Gas Princess Tymoshenko Goes Down In Flames: Amnesty International Channels Fox News

Uncle Volodya says, "Cheer up, Yulya: in prison, you get time off for good behavior. If you had to work for a living, you'd get rewarded for good behavior with more work"

In a verdict that, for all it was not entirely unexpected, appears to have surprised the world, the Pechersky District Court in Kiev found Yulia Tymoshenko guilty of abusing her office as Prime Minister of Ukraine. The charge related to a circumstance in 2009, in which she allegedly ordered the head of the state-run gas company NAFTOGAZ to sign a deal with Russia although the Verkhovna Rada had withheld its support for the deal. She has never denied ordering fomer NAFTOGAZ Ukraine head Oleg Dubyna to sign the agreement, saying that she did what had to be done. The record, however, reflects that she petitioned the cabinet of Verkhovna Rada – Ukraine’s parliament and supreme body of state power – when Dubyna refused to sign the contracts without state approval. The record further reflects that the cabinet not only denied its support, it took the issue off the table. Tymoshenko is then alleged to have ordered Dubyna to sign the contracts, which he did, and the verdict reflects the court’s confidence that it was done at Tymoshenko’s direction. She was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment and a fine for damages of her action totaling $180 million.

Western response was swift and condemnatory. “Ukraine is sliding toward Russian-style…autocratic rule” opines The Guardian. “Politically motivated prosecution” accuses the White House, exercising its new recycling policy by scratching out “Khodorkovsky” on its press releases and scribbling in “Tymoshenko”; ” [the] charges against Mrs. Tymoshenko…have raised concerns about…Ukraine’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law.” The European Union is “deeply disappointed“, sputters Foreign Affairs representative Catherine Ashton; “..the approach of Ukrainian authorities…risks having profound implications for the EU-Ukraine bilateral relationship.” Cementing its pitiable and permanent downgrade to Global Assclown, Amnesty International calls for Tymoshenko’s immediate release, quavering that the charges on which she has been convicted “are not internationally recognized offenses”. So, as long as you can find a country where it’s not a crime, it’s not a crime anywhere? Good to know. Darya, get the hell off the phone and order me some child prostitutes from Thailand. Oh, hey, and a sack of weed from Amsterdam. I know it’s bad for self-esteem to play favourites, but I have to say Amnesty International’s response bent the needle on my personal laugh-o-meter.

What really makes me shake my head in wonder at all these knee-jerk Free-The-Political-Prisoner-Of-The-Month reactions is the implied suggestion that Tymoshenko is some kind of fierce guardian of democracy: a savior, a crusader for the rights of everyman – a true Ukrainian patriot who had to be silenced so that evil might endure yet awhile. What’s really behind it? Tymoshenko is the west’s kind of leader – rich, arrogant to a fault and willing to change sides in the blink of an eye if money or power might accrue as a result.

Mind you, you can’t really blame Mrs. Tymoshenko for having a swelled head. The west loved Tymoshenko from the moment she appeared on the western media radar, dubbing her the “Joan of Arc of the Orange Revolution”: in 2005 Forbes rated her the third most-powerful woman in the world, in a display of lapdog adulation that must have nearly burst her braids. The following year, she didn’t even make the top 100. When she was arrested because she refused to recognize the court’s authority, Senator John McCain was quoted on Tymoshenko’s website as saying her arrest was directly relevant to the future of freedom and democracy in Ukraine. This arrest, he expanded, was “a violation of the basic rights that should be protected for every citizen in a democracy”.

Small wonder, then, that Mrs. Tymoshenko began to think she was bulletproof. After all, a former contender for the U.S. presidency had just explicitly endorsed her behaviour in court, which included refusing to recognize the judge’s authority, instead refusing to stand as protocol dictates when he entered the courtroom, calling him a “farce” and a “puppet”, refusing to answer questions when addressed directly by the judge and continuously talking when not addressed. This, according to Senator McCain, is every Ukrainian citizen’s basic right. What a splendid example for Ukrainians!! Have you been arrested for robbery? No problem!! Simply refuse to recognize the court’s authority, openly mock the judge and decline to answer any questions. You’ll be arrested for contempt, of course, but before the air is even cold where you were just standing, western political figures and professional activists will be denouncing your country’s legal system for trampling on your rights, insisting that your being held to account for your behaviour is “politically motivated”!! What a refreshing view of the rule of law. I can’t wait for this freedom to come to my country – which fancies itself a democracy – because here they don’t ask you twice to stand when you address a judge, and if you go to jail for contempt of court it is extremely difficult to get American senators to drop everything and rush to your defense. In fact, John McCain has been known to get pretty lippy on the subject of the U.S. Supreme court, so perhaps he just doesn’t like courts, period. Amid all the western media going gaga over her braided hairdo and encouraging her to further displays of resistance to authority with terms like “defiant” and “fierce” and “a tigress”, it should be borne in mind that when that same media took notice of Tymoshenko, she had been in politics for 8 years. That’s the same media, mostly, that was happy to spread the message that Barack Obama was too inexperienced to run his country when he had been a senator for 12 years, 4 of them national. It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of the western press as enthusiastic members, with rare exceptions, of Team Tymoshenko.

For her own part, Mrs. Tymoshenko is extremely adept at self-promotion, regularly linking Ukraine’s fortunes with her own and implying that resistance to letting her have her own way is somehow symbolic of standing in the way of Ukraine’s progress.

And Western pundits and officials wonder why Eastern Europeans and others laugh at their purple-faced self-righteous outrage. Why don’t they take us seriously, get their act together and do what we want? I’ll tell you why. Because the west picks its favourites among the political world based on how much they are like our own politicians, doesn’t question if their swooning over democracy and reform is genuine or merely shameless pandering, and doesn’t do the most basic research when they are in deep shit to find out if that’s where they deserve to be.

So, let’s do their homework for them. We’ve already covered the ways in which Tymoshenko embodies the ideal leader to westerners; rich, talks the progressive talk while walking the exclusive-power-elite walk, and is admitting of no fault whatsoever – when she loses an election, it’s because the winner cheated. When she’s hauled into court, it’s politically motivated because the party in power fears her righteous challenge and the stellar work she’s done in the interests of rooting out corruption.

Is Tymoshenko committed to democracy and the citizens’ right to self-determination? Insofar as it increases her personal power, maybe. Otherwise…well, let’s see.  One of the points the west keeps hammering on for Russia is the rule of law. Before the rule of law can prevail, there must be respect for it, both on the part of the prosecutors and the defendants as well as the public at large. Tymoshenko, on trial for abuse of power – which, obviously, indicates disrespect for the law – spends her time tweeting jokes from the courtroom about the judge, suggesting he is a monkey on a branch, sawing the branch from under himself. The international press eats it up, referring to her as “The Field-Marshall of the Orange Revolution”, and speculating that the trial might be a PR windfall that will return her to prominence. When she’s not doing that, she’s threatening to have the judge and the prosecutors removed from office because of their “numerous violations”, and Humanitad, a human-rights organization, backs her up. She hasn’t had time to prepare a defense, they say – although she was subpoenaed to testify in May, at which time she already had legal representation because she chose to appear on Shuster Live and ignored the order – the trial did not commence until June 24th and she was not detained until August 5th. She has claimed she did nothing wrong and that she required no permission to conclude the agreement on Ukraine’s behalf. If that’s true, how much time do you need to prepare a defense? And if that’s true, why did she call a cabinet meeting and try to get its endorsement of the agreement? Parliamentary records show that’s what happened, as well as cabinet’s refusal to approve it.

Let’s move on. Refusal for medical assistance from a personal physician, says Humanitad, is “an egregious breach of procedural fairness”. I don’t know what kind of courts they have where Humanitad is from, but here’s what happened. During her detention – only overnight, mind you – Tymoshenko became tired. She said she was unwell, and was offered medical examination. She declined, saying, “I refuse to be treated by anyone sent by the government … I demand to be seen by a doctor I trust.” Apparently, this should be everyone’s right in a real democracy. It staggers the imagination how a trial could ever proceed, since Tymoshenko’s personal physician could quite possibly be unavailable when summoned. She evidenced no symptoms except fatigue. Similarly, continuing the trial in her absence was another egregious breach, but the only alternative would have been to muzzle or gag her, since she wouldn’t shut up or display any respect to the court. And this, apparently, is de rigueur process in democratic courts. Not in any I’ve ever seen; in fact, it was my impression that arrest and removal was pretty standard courtroom procedure in the event of contempt rulings inspired by disruptive behaviour. What is the court supposed to do then – wait until you calm down?

If we are to take Humanitad and Tymoshenko’s squawking western supporters seriously, they should permit Tymoshenko’s refusal to answer questions, permit her to continuously mock and insult the judge, to pick and choose the services she will allow to determine if she is fit to carry on with the trial and allow Tymoshenko supporters to disrupt proceedings as they see fit. This, we must perforce believe, will breed respect for the rule of law in Ukraine, since it is the standard elsewhere. Is it? Is it really?

The position the west has taken on this reminds me of nothing so much as the table-full of patrons at a club who find themselves seated next to another table which features a loud, obnoxious drunk. Her behaviour is vastly entertaining to the first table, but those seated quietly thank God she’s not at their table, while cheering her on to ever greater heights of embarrassing antics.

Even more embarrassing than Tymoshenko’s boorish behaviour are the capitulating noises the Ukrainian government is making, suggesting they might reclassify her actions with respect to the gas agreement as “administrative” rather than criminal, so they can save face and let her off the hook. Get a spine, boys – that’d be a terrible mistake. Just as the court’s bending over backward to accommodate Tymoshenko creates the impression they have no case and are vaguely ashamed of themselves, cooking up a reason to let her go would only encourage her to run her narcissistic mouth even more about being unjustly imprisoned and political conspiracies and so on. It might even win her the presidency, although thus far Ukrainians don’t seem to be buying it.

Tymoshenko as leader was a disaster for Ukraine when she wasn’t even the real leader. One can only imagine her power-binges if she were so elected. The criminal charges are well-supported, and threatening to stall EU membership if she is not allowed to do as she pleases is small-minded and petty. Besides, EU membership is looking more like a liability than a gift every day, and Ukraine’s economic situation is very likely to make it a non-starter in any case, regardless the hoops jumped through to placate EU leaders on the Tymoshenko matter. Stick to your guns, Ukraine.

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121 Responses to Gas Princess Tymoshenko Goes Down In Flames: Amnesty International Channels Fox News

  1. yalensis says:

    The only outrage here is that Tymoshenko has to go to jail alone. They also need to arrest Yushchenko. Yulichka only stole money, but Viktor Dioxinovich committed actual treason against Ukraine. (Like being a paid CIA agent, for example…)

  2. hoct says:

    At least on the face of it this sounds terrific. Imprisoning a former PM for exceeding her powers and ignoring the requirement of approval in the parliament. That’s what I call the rule of law! In an analogous situation a former US president would be stuffed into jail for waging a war not declared by the Congress — but of course the US is too far gone for anything like that.

    My question is how unprecedented is what Tymoshenko had done? Was this something PMs from the other camp sometimes did as well, or was she blazing a new path? If we know that then we know if this is selective prosecution or not.

    Also, since when is the Western media in the business of defending Russia-Ukraine gas deals? Wasn’t ‘resurgent’ Russia being a huge meany, punishing poor Ukraine for its pro-Western orientation by demanding evil market prices in the dead of winter, refusing to eternally subsidize Ukraine as it is its natural obligation? That was the story right? Now they’re on the same page with Putin. By their own rules this means they are not worth paying attention to. Since they agree with Putin it can not be anything else but that they are either FSB plants, hard-line Russian nationalists, Stalinists, populist extremists, Russophiles, apparatchiks or tin-foil hat people.

    • marknesop says:

      Not unprecedented at all. Her patron, Pavlo Lazarenko, was Prime Minister in 1996, the year she entered politics. He set up sweetheart deals for regional gas monopolies, one of the biggest beneficiaries of which was United Energy Systems, owned and run by…Yulia Tymoshenko. Thanks to his generosity, Yulia Tymoshenko the businesswoman and oligarch gained personal control over nearly 20% of Ukraine’s GNP. Lazarenko was fired on corruption charges the following year, fled Ukraine and was convicted in California in 2004 of money-laundering and extortion. Matthew Brzezinski’s book Casino Moscow devotes a chapter to Tymoshenko, and claims the U.S. government has records showing wire transfers of funds directly from Tymoshenko to Lazarenko while he was PM, and she was accused of paying him kickbacks in exchange for her domination of the gas industry. She was arrested in 2001 on corruption charges and imprisoned for a month.

