Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kiev War Crimes

Kiev War Crimes

by Stephen Lendman

Mounting evidence shows Kiev committed war horrendous war crimes in Southeastern Ukraine.

Dirty war continues on non-combatant men, women and children. Residential neighborhoods are bombed and shelled.

Banned chemical and other terror weapons are used. Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) member of parliament Miroslav Rudenko said:

"According to our soldiers' information, the Ukrainian forces are using chemical ammunition on DPR territory." 

"Once a shell bursts, a gas affecting sense organs is emitted. We have this information."

In early June, Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters said Kiev forces attacked Semyonovka near Slaviansk with an unknown chemical weapon.

Freedom fighters reported "irrefutable evidence" of a weapon used similar to white phosphorous.

It burns flesh to the bone. It keeps burning until entirely consumed or deprived of oxygen. 

The Hague and Geneva Conventions categorically prohibit use of these type weapons. It doesn't matter. Kiev uses them against civilians.

War without mercy is official Kiev policy. Oligarch president Petro Poroshenko promised to crush "pro-Russian separatist war being waged against our country."

"We will end this terror," he said. He wrongfully blames Russia for Kiev crimes. He shamelessly accuses Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters for regime ceasefire violations.

Indiscriminate shelling of Donetsk continues. Residents say it never stopped. A self-defense force web site statement said "(t)he truce is worst than the battle action."

Chances for durable peace are virtually zero. Full-scale conflict could resume any time. With US support and encouragement. 

In June, Itar Tass said Kiev used cluster bombs in Lugansk. Targeting a regional administration building. 

Five deaths were reported. At least 10 others were injured. Unexploded munitions were found outside the building.

Cluster bombs are illegal. The December 2008 signed/August 2010 entered into force Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) prohibits their use, transfer and stockpiling.

They're terror weapons. They scatter submunition bomblets over a wide area.

To date, 114 nations are CCM signatories. Eighty-six ratified it. Not America. Not Israel or Ukraine.

Those doing so pledge "never under any circumstances to:

  • "Use cluster munitions;

  • Develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions; (and)

  • Assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention."

Cluster munitions remain dangerous longterm. They're brightly colored. Children mistake them for toys or Easter eggs.

They pick them up for play. They're killed or injured doing so.

Israel's 2006 Lebanon war provided momentum for banning their use. UN officials estimated up to 40% of its cluster bomblets failed to explode on impact.

Norway organized the independent Oslo process. It did so after Geneva disarmament discussions failed.

An Oslo Declaration followed. Forty-six nations committed to:

"Conclude by 2008 a legally binding international instrument that prohibits the use and stockpiling of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians and secure adequate provision of care and rehabilitation to survivors and clearance of contaminated areas."

Washington, Israel and other rogue states use cluster munitions unaccountably. So does Ukraine. It bears repeating. They're terror weapons.

On October 20, Human Rights Watch (HRW) headlined "Ukraine: Widespread Use of Cluster Munitions," saying:

"Ukrainian government forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Donetsk city in early October 2014…"

"The use of cluster munitions in populated areas violates the laws of war due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapon and may amount to war crimes."

"During a week-long investigation in eastern Ukraine, Human Rights Watch documented widespread use of cluster munitions in fighting between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in more than a dozen urban and rural locations."

"(E)vidence points to Ukrainian government forces’ responsibility for several cluster munition attacks on Donetsk."

Senior HRW arms researcher Mark Hiznay called it "shocking to see a weapon that most countries have banned used so extensively in eastern Ukraine."

"Ukrainian authorities should make an immediate commitment not to use cluster munitions and join the treaty to ban them."

According to HRW:

"There is particularly strong evidence that Ukrainian government forces were responsible for several cluster munition attacks on central Donetsk in early October."

"In addition to evidence at the impact site indicating that the cluster munitions came from the direction of government-controlled areas southwest of Donetsk, witnesses in that area said that they observed rockets being launched toward Donetsk on the times and days when cluster munitions struck the city."

HRW found evidence of surface-fired 220mm Uragan (Hurricane) and 300mm Smerch (Tornado) cluster munition rockets. It's unclear how many were used.

Kiev neither confirmed or denied guilt. It failed to respond to a Cluster Munition Coalition letter requesting information. Nor one HRW sent.

"Ukrainian forces should immediately make a commitment to not use cluster munitions and to investigate and hold accountable any personnel responsible for firing cluster munitions into populated areas. Ukraine should accede to the treaty banning their use," HRW said.

"Firing cluster munitions into populated areas is utterly irresponsible and those who ordered such attacks should be held to account," HRW's Hiznay added. 

"The best way for the Ukrainian authorities to demonstrate a commitment to protect civilians would be an immediate promise to stop using cluster munitions."

Local self-defense forces discovered mass graves in Southeastern Ukraine. Responding to information provided by area residents. 

They said Ukrainian forces dug them to conceal murders. Covering up their high crimes.

Victims were killed execution-style. Bodies were discovered about 35 kilometers northeast of Donetsk. In areas Kiev forces controlled.

Multiple sites were found. Perhaps many more exist. Sergey Lavrov said over 400 bodies were discovered in Donetsk region mass graves. They were secretly buried. Kiev bears full responsibility.

According to Russia's Investigative Committee head Vladimir Markin:

"For those who have doubts regarding who's responsible for these murders, the Investigative Committee has irrefutable evidence - witness accounts and appropriate examinations - that directly indicates that this crime was committed by fighters from the National Guard and Right Sector."

