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Ukraine Government: “We Target Civilians.” Separatists: “Their Targeting Maps Prove It.”

By Eric Zuesse

Global Research, February 03, 2015

Region:
In-depth Report:

The pro-regime Ukrainian TV station Hromandske TV — which is funded by the U.S. Government, the Dutch Government,  has reported that the Ukrainian Government is specifically targeting civilians to die in the Donbass region in the former Ukraine’s southeast. It’s being done in order “to clean the cities.”

This is open acknowledgement that the operation, which the U.S. is financing (and Ukraine is bankrupt so it can never reimburse its donors), is actually an ethnic-cleansing campaign.

Previously, on Hromadske TV, a proponent of doing just that (ethnic cleansing)

was interviewed. He said:

“If we take, for example, just the Donetsk oblast, there are approximately 4 million inhabitants, at least 1.5 million of which are superfluous. … Donbass must be exploited as a resource, which it is. … The most important thing that must be done — no matter how cruel it may sound — is that there is a certain category of people that must be exterminated.”

Here is how it’s done:

Ukrainian military speak out plainly –  We bombard our cities

Published on Sep 9, 2014
ENG SUBS – Translation: Fedot Panteleev

[9 September 2014, from Slavyangrad, pro-separatists’ clips are shown, taken from pro-Ukrainian-Government telecasts] Video of Commander of the Ukrainian Government’s volunteer battalion ’Shaktarsk,’ Ruslan Onishchenko:

“Our mission, being employees of the Ministry of the Interior, is to clean the cities, after the army has ‘worked’ this territory with aircraft, artillery and heavy military equipment. This is a normal tactical approach to warfare.”

Retired Col. General Vladimir Ruban, interviewed on the pro-Ukrainian-Government Hromadske TV, then says:

“I want to offer the Ukrainian artillerists medals, to those who shell the city [Donetsk], the houses and the civilian population, … for they [artillerists] have deserved it [medals], both because of the accuracy and inaccuracy. … It’s one thing if attack groups or any mobile mortar troops drive through the city and shoot, … but if the artillery units fired from the airport [i.e., from the distance], then no one can claim that the separatists shoot themselves [i.e., that the people who are being killed in the city are victims of separatist troops mistakenly hitting passers-by when aiming at Government troops. He is saying that artillerists will clearly get the blame, whereas street-fighters can always blame the ‘terrorists.’]. … The shelling there is done as intimidation, … not just object destruction, but intimidation [to get the population to flee to nearby Russia]. The civilian population is intimidated by a chaotic bombardment of different objects. There are many shells that plug directly into the streets or vegetable gardens [and so make the very ground on which these people live terrifying to them]. INTERVIEWER: This refers to those that didn’t explode? ANSWER:  Yes, … there are many of those, … shells that fail to detonate. But Gorlowka has been fortunate to have not yet been totally eradicated from the face of the earth, along with the civilian population. INTERVIEWER: You mean that the city is bombarded violently? ANSWER: Gorlowka was shelled by our troops, [even] as I went there for the prisoner exchange. Although  it was known that I was there, they [our troops] kept up the bombardment of Gorlowka. 

General Ruban might not have know it at the time of his interview, but on February 1st, Life News in Russia bannered

http://lifenews.ru/news/149253″

“Militia DNR: Ukrainian Army Uses US Missiles,” and reported that in Gorlovka were found “shells that do not belong to Ukrainian artillery, and even more so do not use Soviet or post-Soviet military equipment.
 
According to their hypothesis, the weapons are from NATO. Deputy brigade commander Army DNR [Donetsk People’s Republic] callsign ‘Biker’ showed shells and said that … this is a special projectile 155 caliber self-propelled artillery of the M109 A1 American production, which is used by NATO countries.” Furthermore, “The presence of foreigners in their army and radio intercepts confirms our intelligence when we hear in interceptions, phrases in English and Polish.” Germany’s Bild, and Britain’s Mail, are also among the international news organizations that have previously reported on American mercenaries, including the former notorious Blackwater organization, ‘advising’ the Ukrainian army in this war. The finding of U.S. military provisions on the battlefields in Donbass is, furthermore, routine; but U.S. soldiers, like Russian ones, are probably not fighting there. Ukraine is only a proxy war between the two major nuclear powers, not yet a direct war between the nuclear powers.
 
