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Ukraine's Tarantulas Turn on Each Other

Ukraine’s Oligarchs Turn on Each Other
by Robert Parry - Consortium News
 
March 24, 2015 

In the never-never land of how the mainstream U.S. press covers the Ukraine crisis, the appointment last year of thuggish oligarch Igor Kolomoisky to govern one of the country’s eastern provinces was pitched as a democratic “reform” because he was supposedly too rich to bribe, without noting that his wealth had come from plundering the country’s economy.

In other words, the new U.S.-backed “democratic” regime, after overthrowing democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych because he was “corrupt,” was rewarding one of Ukraine’s top thieves by letting him lord over his own province, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, with the help of his personal army.

Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky confronting journalists
after he led an armed team in a raid at the
government-owned energy company in Kiev
on March 19, 2015. (Screen shot from YouTube)

Last year, Kolomoisky’s brutal militias, which include neo-Nazi brigades, were praised for their fierce fighting against ethnic Russians from the east who were resisting the removal of their president. But now Kolomoisky, whose financial empire is crumbling as Ukraine’s economy founders, has turned his hired guns against the Ukrainian government led by another oligarch, President Petro Poroshenko.

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Allies Defy America and Join Asian Bank Rush

Washington Misses Bigger Picture of New Chinese Bank
by Jim Lobe

 

Bibi Netanyahu’s election, persistent violence through much of the Middle East and North Africa, and intensified efforts to forge a nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran topped the news here in Washington this week.

But a much bigger story in terms of the future order of global politics was taking place in Europe and Beijing.

The story was simply this: virtually all of the closest European allies of the United States, beginning with Britain, defied pressure from Washington by deciding to apply for founding membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
 
This Chinese initiative could quickly rival the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank as a major source of funding for big development projects across Eurasia.

Not Taking "No" for An Answer: US, EU Insist Crimeans Return to Ukraine Charnel House

Crimeans Keep Saying No to Ukraine
by Robert Parry  - Consortium News
A central piece of the West’s false narrative on the Ukraine crisis has been that Russian President Vladimir Putin “invaded” Crimea and then staged a “sham” referendum purporting to show 96 percent support for leaving Ukraine and rejoining Russia. More recently, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland claimed that Putin has subjected Crimea to a “reign of terror.”
 
Both elements have been part of the “group think” that dominates U.S. political and media circles, but this propagandistic storyline simply isn’t true, especially the part about the Crimeans being subjugated by Russia.
 
Consistently, over the past year, polls conducted by major Western firms have revealed that the people of Crimea by overwhelming numbers prefer being part of Russia over Ukraine, an embarrassing reality that Forbes business magazine has now acknowledged.
 

El Retorno: Drug Wars Blowback, Mexican Style

Can You Say "Blowback" in Spanish? The Failed War on Drugs in Mexico (and the United States)
by Rebecca Gordon  - TomDispatch

They behead people by the hundreds. They heap headless, handless bodies along roadsides as warnings to those who would resist their power. They have penetrated the local, state, and national governments and control entire sections of the country.
 
They provide employment and services to an impoverished public, which distrusts their actual government with its bitter record of corruption, repression, and torture. They seduce young people from several countries, including the United States, into their murderous activities.

Is this a description of the heinous practices of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria? It could be, but as a matter of fact it’s not. These particular thugs exist a lot closer to home. They are part of the multi-billion-dollar industry known as the drug cartels of Mexico.
 
Like the Islamic State, the cartels' power has increased as the result of disastrous policies born in the U.S.A.

There are other parallels between IS and groups like Mexico's Zetas and its Sinaloa cartel. Just as the U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya fertilized the field for IS, another U.S. war, the so-called War on Drugs, opened new horizons for the drug cartels. Just as Washington has worked hand-in-hand with and also behind the backs of corrupt rulers in Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, so it has done with the Mexican government. Both kinds of war have resulted in blowback -- violent consequences felt in our own cities, whether at the finish line of the Boston Marathon or in communities of color across the country.

