Category Archives: Ukraine

The Death of Boris Nemtsov: A Quick Analysis

The recent murder of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian  opposition politician  and ex-physicist, on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge very  near to  the Kremlin in Moscow, raises many questions.

Predictably,  Western  politicians  and  mainstream  media are pointing  the finger at  Vladmir Putin, the President of Russia, as the man  who  signed off on Nemtsov’s execution. In  remarkably similar  ways to  the their response to  the  downing of MH 17 over Ukraine last  year,  they have leapt at  the opportunity to  once more demonise Putin. Proof of course, is immaterial in  this game.

Let us be under no  illusions, Putin  as an  ex-KGB officer is perfectly capable of signing Nemtsov’s death  warrant and may have done so, but , as I will  attempt  to  demonstrate, that   is the more unlikely  scenario in this instance.  Western media point to   other deaths of Russian  opposition politicians and oligarchs where  some of the evidence points to Russian  state apparatus involvement as proof that  this time, once again, another key  opposition to  Putin  has been  removed.  This despite the fact  that  Putin’s approval  rating in Russia  remains  at  around 86% while Nemtsov’s appears to  have been  less than  5% at  the time of his death.

Nemtsov’s political  colleagues argue that  he was killed to  pre-empt his imminent disclosure of  proof of Russian  military  direct  involvement in Ukraine.  Why his death  would prevent that  disclosure happening is unknown, or even  why  Nemtsov would have access to information that  was not  immediately available  to  Western politicians via  high-resolution  spy satellite imagery,  is a mystery.

His death  certainly resulted in  a Moscow march  of  many  thousands  of supporters and also  presumably included some  who  want an end to violence murder and political  intimidation in  the city . The Guardian  newspaper disparagingly reported that Moscow  Police estimated 7,000 on the march,  whereas in  fact  the police estimates from  RT.com  talk  of   around 50,000.

Boris Nemtsov was undoubtedly an  interesting  person.  With  a Phd in physics and a significant number of academic papers under his belt for quantum physics, he turned , instead to  politics, and quickly became a rising star  in Boris Yeltsin’s alcoholic haze of a government after the fall  of Soviet Russia becoming Deputy Prime Minister  for four months under Yeltsin in  1998 . Credited as being a “reformist”,  he later co-founded  the the “Union of Right Forces ”  party  in 1999 , and then opposed its inevitable merge to  survive as part of the ‘Right Cause’ party in 2008.  In 2012,  Nemtsov was appointed co-chair of the Republican Party of Russia – People’s Freedom Party (RPR-PARNAS) which  is a  member of the  Alliance of Liberals and Democrats  for Europe Party . 

Nemtsov and many of the parties he has been  affiliated to have been  accused, with  some truth, of being funded supported and guided by  European  and American  political interests such  as the  (European) Endowment for Democracy – an agency  with  distinctly  U.S. business  and right wing agendas, but portraying itself as a supporter of  local democracy.   Such  philosophies  are clearly on  a collision course with rising  nationalist  fervour in  many parts of Eastern Europe.   Implicated in  many of the “colour revolutions” in  places like Ukraine and Georgia, and in support of the “moderate” rebels in Syria, the agency  plays a lead non government role in  supporting  U.S.  government  power and control agendas. Very  much because of this American  bias and Russian  nationalism,  rather than  their neo-liberal agenda,  the political  parties Nemtsov was active in, played  to  an increasingly  smaller Russian audience over the years.

Russian  opposition activists see Nemtsov’s death  as an  opportunity; “We need to seriously think what to do from now on,” Leonid Volkov, an opposition leader and organizer of the March 1 memorial, said by phone. “We were at a low point but now some things have crystallized that allow us to make plans. I think it’s the start of a new wave of protests. It’s a real shame it took such an event for that to happen.”

The  answer to  the question  therefore, of “cui  bono” ( who  benefits) by  this death  remains complex.  It is still  certainly possible that  Nemtsov’s death  was ordered or orchestrated by  President Putin or  members of his coterie, but given  Putin’s professed wish  to  re-establish  positive relations with  the West  after the annexation of Crimea and supposed military  involvement in Eastern Ukraine, this seems unlikely.  Russia Today (rt.com)  stated that  “At the moment, investigators are looking into five possible motives behind Nemtsov’s assassination.   ” According to Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigative Committee, the murder could have been a provocation to destabilize the political situation in Russia. It could also be linked to threats Nemtsov received over his stance on the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris or the current war in Ukraine. The politician’s business activities and a possible assault related to his personal life are also being looked into.”  Notably,  and understandably for their personal  safety perhaps! the Moscow Police  excluded a  state political  motivation for the  murder.  Could Putin have removed Nemtsov because he  might be seen to be a  leading contender for Presidency if the economic situation deteriorated even  further in  Russia?- a possible but rather obscure motivation in  my view.

Nemtsov certainly had links to  what has been  termed as  the Russian Mafia and oligarchs -to-be ,  in his role in selling off state assets at  bargain  prices to criminals after the fall  of the Soviet Union- did he still  have enemies from  those days?-that  also  seems unlikely; although his recent links to  Russian  business interests are deemed to  be extensive, but  unknown to this blogger.

The role of the  young girl who  accompanied him  onto  the bridge where he was shot and who escaped entirely unharmed after 4 shots were fired into  Nemtsov’s back, warrants investigation. Indeed one may wonder why  Western mainstream media is so  indignant that  she is being held for questioning  (as is standard Police practice internationally),  and not allowed to return  home to the Ukraine. Nemtsov’s was  very  much  opposed to  Russia’s annexation of Crimea and  the Russian  connection to  the Eastern Ukraine rebellion. Such  a political  view is extremely unpopular and deemed to  be unpatriotic in  Russia today; was he murdered by Novorussians perhaps because he was considered a traitor?

Or alternatively, was he murdered by  his  Western intelligence handlers because he was now  worth more to  them dead than  alive? Certainly the track  record of Western “intelligence”,  would indicate they  have absolutely no  qualms about torturing, murdering or destroying the lives of anyone who  gets in their way to  create that ‘better world’  ruled by  their funders.  Clearly the immediate  benefit of his death is to  further undermine  Putin’s credibility in  the eyes of those who  read and believe  Western mainstream media. The impact  on a Russian audience is likely to be negligible given  Putin’s high standing with  the Russian public.

The Russian  opposition is ever hopeful  however: “We need to seriously think what to do from now on,” Leonid Volkov, an opposition leader and organizer of the March 1 memorial, said by phone. “We were at a low point but now some things have crystallized that allow us to make plans. I think it’s the start of a new wave of protests. It’s a real shame it took such an event for that to happen.” 

So, we are left with an implausible reason for Putin  and/or Russian intelligence to  kill Nemtsov, i.e. “proof” of Russian military involvement in Eastern Ukraine;  a possible  business deal gone wrong,   a murder to meet  the needs of  anti-Russian sentiment in  the West, an  opportunity for Russian opposition parties to  garner local  support, or possibly, but unlikely  given the murder ‘s locality on  a very public bridge,  a murder  to  avenge  a romantic relationship  gone sour. The death  certainly has the look of a targeted killing rather than  an act of revenge, and the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge is an ideal  public location to  stage opposition solidarity demonstrations after the death with  a Kremlin backdrop. And four single bullets to the back? hmmmm

 


Links

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/27/russian-opposition-politician-boris-nemtsov-shot-dead-moscow-reports

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/garry-kasparov-speaks-out-on-assassination-of-boris-nemtsov-2015-2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_Cause_%28political_party%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_of_Right_Forces

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.nz/2015/02/breaking-news-false-flag-in-moscow.html

Rumblings on the Eastern Front

The Post title parodies  that  remarkable and brave account of the German war  in  Western Europe during World War One, “All  Quiet of the Western Front”  by    Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran of World War I.

