Wanted: Research Assistant. Must Write Braille. Apply to: U.S. Department of State

"Unchain my heaarrrt...lemme go my way...unchain my heaarrt...you worry me night an' dayy.. "Marie Harf riffs on Ray Charles at the State Department Presser, June 5th.

“Unchain my heaarrrt…lemme go my way…unchain my heaarrt…you worry me night an’ dayy.. “Marie Harf riffs on Ray Charles at the State Department Presser, June 5th.

It was the kind of thing you have to see with your own eyes. Unless you are a reporter who has physical access to U.S. State Department press conferences, that is, in which case you could see it with your own eyes and hear it with your own ears. But we’re not, so we have to settle for reading the minutes of the aforementioned U.S. State Department presser, which took place June 5th; and during which, this priceless exchange took place (Thanks to Moscow Exile for the tip):



QUESTION: On Ukraine.

MS. HARF: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: Would the United States support calls for an investigation of alleged use of military aviation for bombings on the Ukrainian cities? We talked about it in the previous days you talked that you don’t have information on that. I’m referring to such alleged bombings in Luhansk which had led to civilian casualties and alleged use of bomb plot units and the military seizure of Slovyansk and other alleged crimes.

MS. HARF: You’re talking about by the Ukrainian Government?

QUESTION: Excuse me?

MS. HARF: Is that what you’re asking about? By the Ukrainian Government?


MS. HARF: So I think – and I – look, I’ve gotten a lot of questions on this over the past few days, and yesterday I did a little bit of – we have no credible evidence to back up any reports about human rights violations by the Ukrainian Government. I also think that it’s really unacceptable to try to draw moral equivalence here between a country defending itself and its people and its buildings and its land and its territory from armed separatists backed by another government who are trying to sow chaos. There is just not an equivalence here, and to try to equate them I think is just fundamentally misreading the situation.

Yes, up here.

Nothing to see here, folks – let’s keep it moving. Just so there’s no doubt where I want to go with this, Jen Psaki was a moron with a room-temperature IQ who was probably hauled offstage with that big hook they used to use on “The Gong Show” for her numerous sidesplitting gaffes and visible flounderings. But Marie Harf makes her look like Aristotle; Stephen Hawking with red hair and breasts.

No credible evidence to back up any reports about human rights violations by the Ukrainian government. And she’s been getting questions on this for “a few days”, so obviously it wasn’t just sprung on her now. And she almost said that yesterday she “did a little bit of research” – does anyone think she was going to say something else? Indonesian folk dancing? Tarpon fishing? Cocaine? But, clever girl that she is, she saw the trap just in time to sidestep it, although it was of her own making. Because if she actually had done any research, she would have seen this.

“Human Rights Watch recognizes that the actions of the insurgents violate Ukrainian law (Editor’s note; no, they don’t; the right to self-determination is as fundamental to all human beings under human-rights law as the right to life itself) and that the Ukrainian government is entitled to carry out law enforcement and military operations to counter the armed insurrection. We also recognize that the actions of the insurgents, operating in a populated residential area, setting up road blocks in residential areas, and moving in, around, or near to hospital grounds may endanger residents, patients, and healthcare workers at such facilities.

 Nevertheless, criminal conduct by the insurgents does not relieve the Ukrainian forces of their obligations to act in accordance with international law in the conduct of their law enforcement and military operations. This is particularly the case with respect to use of lethal force. In Ukraine the obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), such as those which protect the right to life (article 2), bodily integrity (article 3), and liberty and security (article 5), as well as the inviolability of the home (article 8), remain in force during all law enforcement and military operations. (See for example the cases of Ergi v. Turkey, judgment of 28 July 1998, Reports 1998-IV and Isayeva v. Russia (2005), in which the European Court of Human Rights articulated the scope of the state’s obligations in the conduct of counter-insurgency operations.)

 Article 2 of the ECHR provides that deprivation of life is not a violation of the right to life “when it results from use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary” in among other things, “action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.” Requiring that use of force be no more than “absolutely necessary” means the force used must be strictly proportionate to the achievement of the permitted aims. It also requires an examination of whether the operation was planned and controlled by the authorities so as to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, risk to life.”

That’s Human Rights Watch Ukraine, which is so deep in the government’s pockets it could lick the top of its socks. Yet even that lickspittle organization is moved to point out that the Ukrainian government violates human rights on a daily basis, and the people they refer to stubbornly as “terrorists” have never attacked anyone outside their own region.

Specific to the air attack itself, conducted by a Sukhoi SU-25 firing air-to-ground unguided rockets, CNN reported on June 3rd, “The authorities in Kiev denied its planes had been involved. Initially, the anti-terrorist operation said the explosion originated from inside the building, then that an anti-aircraft missile operated by the separatists had misfired, reacting to heat from an air-conditioning system on the outside of the building.

But a CNN investigation in Luhansk has found clear evidence that whatever detonations hit the building and the adjoining park came from the air. The tops of trees were splintered, and a series of small craters — about a dozen — had been blasted in a straight line, starting in the park and reaching the walls of the building, blowing out many of its windows and spraying the area with jagged shrapnel. That’s what appears to have killed most of the victims and injured 20 more.

The pattern of the craters clearly indicated some sort of strafing, according to a munitions expert at the scene with CNN. Their size suggested 30-millimeter ordnance, he said, which is standard equipment on the Su-25, a ground attack fighter, and the Su-27 — both combat aircraft operated by Ukraine.

The Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe came to a similar conclusion, releasing a statement late Tuesday that said: “Based on the SMM’s limited observation, these strikes were the result of non-guided rockets shot from an aircraft.”

How many fighter aircraft does the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) have? That’s right; none. Unless Kiev wants to make an argument that the Russians sent an SU-25 over to rocket Lugansk to make Kiev look bad, it was their aircraft.

The tops of trees were splintered. I guess you could say that; branches were down in the street that were as thick through as a child’s waist. The pattern of destruction marches in a straight line right up to the Administration Building, where the last munition struck a room on the second or third floor. It seems clear from credible evidence, namely shards of the casing bearing identifying markings, that that one was an unguided rocket. Immediately in front of the building lay Inna Vladimirovna Kukurudza, a Ukrainian citizen and non-combatant, butchered in the street like a pig, the lower half of her body just so much smashed meat.

This is what she looked like before the air attack. And after. She was still alive when the Innafirst people on the scene reached her, in a tangle that included two other women who were already dead; she tried to indicate to rescuers where they might find other injured people by motioning with her head. She succumbed to the massive damage of her injuries shortly after, and died without fully realizing what her own people had visited upon her.

So what do you say, Harf-wit? Is that credible evidence enough for you? Does that grab you with any force?

30mm20roundBesides the unguided rocket which struck the building, CNN found evidence of a strafing run using the aircraft’s nose cannon. The SU-25 is a ground-attack aircraft that was designed as a tank killer: the nose gun is a 30mm. Here’s how big a 30mm round is. It’s designed to rip a tank in half with sheer kinetic force. Do you suppose a military pilot who is trained to operate the weapon, knows exactly what it can do and what it was designed for is allowed to use it in a populated area against civilians?

Ummmm…no. But have a look for yourself; everyone likes to play international lawyer. According to the 1977 Additional Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions, Indiscriminate Attack is specifically described as a war crime.

4. Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are:

(a) those which are not directed at a specific military objective;

(b) those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective; or

(c) those which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by this Protocol; and consequently, in each such case, are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction.

5. Among others, the following types of attacks are to be considered as indiscriminate:

(a) an attack by bombardment by any methods or means which treats as a single military objective a number of clearly separated and distinct military objectives located in a city, town, village or other area containing a similar concentration of civilians or civilian objects; and

(b) an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

6. Attacks against the civilian population or civilians by way of reprisals are prohibited.

7. The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations.

8. Any violation of these prohibitions shall not release the Parties to the conflict from their legal obligations with respect to the civilian population and civilians, including the obligation to take the precautionary measures provided for in Article 57

Unless Kiev – which when last we heard was attempting to explain what happened with a cockamamie story that the “rebels” had done it themselves with an anti-air-MANPAD missile which accidentally acquired an air-conditioner on the corner of the building as a target – can demonstrate that the civilian population was deliberately attempting to shield a known military target, I’m afraid that attack was specifically and absolutely disallowed. Not by the ethics of the United States, though, which has never ratified the Additional Protocol and does not agree to be bound by it. I’ve noticed, though, that the USA consistently pursues a moralizing and holier-than-thou tone in its signing statements to such international legislation. For example, here’s an excerpt of what the USA has to say on the United Nations Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects, to which both it and Ukraine are signatories:

“The United States Government welcomes the adoption of this Convention, and hopes that all States will give the most serious consideration to ratification or accession. We believe that the Convention represents a positive step forward in efforts to minimize injury or damage to the civilian population in time of armed conflict. Our signature of this Convention reflects the general willingness of the United States to adopt practical and reasonable provisions concerning the conduct of military operations, for the purpose of protecting noncombatants.

At the same time, we want to emphasize that formal adherence by States to agreements restricting the use of weapons in armed conflict would be of little purpose if the parties were not firmly committed to taking every appropriate step to ensure compliance with those restrictions after their entry into force. It would be the firm intention of the United States and, we trust, all other parties to utilize the procedures and remedies provided by this Convention, and by the general laws of war, to see to it that all parties to the Convention meet their obligations under it.  The United States strongly supported proposals by other countries during the Conference to include special procedures for dealing with compliance matters, and reserves the right to propose at a later date additional procedures and remedies, should this prove necessary, to deal with such problems.”

But later:

“Article 7 (4) (b) of the Convention shall not apply with respect to the United States.”

This is not specific to the use of 30mm ammunition, in fact it is not singled out for mention in this Convention. But it is the type of moralizing blather layered over cold-steel self interest which allows mendacious mannequins like Marie Harf to rationalize shooting up unsuspecting civilians with ammunition the size of your fucking forearm – which is manufactured specifically as an incendiary anti-personnel munition by the USA’s General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems Division, although incendiary attacks by aircraft against personnel are strictly forbidden – as “a country defending itself and its people and its buildings and its land and its territory from armed separatists backed by another government who are trying to sow chaos.

And I’m glad I brought that up at this point, because it is yet another juicy example of official American hypocrisy. The “other government who is trying to sow chaos” is of course Russia. The USA and UK and other EU states who are whispering in Kiev’s ear and encouraging it to carry out punitive operations against its own people using military forces which are strictly forbidden under international law, allowing it to contract and pay foreign mercenaries to fight for it against its own citizens, which is specifically forbidden by international law, are of course not trying to sow chaos. That’s just a bonus effect.

But it was the United States which trumpeted proof of Russian involvement in Ukraine that it later had to retract because it was demonstrated to have been fabricated by Kiev. No less a media figure than the aforementioned Jen Psaki announced on behalf of the U.S. State Department that the proof was absolutely compelling to belief, because “the photos were available on international media and on Twitter”. Well, photos and video and no end of physical evidence are available that an SU-25 in the employ of the Kiev government shot up Lugansk in an attack which knowingly targeted civilians and resulted in the most grisly casualties imaginable. But there’s no reason to believe that. It was just a country defending itself and its people from Untermenschen who do not belong in a prosperous, EU-oriented western democratic Ukraine regardless of the fact they were accidentally born there. Similarly, “evidence” that Bashar al-Assad carried out deliberate chemical-warfare attacks against sleeping civilians in Damascus which came directly from Syrian rebel activists with an agenda was such conclusive proof for official America that John Kerry publicly begged to be allowed, without a veto, to launch “just a tiny cruise missile strike, you have my word it will be just so little you’ll barely notice it”, which would be funded by the Arab states with a direct interest in toppling Assad (special thanks to Jen for that link). Most recently, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry begged Poroshenko to front him some evidence that he could use against Russia, thereby demonstrating for all the world to see that the USA has none to date (thanks to Jen for that one, too).