      A recurring theme during her brushes with the law and government regulators is accusation of her being involved in stealing gas and reselling it. Unsurprisingly, this was one of the allegations leveled by Russia in the 2009 gas war which resulted in Russia’s turning off the gas to Europe – 80% of the gas Russia supplies to Europe goes through Ukraine. Not only did Ms. Tymoshenko ram through the agreement that resulted in Europe enjoying some of the lowest transit fees while Ukraine paid some of the highest prices (on reflection, an environment in which stolen gas would yield staggering profits), she altered the document after Russia had signed it, adding a “declaration” she had written which stipulated Russia would drop charges of stolen gas and would pay for fuel used by transit stations, which Russia angrily refused to do. This lengthened the period the gas was off considerably, although Russia got most of the blame for that.

      • marknesop says:

        Also, I don’t know that Putin and the west are “on the same page”. Putin knows how to be enigmatic in his public speech, and he didn’t actually say Tymoshenko did not deserve to be jailed or should be released. He said he “wasn’t sure why Tymoshenko got seven years”. Maybe he meant she should have gotten ten, which the prosecutors originally wanted and which would have been (I believe) the maximum sentence. He also said that “Tymoshenko didn’t sign the contracts”, but that would be a weak defense at the very best, because he knows an official who misuses his or her power to make a subordinate break the law is – if anything – more guilty than the subordinate. It sounded like very lukewarm support to me.

        If Russia truly got the best part of the deal, it would not be in the national interest to go too hard on Tymoshenko, and saying outright she is a venal criminal would invite renegotiation of the agreement, probably at far lower prices. But I read elsewhere (although I didn’t research it any deeper) that one of the real pitfalls built into the agreement was that it established harsh financial penalties on Ukraine if it did not meet certain import targets, which it subsequently did not. That is (allegedly) one of the big-ticket items that Tymoshenko was on the hook for, and which the fine levied against her was meant to partly recoup.

        • Jimbo says:

          Before political rival Julia Tymoshenko’s verdict was rendered, Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych felt it prudent to consult Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin regarding the sentence to be imposed. “I would like to give her 7!” declared Putin. Surprised by the laxity of the sentence, Yanukovych exclaimed, “But Comrade Wolf, why only 7?” “Because, Comrade Sheep,” Putin responded, ”I do not have 8 centimeters to give to her!”

        • hoct says:

          What I was going for is that both supporters of Tymoshenko and Putin reject the idea the gas deal she signed was bad for Ukraine. Naturally they do so for totally different reasons, and they still have wildly different opinions on other aspects of the Tymoshenko trial, but that’s a “nuance” I need not talk about. After all when have you know the Western media to acknowledge “nuances” when it is convenient not to? I have a convergence on some small detail and I’m pouncing on it — with a sledgehammer!

          To say that because the West supports Tymoshenko and Putin supports the deal she signed, they are ‘on the same page’ is no more of a caricature than what the Western media allows itself every day.

      • hoct says:

        I was thinking specifically the precedent for going ahead with something that does not have the required support of Verhovna Rada demanded by law. I could have been more clear on this.

        • marknesop says:

          About that, I don’t know off the top of my head. But I did stumble on a good Ukraine link which I think I’ll add to the blogroll, here. Check out the short section (4 posts) listed alphabetically on the left-hand side and titled “Tymoshenko equates herself with Ukraine” – love the photoshops of Yulia as Stalin!!! I was going to borrow one to add to this post, but I didn’t think I should do it without asking, and I doubt the author has an overly positive view of Russia so I didn’t ask.

          Between Ukrainiana and Odessa Blog, if there’s precedent for the President or Prime Minister running roughshod over the Verkhovna Rada, it ought to be covered there. I saw on Taras’s Twitter feed, also, that new charges (carrying a mavimum penalty of another 12 years) are pending against Tymoshenko for $405 Million that her company allegedly owes Russia, and which Russia wants to collect from Ukraine. So much for the notion that Putin and the west are dancing in choreography on this issue. I’m afraid I’m having a hard time dredging up any sympathy for Mrs. Tymoshenko.

    • yalensis says:

      Yeah! Western LSM (=”Lame Stream Media”) was outraged when Yulia signed the original deal that they are now defending. LSM accused her of bypassing their guy, Viktor Dioxinovich, and colluding with evil Putin to enslave the Ukrainian people
      Here is video of that gas-deal-signing. Damn, but does she look hot in that black dress…. (Putin also looks great in his little suit – what a dapper couple!) My apologies to all who are trying to have serious discussion here….
      but I can’t help notice at the end when they turn away from the cameras, Yulichka’s zipper appears to be in disarray. Those back-room negotiations must have been more vigorous than we thought!

  3. Mark Chapman, let me have the honor of being the first to congratulate you: La Russophobe is going out of business!

    • yalensis says:

      I feel bad for Kimmie’s henchman, “Ming the Merciless”. He is like a lost Manchild in this Strange New World… I feel like patting him on the back and telling him, “Cheer up, little dude. Things DO get better, ya know…”

      • marknesop says:

        Maybe he’ll start his own blog. Anyway, let’s wait and see if Kimmie really means it, and this isn’t just a bid to see how much popular support might remain. After all, it’s supposed to be a “team blog” – if it’s getting to be too much, just add a couple more members to lighten the overall workload. And again, nobody believes that rubbish about Putin’s regaining the presidency means the blog has served its purpose – although it definitely expressed hate for Putin, it left no stone unturned where hatred of ordinary Russians is concerned.

        Anyway, plenty of other sources of blindingly bogus information about Russia. Hey – maybe she’s going to join Leon Aron on Romney’s foreign policy team!! Then she’d be too busy to blog. Romney already knows nothing about nothing, so a little more disinformation won’t make any difference.

        • yalensis says:

          Kimmie quitting the fray at this crucial juncture does not make ANY sense. This is precisely the time when she be donning her Walkyrie armor and leading “la Resistance” against evil Putin. Kimmie, I’m talking to YOU, you a big CHICKEN: Bluk bluk bluk [chicken noises].

    • marknesop says:

      What!!!!???? Why didn’t I see this on the front page of The Economist?? No doubt The Jamestown Foundation will put out a blog post edged in black – after all, it was the best Russia blog on this planet or any other!! Now that people can no longer read La Russophobe, nobody will really know Russia!! Christ, this is BIG.

      No, seriously. I can’t take any of the credit for the collapse, and I’m sure nobody except her confused circle of obsessive diehards believes that nonsense about jagging it in now that Putin has vindicated her, as if the blog existed solely to predict Putin’s return while he was still president. Declining numbers and lackluster response is what did her in. After all, quitting now looks like a victory for Putin – and she’d never stand for that.

      Still, it’s pretty funny; but sad, in a way. Once I never had to put much thought into what to write about – there was always some crazy bein’ cooked up at La Russophobe. Originally I wasn’t going to write about anything else. I was just going to rebut her crazier stories, on more or less the same posting schedule as hers. But I couldn’t keep up: a lot of her stories are just copy and paste, with a quick paragraph or two of “analysis” and some loopy conclusions unsupported by any reputable references. Doing a proper rebuttal required research, which was slower than her frenetic pace. But it was mostly you, Igor and Mike Averko who encouraged me to branch out a little, and I got the occasional “Please kill this story” from Sean and from Jesse Heath.

      Well, life goes on. I think I’ll leave the link in my blogroll, just for old times’ sake. And there’s always some crazy from her – just not as frequently – at The American Thinker and Pajamas Media (where she’s the “Russia Correspondent” although she lives in New York). Thanks for the epitaph!!!

    • marknesop says:

      By the way, don’t know if you noticed, but you and Kevin got another shout-out in the LR feature “Putin: President For Life”. You Russophile maggot, you. But you’re in gallant company – you, Kevin and Barack Obama are blamed for saying Putin would not return to the presidency (well, that’s not entirely correct, Obama is blamed for having lunch with Medvedev, but you three are singled out by name). I, having predicted that Putin would return, am apparently at least an honest Russophile maggot. That’s an assumption on my part, as I’m not mentioned. So, Putin’s return as a complete surprise to the world (except for Kimmie, of course, who knew it even back in 2006 when he was still president) is your fault. Take a bow, Russophile maggot.

  4. bezroun@hotmail.com says:

    I see this conviction in view of the acute desire of Ukraine to terminate or at least modify the currect contract with Russia. Here is a quote from “The Mirror of the Week” that is relevat:

    http://zn.ua/POLITICS/on_pilit_suk_pod_soboy_a_upadet_strana-89690.html

    In addition, despite recent assurances of Azarov who wants to meet Putin in Petersburg that Tymoshenko’s case has no relation to the request to reconsider Kiev’s gas contracts with Russia, the sources of ZN.UA suggest that in Brussels [Ukrainian envoys] proved just the opposite. In order to reassure the Europeans and to clarify the meaning of the criminal prosecution of the former prime minister, Ukrainian envoys tried to convince their counterparts that the conviction Tymoshenko is the only escape from the stranglehold of the gas contracts with Russia. And that, by proving in court the abuse of power by former prime minister who authorized signing of the contracts detrimental to Ukraine, you can then turn to international institutions for the help with its modifications or termination.

    • marknesop says:

      That’s certainly possible, which is why I believe Putin keeps his criticism of the verdict very low-key. If he were to shout that Tymoshenko is a criminal and deserves exactly what she got if not more, it would suggest the contract truly was unfair. At the same time, if he were to do the “Tymoshenko is innocent” dance too enthusiastically, someone – probably the EU – would suggest the best thing Russia could do to help her would be to voluntarily renegotiate the contracts.

      Getting numbers isn’t easy, but I’m sure I saw a figure somewhere that suggested Ukraine ended up paying about twice the going rate. According to Vladimir Zharikhin, Deputy Director of the CIS Institute, “In early 2009, when everybody, including Yulia Tymoshenko, was sure that oil prices were bound to drop given the economic crisis, it seemed only logical to sign such a contract and peg gas prices for Ukraine to oil prices. But despite the forecasts, oil prices leaped to one hundred dollars per barrel, and it turned out that Tymoshenko had lost.”

      Although Tymoshenko supporters insist the trial is political only, and although it wouldn’t be hard to imagine Yanukovich chuckling over the discomfiture of his rival, I see it as unlikely because Tymoshenko is in her element when she’s playing the victim, and the government must have known it. They would know they ran a big risk of only making her more popular, especially if they didn’t have a very strong case. Thanks to Tymoshenko’s arrogance and inability to forecast a future where she might not be in charge and able to deflect prosecution, they do have a strong case. These new charges are definitely another hammerblow – one that Putin would have withheld if he actually perceived Tymoshenko as a potential ally. Obviously, he doesn’t.

      This story suggests the gas contracts were perfectly legal and in all respects in compliance with both Russian and Ukrainian law. If Ukraine wanted to renegotiate the contracts, it would have to take the matter before the Stockholm Arbitration Court. I don’t agree, however, that Russia has nothing to gain from a dispute between Ukraine and the EU. If the EU gives Yanukovich the cold shoulder, it is very likely to drive Ukraine closer to Russia. Especially since Russia seems to be doing better than the EU. The story also suggests Tymoshenko and the EU are pinning their hopes on a successful appeal. But these new charges – embezzlement of state funds – will not be got round so easily by suggesting Ukraine’s laws are not in compliance with European norms (as if that somehow makes a crime not a crime), and if Ukraine’s verdict were overruled by the European Court of Human Rights, the west would have a difficult time indeed suggesting Ukraine is not a country of laws. The obvious rejoinder would be, “When we arrest someone you like, you won’t let us prosecute them”. If the west cried, “Ukraine is corrupt!!”, the obvious rejoinder would be, “When we charge corrupt people, you overturn the verdict and set them free. I guess you mean only corrupt people who aren’t your friends should go to jail”.

      • kievite says:

        If the EU gives Yanukovich the cold shoulder, it is very likely to drive Ukraine closer to Russia.
        I think that dreams of Ukraine drifting closer to Russia are pipe dreams. This is not a “immanent” logic of political development of the country that just separated. Only if Ukraine splits into two parts, one of those parts can move closer to Russia.
        From a political standpoint it is important to understand that Ukraine is a divided county with Western Ukraine that has different interests and attitudes to the West and Russia then Eastern Ukraine and Southern Ukraine. In this case Yanukovich policies probably reflect interests on industrial part of Ukraine which need cheap gas for survival at the expense of West Ukraine who still remember Timoshenko role in “orange revolution”.

        Also Western part of Ukraine does not want economic alliance with Russia and is influential enough to block such initiatives. I think Russian politicians understand that this makes acquisition of pipelines a tricky business and even if they are sold , they later can be expropriated at some suitable moment using similar court-based scheme that is now used for undermining gas contracts. So they might also prefer “friendship at the distance”. After previous administration did quite a lot to isolate Ukraine from Russia and left pretty bitter feelings in Kremlin.
        Another important factor is that with the current level of external debt Ukraine balances on the edge of bankruptcy and can’t play bad with the West. IMF loans are extremely important. So Yanukovich has tied hands even if he has personal desire to improve relations with Russia. It is not unconceivable that he might pardon Timoshenko without overturning her conviction on some suitable date and at the same time try to use this conviction as a wedge to get some concession from Russia.