220px-Remarque_Im_Westen_nichts_Neues_1929As Robert Parry wrote in Consortium News If you wonder how the world could stumble into world war three – much as it did into world war one a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness that has enveloped virtually the entire US political/media structure over Ukraine where a false narrative of white hats versus black hats took hold early and has proved impervious to facts or reason.”

But this impervious narrative is an essential  component of the drive to  crush  the Russian  economy with  sanctions and lowered oil  prices, along with  the attempts to  encircle   China via the  East  Asian  Pivot.

Much  like the sanctions imposed on Iran for decades because of their fictional  nuclear weapons development, every  political  player West  and East  knows that  the fictional  Russian  troops in Eastern Ukraine (aside from  the Crimea)   are a wonderful  excuse to  attempt to economically destroy  the country. It is virtually impossible for the sanctioned country  to  prove the absence of something that  did not exist  in  the first place. But as Cuba has so ably proved in  the past 50  years, alternative strategies are possible and even beneficial.

The impact  of  crashing oil prices -however temporary-  on   all  the major oil  producers- including  Saudi Arabia, Dubai,  Abu Dhabi  and Qatar as well as Iran,  Venezuela, Russia and the shale oil industries of the U.S. and Canada , are unknown  and unpredictable. Did the  powers-that-be in  Washington and London consider what the impacts  of plunging oil prices would have on their jihadists  in Syria and Iraq and their consequent capacity to  buy more men and equipment? or even consider that weakening oil prices will  strengthen  China’s economic position in  the world?- we may never know…

In response to  these threats , Russia  and China have launched a whole swathe of economic  agreements between themselves and with other  neighbouring countries . As Pepe Escobar describes it, the   development of  the new silk road  via  high  speed rail  links between   China  and the rest  of Asia and Europe has begun  at  a startling rapid pace and will  result in  a completely changed  political/economic dynamic in  the world within  a very  short space of time that will also  be out of the reach  of U.S. and U.K . interests.

There is therefore urgent  need for the UK and US war economies  to  move fast  to eliminate these new threats as Western economies start to  crumble and their capacity to   control  markets and other state and non-entities is progressively  reduced.

Perhaps that  haste is the reason for the  level of incompetency  shown  by  the State Department in  putting “their man” Natalie Jaresko as Ukraine’s new Finance Minister.  The contempt shown to  Eastern Europeans  by  the US government in the appointment of this  corrupt US citizen and State Department official  as Ukraine’s Finance Minister is staggering, but yet remarkable for the   lack  of a response from  the (for now) subjugated Western Ukrainians. Or the even more absurd  Obama reaction to  some hacker group  infiltrating Sony and threatening  the company  for its film which  encourages the  assassination of a living head of state – something for which  the company could in fact  be indicted for in an international  court of law; (were there such a neutral  international  player)

The recent  reports from  the U.S on the types and extent of torture US officials are prepared to  disclose, is a tiny drop  in the ocean of the countless examples of the extent to  which  US and UK governments have long been  prepared to enslave, murder, torture and destroy  indiscriminately  if it serves their interests. While the British Empire’s  brutality  against  those of other skin colour  should need no further  explanation, it is often useful  to  point out  that the United States’ history  of state terrorism  and genocide is also  a very long one;  beginning with  the terror and genocide against  the Plains Indians in the  late 18th  century,  to  the US’s    brutal  colonizations  of  the Philippines and Caribbean in the 19th  century and the genocide committed in  the name of “democracy  and freedom”  in Korea, Vietnam,  Cambodia and Iraq ( to name just  a few). The 21st  century  is no  exception to  this long litany of terror, torture and murder by  these two  so-called “civilised” countries.  The scale of devastation and horror inflicted by  these two  countries against other  (‘foreign’)  populations, has no  equal.

That is not to  say  that   those state entities the United States and the UK  wish  to destroy  are themselves  necessarily humanitarian  and democratic; but it can be argued  that  -as in  the case of  post 1917 Russia, Weimar Germany, North Korea and Cambodia; where  civic institutions are crushed by  an overwhelmingly  powerful  outside force, then despotism  can freely reign.

The United States , the United Kingdom  and a few other ex-colonial  powers, have no  such  excuse. It is interesting to  note, that  up  until  the development of the “Terrorist” threat post 9/11, the  actions  of those two  states against  their own citizens had been  relatively benign; their emphasis has traditionally been on  harming external  states for  commercial  benefit; that  locus appears to  be changing into  a more wide-ranging capacity to  harm or  destroy  any individuals or entity  within  or without their  state borders that   impinge on the  powerful “elite”s capacity to  extract  more money for itself. In  all  probability,  this shift in  focus  is directly attributable to the dawning understanding that  the days of Western hegemony over  the world’s resources are numbered.

What  is blindingly obvious in this analysis is the totally banale and infantile drivers for these  constant wars, let alone  their leaders’  complete lack  of understanding and compassion for the suffering of others.   And we should not forget   the  massive contribution to  environmental  destruction this  300  year  old process  has delivered. This is certainly not an intelligent  process, although  the processes of domination and extraction of plunder are often complex.

We can only watch in  amazement  at the  psychopathic behaviours of key  US officials delighting in  the violent deaths of others  -eg  Dick Cheney, or Hilary  Clinton (below)

or Obama joking about killer drones, knowing full well  the impacts in  families and communities of  the thousands of innocent lives killed by  these random killing machines.

In fact  recent evidence on Hillary Clinton’s motivation’s for the war in Libya, reveal  little else than  the fact  that she didn’t like Muammar Ghaddafi.  Certainly there was absolutely no  evidence of the  genocide of Libyan civilians  by  Ghaddafi’s forces as was alleged and provided as rationale to U.S. supporting the jihadist  forces  there. Clinton’s  maniacal  delight in  Ghaddafi’s brutal  death  is a warning to us all.

and the UK’s Blair  and Jack  Straw who  simply refuse to  acknowledge that  their orders  resulted in  the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans based simply on their whim ( ‘I kill because I can’). It may  be salutory  to  read Ahmad Baqawi’s damning analysis of the NATO intervention in Libya  and the resultant total  and deliberate destruction of Libya as a nation-state, or perhaps Peter Lee’s account of the  brutal  murder and destruction carried out by  the West  proxy’s in Syria in the name of “democracy  and freedom”

In another more equitable world , those  politicians would have long ago  been convicted and sent to high security forensic mental  health wards; or perhaps, as  the highly respected American  columnist   William Pfaff notes -simply tried Nuremburg style and, if convicted on  the evidence,  hanged.


Links

John Pilger – The Coming War documentary’ campaign

The Howling Dogs of War

On the 15th  August, Shaun Walker, a reporter for the British Guardian news paper reported that  a Russian  military  convoy had  crossed the border  into Ukrainian territory, using a rough dirt track and clearly crossing through a gap in a barbed wire fence that demarcates the border. 