Systematic elimination of explanations that do not fit brings us inexorably to one inescapable conclusion. The United States of America’s State Department is deliberately, knowingly and clumsily lying in its teeth about official Ukraine’s blatant, vicious and over-the-top violations of international law on human rights against its own citizens. Not misspeaking. Not being misled by trickery. Lying.

Say it with me, world. We don’t believe you.

Types of Indiscriminate Attack

1. An attack that is not targeted at military objectives. (Damage to civilian property that is actually intended is known as wanton destruction, especially if it is wide-scale.)

2. Use of weapons that are not able to be properly targeted.

3. Use of weapons that have uncontrollable effects.

4. An attack that treats an area with similar concentrations of military and civilian objectives as a single military objective.

5. An attack that may be expected to cause harm to civilians or civilian objectives in excess of the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

– See more at: http://www.crimesofwar.org/a-z-guide/indiscriminate-attacks/#sthash.M6IlpzEt.dpuf

Types of Indiscriminate Attack

1. An attack that is not targeted at military objectives. (Damage to civilian property that is actually intended is known as wanton destruction, especially if it is wide-scale.)

2. Use of weapons that are not able to be properly targeted.

3. Use of weapons that have uncontrollable effects.

4. An attack that treats an area with similar concentrations of military and civilian objectives as a single military objective.

5. An attack that may be expected to cause harm to civilians or civilian objectives in excess of the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

– See more at: http://www.crimesofwar.org/a-z-guide/indiscriminate-attacks/#sthash.cU1vvDEh.dpuf

Types of Indiscriminate Attack

1. An attack that is not targeted at military objectives. (Damage to civilian property that is actually intended is known as wanton destruction, especially if it is wide-scale.)

2. Use of weapons that are not able to be properly targeted.

3. Use of weapons that have uncontrollable effects.

4. An attack that treats an area with similar concentrations of military and civilian objectives as a single military objective.

5. An attack that may be expected to cause harm to civilians or civilian objectives in excess of the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

– See more at: http://www.crimesofwar.org/a-z-guide/indiscriminate-attacks/#sthash.cU1vvDEh.dpuf

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341 Responses to Wanted: Research Assistant. Must Write Braille. Apply to: U.S. Department of State

  1. yalensis says:

    Igor Strelkov reports on yesterday’s military actions on the war front near Slav’ansk:

    1. Ukes continue to bombard Slav’ansk from Grads, and there was an additional civilian casualty, a woman was killed. Another civilian woman was wounded.
    2. Insurgents were able to destroy one Uke APC on the Kharkiv-Rostov highway. Insurgents shot up a second APC from RPG’s, but unfortunately the Ukes were able to tow away the damaged vehicle.
    3. Ukes lost several dead and wounded in the various clashes yesterday.
    4. Insurgents did not lose anybody yesterday. However, there is to be a funeral of 10 dead insurgents who were lost in previous days.

  2. Does someone know is the NATO cargo through Russian territory to Afghanistan still ongoing?

    With the West treating Russia as an enemy (with the latest being the blocking of the South Stream) I hope that Russia has already stopped allowing NATO to use Russian railways for it’s cargo. If not, then I have to say that Russia seems like a masochist who enjoys being a punching bag.

    • yalensis says:

      Like old Jewish grandmother say, When you’re right, you’re right.
      Here is video of NATO punching a masochistic Russia.
      (Russia is thuggish looking bald guy, NATO is the girl in the sexy black dress.)

    • marknesop says:

      I don’t know for sure, but I would think it amuses Russia to continue services which do not damage Russia in any way, because cutting them off is the kind of childish thing the west would do. Thus it can make the USA look childish without really having to do anything.

  3. yalensis says:

    Also on the war front:
    One of Strelkov’s sub-commanders is claiming a glorious victory yesterday, he says Donetsk Peoples Republic (DPR) “special forces” destroyed an important and deadly Uke blockpost between Slav’anskk and Kramatorsk. This blockpost had been bombarding the crap out of some residential flats in Kramatorsk.

    He says the DPR special forces had prepared the operation for a week, and when the time came, they went rushing into battle singing a song by Vladimir Vysotsky , called “Soldiers of the Center Group march through Ukraine”:

  4. Fern says:

    I recently came across an interesting article which, while it is not about Ukraine, rings alarm bells. It looks at a little known historical event – the mass ‘transfer’ of German-speaking civilians from Czechoslavakia and other parts of Europe to Germany in the aftermath of WW2. The author warns:-

    “The fact that population transfers are currently making a comeback on the scholarly and policy agenda also suggests that we should scrutinize with particular care the most extensive experiment made with them to date. Despite the gruesome history, enthusiasts continue to chase the mirage of “humane” mass deportations as a means of resolving intractable ethnic problems. Andrew Bell-Fialkoff, in a much-cited study, has advocated population transfers as a valuable tool so long as they are “conducted in a humane, well-organized manner, like the transfer of Germans from Czechoslovakia by the Allies in 1945-47.” John Mearsheimer, Chaim Kaufmann, Michael Mann and others have done likewise.
    Few wars today, whether within or between states, do not feature an attempt by one or both sides to create facts on the ground by forcibly displacing minority populations perceived as alien to the national community. And although the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court has attempted to restrain this tendency by prohibiting mass deportations, Elazar Barkan maintains that such proscriptions are far from absolute, and that “today there is no single code of international law that explicitly outlaws population transfers either in terms of group or individual rights protections.””

    I have wondered if forced displacement of large numbers of people from eastern Ukraine is Kiev’s goal. I was watching footage this morning of a village outside Slavansk that had been totally destroyed by aerial bombardment – there was not a building standing that had not been damaged in some way and many had been reduced to rubble. It was deserted, everyone had fled and what can they return to in a country where there’s no money for reconstruction? Similarly, the shelling in civilian areas is destroying homes and knocking out water and power supplies not only causing people to flee but making it hard for them to return. Thousands of people have fled already – what if they return to find their property seized or bulldozed or taken over and given to others? Kiev’s concern to retain the territorial integrity of Ukraine doesn’t necessarily extend to retaining the people currently living there. The West gave the green light to ethnic cleansing in the Balkans so there’d be no difficulty in turning a blind eye if Kiev did the same.


    • marknesop says:

      True enough, but if they want to qualify for the IMF package, they need taxpayers. Ukraine’s population is already shrinking at a horrifying rate, and while 5-8 million are working in Russia at least they are sending money home, just as the Georgian diaspora in Russia did and does. The IMF is not going to lend money to Ukraine, and then promptly impose austerity (or insist that it be done as part of “reform”, which amounts to the same thing) if it is aware at the outset that recovery of the funds is hopeless, and at the same time a dying country with a dwindling population is ripe for takeover. No other EU neighbour could take over all of a country that size, except for Russia – Poland could take the west, and should, because they fancy themselves Poles anyway.

      If the west had a dazzling birthrate and could repopulate the east in no time flat with ideological little Nazi Moskali-haters, that would be different, but it hasn’t. If Kiev drives out the population of the east and it does not return, the cities will simply become ghost towns, and unless the EU has some big population of immigrants waiting in the wings which it wishes to resettle – all the Muslims in France, for example – then depopulation is something a Ukraine supposedly taking its first baby steps toward absorption into the EU cannot afford.

      • “and could repopulate the east ”

        Why would they actually need to repopulate east? No people, no problems! And if the area has significant shale gas resources it is actually better that nobody lives there.

      • Jen says:

        You could have a scenario where the ethnic Russian population is cleared out and land made available to diaspora Ukrainians in North America, Australia and elsewhere in the West to buy and “redevelop” with the help of guest workers imported from Third World countries. All these people including the guest workers would provide the taxpayers needed for Ukraine to qualify for the IMF loans.

        • marknesop says:

          You could if the diaspora Ukrainians wanted to return from comfortable lives abroad (most of them) to be farmers in a dirt-poor country. I’m sure you could dress it up with incentives, but we’re confronted with a dilemma: sure you could farm the black-earth belt of Ukraine, you don’t need residents for that, guest workers alone would suffice and not cut much into the profits. But most of Europe has rigid trade barriers and tariffs to protect its own farmers and agricultural industries. Ukraine could indeed be the breadbasket of Europe – but who’s going to be the market? Who trusts the EU enough to dump their own farmers for EU suppliers?

          • Southerncross says:

            Using Canadians would not work. It’s the same problem the Germans confronted with their grand colonisation schemes for the occupied Soviet territories – very few of their citizens had any interest in trading in their lives in Germany for the poverty and dangers of the east. The flow of ethnic Germans during those years was always into the old Reich rather than out of it.

            There’s no sign that Ukro-Canadians have the fortitude. Where are the masses of Canadian volunteers wearing the Red-and-Black armbands, and talking aboot all the Russkies they killed today eh?

            • marknesop says:

              Like most, I think, they are in love with a romanticized ideal of Ukraine, the homeland, which reality could never stand up to because it was never actually the way they remember. It’s easy to be nostalgic for the way things were when you were a kid, but that has as much to do with getting older no matter where you are than with where you were when you were young.

    • Sloviansk area apparently has significant shale oil resources. The area needs to be depopulated for fracking to start there. Biden and the rest of the Americans will profit while the Russian people in this area is/will be ethnically cleanse.

      Our mainstream media in Finland has been completely silent about what is going on in that area and the massive exodus of refugees to Russia. During the Syria conflict or MSM was almost daily reporting about Syrian refugees from Syria to other countries, but now it is a complete media blackout. Those people who are trying to tell what’s happening in Eastern Ukraine are being accused of “putinists” or liars. If the MSM is not reporting it then it is not happening!

      I think the goal is to start fracking the shale gas once the population is ethnically cleansed and transport the gas through Ukraine’s pipeline network to Europe. Didn’t Biden’s son just got a big share of Ukraine’s pipeline network? They have planned all this in advance.

      I think they are also eventually trying to cut Gazprom off the European market (at least if Ukraine’s shale gas reserves are large enough). Once they have the gas production started they will prevent Gazprom from using Ukraine’s pipeline network and also prevent Russia from building the South Stream to bypass Ukraine’s pipelines. Russia will lose most of it’s transport capacity to Europe and will rely only on Nord Stream and pipeline going through Belarus. But this will only be possible if Ukraine has enough shale gas that can replace the Russian gas.

      Fracking is highly polluting and will pollute the drinking water in the area. This is why thousands of people will have to be driven out of their homes before the fracking starts. Bombing their homes, villages and towns is a one way to do it. I guess this was the US plan that the Kiev is now implementing.

      And what is Russia going to do to protect itself? Probably nothing, even if tens of thousands of Russians are either killed or driven out of their homes.

      • marknesop says:

        Let’s see. Knowing there are significant reserves of shale gas is only the first step. Is it easily recoverable, and most importantly, what is the nitogen content? They can correct for a small amount of nitrogen, maybe 6%, but Poland’s shale gas (enormous reserves, they were once going to supply all of Europe too, remember, and fuck you, Russia?) was so high in nitrogen it would not even burn. All the Bigs have pulled out of Poland and their shale gas dream is dead. Shale gas that is the right composition seems to be comparatively rare considering how much shale gas there is in the world, and bad gas seems to be regional. Is Ukraine closer to Poland, or the USA?

        They would want to sink a couple of test wells first, and in Poland they never got much beyond that.

        • Make no mistake, I hope that the supposed shale gas resources in eastern Ukraine will prove to be worthless (unless Malorossiya wins the war and gets them, of course).

