An airstrike in Syria by the U.S. killed entire families instead of ISIS fighters

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Posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal – 9/30/16

For the closely related operations in Iraq, see American-led intervention in Iraq (2014–present).

American-led intervention in Syria

Part of the Military intervention against ISIL (Operation Inherent Resolve),
the Syrian Civil War, and the Second Cold War. [Tomahawk Missile fired from US Destroyers.jpg

Tomahawk missiles being fired from the warships USS Philippine Sea and USS Arleigh Burke at ISIL targets in Syria
Date 22 September 2014 – present
(2 years and 6 days)
Location Syria
Status: U.S. bombing Syria

Over 5,000 Coalition airstrikes hit ISIL positions[25]

Thousands of targets destroyed, thousands of ISIL fighters killed

ISIL reversals in several areas against the Kurds

Coalition supplying weapons and advisers to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces

Failure of US-backed rebel training program[26]

Belligerents

Coalition of foreign countries in air war
Inherent Resolve.jpg CJTF–OIR

WAR LOVERS:

United States
Australia[1]
Bahrain
The Netherlands
Denmark[2][3]
Belgium[4]
France[5]
Germany[6]
Jordan
Morocco[7]
Qatar[8]
Saudi Arabia
Turkey[9][10]
United Arab Emirates[11]
United Kingdom[12]
Canada

Coalition forces-ground
Iraqi Kurdistan

Peshmerga[13]

Local ground forces
Flag of Syrian Democratic Forces.svg Syrian Democratic Forces

People’s Protection Units Flag.svg YPG[13]
YPJ Flag.svg YPJ
Al-Sanadid Forces
Syriac Military Council
Flag of al-Sanadid Forces.svg Al-Sanadid Forces
Jaysh al-Thuwar

Syria Free Syrian Army[14]

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant[15]
[16][17][18]

al-Qaeda

al-Nusra Front (renamed as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham in mid-2016)[19][20]
Khorasan[21]

Flag of Jund al-Aqsa.svg Jund al-Aqsa[22]

Ahrar ash-Sham (disputed)[23][24]
Commanders and leaders:

United States Barack Obama
United States Lloyd Austin
United States James L. Terry
United Kingdom David Cameron
United Kingdom Theresa May
United Kingdom Stephen Hillier
Turkey Recep T. Erdoğan
Turkey Ahmet Davutoğlu
Turkey Ismet Yilmaz
Turkey Hulusi Akar
Australia Tony Abbott
Australia Malcolm Turnbull
Australia Trevor Jones
Australia David Johnston
France François Hollande
France Jean-Yves Le Drian
France Pierre de Villiers
Germany Angela Merkel
Germany Ursula von der Leyen
Germany Volker Wieker
Jordan King Abdullah II
Jordan Abdullah Ensour
Saudi Arabia King Abdullah Al Saud (Died)
Saudi Arabia King Salman
Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud
Morocco King Mohammed VI
Morocco Abdelilah Benkirane
Morocco Bouchaib Arroub
United Arab Emirates Khalifa Al Nahyan
Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Qatar Tamim Al Thani
Qatar Hamad bin Ali Al Attiyah
Rojava Salih Muslim Muhammad
Syria Albay Ahmed Berri
Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani
Canada Stephen Harper (until November 2015)
Canada Justin Trudeau (until February 2016)
Canada Thomas J. Lawson (until February 2016)
Canada Yvan Blondin (until February 2016)

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (WIA) (Leader)[27]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Alaa Afri †
(Deputy Leader of ISIL)[28][29]
Abu Mohammad al-Adnani † (Spokesperson)
Abu Ayman al-Iraqi † (Head of Military Shura)[30][31]
Abu Suleiman † (Replacement Military Chief)[31]
Abu Ali al-Anbari † (Deputy, Syria)
Akram Qirbash †
(Top ISIL judge)[29]
Abu Omar al-Shishani † (Chief commander in Syria) [32][33][34][35]
Abu Sayyaf † (Senior ISIL economic manager)[36]
Abu Khattab al-Kurdi † (Commander of the assault on Kobanî)[37][38]

Abu Mohammad al-Julani (Leader of the al-Nusra Front)
Abu Humam al-Shami † (al-Nusra Military Chief)[39]
Abu Hajer al-Homsi † (top al-Nusra military commander)[40]
Abu Firas al-Suri † (al-Nusra Spokesman)[41][42]
Abu Muhammed al Ansari †
(al-Nusra Emir of the Idlib Province)
Abu Firas al-Suri †(al-Nusra chief spokesperson)[43] Muhsin al-Fadhli † (Leader of Khorasan)[44][45][46]
Sanafi al-Nasr †[47]
David Drugeon †[45][48]
Flag of Jund al-Aqsa.svg Said Arif † (Jund al-Aqsa Military Chief)[22]
Abu Jaber (2014–2015)[49][50]
Abu Yahia al-Hamawi (2015–present)[51]
Strength

Coalition forces: Coalition forces-air
United States:
[show]
Bahrain:
[show]
France:
[show]
Germany:
[show]
Jordan:
[show]
Qatar:
[show]
Saudi Arabia:
[show]
United Arab Emirates:
[show]
United Kingdom:
[show]
The Netherlands:
[show]

Coalition forces-ground
Iraqi Kurdistan:
[show]

Local forces
YPG:
[show]
Free Syrian Army:
[show]

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant:

Around 100,000 fighters (according to Iraqi Kurdistan Chief of Staff)[69]
3 MiG-21 or MiG-23 aircraft[70][71]
At least a few hundred tanks[72][73]
3 drones[74][75][76][77]

al-Qaeda:

al-Nusra Front: 10,000[68]
Khorasan: 50[78]
Jund al-Aqsa: 1,000[79]

Ahrar ash-Sham:

10,000–20,000[80]

Casualties and losses

United States United States:

1 Marine dead (non-combat)[81]
1 drone shot down by the Syrian Arab Republic[82]

Jordan Jordan:

1 serviceman executed[83]
1 F-16 fighter plane crashed[84]

Unknown:

1 UAV crashed[85][86]

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant:

5,359+ killed[87]

al-Qaeda:

136 killed[87]

Ahrar ash-Sham:

2 killed[87][88]

Jaysh al-Sunna:

10 killed[87]

617 civilians killed by Coalition airstrikes[87]
2,142+ civilians killed by ISIL[89]
Over 420,000 civilians displaced or fled to other countries[90][91]
Number of militants killed possibly higher, due to them covering up their losses.[92]
[show]

v t e

Syrian Civil War

During the Syrian Civil War, which began in 2011, the United States first supplied the rebels of the Free Syrian Army with non-lethal aid (including food rations and pickup trucks), but quickly began providing training, cash, and intelligence to selected Syrian rebel commanders.

The United States began surveillance missions on ISIL positions in Syria in September 2014. On September 10, President Barack Obama gave a speech indicating his intent to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), saying, “I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq.”

