The CIA’s Destabilization Program: Undermining and “Nazifying” Ukraine Since 1953. Covert Support of Neo-Nazi Entities

 

In-depth Report: UKRAINE REPORT
 
 

 
 

 

The CIA programs spanned some four decades. Starting as a paramilitary operation that provided funding and equipment for such anti-Soviet Ukrainian resistance groups as the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council (UHVR); its affiliates, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), all Nazi Banderists. The CIA also provided support to a relatively anti-Bandera faction of the UHVR, the ZP-UHVR, a foreign-based virtual branch of the CIA and British MI-6 intelligence services. The early CIA operation to destabilize Ukraine, using exile Ukrainian agents in the West who were infiltrated into Soviet Ukraine, was codenamed Project AERODYNAMIC.A formerly TOP SECRET CIA document dated July 13, 1953, provides a description of AERODYNAMIC:

«The purpose of Project AERODYNAMIC is to provide for the exploitation and expansion of the anti-Soviet Ukrainian resistance for cold war and hot war purposes. Such groups as the Ukrainian Supreme Council of Liberation (UHVR) and its Ukrainian Insurgent Army (OUN), the Foreign Representation of the Ukrainian Supreme Council of Liberation (ZPUHVR) in Western Europe and the United States, and other organizations such as the OUN/B will be utilized».

The CIA admitted in a 1970 formerly SECRET document that it had been in contact with the ZPUHVR since 1950.

The OUN-B was the Bandera faction of the OUN and its neo-Nazi sympathizers are today found embedded in the Ukrainian national government in Kiev and in regional and municipal governments throughout the country.

AERODYNAMIC placed field agents inside Soviet Ukraine who, in turn, established contact with Ukrainian Resistance Movement, particularly SB (intelligence service) agents of the OUN who were already operating inside Ukraine. The CIA arranged for airdrops of communications equipment and other supplies, presumably including arms and ammunition, to the «secret» CIA army in Ukraine. Most of the CIA’s Ukrainian agents received training in West Germany from the US Army’s Foreign Intelligence Political and Psychological (FI-PP) branch. Communications between the CIA agents in Ukraine and their Western handlers were conducted by two-way walkie-talkie (WT), shortwave via international postal channels, and clandestine airborne and overland couriers.

Agents airdropped into Ukraine carried a kit that contained, among other items, a pen gun with tear gas, an arctic sleeping bag, a camp axe, a trenching tool, a pocket knife, a chocolate wafer, a Minox camera and a 35 mm Leica camera, film, a Soviet toiletry kit, a Soviet cap and jacket, a .22 caliber pistol and bullets, and rubber «contraceptives» for ‘waterproofing film’. Other agents were issued radio sets, hand generators, nickel-cadmium batteries, and homing beacons.

An affiliated project under AERODYNAMIC was codenamed CAPACHO.

CIA documents show that AERODYNAMIC continued in operation through the Richard Nixon administration into 1970.

The program took on more of a psychological warfare operation veneer than a real-life facsimile of a John Le Carré «behind the Iron Curtain» spy novel. The CIA set up a propaganda company in Manhattan that catered to printing and publishing anti-Soviet ZPUHVR literature that would be smuggled into Ukraine. The new battleground would not be swampy retreats near Odessa and cold deserted warehouses in Kiev but at the center of the world of publishing and the broadcast media.

The CIA front company was Prolog Research and Publishing Associates, Inc., which later became known simply as Prolog. The CIA codename for Prolog was AETENURE. The group published the Ukrainian language «Prolog» magazine. The CIA referred to Prolog as a «non-profit, tax exempt cover company for the ZP/UHVR’s activities». The «legal entity» used by the CIA to fund Prolog remains classified information. However, the SECRET CIA document does state that the funds for Prolog were passed to the New York office «via Denver and Los Angeles and receipts are furnished Prolog showing fund origin to backstop questioning by New York fiscal authorities».

As for the Munich office of Prolog, the CIA document states that funding for it comes from an account separate from that of Prolog in New York from a cooperating bank, which also remains classified. In 1967, the CIA merged the activities of Prolog Munich and the Munich office of the Ukrainian exiled nationalist «Suchasnist» journal. The Munich office also supported the «Ukrainische Gesellschaft fur Auslandstudien». The CIA documents also indicate that US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents may have interfered with AERODYNAMIC agents in New York. A 1967 CIA directive advised all ZPUHVR agents in the United States to either report their contacts with United Nations mission diplomats and UN employees from the USSR and the Ukrainian SSR to the FBI or their own CIA project case officer. CIA agents in charge of AERODYNAMIC in New York and Munich were codenamed AECASSOWARY agents. Apparently not all that taken with the brevity of MI-6’s famed agent «007», one CIA agent in Munich was codenamed AECASSOWARY/6 and the senior agent in New York was AECASSOWARY/2.

AECASSOWARY agents took part in and ran other AERODYNAMIC teams that infiltrated the Vienna World Youth Conference in 1959. The Vienna infiltration operation, where contact with made with young Ukrainians, was codenamed LCOUTBOUND by the CIA.

In 1968, the CIA ordered Prolog Research and Publishing Associates, Inc. terminated and replaced by Prolog Research Corporation, «a profit-making, commercial enterprise ostensibly serving contracts for unspecified users as private individuals and institutions».

The shakeup of Prolog was reported by the CIA to have arisen from operation MHDOWEL. There is not much known about MHDOWEL other than it involved the blowing of the CIA cover of a non-profit foundation. The following is from a memo to file, dated January 31, 1969, from CIA assistant general counsel John Greany, «Concerns a meeting of Greaney, counsel Lawrence Houston and Rocca about a ‘confrontation’ with NY FBI office on January 17, 1969. They discussed two individuals whose names were redacted. One was said to be a staff agent of the CIA since 8/28/61 who had been assigned in 1964 to write a monograph, which had been funded by a grant from a foundation whose cover was blown in MHDOWEL (I suspect that is code for US Press). One of the individuals [name redacted] had been requested for use with Project DTPILLAR in November 1953 to Feb. 1955 and later in March 1964 for WUBRINY. When the Domestic Operations Division advised Security that this person would not be used in WUBRINY, Rocca commented that ‘there are some rather ominous allegations against members of the firm of [redacted],’ indicating one member of that firm was a ‘card-carrying member of the Communist Party.’ The memo went on to say that Rocca was investigating the use of the individual in Project DTPILLAR concerning whether that person had mentioned activities in Geneva in March 1966 in connection with Herbert Itkin». Raymond Rocca was the deputy chief of the CIA’s Counterintelligence Division. Itkin was an undercover agent for the FBI and CIA who allegedly infiltrated the Mafia and was given a new identity in California as «Herbert Atkin» in 1972.

In 1969, AERODYNAMIC began advancing the cause of the Crimean Tatars. In 1959, owing to Canada’s large Ukrainian population, Canada’s intelligence service began a program similar to AERODYNAMIC codenamed «REDSKIN».

