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by grtv

The United States and Russia have achieved many milestones when it comes to relieving tensions between the two superpowers after the Cold War, but it seems that lately those strains have been on the rise.

Russia has been more than vocal over its opposition of the US missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, and now Russia plans on implementing a visa ban on American officials to counter the US banning Russian officials for alleged human rights violations.

David Swanson, campaigner for Roots Action, joins us with more on the matter.

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Iran

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داعش و دام اسلامی کردن خاورمیانه Image

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داعش و دام اسلامی کردن خاورمیانه

 داعش و دام اسلامی کردن خاورمیانه
ژرفشی پیرامون ژاژخایی بارک الحسین آل اوباما در مبارزه علیه ددمنشان داعش.
نویسنده وگوینده: نیک پاکپور
به باور گوینده، آنچه را که ما امروز در میین استریم مه دییا ” Mainstream media” غربی، به عنوان جنجال جنگی غرب علیه جهادیزم جانی، وحشی ـ وهابی، اسلامی ـ ارتجاعی، در منطقه خاورمیانه شاهد هستیم، در اصل و اساسش چیزی به جز یک رجز خوانی ره توریک گونه یا تبلیغات تعفن بار و تهوع آور، آغشته و آمیخته به انواع ترفندها، تزویرها، تحریک ها و توطئه های تموچین گونه برای تسخیر، تقسیم و تصرف و سپس تهی کردن و تخلیه کردن خاورمیانه از منابع، معادن و مینرال سرشار نفتی و گازی اش نمی باشد که از سالها پیش توست استراتژیست های ”Anglo-American” آلبته با سروری و سردمداری سبعانه و ساویج گونه زایونیزم جهاتی بطور مکارانه و مزورانه و میرغضبانه، مهندسی و معماری شده است

نیک پاکپور - تراژدی تاریخی 28 مرداد Image

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نیک پاکپور - تراژدی تاریخی 28 مرداد

تراژدی تاریخی 28 مرداد

سیر و سیاحتی به مناسبت 61 مین سالگرد کودتای ننگین 28 مرداد

گوینده: نیک پاکپور

پیش از اینکه با سنبه وسوندی سنباننده به سفتن مدخل ومجرای، بحثی تاریخی، در مورد کودتای 28 مرداد سال 1332 خورشیدی ایران را، باز کنم، لازم می بینم که نخست بطور مختصر و مرخم ومفید، اشاراتی نیز داشته باشم به شیوها وشگردهای شیادانه و شعبده بازانه تعداد بسیار، بسیار اندکی از مائوئیست های متاسیون شده و کمونيیست های Quisling شده به همراه مونارکیست های منحط و متواری، مومیایی شده، که درطی دهه های گذشته، بویژه پس از انقراض و اضمحال یا انحطاط بساط سلطه و سیطره ارتجاع ، استعمار و استکبار جهانی در ایران، که اغلب بخاطر مزد و معاش در جهت ارتزاق و ارتشاف شخصی و شکمی، با تغذیه از اسناد استفراغ زده شده و آروغ زده شده ارتجاع جهانی، بسان رجاله گان سیاسی، با رجزخوانی رذیلانه، برای رضی و راضی نگهداشتن دشمنان دژنام ایرانی، در رسانه ها و روزنامه های باصطلاع فارسی زبان زیر سیطره و ساطور سیاه سازمان های اطلاعاتی lntelligency چون CIA امریکا و MI6 انگلستان و DGSE فرانسه، BND آلمان و موساد اسرائیل بنام صدای امریکا و رادیوی فریب و Fradulent فردا، بی بی سی، رادیوی RFI، رادیوی دویچه وله فارسی، صدای شوم Zionism جهانی، یعنی اسرايیل، البته با مدد سفسطه ولی با سکسکه سفیل ، سفیهانه و سالوسانه، علیه سیمای ستبر مردم ایران یا سخن پراکنی کرده یا با کمک مستقیم و غیر مستقیم Benefit سیاسی ارتجاع جهانی، مرتکب نسک و نشر و جهل، جوزن وجادوگری تاریخی شده اند، و بارها و بارها به کرات و مرات با کراهت و گژبینی گزند گونه در سنگر گزیزگاه دشمن با کرنش و کمر خم کنی خماننده ولی با نیش و نیشتر و نیرنگی فریبنده، برای توجیه و تطهیر و تبرئه عاملان و قاتلان و خائنان داخلی و خاری کودتای 28 مرداد، نوکربابانه یا نطق کرده یا نسک نگاشته اند. لطفآ بقیه را در video توجه فرمائید!

 


گوینده: نیک پاکپور - بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب Image

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گوینده: نیک پاکپور - بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب

بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب
گوینده: نیک پاکپور
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Europe

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Oligarchs Consolidate Power in Ukraine After Parliamentary Elections Image

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Oligarchs Consolidate Power in Ukraine After Parliamentary Elections

Professor Ivan Katchanovski says the new parties in power are new coalitions between the members of the same oligarchic class