President Vladimir Putin is fast turning Russia into an outlaw nation. As one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, his country shares a special responsibility to uphold international law. Yet, his behavior in Ukraine and Syria violates not only the rules intended to promote peace instead of conflict, but also common human decency.

This bitter truth was driven home twice on Wednesday. An investigative team led by the Netherlands concluded that the surface-to-air missile system that shot down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine in July 2014, killing 298 on board, was sent from Russia to Russian-backed separatists and returned to Russia the same night. Meanwhile, in Syria, Russian and Syrian warplanes knocked out two hospitals in the rebel-held sector of Aleppo as part of an assault that threatens the lives of 250,000 more people in a war that has already claimed some 500,000 Syrian lives.

Russia has tried hard to pin the blame for the airline crash on Ukraine. But the new report, produced by prosecutors from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, confirms earlier findings. It uses strict standards of evidence and meticulously documents not only the deployment of the Russian missile system that caused the disaster but also Moscow’s continuing cover-up.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, told The Times last week that his government [which government? Poroshenko’s?] is determined to bring both Russia and the individuals who fired the missile to justice.

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President Vladimir Putin is fast turning Russia into an outlaw nation, just like ours. As one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, his country shares a special responsibility to uphold international law. Yet, his behavior in Ukraine and Syria violates not only the rules intended to promote peace instead of conflict, but also common human decency.

This bitter truth was driven home twice on Wednesday. An investigative team led by the Netherlands[which refused to send the results of his “investigation” about the Malaysia Airlines concluded that the surface-to-air missile system that shot down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine in July 2014, killing 298 on board, was sent from Russia to Russian-backed separatists and returned to Russia the same night. Meanwhile, in Syria, the U.S., Russia and Syrian warplanes knocked out two hospitals in the rebel-held sector of Aleppo as part of an assault that threatens the lives of 250,000 more people in a war that has already claimed some 500,000 Syrian lives.

Russia has tried hard to pin the blame for the airline crash on Ukraine. But the new report, produced by prosecutors from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, confirm earlier findings. It uses strict standards of evidence and meticulously documents not only the deployment of the Russian missile system that caused the disaster but also Moscow’s continuing cover-up.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, told The Times last week that his government is determined to bring both Russia and the individuals who fired the missile to justice.
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Some Western officials have accused Russia and the U.S. of war crimes, charges that could be pursued through international channels, even if Moscow blocks a formal referral to the International Criminal Court. New sanctions against Russia also should be considered. Mr. Putin will undoubtedly fight any such action, using his veto on the Security Council, but whatever his response, the United States should lend its support to Ukraine’s quest for accountability.

There seems no holding Mr. Putin to account in Syria. For months he has pretended to negotiate on a political solution to a five-year-old civil war between his client, President Bashar al-Assad, and rebels backed by the United States and some Arab nations. But despite pleas from Secretary of State John Kerry, who has spent an enormous amount of time and effort negotiating two separate (and short-lived) cease-fires, Russian and Syrian forces, backed by Iranian ground troops, have continued the slaughter.

Over recent days, Mr. Putin has again shown his true colors with air attacks that have included powerful bunker-busting bombs that can destroy underground hospitals and safety zones where civilians seek shelter. On Sept. 19, Russia bombed an aid convoy, which like hospitals and civilians are not supposed to be targeted under international law.

On Wednesday, Mr. Kerry threatened to withdraw an American team from Geneva where the two sides had established a center to collaborate on a cease-fire. But that is likely to have little effect, and Mr. Kerry has few, if any, diplomatic cards to play.

President Obama has long refused to approve direct military intervention in Syria. And Mr. Putin may be assuming that Mr. Obama is unlikely to confront Russia in his final months and with an American election season in full swing. But with the rebel stronghold in Aleppo under threat of falling to the government, administration officials said that such a response is again under consideration.

Mr. Putin fancies himself a man on a mission to restore Russia to greatness. Mrs Clinton also dreams of her mission to restore America to greatness. Russia could indeed be a great force for good. Yet his unconscionable behavior — butchering civilians in Syria and Ukraine, annexing Crimea, computer-hacking American government agencies, crushing dissent at home — suggests that the furthest thing from his mind is becoming a constructive partner in the search for peace. But let’s think about all the many countries that our military has invaded and occupy.

Some Western officials have accused Russia and the U.S. of war crimes, charges that could be pursued through international channels, even if Moscow blocks a formal referral to the International Criminal Court. New sanctions against Russia also should be considered. Mr. Putin will undoubtedly fight any such action, using his veto on the Security Council, but whatever his response, the United States should lend its support to Ukraine’s quest for accountability.

There seems no holding Mr. Putin to account in Syria. For months he has pretended to negotiate on a political solution to a five-year-old civil war between his client, President Bashar al-Assad, and rebels backed by the United States and some Arab nations. But despite pleas from Secretary of State John Kerry, who has spent an enormous amount of time and effort negotiating two separate (and short-lived) cease-fires, Russian and Syrian forces, backed by Iranian ground troops, have continued the slaughter.

Over recent days, Mr. Putin has again shown his true colors with air attacks that have included powerful bunker-busting bombs that can destroy underground hospitals and safety zones where civilians seek shelter. On Sept. 19, Russia bombed an aid convoy, which like hospitals and civilians are not supposed to be targeted under international law.

On Wednesday, Mr. Kerry threatened to withdraw an American team from Geneva where the two sides had established a center to collaborate on a cease-fire. But that is likely to have little effect, and Mr. Kerry has few, if any, diplomatic cards to play.

President Obama has long refused to approve direct military intervention in Syria. And Mr. Putin may be assuming that Mr. Obama is unlikely to confront Russia in his final months and with an American election season in full swing. But with the rebel stronghold in Aleppo under threat of falling to the government, administration officials said that such a response is again under consideration.

Mr. Putin fancies himself a man on a mission to restore Russia to greatness. Russia could indeed be a great force for good. Yet his unconscionable behavior — butchering civilians in Syria and Ukraine, annexing Crimea, computer-hacking American government agencies, crushing dissent at home — suggests that the furthest thing from his mind is becoming a constructive partner in the search for peace.

On September 22, 2014, the United States, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates began to strike targets of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) inside Syria,[15][94] as well as the Khorasan group in the Idlib Governorate to the west of Aleppo, and the al-Nusra Front around Ar-Raqqah,[21][95] as part of the Military intervention against ISIL.

On November 2, 2015, in response to the intervention, representatives from Ahrar ash-Sham attended a meeting with the al-Nusra Front, the Khorasan Group, the ISIL, and Jund al-Aqsa, which sought to unite several hard-line groups against the US-led coalition and other moderate Syrian rebel groups.[96] On November 6, a US airstrike struck Ahrar ash-Sham at its headquarters in Idlib.[24] By 14 November 2014, it was revealed that the negotiations between al-Nusra, Jund al-Aqsa, ISIL and Ahrar ash-Sham had failed.[97]

posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal — Unruly Hearts editor

Vladimir Putin’s world view: Russian President opens up on Syria, Ukraine and the West.