          But if the speculation about the true motive of Sloviansk being it’s shale gas resources is true then it shows that the West and Kievan junta are willing to kill or ethnically cleanse a lot of people for these resources. If the shale has resources prove to be not usable then the West and Kivan junta will be left without profits and independence from Russian gas (which is good), but those people who were driven out of their homes will still be left homeless refugees (which is bad). The Kievan junta is not going to rebuild their homes and villages.

          • marknesop says:

            Again, anything is possible; but the hesitation on the part of the IMF in handing over the money is entirely based on Ukraine retaining sovereignty and dominion over all its remaining territory. Can Ukraine afford to wait for a couple of test wells to be sunk, and certainty that its gas is viable, before getting money from the IMF? No, it can’t; it needs that money yesterday. Is the IMF disposed to risk gambling the loss of a third of Ukraine’s tax base in return for the possibility of a shale-gas boom? I would have to say doubtful.

            It’s just a guess on my part, but it looks to me like the real financial scam is going to be a large transfer of wealth from the taxpayers to the American defense establishment for the purpose of rebuilding Ukraine’s shattered military. PoroChocco has mentioned this several times already as a priority.

            I would not put too much stock in the presence of Hunter Biden. It’s not like he’s a big noise in the industry; he just happens to be the Vice-President’s son. They could easily stage a takeover of Ukraine’s resources without him, and there has been little talk indicating they are interested in doing that. It would be stupid for the USA to buy the pipeline network now that Russia has a large and potentially much larger export market that it cannot affect or control.

      • patient observer says:

        Shale gas is a red herring. Its been said enough times here and elsewhere. Its one step above perpetual motion. No, its worse than perpetual motion because it seems plausible. Its siren song beguiles politicians and investors to lavish love on it with laws and billions of dollars in investments.

        However, If the objective is to further damage the EU economically, then drill baby drill. Even if its another Marcellus basic, its an economic disaster.

  5. Paul says:

    A report from Slavyansk. Worth reading:

  6. moscowexile says:

    Exclusive: Ukraine’s President Seeks ‘Understanding’ With Russia

    In his first interview as President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko tells TIME that he has no choice but to keep Russia at the negotiating table, as no country is prepared to guarantee his country’s security from further attack.

    • moscowexile says:

      Lovely whitewash job!

      Poroshenko is a “well respected businessman” in Russia!

      In a series of new reports from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on the election of Petro Poroshenko as the next president of Ukraine, the overriding sentiment of Kremlin diplomatic officials can only be described as one of “astonished glee” as this most troubled of nations (provided with “substantial” help from its US-EU allies) has selected as its leader one the most corrupt, secretive and mysterious members of its criminal oligarchy class of billionaires…

      Being hailed by the propaganda Western media as the “Chocolate King” for his ownership of candy companies, this report continues, Poroshenko (Forbes #1335 richest man in world) is most importantly known to Russian intelligence agencies as being one of the global leaders of the feared Red Mafiya (aka The Russian Mob) , a position once held by his father Alexei Valtsman from the Odessa region and who in 1956 took on the last name of his wife, Yevgenya Poroshenko.

      Poroshenko, this report says, started his weapons, gambling and prostitution business by laundering the money of Soviet times’ administrators. He has never been an entrepreneur to start a business of his own, that story was invented by Western media propagandists.

      Poroshenko business was dirty and it started with plundering Ukraine state property by armed gangs. The Poroshenko family had plans to expand the activities beyond Ukraine and Tatyana Mikoyan, a well-known Kiev-based lawyer, remembers what the family did in Transnistria, “It was horrible back in the 1990s: illegal arms, prostitutes, drugs – all bringing profits to father and son.”

      Poroshenko Sr. was awarded for his merits and in 2009 he received the Hero of Ukraine decoration bought for him by his son who paid to then President Yushenko, the Godfather to Petro Poroshenko’s children. The now President-elect is also well known for misappropriating budget funds and has the reputation of someone who knows how to make money out of thin air.

      Many times Poroshenko has been accused of being involved in large scale corruption schemes, open lobbying, embezzlement of budget allocations, tax evasion, illegal operations to acquire shares and physically threatening political opponents and competitors and has been described as one of the most odious figures in Ukrainian politics and heads the list of the country’s corrupted persons.

      Poroshenko, this report continues, is most famous for owning the confectionary firm Roshen, which has factories in both Ukraine and Russia (Russian factories have been seized) and is the owner/leader of UkPromInvest, a mysterious holding company that has no website but boasts interests in bus manufacturing, car distribution, shipyards, banking and electrical cables, among other things that Russian intelligence experts list as arms dealing, drugs and prostitution.

      See: Moscow Astounded As Top Mob Boss Becomes Ukraine Leader

  7. marknesop says:

    Not to get sidetracked or anything, but I’m not sure how many are following what’s going on in the Middle East while we have all this excitement over Ukraine.

    ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, AKA “the rebels”) has launched ambitious attacks in Iraq,


    and I heard this morning that they have taken the whole of Anbar Province. No confirmation of that, but they certainly seem to be well on their way and on a roll, as government forces flee before them like chaff before the wind.


    Gosh, as Leddy Ashton would say. I recall quite a few people saying, after the U.S. military wrecked Iraq’s infrastructure and the U.S. government destroyed its civil institutions, that it wouldn’t be 5 years before they had to come back and do it all over again, based on the chain of events they had set in motion with their eternal meddling. Looks like that estimate was just about spot on.

    Oops. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Now it is beginning to shape up like the Iraqi government will have to strike a coalition agreement with the Kurds if it wishes to save itself from being overrun. And if that happens, the Kurds will drive a hard bargain – autonomy at least, maybe even statehood. And if that happens Turkey will be in there like Rush Limbaugh on a baked ham.

    The international scene is livening up. Can the west afford to focus on Ukraine? We’ll see.

    • astabada says:

      Hi Mark,

      hi haven’t time to read the article linked just now, but will probably comment tomorrow or on Thursday.

      However the situation is that the ISIL controls Eastern Syria (the Levant, as in isiL) and Western Iraq (the second “I” in ISIL). Their control is pretty much solid there, even though al-Maliki launched an all-out offensive against Falluja-Ramadi since December.

      The position of Baghdad is that these attacks are a desperate last resort measure of the ISIL to drive the Iraqi Army away from their bases in Anbar. It is certain that their attack on Shia Samarra has been folded, while the one against Niniveh has stalled.
      However in Mosul the situation is chaotic, with the Governor barely escaping the armed militants, and the city completely run over.

      Do expect sectarian violence.

      As for the Kurds, it is obvious Israel wants them independent, as a thorne in the flank of all the relevant players in the region: Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. The position of the Saudi and the USA is not clear to me in this respect.

      • Wouldn’t it make sense for the West to support the islamic militants in Iraq? They are Sunni and are fighting against both Iran and Syria, two countries that the West wants to weaken or destroy. Supporting these sunni jihadists would seem like a typical western move these days.

        • marknesop says:

          It probably would – since the west does indeed seem to love chaos – except for the fact that Iraq has the world’s second-largest proven oil reserves. I doubt the west wants that kind of clout in the hands of the flip-flops. American oil companies do not want to have to ask permission from the local imam to come in and pump oil, or have to drink nothing but goat milk while they’re there and not have any girls around except those who look like they’re wearing a barbecue cover.

        • Jen says:

          There are issues with the West supporting groups like ISIL and Jabhat al Nusra in Syria and Iraq:
          a) some of these groups or some, maybe even most, of their members have committed war crimes and the West would want to dissociate itself from the jihadis that have done them. ISIL alone is known to have conducted mass executions in Syria and some of these executions were carried out on children as young as 12 months old.
          b) European especially British citizens are known to be fighting with these jihadi groups and if the West supports them, then the West virtually commits itself to unending war in Iraq until the country literally goes beyond scorched fields – otherwise if the Iraqis themselves win and the jihadis are forced to retreat, they most probably will return to their countries of origin or go to another country and create havoc wherever they go. I might add also that most of the really vicious executions including beheadings and crucifixion-style deaths have been committed by European jihadis.

          We should have learned something from supporting the mujahideen in Afghanistan over the past 30 or so years and that something is that in giving them money and arms, we committed ourselves to fighting unending wars in that country and wiping out the limited social reforms (which included emancipating women and training them for teaching and public service jobs) the Moscow-oriented government in Afghanistan began in the mid-1970s.

    • ucgsblog says:

      It was predictable. There’s a cold war going on there between Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Ever since a certain invasion, Iran’s power has been growing. I remember speaking to an Iraqi who was deluded into thinking that the US and Iran agreed to split Iraq. The government of Iraq is slowly aligning with Iran. This is why Israel and Saudi Arabia formed a temporary truce, with Saudis throwing Hamas out to get Israel’s neutrality. Hamas quickly allied Fatah. Ari Rusila, (BalkanBlog,) wrote a piece on the alliance, it’s quite good: http://arirusila.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/fatah-hamas-accord-can-be-more-an-opportunity-than-an-obstacle/

      Remember who funded the initial insurgents in Syria? Now SA is throwing that against Iraq, but it’s a miscalculation. Iran and the Kurds have a mediator both sides trust, and the mediator’s name is Russia. The Kurds stretch from the Caucasus to the Middle East. In order to keep the Caucasus stabilized, the Russians have great relations with the Kurds. In order to keep the Middle East stabilized, they have great relations with Iran. The current Iraqi government doesn’t mind the Kurds, (the masses do, thanks to Saddam’s propaganda,) and this will serve as an excuse for the Iraqis to work with the Kurds.

      Meanwhile in the US the Republicans will blame this on Obama, (two party system, my side “yay”, your side “boo”,) as an attempt to show Americans that Democrats are “Dumbocrats” when it comes to foreign policy. As a result Americans will become even more Isolationist.

      Meanwhile this came out in the CS Monitor: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2014/0609/Israel-Hezbollah-is-now-stronger-than-any-Arab-army

      The CS Monitor usually does a good job: “Israel’s top military officer warned today that Hezbollah is more powerful than most of the world’s armies and that a confrontation between Israel and the Lebanese Shiite militant organization was a near certainty.”

      Although “most of the World’s armies” is scaremongering fluff, there’s no reason to deny that Hezbollah’s power has been growing. When combined with this article, (if you can get past the author’s annoying bias,) http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=8276&IBLOCK_ID=35 it seems that Israel is going to be in quite a bit of a tussle.

      I’m going to quote parts of said article, editing out the bias, hopefully:

      “[Don’t] take Cooper seriously when he talks about how the IDF is going to “expel Hezbollah from Southern Lebanon.” Hezbollah IS Southern Lebanon. You might as well try to expel ants… We’re dealing with demographics, and demographics has no more mercy than a glacier. For a hundred years Lebanon has been shifting from a Maronite-Christian country with a bunch of non-Christian minorities (the Druze, the Sunni, the Shia) to a Muslim country with a Christian minority that’s trying to emigrate as fast as it can. That part of the war is over, and Islam won. All that’s left to see now is which Islam ends up in power: the Shia, with Syria and Iran backing them, or the Sunni, who have the backing of…well, nobody, actually.”

      Keeping the demographic points in mind:

      “Hezbollah are some of the most underrated soldiers on earth…as you may recall, [the Merkavas] got a real different reception when they chased Hezbollah’s raiding party back into Lebanon after [Hezbollah] killed three IDF soldiers and kidnapped another two. The IDF mid-ranking commanders had to act fast because the Gaza command was taking heat for not pursuing Shalit’s kidnappers fast enough. So they shouted, “Charge!” and the first Merkava steamed over the border. Guess how far it got. Ten meters.”