As international air travel increased, so did the number of visitors to the West from Soviet Ukraine. These travelers were of primary interest to AERODYNAMIC. Travelers were asked by CIA agents to clandestinely carry Prolog materials, all censored by the Soviet government, back to Ukraine for distribution. Later, AERODYNAMIC agents began approaching Ukrainian visitors to eastern European countries, particularly Soviet Ukrainian visitors to Czechoslovakia during the «Prague Spring» of 1968. The Ukrainian CIA agents had the same request to carry back subversive literature to Ukraine.

AERODYNAMIC continued into the 1980s as operation QRDYNAMIC, which was assigned to the CIA’s Political and Psychological Staff’s Soviet East Europe Covert Action Program. Prolog saw its operations expanded from New York and Munich to London, Paris, and Tokyo. QRDYNAMIC began linking up with operations financed by hedge fund tycoon George Soros, particularly the Helsinki Watch Group’s operatives in Kiev and Moscow. Distribution of underground material expanded from journals and pamphlets to audio cassette tapes, self-inking stamps with anti-Soviet messages, stickers, and T-shirts.

QRDYNAMIC expanded its operations into China, obviously from the Tokyo office, and Czechoslovakia, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Soviet Central Asia, the Soviet Pacific Maritime region, and among Ukrainian-Canadians. QRDYNAMIC also paid journalist agents-of-influence for their articles. These journalists were located in Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Israel, and Austria.

But at the outset of glasnost and perestroika in the mid-1980s, things began to look bleak for QRDYNAMIC. The high cost of rent in Manhattan had it looking for cheaper quarters in New Jersey.

Assistant Secretary of State for European/Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, the baked goods-bearing «Maiden of Maidan,» told the US Congress that the United States spent $5 billion to wrest control of Ukraine from the Russian sphere since the collapse of the Soviet Union. With the recent disclosures from the CIA it appears that the price tag to the American tax payers of such foreign shenanigans was much higher.

Ukrainian history of farce

Derek Monroe is a writer/reporter and consultant based in Illinois, USA. He has reported on international and US foreign policy issues from Latin America, Poland, Japan, Iraq, Ukraine, Sri Lanka and India. His work appeared in Foreign Policy in Focus, Alternet, Truthout and Ohmynews, and has been published in over 20 countries.

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Injured police officers scream in pain as they fall, shortly after an explosion outside the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, August 31, 2015. © Stringer Injured police officers scream in pain as they fall, shortly after an explosion outside the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, August 31, 2015. © Stringer / Reuters

 

This week’s events in the ongoing saga of the EuroMaidan “revolution” has cooked up another old cliché coined in Karl Marx’s 1851 letter that: “first time history enacted presents itself as grand tragedy, and the second time as rotten farce.”

Any observer can make assumption of the kind looking at the turn of events, for instance, in Syria which is on the way to an even more hardcore apocalypse than ever thought possible. But in the case of Ukraine and its national statehood, the self-inflicted wounds of the 2004 Orange Revolution, 2014 EuroMaidan and the current 2015 Maidan (EuroMaidan 2.0) are a farce of needlessly spilled blood of almost 7000 Ukrainians with no end in sight to the chaos.

While President Poroshenko denounced the riot at the Verkhovna Rada, calling out yesterday’s “freedom fighters” as today’s out of control “terrorists”, it is amazing to see the sudden change of colors and political labeling du jour in the US and its friendly international media. AP, AFP, ThomsonReuters, Bloomberg and others are now selling the message of “courageous and law enforcing” Poroshenko administration standing up to terrorists appearing out of nowhere, ultra-nationalists and even anarchists hell bent on bringing destruction to Ukraine as a state.

It is all served cold and calorie free in a historical version of Diet Coke sans any retrospect or context that could result in indigestion caused by memory. Never mind the political “night of the long knives” that is currently taking place at the highest echelons of the political elite in Kiev while many factions and personalities are now feeding themselves on the corpse of the country. The real and always available “culprit” in Ukrainian narrative bordering on delusion: Putin is now presented as instigator of fascist violence in Kiev in which three policemen lost their lives.

Unfortunately for the Ukrainians, they are now exposed, and are slowly waking up to the nightmare of government that came about as a result of the February coup and the historical truth of “chickens coming home to roost” is now visited upon them. Despite seeing the same old movie of the Orange Revolution that was supposed to bring the break with the past in 2004, they are seeing the re-run of the same production. This time around with the US and EU subtitles enforced by political sign language open for any interpretation and manipulation possible, thus yesterday’s friends and allies are today’s foes and vice versa .

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Demonstrators, who are against a constitutional amendment on decentralization, clash with police outside the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, August 31, 2015. © Valentyn Ogirenko / Reuters

While the economy is being effectively decimated, the oligarch class is holding all the cards on and off the table in the same time while securing its own interests in the Rada and abroad. The failed state that is a de-facto new Ukraine has reported cases of children paralyzed in Ukraine in a polio outbreak while the Kiev government is going to European capitals hat in hand asking for a military and political support. In this spirit Poroshenko just announced his new military doctrine that will redeploy and invest money the country doesn’t have in the south and east as bulwarks against perceived “Russian imperialism”.

 

In other words the government will be defending itself against its own population in the east, its own ex-allies in Kiev while continuing its own propaganda war against Putin and the “evil” empire supported by the “good” empire in conjunction with austerity program imposed on whatever is left of the Ukrainian economy.

This will in turn create a fantastic investment landscape for the foreign vulture investor class coming in and getting everything for pennies on the dollar. If the “coupon” privatization was ever a rip-off, wait to see this scheme playing out in free money environment cooked up by Western central banks and the US “private” Federal Reserve. If this is the recipe for success then I would hate to see the recipe for failure as in the parallel universe of Ukrainian political reality, the chocolate cake prepared by the chocolate king can obviously eat itself and be intact in the same time. In the “real” reality the joke might actually be on the EU when looking at the current waves of refugees coming out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Ukraine is actually not that far behind and the resulting exodus will be the unpaid bill for the adventurism it chose to partake in.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Unruly Hearts.

MILITARY TIMES – Russia has big ambitions, growing capabilities

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Russia has big ambitions,
growing capabilities
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Early on the morning of Sept. 30, a Russian three-star general approached the American embassy in Baghdad, walked past a wall of well-armed Marines, to deliver face-to-face a diplomatic demarche to the United States. His statement was blunt: The Russia military would begin air strikes in neighboring Syria within the hour — and the American military should clear the area immediately.

It was a bout of brinksmanship between two nuclear-armed giants that the world has not seen in decades, and it has revived Cold War levels of suspicion, antagonism and gamesmanship.

With the launch of airstrikes in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin instigated a proxy war with the U.S., putting those nation’s powerful militaries in support of opposing sides of the multipolar conflict. And it’s a huge gamble for Moscow, experts say. “This is really quite difficult for them. It’s logistically complex. The Russians don’t have much in the way of long-range power projection capability,” said Mark Galeotti, a Russian security expert at New York University.