 

POSTED BY AINHOA ARISTIZABAL – 9/30/2016

Vladimir Putin’s world view: Russian President opens up on Syria, Ukraine and the West

Mary Dejevsky in Sochi hears the Russian leader offer hope of a rapprochement

52

Tuesday evening it was Syria’s President, Bashir al-Assad on a visit that was shrouded in secrecy until it was over. On Wednesday it was officials from the International Olympic Committee, flanked by Russia’s sporting luminaries. And on Thursday afternoon it was the assorted international Russia specialists known as the Valdai Discussion Club, an eclectic group who provided Russia’s President with his challenge for the day – and Russian television’s evening news broadcasts with their headlines.

To call it an afternoon meeting is slightly misleading. Vladimir Putin specialises in the late arrival, though his tardiness might have been compounded by the additional security that attended a perhaps surprising guest: the speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Larijani. This was evidence of Iran coming in from the cold in a rather spectacular way – though not literally.

29-iran-putin-ap.jpg
Vladimir Putin met with Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani after a session of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi (Reuters)

The annual Valdai conference was held this year high in the mountains outside the Black Sea resort of Sochi, amid, or rather above, most of the extensive facilities built for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The highest resort hotel – Polyana 1389 (the figure denoting the altitude in metres) – is a vast complex of interlinked, and still conspicuously new, buildings constructed in a part-Nordic, part mega-chalet style.

A certain poignancy attended a part of the view from the hotel terraces: eight very large villas, clearly numbered on all sides 1-8, stand in an asymmetrical formation. This was the accommodation built for the G8 leaders who were supposed to hold their annual summit here, hosted by Putin, in summer 2014. The summit was called off by the other seven national leaders after the Russian annexation of Crimea.

Whether the villas will ever be used for their original purpose could depend on whether East-West relations ever mend. A Sochi summit would be a symbolic way to seal a rapprochement.

And it was a rapprochement that seemed marginally more possible at the end of the characteristically long and intense session with Putin – and the four dignitaries, Larijani among them, who shared his platform and offered a supporting cast.

For a man who ordered his air force into Syria three weeks ago, whose country’s South-western border, with Ukraine, is subject to a still fragile ceasefire, whose economy is hobbled less by US and EU sanctions than by the sharp fall in global oil prices, a leader who has been effectively ostracised for more than 18 months, Mr Putin seemed to be in a conspicuously upbeat mood.

As always, he was also forthright and unapologetic. A detailed review of what he said – both in his 25-minute formal speech, and even more in his responses to questions over the following two hours – would offer an in-depth guide not just to his current thinking, but to his wider world view. But here is some of what we learned.

On Syria: Russia’s end game is threefold: to drive back, but not expressly to destroy Isis to preserve Syria within its present borders as an integrated state, but one in which the security of religious and ethnic minorities is protected; to start a diplomatic process, involving at least Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States, which would provide a framework for talks between President Bashar al-Assad and representatives of opposition groups.

4-putin-sochi-rex.jpg

Vladimir Putin speaking to the media after the unveiling of the new Russian-built Lada Vesta car in Sochi (Rex)

On Ukraine: the reason Russia intervened, Putin said, was not because it objected to the type of government Ukrainians had or would choose. It had accepted, and worked with, the Western-orientated government of Viktor Yushchenko. It was because of the way – illegitimate, in Russia’s view – in which the government was changed. There was no hint of any concession on Crimea, but Putin was very precise  that Russia was fulfilling all the terms of the Minsk 2 agreement, and would accept the fixing of the border, as the agreement requires.

On East-West relations – and the reason why prospects look perhaps better today than they looked yesterday: there was an unusual recognition, thanks to some very frank talking from the retired US ambassador to Russia, Jack Matlock, and the chair for the session, retired Columbia University Russia specialist, Robert Legvold, that something had to be done about the depth of suspicion and misunderstanding that has increasingly poisoned relations in recent years.

The US-Russia relationship was regarded as key (with Europe clearly regarded as a lesser player by both), but recognition of the gulf and the real dangers it presents, could be the start of an attempt to close it.

52

Vladimir Putin addressed State Duma deputies, Federation Council members, heads of Russian regions and civil society representatives in the Kremlin. March 18, 2014 15:50 The Kremlin, Moscow

Address by President of the Russian Federation

Posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal – 9/30/2016

Vladimir Putin addressed State Duma deputies, Federation Council members, heads of Russian regions and civil society representatives in the Kremlin.
March 18, 2014
15:50
The Kremlin, Moscow

The President has notified the Government, the State Duma and the Federation Council of proposals by the Crimean State Council and the Sevastopol Legislative Assembly regarding their admission to the RF and the formation of new constituent territories March 18, 2014, 10:10

Address by President of the Russian Federation.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Federation Council members, State Duma deputies, good afternoon. Representatives of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol are here among us, citizens of Russia, residents of Crimea and Sevastopol!

Dear friends, we have gathered here today in connection with an issue that is of vital, historic significance to all of us. A referendum was held in Crimea on March 16 in full compliance with democratic procedures and international norms.

More than 82 percent of the electorate took part in the vote. Over 96 percent of them spoke out in favour of reuniting with Russia. These numbers speak for themselves.

To understand the reason behind such a choice it is enough to know the history of Crimea and what Russia and Crimea have always meant for each other.

Everything in Crimea speaks of our shared history and pride. This is the location of ancient Khersones, where Prince Vladimir was baptised. His spiritual feat of adopting Orthodoxy predetermined the overall basis of the culture, civilisation and human values that unite the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The graves of Russian soldiers whose bravery brought Crimea into the Russian empire are also in Crimea. This is also Sevastopol – a legendary city with an outstanding history, a fortress that serves as the birthplace of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Crimea is Balaklava and Kerch, Malakhov Kurgan and Sapun Ridge. Each one of these places is dear to our hearts, symbolising Russian military glory and outstanding valour.

Crimea is a unique blend of different peoples’ cultures and traditions. This makes it similar to Russia as a whole, where not a single ethnic group has been lost over the centuries. Russians and Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars and people of other ethnic groups have lived side by side in Crimea, retaining their own identity, traditions, languages and faith.

Incidentally, the total population of the Crimean Peninsula today is 2.2 million people, of whom almost 1.5 million are Russians, 350,000 are Ukrainians who predominantly consider Russian their native language, and about 290,000–300,000 are Crimean Tatars, who, as the referendum has shown, also lean towards Russia.

True, there was a time when Crimean Tatars were treated unfairly, just as a number of other peoples in the USSR. There is only one thing I can say here: millions of people of various ethnicities suffered during those repressions, and primarily Russians.