        • marknesop says:

          That may be so, but I think a lot of analysts don’t see Ukraine drifting into the Russian orbit because of ideology. Ideology flourishes in a climate of alternatives, and the EU was looking like a pretty good alternative. But nobody realistically expects acceptance into the EU is going to make Ukraine prosperous overnight, or even in, say, a decade. I’d be willing to bet a survey of young Ukrainians – the group most enthusiastic about EU membership – which was answered honestly would reveal a substantial demographic which wants EU membership because of the chance it would offer to leave Ukraine and move elsewhere within the EU which offered better prospects. That begins to look not so alluring as the EU gets bogged down deeper and deeper with internal debt and having to foot the debt bill for irresponsible members who couldn’t manage their economies and are looking for a bailout, some for the second time. Also, a substantial share – better than half – of Ukraine’s GDP resides in the personal fortunes of its wealthiest citizens. I can’t believe too many of them are going to want to contribute to EU bailouts of spendthrift states. And the EU is in no position to protect another huge country’s debt against default. Tymoshenko’s woes are looking more and more like a lifeline the EU grabbed enthusiastically – a convenient excuse to stall negotiations.

          It mightn’t be such a tough decision if the EU were awash in money and job opportunities, bursting with markets for Ukrainian goods that welcomed with open arms. It is not – it’s on thin ice financially, guards its job markets jealously for each nation’s own citizens and subsidizes its own industry so large countries with cheap labour like Ukraine have a hard time finding an advantage. I don’t think too many Ukrainians visualize joining the EU but remaining in Ukraine.

          Then, too, much will still depend on Russia’s favour no matter which way Ukraine goes. Ukraine is still the transit point for 80% of the gas that Russia sends to Europe. Do you see any reason that gas couldn’t go through Belarus instead? I don’t. However, this report is unequivocal that money loaned to national governments is loaned on the basis of politics and not profit, spelling out in no uncertain terms how Poland’s debt forgiveness was based on its role in bringing down the Soviet Bloc, while Egypt’s was for its support to the USA in the Persian Gulf War. If the west doesn’t want to lend Ukraine any more money, and profit is acknowledged to be inconsequential, there can only be two reasons; (1) the west isn’t worried Ukraine might form an alliance with Russia, or (2) thinks it might but doesn’t care.

    • yalensis says:

      That theory makes sense.

  5. rkka says:

    “Politically motivated prosecution” accuses the White House, exercising its new recycling policy by scratching out “Khodorkovsky” on its press releases and scribbling in “Tymoshenko”

    This is especially entertaining. The Anglosphere foreign policy elite and punditocracy howled incessantly for almost a decade that the charges against Khodorkovsky were baseless and political. Hardly an article on Russia in The Economist, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times, The Telegraph, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and I could go on and on, passed without mentioning that the charges against Khodorkovsky were baseless and political. For the European Court of Human Rights to confirm last month that Yukos and Khodorkovsky were fraudsters and tax cheats on a colossal scale was stunning, but in a good way. Of course they have not corrected or retracted any of their decade-long lying, I mean, why would you expect liars to do when their lies are exposed?

    But at least I will never again have to read major Anglosphere media saying that the charges against Khodorkovsky are baseless and political!

    • cartman says:

      Actually German investigators just discovered one of his Swiss bank accounts and are now investigating Khodorkovsky for money laundering. They were routinely looking for information about tax dodgers, and not fishing for dirt about him. There are stories in the lame-stream media every few weeks just to remind us that he is a horribly persecuted political prisoner who just wanted to bring transparency to Russia. Nothing from the NYT, WP, the WSJ, the Guardian, etc. about this (and only five! English-language ones found in Google).

      • marknesop says:

        Link, please, if you have it. This is very interesting – not so much because of the media’s silly bleating that the charges were baseless and politically motivated (as rkka aptly noted), but because of the alacrity with which Khodorkovsky assumed the mantle of prisoner of conscience under attack by baseless and politically motivated charges. He played the western press like a violin, and they bought the poor-boy-makes-good vignettes hook, line and sinker. It’ll be comical, if this comes broadly to light, for them to see what suckers they were with all that democratic reform and most-transparent-company-in-Russia horseshit.

        When Yanukovich beat Yuschenko in 2004, it was by a very small margin – about the same as that by which he beat Tymoshenko last year. But the press grabbed the narrative that the 2004 election was rigged, and that there was massive vote fraud. Nobody said the accusations against Yanukovich were baseless and political. They just championed another election, which Yuschenko won. The west is very selective when it comes to the use of stock buzz phrases that are designed to get a reaction.

        Interestingly, The Guardian figured U.S. NGO’s and OTPOR were behind the Orange Revolution, supplying posters and gimmicks and training in rousing the masses. Maybe everyone knew that, but it’s interesting to see it in a western newspaper. But even more interesting, it reports that Mikheil Saakashvili traveled to Belgrade in 2003, to be “coached in the techniques of mass defiance”. The protagonist in each case was said to be U.S. Ambassador to Belgrade Richard Miles.

        • yalensis says:

          Yeah, OTPOR taught Misha all his cute little tricks, like throwing stemmed roses around, taking podium away from Shevardnadze and finishing his glass of water, etc. Their other tricks, which their students learn in Revolution School, include: (1) people wearing funny costumes and painting their faces to get on TV, this attracts the narcissist vote; (2) defacing images of “El Presidente” and replacing with crude caricatures; this attracts the “bathroom graffiti” vote; (3) living in tents and practicing free love; this attracts the horny youth vote.
          I am going to make psychic prediction: ALL of these tricks will start to be used against Putin in near future after he assumes presidency. OTPOR might even get crafty and try to fold in with legitimate anti-Wall Street/anti-globalism type protests if and when they spread to Russia.

        • Giuseppe Flavio says:

          Here is one in english link, RIA novosti reported the news as well and Anatoly provided a link to a German article in a tweet. In case you feel adventurous enough to search the German Google news site, keep in mind that Khodorkovsky is transliterated as “Chodorkowski” in Germany.

          • kovane says:

            Hey, Giuseppe! Sorry for driving this discussion off-topic, but I’ve got a couple of questions. Recently, I’ve learnt that the Italian language is comprised of different dialects and was very surprised by the big differences between them. So the questions I wanted to ask: 1) Can someone from Naples freely understand a resident of Northern Italy, for example? 2) Are people from the Southern regions forced to learn official Italian, beside their dialect?

            • Giuseppe Flavio says:

              Hi Kovane,
              the differences are indeed big, but they’re reducing with time. That is to say, I can’t speak Sicilian dialect like my parents and on average those younger than me speak even less. As for understanding people speaking other dialects, I don’t have much problems understanding Southern and central dialects, Tuscany dialect is fairly understandable (modern Italian mostly derives from there), but it’s hard for me to understand Northern dialects, especially from North-Eastern Italy. If someone speaks in Venetian dialect, I’m only able to understand some word here and there. I’m referring to strict dialect, not the diluted form spoken by younger generations or heard on TV. I think the same applies to Neapolitans.
              Conversely, Northern Italians mostly don’t understand Southern dialects. Here is a scene from a movie where the characters speak Sicilian dialect (more precisely Palermo’s dialect) and as you can see there are subtitles in Italian. Without subtitles, only Southern Italians would understand what’s going on.
              To answer your second question, only official Italian is taught in schools, dialect is learned at home, not just in Southern regions, but in all of Italy. The Northern League party has talked about teaching dialect in Northern schools, but up to now it’s just talks.
              Re. the Wikipedia page you linked, I doubt the mentioned Oscan influence is true, because the two substitutions used as proof (i.e. “d” to “r” and “nd” to “nn”) are not exclusive of Neapolitan. Sicilian has the same “nd” to “nn” substitution (e.g. mondo “munnu” – world) and similar ones (like “mb” to “mm” in tromba “trumma” – trumpet) and also the “d” to “r” conversion, at the least in Catania and Palermo dialects (you can hear the characters in the movie saying “Maronna”) while it is absent in Messina. For example twenty-two is ventidue (Italian) vintirui (Catania) vintiddui (Messina).

              • kovane says:

                Thank you, that’s very interesting. So, Italian is even more diverse than English? From what I understand, in England only pronunciation varies from region to region, but lexically the language is approximately the same. Is written Italian is universal throughout the country? In other word, do people from, say, Sicily who speak only local dialect write the same way as the do in Milan?

                • Giuseppe Flavio says:

                  It’s not only a difference in pronunciation, it is also in written words, although there are not strict rules for writing down Sicilian words. For example, “in love” that translates to “innamorato” in Italian is variously written as “nnammuratu”, “‘nammuratu” and simply “nammuratu” in Sicilian. Sometimes the words are quite different, like “signa” instead of “scimmia” (monkey) or “a muzzu” instead of “a caso” (random). In other cases the words are similar, but have a different meaning, like “sintimentu” similar to “sentimento” (feeling, sentiment) but that means sense, judgement. The same applies to other dialects. You can see the differences looking at the Sicilian wikipedia, the Sardinian wikipedia, the Venetian wikipedia or the Neapolitan wikipedia.

                • marknesop says:

                  Actually, English is as dialect-plagued as any other language. The farmers of Dorset (strong in the arm and thick in the ‘ead, as their gentle critics would have it) have colloquial expressions that are native to their region and which the nasal shopkeepers of Liverpool would barely understand. The Geordies, the inhabitants of the border towns such as Newcastle – which snuggle up against Scotland – have an almost indecipherable accent, true, but also regional expressions which would draw a blank stare in Exeter. Yet the English all learn the same language in school.

                  In Canada, it is more diverse if anything. The Maritime regions of Newfoundland and Cape Breton are home to such colourful expressions as “Stay where you’re to, and I’ll come to where you’re at” when most would say, “Stay there, I’ll come to pick you up”, although no Newfoundlander ever learned that in any grammar book and everyone would understand you perfectly if you said it the second way (although they’d know immediately that you were “from away” even if your accent didn’t give you away). I’m often told that Quebec French cannot be understood by the French of France as it is a peasant dialect, although if the Quebecois learned proper French it wouldn’t be a problem. There’s only one French, and Quebecois schoolchildren learn the same grammatical structure as Parisians or Algerians or Belgians or Haitians. Many Montrealers speak a patois known as “Joual”, which mixes French and English for convenience, such as “Crossez la rue” for “Cross the street” where “Traversez” is “cross” in French. If you used it in Louisiana bayou country, they wouldn’t know what the hell you were saying – but both learned the exact same language in school. Dialect is a badge of belonging, a regional affectation we adopt so we can recognize our own.

          • yalensis says:

            Thanks, Giuseppe, I took your advice and did a German Google on “Chowdorkowski”, I found this link about a German bank called Julius Baer that I think is relevant to the issue being discussed. My German is a little rusty nowadays, I tried to do a rough translation, but if somebody out there knows German better than me, HELP!!!!

            Deutsche Steuerfahnder sind offenbar auf ein Bankkonto des verurteilten russischen Oligarchen Michail Chodorkowski bei Julius Bär gestossen.
            Wie die «Süddeutsche Zeitung» berichtet, sind deutsche Steuerfahnder auf eine brisante Akte gestossen: Der inhaftierte russische Oligarch und Putin-Kritiker Michail Chodorkowski soll bei der Schweizer Bank Julius Bär mehr als 15 Millionen Euro angelegt haben.
            Offenbar wurde bereits ein Strafverfahren wegen des Anfangsverdachts der Geldwäsche eingeleitet. In hessischen Justizkreisen heisst es, gegen Chodorkowski sei vor Monaten ein Strafverfahren wegen Anfangsverdachts der Geldwäsche eingeleitet worden. Unklar war am Freitag, ob die Ermittlungen derzeit fortgesetzt werden.
            Untersuchung bei Julius Bär in Frankfurt
            Das Verfahren hatte seinen Ausgang offenbar in Münster genommen, wo die Strafverfolger eine CD mit Kundendaten der Schweizer Bank Julius Bär auswerteten. Es folgte eine Durchsuchung in der Geschäftsstelle der Bank in Frankfurt am Main.
            Dort stiessen die Ermittler auf eine Kundenakte Chodorkowskis. Er soll bei der Bank 15 bis 20 Millionen Euro angelegt haben; auf seinen Namen und den von Angehörigen.
            Seit 2003 in Haft
            Chodorkowski ist ein früherer russischer Oligarch, Gründer des Ölkonzerns Yukos und Gegner des einstigen Präsidenten Wladimir Putin. Er ist in seiner Heimat wegen diverser Wirtschaftsdelikte verurteilt worden und sitzt seit 2003 in Haft.
            Auf Anfrage von finews.ch erklärte ein Sprecher der Bank: «Wir kommentieren keine möglichen oder bestehende Kundenbeziehungen, respektive wir diskutieren nicht in der Öffentlichkeit, wer ein Konto bei Julius Bär hat und wer nicht.»