Moscow’s military campaign in Syria is relying on supply lines that require air corridors through both Iranian and Iraqi air space. The only alternatives are naval supply lines running from Crimea, requiring a passage of up to 10 days round-trip. How long that can be sustained is unclear.

That and other questions about Russian military capabilities and objectives are taking center stage as Putin shows a relentless willingness to use military force in a heavy-handed foreign policy aimed at restoring his nation’s stature as a world power. In that quest, he has raised the specter of resurgent Russian military might — from Ukraine to the Baltics, from Syria to the broader Middle East.

Russia’s increasingly aggressive posture has sparked a sweeping review among U.S. defense strategists of America’s military policies and contingency plans in the event of a conflict with the former Soviet state. Indeed, the Pentagon’s senior leaders are asking questions that have been set aside for more than 20 years:

How much are the Russians truly capable of?
Where precisely might a conflict with Russia occur?
What would a war with Russia look like today?

Make no mistake: Experts agree that the U.S. military’s globe-spanning force would clobber the Russian military in any toe-to-toe conventional fight. But modern wars are not toe-to-toe conventional fights; geography, politics and terrain inevitably give one side an advantage.

Today, the U.S. spends nearly 10 times more than Russia on national defense. The U.S. operates 10 aircraft carriers; Russia has just one. And the U.S. military maintains a broad technological edge and a vastly superior ability to project power around the world.

Russia remains weak, according to many traditional criteria. But it is now developing some key technologies, new fighting tactics and a brazen geopolitical strategy that is aggressively undermining America’s 25-year claim to being the only truly global superpower. The result: Russia is unexpectedly re-emerging as America’s chief military rival.

As U.S. officials watch that unfold, they are “clearly motivated by concerns that at least locally, Russia has the potential to generate superior forces,” said David Ochmanek, a former Pentagon official who is now a defense analyst at the RAND Corp. And looming over the entire U.S.-Russian relationship are their nuclear arsenals. Russia has preserved, even modernized, its own “triad” with nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles, a large fleet of long-range strike aircraft and increasingly sophisticated nuclear-armed submarines.

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“The Russian defense industry is being rebuilt from ruins,” said Vadim Kozyulin, a military expert at the Moscow-based PIR Center, a think tank. “The military balance can only be ensured by Russia’s nuclear might, which isn’t as expensive to maintain as many people think.”

But while Russia’s conventional forces are less impressive than its nuclear forces, there are specific conventional areas where the Russians excel — among them aircraft, air defenses, submarines, and electronic warfare.

The Soviet-era weapons design bureaus remain prominent internationally. Russia’s aerospace industry, for example, has benefited greatly from international exports to non-Western nations, which go to Russia to buy effective fighter jets that are cheaper than their Western variants. China today spends more on defense annually than Russia, but still imports platforms and advanced weaponry from Russia.

Attempting a side-by-side comparisons of the U.S. and Russian militaries is a bit like comparing apples to oranges, many experts say; the Russians have distinctly different strategic goals, and their military structure reflects that. Russia views itself as a land-based power, exerting influence in a sphere expanding outward from its Eurasian heartland into Eastern Europe, Central Asia and possibly the Middle East and Pacific rim. It is well suited for relying on a particular set of capabilities known as “anti-access and area denial.”

“The United States and Russia are going for different things,” Galeotti said. “What the Russians are looking for is not to take on and compete on equal terms with us. It’s denial.” For example, he said, “one can look at the U.S. Navy as massively superior to the Russian navy. Most of them are legacy Soviet ships. But in a way, that doesn’t matter, because Russia does not plan to send its forces all across the world’s oceans.”

That’s reflected in the fact that Russia maintains a lone aircraft carrier while the U.S. Navy’s 10-carrier fleet operates on a continuing global deployment cycle. Instead of carriers designed for offensive power projection at sea, the Russians are investing in an expanding fleet of submarines that can supplement their nuclear force and, conventionally, threaten an enemy surface fleet in nearby waters such as the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea or the Mediterranean Sea.

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Its airspace also is heavily fortified. The quality of Russia’s stealth aircraft is far weaker than those of the U.S., but Russia has cutting-edge anti-stealth systems, and also has invested heavily in robust surface-to-air missile systems and arrayed its forces domestically to protect its border regions. “The static airpower picture would favor the Russians because they have a lot of capability in terms of air defense and a variety of tactical and cruise and ballistic missiles,” said Paul Schwartz, a Russian military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Russia’s electronic warfare capability is also daunting to Pentagon military planners; left unclear is the extent to which Russia could jam the radars and signals intelligence that forms the foundation of the U.S.’s advanced air power. Any attempt by the U.S. and its allies to infiltrate Russian air space “would not necessarily be easy,” Schwartz said. “It would be a contested environment. But over time I think we would be able to degrade it. The problem is, with a nuclear power, you try to avoid a full-scale fighting.”

Meanwhile, the Russian army, still predominantly a conscripted force, is being transitioned to an American-style professional force. In effect, Russia has two armies: About two thirds of the roughly 800,000-man force remains filled with unmotivated and poorly trained draftees, but about one third is not — and those are the units outfitted with top-notch gear, including the Armata T-14 Main Battle Tanks.

In sum, the Russian military is not the equal of the U.S. military. But the gap has narrowed in recent years.

Forward Operating Base Syria

Russia’s swift creation of a forward operating base in Syria has stunned many U.S. officials. In just a few weeks, its military erected a potentially permanent base at Latakia, on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. They’ve deployed dozens of combat aircraft, fortified the installation with tanks and assembled housing for hundreds of troops.

The Russians recently announced plans for a naval exercise in the eastern Mediterranean this fall, but did not specify exactly when ships would deploy to the region. The exercise will feature the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship, the guided missile cruiser Moskva, as well as several smaller escort vessels and large amphibious assault and landing ships, Russia’s TASS news agency reported. Some military officials question whether the exercise is a cover for shipping more troops and gear to the Syrian coast.
Smoke rises over Talbiseh, a city in western Syria’s

Smoke rises over Talbiseh, a city in western Syria’s Homs province, on Sept. 30, marking Russian first airstrikes in the region.
(Photo: Homs Media Centre via AP)

The new forward operating base will give Russia the capability to fly combat air sorties, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance missions and drones across the Middle East. That could include Iraq, the leadership of which has invited the Russians to assist in the fight against the Islamic State in that country.

The base will help secure Russia’s longtime naval support facility at the Syrian port of Tarus, a key to the Russian military’s ability to maintain and project power into the Mediterranean. Russia reportedly is expanding its footprint at the Tarus facility.