Mass graves "are further eloquent testimony to the atrocities of the Ukrainian nationalists," he added.

"(A)ll of the victims were tortured before their murder." Kiev whitewashed what happened.

Eyewitness testimonies were suppressed. Mass murder is official Kiev policy. Unaccountability persists.

According to Markin:

"We know the names of many of the commanders of military units, the militants of the Right Sector and the National Guard, who carry out criminal orders of the military and political leadership of Ukraine." 

"In addition to eyewitness accounts, many victims have provided evidence to the Russian Investigative Committee and evidence in the form of soil samples, genetic material." 

"These samples were thoroughly examined, confirming the testimony of witnesses and victims themselves."

Markin criticized Ukraine's general prosecutor's office. It failed to investigate what happened.

"What prevented and is preventing them now from conducting their own investigation into the massacres of the civilian population and to try to protect the innocent population of Donbass instead of making hysterical statements about the alleged 'interference' in the affairs of a sovereign republic," he asked?

Coverup and denial persists. Lavrov urged UN authorities and other international organization officials to investigate crimes of war and against humanity in Ukraine.

"Judging by the fact that no progress was made in investigating these incidents, it is possibly time for international organizations, such as the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the United Nations… to take the responsibility of ensuring an unbiased and fair investigation," he said.

"All countries should soberly assess their position on the Ukrainian issue and realize that accusing militiamen and justifying all actions of the Ukrainian authorities is not the way forward."

On October 20, Amnesty International (AI) lied headlining "Eastern Ukraine conflict: Summary killings, misrecorded and misreported."

Coverup and denial substituted for honest analysis. AI's so-called investigation "found evidence of isolated incidents…"

It bears repeating. Hundreds were tortured and murdered execution-style. In areas Kiev forces control. They bear full responsibility.

Not according to AI. It attributed "isolated incidents…to both sides." No evidence suggests self-defense forces involvement. According to AI's Europe and Central Asia director John Dalhuisen:

"There is no doubt that summary killings and atrocities are being committed by both pro-Russian separatists and pro-Kyiv forces in Eastern Ukraine, but is difficult to get an accurate sense of the scale of these abuses." 

"It is likely that many have not yet been exposed and that others have been deliberately misrecorded." 

"It is also clear that some of the more shocking cases that have been reported, particularly by Russian media, have been hugely exaggerated."

Reports from Russian media and officials reflect reliable eye-witness testimonies. Local residents aware of what happened. Not according to Dalhuisen, saying:

"The reality behind Russian claims of 'mass graves' in Nyzhnya Krynka is grizzly enough. It points to extra-judicial killing of four local residents by either regular Ukrainian armed forces or volunteer battalions operating in the area." 

"These must now be investigated thoroughly. But it also shows the extent to which accusations of abuses are being inflated, particularly by the Russian authorities, in the parallel propaganda war."

AI turned truth on its head discussing Ukraine's conflict. It ignored fascist putschists usurping power. With full US support and encouragement.

It shamelessly blamed so-called "pro-Russian separatists" for initiating conflict. Kiev bore full responsibility.

Self-defense forces are freedom fighters. They reject fascist rule. They want democratic rights Kiev denies. They deserve universal support. 

AI didn't explain. Or categorically deny Russian involvement. It downplayed Kiev atrocities. It wrongfully blamed self-defense forces for crimes it didn't commit.

It's commonplace AI practice. Francis Boyle says AI "is primarily motivated not by human rights but by publicity. Second comes money." 

"Third comes getting more members. Fourth, internal turf battles. And then finally, human rights, genuine human rights concerns." 

"To be sure, if you are dealing with a human rights situation in a country that is at odds with the United States or Britain, it gets an awful lot of attention, resources, man and woman power, publicity, you name it. They can throw whatever they want at that." 

"But if it's dealing with violations of human rights by the United States, Britain, Israel, then it's like pulling teeth to get them to really do something on the situation." 

"They might, very reluctantly and after an enormous amount of internal fightings and battles and pressures, you name it. But you know, it's not like the official enemies list."

AI's commitment to human rights is hollow. It's hypercritical. It's on the wrong side of history. It's well compensated for services rendered.

Its reporting on Ukraine reflects coverup and denial. Pointing fingers the wrong way. Whitewashing clear evidence disputing its findings.

Lying about Russia's involvement. Claiming it "fuel(ed) conflict." Supplying a "steady flow of weapons and other support to an insurgent force heavily implicated in gross human rights violations."

Ukraine's army, its neo-Nazi-infested National Guard and brigades, as well as Blackwater USA (now Academi) type mercenaries bear full responsibility for naked aggression and atrocities.

For high crimes against peace. Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters responded in self-defense. Justifiably. Courageously. 

Resisting tyranny is a universal right. So is self-defense. AI didn't explain. It lied suggesting otherwise. It's longstanding AI practice.

Donbas region self-defense forces continue struggling for freedoms too precious to lose. It bears repeating. They deserve universal support.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sino/Russian Alliance Challenges West

Sino/Russian Alliance Challenges West

by Stephen Lendman

In his book titled "The Sino-Russian Challenge to World Order," Gilbert Rozman says both countries have much closer ties than commonly thought.

They're deepening. United they challenge US hegemony. Leonid Bershidsky is founding editor of Russia's leading business daily, Vedomosti.

He expects ties between both nations to strengthen and endure. Russia needs to pivot East. China needs access to its enormous resources.

According to Bershidsky, both countries "are made for each other. Despite many cultural differences, their people have more values in common than either share with the West."

"(D)ifferent paths led (them) to the same spot…They suit each other." Putin and Xi call each other "good friends."