Within just the past few days, further video evidence was uploaded which indicates that the targeting of civilians is a central purpose of the U.S.-funded Ukrainian war campaign:

The Militia captured secret documents from UAF 28 01 2015 ENG SUBS

 

 

Although Kiev may claim that ‘stray shells’ hit a hospital or a kindergarten, we have found on the front line that is being left behind by departing Ukrainian soldiers, artillery maps, where the targets were restaurants, cafeterias and shops. Here is an exclusive report by our correspondent Valentin Trushin from the former UAF’s [Ukrainian Armed Forces} trenches:

This is a field near the village of Ozeryanovka, from which recently was a Ukrainian battery firing at Gorlovka: … [The rebel soldier says that many of these abandoned tanks and other weapons are undamaged, and ‘They will say tomorrow that Russia supplied them to us, but it’s actually their equipment that will be repaired if necessary but will be used at war against them.’ Views of Government-destroyed Gorlovka are shown.] … In the [rebel-]destroyed dugouts were found … notebooks of cannon commanders, maps. The documents show that shelling of the city [by the Government] was not random, but deliberate.The coordinates of the targets are shown. For examples, one is a restaurant, another a cafeteria or a market where no militiamen were stationed. … Here are their target-maps, … irrefutable evidence of war crimes. 

Little over a month ago, a rebel commander explained why the Ukrainian armed forces are losing:

[eng subs] How the elite UA troops were defeated by the militia. Interview with commander Kedr

 

 

[13 Dec. 2014, from Cassad TV in Crimea, run by a man whom the U.S. aristocracy describe as being a far-right Marxist

“How the Elite UA [Ukrainian Army] Troops Were Defeated by the Militia. Interview with Commander Kedr

(head of the anti-Ukrainian-Government Semyonovka battalion in the outskirts of Slovyansk): How did you manage to defeat them? ANSWER: The most surprising thing is that they were eliminated by the [rebel] militias, who haven’t graduated from any military academies. Many of them haven’t even served in the army before. The majority of them had only for the very first time recently taken weapons in their hands [they hadn’t previously owned or used even a gun]. I think that victory … [resulted from] … the high motivation of our troops, and it was guaranteed by the high morale, the example that was being given by the commanders who were taking part in the fight themselves. It provided such a result. Good trophies [weapons] were captured then, … [and it even] happened before the Ilovaisk cauldron [when the enemy was encircled], and at a time when the situation was very difficult for the militias themselves, … [so] there was only one injured soldier from our side in that battle, but from the enemy’s side were killed 15-12 men, practically all of them [that were fighting]. … Six [of them] were taken captive. [The battlefield is shown with enemy corpses]. … Our unit arrived to collect the corpses of two of their shot-down pilots. But the enemy managed to save one of their pilots. I repeat: Our troops weren’t professional military but people like miners and trolley-bus drivers. [3:17] I’d say to Ukrainian mothers that our soldiers have nowhere to retreat from their own land, while the enemy have a chance to turn around and go home. 

[4:14: video is shown of the enemy’s combat ration.] It’s an American combat ration.

The actual reason why this southeast-Ukrainian ethnic-cleansing campaign is necessary for Obama, who installed the current regime in Ukraine, is that, if it is not done, and, if the people who lived and voted in the Donbass region (Ukraine’s far-east) were still to remain there and allowed to vote there as being citizens of Ukraine, then they would vote at least 90% against the regime’s candidates, and for moderates, because, even before the regime had started to exterminate these people, they had voted 90% for Viktor Yanukovych in the last democratic Ukraine-wide Presidential election (which was back in 2010), and he was the very same man whom Obama overthrew. Now, after this extermination-campaign, the vote there against the Obama stooges would be virtually 100% — not just 90%.

In other words: Obama needs to get rid of those people. They can die, or else they can flee to Russia, but Obama needs them gone from Ukraine.

As regards why Obama had wanted their land to begin with, it was because unless the gas and other assets in the ground there can be privatized or sold off by the Ukrainian Government to pay its debts, the Ukrainian Government will go bankrupt and become an enormous drag on everyone who had previously lent to it, including the U.S., IMF, EU, World Bank, and others (ironically including even Russia).