More broadly, Moscow is signaling a long-term interest in extending its umbrella of anti-access area denial capabilities into the Middle East. The Russians reportedly are shipping some of their most advanced surface-to-air missile systems into Latakia, raising concerns inside the Pentagon because that move runs counter to Russia’s claims of limiting the focus of its military activities to Syrian rebel groups like the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Russia has deployed a number of Su-30 fighters to Syria,

Russia has deployed a number of Su-30 fighters to Syria, aircraft that are capable of striking ground targets as well as those in the air.
(Photo: Pavel Golovkin/AP)

“We see some very sophisticated air defenses going into those airfields, we see some very sophisticated air-to-air aircraft going into these airfields,” Gen. Phillip Breedlove, chief of the U.S. European Command and also the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, said Sept. 28. “I have not seen ISIL flying any airplanes that require SA-15s or SA-22s [Russian missiles]. I have not seen ISIL flying any airplanes that require sophisticated air-to-air capabilities. These very sophisticated air defense capabilities are not about ISIL … they’re about something else.”

In effect, the Russians could challenge the air superiority maintained — even taken for granted — by the U.S. over large swaths the Middle East for more than 20 years. A crucial factor in this equation is Russia’s alliance with Iran, another key Syrian ally. Russia depends on Iranian airspace for its flight corridors into Syria, and reportedly is prepared to support Iranian ground troops aligned with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Experts inside Russia believe the incursion into Syria, along with Putin’s aggressive speech at the United Nations on Sept. 28, signal his long-term interest in becoming a key player in the region.

“It became clear that Russia is going to exercise a more ambitious policy in the Middle East. The Russian President made it clear that the western model of democracy and its way of dealing with conflicts in the region is not working,” said Yury Barmin, a Moscow-based Russian expert on Mideast politics and Russian foreign policy. However, Barmin said, “it is doubtful that Russia has the capacity to emerge as a leading power in [the Middle East] in the near future because its presence in the region is limited if you compare it to that of the United States.”

Yet some see Putin’s maneuvers in Syria as some broader geopolitical gambit that aims to secure a deal on Ukraine. Russia currently occupies parts of Ukraine, but the U.S. still considers Moscow’s March 2014 invasion illegal and its control there illegitimate. “It’s much more about the U.S. than it is about Syria and Assad,” Galeotti said. “Let’s be honest, if Washington indicated that some deal could be struck where they tacitly accept the Russians’ position in Crimea and parts of Donbas, they are not going to fight a war for Assad.”

In Ukraine, a new brand of ‘hybrid warfare’

The conflict in Ukraine and the American training mission there is giving the Pentagon fresh insight on an enemy they might fight elsewhere in the not-too-distant future. But critics say America’s timid response to Russian aggression — both in Crimea and the the Donetsk and Luhansk regions — has done little to deter Moscow. In Ukraine Russia has revealed a new brand of “hybrid warfare,” one that mixes non-state proxy fighters, heavy armor and artillery, drones, electronic warfare and aggressive information operations to achieve battlefield victories.
Ukrainian servicemen patrol near the chemical plant

Ukrainian servicemen patrol near the chemical plant in Avdeevka, a town just north of the city of Donetsk, on June 20. Ukrainian troops face threats from insurgents and conventionally trained forces.
(Photo: Aleskey Chernyshev/AFP)

“It is good for us to be aware how they fight,” said Evelyn Farkas, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, in an interview with Military Times on Sept. 10. “We have not fought wars the way they do in kind of an urban, mixed urban and nonurban setting with UAVs, with electronic jamming.”

Farkas is stepping down from her post at the end of October, after five years at the Defense Department. It’s unclear who will take her place as the Pentagon’s key policy maker for Russia-related issues.

For the small cadre of U.S. military professionals who’ve been working alongside Ukrainian government forces, the fight against Russian-backed rebels is a major change from their recent experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We’ve got a ton of experience in low-intensity warfare, counterinsurgency warfare, whereas a bulk of the Ukraine experience is facing a 21st-century, near-peer adversary,” said Army Lt. Col. Michael Kloepper, commander of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, which recently began its third rotation into Ukraine to train that nation’s military forces.

The Army deployments are part of a broader U.S. military effort to reassure NATO allies rattled by Russia’s actions. Yet the Obama administration has been reluctant to provide more robust support, determined, it seems, to avoid the potential for a proxy war with the Russians.
Since its annexation of Crimea in early 2014, Russia

Since its annexation of Crimea in early 2014, Russia has steadily expanded its military presence in the region. In response, the U.S. and its NATO allies are working to build, train and equip Ukrainian forces.
(Photo: John Bretschneider/Staff)

Russian has lined thousands of troops and large tank and artillery units along its Ukrainian border. Those Russian troops routinely shell the border towns and make incursions into Ukraine to fight alongside the rebels in the contested areas. So far, the administration has pledged only “nonlethal aid” for training and gear such as Humvees, small drones and radar.

Washington has placed economic sanctions on Russia, sent U.S. troops to help train Ukrainian forces and has ramped up military exercises across Eastern Europe. But it has not yet provided any offensive weaponry and ammunition, and it has not threatened military action against Russia. Since March 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine, the U.S. has contributed $244 million in nonlethal security assistance and training. For comparison, that amount would pay for about three weeks of operations in Iraq and Syria.

Ukrainian officials in Kiev have made repeated pleas for more. “We need anti-tank Javelin systems, intelligence and combat drones, … fighter jets, helicopters, electronic and signal intelligence systems, radars and sound intelligence systems” to counter Russian military equipment used by Moscow-backed separatists on the eastern front, said Colonel General Victor Muzhenko, the Ukrainian military’s top officer. They’ve also asked for anti-aircraft guns and more equipment to neutralize enemy snipers, he told Military Times.
Ukrainian troops man an anti-aircraft weapon at a checkpoint

Ukrainian troops man an anti-aircraft weapon at a checkpoint outside the town of Amvrosiivka, close to the Russian border. Kiev says it’s desperate for more weaponry, but so far Washington has shown willingness to provide only nonlethal equipment.
(Photo: Vadim Ghirda/AP)

There are between 30,000 and 35,000 Russian-backed fighters in Eastern Ukraine, about 9,000 of whom are coming solely from the Russian front, Muzhenko estimates. They’re using sophisticated electronic warfare systems to jam the Ukrainians’ communications, radar, GPS and early warning-detection equipment, said Ihor Dolhov, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister for European integration.

It’s a unique battlespace, and the Americans who have provided training to Ukrainian forces are eager to collect intelligence about the Russians’ new mode of combat. “It has been interesting to hear what they have learned,” Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, told Defense News, a sister publication of Military Times. “No Americans have been under Russian artillery or rocket fire or been on the receiving end of significant Russian electronic warfare, the jamming and collecting, for example, not at tactical levels.”

The future of the Ukraine conflict is unclear. In late September, all sides agreed to withdraw tanks and heavy artillery from Ukraine’s eastern front. A ceasefire in eastern Ukraine also appears to be holding, although each side remains wary, and local parliamentary elections set to take place Oct. 25 may be upended by pro-Russian separatists, who aim to hold their own elections.

For now, Obama shows no signs of conceding to Russian control the regions Ukraine has controlled for decades. “We cannot stand by when the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation is flagrantly violated,” Obama told the U.N. General Assembly in a major speech on Sept. 28. “That’s the basis of the sanctions that the United States and our partners imposed on Russia. It’s not a desire to return to the Cold War.”