"After 25 years of exploring vastly different models of organizing society, Russians and Chinese are close enough in attitudes to join in partnership against the West."

Michael J. Green is Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Asia and Japan Chair senior vice president.

"Is the new alignment between Russia and China a threat to the United States," he asked? "Moscow and Beijing have not been this close in half a century."

Xi's "New Model of Great Power Relations" stresses  "manag(ing) relations with America and "ally(ing)" with Russia.

Both countries share significant interests, Green stresses. Putin and Xi promised increased "coordination" on policy.

Together they challenge Obama's Asia pivot. They're a powerful counterforce. 

According to Green, "(t)he new Sino-Russian alignment (might) help cure (Washington) of its myopia and force it to think globally as it acts locally."

Artyom Lukin is Vladivostok-based Far Eastern Federal University School of Regional and International Studies deputy director.

He believes Washington's dual containment policy binds Russia and China closer together. At the same time, it risks possible WW III.

"The current security situation in the Asia-Pacific - with competing sovereignty claims, the rise of nationalism among both major and lesser countries, and great power rivalry - increasingly resembles Europe a century ago," he said.

China's rising power "put(s) it on a collision course with" America. Much like Anglo/German antagonism launched WW I.

Allied with Moscow, Beijing has greater security and access to Russia's vast resources.

United, they "could have Central Asia (and) Mongolia to themselves, effectively shutting out all external powers from the heart of Eurasia."

"An alliance with Moscow would also put Russia's military-industrial complex and its vast military infrastructure in Eurasia at Beijing's service." 

"What might ultimately emerge is a Eurasian league, which, in controlling the continental heartland, would be reminiscent of the Central Powers alliance formed in the middle of Europe by Imperial Germany and the Habsburg empire."

Washington and other Western nations underestimate the potential for Sino/Russian entente, Lukin believes.

Both countries need each other. They face a common foe. America's hegemonic ambitions threaten them.

Washington's Ukraine policy draws them closer together. Lukin calls it "a tipping point, sealing the fate of Eurasian alignments."

Putin and Xi comprise a "formidable force." They'll be around a long time. 

In 2018, Putin is likely to win reelection. Xi will maintain power until 2022. Perhaps longer as "paramount leader."

US unipolarity is waning. New order "contours" are taking shape. It remains to be seen how they develop.

Will they reflect multipolarity or East/West hostile alliances? Two "grand" ones preceded WW I.

US-led NATO comprises one today. Washington's dual containment policy forces Russia and China to form an anti-Western counterweight.

They've done so with BRICS countries Brazil, India and South Africa, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), some G20 countries and Non-Aligned Movement (SCO) ones.

At issue is forgetting history's lessons. Repeating its mistakes may follow.

Not because of Sino/Russian policy. US hegemonic ambitions risk the unthinkable.

Putin hopes for better Moscow/Washington relations. He wants potential confrontation avoided.

"(O)ur aim has always been to build open partnership relations with the United States." he said. 

"In return, however, we have seen various reservations and attempts to interfere in our domestic affairs."

"Everything that has happened since the beginning of this year is even more disturbing." 

"Washington actively supported the Maidan protests, and when its Kiev henchmen antagonized a large part of Ukraine through rabid nationalism and plunged the country into a civil war. It blamed Russia for provoking the crisis."

"Now President Barack Obama in his speech at the UN General Assembly named 'Russian aggression in Europe' as one of the three major threats facing humanity today alongside with the deadly Ebola virus and the Islamic State." 

"Together with the sanctions against entire sectors of our economy, this approach can be called nothing but hostile."

"The United States went so far as to declare the suspension of our cooperation in space exploration and nuclear energy." 

"They also suspended the activity of the Russia-US Bilateral Presidential Commission established in 2009, which comprised 21 working groups dedicated, among other things, to combating terrorism and drug trafficking."

"At the same time, this is not the first downturn in relations between our countries." 

"We hope that our partners will realize the futility of attempts to blackmail Russia and remember what consequences discord between major nuclear powers could bring for strategic stability." 

"For our part, we are ready to develop constructive cooperation based on the principles of equality and genuine respect for each other’s interests."

A previous article discussed strengthening Sino/Russian ties. Western policies draw both countries closer together. For security and trade.

A separate article discussed their hugely important gas deal. Worth about $400 billion over 30 years. 

It's Gazprom's largest deal ever. No other contractual arrangement approaches it. No other bilateral one anywhere.

Russia will supply China with around 38 billion cubic million meters of natural gas annually. For the next 30 years.

Potentially it could nearly double in size. Depending on China's future needs.

Both countries are natural partners. They pledged stronger economic and financial ties.

Wider-ranging cooperation. Increasingly trading in their own currencies. 

Bypassing dollar transactions. Weakening it in the process. At the time, other key trade deals were agreed on.

In technological, industrial, and commercial sectors. In military hardware. 

Growing Sino/Russian trade lessens reliance on increasingly undependable Western sources. China is Russia's leading foreign trade partner.

A Sino/Russian Investment Committee was established. Its purpose is expanding economic and financial ties.

Diversifying trade. Reducing dependence on global economic conditions.

Promoting cooperation in technology-intensive areas. Including industrial, commercial, banking and military ones.

They're increasing bilateral ruble/renminbi trade. It bears repeating. Doing so bypasses dollar hegemony. Weakening its reserve status strength over time.

Eventually perhaps ending it. Money printing madness defeats it. So does America's drive for world dominance.