Now that the situation is becoming increasingly clear that this land will not be able to be controlled by the Ukrainian Government, Obama’s best bet (in terms of his objectives) is to allow the war simply to end with Ukraine’s defeat, so that no more good money will go to Ukraine after the previous bad money is thus lost, but just cut the losses and bring this truncated and rabidly anti-Russian western half of Ukraine into NATO for the goal that is, apparently, Obama’s top foreign-policy objective: surrounding Russia with U.S. nuclear missiles and with regimes that hate Russia, in order to get Russia’s capitulation to America’s aristocracy.

Vladimir Putin wants Donbass to instead remain a part of Ukraine, as a counter-weight there against the rabidly anti-Russian voters in Ukraine’s western region, so as to produce yet another Yanukovych-like leadership in Ukraine and thus reduce the likelihood of a global nuclear war (which would be Russia’s only alternative if Obama were to succeed in his surround-Russia-with-missiles plan).

After all: John Fitzgerald Kennedy didn’t like it when the Soviet Union in 1962 tried to place nuclear missiles in just one location near the U.S.: Cuba. For Putin, Ukraine is like a nuclear Cuba was to America, but more like around ten nuclear Cubas, in Russia’s case. For Ukraine to join NATO would, perhaps, alone be sufficient threat to Russia so as to produce an immediate Russian nuclear attack against the U.S. and other NATO nations (a pre-emptive Russian attack, against us). The insane ones there would be the U.S. and any nation that supports it — the nations that then are clearly aiming to ‘conquer’ Russia. The U.S., under Kennedy, refused to stand for it in reverse; and Russia, under Putin or any other leader, shouldn’t stand for it, either. NATO needs to end, immediately. It had started as an anti-communist club, and was then valid; but what it was and is after the end of the Soviet Union, is the greatest threat to the entire world. It is now nothing but an anti-Russian club: not just insane, but also evil.

The only beneficiaries of today’s NATO are the West’s arms-merchants and other military suppliers. For everybody else, it’s catastrophe waiting to happen.

So: that’s the reason why the United States has been supporting (and, until now, even demanding) an ethnic-cleansing campaign in the former Ukraine. It’s part of the evil and supremely dangerous insanity that is NATO.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

A Simple Letter from a Ukrainian Girl

In-depth Report:

 

GR Editor’s Note

Euromaidan-Thugs-400x216The following letter by a young Ukrainian girl was brought to our attention. The letter translated from Russian depicts the drame of young girl, It describes the context of oppression prevailing in Ukraine’s capital directed  against those who opposed the Maidan.

Unfortunately, I had to close all posts in my VK(VKontakte) about Maidan (they aren’t erased, but now are visible only to me) because after the Maidan “victory” in Kiev the real nightmare began. About that, people prefer not to speak because they are very much afraid. There are [Right Sector] militants everywhere.

My co-worker was beat in front of the entrance to her apartment for writing anti-maidan posts in her VK page. How did they find her? No one knows. She is in intensive care and at the first mention of that event, you can’t appease her tears.

At school the other day, my neighbor’s boy called his parents at the break using a mobile phone and spoke with them in Russian. His schoolmates took away his phone and broke it. They broke his bag, tore all his textbooks and note-books, and then beat him up. They demanded he speak only Ukrainian or “for the rest of his life be afraid because they will find and will cripple him”. This is a boy in 7th grade.

From time to time on the streets it is possible to see this picture; As a person is approaching a group of people, the group asks questions: “Were you on Maidan? Do you support Maidan? ” If both answers are “no” the group cruelly beats them and kicks them.

In Kiev now the majority of Russians and Russian-speaking people, initially and after Maidan who  did not support Maidan are compelled to remember the Soviet period when “even walls have ears” and to keep mum. Because we, unlike other regions [Donesk, Lugansk] have no chance of separating from Ukraine.

In Kiev now, as many as speak in whispers at personal meetings are doomed. Here its already a totalitarian mode and probably will only get worse.

Everything is getting aggravated with that. For some reason a lot Russians, and Russian-speaking people were at Maidan and in every possible way helped Maidan’s people.
Kiev is completely split. Here associating with Russians is impossible. They are now enemies in addition to Yanukovych. Its awful that this war( the gun battles that ended Maidan) is here. Such cruelty beating on absolutely peaceful people. Their only crime is that they dared to be against vandals and cheap swindlers of people.