Crimean Tatars returned to their homeland. I believe we should make all the necessary political and legislative decisions to finalise the rehabilitation of Crimean Tatars, restore them in their rights and clear their good name.

We have great respect for people of all the ethnic groups living in Crimea. This is their common home, their motherland, and it would be right – I know the local population supports this – for Crimea to have three equal national languages: Russian, Ukrainian and Tatar.

Colleagues,

In people’s hearts and minds, Crimea has always been an inseparable part of Russia. This firm conviction is based on truth and justice and was passed from generation to generation, over time, under any circumstances, despite all the dramatic changes our country went through during the entire 20th century.

After the revolution, the Bolsheviks, for a number of reasons – may God judge them – added large sections of the historical South of Russia to the Republic of Ukraine. This was done with no consideration for the ethnic make-up of the population, and today these areas form the southeast of Ukraine. Then, in 1954, a decision was made to transfer Crimean Region to Ukraine, along with Sevastopol, despite the fact that it was a federal city. This was the personal initiative of the Communist Party head Nikita Khrushchev. What stood behind this decision of his – a desire to win the support of the Ukrainian political establishment or to atone for the mass repressions of the 1930’s in Ukraine – is for historians to figure out.

What matters now is that this decision was made in clear violation of the constitutional norms that were in place even then. The decision was made behind the scenes. Naturally, in a totalitarian state nobody bothered to ask the citizens of Crimea and Sevastopol. They were faced with the fact. People, of course, wondered why all of a sudden Crimea became part of Ukraine. But on the whole – and we must state this clearly, we all know it – this decision was treated as a formality of sorts because the territory was transferred within the boundaries of a single state. Back then, it was impossible to imagine that Ukraine and Russia may split up and become two separate states. However, this has happened.

Unfortunately, what seemed impossible became a reality. The USSR fell apart. Things developed so swiftly that few people realised how truly dramatic those events and their consequences would be. Many people both in Russia and in Ukraine, as well as in other republics hoped that the Commonwealth of Independent States that was created at the time would become the new common form of statehood. They were told that there would be a single currency, a single economic space, joint armed forces; however, all this remained empty promises, while the big country was gone. It was only when Crimea ended up as part of a different country that Russia realised that it was not simply robbed, it was plundered.

At the same time, we have to admit that by launching the sovereignty parade Russia itself aided in the collapse of the Soviet Union. And as this collapse was legalised, everyone forgot about Crimea and Sevastopol ­– the main base of the Black Sea Fleet. Millions of people went to bed in one country and awoke in different ones, overnight becoming ethnic minorities in former Union republics, while the Russian nation became one of the biggest, if not the biggest ethnic group in the world to be divided by borders.

Now, many years later, I heard residents of Crimea say that back in 1991 they were handed over like a sack of potatoes. This is hard to disagree with. And what about the Russian state? What about Russia? It humbly accepted the situation. This country was going through such hard times then that realistically it was incapable of protecting its interests. However, the people could not reconcile themselves to this outrageous historical injustice. All these years, citizens and many public figures came back to this issue, saying that Crimea is historically Russian land and Sevastopol is a Russian city. Yes, we all knew this in our hearts and minds, but we had to proceed from the existing reality and build our good-neighbourly relations with independent Ukraine on a new basis. Meanwhile, our relations with Ukraine, with the fraternal Ukrainian people have always been and will remain of foremost importance for us.

Today we can speak about it openly, and I would like to share with you some details of the negotiations that took place in the early 2000s. The then President of Ukraine Mr Kuchma asked me to expedite the process of delimiting the Russian-Ukrainian border. At that time, the process was practically at a standstill. Russia seemed to have recognised Crimea as part of Ukraine, but there were no negotiations on delimiting the borders. Despite the complexity of the situation, I immediately issued instructions to Russian government agencies to speed up their work to document the borders, so that everyone had a clear understanding that by agreeing to delimit the border we admitted de facto and de jure that Crimea was Ukrainian territory, thereby closing the issue.

We accommodated Ukraine not only regarding Crimea, but also on such a complicated matter as the maritime boundary in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait. What we proceeded from back then was that good relations with Ukraine matter most for us and they should not fall hostage to deadlock territorial disputes. However, we expected Ukraine to remain our good neighbour, we hoped that Russian citizens and Russian speakers in Ukraine, especially its southeast and Crimea, would live in a friendly, democratic and civilised state that would protect their rights in line with the norms of international law.

However, this is not how the situation developed. Time and time again attempts were made to deprive Russians of their historical memory, even of their language and to subject them to forced assimilation. Moreover, Russians, just as other citizens of Ukraine are suffering from the constant political and state crisis that has been rocking the country for over 20 years.

I understand why Ukrainian people wanted change. They have had enough of the authorities in power during the years of Ukraine’s independence. Presidents, prime ministers and parliamentarians changed, but their attitude to the country and its people remained the same. They milked the country, fought among themselves for power, assets and cash flows and did not care much about the ordinary people. They did not wonder why it was that millions of Ukrainian citizens saw no prospects at home and went to other countries to work as day labourers. I would like to stress this: it was not some Silicon Valley they fled to, but to become day labourers. Last year alone almost 3 million people found such jobs in Russia. According to some sources, in 2013 their earnings in Russia totalled over $20 billion, which is about 12% of Ukraine’s GDP.

I would like to reiterate that I understand those who came out on Maidan with peaceful slogans against corruption, inefficient state management and poverty. The right to peaceful protest, democratic procedures and elections exist for the sole purpose of replacing the authorities that do not satisfy the people. However, those who stood behind the latest events in Ukraine had a different agenda: they were preparing yet another government takeover; they wanted to seize power and would stop short of nothing. They resorted to terror, murder and riots. Nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites executed this coup. They continue to set the tone in Ukraine to this day.

The new so-called authorities began by introducing a draft law to revise the language policy, which was a direct infringement on the rights of ethnic minorities. However, they were immediately ‘disciplined’ by the foreign sponsors of these so-called politicians. One has to admit that the mentors of these current authorities are smart and know well what such attempts to build a purely Ukrainian state may lead to. The draft law was set aside, but clearly reserved for the future. Hardly any mention is made of this attempt now, probably on the presumption that people have a short memory. Nevertheless, we can all clearly see the intentions of these ideological heirs of Bandera, Hitler’s accomplice during World War II.

It is also obvious that there is no legitimate executive authority in Ukraine now, nobody to talk to. Many government agencies have been taken over by the impostors, but they do not have any control in the country, while they themselves – and I would like to stress this – are often controlled by radicals. In some cases, you need a special permit from the militants on Maidan to meet with certain ministers of the current government. This is not a joke – this is reality.

Those who opposed the coup were immediately threatened with repression. Naturally, the first in line here was Crimea, the Russian-speaking Crimea. In view of this, the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol turned to Russia for help in defending their rights and lives, in preventing the events that were unfolding and are still underway in Kiev, Donetsk, Kharkov and other Ukrainian cities.