By yearend, China will surpass America as the world's top economy. Based on purchasing power parity (PPP). What a representative basket of goods in one country costs v. another.

The speed of its growth is remarkable. Analysts call it one of the greatest success stories in modern times.

As recently as 2005, its economy was less than half the size of America's.

By 2019, IMF economists expect it to be 20% larger based on PPP. Its phenomenon reflects overall emerging market growth v. developed ones.

In 2007, they accounted for around half of global output. It's now about 57% and rising. 

By the 2020s, it may approach, reach or surpass two-thirds. Since 2007, it's ninefold what developed nations achieved.

China's growth is polar opposite America's. It's gaining at the expense of its Western rival. It benefits from closer Russian ties.

On October 9, Itar Tass headlined "China plans to sign about 50 agreements with Russia." In aviation, energy, finance, innovations and infrastructure development.

According to Chinese Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping, both countries will sign dozens of inter-governmental, inter-departmental and corporate documents on different aspects of bilateral cooperation.

From October 12 - 14, Chinese State Council Prime Minister Li Keqiang visited Moscow. His first time ever.

Promoting "stronger political trust, higher mutual support between Russia and China in the field of sovereignty and territorial integrity,” according to Cheng.

Beijing intends "build(ing) up practical cooperation with Russia in aviation and space, energy, high-speed railways, finance, innovations and projects for infrastructure development," he added. 

It'll "develop humanitarian exchanges, particularly during the Year of Youth Exchanges between Russia and China, as well as joint preparation for celebrations on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Victory in World War II in 2015." 

It "intends to expand cooperation with Russia on international issues." During Li's visit, energy cooperation will be stressed.

According to Cheng, "(g)as cooperation is an important aspect of Russian-Chinese energy cooperation." 

Beijing and Moscow "are working closely on creating" an alternative route for Russian gas to China. 

On September 1, Putin and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli launched construction of Gazprom's Power of Siberia (PoS) pipeline.

It's hugely important. When completed, it'll deliver around four trillion cubic meters of gas to China over the next 30 years. 

Perhaps double that amount depending on Beijing's future needs. According to Putin:

"The new gas branch will significantly strengthen the economic cooperation with countries in the Asia-Pacific region and above all - our key partner China."

PoS will extend 3,968 km when completed. It'll link eastern Siberian gas fields to China. It'll be the world's longest fuel transmission network.

It's one of the world's largest construction projects. It's estimated to cost over $70 billion. It's a vital investment for both countries.

In his opening remarks, Putin said it'll "increase energy security and ensure Russia's ability to fulfill (its) export obligations."

It's expected to begin operating in 2019. Siberian gas will supply China's Northeast and Russia's Far East. In 2015, China will begin construction on its end.

"Once we create a gas pipeline network here in the Far East and Siberia, we will be able to connect the European pipeline system to the East," said Putin. 

"And this, in terms of export opportunities and expanding Russia's 'gasification,' is very beneficial."

"Depending on the situation in world markets, we can more effectively implement gas flows - either more to the West or to the East."

"We generally take a very careful approach to the approval of our foreign partners, but of course, for our Chinese friends there are no restrictions."

Their relationship is hugely important for both nations. It promises to strengthen over time.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Whitewashing Kiev Mass Murder

Whitewashing Kiev Mass Murder

by Stephen Lendman

Washington ousted Ukraine's democratically elected president. It elevated fascist thugs to power.

They're radicalized ultranationalists. They're overt anti-Semites. They're militant hate-mongers. They have no legitimacy whatever. 

They're convenient US stooges. They're puppets. They take orders from Washington. 

They masquerade as politicians. They represent mob rule. They make mafia bosses look saintly by comparison.

For the first time since WW II, overt fascists have real power. They hold major government posts. 

They represent the epicenter of European fascist reemergence. They usurped power by force. They're waging war on their own people.

Right Sector neo-Nazis attacked Kiev residents and police. They bear full responsibility for Maidan killings.

Clear evidence proves it. Ousted President Viktor Yanukovych had nothing to do with what happened.

Previous articles discussed it. What Kiev won't reveal. What it suppressed. Whitewashed. 

Wrongfully blamed on Yanukovych. Shamelessly regurgitated by Western governments and media scoundrels.

Investigations when conducted conceal what's most important to reveal. Regime killings are systematically whitewashed.

On October 10, Reuters headlined "Special Report: Flaws found in Ukraine's probe of Maidan massacre." More on this below.

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet's leaked conversation last April with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton revealed what happened.

He visited Kiev. He commented on what he learned. It's polar opposite mainstream propaganda. He explained what's vital to know.

Yanukovych was wrongfully blamed, he said. "(T)here is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovyich, but it was somebody from the new coalition."

"The Russian side is enraged by the militant provocation which is an indication of the reluctance of the authorities in Kiev to bridle and disarm nationalists and extremists."

On March 12, 2014 former Ukrainian Security Service head Aleksandr Yakimenko confirmed Paet's assessment. He blamed putschist official Andrey Parubiy. 

He co-led Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution. He's a neo-Nazi Svoboda party leader. 

He served as National Security and Defense Council secretary. He did so until stepping down in August.

"Shots came from the Philharmonic Hall," said Yakimenko. "Maidan Commandant Parubiy was responsible for this building." 

"Snipers and people with automatic weapons were 'working' from this building on February 20. They supported the assault on the Interior Ministry forces on the ground who were already demoralized and had, in fact, fled," he added.

"When the first wave of shootings ended, many have witnessed 20 people leaving the building."

They were carrying military-style bags used for sniper and assault rifles with optical sights.