      He continues describing the battle:

      “The way Israel is conducting the war right now is the worst of both worlds: it’s too bloody and not bloody enough at the same time. Give me a second to explain what I mean by that. At the moment Anderson Cooper is saying Israel’s killed about 320 Lebanese, vs. 36 Israelis dead. That’s a perfectly standard count for asymmetrical warfare; the technologically superior force usually kills about ten of the guerrillas for every one of its own losses. But in PR terms, this war has been a disaster for Israel, a can’t win scenario. Just try this experiment: watch CNN with the sound off for a few minutes. Without that non-stop commentary, you’ll see what the whole world outside the US sees: non-stop video feed of terrified Lebanese civvies fleeing in terror, crying on camera, hugging their bloodied-up kids. Then there’s a shot of the IDF zooming around in their Merkavas and US-supplied SP 155mms, blasting dry hills or doing dirt donuts on some local’s wrecked house. Ask yourself this question:


      It’ll come to you after a minute: you never, ever see an armed Hezbollah fighter. They’re there, all right. You better believe it. They’ve killed at least 20 IDF troops, and they’re the real reason, the only reason, the IDF isn’t invading all-out: because those Hezbollah apprentice martyrs are dug in, waiting and hoping and praying for the IDF to steam into the kill zones they’ve been polishing since Israel quit Lebanon in 2000. But you never see them on TV.”

      And he concludes:

      “You think that’s an accident? No, fellas, that’s brains is what that is. Nasrullah may look like a fat social studies teacher who needs a shave, but you don’t claw your way to the top of a bloody world like that one without brains. The men who run Hezbollah attacked because they finally figured out that they literally cannot lose. The IDF can never expel Hezbollah from South Lebanon, because it’s a genuine mass movement, as committed and crazy at the roots as at the top. If Israel comes down hard on the Lebanese, another generation learns to hate the Jews down south and dream of bloody revenge. If Israel holds off, then Hezbollah becomes the one victorious Arab/Muslim force in the world, darling of every little nine-year-old Jihadi in Jakarta and Khartoum. If Israel retaliates by blasting every target of value in Lebanon, every TV tower and shopping mall and freeway…well, that’s the beauty of the plan: the Shia are the poorest of the poor. They don’t own any of that shit anyway. They sit back and laugh watching their neighbors’ stuff that they’ve envied all their lives get blown away — and it’s the Israelis who get the blame.”

      Hezbollah fought in Syria’s Civil War. They’re still fighting. Now the Hezbollah-Iran-Syria bloc is tied, allied by blood. And as long as Hezbollah stays local, the Russians are going to look the other way, while continuing to train Iran’s military. Iran wants into SCO to have access to SCO-CSTO training. Give that to those guys, and you have stabilization of the Middle East. SA’s ISIS attack is yet another blunder, this time bringing the Kurds into the mix. Speaking of the Kurds, there’s also Turkish Kurds. They want to secede from Turkey. The Turks do not want that to happen. However, what’s to stop the Kurds from using Hezbollah tactics in Turkey’s Kurdistan?

      • Jen says:

        I went to a one-day seminar on Hezbollah a couple of weeks ago. The tutor was a PhD candidate whose thesis is on Hezbollah’s organisation and the culture it has created. She expected to finish it this year but she needs to travel to Lebanon to conduct interviews with Hezbollah members and for the time being travel there is restricted so she’s had to rethink how to complete her work and doing a tutorial was one of the ways she can get around the travel problem.

        In many respects the organisation is very like a religious cult and it’s also a state within a state that historically has disregarded the Shi’a community, the lowest of the low on Lebanon’s social hierarchy, in southern Lebanon and the Bekaa valley (which incidentally Israel covets because it contains the only major river in the immediate region, the Litani). It provides social services and education, and in particular supports widows and families of Hezbollah fighters who died for the organisation and are portrayed as akin to martyrs. When the children grow up, they definitely feel a strong obligation to serve Hezbollah. Membership is voluntary – they don’t have to be Shi’ite but Shi’a belief helps – and open to them at age 14 years and they have to undergo training and indoctrination, and be prepared to tolerate being observed closely (because they must not drink alcohol or go to parties during their apprenticeship).

        Sheikh Hassan Nasrullah is an intelligent and practical leader. If anyone wants to know what he’s like, I suggest they watch Julian Assange’s interview of him on Youtube. He was included in Assange’s series of interviews done for RT.com in 2012.

        • marknesop says:

          In the vision of the Zionists (in which I by no means include all Israelis), the borders of Eretz Israel, the Promised Land, go far beyond its present limits. Rivers figure prominently, and include all the land between the Jordan and the Litani as well as all the way north to the Euphrates. Needless to say, there are some people who would have problems with that.

          During Israel’s occupation of Southern Lebanon, they quickly installed pipes and a pump system and began pumping water from the Litani to Jewish villages, and there was also a steady parade of trucks hauling away stripped topsoil from Lebanon to Jewish farms. An…ahem… industrious people.

          • Jen says:

            I’ve heard Eretz Israel extends as far as Cairo on the Nile river to the west, Baghdad to the east and includes Cyprus as well. Er, hmm, not just some people who might have problems with that. How would the EU accept news of Israel claiming Cyprus as part of its “historic” territory?

        • ucgsblog says:

          I agree with most of what you’re saying, especially this part: “In many respects the organisation is very like a religious cult and it’s also a state within a state that historically has disregarded the Shi’a community, the lowest of the low on Lebanon’s social hierarchy”

          A state within a state. More people need to grasp this notion. The best example I can think of is the Avar Community within Makhachkala. It’s a state, (the Avar Community,) within a state, (Makhachkala,) within a state, (Dagestan,) within a state (Russia) and it works out because all of those states are working towards the same objectives: stability and economic growth in the Caucasus.

          But change the objectives and you have numerous problems. Additionally, those are recognized states, but there are de facto, unrecognized states. South Ossetia is de facto a part of North Ossetia, which is a part of the North Caucasus, which is a part of Russia. When we had South Ossetians push for economic growth in South Ossetia and stability, and the great Gazooishvili pushing for the exact opposite, we had a war.

          It’s a similar case with Israel and Hezbollah in South Lebanon. It’s an issue of unrecognized states, including the DonBass Republic, that we have to face, that we cannot simply bomb or ignore. As more and more attempts are made at the federalization of Europe, you will have more and more attempts at self determination. These are interesting times we live in.

          And the greater context here is the Middle Eastern faceoff, mostly between Iran and Saudi Arabia; Israel, with the exception of trying to weaken Hezbollah, seems to be sitting this one out:

          Iranian bloc: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon. As you can see, there is warfare everywhere except Iran.

          Saudi bloc: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan. As you can see, there are Shia uprisings here and there.

          Neutrals: Israel, (leaning towards Saudi Arabia due to Iran backing Hezbollah,) Egypt, and Turkey. The latter tried to intervene in the Middle East, but did it in a very humiliating fashion and came off as bullies. They’d probably side with the Saudis, since Iranians are getting too powerful. Egypt is also considering their options, as their leadership cares more about the next parliamentary elections, than the Middle Eastern cold war.

    • yalensis says:

      If Iraqi Shiites and Syrian Alawites can finally forge some kind of strategy, then they can win over Kurds against Sunni insurgents.
      But only if they are willing to make some territorial sacrifice and carve out for Kurds their own nation. Based on provinces currently part of Iraq and Syria.

  8. yalensis says:

    On the war front:
    The partisan war against Kiev gangster junta has spread to Kharkiv.
    Earlier today, partisans in favour of a federalized Ukraine attacked column of regime soldiers outside of Kharkiv.
    The regime soldiers were bringing supplies for the “anti-terrorist” operation on the Eastern Front, when they were ambushed and attacked by daring partisans. No further details given, but here is visual approximation of the battle:

  9. yalensis says:

    Also in political news: Klich complains to Nudelman that he is being treated like a dufus and disrespected by the rest of the junta.

    Klich was assured by Americans that, yes, he is the Glorious Mayor of Kiev. Vivat!
    Nudelman specifically gave him the Mayor post, he should wear the sash and the tiara, she handed him the key to the city; in return, all he had to do was step aside in favour of Chocco the Gangsta-man for Prez.

    And so it came to pass….
    But soon enough Klich comes to find out that he has no real power. He can’t even write a parking ticket.
    So he met with Nudelmann today, she was so condescending towards him she wouldn’t even meet him inside his office, but insisted they meet outside the subway station on Kreshchatik Street. [yalensis: I know I am being sarcastic, but I am actually not making this up.]

    So, Klich complains to Nudelman that he wanted to absorb the Kiev “head of municipality”, of whatever they call it, into the functions of a Mayor. [sounds reasonable]
    If Parliament won’t agree to that, the would rather just give up the Mayor office and switch over to being “head of municipality”, whichever has more power.

    Currently, the head of municipality (or whatever they call it) is a guy named Vladimir Bondarenko, who is Yulia Tymoshenko’s man. Seems, Klich was unable to dislodge this guy, even though the voters voted for HIM, the boxer (=Klich), and the other guy is just some unelected flak unaccountable to nobody except Yoooolia.

    So, long story short, Klich bitches about the situation to Nudelman, hoping she can put in a word, or help him out in some way. It was not recorded what was her response, but here is visual approximation of what transpired between the two (only have to imagine Nudelman in a tuxedo):

      • Fern says:

        I do hope Kiev is planning to use this shot of the city in its tourist brochures – the piles of tyres and rubble on either side of the couple look terrific. It’s also quite sickening to see both of them waxing lachrymose over the shrines to those who were killed by snipers while denying the families of the people who died the one thing that really matters – a proper, impartial, let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may-investigation of who was doing the shooting and who masterminded it.

        • marknesop says:

          And that’s after they have already cleaned it up quite a bit, pushing the tires into rows and the rubble into neat squares and hosing the whole place down – now it looks like an arsonists’s museum or a an anarchy theme park. As I mentioned when it was all going on – under the assumption that Yanukovych would survive it – if I were him I would just put a low fence up around it and preserve it exactly as it was: filthy, blackened and disgusting, as a “monument to the brave defenders of democracy”. It would have made everyone sick who looked at it and reminded them how little they needed a spectacle like it ever again.

    • marknesop says:

      Ha, ha!! Our Vickie is gun-shy!! She won’t meet with Klitch in his office because she is afraid everything she says will end up on YouTube by tomorrow. She wants to pick the location like she’s in a Martin Cruz Smith novel – Gorky Park, or something: the walls have ears. She learned caution late, but better late than never, the vindictive cow.

      I imagine Klitch is telling her he’s willing to sit this one out – stay on the outside and do his homework, as it were, although it seems more like his penance; his dues-paying phase. But he is probably looking for assurance that Noodles and the State Department will back him next time around, when he has “suitably matured” and PoroChocco has had his shot.

      I further imagine Klitch had better watch what he says and does around Bondarenko, because it is likely all going into Yooolia’s files. She appears to have decided politics is her life’s work – ha, ha, not that she ever needed to actually work, but you know what I mean – and she knows enough to collect information in case you ever want to really put the screws to somebody.

    • Jen says:

      No need to imagine Noodles as an ageing Marlon Brando with his cheeks stuffed with cotton balls and trying to squeeze himself into a tuxedo when you can imagine her as a heavily made-up Angela Lansbury from “The Manchurian Candidate”:

      • yalensis says:


        “She won, of course”, the brainwashed palooka mutters at the end.
        Of course!
        Our Vicky always wins.

  10. yalensis says:

    And on the serious side:
    It has been confirmed that insurgent Commander Igor Strelkov has detained V’acheslav Ponomarev, the “People’s Mayor” of Slav’ansk.

    There has been a lot of friction between the 2 rebel leaders. Rumors that Strelkov has won the long-simmering power struggle in Slav’ansk seem to have been confirmed.

    That is to say, Ponomarev is not formally under arrest, but has been disarmed and detained, on orders of Igor Strelkov.