The Kiev government subsequently  claimed that this Russian convoy had been partially destroyed by  Ukrainian artillery.

Mysteriously,  Shaun Walker only posted one photograph in his world exclusive on  the Russian invasion of Ukraine- a photo of the tail end of  one  armoured personnel  carrier on a road in some unidentified location. The  Kiev government like-wise produced no  photographs of the destroyed Russian military hardware or any evidence of the mauled remainder of the  Russian military  convoy.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen  subsequently accused Russia of an incursion into  Ukrainian territory,  a claim  strenuously denied by  the Russian authorities who  speculated that the  military  convoy was a Ukrainian  one which  had been hit by  friendly fire .

Like so  many of the multitude of the claims by  the Kiev Government  about Russian military  invasions over the past few months; none of them have been able to be verified by  satellite imaging , or military  personnel, or by journalists  on  the ground.

In the face of absence of  verification, it is more than likely that none of these Russian incursions occurred. The absence of Russian military  advisers and equipment  and troops appears to  be also  substantiated by the rapidly deteriorating military  situation for the rebels in Eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s demoralized and ill-equipped troops and  reluctant  conscripts,  along with the rag-tag band of neo-con funded neo-nazi brigades,  would prove no match for  Russia’s modernised military hardware and elite troops.

So  why  then  would Shaun  Walker produce such  a report; knowing full  well that his  article could have led to  Word War 3?   Shaun, despite his   fluency in Russian, is well  known for his Russophobic   and anti-Putin tendencies, along with other Guardian  reporters such  as Luke Harding.  And additionally,   was the Kiev  Government media simply responding in its less than honest  way to  more  media rumour and supposition,or was this something else?

Either way, Shaun Walker’s credibility as a reporter has been severely compromised.

But his  tendency  to play  with the facts is no by  no means unusual in Western media. In its most blatant example of media dishonesty,  Western,  and particularly US mainstream media, have for years portrayed Israel  as some tiny  vulnerable  island in a sea of hateful  hordes of Arabs. The truth  of that   nasty  little narrative is only now becoming  known  to Western  audiences, as the alternative press construction of  the real scale of systemic long -term brutality and genocide by  the Israeli  military and governmental machine  against   largely defenceless Palestinians, becomes  disturbingly apparent.   And why?; because the pressure on editorial  boards from those who  support Israel, has  over the previous 66 years eliminated the alternative and honest  narrative.  One can only assume that the  anti-Putin  and anti-Russian hysteria whipped up  reporters like Shaun  Walker is  similarly driven  by external editorial  influences.

And who  might those influences be, one wonders?

And what  should the repercussions be for media  reporters and media agencies  who  incite war and violence?

 

 

 

 

 

The Coming (Ukrainian) Winter of Discontent

As the long hot  Ukrainian summer turns to autumn and winter, the euphoria by  Western Ukrainians of having thrown  off any servitude to  Russia will begin to recede…

The new Kiev government  signed  the IMF agreement so it could access a $17.1 billion bail-out package spread over 2 years. That money will be used to repay  international bank  debt, and will not reach  the Ukrainian population. And, as with all  IMF agreements  there are conditions… These include:

  • Achieving a self-sustained energy sector- ie cutting the subsidy  to  Ukrainian consumers and thus increasing prices significantly
  • Balancing budgets as soon as possible ( Kiev has to determine how to  do  that-likely by  increasing taxes and decreasing expenditure (note that  the  Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament)  has already   approved a temporary 1.5% increase in  taxes to  cover the costs of the war in the East).
  • Reduce corruption,  and “improve the business climate”, to  achieve high and sustainable growth. (note that  “improving the business climate” generally means  reducing subsidies to  consumers, tax incentives to businesses, opening up  Ukrainian businesses to foreign  ownership  etc etc..
  • Pension reform (ie pension cuts and raising  the age of entitlement) have been on  the agenda for a number of years now with  previous IMF agreements, but no  previous Kiev government has been   ‘brave’ enough to   battle the ferocious  activism by   unions and pensioners against  the  draft pension reductions.

This current government led by prime minister and  neocon  Arseniy Yatsenyuk has actively pushed  for a 50%  reduction in  pension from  $160  to  $80 per month for all  pension types along with  a 50% hike in  gas prices .

In just one example of the concessions to  banking solvency Ukrainian  citizens are having to make as of July 1st 2014,  the average cost of heating a standard fifty-square-meter apartment  has risen from about 200 hryvnia to 280 hryvnia (from $18 to $25) per month. It’s a significant hit, considering that the average monthly wage in Ukraine is only about 3,150 hryvnia ($275), more than half of which typically goes toward food, Sergei Kiselyov, an economist from the school of political analysis at the Kiev-Mogilyanskaya Academy, said.

While Yatsenyuk’s policies will  undoubtedly  reduce the influence of  the old Ukrainian oligarchs, the new “transparent ” systems will enable  US and European  companies  the opportunity to  purchase   failing Ukrainian businesses at  rock-bottom prices and in  a new “business-friendly” environment  where  worker exploitation can become the norm.

Yatsenuk (both as a Jew and because of his pro-U.S./pro EU and internationalist  business  policies)  is  anathema to  the Right Sektor and Svoboda parties. Both  right wing groups  are patiently waiting their moment. The  journey to  the Reichstag of their long dead German hero reminds them that patience  and a sense of impeccable timing  are crucial to their ultimately taking the reigns of power in Kiev and smashing any remaining Russian influence in Ukraine.

Ukrainians, Eastern  and Western, are well-educated  but particularly in  the West, have a high rate of poverty, and a long history  of well-deserved grievances against  Soviet Russia. President Putin  as an  ex Soviet KGB man, becomes an  easy  target  for that  anger.  As I noted in  the previous blog on MH17, Vera Graziade, a young British/Russian/Ukrainian says it all :  When you have one big bad figure, and everything is Putin’s fault, the world is simple and you don’t need to think anymore.

While the war in the East provides a very useful  patriotic focus for Western Ukrainians as they fight the evil “Russian terrorists”; that   jingoistic fervour will be hard to maintain unless  the “terrorists” are able  and willing to hit back  at Kiev on  Western Ukraine soil. It will become more and more evident to  Western Ukrainians that they have been conned by  all  the talk of ‘terrorism’ and Russian infiltrators.

While there are increasing numbers of   media reports of desertions from  the Ukraine Army ,and resistance to  further mobilisations, the extent and impact  of these is hard to judge at  this point.

The  callousness of the nazi-like references to  Russian speaking Ukrainians as sub-human and genetically inferior beings  (even President Poroshenko, who  formerly  enjoyed  very  good business relations with the Russians over the border,   has sunk  to   racial  inferiority references about   the people in the East) casts a long shadow over  any potential  for reconciliation between  East  and West  Ukraine.  The neo nazi  influences of the Svoboda Party and Right Sektor seem to have permeated  throughout the ruling cliques in Kiev.  In their view, the Colorado  Beetles (referencing the  black   and orange emblem of  St George so  revered by Russian speaking  Eastern Ukrainians),  must be stamped out underfoot by  the ‘pure race’ of Western Ukrainians .