            German tax-invasion investigators were apparently shocked when they stumbled upon a bank account of the sentenced Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky at the Julius Baer bank.
            As the „Suedeutsche Zeitung“ reported, the tax-evasion investigators were stunned (gestossen?): The imprisoned Russian oligarch and Putin-critic Mikhail Chowdorkowski supposedly deposited more than $15 million euros in the Swiss bank Julius Baer.
            Apparently a criminal investigation has already been launched in regards to suspicions of money laundering. [Something about this investigation taking place in Hessian court? — not sure about translation…] As of Friday it was not clear whether the investigation would take place.

            The investigation apparently was initiated in Munich, where the prosecutor analyzed a CD containing data (Kundendaten?) of the Swiss bank Julius Baer. What followed was an investigation [seems like German has 5 million synonyms for the word „investigation“] into the dealings of the bank in Frankfurt am Main. Therein undercover investigators discovered Chowdorkowski files. He supposedly deposited $15 million euros in this bank, in his name and belonging to him…. (etc.)

            Okay, so Germans found $$$ deposited by Monsier Chowder-kowski. What makes them think this $$$ was laundered and not a legitimate deposit? Still unclear about this….

  6. rkka says:

    “It’ll be comical, if this comes broadly to light, for them to see what suckers they were with all that democratic reform and most-transparent-company-in-Russia horseshit.”

    They already know. Khodorkovsky was just one element of the Anglosphere’s psychological warfare against a non-submissive Russia. They’ll just find a new line of attack, because the objective is still the same.

    And on second thought they’ll probably throw Khodorkovsky out from time to time, because the Anglosphere media audience has the attention span of a mosquito.

    But now I’ll always have as ready reply when his name comes up.

  7. And now the EU cancels Yanukovych’s visit.

    Kind of torn on this. On the one hand, what right do they have to interfere in Ukraine’s internal affairs? On the other hand, quite satisfying to see it slapped down while trying to play both sides of the board.

    • rkka says:

      The Ukrainians are screwed, heavily screwed.

      And why goes back to the last days of the USSR, when they believed that they subsidized the rest of the USSR and therefore should do well out of independence.

      Then they found out about global market prices for energy and raw materials. Ooops!

      They’ve been wanting the Euros to be their “Sugar Daddy” ever since.

      But the Euros won’t have them, rightfully seeing a Black Hole for subsidies east of Romania.

      They’ve deeply alienated Russia too, as indicated by the vigor Putin is following up Nord Stream with South Stream.

      But it felt sssoooooo gooooood for loony Uke nationalists to vent their spite a Moskau for a few years!

      • marknesop says:

        The EU is laying the groundwork for Yanukovich to be overthrown, with not-so-subtle signals that it would be OK with a Tymoshenko presidency. For an institution that likes to look down its nose at “Cowboy America” (while acknowledging its power and groveling to its wealth), the EU is looking kind of like Clint Eastwood with a funny accent.

        Obviously, there is a risk. A risk of insulting Ukrainian nationalism – in the manipulations to rally Ukrainians against Yanukovich, the EU may instead rally them to him. If he was smart, Yanukovich would be marketing this as a slap in the face to Ukraine rather than a slap in the face to him personally; the difference between his PR machine and Tymoshenko’s has been pointed out before this, with him coming out far behind her skills, and this is something he needs to correct right now before OTPOR or someone like them sets up shop. If they’re not there already. Implementing a registration and substantiation program for NGO’s would be a good start, if such regulation does not already exist – I’m afraid I don’t know.

        A hermit living in a cave without television or Internet would have been able to figure out by now that the west will accept Tymoshenko as leader of Ukraine even knowing she is a self-enriching, plundering oligarch. Because she speaks their language. As they say; she’s an unscrupulous thief, but she’s our unscrupulous thief.

      • kievite says:

        The Ukrainians are screwed, heavily screwed. And why goes back to the last days of the USSR, when they believed that they subsidized the rest of the USSR and therefore should do well out of independence.

        I think you forget the fact the USSR was essentially doomed. Ideology was dead. Party leadership degenerated to the level of Gorbachov, Yeltsin, Gaidar (who was editor in chief of Young Communist magazine) to name a few. Academic community was by-and-large fossilized and extremely corrupt. Everything was corrupt and stagnant. Putin once said the dissolution of the USSR was a geopolitical tragedy and agree. I agree. But the question is whether it was an avoidable tragedy.

        I tend to view it more like tragedy of a very sick, beaten patient who instead of treatment was lured by magic cures from neocons charlatans, paid huge price for snake oil and was beaten again. And even this statement is not completely true.

        Nobody asked Ukrainians and when they were asked most voted for the preservation of the USSR. The decision about dissolution came from the top. Actually from the level of Ukrainian Communist Party nomenklatura (Kravchuk). Ukrainians like Russians and other republics were taken for a ride by elite who already decided what is good for them.

        Peoples doubts were neutralized by powerful propaganda machine and by bought with convertible currency part of national academic elite. Suitcases of dollars are pretty powerful weapon. Kind of “weapon of mass destruction” if you think about it. And academics and press corps were extremely corrupt from the very beginning so they were used to prostitution, so to speak.

        The driving force of dissolution was nationalism and was heated with steady stream of dollars. With abundant dollars and copying equipment leaflets about how particular republic feeds the rest of the USSR were common in each and every postbox in multiple copies.

        Typical topics included but were not limited to:

        — How Ukraine is subsidizing the rest of the USSR
        — How with little help from Europe independence will bring Ukrainians Western European level of prosperity almost immediately. Actually this was not completely false, but they forget to tell that this will be true only for “some Ukrainians”, mostly for specialists who can emigrate to West. So “relocation needed” part was omitted🙂.
        – Cost of energy for energy-intensive industries that Ukraine does not matter as Russia will be happy to supply Ukraine as if it was still one of the USSR republics.
        – Nationalists care about common folk and will guide Ukraine to the new future of prosperity.

        It was actually pretty surprising how powerful nationalism remained even after all those years of communist propaganda and the fact that it was end of XX centrury with WWII not so far away.

        All in all there were no positive heroes in this drama. Mostly scoundrels, opportunists and helpless victims. Communists really drove the country into the ground. The tragedy was that people used to have high expectations after they get rid of Communists and did not realized that instead of increasing prosperity they will fail to preserve the standard of living they enjoyed under communists. So rape by communists was replaced by the rape by West via new comprador oligarchy.

        Now Ukraine got to this untenable position which is chess is called zugzwang. With removal of Yanukovich or without it remains zugzwang. Or debt hole from which there is no escape.

        • hoct says:

          I like the accuracy of your language. You hear about the “collapse” of the Soviet Union, or of its “falling apart”, but actually the Soviet Union was dissolved which is a ‘little bit’ different.

          • yalensis says:

            Agree. As usual, kievite makes a good analysis. Also, the dissolution came from above, not below, It was the very top of the Communist Party elites (especially of Russia and Ukraine) which decided to dissolve the Soviet Union. There were a few dissenting voices from within the Party, but by that point Gorbachev had gone completely rogue and was not even pretending to consult with the Politburo. He was dealing directly with American leadership, in one-on-one negotiations, with no consultations back on his side. Some elements in Politburo became alarmed and attempted to react, but too late, with botsched coup. If they had managed to fire Gorbachev from his post a few days earlier, things might have gone differently.

    • yalensis says:

      And so it begins…. [ominous music]… now we shall see if Viktor Fedorovych has True Grit, or if he is a big fat pussy.

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. Yanukovich needs to stand his ground against EU, with the same firmness and dignity he stood against this vicious venok which attacked him last year:

  8. Evgeny says:

    A very funny article:
    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/article/1071396–kiev-s-political-vendetta

    “Canadians have more than a passing interest in Ukraine, 20 years after the nation of 45 million seceded from the Soviet empire. More than 1.2 million of us trace our roots there.”

    Indeed, one my good university friend from Ukraine now lives in Canada. Yet, I wonder if the author of the article has wondered about my friend’s — or any token Canadian Ukrainean’s — opinion upon writing that piece.

  9. Evgeny says:

    Mark, just in case you might like to contact my friend, his name is Sasha and he runs a LJ blog:
    http://rossoshyrik.livejournal.com/

    To avoid unnecessary questions you can refer to me (Evgeny Filatov).

    • marknesop says:

      Thanks, Zhenya; I’ll take a look at it. I’ll be in and out for the next few days as I am traveling.

      Although I haven’t read the article yet, I’ll agree right now that Canadians do have more than a passing interest in Ukraine; there is a large Ukrainian diaspora, mostly located in the western prairie provinces. Oksana Bashuk-Hepburn, who Mike Averko pointed me to, was actually a minor member of the Canadian government (something in finance, I forget right now exactly what), and she pens incredibly vitriolic anti-Russian rants for the Kyiv Post. From some of the like-minded comments such articles draw, it’s clear that at least some Ukrainian-Canadians would also like to see Ukraine in the EU, even if it took a Tymoshenko presidency to achieve that goal.

      • Evgeny says:

        Mark, you are welcome.

        There are different Ukraineans, just like there are different Russians. I don’t buy the idea that a person’s ethnicity quite allows to determine his ideas a priori. You need to ask people, if you want to learn of their views.

        I can’t be sure what use can you make of having direct contacts with local Ukraineans, but I’m happy if I can facilitate any.

      • Evgeny says:

        My idea doesn’t stretch beyond a mere understanding that being a military implies an ability of easy socializing and some idea of hierarchy. So, if you would like to build any sort of NGO of your own, you would need people/contacts.

        • marknesop says:

          Well, I would not be permitted to build an NGO, but my observation was more suggestive that Yanukovich needs to take steps to rein in the NGO’s already there, since they are the spearheads of colour revolutions. There is ample evidence to suggest they were the originators of the Orange Revolution, and although some do excellent work in unstable nations and are obviously there for the benefit of others rather than themselves, others are merely fronts for international meddling and destabilization efforts. Russia took steps some time ago to at least monitor the influence of NGO’s by tightening their registration requirements and suggesting in the margins that they would have to substantiate their presence or arouse curiosity about exactly what they are doing in the country. Ukraine would be well-advised to consider similar regulation.

  10. yalensis says:

    Off topic… Libya … breaking news:
    Click on the video right below the headline (“Gaddafi dead”). After it finishes running (or fast-forward), click on the neighboring video “Gaddafi badly injured.”
    Apprently Gaddafi’s lynching by the rebel mob has been sponsored by delicious Lindor chocolates. Fantastic product placement for LIndor!

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/muammar-gaddafi-has-been-killed-says-libyan-pm-2373368.html

    • yalensis says:

      Update: that second video on the British site has been replaced by a new one called “Gaddafi beating”, which is even more graphic and violent, but still sponsored by Lindor chocolates.
      RIP Gaddafi. A wounded lion torn to pieces by a mob of chattering hyenas.

      • marknesop says:

        Nobody wants to talk about Ghaddafi much any more; it’s all about the “bright new dawn of freedom in Libya”, and the media is back to referring to the eight-month struggle as a “civil war” as if NATO had no part in it at all, never mind providing the firepower and mission creep that made it possible. The Memory Hole is at work already. I saw some news coverage of postwar Libya, and although the theme was the horrific damage that would have to be repaired before Libyans could pick up the threads of their lives (hello, western contractors getting fat on Libyan oil money), all the video was of Misrata – conveniently, because that damage can be blamed on loyalist forces rather than NATO. I’d be interested to see some of the neighbourhoods in Tripoli, and there was a brief spate of negative commentary a couple of days ago from residents of Bani Walid who had returned to find their homes largely destroyed by rebel forces, apparently gratuitously.

        Surprisingly, the same media coverage that highlighted the damage and the need to repair Libya mentioned in passing during the mandatory mention of the “Arab Spring” (the only dimension in which the seasons never change) that Egypt is still “struggling with unrest”. Maybe they need another OTPOR intervention to remind them how happy and free they are, or perhaps another revolution since it looks like the military leadership is settling in for an extended stay.

        It’s too early for predictions regarding Libya, but it seems clear the current leadership is going to fall to fighting among themselves before long, much like the clan rivalries that sprang up in The New Democracy Of Purple Thumbs, Iraq. Interestingly, I saw reports that explicitly denied it was Obama’s shrewd planning that has the last troops pulling out, and that the deal-breaker of a tentative agreement which would have had thousands of troops staying on was a refusal on Iraq’s part to grant immunity. Watch also for increased pressure on Iran, which is growing more influential in Iraq.

    • Gaddafi went out like a hero, choosing to die on his feet as opposed to living on his knees.

      Meanwhile, the Green traitors are already busy transforming Libya into a fundamentalist hellhole. Just a day ago they legalized polygamy.

      I expect the neoliberals in the NTC to proceed to sell off Libyan national assets to the foreign crusaders for the next year or so, until they are overthrown by the truly hardcore Islamists. Then those neoliberals and pro-Westerners will, ironically enough, be the first up against the wall.

      We’ve seen it before multiple times, e.g. Iran in 1979.