    What is the quarrel about?
    Most likely, Strelkov feels that Ponomarev has not been disciplined enough, Ponomarev was supposedly the People’s Mayor, but he was acting more like a warlord, he was armed and had a group of armed men, they would go out on raids and do their thing.

    I am not taking sides here, but it is known that Strelkov is a real martinet and very serious about military discipline. Previously, a few weeks ago, Strelkov attempted to punish Ponomarev when the latter went out on a raid and killed a dozen or so raw Uke soldiers in a surprise attack, without first getting permission from Strelkov. Strelkov disapproved of the raid, feeling it was like shooting fish in a barrel. However, Strelkov did not have enough authority at the time to punish Ponomarev for his insubordination.
    Since then, Strelkov has become very war-hardened and less humanistic, but he still argues for very strong and centralized military discipline; and he has been complaining a lot about the lawlessless and anarchy of certain insurgent groups, including certain Cossack units.
    It is also known that Strelkov has taken very firm measures and ordered soldiers to be executed for such crimes as looting and other criminal behavior.

    Not sure this is what the current dispute is about, though. It’s all kind of mysterious and wrapped up in the fog of war.

    • yalensis says:

      More news slash rumours about Ponomarev’s arrest slash detention.

      Trying to make some sense out of this confusing story.
      Recall the earlier history: On 13 April Ponomarev swept into power as the People’s Choice for Mayor of Slav’ansk, replacing the existing Mayor, Nellie Shteppa.

      Nellie then led an interesting half-life, she disappeared for a few weeks, there were rumors she had escaped and defected to Kiev. Then she suddenly returned, she has been living in the Slav’ansk administrative building ever since, but showing some signs of Stockholm Syndrome.
      Nellie gave a rousingly patriotic but confusing speech at the May 9 Victory Day celebrations.
      Most likely, she is in a state of shock and still cannot believe the horror that is happening around her and to her city; also, she has a family and children, and as a mother, their safety is her main concern.

      Returning to Ponomarev, who took Nellie’s job without so much as a “by your leave”:
      According to an insurgent source leaking to the press, Ponomarev has been arrested for some kind of criminal deal, involving the theft of metal from a factory.
      Meanwhile, Ponoarev’s press secretary, Stella Khorosheva, confirmed that her boss was detained, she said that previously he (=Ponomarev) had tried to commit suicide, first by poisoning himself; and second, when that didn’t work, he tried to shoot himself. But that didn’t work either, and there are rumours that he was just faking his own suicide, because he wanted to be evacuated out of the besieged city.

      According to other rumors, Igor Strelkov had it in for Ponomareav ever since 3 weeks ago, because the latter (=Ponomarev) ordered 2 of his honchos to murder a POW when he (= the POW) could not cough up a ransom.
      That was when Igor ordered the arrest and exeution of the insurgents involved, but Ponomarev escaped punishment at that time, probably because of his high status within the insurgent leadership.

      Also, on May 22 Strelkov in his blog criticized Ponomarev’s high-handedness, and also issued orderes to “disarm” Ponomarev’s bodyguards.

      In this latest incident, Strelkov wrote on his Facebook page yesterday that he had removed Ponomarev due to conduct unbecoming a public official.
      There are persistent accounts that Ponomarev ran a criminal gang in Slav’ansk. Ponomarev used to be the manager of a soap factory, and also a sewing factory.

      [I will continue to follow this interesting story.]

      • marknesop says:

        It appears Strelkov is taking this seriously and does not want his own side committing the kind of acts they criticize the junta for. Not only that, some of them may be war crimes, and it makes it much more difficult to eventually lodge a complaint against the Kiev “government” if they just did stuff everybody did. Stealing and murder, are you kidding me? So what – everyone was doing it.

        Strelkov also probably knows that when everything else is coming apart around you, discipline is all you have. It’s all that sets you apart from the animals. The more I read about him, the more I think they are lucky to have him. He appears to be a man of ethics.

      • Fern says:

        Wasn’t there also a report a day or so ago that Ponomarev announced he was ready for talks with Kiev? Mr P doesn’t seem the sort of person you’d want negotiating with the other Mr P for the future of your region.

        • yalensis says:

          It does seem like Ponomarev was losing his nerve and wanted to throw in the towel.
          When this all started, it probably seemed to him like an easy way to make more money:
          Announce that you’re the new Mayor, install yourself in office, and gain instant political influence, thus legitimizing your petty rackets. It does seem to be the Ukrainian way: merge shady business and shady politics seamlessly.

          Which, by the way, is exactly what Chocco is doing, but on a much grander scale.
          His sole purpose in becoming Prez was to expand his business empire in turbulent times.
          Expect him to loot what remains of Ukraine, monetize the loot, and salt it all away in Swiss banks.

  11. Al says:

    Oh dears! Bring on the third wave?

    NYT: For Western Oil Companies, Expanding in Russia Is a Dance Around Sanctions

    At the St. Petersburg gathering on May 24, the British oil giant BP signed a $300 million preliminary agreement with Rosneft to study shale oil deposits in the Volga Valley and Ural Mountains, west of the area where Exxon Mobil will be working. BP’s chief executive, Robert W. Dudley, an American citizen, attended the forum. But David Campbell, BP’s Russia chief and a British citizen, signed the agreement with Mr. Sechin.

    Also at the business forum, Total signed a deal with Lukoil, another Russian oil company, for exploring more than 1,000 square miles of western Siberian wilderness for shale oil. “My message to Russia is simple — it is business as usual,” Total’s chief executive, Christophe de Margerie, told journalists there…

    …“We have a responsibility to stand with our partners in a difficult time,” Mr. Dudley of BP told an audience at the St. Petersburg forum.

    Mr. Tillerson, Exxon’s chief executive, told reporters last week in Dallas that the company was making its skepticism about sanctions clear to the United States government. “Our views are being heard at the highest levels,” he said….

    …Russia supplies about one-third of the gas to heat homes and generate electricity in Europe. And Russian oil and gas exports help ease energy reliance on the politically volatile Middle East.

    For that reason, many analysts think Russian energy companies like Rosneft are simply too big to punish….”


    Pretty please?

  12. Fern says:

    A few snippets. The Secretary-General of OSCE is going to visit Rostov-on-Don on Wednesday at the invitation of Sergey Lavrov where he’ll meet refugees from Ukraine. There’s a media blackout in the West about eastern Ukraine and what’s happening there but the invisibility of the refugee flow is also because it’s ‘hidden’ crisis since many people will go to relatives or friends within Russia – there isn’t the large-scale camps that even our Ray Charles see-alike media could ignore for long.

    Another victory for the Maidan. You may recall that one of the calls of the Maidan was for an end to oligarchical government and the associated corruption. Well, that had its first win with the election of the oligarchical Poroshenko. Now it’s triumphed again with ChoccoPorro appointing another oligarch, Boris Lozhkin, of United Media Holdings, as the head of his administration. Chocco has also appointed an anchor from the TV station he owns, Channel 5, as his press secretary. There was interview a short while back with one of the dwellers of Kiev’s tent city whom Klits was trying to evict who said that Maidan supporters couldn’t possibly disband because “it would mean the loss of all they’ve achieved’. Yeah.

    Speaking of Klits, he’s suggested to council members and local businesses that they might want to volunteer for community work days to clean up Kiev since there was no money in the budget for any sort of restoration.

    • marknesop says:

      That’s funny; they had an ambitious article and modern graphic in the Kyiv Post the other day about what a pair of architects was proposing for Maidan; this futuristic orb made of wood slats which could be reconfigured for a variety of activities, most of them academic. I could not help but notice it also would take up a good deal of Maidan space and would limit any future crowds. Designed by a couple of architects from Lviv, Ukraine’s “City of Brotherly Love”.

  13. Fern says:

    Wikileaks has made available a number of diplomatic cables where Poroshenko is referred to as “our Ukraine insider” which raises some interesting questions about what, exactly, his relationship with the US has been over the last decade or so.

    “”During an April 28 meeting with Ambassador, Our Ukraine (OU) insider Petro Poroshenko emphatically denied he was using his influence with the Prosecutor General to put pressure on Tymoshenko lieutenant Oleksandr.”
    “During an April 28 meeting with Ambassador, Our Ukraine (OU) insider Petro Poroshenko denied that he was behind Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko’s recent decision to issue an arrest warrant for Tymoshenko lieutenant Oleksandr Turchynov. … [to] question him about the alleged destruction of SBU [Ukraine intel] files on organized crime figure Seymon Mogilievich.” [Russian Mafia Boss of Bosses] WikiLeaks Public Library of U.S. Diplomacy
    The motivation for alleged destruction of files appeared in an embassy message from April 14, 2006.
    “– The files contained information about Tymoshenko’s cooperation with Mogilievich when she ran United Energy Systems in the mid-late 1990s.” WikiLeaks


  14. Fern says:

    Osh, this is a classic – Jen Psaki considers herself a victim of Russian propaganda. They hate her, you see, because she’s a spokeswoman for a ‘strong democratic Ukraine’. Please note that ‘FFS’ should now read ‘FFP’ (For F**k’s Psakies).

    • marknesop says:

      A classic indeed – she looks good in green, goes nicely with red hair. I have not seen any comments about her clothing or appearance, and criticism has focused on the stupid things she says and her general lack of awareness. Good find!

  15. Gazprom extended the payment deadline for Ukraine’s gas debt – yet again. Russia is not willing to play hardball with Ukraine because of it’s dependency of Ukraine’s pipeline network. At the same time Russia’s retreat is a strong signal for the Kievan junta. Russia can be intimidated and blackmailed with threats to cut off European gas supply.

    It seems that the suspension of the South Stream is a successful policy by the West. Now Russia is forced to subsidize the Kievan junta indefinitely while the EU has zero risks and no economic losses. Russia will deliver the contracted gas in any case. Russia will be the one bearing the responsibility to subsidize the junta and take the economic losses.

    The negotiations are still ongoing but Russia has apparently not suggested the possibility that the EU would pay for the gas at Russia-Ukraine border. Maybe because Russia knows that the EU will decline anyway.

    • Finland’s biggest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (which is extremely anti-Russian) has a headline “Russia is playing hardball with gas” (translation from Finnish to English).

      LOL. Our media is twisting the situation as if Russia is the one trying to blackmail Europe and using energy as a weapon while the situation is almost vice versa. I made a comment to the comment section of the news and this time they published it. Well, that is better than nothing.

      The twisting or hiding of facts in the media almost unbearable. No mention of humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine. No mention of daily bombings of civilian infrastructure in eastern Ukraine. The Lugansk bombing was only mentioned briefly with not specifying that the junta was the guilty part. And now Russia is being painted as the bad guy in these negotiations over gas supplies when the fact is that Russia is more like a punching bag than an aggressor. Actions (or lack of them) of Russia makes it look weak and easily intimidated, but reading the media you would think otherwise.

      • Southerncross says:

        What, in your opinion, drives the Russia-haters in Finland? Is it just the Winter War and Continuation War? Do they feel that they need to prove how independent they are by shitting on their neighbour?

        • Russia haters in Finland are driven by history, mainstream media, education and plain tradition of hatred of Russia in Finland which is inherited from father to son and from mother to daughter.

          This actually goes further back in history than in 1939. Right after the independence of Finland in 1918 a russophobia has been almost like an official part of Finland’s statehood. The russophobia was exceptionally strong in 1918-1944, but after the (lost) war the russophobia was forcibly toned down by the political elites in fear of the Soviet Union.

          For example in 1918 there was an ethnic cleansing of Russian civilian population in a then-Finnish city of Vyborg. More than 500 Russians were killed by the White Finnish army in that city after the Finnish civil war. Many of those Russians actually fought alongside the Whites in Finland, but they were killed because of their ethnicity.