The irony is that of course, most Ukrainians are of Slavic origin like most Russians, and  share more commonalities of culture than  they do  differences.  However their differences and grievances have been exploited by  outside influences; first  by  the Nazis, and later via  significant  Western intelligence operations in the West  during and after the cold war in order to  undermine Russian influence,  and latterly by  the  purely amoral  connivance of  neocon stormtroopers  like Victoria Nuland (US-Assistant Secretary of State) .

In the past decade we have also  seen the advent of the European Union seemingly help-bent on incorporating  any Russian “satellite” into the Union regardless of the cost to  central  EU states. Whether Ukraine will  be able to access the huge investment and underwriting from  the EU that  Poland has seen, remains to be seen; but in the current economic climate in the EU, that appears unlikely.

Certainly  EU investment and incorporation of European values and  a corruption-free state , is what many in Maidan Square demonstrated for: -along with the opportunity to migrate to  EU states for higher  wages!

It now appears increasingly unlikely in  the short to medium  term that  Ukraine could become an EU member,  particularly with  the anti- democratic  tendencies  entrenched in  Kiev via the Right Sektor and Svoboda Party, as demonstrated by  the   elimination of the Ukrainian Communist  Party.  Those anti-democratic tendencies will become more and more embedded and the  paramilitary influence of the Right Sektor more powerful,  the longer the war in the East continues.

In addition  the war is undoubtedly bleeding Ukraine dry economically. (hence the “temporary”  1.5% war  tax recently imposed by Kiev)

Eastern Ukrainian industrial  infrastructure , (although much of it  outdated Soviet style industry) has provided much income to  the state via predominantly  steel  exports to Russia . Business Insider notes that  exports to Russia accounted for nearly a quarter of Ukrainian external trade and contributed around 8 per cent of GDP before the war. Thirteen per cent of Ukraine’s iron and steel exports used to go to the neighbouring country. That income  resource  is now closed until  such  time as Kiev decides to  negotiate, rather than  impose its will  on Eastern Ukrainians.  While defeat  for the separatists is almost inevitable (given the balance of military  weight)  without real Russian support, victory  for Kiev needs to  come soon.  Kiev may have been banking that the destruction of the industrial   and commercial  infrastructure  in the East could  provide an opportunity for European/U.S.   re-investment, but this is unlikely in  the present international  economic climate.

While the separatists certainly are not  supported by  everyone in Eastern Ukraine  and there will be many in  the East  who  will  welcome victory  by Kiev, the level of anger and resentment towards Kiev for the death  and destruction, and the genuine  fear of  the phobic anti-Russian neo-nazis installed in  positions of state influence in Kiev, will   create a burning resentment  that will  likely erupt again  and again in violence , unless there are more intelligent politicians in power than those who hold sway in Kiev today.

The vicious anti-Russian  propaganda  of the Right Sektor and others in  Western Ukraine against   Russian-speaking Ukrainians is likely to have poisoned  potential  detente between the two   populations for a long time to  come.

As this bombastic jingoisim  begins to lose its appeal  to the majority of Western  Ukrainians,   the resentments and fears of  the previous decades of corruption,  violence and poverty  will  begin to re-surface, as  gas price hikes and pension cuts begin  to bite and  winter approaches. Undoubtedly this is the opportunity that the  Svoboda Party and the Right Sektor will have been waiting for…

Yatsenyuk and Poroshenko  knows this all  too  well- they  will be desperate to  “finish  the job” in Eastern Ukraine in the next  month; although paradoxically it would also be useful politically for those currently in  power in Kiev  to   not include Eastern Ukrainian voters in  the next  Rada parliamentary  elections scheduled for late September/October, as they  would skew the vote towards more  federalist  and less  neocon   perspectives .

One other issue to consider is the urgency of Kiev being able to fast-track   shale extraction in  the Dnieper-Donets basin  in Eastern Ukraine.  Curiously (!)   the first  assault by  the Kiev military  was at  Slayvansk,  the likely centre for shale oil  extraction in  the basin. War creates many possibilities for those who  are victorious….including of course  U. S.  Vice -President Jo Biden’s son , R Hunter Biden.

or see economist Michael Hudson’s take on this…

Maidan re-visited….

Postsript

Read this excellent piece of analysis of the Ukrainian  neo-nazi  movements in  Ukraine by Jonathan Marshall at Consortium News  here

Links

https://twitter.com/tristanmasat

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/28/ukraine-crisis-economy-east-idUSL6N0Q021220140728

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2014/06/516850.html

http://www.bruegel.org/publications/publication-detail/publication/843-ukraine-can-meaningful-reform-come-out-of-conflict/

America Started This Ukraine Crisis
http://www.williampfaff.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=690

Nazi Roots of Ukraine’s Conflict

MH17 – A preliminary analysis (before the facts arrive)

Notwithstanding the jingoistic hysteria in  the mainstream Western press…. Putin's Missile-The Sun (and also see The Guardian’s “Vladimir Putin given One last Chance”  about who they “know” ( before the facts are in) was responsible for the destruction of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17  over Eastern Ukraine on March  8th 2014. It is important to  remember that  both  sides in  this conflict, ( the Kiev Poroshenko government, as well  as the Right Sektor (neo-nazis)  in Kiev and their Western  supporters on  one side, and the pro-separatists in  Eastern Ukraine  and their Russian   supporters on  the other)  have a lot to  gain   from  pinning the blame on the opposing forces. The first  casualty of war is truth,  as they say.  As Goebbel’s “Principles of Propaganda theory”  acknowledges, implanting information early in  people’s minds on a new situation  often results in  that  information “sticking”- regardless of its veracity. And as  Vera Graziade so  eruditely says:  When you have one big bad figure, and everything is Putin’s fault, the world is simple and you don’t need to think anymore.

Its important also  to  recognise that plane crash  investigations take time. eg the Lockerbie investigators  took  three years to  come to  their somewhat  controversial  decision as to   how the  crash  occurred and who  was responsible. What  we do  know:

      1. On entering Ukrainian  air space, MH17 was requested to lower altitude from  35,000  to 33,000  feet  because of thunderstorms.
      2. Pilots were later requested by  Ukrainian flight authorizes to fly further north -towards the Russian border and deeper into  Eastern Ukraine  ‘because of other traffic”
      3. Malaysian Airlines continued to fly over this conflict  zone where several other international  carriers  has already charted alternative routes to avoid the conflict  airspace. However there were a number of other  international passenger flights flying over the area during that  day.
      4. Single operator (MANPAD) surface to air missiles are not capable of reaching 33,000 feet  – the Russian BUK surface to air system produced and operated by  Russian and Ukrainian  armies (earlier version), are capable of reaching 33,000 feet   but require extensive  radar truck  backup  for tracking.
      5.  Separatists rebels in  Eastern Ukraine were not known to have acquired a BUK system, however possibly  could have  done so  and mistaken MH17 for a Ukraine government  transport  plane. (although unlikely as the plane’s altitude would  logically have been   considered too  high  for such  an operation within Ukrainian  airspace). If the rebels had acquired a BUK system,  where is it now?-not any easy  thing to  hide and it would have been observed by  sattelite re-crossing the border into  Russia.
      6. Several  BUK systems had been deployed to the Eastern Ukraine in the last  3 to  4 days by the Kiev government  (presumably to  shoot down Russian  military aircraft)
      7. Kiev government states that  pro-separatists initially claim  shooting down  a Ukrainian  transport plane in  the area at  the time   and then  remove that  claim.  Other bloggers claim  that experts have determined that the tweets were made the day  before the plane was shot down.
      8. The coincidence of two   passenger aircraft being destroyed  in  the air, by unknown causes, with all  passengers and crew killed,  from  the same airline within  five months of each other,  is problematic
      9. It is unlikely that pro-Russian separatist would and could operate such a system without Russian technical support,  as it requires a sophisticated accompanying radar system. -the alternative is, as the U.S. speculates, is that the Russians were providing supporting expertise to the rebels.  Note that  defensetech.org states that:A standard Buk battalion consists of a command vehicle, target acquisition radar (TAR) vehicle, six transporter erector launcher and radar (TELAR) vehicles and three transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicles. A Buk missile battery consists of two TELAR and one TEL vehicle. So  is this not some  simple, easy  to  manoeuvre and disguise  missile system!!

