S. threats in a law that had been passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate of the U.S. Congress that could eventually result in an invasion of the Netherlands by United States army forces.

Comment: Roman Baudzus is co-founder of German finance and economics blog "wirtschaftsfacts."


Quenelle

Go Russia! Plans to send second aid convoy to east Ukraine announced

© RIA Novosti / Alexey Nikolsky
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Russia has announced plans to send a second aid convoy to rebel-held eastern Ukraine, where months of fighting have left many residential buildings in ruins.

Russia unilaterally sent about 200 tractor-trailers across the border on Friday, a move that Ukraine characterized as an invasion. By Saturday, all of the vehicles had returned to Russia after delivering the goods to the hard-hit rebel stronghold of Luhansk.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that Russia had notified the Ukrainian government that it was preparing to send a second convoy along the same route in the coming days.

Lavrov also said distribution in Luhansk of the food, water and other goods delivered by the first convoy began Monday with the participation of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Comment: Russia has established the precedent of one humanitarian mission that was beyond reproach: no violence, only aid, delivered promptly, in and out in a day. The OSCE and ICRC were satisfied, even if the loonies in the Western governments and media were not. But to hell with them. Getting aid to the conflict zone is more important, and Russia ain't wasting time!


Chess

New ally? Turkey's Erdogan comes closer to Russia

© Unknown
Turkey's Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is nothing if not a political survivor. After weathering a US led year-long attempt to oust him for his failure to execute a Turkish military ground war to topple Bashar al Assad in neighboring Syria, now Erdogan, a student of Realpolitik perhaps even more than the Koran, is looking abroad for new strategic allies. At a time when NATO, the Obama Administration and others are doing everything to demonize Russia's Putin, using the pretext of Ukraine, Erdogan is moving significantly closer to - guess which world political leader. Yes, Vladimir Putin and Russia. The implications of a Turkish fundamental geopolitical realignment could have global consequences far beyond Turkey's mere size or political weight.

The first steps to a closer economic alliance between Turkey and Russia came this past April, well after the illegal US-orchestrated coup in Ukraine and after the Crimean Parliament requested to join Russia, opening a flood of anti-Russian propaganda from the west. On April 21 Turkish Minister of Energy Taner Yildiz invited Gazprom deputy chairman Alexander Medvedev to Akara to work out details of a major increase of Russian gas to come to Turkey via Gazprom's Blue Stream pipeline. Turkey is already Russia's second largest gas and oil importer after the EU. The two agreed how to increase the capacity of the Blue Stream gas pipeline from 16 to 19 billion cubic meters per year, further adding to the economic ties binding the two historical rivals.

MIB

Israel levels high-rise buildings in Gaza: 'They housed Hamas op centers'

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© Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
A Palestinian looks at the remains of a commercial center, which witnesses said was hit by an Israeli air strike on Saturday, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 24, 2014.
IDF air strikes have leveled two multi-story buildings in Gaza; both are said to have housed Hamas facilities. The new tactic of bringing down entire buildings has been tested amid a new escalation of tensions in the Israeli-Gaza conflict.


Comment: Israel says a lot of things to justify its goals, mainly to kill as many Palestinians as possible, but where is the proof that these houses are Hamas facilities? They don't need any it seems; a claim, a twitter comment, is enough these days to constitute proof.


A seven-story office building in the Gaza Strip's southern town of Rafah was completely destroyed by an Israeli strike on Sunday morning, according to eyewitnesses. It's not yet clear if there were injured or dead in the attack

Another strike in the same city hit a two-story shopping center, wounding seven and badly damaging the building.

The Israeli military claim both the buildings housed facilities linked to Palestinian militants. One of the offices in the leveled seven-story Zourab building belonged to the Hamas-run interior ministry, AP reports.