Please, don’t mention my nickname in context with this information.

If people find and cripple people already for posts in VK, that truth very much frightens us, “especially women and mothers”.

I asked for permission to publish the letter without mention of authorship and received the following answer:

“If you publish, state objectively that externally Kiev leads a quiet, quiet life”. But it is only a matter of visibility. Those who are joyful and complacent are for Maidan. Now it is their time.

All others are guarded and careful even with people they think they know. Russian and Russian-speaking people that haven’t faced an atrocity as opponents of the Maidan simply try to be silent in public places. They try to not attract the aggression of madmen.

And those who already suffered from them or at least as much as I know about real cases, try hard to save their families and to be silent, silent, silent.
Therefore the “picture” of Kiev is quite safe, spring comes, and so on. Actually part (and not a small part!) of the city is in silent horror.

You cannot leave everything: Your work, your house, the proof you had a life- you can’t throw it all away.

People hang on by the skin of their teeth. After all that has happened, they hope for any miracle. Though it is difficult even to assume now that anything can save the Russians in Kiev.

It is impossible to be silent. But the inhabitants of Kiev, who are Antimaidan, and faced atrocity won’t write about it openly. It’s the instinct of self-preservation

Those who aren’t aware yet are in a kind of dark hope that somehow everything will be fine. I try to be very careful. Only here I decided to write this to you for some reason. Probably, because of trust and you are after all very far away…”

Response from another person in Kiev during Maidan

“I read “The letter from Kiev”. Everything is true… The author correctly wrote you can’t drop everything and leave in one day. You won’t get a new house and a new job in one day. It is necessary to simply hide. This is an absolutely awful feeling.

It is necessary not only to remember that the walls have ears, but you have to remind yourself to look like you are in a good mood. Rejoice that the spring sun is shining for example. After Maidan it is unhealthy to do otherwise. People are watching and looking for those that did not support Maidan. Laws no longer work here. The people are absolutely defenseless and left to the mercy of fate.

This was a fascist revolution. The most amazing and simply unreal thing is that people supported radicals and welcomed the created state of affairs. Here it is full of lawlessness. Intolerance to any point of view, intolerance on a racial, national, religious, and political convictions not in line with Maidan is a crime.

They started closing publishing houses such as“Ejenedelnik 2000” weekly, which never sympathized with Maidan, not in 2004(Orange revolution), and not now. There is the whole list of journalists, political scientists, sociologists who became persona non grata in Ukraine’s information space.

The most ridiculous organization“stop censorship” first struggled with the dictator Yanukovych. Afterward they wanted every publisher that didn’t agree with Maidan closed. No human rights activists or even “the reporters without borders” ever mentioned this, not one. I am feeling that is a dreadful dream the events.”

Here openly I put it. It is fascism, ordinary fascism.

 

Editor of Major German Newspaper Says He Planted Stories for the CIA

 

Region:

Becoming the first credentialed, well-known media insider to step forward and state publicly that he was secretly a “propagandist,” an editor of a major German daily has said that he personally planted stories for the CIA.

Saying he believes a medical condition gives him only a few years to live, and that he is filled with remorse, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers, said in an interview that he accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. Ulfkotte said the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war.

Dr. Ulfkotte says the corruption of journalists and major news outlets by the CIA is routine, accepted, and widespread in the western media, and that journalists who do not comply either cannot get jobs at any news organization, or find their careers cut short.

Dr. Ulfkotte is the author of a book currently available only in German, “Bought Journalists” (Kopp 2014.) Aged 55, he was also once an advisor to the government of German Chancellor Helmet Kohl.

The book has become a bestseller in Germany but, in a bizarre twist which Ulfkotte says characterizes the disconnect caused by CIA control of the western media, the book cannot be reported on.

Ulfkotte says:

“No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about [my] book. Otherwise he or she will be sacked. So we have a bestseller now that no German journalist is allowed to write or talk about.”

Among the stories Ulfkotte says he was ordered to plant in his newspaper over the years was a story that Libyan President Moammar Gaddafi was building poison gas factories in 2011. Ulfkotte also says he was an eyewitness to Saddam Hussein’s use of poison gas against Iranians in the war between Iran and Iraq, but that the editors he worked for at the time were not interested, because Iraq was a US ally at the time.