Bio
Ivan Katchanovski teaches at the School of Political Studies and the Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa in Canada He received his Ph.D. from the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs at George Mason University. He previously held research and teaching positions at Harvard University, the State University of New York at Potsdam, and the University of Toronto.
Transcript
Oligarchs Consolidate Power in Ukraine after Parliamentary Elections (1/2)ANTON WORONCZUK, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Anton Woronczuk in Baltimore.
We're coming on one year since protest waves and demonstrations known as the Euromaidan began in Ukraine. Since then, the country has seen hundreds of protesters assaulted or murdered, including those during the February sniper massacre of over 100 protesters. It's seen the overthrow former president Viktor Yanukovych, the annexation of Crimea by Russia, the May 2 massacre of 39 people in Odessa, alongside other atrocities, and rebellions in the Eastern regions, which have left over 3,700 dead and created over 1 million refugees, with violence still ongoing despite the signing of a ceasefire agreement in September of this year.
Now, with the results in from the October 26 parliamentary elections, pro-Western and pro-European parties are set to dominate the Ukrainian parliament with a coalition to form between the Petro Poroshenko Bloc (named after the current Ukrainian president) and the People's Front, led by current prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The rebel-controlled areas of Donetsk and Lugansk will hold separate elections on November 2, with Russia saying they will support the outcome, while the Ukrainian central government in Kiev says the voting violates the terms of the ceasefire.
Here to discuss how the elections will affect the situation Ukraine is Ivan Katchanovski. He teaches at the School of Political Studies and the Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa in Canada. He is the author of Cleft Countries: Regional Political Divisions and Cultures in Post-Soviet Ukraine and Moldova and is the coauthor of the Historical Dictionary of Ukraine.
Thanks for joining us, Ivan.
IVAN KATCHANOVSKI, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF OTTOWA: [Thank you] for inviting me.
WORONCZUK: So, Ivan, most of the reporting in the mainstream press, at least in the United States, has focused on the outcome of these elections in terms of how it will affect the geopolitical orientation of Ukraine towards the West and towards Europe. But it's also worth recalling that the current president, Petro Poroshenko, had called for early parliamentary elections and that the purpose of this was actually to purge members of the parliament that were connected to the former president, Yanukovych. Do you think that these elections have achieved that result?
KATCHANOVSKI: I think they achieved this aim to a significant extent. Poroshenko used specific term, revenge of former members of Yanukovych by definition and the Communist Party as a fifth column, and here basically worked to eliminate them from the Ukrainian politics, from the parliament. And the Communist Party is now outside of the parliament. The government wanted to prohibit Communist Party, but they basically achieved this goal with help of elections.
And former Party of Regions still exists Ukraine. They have a new leadership. But they did not run in the elections under their own name. Many of their members and leaders actually run as a part of the Opposition Bloc [incompr.] this Opposition Bloc would be represented in the parliament. It [incompr.] much less [incompr.] actual [incompr.] elections in 2012.
WORONCZUK: So it's also worth taking note that of all of the political parties that have gained the most in the parliamentary elections, actually had not run in the previous election for Ukrainian Parliament, but one party that had historically been part of the parliament, the Fatherland Party, which is led by, Yulia Tymoshenko, the first female prime minister of Ukraine, as well as that who was called the leader of the Orange Revolution, her party lost 82 seats. What's the significance of this?
KATCHANOVSKI: I think this is another major development of elections in addition to changes in the main political parties. This is quite typical for Ukrainian elections and for political party system in Ukraine, which is dominated by oligarchic parties, like our former president, Fatherland Party, which was kind of established by Tymoshenko and led by Tymoshenko. She was an oligarchy since 1990s. Poroshenko's bloc is also oligarchic party, representing interests of Poroshenko and his associates. And I think similar situations would be with many other put political parties in Ukraine, which often change their orientation, ideology, communication, political alliances, and their views on many major issues, and even their names.
But I think in the case of Fatherland, a major split took place before the elections. And former associates of Tymoshenko from her party and from the allied party Front Zmin, led by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, they've established their own political party called the People's Front and they sealed very big support in these elections. They sealed 22 percent support, a similar percentage as the party led by Petro Poroshenko.
WORONCZUK: So if most of these parties are dominated by members of the oligarchic class and they just seem to pop to a different party or shift to a different party or new parties, do these elections represent any significant change in the character of the ruling elite in the parliament?
KATCHANOVSKI: Yes, I think they basically consolidated control over the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian politics by a new set of political organizations and a new set of oligarchs. And these new oligarchs, which receive very big support, in addition to Poroshenko, such oligarchs include Ihor Kolomoyskyi, who is governor of Dnipropetrovsk region. But also he provided significant backing and financial support to political parties which are now represented in the parliament. And he also has various representatives in the parliament from different political parties. So [there's (?)] also now a big faction of separatists of Kolomoyskyi in the parliament in addition to basically faction of Petro Poroshenko. And there also individual candidates who received support in or won election races in majoritarian districts, and they also often are rich businessmen or associated with oligarchs. So I think this was also victory for oligarchic political parties in Ukraine, but in addition [incompr.] performance by far right political parties, specifically the Radical Party, but also Svoboda, which received significant support even if it was not represented in the parliament on the party list.
WORONCZUK: Well, but it doesn't seem like some of those far right wing parties, like Svoboda or the Right Sector, will even have that much influence. From what I understand, Svoboda just passed the necessary amount to be able to enter into parliament, and as I understand, Right Sector didn't even make it into the parliament.
KATCHANOVSKI: [incompr.] Svoboda actually--according to the latest data that I saw, Svoboda would fail to enter the parliament under their party list, because they received about 4 and 7 percent of national vote, which would be lower compared to the actual vote of 5 percent. But several of Svoboda members were elected to the parliament in majoritarian districts. And the same applies to the Right Sector. Right Sector received about 2 percent of the popular vote [incompr.] would be represented as political /pæk/ in the parliament. But its leader, Yarosh, and also some of its members, other members, were elected to the parliament in the regional districts, since they would have representation of these parties in the Ukrainian parliament. But in addition to this, there was also party called the Radical Party, which is led by Lyashko. And this party's a combination of different ideological [stems (?)], but it has very strong far-right component. Some of its members who were elected to the parliament in recent elections or in the last elections include a leader of neo-Nazi Social National Party of Ukraine, and also some of the former leader of the Ukrainian [incompr.]
WORONCZUK: Do you expect them to cooperate closely with this coalition that's forming between the Petro Poroshenko Bloc and the People's Front? Or do you expect it to be more antagonistic?
KATCHANOVSKI: I think it's difficult to say now definitely, because Ukrainian politics is--how do you say?--is often based on kind of backsided deals and not very transparent. But latest information that I have is that both Poroshenko Bloc and People's Front, led by Yatsenyuk, they suggested that they would be open to Radical Party joining their coalition. So it's possible that the Radical Party would also join the government, even. So it's, again, difficult to tell if they would reach such a deal.
WORONCZUK: Okay. And as I mentioned earlier, we're coming on about one year since the Euromaidan protests really took off. Do you see the new parliament as representing the interests or representing the interests of the Euromaidan protesters?
KATCHANOVSKI: I think most of the political parties which won the elections actually represented former opposition and former Maidan protesters. And these include political parties, specifically Poroshenko's Bloc, which includes also UDAR members, UDAR political party, led by Klitschko. There were also other political parties, like Fatherland, which is now represented by both Fatherland and by the People's Front. Other political parties include the far right and also far-right organizations like the Right Sector and the Social National Assembly, which were able to elect their representatives to the parliament in individual races. So they would achieve such a representation.
I think this is basically big victory for the Maidan forces. But I think this is actually not a very positive development, because actually, in terms of politics, this means that the opposition is very weak now and there are--the current government basically just consolidated its control over Ukrainian politics and [it tries to (?)] eliminate opposition or any possible challenges from the former opposition or any new opposition that might emerge. And, actually, they came to power. Also it necessary to remember that they came to power not as a result of democratic elections, but as a result of violent overthrow of the former democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych, even though it was very corrupt government and it was involved in various human rights violations--specifically, trying to disperse protesters against Yanukovych government last year when the Euromaidan started.
Actually, the evidence that I have and which I collected and which I analyzed for my research paper actually shows that this was a violent overthrow of the government and actually is that this evidence that such overthrow was achieved with help of so-called snipers massacre. And this snipers massacre was organized, according to the evidence that they have, by the Right Sector, or there was involvement of the Right Sector and certain other elements of the Maidan opposition, very likely from some of the oligarchic parties or some other parties which are now represented in the parliament. So they basically just consolidated their victory.
But if you go back to the Maidan, even though it was very--a popular movement against the government of Viktor Yanukovych, the Euromaidan achieved its victory not as a result of a peaceful protest; it actually was able to overthrow Yanukovych as a result of violence. So this was actually against police and, later, violence against demonstrators or protesters actually from the Maidan side itself.
WORONCZUK: Okay, Ivan, we'll hold part one of the conversation here for now.
So join us for our next interview on the Ukrainian parliamentary elections with Ivan Katchanovski on The Real News Network.
End

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United state

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Jessica Desvarieux is a multimedia journalist who serves as the Capitol Hill correspondent for the Real News Network. Most recently, Jessica worked as a producer for the ABC Sunday morning program, This Week with Christianne Amanpour. Before moving to Washington DC, Jessica served as the Haiti corespondent for TIME Magazine and TIME.com. Previously, she was as an on-air reporter for New York tri-state cable outlet Regional News Network, where she worked before the 2010 earthquake struck her native country of Haiti. From March 2008 - September 2009, she lived in Egypt, where her work appeared in various media outlets like the Associated Press, Voice of America, and the International Herald Tribune - Daily News Egypt. She graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a Master of Science degree in journalism. She is proficient in French, Spanish, Haitian Creole, and has a working knowledge of Egyptian Colloquial Arabic. Follow her @Jessica_Reports.