Predicting the next flashpoint

For more than a year, the U.S. and its European allies have been reassessing the military balance along NATO’s eastern border, which is lined with former Soviet satellite states. The result has been Operation Atlantic Resolve, an expanded rotational presence of U.S troops in NATO’s easternmost countries like Poland, the Baltics, Romania and Bulgaria.

Putin and his military have menaced the Baltic countries, who are among the newest and weakest NATO partners. Russia has repeatedly sent military aircraft into Baltic airspace, patrolled submarines in the Baltic Sea and allegedly mounted cyber-attacks. And Russian officials have voiced support for Russian-speaking minorities, raising the specter of future agitation.
Sgt. 1st Class Jason Muzzy, an observer-controller

Sgt. 1st Class Jason Muzzy, an observer-controller from Company A, 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, works with an Estonian soldier during a training exercise in Germany. Some see NATO’s newest members, like Estonia, as particularly vulnerable to Russia aggression.
(Photo: Sgt. Christina Dion/Army)

The aggression in the Baltics, especially Estonia, which has a large Russian-speaking minority, has been more ambiguous than Moscow’s overt operations in Ukraine and Syria. The argument goes that Putin would employ a type of hybrid warfare perfected in Ukraine to rally ethnic Russian populations in the Baltic states to rise up in support with special operations forces — the so-called “little green men.”

That has sparked concern in the West that Putin’s ultimate goal is to break NATO with force, if intimidation fails. NATO is struggling to figure out how to respond, with member nations holding differing perspectives on when Russian behavior crosses a red line. It’s about “working out at what point a military response is the correct response,” said Nick de Larrinaga, a London-based analyst for IHS Jane’s Defense and Security Group. “Hybrid warfare casts doubts about when there should be a military response, or whether this is a civilian issue that should be taken care of by local law enforcement,” he said.
Russia claims to have some 750 tanks in its western

Russia claims to have some 750 tanks in its western military region, though its unclear how much of that equipment is legitimately combat-ready.
(Photo: Andrey Kronberg/AFP/Getty Images)

Another option for Russia, of course, is to shift to a conventional fight. A review of the military balance in the immediate Baltic theater would seem to give Russia an initial advantage in an aerial campaign against NATO, if Moscow’s political objective was to push NATO out of the Baltics.

According to a recent report by international think tank Chatham House, Russia’s military strength in its Western Military District stands at 65,000 ground troops, 850 pieces of artillery, 750 tanks, and 320 combat aircraft. Other estimates are much higher, but in general there is a high degree of uncertainty about how much of those forces exist only on paper, and how many are truly prepared for combat.

Another aspect of the Russian military that gets overhyped is its Baltic Fleet, the smallest of Russia’s main fleets and truly a shadow of its former self. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the coastal infrastructure that stretched from Kalingrad to Leningrad was lost to the newly independent Baltic states.

Today, the fleet is split between Kalingrad and St. Petersburg, making it difficult to support a larger fleet. The Baltic Fleet’s assets today include only two small Kilo-class diesel powered submarines, one of which is used mostly for training, along with a handful of Sovremenny-class destroyers, a frigate, four corvettes, and a smattering of support ships.

For a conventional operation, Russia also could bring assets from its Northern Fleet, which frequently patrols the North Atlantic, into the Baltic theater to support a larger action.

That threat could become a powerful one if Russia’s true goal in the Baltics is to force NATO into showing that it won’t honor Article V, the key element of the alliance treaty that holds an attack on one member nation will be met with a swift and unified response from all member nations.

Defense News’ Russia correspondent, Matthew Bodner, contributed to this report from Moscow.

© 2015 http://www.militarytimes.com. All rights reserved.

Unruly Hearts with WordPress thanks Military Times for this excellent article.

US NEEDS UKRAINE WAR TO MAINTAIN GLOBAL HEGEMONY – MIKE WHITNEY

  • US wants to maintain full spectrum dominance, thwart multipolar world

  • For that it needs a weak Russia and Ukraine war is the way to do it

 

This article originally appeared at CounterPunch

 

“I want to appeal to the Ukrainian people, to the mothers, the fathers, the sisters and the grandparents. Stop sending your sons and brothers to this pointless, merciless slaughter. The interests of the Ukrainian government are not your interests. I beg of you: Come to your senses. You do not have to water Donbass fields with Ukrainian blood. It’s not worth it.”

— Alexander Zakharchenko,  Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic

us-flag

We won’t stand for peer competitors

I’ve been reading Mike Whitney since I was 13 yrs old. What I didn’t understamd my father explained to me.
after I finished reading this article by Mike, I fully understood the writer. Here it goes:

Washington needs a war in Ukraine to achieve its strategic objectives. This point cannot be overstated.

The US wants to push NATO to Russia’s western border. It wants a land-bridge to Asia to spread US military bases across the continent. It wants to control the pipeline corridors from Russia to Europe to monitor Moscow’s revenues and to ensure that gas continues to be denominated in dollars. And it wants a weaker, unstable Russia that is more prone to regime change, fragmentation and, ultimately, foreign control.

These objectives cannot be achieved peacefully, indeed, if the fighting stopped tomorrow, the sanctions would be lifted shortly after, and the Russian economy would begin to recover. How would that benefit Washington?

It wouldn’t. It would undermine Washington’s broader plan to integrate China and Russia into the prevailing economic system, the dollar system. Powerbrokers in the US realize that the present system must either expand or collapse. Either China and Russia are brought to heel and persuaded to accept a subordinate role in the US-led global order or Washington’s tenure as global hegemon will come to an end.

This is why hostilities in East Ukraine have escalated and will continue to escalate. This is why the U.S. Congress approved a bill for tougher sanctions on Russia’s energy sector and lethal aid for Ukraine’s military. This is why Washington has sent military trainers to Ukraine and is preparing to provide $3 billion in “anti-armor missiles, reconnaissance drones, armored Humvees, and radars that can determine the location of enemy rocket and artillery fire.”

All of Washington’s actions are designed with one purpose in mind, to intensify the fighting and escalate the conflict. The heavy losses sustained by Ukraine’s inexperienced army and the terrible suffering of the civilians in Lugansk and Donetsk are of no interest to US war-planners.

Their job is to make sure that peace is avoided at all cost because peace would derail US plans to pivot to Asia and remain the world’s only superpower. Here’s an except from an article in the WSWS:

“The ultimate aim of the US and its allies is to reduce Russia to an impoverished and semi-colonial status. Such a strategy, historically associated with Carter administration National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, is again being openly promoted.

In a speech last year at the Wilson Center, Brzezinski called on Washington to provide Kiev with “weapons designed particularly to permit the Ukrainians to engage in effective urban warfare of resistance.” In line with the policies now recommended in the report by the Brookings Institution and other think tanks calling for US arms to the Kiev regime, Brzezinski called for providing “anti-tank weapons…weapons capable for use in urban short-range fighting.”