Bomb

Russian lawmaker: Kiev parade shows aggressive plans to escalate crisis

Ukraine celebrated the 23rd anniversary of country's independence on Sunday

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© ITAR-TASS/Maxim Nikitin
Independence Day parade in Kiev
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© Unknown
Ukraine ‘to spend billions of hryvnas’ to upgrade its military hardware - president
The speaker of Russia's parliament lower house
State Duma Sergei Naryshkin believes that a parade held in Ukraine's capital, Kiev, on the occasion of Independence Day of the country was a manifestation of aggressive plans to escalate the crisis.
"Yesterday a military parade was held in Kiev, where military units carrying out a punitive operation in the country's east already for several months also participated," Sergei Naryshkin told reporters on Monday. "I do not know what prompted them to take this decision, but instead of appeals to dialogue, instead of a mourning ceremony for all victims of a bloody conflict they showed their aggressive plans to escalate the crisis," the lower house speaker said.

Comment: In reality, there is no independence in Kiev, the Nazi puppet regime has been installed by the US and therefore any talk about independence is illusory.


Quenelle

Discontent spreading: Cornel West blasts Obama as being a "brown-faced Clinton"

© Unknown
"We ended up with a brown-faced Clinton. Another opportunist", says Cornel West about Obama
Outspoken Union Theological Seminary professor Cornel West goes where very few 'thinkers-of-color' have had the courage to go in this interview with Salon's Thomas Frank: "The thing is, [Obama] posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency. The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free... we ended up with a brown-faced Clinton. Another opportunist. Another neoliberal opportunist... So you got low-quality black leadership. Al Sharpton is who? He's a cheerleader for Obama... Eric Holder won't touch the Wall Street executives; they're his friends... I think a post-Obama America is an America in post-traumatic depression."

Excerpted from Salon,

...how do you feel things have worked out since then, both with the economy and with this president? That was a huge turning point, that moment in 2008, and my own feeling is that we didn't turn.

No, the thing is he posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency. The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. The war crimes in the Middle East, especially now in Gaza, the war criminals go free. And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he's just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair. And that's a very sad moment in the history of the nation because we are - we're an empire in decline. Our culture is in increasing decay. Our school systems are in deep trouble. Our political system is dysfunctional. Our leaders are more and more bought off with legalized bribery and normalized corruption in Congress and too much of our civil life. You would think that we needed somebody - a Lincoln-like figure who could revive some democratic spirit and democratic possibility.

Star of David

As war rages in Gaza, West Bank routine of violence and arrests unabated

© AP

Palestinians complaining to Israeli soldiers during clashes between Palestinians and Jewish settlers, seen in the back, in the West Bank.
Arrests, expulsions, home demolitions, land seizure and settlers harassing Palestinians continues: Since the beginning of the fighting in the south on July 8, soldiers and police have injured 2,139 Palestinians in the West Bank.

Last Wednesday, about an hour and a half after midnight, a group of armed men in uniforms burst into the home in the West Bank city of Ramallah of Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council representing the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. One of the group tried to hand her a document written in Hebrew. She refused to accept the piece of paper. A female soldier, she recounted, read her what was written on the paper. A policeman translated it into Arabic.

Jarrar didn't pay attention to all the details, but rather to the basics: The Israel Defense Forces was expelling her to the West Bank city of Jericho, and she was to leave within 24 hours. She refused to sign the document. It's still at her house.

Under the signature of the IDF commander in the West Bank, Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, the order is dated August 15 and entitled: "Order with Regard to Security Directives (Consolidated Version), Judea and Samaria (No. 1651) 5770 2009." And below it there is another caption: "Special Supervisory Order."

The text of the order read as follows: "Following the accumulation of high-quality and credible intelligence material with regard to Khalida Kana'an Muhammed Jarrar (hereinafter 'the subject'), and after I have been convinced that serious security considerations required this and that the matter was necessary and required for decisive security reasons to maintain security in the region, I hereby order that the subject be placed under special supervision. As long as this order remains in effect, the subject shall not leave the Jericho district other than with a permit from me or someone authorized by me. This order will go into effect when signed and remain in effect until February 29, 2015 at 11:59 P.M."

Jarrar stated that she would not obey the expulsion order.