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Growing Rift Between US & Turkey Over Arming Kurds

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Bio
Baris Karaagac is a lecturer in International Development Studies at Trent University, in Ontario. He is also the editor of the book Accumulations, Crises and Struggles: Capital and Labour in Contemporary Capitalism.

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When the siege began, US air support for the defenders of Kobani had been desultory; for fear of offending Turkey the US air force had avoided liaising with Kurdish fighters on the ground. By the middle of October the policy had changed, and the Kurds started giving detailed targeting information to the Americans, enabling them to destroy Isis tanks and artillery. Previously, Isis commanders had been skilful in hiding their equipment and dispersing their men. In the air campaign so far, only 632 out of 6600 missions have resulted in actual attacks. But as they sought to storm Kobani, Isis leaders had to concentrate their forces in identifiable positions and became vulnerable. In one 48-hour period there were nearly forty US airstrikes, some only fifty yards from the Kurdish front line.It wasn’t US air support alone that made the difference. In Kobani, for the first time, Isis was fighting an enemy – the People’s Defence Units (YPG) and its political wing, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) – that in important respects resembled itself. The PYD is the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which since 1984 has been fighting for self-rule for the 15 million Turkish Kurds. Like Isis, the PKK combines fanatical ideological commitment with military expertise and experience gained in long years of guerrilla war. Marxist-Leninist in its original ideology, the PKK is run from the top and seeks to monopolise power within the Kurdish community, whether in Turkey or Syria. The party’s imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, the object of a powerful personality cult, issues instructions from his Turkish prison on an island in the Sea of Marmara. The PKK’s military leadership operates from a stronghold in the Qandil Mountain in northern Iraq, one of the great natural fortresses of the world. Most of its fighters, estimated to number seven thousand, withdrew from Turkey under the terms of a ceasefire in 2013, and today move from camp to camp in the deep gorges and valleys of the Qandil. They are highly disciplined and intensely dedicated to the cause of Kurdish nationalism: this has enabled them to wage a war for three decades against the enormous Turkish army, always undeterred despite the devastating losses they have suffered. The PKK, like Isis, emphasises martyrdom: fallen fighters are buried in carefully tended cemeteries full of rose bushes high in the mountains, with elaborate tombstones over the graves. Pictures of Ocalan are everywhere: six or seven years ago, I visited a hamlet in Qandil occupied by the PKK; overlooking it was an enormous picture of Ocalan picked out in coloured stones on the side of a nearby mountain. It’s one of the few guerrilla bases that can be seen from space.Syria and Iraq are full of armies and militias that don’t fight anybody who can shoot back, but the PKK and its Syrian affiliates, the PYD and YPG, are different. Often criticised by other Kurds as Stalinist and undemocratic, they at least have the capacity to fight for their own communities. The Islamic State’s string of victories against superior forces earlier this year came about because it was fighting soldiers, such as those in the Iraqi army, who are low in morale and poorly supplied with weapons, ammunition and food, thanks to corrupt and incompetent commanders, many of whom are liable to flee. When a few thousand Isis fighters invaded Mosul in June they were in theory facing sixty thousand Iraqi soldiers and police. But the real figure was probably only a third of that: the rest were either just names on paper, with the officers pocketing the salaries; or they did exist but were handing over half their pay to their commanders in return for never going near an army barracks. Not much has improved in the four months since the fall of Mosul on 9 June. According to an Iraqi politician, a recent official inspection of an Iraqi armoured division ‘that was meant to have 120 tanks and 10,000 soldiers, revealed that it had 68 tanks and just 2000 soldiers’. The Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga – literally ‘those who confront death’ – aren’t immensely effective either. They are often regarded as better soldiers than the soldiers in the Iraqi army, but their reputation was won thirty years ago when they were fighting Saddam; they have not done much fighting since, except in the Kurdish civil wars. Even before they were routed by Isis in Sinjar in August, a close observer of the peshmerga referred to them derisively as ‘pêche melba’; they were, he said, ‘only good for mountain ambushes’.The Islamic State’s success has been helped not just by its enemies’ incompetence but also by the divisions evident between them. John Kerry boasts of having put together a coalition of sixty countries all pledged to oppose Isis, but from the beginning it was clear that many important members weren’t too concerned about the Isis threat. When the bombing of Syria began in September, Obama announced with pride that Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Turkey were all joining the US as military partners against Isis. But, as the Americans knew, these were all Sunni states which had played a central role in fostering the jihadis in Syria and Iraq. This was a political problem for the US, as Joe Biden revealed to the embarrassment of the administration in a talk at Harvard on 2 October. He said that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE had promoted ‘a proxy Sunni-Shia war’ in Syria and ‘poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad – except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and al-Qaida and the extremist element of jihadis coming from other parts of the world’. He admitted that the moderate Syrian rebels, supposedly central to US policy in Syria, were a negligible military force. Biden later apologised for his words, but what he had said was demonstrably true and reflects what the administration in Washington really believes. Though they expressed outrage at Biden’s frankness, America’s Sunni allies swiftly confirmed the limits of their co-operation. Prince al-Waleed bin Talal al-Saud, a business magnate and member of the Saudi royal family, said: ‘Saudi Arabia will not be involved directly in fighting Isis in Iraq or Syria, because this does not really affect our country explicitly.’ In Turkey, Erdoğan said that so far as he was concerned the PKK was just as bad as Isis.Excluded from this bizarre coalition were almost all those actually fighting Isis, including Iran, the Syrian army, the Syrian Kurds and the Shia militias in Iraq. This mess has been much to the advantage of the Islamic State, as illustrated by an incident in northern Iraq in early August when Obama sent US special forces to Mount Sinjar to monitor the danger to the thousands of Yazidis trapped there. Ethnically Kurdish but with their own non-Islamic religion, the Yazidis had fled their towns and cities to escape massacre and enslavement by Isis. The US soldiers arrived by helicopter and were efficiently guarded and shown around by uniformed Kurdish militiamen. But soon afterwards the Yazidis – who had been hoping to be rescued or at least helped by the Americans – were horrified to see the US soldiers hurriedly climb back into their helicopter and fly away. The reason for their swift departure, it was revealed later in Washington, was that the officer in charge of the US detachment had spoken to his Kurdish guards and discovered that they weren’t the US-friendly peshmerga of the Kurdistan Regional Government but PKK fighters – still listed as ‘terrorists’ by the US, despite the central role they have played in helping the Yazidis and driving back Isis. It was only when Kobani was on the verge of falling that Washington accepted it had no choice but to co-operate with the PYD: it was, after all, practically the only effective force still fighting Isis on the ground.