Many witnesses saw them. Foreign elements may have been involved. Perhaps CIA, US special forces, and secret service operatives.

What happened was well planned in advance. "These were the forces that carried out everything that they were told by their leadership - the United States," Yakimenko stressed.

Maidan leaders practically lived at Washington's embassy, he added. It was coup d'etat headquarters.

As security chief, Parubiy controlled access to weapons used for Maidan killings. He took full advantage.

Reuters investigated what happened. It conducted interviews with prosecutors, defense attorneys, protesters, police officers and legal experts.

It discovered "serious flaws" in Kiev's investigation. In April, three suspects were arrested. Members of an elite Berkut riot police unit.

Including decorated commander Dmytro Sadovnyk. He was wrongfully charged with ordering his men to fire on Maidan protesters.

He and two others were accused of killing 39 Kiev residents. They were framed. So-called evidence against Sadovnyk was fabricated.

Included was a photograph allegedly showing him masked on the day of the killings. Holding a rifle with two hands. His fingers clearly visible.

He doesn't have two hands. An earlier training accident blew off his right hand. A stump replaced it.

His lawyer, Serhiy Vilkov, said "(h)e can't shoot. To blame him for the crime is a political game."

According to Reuters, "probes into the killings have been hindered by missing evidence."

"Many guns allegedly used to shoot protesters have vanished; many of the bullets fired were taken home as souvenirs." 

"Barricades, bullet-pierced trees and other items of forensic evidence were removed, lawyers say."

So-called investigations "are testing Ukraine's ability to rise above the kinds of failings that have hobbled the country" since its 1991 independence.

"(E)ndemic problems" persist. Including radicalized governance, indifference to rule of law principles, state-sponsored violence, "political corruption, racketeering, a divide between" Ukrainian and Russian language speakers and "a broken justice system."

"The two prosecutors and a government minister who have led the Maidan shooting probes all played roles in supporting the uprising," said Reuters.

"To date," Maidan killers haven't been apprehended. Justice remains denied. 

Prosecutors wrongfully declared three Berkut officers guilty by accusation. Ukraine is party to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Its principles are clear and unequivocal. Defendants are presumed innocent unless proved otherwise beyond a shadow of a doubt. According to international criminal law attorney Richard Harvey:

"A public statement by a prosecutor that directly challenges that presumption is a denial of due process."

Kiev fabricated evidence. It did so to blame innocent victims for its crimes. They had nothing to do with what happened. Nor Yanukovych.

Ukraine's "general prosecutor's office declined to discuss" evidence proving it. Innocent victims remain jailed. 

No trial date was set, said Reuters.  "All three men face life imprisonment." For killings they didn't commit.

A previous article discussed Ukraine's whitewashed Odessa massacre report. What happened revealed fascism's dark side.

Kiev bore full responsibility. Premeditated mass murder was committed as planned. Coverup and denial suppressed it.

Verifiable evidence proved otherwise. Neo-Nazi Right Sector thugs set Odessa's Trade Union House (TUH) ablaze. 

People were trapped inside. Dozens were massacred. Scores more were injured. Many were missing.

They were either dead or in neo-Nazi hands. Early reports way underestimated what happened. It was multiples worse than reported. 

Neo-Nazis isolated Odessans inside the TUH. A largely unwitnessed massacre followed.

Setting the building ablaze was strategy. It was done to conceal mass murder. Ordinary Ukrainians were slaughtered in cold blood. 

Nearby tents were set on fire. Doing so preceded what followed. Right Sector thugs positioned themselves inside the TUH. They were there in advance.

They were armed and dangerous. Police did nothing to intervene. They conspired with fascist killers. So did Odessan firefighters.

They only appeared when TUH's entrance doors burned through. Its building was five stories. From outside, fire was only visible in a single room.

Bodies were shown on upper floors untouched by fire. How did they get there? Who bore responsibility? 

They were murdered in advance. Things were staged. They were made to seem like fire consumed them.

Corpses were dragged from where they died. People perished inside from gunshot wounds, strangling and beatings. 

Some were thrown from windows. They didn’t jump. It bears repeating. Setting TUH ablaze masked what happened. Fire didn’t kill activists inside. Neo-Nazi hoodlums did.

Some corpses had burnt heads and shoulders only. Clothes they wore showed no signs of fire.

Someone doused their shoulders and heads with "flammable stuff." Hands and wrists were burned to the bone. 

Photos showed strange whitewash floor markings. It was powder from extinguishers. 

Right Sector thugs used it on people they killed. They did so to protect themselves from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Hardwood floors showed no signs of fire damage. Victims were murdered other ways.

Photographic evidence was damning. So were independent videos. They showed mass murder by means other than fire and/or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Some bodies had multiple gun shot wounds to the head. They were executed in cold blood at point blank range.

A pregnant woman was strangled with an electric wire. Hundreds were killed. As many as 300 or more.

Most were hacked to death with axes or clubbed to death with bats. Some were shot. Others were thrown from windows.

Fascists operate this way. Ukraine is a hotbed of extremism. No-holds-barred barbarism reflects official policy.

Washington manipulates things covertly. Coup-appointed putschists are convenient stooges. 

They committed gruesome atrocities. They murdered hundreds of Odessans in cold blood.

Western leaders buried truth. So did MSM scoundrels. Whitewash substituted for truth and full disclosure. Justice remains denied. 

Kiev declared war on its own people. It massacred thousands in cold blood. It continues doing it despite Minsk protocol ceasefire terms. 