While the strategy outlined by Brzezinski is politically criminal—trapping Russia in an ethnic urban war in Ukraine that would threaten the deaths of millions, if not billions of people—it is fully aligned with the policies he has promoted against Russia for decades.” (“The US arming of Ukraine and the danger of World War III“, World Socialist Web Site)

Non-lethal military aid will inevitably lead to lethal military aid, sophisticated weaponry, no-fly zones, covert assistance, foreign contractors, Special ops, and boots on the ground. We’ve seen it all before. There is no popular opposition to the war in the US, no thriving antiwar movement that can shut down cities, order a general strike or disrupt the status quo.

So there’s no way to stop the persistent drive to war. The media and the political class have given Obama carte blanche, the authority to prosecute the conflict as he sees fit. That increases the probability of a broader war by this summer following the spring thaw.

While the possibility of a nuclear conflagration cannot be excluded, it won’t effect US plans for the near future. No one thinks that Putin will launch a nuclear war to protect the Donbass, so the deterrent value of the weapons is lost.

And Washington isn’t worried about the costs either. Despite botched military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and half a dozen other countries around the world; US stocks are still soaring, foreign investment in US Treasuries is at record levels, the US economy is growing at a faster pace than any of its global competitors, and the dollar has risen an eye-watering 13 percent against a basket of foreign currencies since last June. America has paid nothing for decimating vast swathes of the planet and killing more than a million people. Why would they stop now?

They won’t, which is why the fighting in Ukraine is going to escalate. Check this out from the WSWS:

“On Monday, the New York Times announced that the Obama administration is moving to directly arm the Ukrainian army and the fascistic militias supporting the NATO-backed regime in Kiev, after its recent setbacks in the offensive against pro-Russian separatist forces in east Ukraine.

The article cites a joint report issued Monday by the Brookings Institution, the Atlantic Council, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and delivered to President Obama, advising the White House and NATO on the best way to escalate the war in Ukraine….

According to the Times, US officials are rapidly shifting to support the report’s proposals. NATO military commander in Europe General Philip M. Breedlove, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, US Secretary of State John Kerry, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey all supported discussions on directly arming Kiev. National Security Advisor Susan Rice is reconsidering her opposition to arming Kiev, paving the way for Obama’s approval.” (“Washington moves toward arming Ukrainian regime“, World Socialist Web Site)

See what’s going on? The die is already cast. There will be a war with Russia because that’s what the political establishment wants. It’s that simple. And while previous provocations failed to lure Putin into the Ukrainian cauldron, this new surge of violence–a spring offensive– is bound to do the trick.

Putin is not going to sit on his hands while proxies armed with US weapons and US logistical support pound the Donbass to Fallujah-type rubble. He’ll do what any responsible leader would do. He’ll protect his people. That means war. (See the vast damage that Obama’s proxy war has done to E. Ukraine here: “An overview of the socio – humanitarian situation on the territory of Donetsk People’s Republic as a consequence of military action from 17 to 23 January 2015“)

Asymmetrical Warfare: Falling Oil Prices

Keep in mind, that the Russian economy has already been battered by economic sanctions, oil price manipulation, and a vicious attack of the ruble.

Until this week, the mainstream media dismissed the idea that the Saudis were deliberately pushing down oil prices to hurt Russia. They said the Saudis were merely trying to retain “market share” by maintaining current production levels and letting prices fall naturally.

But it was all bunkum as the New York Times finally admitted on Tuesday in an article titled: “Saudi Oil Is Seen as Lever to Pry Russian Support From Syria’s Assad”. Here’s a clip from the article:

“Saudi Arabia has been trying to pressure President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to abandon his support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, using its dominance of the global oil markets at a time when the Russian government is reeling from the effects of plummeting oil prices…

Saudi officials say — and they have told the United States — that they think they have some leverage over Mr. Putin because of their ability to reduce the supply of oil and possibly drive up prices….Any weakening of Russian support for Mr. Assad could be one of the first signs that the recent tumult in the oil market is having an impact on global statecraft…..

Saudi Arabia’s leverage depends on how seriously Moscow views its declining oil revenue. “If they are hurting so bad that they need the oil deal right away, the Saudis are in a good position to make them pay a geopolitical price as well,” said F. Gregory Gause III, a Middle East specialist at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service (“Saudi Oil Is Seen as Lever to Pry Russian Support From Syria’s Assad“, New York Times)

The Saudis “think they have some leverage over Mr. Putin because of their ability” to manipulate prices?

That says it all, doesn’t it?

What’s interesting about this article is the way it conflicts with previous pieces in the Times. For example, just two weeks ago, in an article titled “Who Will Rule the Oil Market?” the author failed to see any political motive behind the Saudi’s action.

According to the narrative, the Saudis were just afraid that “they would lose market share permanently” if they cut production and kept prices high. Now the Times has done a 180 and joined the so called conspiracy nuts who said that prices were manipulated for political reasons.

In fact, the sudden price plunge had nothing to do with deflationary pressures, supply-demand dynamics, or any other mumbo-jumbo market forces. It was 100 percent politics.

The attack on the ruble was also politically motivated, although the details are much more sketchy. There’s an interesting interview with Alistair Crooke that’s worth a read for those who are curious about how the Pentagon’s “full spectrum dominance” applies to financial warfare. According to Crooke:

“…with Ukraine, we have entered a new era: We have a substantial, geostrategic conflict taking place, but it’s effectively a geo-financial war between the US and Russia. We have the collapse in the oil prices; we have the currency wars; we have the contrived “shorting” — selling short — of the ruble. We have a geo-financial war, and what we are seeing as a consequence of this geo-financial war is that first of all, it has brought about a close alliance between Russia and China.

China understands that Russia constitutes the first domino; if Russia is to fall, China will be next. These two states are together moving to create a parallel financial system, disentangled from the Western financial system. ……

For some time, the international order was structured around the United Nations and the corpus of international law, but more and more the West has tended to bypass the UN as an institution designed to maintain the international order, and instead relies on economic sanctions to pressure some countries. We have a dollar-based financial system, and through instrumentalizing America’s position as controller of all dollar transactions, the US has been able to bypass the old tools of diplomacy and the UN — in order to further its aims.

But increasingly, this monopoly over the reserve currency has become the unilateral tool of the United States — displacing multilateral action at the UN. The US claims jurisdiction over any dollar-denominated transaction that takes place anywhere in the world. And most business and trading transactions in the world are denominated in dollars. This essentially constitutes the financialization of the global order: The International Order depends more on control by the US Treasury and Federal Reserve than on the UN as before.” (“Turkey might become hostage to ISIL just like Pakistan did“, Today’s Zaman)

Financial warfare, asymmetrical warfare, Forth Generation warfare, space warfare, information warfare, nuclear warfare, laser, chemical, and biological warfare. The US has expanded its arsenal well beyond the traditional range of conventional weaponry. The goal, of course, is to preserve the post-1991 world order (The dissolution up of the Soviet Union) and maintain full spectrum dominance.

The emergence of a multi-polar world order spearheaded by Moscow poses the greatest single threat to Washington’s plans for continued domination. The first significant clash between these two competing world views will likely take place sometime this summer in East Ukraine. God help us.