* * *And then there was the Turkish problem. US planes attacking Isis forces in Kobani had to fly 1200 miles from their bases in the Gulf because Turkey wouldn’t allow the use of its airbase at Incirlik, just a hundred miles from Kobani. By not preventing reinforcements, weapons and ammunition from reaching Isis in Kobani, Ankara was showing that it would prefer Isis to hold the town: anything was better than the PYD. Turkey’s position had been clear since July 2012, when the Syrian army, under pressure from rebels elsewhere, pulled out of the main Kurdish areas. The Syrian Kurds, long persecuted by Damascus and politically marginal, suddenly won de facto autonomy under increasing PKK authority. Living mostly along the border with Turkey, a strategically important area to Isis, the Kurds unexpectedly became players in the struggle for power in a disintegrating Syria. This was an unwelcome development for the Turks. The dominant political and military organisations of the Syrian Kurds were branches of the PKK and obeyed instructions from Ocalan and the military leadership in Qandil. The PKK insurgents, who had fought for so long for some form of self-rule in Turkey, now ruled a quasi-state in Syria centred on the cities of Qamishli, Kobani and Afrin. Much of the Syrian border region was likely to remain in Kurdish hands, since the Syrian government and its opponents were both too weak to do anything about it. Ankara may not be the master chess player collaborating with Isis to break Kurdish power, as conspiracy theorists believe, but it saw the advantage to itself of allowing Isis to weaken the Syrian Kurds. It was never a very far-sighted policy: if Isis succeeded in taking Kobani, and thus humiliating the US, the Americans’ supposed ally Turkey would be seen as partly responsible, after sealing off the town. In the event, the Turkish change of course was embarrassingly speedy. Within hours of Erdoğan saying that Turkey wouldn’t help the PYD terrorists, permission was being given for Iraqi Kurds to reinforce the PYD fighters at Kobani.Turkey’s volte face was the latest in a series of miscalculations it had made about developments in Syria since the first uprising against Assad in 2011. Erdoğan’s government could have held the balance of power between Assad and his opponents, but instead convinced itself that Assad – like Gaddafi in Libya – would inevitably be overthrown. When this failed to happen, Ankara gave its support to jihadi groups financed by the Gulf monarchies: these included al-Nusra, al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, and Isis. Turkey played much the same role in supporting the jihadis in Syria as Pakistan had done supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan. The estimated 12,000 foreign jihadis fighting in Syria, over which there is so much apprehension in Europe and the US, almost all entered via what became known as ‘the jihadis’ highway’, using Turkish border crossing points while the guards looked the other way. In the second half of 2013, as the US put pressure on Turkey, these routes became harder to access but Isis militants still cross the frontier without too much difficulty. The exact nature of the relationship between the Turkish intelligence services and Isis and al-Nusra remains cloudy but there is strong evidence for a degree of collaboration. When Syrian rebels led by al-Nusra captured the Armenian town of Kassab in Syrian government-held territory early this year, it seemed that the Turks had allowed them to operate from inside Turkish territory. Also mysterious was the case of the 49 members of the Turkish Consulate in Mosul who stayed in the city as it was taken by Isis; they were held hostage in Raqqa, the Islamic State’s Syrian capital, then unexpectedly released after four months in exchange for Isis prisoners held in Turkey.* * *Had Erdoğan chosen to help the Kurds trapped in Kobani rather than sealing them off, he might have strengthened the peace process between his government and the Turkish Kurds. Instead, his actions provoked protests and rioting by Kurds across Turkey; in towns and villages where there had been no Kurdish demonstrations in recent history tyres were burned and 44 people were killed. For the first time in two years, Turkish military aircraft struck at PKK positions in the south-east of the country. It appears that Erdoğan had thrown away one of the main achievements of his years in power: the beginnings of a negotiated end to the Kurdish armed insurgency. Ethnic hostility and abuse between Turks and Kurds have now increased. The police suppressed anti-Isis demonstrations but left pro-Isis demonstrations alone. Some 72 refugees who had fled to Turkey from Kobani were sent back into the town. When five PYD members were arrested by the Turkish army they were described by the military as ‘separatist terrorists’. There were hysterical outbursts from Erdoğan’s supporters: the mayor of Ankara, Melih Gökçek, tweeted that ‘there are people in the east who pass themselves off as Kurdish but are actually atheist Armenians by origin.’ The Turkish media, increasingly subservient to or intimidated by the government, played down the seriousness of the demonstrations. CNN Turk, famous for showing a documentary on penguins at the height of the Gezi Park demonstrations last year, chose to broadcast a documentary on honeybees during the Kurdish protests.How great a setback would it be for Isis if it failed to capture Kobani? Its reputation for always defeating its enemies would be damaged, but it has shown that it can stand up to US airstrikes even when its forces are concentrated in one place. The caliphate declared by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on 29 June is still expanding: its biggest victories, in Anbar Province, have given it another quarter of Iraq. A series of well-planned attacks in September saw Isis capture territory around Fallujah, forty miles west of Baghdad. An Iraqi army camp at Saqlawiyah was besieged for a week and overrun: three hundred Iraqi army soldiers were killed. As in the past, the army proved incapable of staging an effective counteroffensive despite support from US airstrikes. On 2 October, Isis launched a series of attacks which captured Hit, a town north of Ramadi, leaving the government holding only a single army base in the area. Isis forces are today very close to the Sunni enclaves in west Baghdad: until now these have remained quiet, though every other Sunni area in the country has been in turmoil. According to Isis prisoners, the Isis cells in the city are waiting for orders to rise up in co-ordination with an attack from outside the capital. Isis might not be able to seize all of Baghdad, a city of seven million people (the majority Shia), but it could take the Sunni areas and cause panic throughout the capital. In wealthy mixed districts like al-Mansour in west Baghdad half the inhabitants have left for Jordan or the Gulf because they expect an Isis assault. ‘I think Isis will attack Baghdad, if only to take the Sunni enclaves,’ one resident said. ‘If they hold even part of the capital they will add credibility to their claim to have established a state.’ Meanwhile, the government and the local media doggedly play down the seriousness of the threat of an Isis invasion in order to prevent mass flight to safer Shia areas in the south.The replacement of Nouri al-Maliki’s corrupt and dysfunctional government by Haider al-Abadi hasn’t made as much difference as its foreign backers would like. Because the army is performing no better than before, the main fighting forces facing Isis are the Shia militias. Highly sectarian and often criminalised, they are fighting hard around Baghdad to drive back Isis and cleanse mixed areas of the Sunni population. Sunnis are often picked up at checkpoints, held for ransoms of tens of thousands of dollars and usually murdered even when the money is paid. Amnesty International says that the militias, including the Badr Brigade and Asaib Ahl al Haq, operate with total immunity; it has accused the Shia-dominated government of ‘sanctioning war crimes’. With the Iraqi government and the US paying out big sums of money to businessmen, tribal leaders and anybody else who says they will fight Isis, local warlords are on the rise again: between twenty and thirty new militias have been created since June. This means that Iraqi Sunnis have no choice but to stick with Isis. The only alternative is the return of ferocious Shia militiamen who suspect all Sunnis of supporting the Islamic State. Having barely recovered from the last war, Iraq is being wrecked by a new one. Whatever happens at Kobani, Isis is not going to implode. Foreign intervention will only increase the level of violence and the Sunni-Shia civil war will gather force, with no end in sight.Patrick Cockburn is the author of The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising.
  • Former Pro-GMO Biotech Scientist Admits GMOs Aren’t Safe, Refutes Claims by Monsanto