Its high crimes against peace go unpunished. On October 13, RT International headlined "Five Ukraine war tragedies: Questions unanswered, investigations drawn out," saying:

"Human rights groups…call(ed) for Kiev to conduct forensic analyses of corpses from mass graves uncovered in E. Ukraine to learn what happened to them." 

"But like four other tragedies, scant progress has been made in bringing the truth to light." Coverup and denial persist.

According to OSCE spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic:

"We are aware of the reports about anonymous burials in Donbass, in particular as reported by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission."

"Clearly there needs to be an independent investigation in line with international standards which should include forensic examination." 

"It is too early for us to speculate on exactly what has happened here or on who is responsible."

Kiev stonewalls investigatory efforts. Self-defense forces discovered mass graves.

They responded to information provided by area residents. They said Ukrainian forces dug them to conceal mass murders. To cover up their high crimes.

Victims were killed execution-style. Bodies were discovered about 35 kilometers northeast of Donetsk.

Four sites were found so far. In areas Kiev forces and extremist  National Guard Aidar battalion elements control. 

Total body counts are yet to be determined. New sites may be found. Sergey Lavrov believes hundreds were buried secretly. Maybe more than he imagines.

Russia's Investigative Committee head Vladimir Markin was clear and unequivocal saying:

"For those who have doubts regarding who's responsible for these murders, the Investigative Committee has irrefutable evidence - witness accounts and appropriate examinations - that directly indicates that this crime was committed by fighters from the National Guard and Right Sector."

Mass graves "are further eloquent testimony to the atrocities of the Ukrainian nationalists," he added.

"(A)ll of the victims were tortured before their murder." Months after mass killings were committed, guilty parties remain free uncharged.

September 5 Minsk protocol ceasefire terms are illusory. Kiev's war on its own people persists. 

Self-defense freedom fighters are wrongfully blamed for its crimes. Justice remains denied.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Ukrainian-Style Democracy

Ukrainian-Style Democracy

By Stephen Lendman

It's pure fantasy. None whatever exists. US-installed coup d'etat putschists run things. 

Neo-Nazis have power. Ordinary Ukrainians have no say. Elections when held are farcical. 

Expect scheduled October 26 parliamentary ones to reflect business as usual. Excluding democratic choices. 

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland said Washington spent around $5 billion sabotaging Ukrainian democracy over the past 20 years.

She lied calling it "democracy promotion…We stand with the people of Ukraine," she hyperventilated. 

USAID spent about $1.8 billion assuring ordinary Ukrainians had no say. Calling it "critical development assistance in support of the Ukrainian people."

Nuland was caught red-handed urging regime change on tape. Her conversation with US Ukraine ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt was recorded. 

It circulated on You Tube earlier. It remains damning. More evidence of Washington's dark side. 

Its quest for global dominance. No matter the human cost. Risking East/West confrontation. Possible global war.

Other US government funded agencies were involved. Including the National Endowment for Democracy, International Republican Institute, and National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.

They spent billions more. Right-wing think tank dirty hands were involved.

The National Endowment for Democracy sabotages what it claims to support. It's web site ludicrously claims it's:

  • "furthering Ukraine's democratic transition;

  • promoting accountability in Eastern Ukraine;

  • (supporting and) monitoring human rights compliance by (Ukrainian) enforcement agencies;

  • building advocacy momentum;

  • supporting independent regional media;

  • promoting freedom of assembly;

  • promoting the accountability of public officials;

  • promoting civic activism and government accountability in Central Ukraine;

  • promoting accountability in Southwestern Ukraine;

  • enhancing civic journalism and NGO cooperation;

  • promoting youth activism in Central Ukraine;

  • fostering freedom of information in Eastern Ukraine;

  • stimulating dialogue on transition processes;

  • promoting youth human rights awareness;

  • monitoring freedom of the media in Ukraine;

  • strengthening local democracy;

  • fostering good governance;

  • promoting media sustainability;

  • providing information and analysis on human rights issues;

  • promoting local activism;

  • promoting legislative accountability;" and

  • various other so-called initiatives polar opposite its agenda.

USAID and other US government funded organizations make similar claims.

Impossible with fascist putschists in charge. America does none of the above domestically. It goes all-out to sabotage democracy at home and abroad.

It tolerates none whatever. NED's so-called initiatives are laughable on their face. So are ones other US supported agencies claim to pursue.

Washington's Ukraine policy prioritizes hardline rule. Tyranny masquerading as democracy. America calling the shots covertly.

Controlling the crown jewel of former Soviet republics. Wanting it ncorporated it into NATO. Having US bases on Russia's borders. 

Targeting its heartland with long range multiple-warhead nuclear missiles. Wanting regime change. 

Wanting its sovereign independence eliminated. Wanting US-friendly stooge governance replacing it. 

Wanting Russia looking like Ukraine. A puppet state Washington controls.

On October 17, Itar Tass headlined "Whole families run for seats in Ukraine's parliament, president hands down precinct to son," saying:

"Early election of deputies to Ukraine's national parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, is still more than a week off but the voters already know the names of many future deputies, who happen to be relatives of active-duty politicians."

"These politicians came to power on the wave of promises to cleanse the ranks of officialdom from those who had been propelled there by family relations, but now they are working hard to feather lucrative nests in the system of state rule for their children, brothers and godparents."

Oligarch president Poroshenko's son, Oleksiy, is the "main VIP candidate for a parliamentary seat." He's running to represent Vinnitsa region's No. 12 precinct. 

The same one his father represented years earlier. Bequeathed to his son. Mocking real democracy. It bears repeating. It's pure fantasy.