Buk Missile System

    1. However it would then   be extremely unlikely that the Russians would support shooting down a high flying plane which, because of its altitude , trajectory and speed was clearly a passenger plane: -there appears to be  no strategic advantage  to the Russians to shoot down the plane, and very unlikely that its trained operators would have identified the plane as a fighter/bomber or transport plane. Additionally if there were Russian operatives there, they would have been informed of all planes coming through Eastern Ukraine from Russian airspace
    2. While the U.S.  and its Western  allies have repeatedly claimed that  Russia is providing troops and  equipment to  the pro-separatist,  they  have not been  able to  produce any evidence that  will  actually confirm  this- which  is surprising  given  the  undoubtedly huge amount of Western satellite surveillance occurring on the Russian/Ukrainian  borders.
    3. The Ukrainians  10 years previously  shot down a Russian plane in error during a military exercise
    4. An  unlikely, but still  possible scenario  of right-wing Kiev  agents (within  the department of Internal  Affairs in  the  Kiev government ) mistaking  flight MH17 for President Putin’s flight home from  the BRICS summit in  Brazil 
    5. Even  less plausible,  but still  possible, are reports from  the ground at  the time of two  fighter aircraft  trailing and then  shooting down  MH17
    6. The U.S.  government has actively  and immediately used the MH17 shoot-down  as a rationale to  further pressure EU members to increase their sanctions against   Russia before any evidence has been analysed and responsibilities for the shoot-down  factually established.
    7. The image here of the hole near the cockpit  might seem to indicate a smaller missile than the BUK- so if that was the case, likely an air to air missile or ,as has been  suggested by  the Russians  with  additional  30mm  anti-tank  bullets fired from  a Ukrainian SU25 fighter aircraft  ( The Russian  RT new network reports that  Russia had tracked two  SU25s trailing the airliner) hole in cockpit fuselage

Western media and the US government appear far too quick to attribute blame to the Russians and accuse the rebels of hiding evidence: a claim totally unsupported by OSCE observers –before any evidence is available either way. There are multiple other possible causes of the crash, including a bomb on board (Malaysian  Airlines disgruntled ex-employee?),  equipment malfunction,  Western intelligence operatives hostile to Malaysia’s  independent stance on  Western war  crimes, Kiev Government false-flag operation, Right Sektor neo-nazi activists acting independently  from Kiev’s Preseident Poroshenko?-the list goes on  and on Whether a dreadful  accident or vicious attack, why  then is the Western media  and UK and US governments so  quick  to  attribute the blame  to  the “demonic”  Vladimir Putin -an unlikely culprit at  best. I wonder…..

Postscript

If the  map  below is correct, the location of the 50 km wide crash  site provides an ideal  buffer zone between the two  separatist   Eastern Ukraine  areas;  especially if they  are policed by  armed Western  police/army units   as has been  proposed…  qui  bono?

Eastern Ukraine Crash-site
Eastern Ukraine Crash-site

It would appear that  the Kiev government military are doing their best  (as of30th  July) to ensure that  OSCE observers and crash  analysts do  not get  immediate access to  the crash-site by increasing shelling and military  assaults in  the area

An interesting take on  the shoot-down  from  Anderwelt Online (Google translation from German) ,  whose analysis of the plane’s fragments  posted online to date,  suggest   a shoot-down  by  30mm  bullets and possibly air-to  air missile.  See this also  noted at  Investment Watchblog

A screenshot  (below) from  a video of the crash-site by  a Canadian/Ukrainian OSCE observer

MH17See the video  here at  CBC Malaysia Airlines MH17: Michael Bociurkiw talks about being first at the crash site. This clearly is  machine gun  fire .Possibly by  those who came on  the scene first but unlikely-very high calbre bullets (30mm?)

Ex-“senior US Intelligence officials” are querying the U.S.  State Department’s rush to judgement on MH17

 As Wayne Masden points out at  Strategic Culture, the United States military  had Aegis equipped and operational   naval  vessels in  the Black  Sea  at  the time of the shoot-down of MH17, which  was monitoring all  civilian and military  air-traffic over a wide area of  Ukraine and Southern Russia as part of a defence drill  with Ukraine, and would have activated alarms in the Aegis system with  the radar lock-on of  a Buk21  or a fighter jet onto MH17. Strangely, those radar monitoring  records have never been divulged by  the United States…

Links
FINAL – Part II: Evidence Continues to Emerge #MH17 Is a False Flag Operation http://slavyangrad.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/breaking-part-ii-evidence-continues-to-emerge-mh17-is-a-false-flag-operation/

It was Putin’s Missile!
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-01-190714.html

Flight MH17 Down Over Ukraine http://landdestroyer.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/flight-mh17-down-over-ukraine.html

What Happened to the Malaysian Airliner?
http://www.activistpost.com/2014/07/what-happened-to-malaysian-airliner.html#!biP639

Kerry’s Latest  Reckless Rush  to Judgement-Common Dreams
https://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/07/21-5

What  Did U.S.  Satellites see in Ukraine?
http://consortiumnews.com/2014/07/20/what-did-us-spy-satellites-see-in-ukraine/

Special Briefing by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation on the crash of the Malaysian Boeing 777 in the Ukrainian air space, July 21, 2014

http://www.mid.ru/bdomp//brp_4.nsf/english/ECD62987D4816CA344257D1D00251C76
Malaysian Airlines MH370 and MH17.

A Criminologist Questions: What are the Probabilities? Is it a Mere Coincidence?
http://www.globalresearch.ca/malaysian-airlines-mh370-and-mh17-a-criminologist-questions-what-are-the-probabilities-is-it-a-mere-coincidence/5392265

Ukraine: No “Western” Interest In Investigating MH17
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/07/ukraine-no-interest-in-investigating-mh17.html

Media Bias Frames Western Reporting On Ukraine
http://cips.uottawa.ca/media-bias-frames-western-reporting-on-ukraine/

The Opportunities of the People’s Republic of Donetsk

The People’s Republic of Donestk was formed in  7th  April  2014;  breaking away from  the  state of Ukraine after a very informal  referendum of its local population. The referendum  was largely caused by  the decisions of the  Kiev interim Government, after it deposed the former elected ( but like almost every other President of Ukraine since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 – extremely corrupt) president of Ukraine,  Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych  fled from  power as a result of the  Maidan protests and threats to his life,  led by  right wing extremists.