    Former Pro-GMO Biotech Scientist Admits GMOs Aren’t Safe, Refutes Claims by Monsanto By Christina Sarich "Natural Society" For how long will we need to go back and forth in this GMO battle before a sound conclusion is finally met? If you have been following the GMO debate at all, you probably realize that this issue will likely never rest, as numerous studies on both sides of the spectrum (one side showing safety and the other showing danger) will continue to surface. What’s more, this research as well as opinions will be born out of lies or false substantiation. You’ve likely read headlines like these lately and scoffed:2000+ Reasons Why GMOs Are Safe To Eat And Environmentally SustainableGMO Opponents Are the Climate Skeptics of the LeftStudy of 1 Billion Animals Finds GMOs SafeOr how about comments like this one:“I used to think that nothing rivaled the misinformation spewed by climate change skeptics and spinmeisters.Then I started paying attention to how anti-GMO campaigners have distorted the science on genetically modified foods. You might be surprised at how successful they’ve been and who has helped them pull it off.”Or if you trust one of the most hated companies on the planet, you can go straight to Monsanto’s site and read: An Overview of the Safety and Advantages of GM Foods.Monsanto openly admits “after 30” whole “years of research” that they are convinced GMOs are safe. Just one type of pine tree lives more than 5000 years, but yea – Monsanto has all of Mother Nature figured out in its 30 years of tinkering with genes.It’s amazing how many people have been boondoggled by biotech or are simply paid shills to keep the misinformation train choo-chooing along.Former Biotech Scientist Speaks OutIn comes Dr. Thierry Vrain, a former GMO biotechnologist who has come out with a lot of information that should open people’s eyes about the real dangers of genetically modified foods and crops.Vrain will be the first to admit that Monsanto has conducted a lot of studies showing that GMOs are safe, but he changed his own tune about ten years ago when he started reading scientific journals from other countries.Vrain explains:“I started paying attention to the flow of published studies coming from Europe, some from prestigious labs and published in prestigious scientific journals, that questioned the impact and safety of engineered food.”Vrain was so much a supporter of GMOs (as well as a former biotech scientist for Agriculture Canada) that he used to conduct tours and tell large groups of people all about the greatness of genetically altered crops – but not anymore. Here is what he thinks about his former industry now:“I refute the claims of the biotechnology companies that their engineered crops yield more, that they require less pesticide applications, that they have no impact on the environment and of course that they are safe to eat.There are a number of scientific studies that have been done for Monsanto by universities in the U.S., Canada, and abroad. Most of these studies are concerned with the field performance of the engineered crops, and of course they find GMOs safe for the environment and therefore safe to eat.”Vrain thinks the public is being swindled. He believes we should all demand that government agencies replicate tests showing that GMOs are safe rather than rely on studies paid for by the biotech companies. He continues:“The Bt corn and soya plants that are now everywhere in our environment are registered as insecticides. But are these insecticidal plants regulated and have their proteins been tested for safety? Not by the federal departments in charge of food safety, not in Canada and not in the U.S.There are no long-term feeding studies performed in these countries to demonstrate the claims that engineered corn and soya are safe. All we have are scientific studies out of Europe and Russia, showing that rats fed engineered food die prematurely.These studies show that proteins produced by engineered plants are different than what they should be. Inserting a gene in a genome using this technology can and does result in damaged proteins. The scientific literature is full of studies showing that engineered corn and soya contain toxic or allergenic proteins.”This science is actually only about 40 years old. It is all based on a theory of genetic manipulation hypothesized around 70 years ago – of the ONE GENE – meaning that each gene codes for one single protein. The Human Genome project proved this totally wrong.Most scientists now understand that any gene can give more than one protein and that inserting a gene anywhere in a plant eventually creates rogue proteins. Some of these proteins are obviously allergenic or toxic, like Cry proteins found in GMO corn. Otherwise known as Bt toxins (Bacillus thuringiensis), Cry proteins are one of biotech’s answers for ‘safe’ food.That’s odd; one study found them absolutely toxic for mammalian blood. Dr. Mezzomo says that Cry toxins are deathly for mice. Another study linked them to a higher rate of leukemia. Yet another study conducted at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found corn’s Bt-toxin in the blood of pregnant women and their babies, as well as in non-pregnant women. These same toxins are also associated with higher levels of inflammation in the body, allergies, MS, and cancer.Furthermore, what ridiculous egocentricity for biotech scientists to think they can crack the code of life when there are still acres and acres of rainforest that contain medicinal herbs that they have never even studied or recognized. Every square mile lost in these forests represents a possible cancer soution or super-food source.Why the heck do we need GMOs? We haven’t even utilized the plethora of foods and herbs Mother Nature has already provided us with, if only we would steward them sustainably. There seems to be a new wonder-extract being discovered every few days, despite our pillaging.Additionally, Vrain once answered honestly to this question in an interview:“Q: It is astounding that people don’t question the very idea of altering DNA. When Monsanto or others claim a genetically modified organism is “substantially equivalent” to the conventional plant, it’s illogical to me because when DNA is altered, the plant is altered. It’s not the same and it’s certainly not natural.A: That depends on your view of the world. As a scientist, when you add a bacteria gene to a plant, or a plant gene to a fish, or a human gene to corn, or 10,000 acres of corn growing insulin – they consider it progress. So if a tomato plant has a bacterial gene, it still looks very much like a tomato plant. You couldn’t tell very much from the taste of the tomato so there is something easy about believing in “substantial equivalence” . . . but Roundup (Monsanto’s herbicide) is a chelator; it holds manganese, magnesium and a few other minerals. It holds the minerals and doesn’t let go so basically it starves the plant. It probably also starves many other creatures in the soil.”New evidence shows that these same important minerals are chelated from humans that eat RoundUp GMOs.Vrain has based his research on over 500 government reports and scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journals, some of them with the highest recognition in the world.Now tell me – how exactly are GMOs safe?If a soil biologist and scientist of genetic engineering of 30 years revisits his stance on GMOs – shouldn’t those who are still clinging to biotech efficacy relent? We need more GMO whistleblowers like himself. I hope they are out there and they come forward – and fast.
  • Hawaii volcano about to consume its first home, with lava meters away
    Hawaii volcano about to consume its first home, with lava meters away By RT The 1,000-degree red mass of molten rock threatening to destroy a Hawaiian town is now only meters away from reaching its first home, and now threatens dozens more as it reaches Pahoa’s commercial hub.At present the flow is creeping at a slow pace less than 30 meters away from the Pahoa residence of Jeff and Denise Lagrimas, who decided not to stay to watch their home engulfed. They packed up to move to Kurtistown, 22 kilometers (14 miles) away.“I don’t want to stick around and just wait for it to come and take it,” Denise told AP, as she packed up. “You just never know.”“Never in my wildest dreams as a kid growing up did I think I would be running from lava,” she added.Satellite and bird's-eye images just released depict the horrifying scars left in the wake of the flow, which threatens to consume more. Photo NASAAsked what he thought, handyman Erbin Gamurot, 48, had a mystical view on things: Pele, the volcano goddess, “gotta go see her sister. She gotta go say hi. You know how family are. It’s all good.”Scientists from the Volcano Observatory were inspecting the flow this morning to see if it might change direction. It’s 220 meters away from Pahoa Village Road at its foremost edge. The road leads to the Big Island’s commercial hub. This October 28, 2014 image provided by the US Geological Survey(USGS) shows the lava that has pushed through a fence marking a property boundary above Pāhoa in Hawaii. (AFP Photo)At present the foremost edge has been confined to a plot of farmland, about 90 meters away from another residence.“This is just a little quiet village in a very rural community. We farm, we fish, we hunt,” one resident, Jamila Dandini, said. “We’re going to be an island on an island.”But the lava hasn’t burned anything apart from tires, some metal and someone’s garden shed. The rain helped on Wednesday to subdue the flow slightly, as it devoured all the vegetation in its path.Officials and chemists are continuing to monitor for hazards, but so far have only detected low levels of sulfur dioxide, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira. This October 28, 2014 image provided by the US Geological Survey(USGS) shows the lava flow eminating from the Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii moving through thick vegetation near the Pahoa cemetery. (AFP Photo)The townspeople of Pahoa have been well aware of Mt. Kilauea volcano for decades, as it has been erupting since 1983. However, the vast majority of the lava went south and straight out into the ocean. In June, a new vent opened, which put the lava flow on a collision course with the settlement.They are now facing the prospect of having to abandon their homes as a juggernaut of molten lava 10.5 meters wide and over 1,000 degrees Celsius rampages across their village consuming everything.