Oleksiy now serves as Vinnitsa region's parliamentary deputy. According to his father, he decided to participate in upcoming so-called elections on his own.

"I’ve always taught my son to take decisions independently and he didn’t take counsel from me about it," he claimed. "If there was no majority system, I wouldn't (have) place(d) him on the list," he added.

Other insiders are guaranteed parliamentary seats. Including former interior minister Yuriy Lutsenko, his wife Irina, parliamentary deputy Yuriy Stets, singer Oksana Bilozir, and parliamentary deputy Serhiy Pavlenko's daughter Okeksandra.

Formerly she served on Ukraine's so-called Central Election Commission. She's a Syina Ukraina party national bureau member.

A lawyer for the Ukraine Forward party. A representative of party leader Natalya Korolevskaya.

Nikolay Kravchenko heads Donetsk region's Ukrainian Communist party. He believes Poroshenko surpassed ousted President Viktor Yanukovych in numbers of cronies elevated to power.

"Nothing has changed," he said. "(N)othing. (E)verying has just gotten worse, and whole familial clans are marching to the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) now."

Mykhailo Pogrebinsky heads Kiev's Center for Political Research and Conflicts. Poroshenko should have urged his son to hold off running for parliament until his term in office ended, he said.

"The president’s son is still a young man, and he could have waited for some time, but our politicians are dominated by old dogmas, which they just can’t throw aside," he explained.

According to Itar Tass:

"…Ukraine’s political class is built on the foundation of nepotism and cronyism, as all the political forces display the tradition of nominating candidates on the grounds of kinship."

"Performing in a duo in this election race is the former speaker of the Rada, Volodymyr Litvin, and his son Ivan who will become the youngest deputy in parliament if he is elected." 

"Both have registered as candidates in majority constituencies. And to make Ivan's crash course in political subtleties meatier, the precinct of the town of Glukhov in the north-eastern Sumy district is supervised by his father-in-law Andriy Derkach, who in his turn is a son of the former chief of Ukraine's Security Service, Leonid Derkach."

Ivan already made headlines. Law enforcement agencies are investigating vote-buying allegations.

Ukraine's political system has no legitimacy whatever. It mocks real democracy. None whatever exists.

Oksana Kaletnik aims for a Vinnitsa region Yampol parliamentary seat. She's Rada agricultural committee chairman Grigory Kaletnik's niece.

She's former deputy Rada speaker Ihor Kaletnik's cousin. Grigory and Ihor are parliamentary candidates.

So is Yuriy Kruk. He's a former Party of Regions member. His two sons aim for Odessa region constituencies. According to Itar Tass:

"Yuriy Kruk Jr. has inherited the constituency in the south-western town of Izmail where his father emerged victorious from an election two years ago."

"He is competing with Volodymyr Bodelan, the son of the former Mayor of Odessa. Yuriy Kruk Sr.'s elder son Vyacheslav is running in precinct No. 133 in the city of Odessa."

Trans-Carpathian region is an electoral nepotism hotbed. Balog family members run things. Viktor formerly served as former President Yushchenko's administration chief of staff.

He's currently a Rada member. So are Balog family members Pavlo, Ivan and Vassily.

Dubnevich brothers Bogdan and Yaroslav are important agricultural producers. They aim for Lviv region Rada seats.

Former US House Speaker Tip O'Neill famously said "(a)ll (US) politics is local." Ukraine's version is largely a family affair. 

It bears repeating. Democracy is pure fantasy. Don't expect media scoundrels to explain.

A Final Comment

Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples' Republics won't participate in Ukrainian elections. According to Lugansk Republic President Igor Plotnitsky:

"We will organize our own elections. Our people will hold (them). Ukraine will be our neighbor."

Donetsk Republic First Deputy Prime Minister, Andrey Purgin, said Kiev's scheduled October 26 elections won't be held in his region. 

Local ones will be held before yearend. Democratic ones. Polar opposite Kiev's sham process. It has no legitimacy whatever. 

Donetsk and Lugansk intend the real thing. They fought and died to assure it. They reject fascist rule. Freedom is too precious to lose.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dead-End US/Russian Relations

Dead-End US/Russian Relations

by Stephen Lendman 

NTV television interviewed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. US/Russian relations reached dead-end long before Ukrainian crisis conditions, he said.

He discussed a range of bilateral problems. "Our relationship is quite complicated," he said. "(B)y the fact that Washington does not attempt to take into account the wishes of partners."

"Suggestions our American partners (bring) to the table (are) one-sided…(W)hile we…try to take into account their approaches and find the balance of such issues."

Diplomacy requires "compromise," he stressed. "We're always ready." Washington is polar opposite.

He called sanctions outdated thinking. They have nothing to do with Ukraine, Lavrov said. 

Their "true purpose (is) to make over Russia to change its position on the key issues of fundamental importance to us and get (us) to take the position of the West."

US behavior reflects "past era" thinking. "(I)nertia thinking dating back to colonial times." 

"W)e are told to change our policy and approaches. It would be a different matter if we were offered to seek something jointly. But we are told: ‘We know how to act and you must do so’.”

Putin earlier suggested serious EU/Russian discussions on establishing common policies on economic and humanitarian issues.

In response, he was told "let's wait." In other words, no interest. Now EU leaders call it "necessary to think and start talking about (what should have been addressed earlier) in practical terms," said Lavrov.

For example, the April 17 four-party (Russia, US, EU, Ukraine) agreement. Terms included refraining from violence, intimidation, or provocative actions.