Naturally, we could not leave this plea unheeded; we could not abandon Crimea and its residents in distress. This would have been betrayal on our part.

First, we had to help create conditions so that the residents of Crimea for the first time in history were able to peacefully express their free will regarding their own future. However, what do we hear from our colleagues in Western Europe and North America? They say we are violating norms of international law. Firstly, it’s a good thing that they at least remember that there exists such a thing as international law – better late than never.

Secondly, and most importantly – what exactly are we violating? True, the President of the Russian Federation received permission from the Upper House of Parliament to use the Armed Forces in Ukraine. However, strictly speaking, nobody has acted on this permission yet. Russia’s Armed Forces never entered Crimea; they were there already in line with an international agreement. True, we did enhance our forces there; however – this is something I would like everyone to hear and know – we did not exceed the personnel limit of our Armed Forces in Crimea, which is set at 25,000, because there was no need to do so.

Next. As it declared independence and decided to hold a referendum, the Supreme Council of Crimea referred to the United Nations Charter, which speaks of the right of nations to self-determination. Incidentally, I would like to remind you that when Ukraine seceded from the USSR it did exactly the same thing, almost word for word. Ukraine used this right, yet the residents of Crimea are denied it. Why is that?

Moreover, the Crimean authorities referred to the well-known Kosovo precedent – a precedent our western colleagues created with their own hands in a very similar situation, when they agreed that the unilateral separation of Kosovo from Serbia, exactly what Crimea is doing now, was legitimate and did not require any permission from the country’s central authorities. Pursuant to Article 2, Chapter 1 of the United Nations Charter, the UN International Court agreed with this approach and made the following comment in its ruling of July 22, 2010, and I quote: “No general prohibition may be inferred from the practice of the Security Council with regard to declarations of independence,” and “General international law contains no prohibition on declarations of independence.” Crystal clear, as they say.

I do not like to resort to quotes, but in this case, I cannot help it. Here is a quote from another official document: the Written Statement of the United States America of April 17, 2009, submitted to the same UN International Court in connection with the hearings on Kosovo. Again, I quote: “Declarations of independence may, and often do, violate domestic legislation. However, this does not make them violations of international law.” End of quote. They wrote this, disseminated it all over the world, had everyone agree and now they are outraged. Over what? The actions of Crimean people completely fit in with these instructions, as it were. For some reason, things that Kosovo Albanians (and we have full respect for them) were permitted to do, Russians, Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in Crimea are not allowed. Again, one wonders why.

We keep hearing from the United States and Western Europe that Kosovo is some special case. What makes it so special in the eyes of our colleagues? It turns out that it is the fact that the conflict in Kosovo resulted in so many human casualties. Is this a legal argument? The ruling of the International Court says nothing about this. This is not even double standards; this is amazing, primitive, blunt cynicism. One should not try so crudely to make everything suit their interests, calling the same thing white today and black tomorrow. According to this logic, we have to make sure every conflict leads to human losses.

I will state clearly — if the Crimean local self-defence units had not taken the situation under control, there could have been casualties as well. Fortunately this did not happen. There was not a single armed confrontation in Crimea and no casualties. Why do you think this was so? The answer is simple: because it is very difficult, practically impossible to fight against the will of the people. Here I would like to thank the Ukrainian military – and this is 22,000 fully armed servicemen. I would like to thank those Ukrainian service members who refrained from bloodshed and did not smear their uniforms in blood.

Other thoughts come to mind in this connection. They keep talking of some Russian intervention in Crimea, some sort of aggression. This is strange to hear. I cannot recall a single case in history of an intervention without a single shot being fired and with no human casualties.

Colleagues,

Like a mirror, the situation in Ukraine reflects what is going on and what has been happening in the world over the past several decades. After the dissolution of bipolarity on the planet, we no longer have stability. Key international institutions are not getting any stronger; on the contrary, in many cases, they are sadly degrading. Our western partners, led by the United States of America, prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies, but by the rule of the gun. They have come to believe in their exclusivity and exceptionalism, that they can decide the destinies of the world, that only they can ever be right. They act as they please: here and there, they use force against sovereign states, building coalitions based on the principle “If you are not with us, you are against us.” To make this aggression look legitimate, they force the necessary resolutions from international organisations, and if for some reason this does not work, they simply ignore the UN Security Council and the UN overall.

This happened in Yugoslavia; we remember 1999 very well. It was hard to believe, even seeing it with my own eyes, that at the end of the 20th century, one of Europe’s capitals, Belgrade, was under missile attack for several weeks, and then came the real intervention. Was there a UN Security Council resolution on this matter, allowing for these actions? Nothing of the sort. And then, they hit Afghanistan, Iraq, and frankly violated the UN Security Council resolution on Libya, when instead of imposing the so-called no-fly zone over it they started bombing it too.

There was a whole series of controlled “colour” revolutions. Clearly, the people in those nations, where these events took place, were sick of tyranny and poverty, of their lack of prospects; but these feelings were taken advantage of cynically. Standards were imposed on these nations that did not in any way correspond to their way of life, traditions, or these peoples’ cultures. As a result, instead of democracy and freedom, there was chaos, outbreaks in violence and a series of upheavals. The Arab Spring turned into the Arab Winter.

A similar situation unfolded in Ukraine. In 2004, to push the necessary candidate through at the presidential elections, they thought up some sort of third round that was not stipulated by the law. It was absurd and a mockery of the constitution. And now, they have thrown in an organised and well-equipped army of militants.

We understand what is happening; we understand that these actions were aimed against Ukraine and Russia and against Eurasian integration. And all this while Russia strived to engage in dialogue with our colleagues in the West. We are constantly proposing cooperation on all key issues; we want to strengthen our level of trust and for our relations to be equal, open and fair. But we saw no reciprocal steps.

On the contrary, they have lied to us many times, made decisions behind our backs, placed us before an accomplished fact. This happened with NATO’s expansion to the East, as well as the deployment of military infrastructure at our borders. They kept telling us the same thing: “Well, this does not concern you.” That’s easy to say.

It happened with the deployment of a missile defence system. In spite of all our apprehensions, the project is working and moving forward. It happened with the endless foot-dragging in the talks on visa issues, promises of fair competition and free access to global markets.

Today, we are being threatened with sanctions, but we already experience many limitations, ones that are quite significant for us, our economy and our nation. For example, still during the times of the Cold War, the US and subsequently other nations restricted a large list of technologies and equipment from being sold to the USSR, creating the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls list. Today, they have formally been eliminated, but only formally; and in reality, many limitations are still in effect.

In short, we have every reason to assume that the infamous policy of containment, led in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, continues today. They are constantly trying to sweep us into a corner because we have an independent position, because we maintain it and because we call things like they are and do not engage in hypocrisy. But there is a limit to everything. And with Ukraine, our western partners have crossed the line, playing the bear and acting irresponsibly and unprofessionally.