  • The Russians are coming! UK media hypes up RAF interception of Latvian plane
    The Russians are coming! UK media hypes up RAF interception of Latvian plane By RT Two Royal Air Force jets reportedly threatened to shoot down a Latvian cargo plane, rushing at supersonic speeds to intercept it, after the plane failed to respond to air traffic control over Kent in Southern England and sent authorities into panic mode.“I am instructed by Her Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom to warn you that, if you do not respond immediately to my orders, you will be shot down,” radioed one of the jets, according to an audio recording circulating in UK media.The incident occurred at about 5pm local time after the Latvian Antonov An-26 aircraft failed to make contact with air traffic controllers.British Typhoons were tasked with intercepting the cargo plane. “To fulfill their quick reaction role, they were cleared to travel at supersonic speed,” an RAF spokesperson said, adding that the speed explains the loud noise people heard in the air.Many locals took to Twitter, describing how their houses shook after the loud bangs. Communications with the civilian pilots were restored only after the jets intercepted the plane.The Latvian plane was then escorted to London’s Stansted Airport at around 5:20 pm “All three people who were on board have been spoken to by police,” AP quoted Essex Police spokeswoman Emma Thomas as saying. “It was established that everything was in order and the reason for the short loss of communication was due to a change in airspace jurisdiction.”Russian planes everywhereThe excitement surrounding the intercept – apparently based on post-9/11 terrorist attack fears – came amid a heightened terror alert in the UK at the time of the allied military campaign against the Islamic State.Media reports mirrored the panic frenzy triggered by the incident, but in a peculiar way: first saying that the cargo plane was “Russian” and then switching to a “Russian-made” reference.Both takes were wrong: the Antonov design bureau, the producer of An-26 planes, is a Ukrainian company founded in Soviet times, and the plane in question belonged to a Latvian-registered company, ironically called RAF-Avia.However, the British media seemingly capitalized on the latest NATO reports of “unusual” increased activity of Russian military aircrafts over the Atlantic and the Black Sea. An-26 (AFP Photo/TASR)NATO stated that it has intercepted four groups of Russian planes since Tuesday. “These sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace,” the alliance said.Most media reports based on the NATO statement failed to mention that the Russian planes did not cross any borders and remained within international airspace in every mentioned case.Four Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bombers were spotted participating in a military exercise over the Norwegian Sea early on Wednesday. “We see Russian aircraft near our airspace on a regular basis but what was unusual is that it was a large number of aircraft and pushed further south than we normally see,” Reuters quoted a Norwegian military spokesman as saying.In another incident on Wednesday, two Tu-95s were being monitored by Turkish aircraft over the Black Sea.
  • Google data collection worries Americans more than NSA
    Google data collection worries Americans more than NSA By RT Americans may not like the fact that the National Security Agency is collecting data on their phone calls and emails, but it turns out they are even more concerned over another surveillance threat: Google.READ MORE: 'Google grown big & bad': Assange reveals company & its founder's links to US govtIn a survey conducted by the consumer feedback service Survata, the company asked internet users just how angry they would be if they discovered various groups or individuals had gained access to essentially all of their personal data online.“To evaluate this, we polled over 2,500 respondents with two surveys — one gauging concern with the NSA and a corporation like Google gaining access to personal data, and one with bosses, significant others, and parents,” the company wrote online. “Overall, the results show respondents were most concerned by a company like Google gaining this access, as shown by the average level of concern.”Survey participants responded to these questions by choosing a number between one to 10, with one meaning they would not care and 10 meaning they would be “extremely upset.”In response to the idea that Google would gain access to their data, the average score was 7.39. For comparison, the average score regarding the NSA was 7.06.Meanwhile, in the event that their boss gained access to their data, respondents scored the possibility with a 6.85. The prospect of the participants' parents snooping on their digital life received a 5.93.In a statement to CNET, Survata co-founder Chris Kelly said the company did not expect to see the results it did.READ MORE: ‘Facebook a gift to intelligence agencies’ - Laura Poitras"Survata was surprised to see respondents said they'd be more upset with a company like Google seeing their personal data than the NSA,” he said. “We did not ask respondents for the reasons or motivations behind their answers; so we can only conjecture based on our previous research. One guess is that respondents assume the NSA is only looking for 'guilty' persons when scouring personal data, whereas a company like Google would use personal data to serve ads or improve their own products."Still, CNET’s Chris Matyszczyk noted that most of the survey takers were between the ages of 13 and 44, a group that has typically been the most willing to give up its personal data to social media giants and other digital application developers.“If these results are to be believed, then humanity is rife with those who speak out of several sides of their mouth,” he wrote. “On the one hand, we claim to fear Google most, yet we allow it, Facebook and the like to crawl over our daily routines and information like summer flies enjoying a rancid grapefruit.”That sentiment has been echoed by other prominent voices, notably NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Earlier this month, Snowden called networks like Facebook and Google “dangerous” for being hostile to privacy and not allowing encrypted messages.READ MORE: Spying and storing: Assange says 'Google works like NSA'In September, meanwhile, Assange compared Google to the NSA, saying it generates revenue by gathering and selling individuals’ data.“Google’s business model is the spy. It makes more than 80 percent of its money by collecting information about people, pooling it together, storing it, indexing it, building profiles of people to predict their interests and behavior, and then selling those profiles principally to advertisers, but also others,” he said.“So the result is that Google, in terms of how it works, its actual practice, is almost identical to the National Security Agency or GCHQ.”
  • Nato jets intercept Russian warplanes
    Nato jets intercept Russian warplanes Bombers and fighters shadowed during unusual burst of flights over Atlantic, North Sea, Baltic and Black Sea, says alliance By Staff and agencies "theguardian.com, Thursday 30 October 2014 03.06 GMT" Nato aircraft have been scrambled to shadow Russian strategic bombers over the Atlantic and Black Sea and fighter planes over the Baltic in what the western alliance called an unusual burst of activity as tensions remain elevated because of the situation in Ukraine.In all, Nato said, its jets intercepted four groups of Russian aircraft in about 24 hours since Tuesday and some were still on manoeuvres late on Wednesday afternoon.