      Then Libya will become a base for Al Qaeda in North Africa. A tragedy for the Libyan people. A severe, but ultimately well deserved, punishment for the crusaders.

      • yalensis says:

        @anatoly: Totally agree, but minor factual correction: In Libya, the “Greens” are the pro-Gaddafy loyalists (Gaddafy Jamahariya flag was all-green. New flag is the previous one used under Italian colonial rule.) Whereas in Iran, the Greens are the pro-NATO faction. Confusing, huh?
        Also agree that Al Qaeda has now acquired a huge chunk of valuable real estate in North Africa (not to mention tons of world-class weapons and training under the best NATO instructors).
        Some people say that Al Qaeda in Libya will turn against its masters and start to attack the West. I used to say that too, almost like frantically warning West: “Don’t help these guys, they will turn on you!” But in the course of following the Libya war, my brain started evolving a bit (it had still been stuck in 2001). I I came to the conclusion that Al Qaeda is, and always has been, a paramilitary wing of the CIA/NATO, to be used as a catspaw in Middle East/African conflicts. Once I had this new theory (which evolved from the “AQ as Golem” theory), I then reluctantly came to see that there was a contradiction in my own thinking. If AQ is ALWAYS obedient to its CIA masters (my new “loyal pitbull” theory), then that means the chance of the Golem turning is low. So, maybe 9/11 was just a fluke one-time occurrence? (My new theory still does not account for what happened on 9/11, when USA was attacked by its loyal ally, Saudi Arabia.)
        If my new theory is a better fit with reality than the “Golem” theory, this means that NATO has truly won one in Libya, and Hillary/Obama need not spend a lot of time worrying about Libyan Islamists turning against the West, or anything like that. The Islamist/jihadists who fight for AQ without knowing they are working for the CIA are single-issue types who only care about one thing: shariah law and beating up women. Once they have secured their rights in this arena, they will be perfectly happy to do whatever NATO tells them to do. They are not nationalists, after all, they are “values” voters, and this one issue is all they really care about.

        • Yes, made an embarrassing slip there. LOL. The red-black-green star and crescent traitors, then.

          I really don’t think the ties between NATO and AQ are that close. While the former may at times exploit radical Islamism for its own ends, as in Afghanistan in the 80’s, the Islamists have their own independent strategic goals. One of the foremost is to overthrow the Saudi stooges.

          • marknesop says:

            Which might well happen with the House of Saud in disarray; one never knows, although the west would stop at almost nothing to keep them in power. In other news, I see Tunisia has apparently elected an Islamist government, the Ennahda Party. With Egypt remaining in turmoil and ruled by a military junta (although of course The Economist sees “signs of hope”, which it seems to see everywhere except in Russia and former satellites disposed to remain within its orbit. I wonder what signs of hope The Economist would see if a revolution in Russia brought a Red Army dictatorship to power), Democracy is 0 for 2. Immediate transition to Sharia law in Libya makes a free-market democracy there seem…what’s the word…rather distant. Good job, NATO and western NGO’s. Kudos all ’round, OTPOR. Freedom is on the march.

            • yalensis says:

              Interesting that the very first act of the new Libyan government, even before any elections or referendum, was to legalize polygamy. Has Jalil been hankering for a younger trophy wife, I wonder? Silly Arabs, they should be more civilized, like the French. A Frenchman is allowed only one wife, but two or three mistresses.

          • yalensis says:

            So, you view Al Qaeda as some kind of independent player on the world stage? Independent from both the CIA and the Saudi regime? It’s true that AQ has its own stated geo-strategic goal: the caliphate and all that. Also true that they despise Saudi royal family and believe them unfit to run the holy sites in Mecca. On the other side of the coin, how could such a tiny gang of medieval losers, heartily despised by most of the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, achieve any successes at all without NATO/CIA help? A lot of facts simply don’t make sense unless one posits that they are an ongoing CIA operation. (Not NATO, but CIA. My language has been a bit sloppy in some of these posts.) But then there is 9/11, which acts as kind of counter-proof to this theory, because Americans would never tolerate their own tools attacking the homeland. I am still holding out hope that somewhere in that mass of Wikileaks file there is the key to unlock this mystery. Enquiring minds want to know.

            • marknesop says:

              Not Wikileaks, then, I’m afraid; it is said to be going broke and on the verge of collapse. Maybe that’s wishful thinking on the part of those who don’t like or don’t believe its revelations, but I just read it yesterday.

            • hoct says:

              Have you heard of Michael Scheuer? He was the chief of CIA’s OBL unit and says before September 2001 the unit presented the White House with ten different opportunities to take him out, however they failed to act on any of them. That tells me the CIA was very anti-AQ.

              • yalensis says:

                Yes, that is very true. CIA was very hot to take out bin Laden, but cautious bureaucrats prevented them. This fact could still be explained away and fit into my theory if one posits that bin Laden went rogue and got out of control of his CIA masters.
                Historical analogy: the troublesome relationship between the Polish King and the Zaporozhian Cossacks in the 17th century. Cossacks’ job was to be loyal pitbulls and guard Ukrainian frontier against Tatars, but sometimes these dogs got too big for their britches and felt themselves to be equal to their Polish masters. Here is a wonderful quote from a book by
                Robert Nisbet Bain, “The First Romanovs (1613-1725): A history of Moscovite Civilization”: The context is Zaporozhian Cossack uprisings against the Polish government 1638 – 1640.

                Once more however Polish valour prevailed and the Zaporozhians were humiliated as they had never been humiliated before [….] Yet the very completeness of their triumph was regretted by the Poles themselves two years later. In 1640 a countless horde of Tatars devastated the whole Ukraine and carried off immense booty in cattle and captives unopposed and unpursued because the Cossack guardians of the frontier were no longer at their posts. Eight years before when King Sigismund III lay on his parade bier with a Moscovite diadem round his temples while by his side Uniate prelates from Kiev were singing masses in the Slavonic language for the repose of his soul delegates from the Cossacks of the Dnieper arrived at Warsaw to present a petition to the Polish Senate. They claimed to have a voice in future in the election of the Polish Kings and they based their claim on the fact that they too formed part of the republic. Yes replied the Polish senators ye do form part of the republic just as hair and nails form part of the human body and when hair and nails grow too long they are clipped short.

                The key quote here is the one about “hair and nails” must be kept clipped short. According to my theory, Al Qaeda is to the American government as Zaporozhians were to King Sigismund. (Well, they don’t guard a frontier, they just run around various hotspots, causing trouble…)
                Hence, killing bin Laden could be a way of keeping Al Qaeda hair and nails (and beards also, in this case) more short, and also reminding them who is boss.

        • hoct says:

          AQ as a wing of CIA/NATO is not my view though it is indeed clear the West has worked with AQ as often as it has opposed it. Intriguingly there are even ideological similarities: 1, 2, 3.

  11. frink says:

    Pootin, `murrica’s gonna git yooou! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Awkx9bsHqyk)

    • yalensis says:

      Ha ha! That’s what I’ve been saying all along, like a damned wailing Cassandra: That NATO has a hitlist and (Russia + China) better get their sh%t together and dust off the nukes. Unless, of course, McCain is simply a random raving lunatic with advanced dementia?

      • frink says:

        NATO will never directly invade/interfere with Russia (or China). If anything, they will use (and are using) salami tactics — slice by slice (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX_d_vMKswE)

        What Russia desperately needs is a shrewd and cunning leader. Unfortunately, I do not see anyone currently or on the horizon as possessing either of those qualities.

        • yalensis says:

          Damn, that “Yes Prime Minister” show is funny! I love British humor, it’s so droll. And very good analysis of salami tactic. The moral of the story seems to be: “Don’t rely on nukes, beef up conventional forces too.” Good advice for Russia!

      • marknesop says:

        “Unless, of course, McCain is simply a random raving lunatic with advanced dementia?”

        Yeah. I pick that.

  12. BTW. La Russophobe has resurfaced, like Sauron in Mordor after getting his ass kicked at the end of the Second Age, now weaker but far more crazy and demented than ever before.

    • yalensis says:

      Wow! Lotta name calling. They call gentle academic/intellectual Cohen a “piece of filth” and lovely Hillary Swank a “whore” ?? Whoever writes this blog is a freak!

    • marknesop says:

      Ha ha HA!!! Damn, that’s funny – kind of like the MAD magazine of the asylum. I like the helter-skelter font, too, it’s got a nice Charles Manson flava to it. I think I hear the nice men with the one-sleeve jacket in the hallway now.

  13. yalensis says:

    If it gets Sarkozy re-elected, that will be the signal for me that all the Christian teachings were bullshit, and that God – if He even exists – is perfectly okay with the triumph of wickedness. If so, let each look to himself.
    Mark: I am worried about your state of mind! Jesus was a great guy, and mankind will survive, with or without Sarkozy. (Preferably without.) There — do you feel better now?

  14. Foppe says:

    This article links to/discusses a policy paper by the EU bureaucracy made for the heads of state who are currently discussing how to best sell Greece (and all other countries) into debt slavery. Document contains an analysis of all the proposed policy options currently on the table (including the 60% haircut model which is currently considered the boldest) and concludes that even then, Greece will still have a debt/gdp ratio of 130% by 2030. It further argues that since Greece (and presumably other states later on) will have to borrow its money from the EU, the EU should have the right to demand austerity and whatever other programs they can think of for as long as Greece is dependent upon them. (Some further analysis here.) Such a lovely bunch of people.

    In more upbeat news, here is a nice write-up of how OWS got off the ground by one of the initial organizers. Worth a read, methinks.

    • marknesop says:

      There’s a problem with your link for the OWS story; somehow my link got incorporated. For those interested, simply minus http://www.marknesop.wordpress bla bla from the link address. This is a very good read, I hadn’t really understood what the protesters’ objective was before now. Being able to see it from that perspective, it’s easier to understand why the wealthy and those (cough, Republicans, cough) who depend on the wealthy are angrily billing it as “class warfare”.

      • Foppe says:

        Not just the Republicans; It’s just that the Dems are prevented from whining about “class warfare” since that would out them as also being part of the “party of Wall Street”.😉
        Anyway, glad you liked it. Not sure what happened to the link.

    • Giuseppe Flavio says:

      Sincerely, I don’t see how one could expect something different. What is going on in Greece (and Italy, Spain, Portugal) since entering the eurozone is similar to what occurred in Argentina when the pesos was anchored to the dollar with a fixed and too high rate. Local manufacturing and agriculture lost competitiveness, both abroad and inside the country, and credit became cheap. So, the “true” economy contracted while cheap credit boosted debt-fueled consumption, both from the private sector (I mean enterprises and households) and the public sector (state debt). It looked like a nice thing, after all people could see their standard of living improve at a great pace, but it could not last for long. Argentina defaulted and the living standard went down. One way or the other, i.e. with or without a default, the same must happen to the southern countries of the eurozone. People must adapt (or re-adapt) to a lower standard of living, and stop deluding themselves that by punishing the evil bankers everything will turn for the better.
      Greece GDP is going to shrink so the debt ratio will continue to be high, unless there is a complete default. But even with a complete default, Greeks can’t expect that things will turn nice and dandy all of a sudden. Argentina had a couple of very difficult years after the default.
      That’s not to say that the bankers are all innocent like a newborn baby, they behaved like a drug pusher, while people and governments like drug addicts. IMO, the best way to kick them is to minimise the use of credit, but that will be hard for a generation that was raised of cheap credit.

      • Foppe says:

        Oh, I’m not saying that the Greeks can expect good times ahead even with a default. My point is simply that all of the options under consideration are inadequate precisely because they want to have the power to force the Greek political system to do whatever it is they want them to; that is, basically ending Greek sovereignty. There was, up to now, always the question whether the European Union/Eurozone leadership were just too stupid to see this, or actually malevolent; it seems to me that this document strongly indicates that the latter is the case. Because it makes a rather large difference whether or not Greece (and other countries) are allowed to default, since the latter would force the French/German/Austrian/Dutch Neoliberal political classes to admit that they were criminally negligent in allowing the banking system to “self-regulate”, and in shaping the Maastricht Treaty in the way that they did.

        (Further: consumer-credit-fueled growth has been happening everywhere, including in more developed countries, so that isn’t just limited to the south (or Hungary/Romania/Baltics etc.))

        • Giuseppe Flavio says:

          I think that nobody can seriously believe that Greece (and Italy, etc.) would be bailed out, or get any help for free. When someone pays your bills, you’ve already lost your sovereignty. IMO the question about stupidity or malevolence is ill posed, because these aren’t the only possibilities. That the core EU countries will try to rein in spending in the PIGS and get more control over them is simply the way things work, not malevolence.
          I think that the only alternative to the EFSF for the PIGS is to get out of the euro and default. The only problem with this alternative is that most people that agree with it don’t seem to realise how much pain it will involve.