Ulfkotte says he is better positioned to come forward than many journalists because he does not have children who could be threatened. Ulfkotte told the Russian newspaper Russian Insider (RI):

“When I told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Ulfkotte’s nwspaper) that I would publish the book, their lawyers sent me a letter threatening with all legal consequences if I would publish any names or secrets – but I don’t mind. You see, I don’t have children to take care of. And you must know I was severely injured during the gas attack I witnessed in Iran in 1988. I’m the sole German survivor from a German poison gas attack. I’m still suffering from this. I’ve had three heart attacks. I don’t expect to live for more than a few years.”

Ulfkotte says that remorse of having “lied” to mass audiences over the years drove him to come forward. He told RI that he was:

“taught to lie, to betray and not to tell the truth to the public.”

Ulfkotte says:

“I’m ashamed I was part of it. Unfortunately I cannot reverse this.”

Among the admissions that Ulfkotte makes in the interview are putting his own name to articles completely written by intelligence agencies. He said:

“I ended up publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service.”

Ulfkotte detailed the pattern of cajolery and outright bribery used by the CIA and other US-allied intelligence agencies, for the purpose of advancing political agendas. Ulfkotte said:

“once you’re connected, you make friends with selected Americans. You think they are your friends and you start cooperating. They work on your ego, make you feel like you’re important. And one day one of them will ask you ‘Will you do me this favor’…”

Ulfkotte noted that a journalists on international press trips paid for by organizations close to the government are unlikely to submit a storyline not favorable to the sponsor.

Of the gassing of Iranians he had witnessed in the Eighties, Ulfkoppe said:

“they asked me to hand over the photo’s that I had made to the German association of chemical companies in Frankfurt, Verband der Chemischen Industrie. This poison gas that had killed so many Iranians was made in Germany.”

In an interview with Russia Today, Ulfkotte said that it was “not right” what he had done, and that his fear was that politicians were actively driving the world toward war:

“it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do, and have done in the past, because they are bribed to betray the people not only in Germany, all over Europe. … I am very fearful of a new war in Europe, and I don’t like to have this situation again, because war is never coming from itself, there is always people who push for war, and this is not only politicians, it is journalists too. … We have betrayed our readers, just to push for war. … I don’t want this anymore, I’m fed up with this propaganda. We live in a banana republic, and not in a democratic country where we have press freedom…”

In his book “The CIA and the Media,” Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein quotes William B. Bader, former CIA intelligence officer, in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Baeder said:

“There is quite an incredible spread of relationships. You don’t need to manipulate Time magazine, for example, because there are [Central Intelligence] Agency people at the management level.”

Bernstein writes:

“The Agency’s relationship with the Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials. From 1950 to 1966, about ten CIA employees were provided Times cover under arrangements approved by the newspaper’s late publisher, Arthur Hays Sulzberger. The cover arrangements were part of a general Times policy—set by Sulzberger—to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.”

Ulfkotte was on the staff of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation from 1999 to 2003, according to hisWikipedia entry. He won the civic prize from the Annette Barthelt Foundation in 2003.

Dr Udo Ulfkotte, journalist and author, on RT

 

 

Oliver Stone: Ukrainians are suffering from US ‘ideological crusade’ against Russia

Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone

 

RT news

In response to those who took exception with his claims that the Ukrainian crisis involved “outside agitators,” Oliver Stone took to social media to advance his argument, saying that Ukrainians are the victims of a US strategy akin to Cold War 2.0.

This week, Stone stirred a political firestorm with his views on what he believed sparked the Ukrainian crisis, following a private interview with Viktor Yanukovich, the former Ukrainian president who was ousted in the February 2014 coup.

“It seems clear that the so-called ‘shooters’ who killed 14 policemen, wounded some 85 and killed 45 protesting civilians, were outside, third-party agitators,” Stone said, following his four-hour conversation with Yanukovich in Moscow. “Many witnesses, including Yanukovich and police officials, believe these foreign elements were introduced by pro-Western factions – with CIA fingerprints on it.”

According to the American-born filmmaker and writer, Ukraine is just the latest country in a long list to fall prey to “America’s soft power technique called ‘Regime Change 101.’”

Stone’s comments reverberated like an earthquake on both sides of the Ukrainian divide, prompting him to elaborate on his original statement. Stone’s follow-up post began with him explaining that he has no particular sympathy for Yanukovich.