In Mexico, the U.S. military is directly involved in the War on Drugs. In this country, that "war" has provided the pretext for the militarization of local police forces and increased routine surveillance of ordinary people going about their ordinary lives.

And just as both the national security state and the right wing have used the specter of IS to create an atmosphere of panic and hysteria in this country, so both have used the drug cartels' grotesque theater of violence to justify their demonization of immigrants from Latin America and the massive militarizationof America’s borderlands.
 

Jewish Left at the Heart of the "Palestine Problem"

The Jewish Left Is Not The Solution, It Is The Heart Of The Problem

I have never met Jeff Halper. What I know about him is that he is an American Jew who settled on Palestinian land but opposes Israeli house demolition. Halper appears to be a participant in the Zionist project while at the same time opposing the measures that have been implemented to sustain that plunderous project.

Halper’s moral discrepancy shouldn’t take us by surprise, he is far from alone. This behavioural mode is symptomatic of Jewish Left thinking in general and the Jewish anti Zionist call in particular.

Instead of presenting a genuine ethical argument, the Jewish Left is a desperate attempt to convey an ‘image’ of Jewish moral awareness. Instead of being ethical they mimic a true ethical argument.

In the last few years, Mondoweiss has become the home for this Hasbara operation. It enthusiastically promotes Judeo-centric half-baked thoughts and comments that are designed to divert attention away from the Jewishness that drives the Jewish State and its lobby.
 

The Less Obvious Destroyers: Lies and Deception of the Left

Lies and Deceptions on the Left: The Politics of Self Destruction

 
Over the past year, what appeared as hopeful signs, that Left governments were emerging as powerful alternatives to right-wing pro-US regimes, is turning into a historic rout, which will relegate them to the dustbin of history for many years to come. The rise and rapid decay of left-wing governments in France, Greece and Brazil is not the result of a military coup, nor is it due to the machinations of the CIA. 
 
The debacle of left governments is a result of deliberate political decisions, which break decisively with the progressive programs, promises and commitments that political leaders had made to the great mass of working and middle class voters who elected them.

Increasingly, the electorate views the leftist rulers as traitors, who betrayed their supporters at the beck and call of their most egregious class enemies: the bankers, the capitalists and the neo-liberal ideologues.


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The Strangelove Generals Return: Provoking Russia

Russia Under Attack
 
While Washington works assiduously to undermine the Minsk agreement that German chancellor Merkel and French president Hollande achieved in order to halt the military conflict in Ukraine, Washington has sent Victoria Nuland to Armenia to organize a “color revolution” or coup there, has sent Richard Miles as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan to do the same there, and has sent Pamela Spratlen as ambassador to Uzbekistan to purchase that government’s allegiance away from Russia. The result would be to break up the Collective Security Treaty Organization and present Russia and China with destabilization where they can least afford it.

For details go here

Thus, Russia faces the renewal of conflict in Ukraine simultaneously with three more Ukraine-type situations along its Asian border. And this is only the beginning of the pressure that Washington is mounting on Russia.
 
On March 18 the Secretary General of NATO denounced the peace settlement between Russia and Georgia that ended Georgia’s military assault on South Ossetia. The NATO Secretary General said that NATO rejects the settlement because it “hampers ongoing efforts by the international community to strengthen security and stability in the region.”

Israeli Attacks Against Hizbullah in Syria Go Unanswered, for Now

The Strategy Behind Israel’s Attack on Iran and Hizballah
by Jonathan Cook - ICH  

Israel’s claims of an imminent threat of Hizballah attack are not credible. More likely it wants to subdue the Lebanese militia so that it has a free hand to manipulate the Syrian battlefield to its advantage

Israel has good reason to fear that the Lebanese militia Hizballah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard will seek dramatic revenge for the killing of 12 senior figures from the two organisations in an air strike in Syria on Sunday.