The interim  Ukrainian government’s decision to  effectively marginalise Russian speaking Ukrainians through  banning the Russian language and subsequently calling   anti-Maidan groups in  the East, “terrorists”,  led to  the formation of  pro-Russian paramilitary groups in  the East, in  the oblasts of Donestk  and  Luhansk. Their stated aim  was to preserve their Ukrainian/Russian identity against  the threats by neo-nazi  extremists  to  “purify” Ukraine, in  the new interim Kiev government;  largely from  within the Slovoda Party and Right Sektor paramilitary groups based in  the West  of Ukraine.

It is currently unclear what level of support the “self-proclaimed” (are not all  state entities initially “self-proclaimed”?) Donestk People’s Republic has with  the local  population, with some very problematic opinion polls run out of Kiev and  funded from  the U.S. which  state pro-Russian support at less than 40%. Facts on  the ground would seem to  suggest otherwise, especially since the  killing  of 39  people in the Trades Hall  centre in Odessa on May 2  2014, apparently  by   right wing football  hooligans from  the West.

It is also  problematic whether those currently running the administration of  the Donestk  PR have the best of the local  population at  heart, or are simply opportunists , ex-soldiers and thugs. In  addition there is always the tendency  with any revolution, especially when under pressure from the outside, to  respond in  more and more draconian and violent  ways towards its own population.  Are the  Donetsk  PR officials any less  rascist,  anti-Jew  and voracious than those in  Kiev?-time will  tell.

Notwithstanding those concerns,   the creation of this ‘people’s republic’ does present a unique opportunity for  a better state  not seen  for perhaps almost a  hundred years on  this planet. The opportunity to begin  afresh, untainted by  cronyism, the powers of the corporates, the drive for “progress” at  the expense of the planet. An opportunity for a  state entity  driven by  altrusim,  responsibility   for the vulnerable and a respect  for the environment. Impossible you say?- certainly improbable  when we look at our current rapacious “growth” (read;  money-for-the-rich and baubles for the poor) driven  state entities.

What we need then, is the development of state structures that  foster:

  • Community initiative and responsiveness-  local  town  “councils” where every  citizen has a voice and a right to be heard and responded to.
  • Central  and local  policies that  recognise that  “growth  for growth’s sake’  is nonsensical  and destroys both  our own living environment and the other  living things around us- ‘growth’  is the short term path  to death
  • Central  and local  initiatives that  encourage inter-connectivity between  people- eg local  community places within  walking distance for food and product  distribution, green  spaces,
  • Town planning which  “forces” people to  mingle together to  get  their work  done: eg  small  interconnected urban areas, green  spaces and  gardens
  • Local and central  state welfare systems that  all  citizens buy into  according to  their capacity to  pay  through  taxes, and all  are recompensed equitably in times of trouble
  • Principles and policies that  create respect  for the other living beings interacting with the human population.
  • Training for all age groups in  the art of mindfulness
  • An understanding that violence to others destroys oneself
  • an inalienable obstruction to  business interests influencing  state and local  political  decisions (i.e absolutely no  capacity for corporates to  finance  politicians)

It can (and must) be done. For the sake of all  of us on  this little blue ball.

______________________________________________________________________

Links

Egalitarian Perspectives on Sustainability – Robert Paehlke
http://www.eolss.net/sample-chapters/c13/E1-45-05-06.pdf


Great  Transition Initiative
http://greattransition.org/


The Commons as a Template for Transformation
http://greattransition.org/document/the-commons-as-a-template-for-transformation


Policies for Shareable Cities
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/39811237/Policies%20for%20Shareable%20Cities.pdf


On Citizenship  in the 21st Century-  Richard Falk
http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/on-citizenship-in-the-21st-century/


Global Citizenship: Plausible Fears and Necessary Dreams 
http://greattransition.org/document/global-citizenship-plausible-fears-necessary-dreams

ANZACS- for King and Country

Every  year in this fair little country of New Zealand, we “celebrate” Anzac Day on 25th  April. We remember our “glorious dead” who  fought in  all  those wars for king and country;  beginning way  back  then  with  the  Second Boer War of 1899 in South Africa, supporting our British  countrymen  in  the British  Empire’s  fight against  the “evil” Boers, to  ensure  South  Africa could become a safe place for English  speaking white men to  colonise and rule over the black man.

Since then we have had the First  World War where 100, 000 New Zealand  men  (and some women) were shipped overseas, out of a total  population of just over 1 million people. 18,500 New Zealanders  were killed in  that  ‘war to  end all  wars’ and  more than 40,000 wounded. Anzac Day  “celebrates” the day  New Zealand and Australian  troops along with  troops from other parts of the Empire,  India, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland,  India, and Newfoundland  as well  as French  forces invaded Turkey   (a German ally) at Gallipoli. IfYeBreakFaith_VictorybondsposterThe “Great War”, as it was once known, was initially at  least, a European  war  to divide up  the spoils of empire, with  each  countries’  soldiers  the cannon fodder for money  and power.

‘Only’ 2799  New Zealand soldiers died at  Gallipoli attempting to  break  the Turkish  defences in  the harsh  hills above the beaches, where 87,000  Turks died defending their homeland. Nothing in comparison to the many thousands killed and wounded  in  the trenches  in Flanders and other parts of France;  machine gunned, shelled and gassed by  the “Hun” -the Germans.

Yet  New Zealand collectively now  glorifies  Gallipoli;  it was apparently (according to later  New Zealand historians who  should know)  our “nation-buildng”  exercise.  Yet after that  first  world war to end all  wars,  every  cenotaph

The Unknown Soldier
The Unknown Soldier

in  every  little town  and city across New Zealand which  named their dead, inscribed  the lines “Lest We Forget”.  In my imagination perhaps , it is ‘lest we forget”  those  who  died for nothing,  the horror,  the stupidity , the inhumanity to man of soldiers at  war;  not “lest we forget” our glorious war dead. Let us not forget  also, those brave conscientious objectors who  also chose to  suffer because of their fundamental  objection to  war.  Let us not forget  either, the many thousands of women and children  who  suffered at  the hands of those damaged men returning from the wars;  the family  and community violence caused  by  the trauma of war  and death.

 

            The Send-off: a Poem  by  Wilfred Owen: -English  soldier poet, 1918

And then  we have the “good war”;  the war  against the Nazis and the Japanese between  1939 and 1945,  where 140,000  New Zealand men and women were conscripted to  fight overseas.  Kiwi soldiers, while comparatively  small  in  numbers, played a significant role in  the European war  against  Germany  and later   against  the Japanese in  the Pacific. Could  that war have been  avoided  without appeasement of Nazi  and Japanese supremacism?  There are many  historians who  say , that  had the terms of  the  Versailles Treaty  not been so  punitive against  Germany , German nationalistic fervour would   never have produced  such  a cancer as the national  socialists. Similarly there are those who  argue that  had the Japanese also been able to  obtain  their  Imperial   “place in  the sun” , Pearl Harbour would never have happened.   Hindsight is a wonderful  thing.