“For those of you angry with my analysis of Ukraine yesterday, please try to understand the bigger picture I’m offering,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “I have no brief for Viktor Yanukovich, he may well be the most corrupt president Ukraine’s ever had. Ukraine has a dramatic history of corruption. That is not my point.”

What game is the House of Saud playing?

Pepe-EscobarPepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.

 

 

Published time: January 16, 2015 12:29

 

33.si

Reuters / Lucy Nicholson

The House of Saud now finds itself in times of extreme trouble. Their risky oil price war may eventually backfire. The succession of King Abdullah may turn into a bloodbath. And the American protector may be musing a change of heart.

Let’s start with oil – and some background. As much as US supply has increased by a couple of million barrels a day, enough oil from Iran, Kirkuk in Iraq, Libya and Syria has gone out of production; and that offsets extra US oil on the market. Essentially, the global economy – at least for the moment – is not searching for more oil because of European stagnation/recession and the relative China slowdown.

Reuters / Todd Korol

Reuters / Todd Korol

Since 2011, Saudi Arabia has been flooding the market to offset the decrease in Iran exports caused by the US economic war, a.k.a. sanctions. Riyadh, moreover, prevented OPEC from reducing country production quotas. The House of Saud believes it can play the waiting game – as fracked oil, mostly American, is inexorably driven out of the market because it is too expensive. After that, the Saudis believe they will regain market share.

In parallel, the House of Saud is obviously enjoying “punishing” Iran and Russia for their support of Bashar Assad in Damascus. Moreover, the House of Saud is absolutely terrified of a nuclear deal essentially between the US and Iran (although that’s still a major “if”) – leading to a long-term détente.

Tehran, though, remains defiant. Russia brushed off the attack because the lower ruble meant state revenues remained unchanged – so there will be no budget deficit. As for oil-thirsty East Asia – including top Saudi customer China – it’s enjoying the bonanza while it lasts.

Oil prices will remain very low for the time being. This week Goldman Sachs lowered their 2015 WTI and Brent Crude forecasts; Brent was slashed from $83.75 a barrel to $50.40, WTI was cut from $73.75 to $47.15 a barrel. Prices per barrel could soon drop as low as $42 and $40.50. But then, there will be an inevitable “U-shaped recovery.”

Nomura bets that oil will be back to $80 a barrel by the end of 2015.

Punish Russia or bust

US President Barack Obama, in this interview, openly admitted that he wanted “disruptions” in the “price of oil” because he figured Russian President Vladimir Putin would have “enormous difficulty managing it.” So that settles the argument about hurting Russia and US-Saudi collusion, after US Secretary of State John Kerry allowed/endorsed King Abdullah in Jeddah to simultaneously raise oil production and embark on a cut price strategy.

Whether Kerry sold out the US shale gas industry out of ignorance or incompetence – probably both – is irrelevant. What matters is if the House of Saud were ordered to back off, they would have to do it in a flash; the ‘Empire of Chaos’ dominates the Persian Gulf vassals, who can’t even breathe without at least an implicit US green light.

What is way more troubling is that the current bunch in Washington does not seem to be defending US national and industrial interests. If humongous trade deficits based on currency rigging were not enough, now virtually the entire US oil industry runs the risk of being destroyed by an oil price racket. Any sane analyst would interpret it as contrary to US national interests.

Anyway, the Riyadh deal was music for the House of Saud’s ears. Their official policy has always been to slash the development of all potential substitutes for oil, including US shale gas. So why not depress oil prices and keep them there long enough to make investments in shale gas a lunatic proposal?

But there’s a huge problem. The House of Saud simply won’t get enough in oil revenues to support their annual budget with oil at below $90 a barrel. So as much as hurting Iran and Russia may be appealing, hurting their own golden pocketbooks is not.

The long-term outlook spells out higher oil prices. Oil may be replaced in many instances; but there isn’t a replacement – yet – for the internal combustion engine. So whatever OPEC is doing, it is actually preserving demand for oil vs. oil substitutes, and maximizing the return on a limited resource. The bottom-line: yes, this is predatory pricing.

Once again, there’s an immense, crucial, complicating vector. We may have the House of Saud and other Persian Gulf producers flooding the market – but its Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Citigroup who are doing the shadow, nasty work via leveraged derivative short futures.