Prohibiting all forms of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-Semitism.

Immediate commencement of a broad national dialogue. An inclusive, transparent and accountable one.

Within a constitutional process framework. Resolved by Ukrainians to end conflict.

Terms agreed on were dead on arrival. Kiev violated them straightaway. Fascist regimes operate this way. 

Nothing they agree to is credible. Duplicity substitutes for honor. It's longstanding US policy. One fascist regime supports another.

Nations dictating their will on others is unacceptable today, Lavrov said. Russia stresses cooperation. But "only reciprocally." 

"Our Western partners…aren't really using their influence on Kiev to persuade them that there's no alternative to the agreements they've already reached…"

"This is a common thing for the US - a consumerist approach to international relations." 

"They believe that they have the right to punish the countries that act contrary to (its) vision, while demanding cooperation in other issues vital for" Western interests.

"The EU with all of its current Washington leaning has the potential to act independently. This, however, remains almost totally unused." 

"That’s sad, because the EU's own voice could have added balance to international discussions and efforts to solve various problems."

EU officials monitored Friday's Moscow/Kiev talks in Milan. A Kremlin statement called them "difficult and full of disagreements."

Angela Merkel said "no breakthrough" was achieved. Washington wants conflict conditions continued. 

Peace and stability defeat its agenda. Its newest colony complies with its wishes. 

Stooge regimes operate this way. They have no legitimacy whatever. Nor do Washington's bullying, pressure and one-way demands.

America wants talks resumed on limiting strategic offensive arms, said Lavrov. "We (said) first it is necessary to fulfill the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty signed in 2010." 

"Its implementation proceeds normally, faultlessly. There are mechanisms of control over observance of all provisions of this important document." 

"We also remind that before getting back to any aspects of disarmament, we must straighten out what is going on in the organizational sphere of our cooperation." 

It's sorely lacking. Washington bears full responsibility. It blames its own wrongdoing on Russia.

Disarmament was a key Russian/US presidential commission initiative earlier. More than 20 groups were involved.

Their "activity (and) the entire presidential commission was frozen by the Americans and it was done, I would like to stress, long before the Ukrainian crisis," Lavrov said. 

"Problems have been piling up…and they are not dwindling.” Washington irresponsibly accuses Russia “of all thinkable and unthinkable sins over the crisis in Ukraine," he added.

US/Russian relations are complicated in terms of "the essence of issues we are split over, discuss and try to solve."

As well as "the atmosphere that has formed due to obvious reasons."

Russia seeks compromise and balance. America wants things its own way. What it says goes, it believes. 

It shuts out other views. Dealing with Washington "is very difficult work." Including Middle East, North Africa issues.

Russia goes all-out to cooperate. International issues "are packed with contradictory approaches, and we have to (seek) compromises," Lavrov explained.

"We have always been ready for that," he stressed. Ukraine is Russia's closest fraternal nation, he added.

"Common historical, cultural and civilization roots" bind both nations together. A longstanding similar worldview, language and literature.

"We cannot lose Ukraine because (of) a group of persons who committed a state coup and seized power." 

"It is not confined to the Nazis who continue marching in Kiev and other big cities committing acts of vandalism, destroying monuments and glorifying Hitler's accomplices."

"What's happening in relations between our presidents proves that we are going to find the way out of the crisis anyway and will help the Ukrainian brothers to agree on how they should build and develop their country."

Russia supports all cooperative agreements. Implementing them to the letter is fundamental.

Kiev falls way short. Shifting West at the expense of longstanding Eastern relations in the end won't work.

Mutual cooperation with all nations responsibly is key. Russia hopes bilateral dialogue can change things. So far, its efforts have been largely futile.

Change won't come as long as Kiev lets Washington decide policy. Oligarch president Petro Poroshenko is a convenient US stooge. He has no legitimacy whatever.

Legislation granting Lugansk and Donetsk limited self-rule isn't worth the paper it's written on.

Kiev systematically violates all agreements it signs. Expect nothing different this time.

Donetsk People's Republic Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko said his government won't recognize Kiev's law.

It was signed by a foreign state, he said. "Kiev is still under illusion that it governs us, but in reality this is not the case," he said.

Self-defense forces intend returning to the rest of Donetsk region, he added. 

It's currently Kiev occupied territory. It belongs to Southeastern Ukrainians. They intend retaking what's rightfully theirs.

On October 16, US deputy commanding US Army Major General Walter Piatt announced "exercises in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine…"

"We needed to shift from meeting the operational demand to meeting the operational preparedness," he said.

"If we're going to deploy together, we need to train together," he added.

"What we learned was our allies are very competent. There are experienced forces throughout Europe."

US Army Europe intends bringing over a heavy brigade combat team, said Piatt.

When exercises end, equipment will remain in Europe for follow-up forces.

US Army Europe is roughly 31,000-strong. A far cry from over 300,000 at the Cold War's height.

Yet these forces and rotational ones "will be a seed for NATO interoperability." Relationships, Piatt explained.

Building trust. Understanding each other's capabilities and procedures. From disaster response to full-scale war.

"You don’t want to meet the team on the ground for the first time," Piatt said. "We saw this many times in Afghanistan…"

"(W)here you would be meeting forces from other nations for the first time when you have a real operational demand." 

"We're doing that now so the relationships and trust are in place before deployment."

"That's how it works. That's interoperability. That's how the alliance works." At issue is preparing for confrontation with Russia. 

Crazies in Washington may initiate what responsible officials wouldn't dare. It remains to be seen what follows.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.