New Zealand’s obligations for self-defence against  the Japanese is  inarguable;  The Japanese were planning to invade New Zealand as part of their Greater East Asia Co Prosperity Sphere,  along with Australia.  The evil  of the Nazis  is also  inarguable and the horrors committed by  them; New Zealand soldiers helped to bring  those horrors to an end.  Ultimately 11,900  New Zealand soldiers lost their lives  in the second world war. However New Zealand is implicated  in the war crimes resulting  from  the bombing missions undertaken  by  the Allies against  German dams   and the firebombing of Dresden.  And, we might  ask, why  weren’t we opposing the Japanese in their 1937-1945 horrific  occupation of China prior to  Pearl Harbour in December 1941?

New Zealand’s role in wars since the second world war has (aside from  several  small  UN peace-keeping missions) been less than exemplary.  4,700 New Zealand soldiers fought  in Korea  between 25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953, with 49  men  killed in  action. New Zealand  (under U.N. auspices but without Russian attendance at  that  security council  meeting ) was a party to  the genocide committed largely by  the Americans carpet bombing  every North Korean  town and city over that period.

Fighting as part of ANZUS, New Zealand enthusiastically  supported the American  pretext  for invading Vietnam from  1963 to  1975   ( supposedly to halt the insidious spread of Communism  across Asia), while the New Zealand national  government  supported the  bombing by  the U.S. of  cities and towns across Vietnam  Laos and Cambodia, causing more than  a million deaths.  37 New Zealand  soldiers were killed in that  war and many more  afflicted by  the  impacts of “Agent Orange”, the chemical warfare “defoliant” sprayed by   U.S.  planes  over the jungles and hamlets of  South  Vietnam.

Once again  supporting the U.S., New Zealand  inserted a small  number of troops into  southern  Iraq  near Basra during the second Iraq War.  While for most of its service there, NZ troops were confined to base, it is highly likely that  NZ troops were  well aware of  the  wide-spread  torture and murder of Iraqi  civilians in  that  area by  British troops . New Zealand  is,  by  its support of that  war,  also implicated in  the deaths of  the  hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who  died as a result of a war  based on  the pretext of Saddam’s  non-existent  “weapons of mass destruction.”

New Zealand continues its commitment to “freedom  and democracy” by  supporting the Americans in Afghanistan.  Initially promoted to the public as an incursion  to eliminate Al Qaeda as a threat   after the 9/11  bombing of the New York  towers,  the war has dragged on since its inception in  2001 and morphed into  the elimination of the Taleban  (an Afghan  Pashtun  tribal  entity with  previous links to Al Qaeda). New Zealand troops have likely been  involved in capturing Taleban  fighters and sending them  to  the US Bagram air base in Kabul  for torture. A rather dubious analysis suggest that  up  to  20,000  civilian  casualties alone have been  killed in  Afghanistan  since 2001- the mortality  figures for direct  war impacts are likely to be  in  the many many thousands. ( the U.S. doesnt “do  headcounts” anymore.)

New Zealand continues to  be a key  member of the U.S. run  western  intelligence community “Five Eyes”, which   attempts to  maintain the U.S state’s power and control  over most of the world, and while NZ has  publicly been  cast  in  the shadows of ANZUS because of its nuclear-free stance, it in  reality maintains an  extremely  active role.

However , even with  the huge  amount of information provided  by  internet   and phone tapping  provided to  “Five Eyes”  intelligence ‘experts”, it is clear  that  those security operatives have over the years since the second world war, acquired a farcical  level  of incompetence and  lack  of intelligence and judgment. Their wild misinterpretation of other  states’  and non-state entities’ intent and motives has resulted in  massive  suffering to  millions of  human beings. It is highly likely that  incompetence is not going to be changing any time soon.

In summary,  ANZAC Day;  that  tribute of poppies and wreaths and guns , celebrates not  our glorious dead, but  the utter farcical  futility of war and the greed of the powerful.

At  the time of writing,  the jingoistic   drumbeats of war  are sounding to  fight once more   the Russian  threat  against  “poor little”  Ukraine.

As the late and great  Pete Seeger sang: When  will  we ever learn?

 

The Ukrainian Situation-an analysis

The current  unstable and dangerous situation in  the Ukraine where  large elements of the Russian  speaking part of the Ukrainian  population in  in Eastern  and Southern Ukraine are apparently pushing  for  Russian  annexation can  be largely  attributed to Ukraine’s  turbulent and violent history.

Kiev,  the capital  city of Ukraine is considered by  many Russians to be the birthplace of Russia, or “Kievan Rus” in  the thirteenth  century. While no  longer a predominantly Russian  speaking  country, its principal connection has been  with its more powerful  northern neighbour over the last 800 years.

Ukraine ,or “the Ukraine” as it is often known, literally means “borderlands”, an indication of its status as a standalone state entity over the last  1000 years.

After the Partitions of Poland (1772–1795) (around the time of the US War of Independence), Ukraine was divided between Russia and Austria, with the largest part of Ukraine being  integrated into the Russian Empire, and  the rest under Austrian (known as the  Austro-Hungarian Empire  since 1849) control.

Gaining its independence briefly  from the Russian Empire in the chaos following the Russian Bolsehvik  Revolution of 1917 , Ukraine was forcibly incorporated under   Soviet   control in 1921 and remained a semi-autonomous republic of the Soviet  Union until  the collapse of the USSR in 1991, when it  once again  became independent.

During the rule of Stalin in the USSR in the 1930s, agrarian collectivisation policies were brutally enforced across  the  entire Soviet Union, but particularly in  what  has been referred to  as the bread-basket of Russia;  the Ukraine. Known as Holodomor, the communist collectivist   policies resulted in at least 7.5 million deaths with mass starvation occurring amongst  the peasantry  of western Ukraine particularly. Ukraine has defined the process as genocide, and the  brutal  process of starvation and loss of lands was instrumental in  the rise  of right-wing groups in  Western Ukraine, (whose populations   tend to be more Eurocentred than  the South-East),  who  supported the principles of both Mussolini’s  fascist party in   Italy and Nazi policies in Germany. The views were largely centred by  1943 in  the actions of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army led by  Stepan Bandera, in ethnic cleansing of Poles and Jews  as well  fighting with the Nazis against  the Russians . Bandera’s Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) was strongly supported by  Western intelligence agencies and particularly the CIA   after the second world  war .

In  addition to  those horrors,  in 1944 approximately 200,000   Crimean Tatars were forcibly  deported to other parts of the USSR because of their presumed alliance with the Nazis, where a large percentage subsequently died of starvation.  Those Tatars who  have since returned   to the Crimea remain  fiercely hostile to  the Russians and some  have been implicated in  anti-Russian warfare in  other countries and also  within Crimea and wider  Ukraine.

 

Jews and Russians were seen to be the cause of the death, destruction and dispossession which occurred in the Holodomor. In retaliation,  Ukrainian fascist and Nazi  groups were formed which both fought alongside the Nazis against  the Russians and also aided in  the Nazi’s Jewish  progroms in Western Ukraine. The Svoboda party and its activist group, the Pravyi Sekor (Right Sector), are the  current manifestations of those nationalist  movements. Members of these two  groups have  also fought alongside Chechnyan  separatists and jihadists  in Russia  in  the past few years. In addition the right -wing Ukrainian  nationalist  private army and political party,  the Ukrainian  National  Assembly – Ukrainian National Self  Defence (UNA-UNSO) ,  a violent and extreme right-wing and anti-Russian organisation, has been  implicated in  the  sniper shootings of both  police and demonstrators in  Maidan Square in Kiev.