          • Foppe says:

            But they’re not bailing Greece out at all; they’re forcing Greece to accept more loans so the Greeks can use that money to pay back the French (mostly) banks with, so the French government doesn’t have to admit that they let their banks run loose in the way that they have. And then they’re forcing Greece to sell off its public property at firesale prices, ensuring that the cost of living will go up further in the future, since the utilities will suddenly be running on the profit motive, while the money made off tourism will also largely disappear into the private hands. I’m sure you’re familiar with the general pattern; they did it to Russia as well. This does absolutely nothing positive for the economic viability of the Greek state, and is purely intended as an exercise in extracting pounds of flesh.

    • yalensis says:

      Hopeful thing about OWS and what distinguishes from youth movement of 1960’s is that there appears to be a growing alliance between disaffected intelligentsia and trade unions. On the downside, American unions do not have nearly the clout now that they had in the 1960’s, when they could have brought the country to its knees with a general strike. Now they do not have that ability. Still hopeful sign, though. If only OWS can keep it honest and not allow OTPOR provocateurs anywhere near the podium, they might have a chance at mass reforming of minds.

      • marknesop says:

        An article I just finished (hard copy only, I’m afraid, the Globe and Mail) put it best for me – “The slogan, ‘Don’t trust anyone over 30’ was not about ideology so much as our generation’s observation that once you had kids and a family, the aspiration to be rich (or at least comfortable) would supersede any aspiration to be fair…I know in my heart that our tremendously compromised political system will not make the tough choices unless there is a groundswell of protest”.

  15. kievite says:

    http://www.vzglyad.ru/politics/2011/10/24/532885.html

    The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reversed its decision to close a long-standing 2005 criminal case against Yulia Tymoshenko for embezzlement and tax evasion in the payments for gas with the corporation UESU.

    As reported by the newspaper Vsglyad (LOOK) charges are about the theft of $3 million from the budget plus tax evasion amounting to over $2.5 million.

    • marknesop says:

      Mmmm…. 11 criminal charges. This is looking grim for pizza-braids. I can’t help but wonder what this source would say if the charges were against Yanukovych, since the theme seems to be, “Everyone wants to kick Tymoshenko when she’s down”. I guess the assumption is that those bringing the charges are incompetent or corrupt, although presumably they would be stalwart defenders of the truth if they were laying these charges against the current leader. Therefore, again presumably, it is inconceivable that Tymoshenko’s wealth is derived from anything other than honest work and good luck. Ha, ha.

      The article is also at pains to point out that previous charges against Tymoshenko for much the same sort of drive-by economics were quashed by the courts and found groundless. You don’t suppose that might have had something to do with influence on the part of previous Prime Minister and fellow payola-funnel Lazarenko, do you? No, of course not. It certainly would be unfair to argue that his convictions on charges of money-laundering and extortion cast him as a potential criminal. Especially when those charges were prosecuted to conviction in a country that argues for freeing Tymoshenko at once and stopping this mockery of justice before honest people all over the world begin to worry that Ukraine is not ready for democracy. Especially when one of the pillars of the prosecution’s case against Lazarenko was his taking bribes from Tymoshenko. It’s hard to see him as the sole guilty party in that exchange, isn’t it?

  16. yalensis says:

    I had to share this: Very powerful (and disturbing) video comparing side-by-side deaths of Che Guevara and Moutassim Gaddafy. Now, say what you will, but these are 2 very brave soldiers.

  17. sinotibetan says:

    Dear yalensis and Mark,

    1.)”I find I’m a lot more impatient with Islamist politics now that the west seems to be a cheerleading section for them.”
    I think the West manipulates and are being manipulated by Islamists and vice versa.
    2.)yalensis – point # 1 explains the relationship between Islamists/Jihadists and CIA/Western alliance. Both have similar aims – to shape the world according to THEIR own beliefs/system. This, of course, put them in conflict with each other. However, in politics, there are NEVER any permanent friends nor enemies. If they can cooperate for a time – eg. allowing Western powers a free hand at raping the oil and gas resources in exchange for ‘help’ in gaining power in their local satraps, why not?
    3.)”On the other side of the coin, how could such a tiny gang of medieval losers, heartily despised by most of the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, achieve any successes at all without NATO/CIA help?”
    a.) Al Qaeda is NOT the ONLY jihadist/Islamist group….though they had a lot of media limelight since 9/11 and beyond.
    b.) Islamists/Jihadists are NOT losers nor heartily despised by majority of Muslims worldwide. For example, in my country – even though the ‘apostasy rally’ had poor turnout, PAS remains an Islamist party(still FOR hudud) and has considerable support- especially among Muslim INTELLECTUALS. And one selling point about Islamist parties is their ‘purity’ in the religious relam compared to ‘compromised’ /’secularised’ parties. I disagree that Islamists are losers. In fact, they are getting MORE support.
    Pakistan:- http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1067390
    Thailand – http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1109/S00098/islamist-guerrillas-want-southern-thailand.htm
    Xinjiang, China – http://www.vifindia.org/article/2011/august/16/Xinjiang-s-Pakistan-Connection-%2526-Beijing-s-Folly
    Egypt – http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2815630.html
    Tunisia – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15438945
    Middle East in general – http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=48692
    http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCATRE79O6QY20111025
    Syria – http://www.dp-news.com/en/detail.aspx?articleid=98286
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jKPR82jpwbj0nG7_ir2V5irLpDow?docId=CNG.21683a828449f21039c34f41afe003f8.41
    Philippines – http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/111170
    My country, Malaysia – http://penyokongpas.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/hadi-terus-dapat-sokongan/
    From that website, one can LEARN some Islamist politics:-
    i.) In Muslim majority country, Islamists project themselves as purer due to their religiosity and though many Muslims may love porn and wine….but when it comes down to politics, the tendency to favour the religious is there(maybe they hope supporting the religious will absolve their sins?Who knows?).
    “UMNO dan PAS macam HALAL dan HARAM. Satu daging ayam; yang satu daging ####. Mana boleh nak campur. Satu minyak sayur. Yang satu lagi minyak ####; mana boleh campur.”
    Translation: UMNO(a Malay nationalist party also claiming to be ‘Islamic’ – perhaps it can be compared to more ‘secular’ regimes like Assad in Syria which claims ‘Islamic’ but don’t adhere certain aspects especially in the total authority of Islam in politics) and PAS are like HALAL(‘kosher’) and HARAM(‘non-kosher’; actually literally meas ‘forbidden’ as for its usage in Malay).One is chicken meat, the other is pork(the #### actually means ‘babi’ = pig, often used as a ‘swear word’). One is vegetable oil. The other is pork oil; how can we mix them?
    II.)In that website, more hardline supporters of PAS questioned the political association of PAS with secular parties as the main Opposition Front.
    “Pendekatan politik kita dalam PAS selama ini adalah politik HALALAN TOYYIBAN. Ikut shariah. Ikut Islam. Ikut Quran dan Sunnah. Bukan ikut wang ringgit. Memang bagus kalau Presiden PAS nak bentuk kerjasama. Tapi mestilah dengan syarat agar PAS dapat terus dengan politik halal kita.”
    Translation: Our political imperative in PAS all this while is the politics of Halalan Toyyiban. Follow shariah. Follow Islam. Follow the Quran and Sunnah. Not money. It’s good that the president of PAS cooperates(with secular parties to achieve PAS political aims). But it must be with the condition that PAS continues with its halal(having a connotation of ‘purity’ or ‘holy’) politics.
    iii.) Ultimately, the aim of Islamists is submission of everyone to Islam.
    “Kalau Cina tolak BN; tapi masih tolak ISLAM juga – apa harapan kita? Masalah juga.”
    Translation: If (the Malaysian) Chinese reject BN(the ruling regime dominated by UMNO); but still rejects ISLAM – what is our hope(to be in power)? It’s a problem too.
    iv) I myself personally know of many Muslim intellectuals who are pro-Islamist in my country and outwardly they are no different in appearance from so-called ‘moderate’ Muslims.

    Indonesia – http://pasca.sunan-ampel.ac.id/?p=677
    http://beasiswas2ku.blogdetik.com/index.php/2011/04/university-of-indonesia-scholarship-%E2%80%93-masters-programme-in-terrorism-and-international-security-studies/
    (“Why has political Islam gained popularity in Indonesia and why has it gained significant power in government decision-making. How does this compare with other political movements that have also applied violence in their campaigns?”)

    3.) If Islamists were to gain significant power in the Muslim world – it looks like they would do so by projecting themselves as ‘democrats’ against authoritarian regimes. I think the ‘moderate’ Islamists have realized that being overtly anti-American of the 9/11 kind will not help in them gaining power in the Muslim world. Gain power first. To do that, they have resorted to political pragmatism and found this weakness of the Western politicians: overconfidence and too ‘politically correct’ to oppose what appears to be ‘moderate Islamism’. Then only they can begin to plan to plot against the West in bigger ways in future.

    sinotibetan

  18. yalensis says:

    Due to my interest in Libya war I became frustrated not knowing Arabic, so I just bought a book to learn Arabic. (Reading only, not speaking.) I don’t know how successful my project is going to be, but this book is only 95 pages long and claims to teach the entire Arabic alphabet, with some vocabulary. I am very busy at work, but if I make time to study a few pages per week, then maybe I will have made some progress by the end of the year. Looks like Arabic alphabet is difficult, is syllabic, not phonemic, not as awful as Chinese, of course, but much harder than, say, learning to read Spanish. Worse part for me: the letters are so small and curvy, looks like a bunch of squiggles and tiny dots. How on earth do people distinguish one squiggle from the other? Especially if one is near-sighted and half blind, like myself?

  19. sinotibetan says:

    yalensis,

    I used to learn Arabic script and alphabet when I was a young boy – unfortunately, I’ve forgotten everything!
    I think your strength is language, and so I doubt it’s going to be a problem for you. Definitely an ‘easier’ language than Chinese! Good luck!

    “Especially if one is near-sighted and half blind, like myself?”
    I suffer from the same malady also….

    sinotibetan

    • yalensis says:

      Dear Sino-T: Thank you for comments. I also appreciate your snippets of translations from the Malay, very fascinating, and I now know a few words of Malay, thanks to you!
      On your comments about Islamist parties, I wanted to clarify my statement that Al Qaeda is unpopular among the masses. Obviously I must bow to your superior knowledge of how these Middle Eastern/Asian societies work, as my knowledge is mostly academic.
      However, I would still make a distinction between Al Qaeda and genuinely popular Islamist political parties, such as Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban, and other ones that you cite from the various countries, I did not mean to imply that they are unpopular, on the contrary (unfortunately) they are gaining in popularity every day.
      Al Qaeda, on the other hand, is not a political party, although admittedly it recruits soldiers from the above political parties, just as it recruits soldiers from mosque study groups and other organizations. Al Qaeda is an international para-military fighting group that intervenes in conflicts in many nations across the globe and almost always (myseriously) seems to be fighting on whichever side happens to be most conducive to American geo-strategic interests.

  20. kievite says:

    I think the West manipulates and are being manipulated by Islamists and vice versa

    Islamists proved to be perfect for secular regime destabilization, especially potent in poorer countries as here grievances are higher. Kind of a new fifth column for “divide and conquer” strategy. So in general it looks like Western countries foreign policy is based on the assumption that Islamism represents much greater danger to political regime in poorer countries then at home, providing long term and difficult to eradiate destabilizing force for the country and weakening its political regime. In poor countries Islamism often mutates into militant sects and that provides excellent opportunities for destabilization of those regimes that are classified as “unfriendly”. Friendly regimes like Bahrain monarchy is another case.

    I would see it as another variant of “Otpor”/”Orange revolution” tactics of creating civil unrest for undermining unfriendly regimes, often using Saudis as a probe (financial support if the key). The only difference is that this time the unrest is based on religious sentiments and not on to “longing for democracy” and “anticorruption sentiments” althouth the latter can be a part of appeal for Islamists too (before people realize that a religious regime/party tend to be more corrupt then secular). Young people are the key group in both cases. As such it might be especially effective for Russia and China. In both countries low level Islamic insurgency continues despite all effort by authorities. There are a lot of analogies between Islamists and Bolsheviks (actually I read somewhere that Bolshevism has had Islamic overtones).

    It is difficult to predict but even with higher birth rate chances of Islamists as an internal political force in any Western country looks slim. Also existence of Al Qaeda or any other similar Jihadist group provides a very good cover for 24×7 police monitoring of all major activities and infiltration into the movement. It hands like Sword of Damocles over any Islamist Party in Western Country. I did not hear much about Nation of Islam lately.

    A very interesting point is about Islamic intellectuals. This is where classic Marx saying “religious is an opium for the people” suggests that sellers of opium can prosper and some members of intelligencia are reluctant to miss a chance😉. Also the primitivism of Islam has its own set of attractions in a complex societies we are living now. It provides an answer that is simple, easily understandable and wrong.

    In any case Western diplomacy in this area looks extremely competent and is pretty flexible in using this potent weapon. I think that the UK was a master of such tricks in the past so this rich heritage might play a role, especially in Middle East and Caucasus.