NOTE: The Novorussia Armed Forces (NAF) currently have 8,000 Ukrainian regulars surrounded in Debaltsevo, East Ukraine. This is a very big deal although the media has been (predictably) keeping the story out of the headlines.

Evacuation corridors have been opened to allow civilians to leave the area. Fighting could break out at anytime. At present, it looks like a good part of the Kiev’s Nazi army could be destroyed in one fell swoop. This is why Merkel and Hollande have taken an emergency flight to Moscow to talk with Putin. They are not interested in peace. They merely want to save their proxy army from annihilation.

I expect Putin may intervene on behalf of the Ukrainian soldiers, but I think commander Zakharchenko will resist. If he lets these troops go now, what assurance does he have that they won’t be back in a month or so with high-powered weaponry provided by our war-mongering congress and White House?

Tell me; what choice does Zakharchenko really have? If his comrades are killed in future combat because he let Kiev’s army escape, who can he blame but himself?

There are no good choices.

 thanks Mike. You don’t stop amazing me. I have learned a lot by reading you. And I will keep reading you.

25 Recent Events in Ukraine the U.S. Wants You To Forget

 

WAR MIND

WAR MIND

Remember when our rulers told us that regimes like Saddam, Gaddafi, and Assad were the epitome of evil and must be liberated because they allegedly killed their own citizens? Probably not. Americans have short memories.

I only remind you to let you know that the U.S. and other Western governments have reversed their stance on regimes killing their own citizens. They now fully endorse and support this rule-with-an-iron-fist so long as the victims can be successfully labeled “separatists” or “terrorists”.

In fact, they want in on the action. The Pentagon began wargaming this week with the regime in Ukraine on how best to kill pesky citizens in Eastern Ukraine who oppose the U.S. Vice President’s son stealing and fracking shale gas on their land.

People who defend their land and families are called “terrorists” when imperial powers want their resources. In turn, Western rulers call violent coups “duly elected” if they pledge allegiance to the IMF.

This situation is creating friction among the world’s superpowers not seen since the Cold War. Obama recently expressed concern that ”The old order isn’t holding and we’re not quite where we need to be in terms of a new order.” Later in the speech he blamed uncooperative nations (read Russia) for standing in the way of the New World Order.

It seems if Russia doesn’t get on board with the Western-led world order, these powers are destined to clash in a West vs. East showdown over international banking and the control of gas supplies.

Here are 25 recent events, or data points, that our rulers hope we forget when they blame the collapse of the old world order on Russia:

  1. US spent $5 billion to destabilize Ukraine, not to mention the millions NGOs spent on “opposition groups“. The State Department was even caught playing kingmaker in Ukraine in secret recordings during the takeover.
  2. November 21st, 2013 – Ukraine’s President abandons an agreement on closer trade ties with EU, instead seeking closer cooperation with Russia. Violent pro-EU protests begin to organize.
  3. December 17th, 2013 – Putin offers to buy $15bn of Ukrainian debt and discount the price of Russian gas by about a third.
  4. February 2014 – Violence of coup peaks on the 20th. On 22nd protesters took control of Kiev and Parliament votes to remove president from power.
  5. February 23rd – New interim government named, replaces head of Ukraine central bank.
  6. March 6th – Obama signs national emergency executive order to punish Ukrainians that ”undermine democratic processes and institutions” of the coup government in Ukraine. You can’t make this stuff up.
  7. March 16th – Crimea holds voter referendum to split from coup government in Kiev and ally with Russia, passes by over 95%.
  8. March 20th – Obama announces more unilateral sanctions on Russia.
  9. March 24th – Leaked tape where former prime minister of Ukraine and darling of the West, Yulia Tymoshenko, calls for wiping out all Russians with nuclear weapons.
  10. April 29th – Obama unilaterally expands sanctions on Russia.
  11. April 30th – Newly installed regime in Kiev receives $17 billion from the IMF for “economic reforms”. (December deal from Russia with better terms for Ukrainian people discarded.)
  12. May 3rd – Obama calls Kiev’s coup government “duly elected“.
  13. May 11th – Eastern Ukraine votes for independence from Kiev and for self-rule.  Kiev mobilizes military to punish citizens for disloyalty.
  14. May 15th – US Vice President’s son Hunter Biden named to the board of Ukraine gas company.
  15. May 21st – Russia and China sign historic $400 billion “Holy Grail” gas deal not using petrodollars.
  16. May 27th – Second day in office, new Ukraine president launches military ”anti-terrorist operation“ against eastern Ukrainians.
  17. June 3rd – NATO pledges military support for Ukraine to battle dissidents.
  18. June 16th – Ukraine refuses to pay its gas bill to Moscow’s Gazprom, Russia cuts off gas.
  19. June 26th – Gazprom agrees to drop the dollar to settle contracts with China.
  20. June 27th – The EU signs an association agreement with Ukraine, along with Georgia and Moldova
  21. July 15th – BRICS nations fund international development bank to compete with the IMF, World Bank, and the dollar itself.
  22. July 17th – Commercial airliner MH17 shot out of the sky over eastern Ukraine. Appears to be classic false flag event after the West immediately blamed Russia citing sketchy YouTube videos.
  23. July 2014 – US announces yet more sanctions on RussiaEU and Canada both join in calls for more sanctions for Russia.
  24. July 2014 – Joe Biden’s son’s company prepares to drill shale gas in east Ukraine.
  25. July 2014 – Pentagon creates military plan to clear path for gas drilling in rebel-held areas of Ukraine.
I’m sure I missed a few.  Feel free to fill in the blanks in the comment section below.

KIEV’S JUNTA FORCES TERROR BOMB DONBASS

 

 

Kiev’s Junta Forces Terror Bomb Donbass

Posted by Stephen Lendman

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

 
Kiev war crimes include using banned chemical weapons, cluster bombs and white phosphorous in Donbass – including against civilian neighborhoods.
 
Reports indicate US experts are helping Ukraine produce chemical weapons for use against rebel forces. Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) intelligence learned they’re being secretly developed for escalated dirty war.
 
On Tuesday, reported fuel-air (thermobaric) explosives targeted a Donetsk chemical plant – fired from junta held Kurahhovo village 30 kilometers away.
 
These weapons suck oxygen from open areas and human lungs. They generate intense, high-temperature explosions. They’re much more destructive than conventional explosives of equal weight – especially when used against people in bunkers, shelters, caves and other enclosed places.
 
It’s virtually impossible for civilians to shelter against their destructive effects. A Russian military scientist once called their capability comparable to low-yield radiological munitions.
 
Used in large numbers, they’re enormously destructive – separate blast waves reinforcing each other increasing their overall power. They use fuel and explosive charges creating a massive blast wave. They were first used in Vietnam by US forces.
 
An earlier CIA study said their effect “within confined spaces is immense. Those near the ignition point are obliterated.”
 
“Those at the fringe are likely to suffer many internal, and thus invisible injuries, including burst eardrums and crushed inner ear organs, severe concussions, rupture lungs and internal organs, and possibly blindness.”
 