          During the 1920’s and 1930’s a “Greater Finland” was a semi-official policy of Finland. Between 1918-1920 Finnish militians conducted several operations in Eastern Karelia and Kola peninsula in an attempt to seize Aunus and Viena Karelia and Kola Peninsula from Soviet Russia. These attempts were not successful, but Finland ended up getting Petsamo (part of Kola peninsula) from Lenin’s government.

          In the later decades organizations such as “Academic Karelia Club” cherished the thought about getting Eastern Karelia and Kola peninsula to Finnish state, but by 1930 the Soviet Union had become too strong for Finnish military interventions. Finland needed an ally, which it later would find in Nazi Germany.

          In 1939 Stalin invaded Finland in an attempt to get buffer zone for the coming Nazi attack. The war is called Winter War in Finland. The Red Army had monumental casualties in that war (about 6-7 times more than Finland, but Russia always has more casualties in wars than the enemy so it was nothing new), but Stalin managed to achieve his goal. Finland had to give about 10% of its landmass from eastern part of the country to Soviet Union.

          In 1941 Finland had a chance for a revenge and gladly took it. If Hitler had won the war Finland would have gotten not only Eastern Karelia and Kola peninsula, but also lands from further east like Komi Republic. That was the plan of our political elites led by the president Risto Ryti, a big big Russia hater.

          When the war was lost the russophobes were forced to keep quiet and the official policy of Finland became quite amicable towards the Soviet Union. Some people call this period as Finlandization. But Finland kept it’s independence and in fact the period between 1945 to 1991 was the greatest period of economic growth in Finland’s history. Finland became one of the leading refiners of Russia’s natural resources. The formerly poor Finland became very wealthy, thanks to trade with Soviets which was very favorable for Finland (and unfavorable for the Soviets). Finland got dirt cheap oil from Soviet Union, refined it and sold the refined products with a high price in world markets.

          After 1991 and the breakup of the Soviet Union Finnish policy towards Russia changed again. The former hatred was maybe not there, but Russia and Russians were seen as lesser human beings and viewed with contempt. Russia was poor, criminal, riddled with diseases and only good for getting cheap natural resources. The ruination of Russia in the 1990’s was seen quite favorably by our mainstream media and by the political elites in private.

          In recent years the attitude towards Russia has become more hostile again. The former contempt has changed more into fear and hostility. Russia has somewhat rebounded back economically, militarily and demographically. This has not been seen as a good thing by our mainstream media. Vladimir Putin is the most demonized person in the world here, probably because Russia has rebounded during Putin’s tenure as a Russian president.

          Finland is not a 100% russophobic country. There are Russia friendly people here, but they are not very numerous. What I am worried about is the young generation. I am in my 30’s myself, but teenagers and young adults seem to be more anti-Russian than my generation was at that age. That does not bode well for future Finnish-Russian relationship.

          • Southerncross says:

            It doesn’t sound as if there is a solution. Seems hating Russia makes people feel brave and righteous, so they’re happy to do it as long as there’s no downside for them.

            What you said about the Karelia Club is interesting – do you think Finland would have joined Hitler’s coalition even if Stalin hadn’t launched the Winter War?

            • “It doesn’t sound as if there is a solution. Seems hating Russia makes people feel brave and righteous, so they’re happy to do it as long as there’s no downside for them.”

              Yes, Russia fills an important task in Finland’s national psyche. We are a young nation and our other neighbors Sweden and Norway are more cultured and wealthy than we are. We look up to Swedes and Norwegeans.

              So we need Russians so we have somebody to look down to. A big portion of our population would prefer Russia to stay poor, riddled with crime and diseases and preferably eventually disintegrate than for it to prosper and gaining strength. I would say the only people who actually wish well for Russia are the lone russophiles and people who do business with Russia (because their own economic prosperity is linked with Russia).

              “What you said about the Karelia Club is interesting – do you think Finland would have joined Hitler’s coalition even if Stalin hadn’t launched the Winter War?”

              Yes, Finland would have joined Hitler’s coalition in any case. Hitler needed Finnish soil to attack Leningrad and the Murman railway. We would have let the Germans in without a fight and most likely joined the attack with our own army as well.

              There was almost like an euphoria in Finland between 1941-1942. The historical enemy of Russia will be destroyed forever and the Greater Finland will materialize. Eastern Karelian cities such as Petroskoi (Petrozavodsk) were even officially annexed as part of Finland in 1941. When the Red Army was beaten it was planned to carry out the attack further east to Arkhangelsk and Komi Republic.

              • Southerncross says:

                Meanwhile the statue of Alexander II still stands on Senate Square. Would people feel happier if Russia behaved like the brutal overlord they maintain it to be?

                Didn’t you mention once that there was a popular Finnish song in the war years entitled ‘to the Urals’?

                • “Meanwhile the statue of Alexander II still stands on Senate Square.”
                  That is true. Alexander II gave Finland a lot of privileges and he also gave Finland its own currency. So he is seen as a good leader here.

                  “Would people feel happier if Russia behaved like the brutal overlord they maintain it to be?”
                  Of course not. For many Finns the preferable situation would be that Russia remains so weak that it is “safe” to mock and ridicule it. Time period between 1945-1991 is still seen as a abashment of Finnish history because Finland had to be “too friendly” with Russia because of Russia’s status as a superpower. Having to have friendly relationship with Russia seems like nightmare to many Finns.

                  Actually after 1991 Russia and Russian culture became a lot more foreign to Finnish people than it was before. During the Soviet period many Soviet movies were shown in the Finnish TV. There were a lot of joint grass roots level meetings and projects between Finns and Soviets. Russian music was often played in the radio. After 1991 all that disappeared. It was almost like Russia ceased to exist in Finland.

                  “Didn’t you mention once that there was a popular Finnish song in the war years entitled ‘to the Urals’?”

                  Yes, this one:

                • Southerncross says:

                  I guess that’s the pattern Finnish-Russian relations will always follow then. A burst of aggression and hostility, defeat forcing a period of friendlier relations, and a resumption of hostility during the next period of Russian weakness.

                  Christ, that’s a depressing thought.

        • PvMikhail says:

          Finland can thank it’s existence to Russia, otherwise they would be part of Sweden speaking Swedish. Stalin committed a mistake starting a war against Finland but i think this is not enough reason to be a d!ck about it. Finland was fairly neutral until Russia was a superpower. Now that it is fighting for survival, big part of them are being d!cks. So fvck all of them (anti-Russian finns).

    • Fern says:

      Merkel and Putin had a conversation yesterday about Ukraine’s gas debt so I would guess this deadline extension is a response to that. Gazprom are offering $384.60 which is a very fair rate – as the European Energy Commissioner confirmed. It maybe that European elites are becoming tired of Kiev’s intransigence on this issue. I see it’s been mooted today that negotiations are escalated to the Presidential level. If so, I’d imagine the gas price will be part of a much bigger ‘package’ between the two countries.

  16. moscowexile says:

    Sahra Wagenknecht of the Left Party (Die Linke) gives Merkel what for in the Bundestag, June 6, 2014.

    She’s Oskar Lafontaine’s wife.

    She must have made an old man very happy!

    He’s 70 – she’s 44.

    She owes her dark looks to her Iranian father, who must have been a student cad in East Germany, where she was born in Jena and brought up by her grandparents.

    Here’s her site and her speech as in the above clip:

    Frau Merkel, lösen Sie sich aus dem Schlepptau der US-Kriegspolitik.

    [Frau Merkel, stop tagging along in the wake of US war policy]


    Frau Merkel, stop tagging along in the wake of the US war policy.”

    Speech by Sahra Wagenknecht in a debate in the German Bundestag on 04.06.2014 about the government statement on the EU and the G-7 summit

    Video of the speech

    Dr. Sahra Wagenknecht (THE LEFT):

    Herr President, worthy colleagues, Frau Chancellor. Only recently when debating in Germany has it come to making reproaches whenever anyone tries to come to an understanding about anything. I believe that no one can point the finger at you, Frau Merkel, at least not as regards this matter: neither about Russia nor France or any other countries are you an expert; rather you believe that problems can be solved from on high
    (Applause from The LEFT)

    We have to stop the German Federal Republic from sliding once again into its old-style German habit of adopting a reckless, high-risk, semi-hegemonial position” the philosopher Jurgen Habermas wrote in his principal work. He was addressing you, the entire federal government. He was especially talking above all, but not only, about a demeaning manner when dealing with France

    On 25. May, at the European Parliament elections, the Front National of Marine Le Pen became the strongest political force in France. In other European countries, nationalist, populist, and almost unabashed fascist forces, such as the Golden Dawn in Greece, have grown strongly. If that is not a wake-up call, a warning that this cannot go on in Europe as before, then what is? What are you still waiting for?

    (Applause from the LEFT)

    That Madame Le Pen become French President?

    And now you are saying that Germany has nothing to do with the economic situation in France. Agenda 2010 was not only a massive expropriation of German workers, who today on average earn 3.6 percent less pay than they did in the year 2000: temporary hiring by work agencies, work contracts, mini-jobs and unwarranted restrictions have enabled German companies to slash wages and have been, of course, a massive attack on the competitiveness of European competitors, where such restrictive practices for blackmailing their employees were not available.

    (Applause for members of the LEFT)

    Tied in with all of this is that since the introduction of Euro, such countries as France have lost a significant part of their industrial capacity.

    At 9.53 Euros, the French minimum wage is about 1 Euro higher than the minimum wage which you now, with a social-heroic gesture, finally want to introduce in Germany but which will still have loopholes that allow exceptions.

    For sure, and according to your logic, France could, of course, lower its minimum wage. You will probably look upon this as a successful policy of theirs: that for the time being and under the pressure of a crisis, wages in Europe are falling; that a massive attack on workers’ rights equal to that of Agenda 2010 is now underway in the whole of Europe; that all the expenditure for education, for health, for pensions are to be slashed and the social welfare systems destroyed.
    But do you really find it so surprising, though, that more and more people are turning their backs on a Europe which they consider to be a lobbyist club for the banks and large companies that are responsible for the destruction of their jobs, for the destruction of their social security and their prosperity; that more and more people feel that the EU is a threat that has nothing to do with the great ideas of freedom, democracy, solidarity, and the welfare state and which, instead, incapacitates them and restricts their democratic choices; an EU, which only understands the term “solidarity” as meaning a perverse processing of billions of bailout packages which, at the end of the day, are only to be used by wealthy investors and banks; an EU in which, with its market-fanaticism and adherence to economic probity, the gap between the rich and Poor in Europe, is becoming wider and wider?

    (Michael Grosse-Brömer (CDU/CSU): Left-wing politics caused the Situation in France! Left-wing Politics!)

    Whoever can but wonder that in such a soil the nationalist and populist seed should germinate has really not understood anything at all.

    (Applause from the LEFT)

    This is also a seed of your making, Frau Merkel: this is also the result of the policies for which you are responsible.

    (Applause from the LEFT – Henning Otte (CDU/CSU): Fortunately, 92 percent of Germans have a different way of looking at this!)

    Anyone who believes that a solution to the Euro crisis has been put on track because hedge funds are meanwhile being used again to buy Greek government bonds are confusing the world of finance-gamers with that of real life.

    (Applause for members of the LEFT)

    An unemployed youth in Spain who, in the foreseeable future, has no realistic chance of re-entry into working life, or a Greek diabetic who does not know how much he is to pay for insulin, do not enjoy the luxury of such confusion: their lives are played out in the real world and they can sense that they hardly have any future in it.

    If this does not change; if the burden of the crisis is not finally borne by those who have benefited from the whole show; if poverty in Europe continues to grow and social welfare fails, then so will Europe fail, and that will also be your responsibility, Frau Chancellor.