Israel’s concerns were underscored on Wednesday by the decision of its military chief of staff, Benny Gantz, to cancel a trip to meet his European counterparts, as the Israeli army remained on high alert.

Earlier, on Monday, Israel moved an Iron Dome anti-missile battery to the northern border, in case of rocket fire from Hizballah. That is precisely what Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah had vowed only last week if Israel continued to launch attacks on Syrian soil.

“We consider that any strike against Syria is a strike against the whole of the resistance axis, not just against Syria,” he said, adding that he had many long-range Iranian rockets that could reach deep into the Galilee.
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Calling In Old Debts: Greece Remembers Wartime "Loans"

Greece: Memory and Debt
by Conn Hallinan - CounterPunch
Memory is selective and therein lays an explanation for some of the deep animosity between Berlin and Athens in the current debt crisis that has shaken the European Union (EU) to its foundations.

For German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, “memory” goes back to 2007 when Greece was caught up in the worldwide financial conflagration touched off by American and European speculators. Berlin was a major donor in the 240 billion Euro “bailout”—89 percent of which went to pay off the gambling debts of German, French, Dutch and British banks. Schauble wants that debt repaid.

Millions of Greeks are concerned about unpaid debts as well, although their memories stretch back a little further.

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Passing: Danny Schechter, News Dissecter

Danny Schechter (1942-2015)
 
March 19, 2015 
 
Today, we lost a journalist’s journalist, the moral commander of investigative reporters from New York to Johannesburg.
 
Known for bringing the world the story of Nelson Mandela, Danny gave up cushy jobs at ABC and CNN, the big bucks and a steady flow of mainstream awards to blow the whistle on the degradation of American news.
 
Danny exposed what he called the "news goo" of talking hair-dos—denouncing them as repeaters, not reporters. One of his searing books told it all in the title: "The More You Watch, the Less You Know."
 
It was Danny Schechter who, two decades ago, hectored and harassed me until I gave up a darn good job as an investigator, pushing me to become an investigative reporter. (He did demand I wear a wig so I could get on the US boob tube. (No way. Instead I went into journalistic exile at BBC London.)
 
And it was Danny Schechter who first brought my investigations back to our benighted America in his film, Counting on Democracy.
 
Once, in Bosnia, when I ran into some reporters from Kazakhstan, and I told them I was from New York, they asked me, "Do you know Danny Schechter?" When I said yes, they were dazzled. But in America, Danny was, sadly, a prophet outcast in his own land. The hair-sprayed pseudo-news puppets, with their phony tales of derring-do, exiled Danny’s clarion reports to the confined pool of dissenting websites and DVDs.
 
It had been my plan to surprise Danny by dedicating our current film to him. I will do that still, and, as well, dedicate myself to the Sisyphean task he demanded of me and the many others he mentored: to tell the stories of the brutalized, cheated, hurt and silenced; to be a voice for the voiceless.

Alev ha-shalom, Danny Schechter, rest, finally, in peace.
 
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Worse than Blood for Oil: What Bush and Co. Really Accomplished in Iraq

How Bush won the war in Iraq - really!
by Greg Palast for Vice Magazine
 
March 18, 2015

If you thought it was "Blood for Oil"--you're wrong. It was far, far worse.

Because it was marked "confidential" on each page, the oil industry stooge couldn't believe the US State Department had given me a complete copy of their secret plans for the oil fields of Iraq.

Actually, the State Department had done no such thing. But my line of bullshit had been so well-practiced and the set-up on my mark had so thoroughly established my fake identity, that I almost began to believe my own lies. I closed in.
 
I said I wanted to make sure she and I were working from the same State Department draft. Could she tell me the official name, date and number of pages? She did.
Bingo! I'd just beaten the Military-Petroleum Complex in a lying contest, so I had a right to be stoked.
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