After all, they were fully aware that there are millions of Russians living in Ukraine and in Crimea. They must have really lacked political instinct and common sense not to foresee all the consequences of their actions. Russia found itself in a position it could not retreat from. If you compress the spring all the way to its limit, it will snap back hard. You must always remember this.

Today, it is imperative to end this hysteria, to refute the rhetoric of the cold war and to accept the obvious fact: Russia is an independent, active participant in international affairs; like other countries, it has its own national interests that need to be taken into account and respected.

At the same time, we are grateful to all those who understood our actions in Crimea; we are grateful to the people of China, whose leaders have always considered the situation in Ukraine and Crimea taking into account the full historical and political context, and greatly appreciate India’s reserve and objectivity.

Today, I would like to address the people of the United States of America, the people who, since the foundation of their nation and adoption of the Declaration of Independence, have been proud to hold freedom above all else. Isn’t the desire of Crimea’s residents to freely choose their fate such a value? Please understand us.

I believe that the Europeans, first and foremost, the Germans, will also understand me. Let me remind you that in the course of political consultations on the unification of East and West Germany, at the expert, though very high level, some nations that were then and are now Germany’s allies did not support the idea of unification. Our nation, however, unequivocally supported the sincere, unstoppable desire of the Germans for national unity. I am confident that you have not forgotten this, and I expect that the citizens of Germany will also support the aspiration of the Russians, of historical Russia, to restore unity.

I also want to address the people of Ukraine. I sincerely want you to understand us: we do not want to harm you in any way, or to hurt your national feelings. We have always respected the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state, incidentally, unlike those who sacrificed Ukraine’s unity for their political ambitions. They flaunt slogans about Ukraine’s greatness, but they are the ones who did everything to divide the nation. Today’s civil standoff is entirely on their conscience. I want you to hear me, my dear friends. Do not believe those who want you to fear Russia, shouting that other regions will follow Crimea. We do not want to divide Ukraine; we do not need that. As for Crimea, it was and remains a Russian, Ukrainian, and Crimean-Tatar land.

I repeat, just as it has been for centuries, it will be a home to all the peoples living there. What it will never be and do is follow in Bandera’s footsteps!

Crimea is our common historical legacy and a very important factor in regional stability. And this strategic territory should be part of a strong and stable sovereignty, which today can only be Russian. Otherwise, dear friends (I am addressing both Ukraine and Russia), you and we – the Russians and the Ukrainians – could lose Crimea completely, and that could happen in the near historical perspective. Please think about it.

Let me note too that we have already heard declarations from Kiev about Ukraine soon joining NATO. What would this have meant for Crimea and Sevastopol in the future? It would have meant that NATO’s navy would be right there in this city of Russia’s military glory, and this would create not an illusory but a perfectly real threat to the whole of southern Russia. These are things that could have become reality were it not for the choice the Crimean people made, and I want to say thank you to them for this.

But let me say too that we are not opposed to cooperation with NATO, for this is certainly not the case. For all the internal processes within the organisation, NATO remains a military alliance, and we are against having a military alliance making itself at home right in our backyard or in our historic territory. I simply cannot imagine that we would travel to Sevastopol to visit NATO sailors. Of course, most of them are wonderful guys, but it would be better to have them come and visit us, be our guests, rather than the other way round.

Let me say quite frankly that it pains our hearts to see what is happening in Ukraine at the moment, see the people’s suffering and their uncertainty about how to get through today and what awaits them tomorrow. Our concerns are understandable because we are not simply close neighbours but, as I have said many times already, we are one people. Kiev is the mother of Russian cities. Ancient Rus is our common source and we cannot live without each other.

Let me say one other thing too. Millions of Russians and Russian-speaking people live in Ukraine and will continue to do so. Russia will always defend their interests using political, diplomatic and legal means. But it should be above all in Ukraine’s own interest to ensure that these people’s rights and interests are fully protected. This is the guarantee of Ukraine’s state stability and territorial integrity.

We want to be friends with Ukraine and we want Ukraine to be a strong, sovereign and self-sufficient country. Ukraine is one of our biggest partners after all. We have many joint projects and I believe in their success no matter what the current difficulties. Most importantly, we want peace and harmony to reign in Ukraine, and we are ready to work together with other countries to do everything possible to facilitate and support this. But as I said, only Ukraine’s own people can put their own house in order.

Residents of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, the whole of Russia admired your courage, dignity and bravery. It was you who decided Crimea’s future. We were closer than ever over these days, supporting each other. These were sincere feelings of solidarity. It is at historic turning points such as these that a nation demonstrates its maturity and strength of spirit. The Russian people showed this maturity and strength through their united support for their compatriots.

Russia’s foreign policy position on this matter drew its firmness from the will of millions of our people, our national unity and the support of our country’s main political and public forces. I want to thank everyone for this patriotic spirit, everyone without exception. Now, we need to continue and maintain this kind of consolidation so as to resolve the tasks our country faces on its road ahead.

Obviously, we will encounter external opposition, but this is a decision that we need to make for ourselves. Are we ready to consistently defend our national interests, or will we forever give in, retreat to who knows where? Some Western politicians are already threatening us with not just sanctions but also the prospect of increasingly serious problems on the domestic front. I would like to know what it is they have in mind exactly: action by a fifth column, this disparate bunch of ‘national traitors’, or are they hoping to put us in a worsening social and economic situation so as to provoke public discontent? We consider such statements irresponsible and clearly aggressive in tone, and we will respond to them accordingly. At the same time, we will never seek confrontation with our partners, whether in the East or the West, but on the contrary, will do everything we can to build civilised and good-neighbourly relations as one is supposed to in the modern world.

Colleagues,

I understand the people of Crimea, who put the question in the clearest possible terms in the referendum: should Crimea be with Ukraine or with Russia? We can be sure in saying that the authorities in Crimea and Sevastopol, the legislative authorities, when they formulated the question, set aside group and political interests and made the people’s fundamental interests alone the cornerstone of their work. The particular historic, population, political and economic circumstances of Crimea would have made any other proposed option — however tempting it could be at the first glance — only temporary and fragile and would have inevitably led to further worsening of the situation there, which would have had disastrous effects on people’s lives. The people of Crimea thus decided to put the question in firm and uncompromising form, with no grey areas. The referendum was fair and transparent, and the people of Crimea clearly and convincingly expressed their will and stated that they want to be with Russia.

Russia will also have to make a difficult decision now, taking into account the various domestic and external considerations. What do people here in Russia think? Here, like in any democratic country, people have different points of view, but I want to make the point that the absolute majority of our people clearly do support what is happening.