    (Applause from the LEFT)

    In the Ukraine, Europe has already failed. The country is sinking into a bloody civil war. How beautiful, though, rang out the flowery promises which the Ukrainians were still hearing only a few months ago. Apparently, the German government wanted to support those forces that stood for democracy, for freedom, and for Europe, against those who supported the oligarchy, poverty and corruption. Today you support a government in which four Ministers are members of an openly anti-Semitic and anti-Russian Nazi party; a government which has well and truly fueled conflict and which is now waging a brutal war against its own population.

    (Katrin Goring-Eckardt (ALLIANCE 90/THE GREENS): Have you not noticed that there were elections there?)

    You support a President who ran his election campaign using his multi-billion dollar criminally acquired assets and his own television station; an oligarch who is no less inferior to the former head of state, Yanukovich, in corruption, gangsterism and crooked businesses and who was also, by the way, one of his ministers.

    Not to put a fine point on all of this, you are lying to the public about the real situation in the Ukraine, in which it said that, just like Afghan warlords, the stinking rich oligarchs finance their own private armies and shamelessly loot the country, whilst the majority of Ukrainians live in extreme poverty, a poverty that, as a result of cuts dictated by the EU and the IMF will be further intensified. You hide the fact that armed thugs of the Right Sector are, as before, camped out on the Maidan and that in many parts of the Ukraine the Left cannot move freely and is not without danger to life and limb and that the government, instead of disarming these marauding Nazi gangs, prefers to operate a ban against the Communist Party.

    The murder in Odessa of more than 40 civilians in a Trade Union House that a right-wing mob set fire to and in which the victims were burnt alive, is, unfortunately, no Russian Propaganda, but cruel reality,

    (Applause from the LEFT)

    a reality that has nothing to do with the cosmopolitan Pro-European, Ukraine, which you have portrayed.

    (Applause for members of the LEFT-Henning Otte (CDU/CSU): Scattered applause!)

    Is it not downright irresponsible that a government which so obviously breaches the most elementary of democratic standards be taken under the wing of the EU at the cost of billions of Euros? Would it not be much more obvious to ensure that the oligarchs’ loot be at last returned to the Ukrainian population? There is enough money there to solve the financial problems of the Ukraine.

    (Applause from the LEFT. Max Straubinger (CDU/CSU): So what’s it like in Russia? Volker Kauder (CDU/CSU): Where are your secret funds then?)

    An end to this oligarchy and corruption! Democracy and better social security: these were the concerns of the original Maidan movement. They were completely betrayed by the current rulers in Kiev, and by you, Frau Chancellor, who supports those in power there.

    (Katrin Goring-Eckardt (ALLIANCE 90/THE GREENS): But the Maidan movement was controlled by America!)

    What applies to the EU, holds true for the Ukraine. Only if the people have a social perspective, will the country have one as well.

    The first condition is that the civil war be ended. The new President does not even attempt to de-escalate the situation. He wants no talks and no negotiations, but the ruthless use of military force, although experience has taught us that in civil war there are no quick victories – only endless bloodshed.

    Frau Merkel and Herr Steinmeier, if, after all the failures of your Ukraine-diplomacy, you want to return to a responsible foreign policy, then put Poroshenko under pressure to stop the war against his own population

    (Applause from the LEFT)

    and the way to negotiations is to announce a cease-fire: then you can talk to Putin in all credibility and put him under pressure accordingly.

    (Max Straubinger (CDU/CSU): Unbelievable! How much does Putin pay you for making such a speech?)

    Included in all of this of course is that the legitimate interests of all sides be taken seriously. This is exactly what the West has over the years criminally neglected as regards its policies towards Russia. Today, even the former US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, thinks that is how it looks: that the NATO enlargement was a mistake, an error. To quote Gates word for word: “It is irresponsible to ignore the fact that the objectives of the Alliance undermined what the Russians considered their national vital interests”.

    According to article 10 of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, it is just as irresponsible to include the Ukraine in a common EU defence policy, thus effectively making the Ukraine a NATO member-state. And just as irresponsible is the absurd debate over sanctions, which continues to cause the situation to deteriorate

    (Applause for members of the LEFT)

    and which has the potential to cause the German and European economy immense damage whilst U.S. Gas and Oil companies laugh up their sleeves.

    There can be no peace and no security in Europe without or against Russia.

    (Applause from the LEFT)

    It is therefore the unconditional responsibility of the Federal government to speak out clearly and determinedly against Obama’s frightening war rhetoric and the announced troop deployment in Eastern Europe. We do not need another military provocation.

    (Michael Grosse-Brömer (CDU/CSU): Have you also spoken about this to Putin?)

    We also do not need more weapons in a world that is already bristling with weapons.

    (Applause for members of the LEFT)

    Whoever, exactly 100 years after the start of the First World War and the atrocities of the Second World War, can still be thinking and fantasizing over the viability of wars in the middle of Europe

    (Henning Otte (CDU/CSU): Just try saying that to Putin!)

    must be, I have to say, sick in the head and needs to be put away, whether he be Obama, Rasmussen, or anybody else.

    (Applause from the LEFT)

    Therefore, Frau Merkel: Stop tagging along in the wake of US war policy.

    (Applause for members of the LEFT – acclamations of the CDU/CSU: Oh! – Henning Otte (CDU/CSU): You are the one who is unaware of reality! – Michael Grosse-Brömer (CDU/CSU): Absurd!)

    Position yourself – as far as possible, together with France, – so as to ensure that this path to escalation be denied by Europe. The French historian Emmanuel Todd, has presented Germany with a withering testimony.

    (Michael Grosse-Brömer (CDU/CSU): Who? Trotsky?)

    – Emmanuel Todd. If you have never heard of him, then you should try reading about him.

    (Alexander Ulrich (THE LEFT): Sometimes reading is helpful!!! – Michael Grosse-Brömer (CDU/CSU): Emmanuel Trotsky?)

    I quote him: “Unknowingly …the Germans are now doing a re-take on themselves of their disaster-making role for other Europeans“.

    (Henning Otte (CDU/CSU): This is an outrage!)

    If you only think that you should denounce this as an outrage, then I really feel sorry for you.

    (Max Straubinger (CDU/CSU): So how can it be otherwise?)

    Frau Merkel, German European policy once traditionally took a different stance. You held to that tradition which was established by the fraternal embrace made by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer at the Elysée, by the Hand of Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl over the graves of Verdun and by the kneeling of Willy Brandt in Warsaw, with which he committed Germany to take action for all time against hatred of Jews and racism all over the world, and by which he symbolically expressed the spirit of his eastern and détente policies. Are you finally going to return to this traditional German Foreign and European policy?

    (Applause from the LEFT)

    End of translation

    • yalensis says:

      Wagenknecht: “… and the way to negotiations is to announce a cease-fire: then you can talk to Putin in all credibility and put him under pressure accordingly.”

      (Max Straubinger (CDU/CSU): “Unbelievable! How much does Putin pay you for making such a speech?)”

      So, they have internet trolls even in the Budestag? LOL

      P.S. thanks for translating this monumental speech, Exile.
      This lady is saying all the things that needed to be said.

  17. yalensis says:

    Oi veh…

    Today was supposed to be the day when Moscow cut off Kiev gas supply and switched to pre-payment.
    But once again, Moscow (aka Punching-bag) blinked… “Okay, we give you another week to pay…”
    New deadline is June 16.

    Next on agenda:
    “Go ahead, you Kiev floozy. Kick me again with those tall black boots of yours. Right here, in the kisser.”

  18. “How many fighter aircraft does the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) have? That’s right; none. Unless Kiev wants to make an argument that the Russians sent an SU-25 over to rocket Lugansk to make Kiev look bad, it was their aircraft.”

    Here you go:
    Did a Russian Jet fire into the city of Lugansk on 2-6?

    • yalensis says:

      I suppose it’s plausible, but didn’t even OSCE admit it was a Uke plane?
      And it’s not they wouldn’t jump at the chance to catch Russia doing something bad.

      Plus, I seem to recall reading somewhere they had identified the pilot of the plane.
      If they know the pilot’s name and have the transcriptions of his tapes, then they would know for sure exactly who dropped those cluster bombs.

      • marknesop says:

        The OSCE agreed the attack had come from the air, and that it was a plane rather than Kiev’s cockeyed bullshit story about air-conditioner-seeking missiles. They further agreed the damage to the building was likely caused by an unguided rocket. CNN was onsite, and their “weapons expert” said the craters in the pavement looked to have been made by 30mm ammo, which is the nose gun (anti-tank) in the SU-25. What looks to have happened is that the pilot fired a salvo of rockets, and then followed them down, conducting a strafing run with the nose gun. I’m basing that on the fact that video shows several smoke trails coming from the plane which are certainly a weapons firing, but that would mean the rockets and the cannon fire would not arrive simultaneously, so perhaps he was shooting at something else in the video. The damage appears to have all been caused in the same attack run, so he probably fired both weapons on the inbound run.

        The 30mm is a purpose-built anti-tank gun, and the ammunition is a heavy-metal subpenetrator which used to be made of depleted uranium, for throw weight and stopping power. The western militaries switched depleted uranium for tungsten some time ago, which has similar properties but not the toxicity of DU. I wonder if the Ukrainian military is still using DU ammunition.

        So far as I know, nobody said anything about it being a Uke plane, but that eraserhead had some wild theory that they switched out the IFF set from a Crimean plane to frame Ukraine, which is just preposterous.

    • Jen says:

      The blog author is very pro-Ukrainian as suggested by the first sentence of the post in which he finds the notion of a Ukrainian airforce jet strafing the park up to the city administration building “far-fetched”. Even if the jet did carry Russian airforce jet markings and colouring, and came from somewhere near the Russian border, there is still the possibility that the jet was painted as a Russian jet precisely in order to implicate Russia in a false flag attack.

      • Drutten says:

        Looking at his blogging history, the bias becomes fairly apparent.

        First he published several articles about how it couldn’t have been a plane at all, and then proceeded to advance the ludicrous MANPADS and synchronized RPG theories.

        Later, he was forced to acknowledge that it could have been a plane (this after numerous other studies and compilations became available on the internet that more or less proved it was rockets fired by a jet). So in order not to lose face he retracted, and instead suggested it was Russian planes conducting a false flag. So there you go.

        As for the false flag theory being plausible, well, it’s “plausible” in the Mythbusters sense. I.e. it could conceivably be done, but odds are against it. Besides, we know by Kievs own admission that they had numerous Su-25s in the air at the time, at that very location to boot. QED if you ask me, no need to involve increasingly far-fetched things at this stage.

    • marknesop says:

      Holy Mother of God. And if you look to the sidebar on the right – and you should, you’d never believe me otherwise – he has a proposal that the explosions in the park were caused by staged RPG firings, just like someone suggested here (mockingly); I think it was Yalensis, or maybe Moscow Exile.

      Great find – this just goes to show the incredible lengths to which some will go to explain an event which really only has one explanation. Kiev was known to be using aircraft in its persecution of the eastern cities, that aircraft was over Lugansk for a considerable time before carrying out the attack run (which would speak very poorly of the Ukrainian Air Defense network as a whole; Ukraine is not that big, and it’s not like they had to keep track of hundreds of aircraft), and there was already an abundance of atrocities by the Kiev government, which demonstrates both that they would not shrink from such an action, and that a galvanizing horrible event was not needed. If nothing else pointed to it not being a false-flag mission, the silence of the west on the whole incident does. If they thought for a second they could pin it on Russia, there would be a full-court press by the western media. They know full well the plane was Ukrainian, and Kiev did not deny it – simply that it carried out an attack. And of course there will be fervent promises of a detailed investigation, which will go in the same file the investigation of the Odessa massacre and the sniper story went – the round file otherwise known as the garbage can.