Oil prices are such an opaque racket that only major oil trading banks such as Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley have some idea who is buying and who is selling oil futures or derivative contracts – what is called “paper oil.” The non-rules of this multi-billion casino spell out “speculative bubble” – with a little help from those friends at the Gulf oil pumps. With oil futures trading and the two major London and New York exchanges monopolizing oil futures contracts, OPEC really does not control oil prices anymore; Wall Street does. This is the big secret. The House of Saud may entertain the illusion they are in control. They’re not.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama – (Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)

That dysfunctional marriage

As if this was not messy enough, the crucial succession of the House of Saud is propelled to the forefront. King Abdullah, 91, was diagnosed with pneumonia, hospitalized in Riyadh on New Year’s Eve, and was breathing with a tube. He may – or may not, this being the secretive House of Saud – have lung cancer. He won’t last long. The fact that he is hailed as a “progressive reformer” tells everything one needs to know about Saudi Arabia. “Freedom of expression”? You must be joking.

So who’ll be next? The first in the line of succession should be Crown Prince Salman, 79, also defense minister. He was governor of Riyadh province for a hefty 48 years. It was this certified falcon who supervised the wealth of private “donations” to the Afghan mujahedeen in the 1980s jihad, in tandem with hardcore Wahhabi preachers. Salman’s sons include the governor of Medina, Prince Faisal. Needless to add, the Salman family controls virtually all of Saudi media.

To get to the Holy Grail Salman must be proven fit. That’s not a given; and on top of it Abdullah, a tough nut to crack, already survived two of his crown princes, Sultan and Nayef. Salman’s prospects look bleak; he has had spinal surgery, a stroke and may be suffering from – how appropriate – dementia.

It also does not bode well that when Salman was promoted to Deputy Defense Minister, soon enough he was shown the door – as he got himself mixed up with Bandar Bush’s atrocious jihadi game in Syria.

Anyway, Salman already has a successor; second Deputy Prime Minister Prince Muqrin, former governor of Medina province and then head of Saudi intelligence. Muqrin is very, very close to Abdullah. Muqrin seems to be the last “capable” son of Ibn Saud; “capable” here is a figure of speech. The real problem though starts when Muqrin becomes Crown Prince. Because then the next in line will be picked from the grandsons of Ibn Saud.

Enter the so-called third generation princes – a pretty nasty bunch. Chief among them is none other than Mitab bin Abdullah, 62, the son of the king; cries of nepotism do proceed. Like a warlord, Mitab controls his own posse in the National Guard. Sources told me Riyadh is awash in rumors that Abdullah and Muqrin have made a deal: Abdullah gets Muqrin to become king, and Muqrin makes Mitab crown prince. Once again, this being the “secretive” House of Saud, the Hollywood mantra applies: no one knows anything.

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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.(Reuters / Brendan Smialowski)

Abdullah’s sons are all over the place; governor of Mecca, deputy governor of Riyadh, deputy foreign minister, president of the Saudi Red Crescent. Same for Salman’s sons. But then there’s Muhammad bin Nayif, son of the late Crown Prince Nayif, who became Interior Minister in 2012, in charge of ultra-sensitive internal security, as in cracking down on virtually anything. He is the top competitor against Mitab among the third-generation princes.

So forget about family “unity” when such juicy loot as an oil hacienda impersonating a whole country is in play. And yet whoever inherits the loot will have to face the abyss, and the same litany of distress; rising unemployment; abysmal inequality; horrendous sectarian divide; jihadism in all its forms – not least the fake Ibrahim Caliphate in “Syraq”, already threatening to march towards Mecca and Medina; the unspeakably medieval Council of Ulemas (the lashing/amputating/beheading-loving bunch); total dependency on oil; unbounded paranoia towards Iran; and a wobbly relationship with His Masters Voice, the US.

When will they call the cavalry?

And it so happens that the real ‘Masters of the Universe’ in the Washington-New York axis are debating exactly the erosion of this relationship; as in the House of Saud having no one to talk to but the “puppets”, from Bush Two minions to Kerry at most on occasion. This analysis contends that any promises made by Kerry over the House of Saud “cooperation” to damage Russia’s economy really mean nothing.