    • yalensis says:

      @kievite: Thanks for insightful comment. I agree with everything you say except for comment about Bolshevism. Coming from Communist/Red Army family/heritage as I do, I often feel I must defend Bolshevik honor, especially when people carelessly compare them to somebody else, like fascists or, in this case, Islamists.
      Is true that there are a couple of superficial similarities between Bolshevism and Islamism. I can think of three off the top of my head: (1) Both are internationalist movements, both reject nationalism in favor of a supra-national ideology. For example, the Marxist slogan is “The proletariat knows no country.” Islamists also claim to be internationalists and support some kind of super-caliphate that replaces current national borders. (2) Both promote (or claim to promote) the rights of the poor in their thirst for justice. (3) Both formed secret (subversive) organizations to overthrow governments – but then this would be the case for any illegal political parties, regardless of ilk.
      Aside from that I really cannot think of any similarities whatsoever? These two ideologies come from completely different roots, represent different class interests, have completely different attitudes towards every single issue of human life (for example, Marxists want to liberate women, Islamists want to suppress them; Marxists are atheists, Islamists are very religious, etc etc).
      The fact that there would be any similarities whatsoever is only an accident of evolutionary convergence, in the same way that sharks and dolphins look very similar, both animals swim in the sea and have a dorsal fin, etc., but one is a fish and the other is a mammal.
      I would also note, in conclusion, that during the Bolshevik Revolution and Civil War, the Islamist parties of Central Asia fought ferociously against the “atheist infidels” of the Red Army. No love lost there.
      Aside from that one quibble, great comment, and I particularly liked your comparison with OTPOR.

      • kievite says:

        Aside from that I really cannot think of any similarities whatsoever?
        Extremes meet. Both belong to “The Coercive Utopians” class of doctines. The underlying arguments are well summarized by Bertrand Russell:

        =========
        Bolshevism combines the characteristics of the French Revolution with those of the rise of Islam…. Marx has taught that Communism is fatally predestined to come about; this produces a state of mind not unlike that of the early successors of Mahommet…. Among religions, Bolshevism is to be reckoned with Mohammedanism, rather than with Christianity and Buddhism. Christianity and Buddhism are primarily personal religions, with mystical doctrines and a love of contemplation. Mohammedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social, unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of this world.
        =========

        Indeed, I think that the end game for both Bolshevism and Islam is totalitarian control of social, political and economic life. The freedoms of the individual are non-existent, with the individual controlled by the religion of Islam in the case of the former or the state in case of Bolshevism. Free will is abolished, with institutionalized total subservience for citizens either to Allah or to the Party, benevolent or not so benevolent. Every aspect of one’s life is highly regulated, and the non-believers should either convert or face consequences.

        Here is more modern quote from http://initialdastroboy.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/soekarno-nationalism-islam-and-marxism/

        =========
        True Islam contains no anti-nationalist principles; true Islam is not anti-socialist in character. So long as Moslems remain hostile to the ideas of broad-minded Nationalism and genuine Marxism, they will never stand on the Sirothol Mustaqim’~ and they will never be able to lift Islam from its present state of humiliation and decay. I am certainly not saying that Islam accepts Materialism; nor do I forget that Islam transcends national boundaries and is supra- national in character. I am only stating that true Islam is socialist in nature and imposes obligations which are nationalist obligations as well.

        Is it not the case, as I have already explained, that true Islam requires all its adherents to love and to work for the country in which they reside, to love and to work for the people among whom they live, so long as that country and its people are part of the Dar al-Islam?
        … … …
        Alas! How strong our movement would now be if this struggle had not occurred! Our ranks would surely not be in their present disarray. Our movement would surely have made progress in spite of all obstructions. I am convinced that there is no fundamental barrier to friendship between Moslems and Marxists. I have already explained that true Islam has a socialist quality. Even though this socialist quality is not necessarily Marxist in orientation, even though we know that Islamic socialism does not have the same foundation as Marxism, since Islamic socialism is based on spirituality whereas Marxist socialism is based on Materialism—nonetheless, for our purposes it is enough to show that true Islam is essentially socialistic.

        Moslems must not forget that the Marxist materialist view of history has often served to guide them in confronting the difficult and complicated economic and political problems of the world. They must also not forget that the Historical-Materialist method for explaining events which have already occurred here on this earth is also a method for predicting events that are to come—and thus may be very useful to their group.

        Moslems must never forget that capitalism, the enemy of Marxism, is also the enemy of Islam, since what is called surplus value in Marxist doctrine is essentially the same as usury from the Islamic viewpoint. Theoretically, surplus value is the appropriation of the product of another’s labor and denying the workers theft proper share of the value they produce. This theory of surplus value was formulated by Karl Marx and Priedrich Engels to explain the origins of capitalism. Surplus value is the inner essence of every capitalist system; by combating surplus value, Marxists combat the very roots of capitalism. The true Moslem accordingly comprehends immediately that it is wrong for him to be hostile towards Marxism, which combats the system of surplus value, since he does not forget that true Islam combats this system too, that true Islam strictly prohibits usury and the collection of interest. He understands that usury is basically no different from what the Marxists view as surplus value.
        “Devour not usury, doubled and redoubled, and fear you Cod; haply so you will prosper.” So it is written in the Koran, sunrh Al ‘Imran verse 129.32 A broad-minded Moslem, a Moslem who understands the requirements of our struggle, will certainly agree to an alliance with the Marxists, since he is aware that usury and the collection of interest are forbidden by his religion. He is aware that this is the Moslem way of attacking the very foundations of capitalism, for, as we have previously explained, usury is the same as surplus value, the inner essence of capitalism. He is aware that, like Marxism, Islam, with its “belief in God,” with its “recognition of the Kingdom of Cod,” is a protest against the evils of capitalism.

        The “fanatical” Moslem, who is hostile to the Marxist movement, is a Moslem who does riot know what his own religion forbids. Such a Moslem does not understand that true Islam, like Marxism, forbids the capitalistic hoarding of money, forbids the accumulation of wealth for selfish ends. He forgets the verse in the Koran: “Those who treasure up gold and silver, and do not expend them in the way of Cod,—give them the good tidings of a painful chastisement!”~ 3 He does not understand that, like the Marxism he opposes, Islam hereby attacks the existence of capitalism in the clearest possible terms!

      • kievite says:

        As for Soviet exprience, from “The Bolsheviks and Islam,” an article written by Dave Crouch in the Spring 2006 International Socialism Journal (http://www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?id=181&issue=110), we learn:

        sharia law had been a central demand of Muslims during the February Revolution of 1917 and, as the civil war drew to a close in 1920-1921, a parallel court system was created in Central Asia and the Caucasus, with Islamic courts administering justice in accordance with sharia law side by side with Soviet legal institutions. The aim was for people to have a choice between religious and revolutionary justice. A sharia Commission was established in the Soviet Commissariat of Justice to oversee the system. In 1921 a series of commissions were attached to regional units of the Soviet administration with the purpose of adapting the Russian legal code to the conditions of Central Asia, allowing for compromise between the two systems on questions such as under-age marriage and polygamy.

        • yalensis says:

          Thanks, @kievite, you have provided a lot of valuable material, and I cannot really do it justice right now, but will just begin with a couple of rejoinders on 3 specific points:
          (1) On the utopian angle: Is Islam a utopian type ideology? Maybe. I can’t say, because I never read the Quran and I don’t know too many Muslims. I do know some fundamentalist Christians who believe that Jesus will return on horseback and become an absolute (unelected, totalitarian) ruler of the entire world. I would allege that Marxism is not a spiritual/utopian philosophy, it is more like a down-to-earth economic program. Although it is no doubt true that many Bolsheviks believed they were fighting to transform human nature itself and build a really great society. I mean, when you’re fighting and dying in appalling conditions, you have to believe that something good will emerge from all this suffering, right? I also dispute that Marxism is intrinsically totalitarian, although socialist organization does in fact require a higher level of social mobilization. (Just as trade unions require a higher level of organization because, by the nature of it, less powerful people who band together to make themselves more powerful must maintain a higher level of internal organization and solidarity.)
          (2) Friendships and alliances between Muslims and Marxists. (In references to the Soekarno piece.) Well, this is interesting, but I do not believe it proves anything. If you wander through youtube you will find many examples of strange friendships between completely different species: a horse whose best friend is a cat; a dog and a monkey; even a lioness and a gazelle hanging out together. There is also the expression “Politics makes strange bedfellows.” I mean, we ARE all human beings, after all, despite our different ideologies, and it is possible to find something in common from time to time with almost any other person. Also recall that Hugo Chavez (a devout Catholic) is best friends with Fidel Castro (a devout atheist). Hugo has tried for years to convert his buddy Fidel, but without success, so far.
          (3) Coexistence of Soviet legal system and sharia law in several Soviet autonomous regions. I believe this is actually a counter-proof. Soviet central government struggled for many decades to eliminate some of these local courts and customs – as late as the Khruschev period, there were still some remote areas that allowed polygamy and child marriage. Central government had uphill struggle to replace local and tribal laws with socialist legal system, mostly successful except in the most backward areas, and actually speaks to the tolerance (or perhaps impotence) of supposedly vicious totalitarian Soviet power.
          Your strongest point, I think, is the one about usury. I am not familiar with Muslim usury laws, but if usury is truly a defining platform of this religion then I would condede that, yes, in this one point perhaps there is some ideological intersection between that and the Marxist concept of “surplus value” as being extracted from the industrial proletariat.
          On the other hand, I do not believe this one point is strong enough to claim a spiritual kinship between the two ideologies. I would actually see a case for a stronger kinship between Marxism and Christianity, because there are so many Jesus quotes about, e.g., caring for the poor, and “the meek shall inherit the earth”, and so on, which come off sounding quasi-socialistic. Also, there was a movement in Central America in the 60’s and 70’s called “Liberation Theology”, which was pretty much a bunch of Catholic priests and nuns fighting alongside Marxist revolutionaries trying to overthrow authoritarian right-wing regimes. Does that prove that Marxism and Christianity are spiritually akin? Dubious.

  21. marknesop says:

    Totally off topic, I read in the business section of today’s paper that Russia is selling 40% of the state’s interest in freight rail, and almost 70% of OAO Russian Railways. According to the report, this is the government’s biggest sale of transportation assets into private hands. Scheduled to go to auction in two days (the 28th), the starting price will be 125 Billion rubles ($ 4 Billion). Again referring to the report, Gennady Timchenko (co-founder of Gunvor Group) is forecast to win out over interested steel billionaire Vladimir Lisin and ZAO Neftetransservice.

    About 42% of Russia’s freight travels by rail over the world’s second-longest rail network, and speculation is that putting it into private hands will hasten upgrades to the service. Thus far it looks like a purely business – and sensible – decision. Last year Russian Railways’ cargo shipments dipped below 50% for the first time, whereas cargo rail volume has risen by 21% and industry costs have fallen 22%. Obviously, private companies are more competitive in this environment.

    Keep that in mind when western media sources start to hint that it was some kind of sweetheart deal Vladimir Putin steered to his Gunvor buddy, another couple of billion for his retirement fund. Because I’m sure it’ll come up.