  19. yalensis says:

    On the cultural front:
    The Alexandrov Ensemble recorded this video a couple of days ago and sent specifically to Poroshenko for his amusement.
    Video is called “Moskali dance the Hopak”.

    Hopak is traditional Ukrainian dance.
    Video is response to racist Banderite chant: “He who does not jump is a Moskal”.
    Point is to prove that Moskali can jump the highest and bestest, even when doing Ukrainian dance.

    • marknesop says:

      Brilliant. I move for the suspension of traditional presidential elections in Ukraine, with their blowhard promises and stupid boasting, not to mention the appalling waste of money that Ukraine cannot afford. We will just get all the candidates together, wearing embroidered shirts, and with the aid of a calibrated laser measuring device determine how high each candidate can jump. Whoever can jump the highest while wearing an embroidered shirt gets to be president.

      In all seriousness, this western campaign has achieved one stunning success. Prior to the conflict, Putin was fond of saying that Russians and Ukrainians were brother slavs. The western tug-of-war over Ukraine sought to drive a wedge between them, and at that it succeeded very well. Putin would have a tough time selling that brother-slavs argument to his own people now, while most western Russophiles have acquired a distaste for Ukraine.

  20. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, Ukrainian army continues to disintegrate.
    Mostly because Uke government has (or claims to have) zero $$$ for any salary or benefits.

    In this latest incident , Uke government refused to recognize the glorious achievements of a “punitive brigade” of National Guardsmen, who had just been pulled back from battering the city of Slav’ansk. Government didn’t want to have to dole out any extra “hazard pay”, so just denied these guys had been in combat.
    Wanted them to slink back in Kiev and pretend they had never even been to Slav’ansk.

    Chafing at this, 50 of the soldiers have set off to march, on foot, to Kiev to protest this unfair treatment and demand the hazard pay.

    In a parallel scandal, relatives of Ukrainian soldiers who were killed at Volnovakha, were told by the government that their loved ones “committed suicide”, therefore the relatives are not entitled to survivorship benefits due survivors of soldiers slain in battle.

    [yalensis: As we learned some weeks earlier, from Igor Strelkov’s blog, a rogue insurgent platoon, connected with Ponomarev, was in fact responsible for the deaths of the Volnovakha troops. The rogue platoon snuck up on the young men, who were just hanging about in their camp, no guards posted, weapons lying in the grass, and they just killed them, like shootiing fish in a barrel. In a way, I suppose you could call it suicide, since the men were so unprepared for battle and took no precautions. However, Strelkov was very upset about this wanton slaughter, that was when the first rift occurred between him and Ponomarev.]

    To summarize: Uke government is doing everything in their power to alienate their own soldiers and the families of the soldiers, by not paying them anything or entitling them to any benefits.

    Now, these people just don’t understand the big picture: Even one hryvna going to serve their families needs, is one less hryvna flowing into Poroshenko’s Swiss bank account. The families must be willing to make that supreme sacrifice. After all, Chocco is a billionaire, and once you have one billion, then you just have to keep on going…

    • “[yalensis: As we learned some weeks earlier, from Igor Strelkov’s blog, a rogue insurgent platoon, connected with Ponomarev, was in fact responsible for the deaths of the Volnovakha troops. The rogue platoon snuck up on the young men, who were just hanging about in their camp, no guards posted, weapons lying in the grass, and they just killed them, like shootiing fish in a barrel. In a way, I suppose you could call it suicide, since the men were so unprepared for battle and took no precautions. However, Strelkov was very upset about this wanton slaughter, that was when the first rift occurred between him and Ponomarev.]”

      I don’t see anything wrong what they did. These soldiers were enemy soldiers. Why should they have been spared? This is a war and eastern Ukraine is under an attack. The last thing the seps should be worried about is the well being of the enemy soldiers.

      Let’s say the soldiers would have been spared. What would have been the result? These same soldiers would have been used by the junta to kill eastern Ukrainian people in the future.

      • Jen says:

        Depending on the details of the context in which Ponomarev’s men killed the Volnovakha troops, the soldiers may or may not have committed a war crime. Simply because if the tables had been turned, the Volnovakha troops might have massacred Ponomarev’s men while they were at rest or unprepared, is not necessarily a reason for Ponomarev to order his men to kill them from Strelkov’s point of view.

        There may be other factors that Strelkov hasn’t mentioned: the possibility that Ponomarev’s soldiers did not give the enemy soldiers a chance to surrender and give up their arms, or that the enemy soldiers might have been young and inexperienced draftees. Strelkov might also have been mindful that the junta is looking for any and every opportunity to paint the separatists as brutal and vicious, and Ponomarev’s decision and actions came close to giving the junta the opportunity it needs.

        • Paul says:

          The insurgents at Volnovakha supposedly drove up to the checkpoint in a couple of bank security trucks. This is ‘perfidy’, and a crime under the Geneva Conventions. Article 37 of Additional Protocol I states:

          Article 37. – Prohibition of perfidy
          1. It is prohibited to kill, injure or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy. Acts inviting the confidence of an adversary to lead him to believe that he is entitled to, or is obliged to accord, protection under the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, with intent to betray that confidence, shall constitute perfidy. The following acts are examples of perfidy:
          (a) The feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce or of a surrender;
          (b) The feigning of an incapacitation by wounds or sickness;
          (c) The feigning of civilian, non-combatant status; and
          (d) The feigning of protected status by the use of signs, emblems or uniforms of the United Nations or of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.

          The Volnovakha attack would fall under (c).

          • marknesop says:

            If accurate, yes, that’s true. They might have been passing themselves off as Kolomoisky’s paid mercenaries, who are known to use vans painted and labeled as belonging to Privat Bank.

      • marknesop says:

        If they could have been taken prisoner at no risk to the defending forces, they should have been. The entire incident would have been acutely embarrassing to the government, they could not deny it had happened because the easterners could have paraded the living prisoners any time they liked, they might have been exchanged for captive easterners at some time in the future and the defenders would have reaped a moral victory for their strength of character. Instead Kiev got a propaganda victory and the easterners got a few more guns. Not a very good exchange.

    • marknesop says:

      I can see why Strelkov was upset, because professional military typically do not just shoot down defenseless enemy soldiers when they are taken completely by surprise. I guess the criteria is that if you could have just taken them prisoner at no risk to yourself, then killing them is wrong. The east enjoys a significant moral advantage over Kiev, and stupid gratuitous murder like Ponomarev and his people carried out erodes that advantage, and senseless murder is unprofessional.

      I appreciate that the easterners have grown to hate the military forces for their constant bombardment of their homes and families, but that is still not an excuse.

      • kirill says:

        Discipline in a guerrilla movement is hard to achieve. You have people coming out of the woodwork to fill various roles. So I would not stain the rebels with the actions of some of them. In contrast, it is the regime which is running a dirty war and provoking revenge atrocities. In fact, I am quite sure this was one of their goals: to get the rebels to go mad with rage and not just kill some soldiers but to raid some “pro-Ukrainian” villages or detonate some car bombs in Dnepropetrovsk or elsewhere within range. The regime forces are centrally controlled with Right Sector commissars and we have had soldiers executed who refused to fight for the regime. Strelkov does not and cannot exert this level of control.

  21. Southerncross

    “I guess that’s the pattern Finnish-Russian relations will always follow then. A burst of aggression and hostility, defeat forcing a period of friendlier relations, and a resumption of hostility during the next period of Russian weakness.

    Christ, that’s a depressing thought.”

    This is basically how the cycle goes. The only way to disrupt the cycle is a change of attitudes of the most of the Finnish population, but without a long period of peace between Finland and Russia and most likely without social engineering (getting rid of anti-Russian bias in media and education) it will not be possible in the next decades.

  22. astabada says:

    Hi mark, an update on the situation in Iraq (please let me know if these posts are unwelcome: I am posting because there was some interest in previous comments).

    Al-Maliki ordered the arrest of general Mahdi Gharrawhi, general Abboud Qambar and general Ali Ghaidan. The three are responsible of major omissions during the invasion of the ISIL, and are being held on charges of treason.

    These generals were appointed by Saddam Hussein, based on their political loyalty. They then surrendered to the American invaders early enough to be considered for covering the same roles in the new Iraq.

    Their treason (if proven true) would explain why the ISIL has been so successful despite its obvious problems in terms of organisation.
    At the same time, the nightmare of recent past knocking at the door again has convinced tens of thousands of volunteers to join the Iraqi Army in an effort to repel the invasion.

    • colliemum says:

      There’s only one reply possible:
      Bloody Hell!
      Mind- it does explain a bit why that ISIL/S incursion seemingly happened with nobody noticing until they took Mosul.

    • marknesop says:

      No, of course not, anything goes within reason, and whatever people are interested in discussing.

  23. Pingback: Home Again! | Fluent Historian

  24. Mark, have you seen the story about the “Europe in 2035” map that the Western (and other) media are taking at face value as some sort of “Putin blueprint”? It is in fact a Ukie hoax about 2 years old – see here for a quick analysis

    • marknesop says:

      Ha, ha!!!! That’s a great piece!! Rich in delightful mockery. It really does look like the whole Save a Strong and Democratic Ukraine from Russia campaign is being run by idiots, but they are not quite as stupid as they appear. However, their strategy is almost completely reactive at this point, which suggests they are not anything like in control. Not yet, anyway. And no, I hadn’t seen it, that is great.

      Your piece reminded me of that simple stick-man map, with the headings in English, supposedly recovered from the hotel room in Kiev of the mysterious FSB retired Colonel who was supposedly running Yanukovych’s brutal crackdown for him. Immediately upon taking power, either Parubiy or Avakov (I think the latter, but I don’t remember for sure) vowed to take it straight to the International Criminal Court and that there was going to be a big investigation, but never a peep yet.

      I remember a news story here in my local paper, a few years ago, about a young lady working the counter of a roadside truck stop in the USA who had accepted a bogus $1000.00 bill, and given the customer who passed it a pack of cigarettes and some other stuff he bought and $980-something in perfectly legal change. I can’t find any trace of the item now, but the original story included a picture of the bill, and the crest on it was from the National Rifle Association, and the picture of the White House showed the lawn covered with tiny signs that said things like “Eat More Broccoli” and “The People Deserve a Tax Break”.

      Ahhh…I found it. I see why – it wasn’t a $1000.00 bill, it was a $200.00 bill. The incident I remember was the second one of two, in which the Dairy Queen cashier gave the customer $198.00 in legal tender as change. Obviously, there is no $200.00 bill, and the signs are different from what I said but that’s not surprising: it was 10 years ago and not “a few”.

      Anyway, I wonder when I recall that incident if the cashier did not go on to find success and fame in the U.S. State Department.

      • moscowexile says:

        Talking about maps, that horrendous looking toad-like “dissident” Novodvorskaya used always to go on about there being a map in the Russian defence ministry which showed the planned borders of a future Russia (read: Putin’s resurrected USSR), which included the former territory known as Novorossiya, now the the Kharkov, Lugansk and Donetsk provinces of Eastern Ukraine.

        Don’t know how she had gained access to the said ministry’s corridors in order to gaze at this map (can’t possibly have been through her natural feminine charm), but she regularly used to bring this matter up before the present Ukraine crisis was instigated by the USA.

        Here’s some typical Novodvorskaya shite:

        Short Course on the Historical Political Philosophy of Russia

        She’s another one of those that loathes Russia but continues to live here. She’s of the same tribe as is Gessen, Lipman, Ioffe etc. of course. I often think that these disaffected folks’ hatred of Russia is based on the fact that they are failures, namely that they haven’t become captains of industry, research physicists, philosophers, doctors, advocates etc. as have very many of their talented and highly intelligent kinsfolk.

  25. Pingback: Don’t Talk to Me About the Rule of Law. Ever Again. | The Kremlin Stooge

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