The most recent public opinion surveys conducted here in Russia show that 95 percent of people think that Russia should protect the interests of Russians and members of other ethnic groups living in Crimea – 95 percent of our citizens. More than 83 percent think that Russia should do this even if it will complicate our relations with some other countries. A total of 86 percent of our people see Crimea as still being Russian territory and part of our country’s lands. And one particularly important figure, which corresponds exactly with the result in Crimea’s referendum: almost 92 percent of our people support Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

Thus we see that the overwhelming majority of people in Crimea and the absolute majority of the Russian Federation’s people support the reunification of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol with Russia.

Now this is a matter for Russia’s own political decision, and any decision here can be based only on the people’s will, because the people is the ultimate source of all authority.

Members of the Federation Council, deputies of the State Duma, citizens of Russia, residents of Crimea and Sevastopol, today, in accordance with the people’s will, I submit to the Federal Assembly a request to consider a Constitutional Law on the creation of two new constituent entities within the Russian Federation: the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, and to ratify the treaty on admitting to the Russian Federation Crimea and Sevastopol, which is already ready for signing. I stand assured of your support.

Geography

Sevastopol
Crimea Republic

Publication status

Published in sections: News, Transcripts

Publication date: March 18, 2014, 15:50

Text version

Syria’s Minister for National Reconciliation. “Western Politicians Support the Terrorism that they Pretend to be Combating”

 

The dirty war on Syria was and is generated from outside the country.  This is well-documented.  Outside countries started the war, and they are perpetuating the war.  Unprecedented disinformation campaigns continue to delude Western citizens so that “consent” can be engineered.  Consequently, the western politicians support the terrorism that they pretend to be combating.  All documented.  Meanwhile, western citizens are confused to the point of inertia, passive in the face of egregious crimes committed in their name.

Westerners are critical of the Syrian government, calling it a “regime”, calling Assad a brutal dictator, and buying the spoon-fed lies, apparently blind to the fact that western intelligence agencies have totally contaminated their minds to the point where they believe white is black and black is white.  Westerners falsely believe that they live in democracies even when there is very little if any difference between the ruling parties; even when the establishment drives the policies of the preening politicians who have been reduced to the function of public relations agents, and little else.

In Syria, however, the externally-driven war is being resolved internally, and the solutions are often the fruit of a genuine democratic process, in contrast to the fake democratic processes pretending to be democracy in the West.

Dr. Ali Haidar, who lost a son to the terrorists (as did the grand Mufti), is a member of the official opposition in Syria; not the foreign backed terrorist “opposition”, but the real opposition, and it is from this opposition that the brilliant idea of a “Ministry of Reconciliation” was born, to the chagrin of the Western invaders, and the ultimate approval of the Syrian government.

Whereas the West continues to provide a steady stream of advanced weaponry into the hands of its terrorist proxies, the Ministry of Reconciliation is tasked with removing weapons from terrorist hands. And whereas the Western countries support terrorists from 95 countries from around the world (about 800 terrorists from Lebanon and Libya, armed with Western weapons, occupied the Krak des Chevaliers, for instance), the Ministry of Reconciliation is tasked with sending them home, unarmed.

But there are also Syrian born terrorists, as described earlier, and those Syrian terrorists who lay down their arms, and engage in the “reconciliation” process, ultimately either return to their previous civilian jobs ( the government will help them with employment and income); or they join brigades of the Syrian Arab Army, and fight the real enemy. If they die fighting the real enemy, they become “martyrs”, and are somewhat redeemed.

Despite a “Fatwah Declaration” announcing that those who reconcile would be killed, 20,000 Syrian terrorists have so far entered the program and accepted amnesty.

So, whereas the catastrophic dirty war was generated from the outside, and is sustained from the outside, the solutions to the violence are generated from within, and always will be.  Any “solutions” offered by the West are necessarily false solutions, since the Western objectives of regime change and/or balkanization of the country would destroy Syria, as happened in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. And the stooge replacement for President Assad would be taken from the cesspool of Wahhabi extremists waiting on the sidelines.

This is why the vast majority of Syrians support their President.

WikiLeaks Just Dropped Bombshell About Hillary’s Health… The Truth, REVEALED! Read more: http://www.thepoliticalinsider.com/wikileaks-just-dropped-bombshell-hillarys-health-truth-revealed/#ixzz4KpuRWZfd

 

WikiLeaks has been Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare for months, but they just dropped the biggest bombshell yet: They have released emails which confirm just how serious Hillary Clinton’s debilitating health issues are.

 First we learned, Hillary Clinton reached out to the NFL Commissioner in 2012 to ask for advice about dealing with her “cracked head” and head injuries.

But the details are even worse than that. It has been confirmed that the State Department staff, under Hillary Clinton, was told to research new drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease.

Just why would a government employee at Hillary’s State Department be researching this topic? Wikileaks reports, you decide:

We know now that as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton dispatched her executive staff in the State Dept. to help conduct research on Provigil, a controlled drug often prescribed for patients suffering from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Multiple Sclerosis.

Provigil is often used to help such patients stay awake and curb extended bouts of sleep. The drug is also used to treat narcolepsy.

In a series of emails spanning from August to Oct. 2011, Clinton asks and receives information from her trusted inner circle on the drug Provigil, including the side effects of the pick-me-upper drug favored by long-haul truckers to stay awake for long periods of time.

Clinton refuses to release her medical records to the public. Last week, True Pundit placed a $1 million reward on the release of her full medical history. Clinton is now rumored to be suffering from a plethora of medical ailments, including: dementia, post-concussion syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease, brain tumor, brain injury, complex partial seizures, and many more alleged ailments.

This email is the smoking gun that confirms just what Hillary Clinton is desperately covering up:

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Multiple doctors have expressed concerns publicly about Clinton’s signs of Parkinson’s. Even Dr. Drew is worried.

Health issues should generally be private matters, but the American people deserve to know if a potential Commander-in-Chief is suffering from serious diseases. There is no cure for Parkinson’s, and if Hillary Clinton has it she should drop out of the race now.

Is Hillary Lying About Her Health?

Yes she is LYING!
No she’s telling the Truth!
She should release her health records anyway. The American people deserve to know!
Posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal – Unruly Hearts editor

The Three Ugly Sisters of Transatlantic Trade: TTIP, CETA and TISA

By Julian Rose
Global Research, September 20, 2016
Connor Post 20 September 2016
Region: Canada, Europe, USA
Theme: Global Economy

One knows to be on one’s guard immediately one hears that the USA and the European Union are negotiating some ‘big deal’ on transatlantic trade. Sure, big deal – in trading terms – typically means big power, big money and big mess. But when one also hears that it’s all being done in secret, then one has to add ‘big scam’ too.

The designers of the trade agreements claim that they will bring greater GDP and more jobs at both ends; a view which has been widely challenged by those likely to be on the receiving end.