“These sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European air space,” the alliance said.A spokesman stressed there had been no violation of Nato air space, unlike a week earlier when a Russian spy plane briefly crossed Estonia’s border. But so many sorties in one day was unusual compared with recent years.In the biggest exercise four Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bombers, the 1950s equivalent of the US B-52, flew out over the Norwegian Sea in the early hours of Wednesday, accompanied by four refuelling tanker aircraft.Norwegian F-16s tracked the formation, which eventually broke up, with six planes heading back toward Russia and two Tu-95s flying on south over the North Sea where they were intercepted by British Typhoons. Portuguese F-16s later tracked them in the Atlantic before they turned for home.A Norwegian military spokesman said: “We see Russian aircraft near our air space on a regular basis but what was unusual is that it was a large number of aircraft and pushed further south than we normally see.”In a second incident two Tu-95s accompanied by two fighter jets were being tracked by Turkish aircraft over the Black Sea on Wednesday afternoon, while flights of seven Russian warplanes were monitored on Tuesday and Wednesday over the Baltic Sea.On Tuesday German and Danish planes were involved in tracking them as well as aircraft from non-Nato states Sweden and Finland. On Wednesday Portuguese F-16s posted in the Baltic intercepted a similar group of fighters and fighter-bombers.Separately, British jets intercepted a Russian-built Antonov cargo plane that was carrying car parts from Latvia to Birmingham after air traffic controllers became concerned. The plane was diverted to Stansted airport and later cleared to continue its flight.Nato said it had conducted more than 100 such intercepts of Russian aircraft this year so far, about three times as many as in 2013 before the confrontation with Moscow over separatist revolts in Ukraine soured relations.President Vladimir Putin has committed to reinvigorating Russia’s armed forces, which had been undermined by the economic troubles that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. Tension over Ukraine has seen Nato step up its vigilance, especially on its eastern frontiers with Russia.The spokesman said there was no particular reason for concern over Russian warplanes exercising their right to fly in international air space but that such sorties were shadowed by Nato aircraft as a precaution and to protect civil air traffic.Material from Reuters was used in this report
  • Prospects for Ukraine’s Division: Poland Tries it Out
    Prospects for Ukraine’s Division: Poland Tries it Out By Dmitry MININ | 30.10.2014 | 00:00 "Strategic Culture Foundation" Poland's parliamentary speaker Radoslaw Sikorski has been quoted as saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to Poland's then prime minister to divide Ukraine between themselves. Sikorski, who until September served as Poland's foreign minister, was quoted telling U.S. website Politico that Putin allegedly made the proposal during the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk's visit to Moscow in 2008 as one-to-one meeting took place. Mr. Tusk will become President of the European Council on December 1, 2014. Sikorski did not make the statement at random but rather on purpose and this fact tells a lot. It looks like Sikorski made an attempt to test the general reaction to the idea of Ukraine’s partition and simultaneously add the issue of reshaping the borders to the international agenda. Sikorski is impudent enough to shift the blame on others as the Warsaw real intentions are ascribed to third parties. «He (Russian President Vladimir Putin) went on to say Ukraine is an artificial country and that Lviv is a Polish city and why don't we just sort it out together», Sikorski was quoted as saying. Note: Radosław Tomasz «Radek» Sikorski is a foreign minister in the cabinet of Donald Tusk. He resigned to become the Marshall of the Sejm in September 2014. Mr. Sikorski is known for his anti-Russian views. In 1986, he travelled to Afghanistan to aid the mujahedeen against the Soviet Union while a war correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph. He took part in combat actions against the Soviet troops in the ranks of mujahedeen forces. This fact was mentioned in one of his books later.It did not take much time to reveal that the fact was invented. Poland's former Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, denied that Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that their two nations carve up Ukraine. In an interview on Radio TOK-FM on October 24, Tusk said that Putin never suggested to him that Poland and Russia partition Ukraine. «In none of the meetings with President Putin was such a proposition made», the Polish Prime Minister said. «Ukraine was never on the agenda of talks I had with President Putin», Mr. Tusk said adding that the meeting in Moscow in February 2008 was not one-to-one but a group session attended by «four or five people».The former Prime Minister firmly denies the Russian President has ever heard anything like that.Sikorsky started to wriggle. First he said that he was misunderstood, and then he blamed the whole thing on memory failure. Afterwards there was a walk-back - he retracted his own statements to say that then Prime Minister Donald Tusk allegedly refused to join «another Molotov-Ribbentrop Act» and thus deserves to head the European Council.The Sikorski statements don’t look like an improvisation produced by Warsaw. After the lie was exposed a Western journalist, a British if I remember it right, persistently asked President Putin at the Valdai Club meeting in Sochi what he thought about the hypothetical partition of Ukraine and who Lviv should belong to from «cultural-historic» point of view? There was an obvious intent to make the Russian President give an answer that would match, at least indirectly, what Sikorski had said before. The Atlantic allies are true to themselves: they are pondering the Ukraine’s partition but accuse Russia in advance of entertaining such plans! The Annual Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club. President Putin’s address and Q&A session.The President’s answer was given in absolutely clear terms. He said that Russia has no intent to come up with such initiatives and does not support the partition of Ukraine. Indeed, the country’s society, as well as the population of Lviv, is not homogeneous. Lviv is a city that is subject to Polish cultural influence. This is a well-known historic fact. But it does not have to lead to the country’s partition. One should respect the facts and not try to implement the total unification of the Ukraine’s national life, something the Ukraine’s regime is doing as it incites the spread of nationalist sentiments in Warsaw.But the word has been spoken and it is out now. No matter the Sikorski’s plans to ascribe his intentions to Moscow have failed, Polish Gazeta Wyborcza writes that Sikorski had to make a walk-back under pressure and the words he said initially should be taken at their face value. The Kremlin harbors evil intent towards Ukraine and would like to offer Lviv to Poland in the form of pickings after a feast. In this case it would have an accomplice and a justification of its actions before the world. It would say that Ukraine is an artificial entity and Poland thinks the same way. Moreover Tusk is supposed to have serious reasons to make Sikorski come under harsh criticism, instead he actually defends him. «This whole story shows that human memory is sometimes fallible», Tusk said. He praised Sikorski as one of the country's most talented politicians of the last 20 years and hopes that one «unfortunate interview» will not end his career. The Speaker of Sejm appears to have done something seen as useful by other Polish leaders. The idea to return the lost lands to Poland, the territory that was illegally taken away, is not new. Polish media outlets get back to the topic regularly. George Friedman, the Chairman of Stratfor, an American global intelligence company, is open and above board as he talks about the Polish Block to dominate Central and East Europe. The only thing that before it was simply not a thing to speak about out loud at high level. Now the time is ripe to change that and speak out one’s mind. True, the appetite is not as great as it used to be. As the words juggling by Sikorski shows, the plans to make Ukraine part of the «Baltic-Black Sea axis» or the federal union of Kiev and Warsaw are limited by the territory that belonged to Poland in the times of Josef Pilsudski (a Polish statesman; Chief of State (1918–22), «First Marshall of Poland» (from 1920), and de facto leader (1926–35) of the Second Polish Republic). Poland started to realize that Ukraine is a real hard burden to shoulder. The resistance of Donbass and the sentiments spread in other parts of Novorossia do not create favorable conditions for polonization of this cultural-historic region.The Sikorski statements coincided with the intensification of the European Galician Assembly activities in West Ukraine. The organization is suspected of separatism. It does not say openly it wants the western part of Ukraine to be separated from the country but the stated goal is the development of Galicia and its integration into Europe. The head of organization Vladimir Pavliv believes that three provinces – Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk – are to be united. He says Galicia is the part of the country most ready for European integration. Galicia would also like Transcarpathia and Bucovina to join.Note: the European Galician Assembly is a radical public organization that stands for the integration of Ukraine’s three Western provinces into the European Union and their separation from the rest of Ukraine. It believes that people in the west and east parts of Ukraine have different mentality.At that the hopes for compatibility of Poland and Galicia may prove wrong. The web of contradictions at this cultural crossroad has a complex and bloody history. The cult of Stepan Bandera and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in