  22. yalensis says:

    Off-topic, Libya war. Video from my new BFF, T. West, an African-American Gaddafy supporter. His ideological slant = black nationalism/pan-Africanism (like Louis Farfakhan). I started watching T.’s channel a few weeks back, and he often has some really interesting stuff. Watch the first 3 minutes of this video because it writes out the Geneva Convention rules defining war crimes and T. highlights in yellow the ones that were clearly violated by NATO in this conflict.
    The rest of the video is only for conspiracy enthusiasts. T. is still in the “denial” phase of the mourning process. He is holding out hope against hope that his hero Gaddafy is still alive. His theory (based on a facial mole and a bad wig) is that the rebels killed a body couple. If this were true, this would have to have been the unluckiest body double in the history of the world. I hope they paid him well, because he had to endure hours of beatings, torture, humiliation and even (as we now know, and there is actual video, since rebs eagerly recorded their own crimes) anal rape with a knife.
    Reportedly Gaddafi’s last words were “Do you not know the difference between right and wrong?” If this were a body double, I think his last words would be something like “YOU GOT THE WRONG GUY!”
    And if if were done to me like was done to Gaddafy, I think my last words would be: “AAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!” [extended shriek of pain]
    http://www.youtube.com/user/AfriSynergy

  23. sinotibetan says:

    Dear yalensis and Kievite,

    Very, very interesting comments and exchanges from both of you! Although I have my own thoughts on Bolshevism and Islam – I think I shall not comment any at the moment, partly because I don’t know much about Bolshevism. Just a few points though:
    1.)”It is difficult to predict but even with higher birth rate chances of Islamists as an internal political force in any Western country looks slim. ”
    I think the problem of Islamists in Western countries ‘becoming a political force’ is actually less acute in the USA(in spite of 9/11 etc.)compared to some Western European countries. In my opinion, Islamists have three main ways to hopefully ‘increase their numbers’ within Western nations:-
    a.)The process of ‘dakwah'(proselytizing) to host populations.
    b.) Recruitment from among the Muslim migrants.
    c.) PR campaigns to portray Islam in a positive light.
    I think a.) has only modest success. Point # b.) – with most migrants from mostly poor, developing nations(which of course include many Muslim nations with population booms) attracted to the West and them ‘finding loopholes’ in the migration policies of Western nations, the Muslim migrant population in the West will continue to increase, not just from their higher birth rates. Point # c.) has been a success because most Western leaders are agreeable to these ‘campaigns’. There was a dent in the success of point # c.) after certain terrorists acts by Islamists such as 9/11, Bali bombings etc. However, the recent massacre in Norway by a white supremacist plays to the Islamists favour. I am not saying that ALL Muslims are ‘bad’. What I’m saying is Islamists living in Western nations view an increase in Muslim populations in those nations positively because these are sources of recruitment; democracy would ensure that if Muslim numbers become more numerous- they(Islamists) might gain in power as well. The PR campaign would mean a host population, in a majority, totally oblivious to teachings in Islam which are totally at odds with Western lifestyle or some crucial teachings that , to me, are actually immoral and violent. Or better, to produce host populations who are WILLFULLY ignorant about Islam or refuse to be analytical at all when it comes to the teachings of Islam. The campaign is to produce a host population totally HOSTILE to the NOTION that there could ACTUALLY BE SOMETHING WRONG with the teachings of Islam – and it has, in some ways, been very successful. This plays to Islamists agenda.
    I thought a ‘reasonable’ projection of Muslim population ins Europe is made in this article:-
    http://www.sneps.net/RD/uploads/1-The%20Demography%20of%20Islam%20in%20Europe.pdf
    Moreover, the terrorist events have also shown us that it’s not just the size of the Muslim minority or even Islamists that count(and I think it is growing fast, though not as apocalyptic as some “Eurabia doomsayers” claim) but the assertiveness of such. Although I think Islamists have realized that the ‘hard method’ of Al-Qaeda is counterproductive and is on to beefing up a positive image via PR campaigns as a better strategy(much like how Islamists work in my own country).
    2.)To yalensis:-
    “On your comments about Islamist parties, I wanted to clarify my statement that Al Qaeda is unpopular among the masses.”
    Understood and agree with your clarifications. I think Islamists worldwide realize that TOO MUCH acts of terrorism betray their true intentions and may actually be counterproductive by waking up Western populations to find out more about Islam rather than believe what their education system wants them to believe or what mainstream media ‘interprets’. That’s why Al-Qaeda may seem ‘losing steam’ in Islamist movements. But no doubt that ONCE Islamists think they are powerful enough, terrorism will always remain another viable tool.
    3.)Perhaps of some interest.
    “Muslim Brotherhood” and their ‘method’ to ‘infiltrate’ the USA:-
    http://www.investigativeproject.org/document/id/20
    http://www.inquiryintoislam.com/2010/06/critique-of-pure-islam.html

    sinotibetan

  24. sinotibetan says:

    And In the already superconservative Saudi Arabia, a superconservative prince becomes ‘Crown Prince”.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/27/world/meast/saudi-crown-prince/?hpt=wo_bn8

    sinotibetan

    • yalensis says:

      Thanks for comments, Sino-T. On Bolshevism (which I personally think is ludicrous to compare with Islam), here is a quickie tutorial for you: Bolsheviks were a Russian political party founded by V.I. Lenin, originally as a faction within the Second (Socialist) International. At start of World War I, the Socialist International fell apart in disarray, and only a few radical factions survived, later to form the Third (Communist) International. Bolsheviks political goal was to bring to fruition Marx’s vision of overthrowing capitalist ruling class and putting industrial proletariat into power instead. Economic plan was to nationalize all major industries, expropriate factories from capitalists, reform agriculture, etc. Over the years Lenin developed the tactic of democratic-centralist “vanguard” party as a means to this end, figuring that capitalists would never permit a labor-type party to win an honest election and form a government by legal means. (This was certainly true for tsarist Russia, where Bolsheviks had to operate underground as an illegal party.)
      Bolsheviks did not expect to come to power in Russia, their major focus was on Germany. They figured German proletariat would seize power and build socialism, then Russia and Germany would become geo-strategic allies and Germans would help industrialize Russia. However, German proletarian revolution (post-WWI) failed. However, Russian revolution succeeded, but then had to operate in isolation. And then Lenin died (in 1924), and Stalin came to power.

  25. sinotibetan says:

    Dear yalensis,
    Thanks for your quickie tutorial on Bolshevism. I will have to read more about Bolshevism to be able to analyze the specifics on the ongoing exchanges between you and kievite. I think I will have much more ‘free time’ from next year onward to read on many interesting stuff(including Bolshevism etc.) Actually, both of you made many astute observations and although both probably still disagree on the ‘similarities’ between Bolshevism and Islam, there are some points which ‘converge’. Do you mind if I express some of my thoughts?
    1.)Islam is not just a religion but also a political movement(with heterogeneous forms, like all political movements of the past and present). As I’ve said in previous posts(to the fulminating anger and fury of some who comment here), this is INHERENT within the teachings of Islam itself and not only is Islam supposed to be the heart of politics but ALL OTHER ASPECTS of the life of the ummah(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ummah) as well – the words Islamic finance, Islamic banking and Islamic economics(http://www.islamic-finance.com/indexnew.htm), Islamization of education/knowledge(http://i-epistemology.net/e-books/toward-islamic-anthropology/571-islamization-of-knowledge-background-models-and-the-way-forward-.html ; http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Articles/education/from_islamization_of_knowledge.htm), law[ie. Sharia](http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/ilsp/;http://www.onislam.net/english/news/asia-pacific/454083-hudud-controversy-hits-malaysia.html ), politics(http://www.islam-qa.com/en/cat/429; http://www.politicalislam.com/principles/pages/five-principles/). In other words, Islam is a Utopian system because it concerns ALL aspects of life – personal, communal, political, moral, religious, economics and knowledge with the claim that Islam’s teachings and commands on these aspects SURPASS all other systems formulated by mankind because Islam is ‘from God Himself'(http://web.youngmuslims.ca/online_library/books/islamic_way_of_life/index.htm)
    I think the ESSENCE of the Utopianism of Islam is written well in that website:-
    “The chief characteristic of the Islamic Concept of Life is that it does not admit a conflict, nay, not even a significant separation between life-spiritual and life-mundane. It does not confine itself merely in purifying the spiritual and the moral life of man in the limited sense of the word. Its domain extends to the entire gamut of life. It wants to mould individual life as well as the social order in healthy patterns, so that the Kingdom of God may really be established on the earth and so that peace, contentment and well-being may fill the world as waters fill the oceans. The Islamic Way of Life is based on this unique approach to life and a peculiar concept of man’s place in the Universe. That is why it is necessary that before we proceed to discuss the moral, social, political and economic systems of Islam, we should have a clear idea of the Islamic Concept of Life.”
    “At last, God raised Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) in the land of Arabia and assigned to him the completion of the mission for which earlier prophets were ordained. The message of Mohammed (peace be upon him) was for the whole of mankind. He presented anew the teachings of Islam in their pristine form and provided mankind once again, with the Divine Guidance which they had lost in its original form. He organized all those who accepted his message into one Ummah (Nation) which was charged with reconstructing its own life in accordance with the teachings of Islam, by calling mankind to the path of righteousness and with establishing the supremacy of the word of God on the earth. This guidance is enshrined in the Holy Qur’an which constitutes the only right code of conduct for mankind.”
    I’s interesting that the concept of ‘ummah’ is one of Universality … that ALL ethnic groups are considered ‘one Nation'(‘ummah’) as long as they are Muslims. One may argue that other religions are ‘the same’ in this regards to Islam – my counter-argument is that in most of the main religions(except Judaism: which has a lot of similarities with Islam – but that only pertains to Jews and not to any non-Jew)there are no teachings INHERENT within their belief-system which encompass ALL aspects of life(i.e. personal, communal, political, moral, religious, economics and knowledge) although some adherents of these faiths had attempted Utopianism which is not a teaching/command in their belief-systems.
    2.)Henceforth, due to the “Utopian” nature of Islamic belief and AIMS, Islam is thus comparable or have similarities with ANY political ideologies that seem to aim for a universal political, economic and societal system. In that sense, I can understand why kievite view similarities between Bolshevism with Islam. It is not that there is any SPIRITUAL CONNEXION at all between Islam and ‘secular Utopian ideologies'(eg Marxism, communism, socialism, capitalism etc.) but because of the CONVERGENCE of PURPOSE and the CONVERGENCE OF METHODOLOGIES(in many instances) in bringing about a Utopia on earth that seem to ‘look’ like there is one. kievite is correct in perceiving these similarities, but I think not quite right in implying ‘kinship’ between secular systems like Bolshevism and Islam. Both have different bases for their ultimate Utopia – there are in agreement that a Utopia is needed to usher universal peace but differ and are antagonism in what that Utopia would look like – and I think yalensis addressed this issue quite well.
    3.)Whereas Islam is similar to the Utopianism of socialism or Marxism among others, bears similarity with the totalitarianism of Nazism, in my opinion. The Universalism of Islam is akin to universalism of Buddhism and Christianity but whilst the latter two were more PERSONAL nature, the universalism of Islam is in TOTALITY, as I’ve already mentioned. I think Marxism and socialism have similarities – in terms of certain aspects of views on society – to Christianity and Buddhism especially to Christianity because Marxism was ‘borned’ in so-called ‘Christianity-influenced’ societies. However, Marxism bears similarity with Buddhism in having an affirmitive view on ‘human nature'(although ‘human nature’ was never really considered ‘important’ but for Marxism to be ‘true’, it rests on the basis of a ‘positive’ view of human nature…or at least a progressive/evolutionary view of such a positive nature) whereas Christianity has a dark view of human nature and quashes all notion of a human-led Utopia(even if these were led by ‘well meaning Christians’). Islam’s doctrine of man’s fall is different from the Christian one and thus have a affirmative view of human nature – similar to other secular Utopianism. Whereas the Utopianism of Islam maybe comparable to the Utopianism of Marxists, the political nature of Islam(as recorded in the Hadith and Quran and to be emulated by Muslims serious of their faith) is more akin to Nazism or Fascism. Anyway, several websites that may be of interest to both of you:-
    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.faithfreedom.org/articles/op-ed/on-islam-and-nazism/
    A ‘right-wing’ view:-
    http://loganswarning.com/2011/03/15/islam-nazism-the-ideologies-of-hate/
    ‘Comparing communism, Nazism and Islam’:-
    http://daledamos.blogspot.com/2011/07/chart-comapring-nazism-communism-and.html
    And for ‘counterpoint’, the views of an apologist for Islam(the 192 comments are also worth a look):-
    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/eboo_patel/2008/05/the_nazi_analogy.html
    Not that I agree with the contents of these websites. Perhaps, things to consider in the ‘debate’ about Bolshevism(or other secular political ideologies) vs political Islam?

    sinotibetan

  26. sinotibetan says:

    Something totally unrelated to my previous posts.
    Thought I’d share this:-
    http://www.thenewfederalist.eu/The-Eurasian-Union,04566
    Looks like the EU also sees itself as another USA in spite of the crisis engulfing that union. [Brussels vs, sometimes alliance Washington] vs [Moscow vs, sometimes alliance Beijing]
    Hmmmm…

    sinotibetan

    • yalensis says:

      Thanks, Sino-T, that is a very interesting article. Author (Morgan Griffith-David) makes some very good points regarding obstacles to Putin’s proposed Eurasian Union. Many political and economic obstacles, almost too many to count. Just as Germany is the de-facto leader of the European Union (but hangs her head shyly and pretends to be just “one of the girls”), so in a Eurasian Union, Russia would be the leader (but maybe not so good at the shrinking violet act). In Soviet times, Russia was leader of the pack, of course (Soviet anthem sang about “Greater Russia bringing together Union of nations…”), but offered many economic subsidies and political incentives to the regions that made it very worthwhile for them to be part of such a Union. And it’s easier to be generous when you’re a socialist, just managing state money, you just receive a salary like everybody else, and your personal funds are not at stake. Dubious that the current gang of capitalists and oligarchs running the Kremlin today would be so generous minded towards the regions; nor would the local elites wish to bow their heads before Moscow again, without significant political representation in such a union.
      Still a great idea if Putin can pull it off. I will keep ear tuned to Western propaganda. If they start screaming about it hysterically, then I will know that it is a great idea and should be implemented.

  27. Mikaele says:

    Julian Asanzh “master” Wikileaks said the Guardian – the “truth-Gazette”, shame about the silence over Tymoshenko, reprinting his article that it hides the “serious hard-earned money” in Britanii.Ya this information in the “Echo of Moscow” in the comments recorded, and it appears there is something for a long time. Apparently from “investors” need to take permission. also, such information is difficult to place in the Western media.

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