With air sucked from lungs, victims suffocate to death besides other injuries sustained. Make no mistake. These are terror weapons – yet not banned under international law.
 
Ukrainian forces targeted Donetsk’s chemical plant storage facilities where mining explosives are held. They tried earlier using inaccurate Tochka-U missiles. They failed again this time. Crater evidence showed thermobaric weapons use.
 
Western media ignore these type incidents – including multiple daily attacks by junta forces on Donbass.
 
Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Defense Ministry spokesman Eduard Basurin said junta forces used artillery, mortars, grenade launchers and small arms in the last 24 hours alone. The pattern repeats daily – including willfully targeting civilian neighborhoods.
 
Russian upper house Federation Council International Affairs Committee chairman Konstantin Kosachev blames US-dominated NATO for exploiting nonexistent “Russian aggression” in Ukraine.
 
He expressed concern about belligerent NATO actions – calling deploying heavy weapons close to Russia’s borders “the height of irresponsibility to all peoples of Europe.”
 
Is “another large-scale military conflict planned,” he asked? “(W)hat is going on in Ukraine is a direct consequence of actions by the West, which upset the security and power balance in Europe by its (power grab in) Ukraine.”
 
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov said “(n)one of the Russia-NATO programs that used to (operate) are functioning at a working level.” Nothing is being done to repair ruptured relations.
 
Moscow justifiably is concerned about US-dominated NATO’s planned Eastern European buildup – creating more dangerous flashpoint conditions than already.
 
Russia intends responding appropriately to protect its security against hostile Western actions. Days earlier, a Foreign Ministry statement said:
 
“We will keep an eye on the United States’ and their allies’ steps towards building a global missile defence system and other factors impacting Russia’s security, such as the United States’ stockpiling non-nuclear strategic weapons within the Prompt Global Strike concept and its persistent unwillingness to undertake legally binding liabilities not to deploy weapons in outer space.”
 
“…Russia reserves the right to take (all) necessary steps to protect its security and defend its national interests.”
 
Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused Washington of provocations “designed to aggravate bilateral relations.”
 
Moscow wants mutual cooperation with all nations. At the same time, it’ll defend itself responsibly against hostile US actions. Whether East/West confrontation can be avoided remains to be seen.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 2:51 AM

posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal @ 2:19 PM

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

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Obama Sidelines Kerry on Ukraine Policy

 

Eric Zuesse

On May 21st, I headlined “Secretary of State John Kerry v. His Subordinate Victoria Nuland, Regarding Ukraine,” and quoted John Kerry’s May 12th warning to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to cease his repeated threats to invade Crimea and re-invade Donbass, two former regions of Ukraine, which had refused to accept the legitimacy of the new regime that was imposed on Ukraine in violent clashes during February 2014. (These were regions that had voted overwhelmingly for the Ukrainian President who had just been overthrown. They didn’t like him being violently tossed out and replaced by his enemies.) Kerry said then that, regarding Poroshenko, “we would strongly urge him to think twice not to engage in that kind of activity, that that would put Minsk in serious jeopardy. And we would be very, very concerned about what the consequences of that kind of action at this time may be.” Also quoted there was Kerry’s subordinate, Victoria Nuland, three days later, saying the exact opposite, that we “reiterate our deep commitment to a single Ukrainian nation, including Crimea, and all the other regions of Ukraine.” I noted, then that, “The only person with the power to fire Nuland is actually U.S. President Barack Obama.” However, Obama instead has sided with Nuland on this.

Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, bannered, on June 5th, “Poroshenko: Ukraine Will ‘Do Everything’ To Retake Crimea’,” and reported that, “President Petro Poroshenko has vowed to seek Crimea’s return to Ukrainian rule. … Speaking at a news conference on June 5, … Poroshenko said that ‘every day and every moment, we will do everything to return Crimea to Ukraine.’” Poroshenko was also quoted there as saying, “It is important not to give Russia a chance to break the world’s pro-Ukrainian coalition,” which indirectly insulted Kerry for his having criticized Poroshenko’s warnings that he intended to invade Crimea and Donbass.

Right now, the Minsk II ceasefire has broken down and there are accusations on both sides that the other is to blame. What cannot be denied is that at least three times, on April 30th, then on May 11th, and then on June 5th, Poroshenko has repeatedly promised to invade Crimea, which wasn’t even mentioned in the Minsk II agreement; and that he was also promising to re-invade Donbass, something that is explicitly prohibited in this agreement. Furthermore, America’s President, Barack Obama, did not fire Kerry’s subordinate, Nuland, for her contradicting her boss on this important matter.

How will that be taken in European capitals? Kerry was reaffirming the position of Merkel and Hollande, the key shapers of the Minsk II agreement; and Nuland was nullifying them. Obama now has sided with Nuland on this; it’s a slap in the face to the EU: Poroshenko can continue ignoring Kerry and can blatantly ignore the Minsk II agreement; and Obama tacitly sides with Poroshenko and Nuland, against Kerry. 

The personalities here are important: On 4 February 2014, in the very same phone-conversation with Geoffrey Pyatt, America’s Ambassador in Ukraine, in which Nuland had instructed Pyatt to get “Yats” Yatsenyuk appointed to lead Ukraine after the coup (which then occured 18 days later), she also famously said “F—k  the EU!” Obama is now seconding that statement of hers.

In effect, Obama is telling the EU that they can get anything they want signed, but that he would still move forward with his own policy, regardless of whether or not they like it.

Kerry, for his part, now faces the decision as to whether to quit — which would force the EU’s hand regarding whether to continue with U.S. policy there — or else for Kerry to stay in office and be disrespected in all capitals for his staying on after having been so blatantly contradicted by his subordinate on a key issue of U.S. foreign policy. If he stays on while Nuland also does, then, in effect, Kerry is being cut out of policymaking on Europe and Asia (Nuland’s territory), altogether, and the EU needs to communicate directly with Obama on everything, or else to communicate with Nuland as if she and not Kerry were the actual U.S. Secretary of State. But if Kerry instead quits, then the pressure would be placed on EU officials: whether to continue with the U.S., or to reject U.S. anti-Russia policy, and to move forward by leaving NATO, and all that that entails?

If they then decide to stay with the U.S., after that “F—k the EU!” and then this; then, the European countries are clearly just U.S. colonies. This would be far more embarrassing to those leaders than John Kerry would be embarrassed by his simply resigning from the U.S. State Department. It might even turn the tide and force the Ukrainian Government to follow through with all of its commitments under the Minsk II accords.

It would be the most effective thing for Kerry to do at this stage. But, it would lose him his position as a (now merely nominal) member of Obama’s Cabinet.

The way this turns out will show a lot, about John Kerry. The nations of Europe already know everything they need to know about Barack Obama. If Kerry quits, he’ll have respect around the world. If he stays, he’ll be just another Colin Powell.

The ball is in Kerry’s court, and everyone will see how he plays it — and what type of man he is (and isn’t).

———-

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, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.