West Ukraine is rejected by Poles as their predecessors suffered in the hands of Bandera-led fighters. There is also a threat of restitution. The former Lviv and other cities dwellers may want their property back. Note: Stepan Bandera (1909-1959) is an ideologist and theorist of Ukrainian radical nationalism that viewed Moskali (Russians), Poles and Yids (Jews) as enemies. He was a member of West Ukrainian OUN (the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists). Bandera was involved in terrorist activities on Poland’s soil and collaborated with Nazi during WWII. Today he is a hero of Ukrainian nationalists that became parliament (Verkhovna Rada) members as a result of the October 26 election.Gazeta Wyborcza writes that in Poland tensions are growing among Poles and Ukrainians. A scandal that took place in the East European State Higher School in Przemyśl came into fore. Nine Ukrainian students posted a picture showing them holding a flag of UPA. On October 14, Petro Poroshenko signed a decree proclaiming October 14 to be the day of celebrating Day of Defender of Ukraine, instead of the post-Soviet analogous holiday celebrated on February 23. October 14 is the symbolic founding day of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. The Polish national movement perceived this decision as an intent to make the history of UPA «a basis of the mythology of contemporary Ukrainian state». In early October a group of Polish students established a movement called «Stop Ukrainization of Opole University». They accused the management of discrimination in favor of students who are Ukrainians by origin. The attempts of Kiev to get coal for free in Poland were not only rejected but also subject to mockery by Polish media. Note: The UPA is the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, a wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). In the days of the Second World War it collaborated with Hitler’s Germany, including the Wehrmacht, police and security services. It fought against the Red Army and was involved in extermination of Polish population in the western part of Ukraine. It organized the Volyn massacre when 200 thousand Poles and Jews in Volyn lost their lives. President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree proclaiming October 14 to be the day of celebrating Day of Defender of Ukraine, instead of the post-Soviet analogous holiday celebrated on February 23. Today the insignia and symbols of UPA became part of Ukraine’s state ideology. It was the main cause of the Donbass tragedy where Russians reject fascism.* * *There is a long-term strategy behind the Sikorski statements. Old gentry’s ambitions are still alive among Poles, but it should be remembered that the attempts to implement them in reality have failed. It can happen again if somebody in Poland inspired by the influence from overseas try to reshape the European borders.
  • Russian nuclear sub test-fires Bulava strategic missile (VIDEO)
    Russian nuclear sub test-fires Bulava strategic missile (VIDEO) By RT A Russian Borey-class nuclear submarine has successfully test-fired a Bulava strategic missile, the Russian Defense Ministry said. The ballistic missile was launched from a submerged position with all 16 rockets onboard the sub during the test.READ MORE: Russia’s newest Borei-class nuclear sub completes sea trialsThe Yuri Dolgoruky (K-535) submarine fired the missile on Wednesday. All of the Bulava’s warheads hit the Kura test range in the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian the Far East, according to the ministry. “The actions of firing of the missile by the commander of the vessel 1st Rank Captain Vladimir Shirina and the Yuri Dolgoruky’s crew are assessed as professional and competent,” a statement from the military’s press service said.It is the first time that such a test was carried out with a full load of Bulava missiles present on board the submarine, TASS noted.With an operational range of 10,000 kilometers, Bulavas are able to carry 10 hypersonic, individually guided, maneuverable nuclear warheads with a yield of 100–150 kilotons each.The strategic nuclear submarine K-535 "Yuri Dolgoruky" (RIA Novosti)The strategic nuclear submarine K-535 "Yuri Dolgoruky" (RIA Novosti)Borey-class “stealth” submarines have been designed to become the backbone of Russia’s sea-based part of nuclear deterrent, with Bulava being its nuclear weapon of choice. The missile has a somewhat troublesome testing history, with technical glitches plaguing some of the early launches.READ MORE: Borei super-subs trials may be postponed after Bulava ‘failure’By 2020, the Russian Defense Ministry plans to have eight Borei-class submarines.The subs feature several characteristics superior to any submarine currently in service, such as the ability to cruise silently and be less detectable by sonars.Launched in February 2008, Yuri Dolgoruky joined the ranks of Russian Navy in 2013.
  • Cameron to stage Commons vote on European arrest warrant
    Cameron to stage Commons vote on European arrest warrant Prime minister signals desire to opt back in but faces large backbench revolt from within his own party over the issue By Patrick Wintour, political editor  "The Guardian, Wednesday 29 October 2014 13.54 GMT" David Cameron is to risk a backbench rebellion over opting back in to the European arrest warrant after he announced he will stage a Commons vote on the issue before the vital Rochester and Strood byelection.Ed Miliband offered to give over Labour debating time to stage the vote, but Cameron pre-empted him by saying the government had already decided to do so itself.Cameron told Miliband: “There’s only one problem with your question, which is we are going to have a vote, we are going to have it before the Rochester byelection. Your questions have just collapsed.”The prime minister’s spokesman said no precise date had yet been agreed for the vote – Labour had suggested next Wednesday – and argued it did not make any difference to the wider political scene whether it was held before or after the byelection.As many as 100 Tory backbenchers could rebel, but Cameron should get the measure through with the support of Labour and the Liberal Democrats.The government has agreed to opt out of the justice and home affairs measures, but to opt back in to 33 specific elements including the European arrest warrant.The EAW needs to be agreed by 1 December. The home secretary, Theresa May, who has been meeting backbenchers on the issue, believes the rebellion can be contained.If the Tories were to lose the byelection to Ukip, and the EAW vote was staged afterwards, the rebellion could be even larger.In another prime minister’s questions dominated by Europe and immigration, Cameron said the government was just waiting for the Spanish government to sign up and insisted the arrest warrant was “very different” from previous versions.He said the new version gave British judges discretion to reject warrants and not to allow individuals to be extradited if there was going to be a long period of detention. He said the changes negotiated represented the biggest transfer of powers back from Brussels to Britain.Miliband, after accusing Cameron of being paralysed by fear of his backbenchers, responded to Cameron’s unexpected announcement by saying: “We look forward to voting together – two parties working together in the national interest, or one and a half parties working together in the national interest.”Cameron has agreed to opt back in to 33 EU justice and home affairs measures. Most require approval only by the EU’s executive, but half a dozen need agreement from all member states.Among the other laws the UK wants to re-adopt is a prisoner transfer agreement, membership of Eurojust – the bloc’s judicial cooperation unit – and a system allowing British nationals to be bailed back to the UK.Spain argues the UK should also join up to other laws, including a DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration database, but the UK government has said it will not do so. Spain claims the database is essential to fighting terrorism and organised crime.It is not clear if the Spanish disagreements are due to the principles at stake or part of a proxy war over the long-running dispute over Gibraltar.Miliband also reminded Cameron that he had made a pledge in a contract with the British people to reduce net immigration to the low tens of thousands and had asked voters to throw him out if he failed to meet the objective. Net migration is currently 243,000.Cameron countered that he had inherited a total and utter shambles in migration from the previous Labour government, adding that the Labour opposition was a total mess.He said Britain was a victim of a successful economy both in terms of the EU labour market and the recent EU demand that the British government pay an extra £1.7bn to the EU budget due to the strong performance of the UK economy relative to the rest of the eurozoneHe said: “The eurozone could go into its third recession in six years. We are not immune from that. We are the victims of the success of our economy in comparison with the eurozone.”