So let’s spell it out: TTIP stands for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. It’s Big Brother brokering new trade deals between the USA and the European Union. CETA stands for Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. It is pretty much the same deal, but is being brokered by Canada and the European Union. And lastly there’s TISA, for Trade in Services Agreement, also involving the USA and EU, with some other countries in on the act. Here, it is ‘services’ that are under the spotlight.

Common to all of these is the fact that ‘we the people’ are being kept entirely out of the picture. All negotiations are being hidden from public scrutiny, with special ‘secret courts’ being established in off-shore venues, where national governments can be sued if they are accused of protecting the right to prohibit certain imports or maintain trade tariffs.

For example, the majority of countries in the EU do not allow most varieties of genetically modified seeds and plants that the US seeks to export. This would raise an immediate dispute under the protocol of TTIP.

Such a position will be re-scrutinized under the terms of these new trade agreements. US hormone-enriched beef and chlorine-washed chickens are another example of products currently blocked by the EU, and for good reason. There are many such controversies that all find their place in a negotiating time-table designed to get a comprehensive new trade package into law as soon as possible, with no parliamentary intervention and no public vote.

Pause for breath. Just what is going on here? Let’s call a spade a spade: it’s a massive and fraudulent attempt by multinational corporations to wrest a further degree of control over global trading, thereby undermining the ability of nation states to administer their own trading laws.

TTIP, CETA and TISA can, for the sake of this summary, all be seen through the same lens. In each case, multinationals’ extensive role in creating new regulations opens the door to a race to the bottom in standards of quality set for foods, the environment and public services. In the case of TISA, governments are being pushed into accepting a mandatory privatization of public services – an overt way of giving big business the say-so in all matters of public interest.

In the UK, the National Health Service would be particularly vulnerable. But so would thousands of government backed, or supported, social enterprises throughout Europe.

Under TTIP/CETA we would see the end of such individual delights as the Cumberland sausage and the Cornish pasty. The Parmigiano-Reggiano, Black Forest Gateau and Alsace Grand Cru. No domain names would be allowed in this free trade free-for-all.

Fighting to save these products will be an uphill task. The defenders would need to familiarize themselves with ‘ISDS’ (Investor State Dispute Settlement) procedures. Procedures that will not be heard in normal courts of law, but under TTIP are slated to be heard by a jury composed of corporate lawyers and specialist international ‘experts’, deliberating their cases in secret courts. In other words, a neat bypassing of any recognised legal system. A complete scam by any standards.

THE GOOD NEWS

The TTIP negotiating process has been ongoing for a number of years now. However, it is presently bogged down by disputes at both ends and looks close to collapse. France has recently called for an end to negotiations and dropping the entire process. Other European countries are joining this call, with Germany’s economy minister Sigmar Gabriel stating “The negotiations with the USA have de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it.”

CETA and TISA are still in process, with CETA being the closest to ratification by Canadian authorities. It will then move on for ratification to the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. It appears that this agreement contains less contentious trading terms, as France is broadly accepting the current outline. However, it still smacks of a regime that will go over the heads of the people and simply fuel the coffers of the canniest exploiters of the global market place.

What both the EU and US actually need is the antithesis of these monster ‘free trade’ agreements. They need to reinvest in local and regional forms of production and consumption, carried out on a genuine human scale. Work as though people mattered. We have seen quite enough destruction at the hands of multinational and transnational corporations busting their way into foreign countries and ruining their internal trading patterns.

In the end it’s just another type of war. Who needs it? The planet is already saturated with irrational violence.

Julian Rose is an early pioneer of UK organic farming, and an international activist, holistic thinker and writer. He is President of The International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside, and is the author of two books with some very powerful perspectives: Changing Course for Life and In Defence of Life.

Posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal – Unruly Hearts editor

Canada and the Rights of Palestinians: The CBC and the Crucifixion of Nadia Shoufani, On Behalf of Israeli Interests…

By Karin Brothers
Global Research, September 20, 2016
Region: Canada
Theme: Law and Justice, Media Disinformation, Police State & Civil Rights
In-depth Report: PALESTINE

nadia-shoufani-1-photo-cijnews-400x212

The Canadian Broadcasting Company is paid for by Canadian taxpayers and is touted as the main institution promoting national cultural unity. The CBC’s treatment of a Canadian activist, however, demonstrates its prioritization of Israeli interests.

Speakers of all faiths are featured at the annual Al Quds Day (“Jerusalem”) events, an international commemoration of the Palestinian situation that started in Iran. Nadia Shoufani, of Palestinian descent, was one of the Christian speakers on July 2nd ; speaking on her own behalf, she passionately described* the horrific treatment that Palestinians are facing, noted their legal right to resist the brutal Israeli military occupation, and called on listeners to support Palestinian resistance in any way they were able to, including by breaking the silence on this issue and by boycotting Israeli products. She mentioned two famous men whose lives were destroyed by Israel, the revered cultural icon Ghassan Kanafani, and Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, still imprisoned after 30 years in France because of American pressure — a cause célèbre.

Shoufani’s address was legitimate: her description of the Palestinian situation was accurate and backed up by official Canadian foreign policy which recognizes the illegality of the Israeli settlements and occupation. Palestinians are asking for the application of the international laws which are supposed to guarantee their basic rights. Shoufani was within her rights calling for the economic pressure that worked in apartheid South Africa.

B’nai Brith Canada, one of the groups invested in defending Israel’s apartheid and ongoing crimes against humanity, has tried to have Al Quds events banned by the Ontario legislature. Speakers at these events can expect ugly repercussions. The United Church of Canada was pressured into publicly “repudiating” one of its members (who had given a bland talk) because they had been unwittingly introduced as “from the United Church”; someone even complained personally to their minister about their appearance at that event.

Shoufani’s address was electric, and Israel’s defenders sprang into action. They discovered that she was a teacher, where she taught, what she taught, what school board she worked for and private Facebook posts to her family and close friends; they saw that she was vulnerable. They found that at some point, the men she had referenced had been connected to the PFLP, a Palestinian resistance group that Canada put on its “terror list” in 2003. B’nai Brith Canada and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center lodged complaints to the police and Shoufani’s school board alleging that she had publicly supported violence and terrorism. B’nai Brith then came out with a news release announcing that she was being investigated by the police and the Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board.

Shoufani’s address was legitimate: her description of the Palestinian situation was accurate and backed up by official Canadian foreign policy which recognizes the illegality of the Israeli settlements and occupation. Palestinians are asking for the application of the international laws which are supposed to guarantee their basic rights. Shoufani was within her rights calling for the economic pressure that worked in apartheid South Africa.

B’nai Brith Canada, one of the groups invested in defending Israel’s apartheid and ongoing crimes against humanity, has tried to have Al Quds events banned by the Ontario legislature. Speakers at these events can expect ugly repercussions. The United Church of Canada was pressured into publicly “repudiating” one of its members (who had given a bland talk) because they had been unwittingly introduced as “from the United Church”; someone even complained personally to their minister about their appearance at that event.

Posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal – Unruly Hearts editor