Rumbles from ‘Masters of the Universe’ territory indicate that the CIA sooner or later might move against the House of Saud. In this case the only way for the House of Saud to secure its survival would be to become friendly with none other than Moscow. This exposes once more the House of Saud’s suicidal present course of trying to hurt Russia’s economy.

As everyone is inexorably an outsider when faced with the totally opaque House of Saud, there’s an analytical current that swears they know what they’re doing. Not necessarily. The House of Saud seems to believe that pleasing US neocons will improve their status in Washington. That simply won’t happen. The neocons remain obsessed about the House of Saud helping Pakistan to develop its nuclear missiles; some of them – once again, that’s open to speculation – might even be deployed inside Saudi Arabia for “defensive purposes” against that mythical Iranian “threat.”

Messy? That doesn’t even begin to describe it. But one thing is certain; whatever game Riyadh thinks it’s playing, they’d better start seriously talking to Moscow. But please, don’t send Bandar Bush on another Russian mission.

Pepe Escobar’s latest book is Empire of Chaos. Follow him on Facebook.

 

No Saudi-Russian talks to bump up oil price in return for disowning Assad – Moscow

PutinFinger1-400x547

Russian President Vladimir Putin

RT News

Published time: February 04, 2015 09:57

Moscow denies a report claiming that Saudi Arabia had offered to adjust its oil production and create a crude price rise in exchange for Russia withdrawing support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The report in the New York Times cited an anonymous Saudi and US diplomatic sources as saying that Riyadh used its large oil market share as leverage in negotiations with Moscow.

“If oil can serve to bring peace in Syria, I don’t see how Saudi Arabia would back away from trying to reach a deal,” a Saudi diplomat was quoted as saying.

The report was denied by Aleksey Pushkov, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Russian State Duma.

“The New York Times distorted information so many times, especially since the Ukrainian crisis started. I wouldn’t advise you taking it as a reliable source. There were no talks of such exchange,” the official told RSN radio station.

Saudis kinda admit to keeping oil prices low to screw Russians and gain influence in Syria. No mention of ISIS. http://nyti.ms/1z8iOL6

The New York Times @nytimes

 

He added that the Russian delegation headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, which visited Saudi Arabia for the funeral of late King Abdullah, did discuss oil-related issues, but no shady deals were proposed.

“We discussed oil, pricing, coordination between OPEC members and non-member states. The talks were positive and constructive. There was no Syrian dimension in them,” Pushkov said.

He added that Saudi Arabia is in the process of changing its position on the Syrian crisis and distancing itself from the armed conflict.

 

President of Russia Vladimir Putin (L) and Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) of Saudi Arabia talk through their interpreters during a plenary session at the G20 leaders summit in Brisbane November 15, 2014 (Reuters / Rob Griffith)

President of Russia Vladimir Putin (L) and Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) of Saudi Arabia talk through their interpreters during a plenary session at the G20 leaders summit in Brisbane November 15, 2014 (Reuters / Rob Griffith)

The report was denied by Aleksey Pushkov, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Russian State Duma.

“The New York Times distorted information so many times, especially since the Ukrainian crisis started. I wouldn’t advise you taking it as a reliable source. There were no talks of such exchange,” the official told RSN radio station.
He added that the Russian delegation headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, which visited Saudi Arabia for the funeral of late King Abdullah, did discuss oil-related issues, but no shady deals were proposed.

“We discussed oil, pricing, coordination between OPEC members and non-member states. The talks were positive and constructive. There was no Syrian dimension in them,” Pushkov said.

He added that Saudi Arabia is in the process of changing its position on the Syrian crisis and distancing itself from the armed conflict.

 

READ MORE: Oil can recover to $200 if supply dries up – OPEC head

The report was also denied by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who called it “nothing more but speculation by the paper.”

Saudi Arabia has been an outspoken critic of the Syrian government over the years of civil war there. It was reported to supply weapons to various opposition groups seeking to topple Assad.

Russia remained an ally of Assad and negotiated a deal with the US, which led to dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. The deal saved face for Washington, having pledged to use military force against Damascus due to alleged use of chemical weapons, but being reluctant to actually do it.

The oil market experienced the biggest drop in price in years in 2014, imperiling the economies of oil exporters, including Russia and Saudi Arabia. Riyadh said it would not reduce its output regardless of the price do protect its market share.