In 1954,  Nikita Khrushchev, the  Soviet President of the day,  transferred the Crimea , to the Southeast  of Ukraine and previously part of Russia itself , to the Ukraine republic .

svoboda
The Wolfsangel, Svoboda’s first party logo (1991–2003) and now widely used as a uniform emblem by the Right Sector, is both a truncated swastika and the acronym “HH”- for “Heil Hitler”

The most defining reason  for the recent demonstrations in Maidan Square in Kiev, against the corrupt but democratically elected president Viktor Yanu­kovych, was  Yanu­kovych’s decision to  switch  from  supporting alignment and eventual   Ukrainian integration with the European Union (after IMF “re-alignment” of the economy), to alignment with Russia  and its $15 billion  no-strings loan. It is likely that many of those early demonstrators in Maidan Square  saw their chance to  escape  a Ukraine of poverty, for the wealth  and opportunity of Europe, slipping away. However the muscle on  the ground at Maidan Square and  even since the new government in Kiev was installed, has been  the Svoboda Party  (whose insignia up  until  2003 was the Wolfsangel, both a  symbol for the swastika and  the acronym  for “Heil Hitler”)  and  its hand-maiden, the ‘Right Sector’.

Alexander Muzychko (Sasha Biliy of the “Right Sector” ) “speaking”  to a state prosecutor 27th  Feb

While Svoboda  has  partially dissociated  itself from  its neo-Nazi past; its offspring, the Rights Sector or “Pravyi Sektor” regards “de-Russification” of Ukraine as its core ideology, along with  ensuring the ethnic  purity of the Ukrainian population including the exodus of Jewish populations, and good moral  values.

Global Research notes that ” Canvas, formerly Otpor, received significant money from the US State Department in 2000 to stage the first successful Color Revolution against Slobodan Milosovic in then-Yugoslavia. Since then they have been transformed into a full-time “revolution consultancy” for the US, posing as a Serbian grass-root group backing “democracy.”  While Poland under President Tusk, and Sweden have been pushing for Ukraine’s integration into the EU since the initial  “colour revolution”, with  the strong backing of the US State Department and CIA, they have perhaps inadvertently been also  supporting and subsidizing  the far right Ukrainian agenda, who have no interest in EU integration. Ostensibly EU/US support has been for the “technocrats” (ie those who  support IMF financial “reforms” ) like ex-boxer Klitschko and the newly appointed acting president Oleksander Turchinov. (of Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland’s  “fuck EU” fame”)

However one of the first  steps of the new government was to  rescind the previous government’s  recent legislation to legitimize Russian  as an official  language of the Ukraine. It is likely that  that rescindment,  more than any  other factor,  was  the key reason  for  South-Eastern Ukrainians of Russian descent, many of whom  solely speak  Russian, to  fear for their future in  a ‘Ukraine for Ukrainians’.

The other major  factor is undoubtedly the fear  by  Russia that the new Ukrainian government will  also  rescind the  lease recently extended out to  2042 for Russia’s only warm water naval  base. As the US is well  aware, the Sevastopol base allows the Russians to  re-supply  its ally  President Bashad in Syria against  US, Turkish  and Saudi funded extremists in  the Syrian  civil  war. Loss of the warm water naval  base in in the Crimea would have significant negative strategic  impacts for the Russians, as the  British and French  are also  only too  aware of, after their  battles, in alliance with  the Turks to  re-capture the Crimea  and Sevastopol from the Russians in the Crimean War in 1853.

It should be noted also  that  the  industrial base of Ukraine is predominantly in the South-Eastern parts of the country, where there are significant populations of Ukrainian ethnic Russians, and where it’s  heavy  industry  was a key  part of the Soviet economy. As with many ex-Soviet states, the factories are by  Western standards, unproductive and out of date, and hence would require massive injections of IMF capital  and machinery, along with  massive layoffs of superfluous workers;  a prospect for which   Western industrialists have been rubbing their hands in  glee  since the Ukrainian Orange  Revolution in  2004. (Post-script-see the great  analysis of the neo-con plan  for acquisition of  Ukrainian/Russian  assets  by  Michael  Hudson here )

The complex interactions of internal  Ukrainian  and international  players, create the opportunity for war. The Russian decision to  send in  more troops into  the Crimea  certainly escalates the situation. Additionally, other South-Eastern Ukrainian  cities with varying proportions  of Russian speaking populations, are now also   rising up  against  the new Kiev anti-Russian government and establishing self-protection militias against the  Right  Sector and other far-right Ukrainian groups. How much  support  those Russophiles   will  get in  the cities of Donetsk, Kharkov, Simferapol, Odessa Lugansk and Kerch, is currently unknown. Russia currently insists that  its forces have not left their Crimean bases (25,000 Russian troops  are permitted in  the Crimea as part of the Ukraine /Russia lease  agreement)  and that  all  pro-Russian forces on  the ground in  Ukraine are pro-Russian Ukrainians – a statement disputed by  the EU and the U.S.

Given the tragic history  outlined above, it would appear the only  rational  solution to  the problems exacerbated by  foreign  state  actors, is negotiation.  In the 1990s the 55-state member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (the OSCE) was created  to deal with détente in Europe and emerging post-cold war problems . The OSCE offers a unique and relatively non-partisan   pathway  to  a negotiated settlement of the complex issues facing Ukraine.  The alternative, despite the huff and puff from  NATO and the US,  may  well be  the secession of some part of what  is now Ukraine to form  a Russian  speaking autonomous or semi-autonomous state, unless the  power and hostility of  the far right groups opposed to ethnic Russians in Ukraine can be controlled.

References:

Ukraine after Yanukovych: 50 shades of brown – Autonomous Workers Union

Russia Debates: The Crimea Crisis

Meet the (real) new authorities in the Ukraine, example #1 

Are Ukraine’s Jews Screwed?

Russia, Crimea and the Consequences of  NATO Policy: Ukrainian Hangovers

Trotsky on Ukraine (1939)

Russian Sponsored Territories

Ukraine Through Putin’s Eyes-McClatchy

Between Revolution and Tyranny; a fluid and highly permeable line

 In the cat-bird seat

Propaganda, lies and the New York Times: Everything you really need to know about Ukraine

Revolution, lecturing and life in western Ukraine

Roman Shukhevych: Wikipedia

Meet the Americans Who Put Together the Coup in Kiev

Ukraine agrees to  50% gas price hike amid IMF Talks

Seven  Decades of Nazi Collaboration- America’s Dirty Little Secret

How Vladimir Putin Became Evil

The New World Order-Richard Falk

Tour of Ukraine -Russia Border Finds No  Sign of a Military Buildup- 31st March 2014

We Cannot Still Ignore the Perils of Intervention-Patrick Cockburn

What are Russia’s real motivations in Ukraine? We need to understand them

It’s not Russia that’s pushed Ukraine to the brink of war: Seamus Milne

Six Mistakes the West  Has Made in Ukraine

Pew  (U.S.) Public Opinion  Survey  Undertaken in Ukraine by Region:  April  5-23rd 2014

Conflicts Forum 25th April-2nd May: Alistair Crooke