White House: President Obama will sign Russia sanctions bill, likely by week’s end

obama-sign-sanctions-russia.si

U.S. president Barack Obama

RT –  December 16, 2014

New Russian sanctions bill to be signed by end of week – White House

A new bill imposing further sanctions on Russia is to be signed by US President Barack Obama by the end of the week, a White House spokesman told a news briefing Tuesday.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that Obama is expected to sign new legislation this week despite preliminary concerns about its content. “I would anticipate that it would get done before the end of the week,” he said.

However, he said that the bill has provided a degree of flexibility required by the president.

The new sanctions come amid concerns over the stability of the Russian ruble, which nosedived Tuesday following a decline in oil prices and previous rounds of sanctions imposed by both the US and the EU.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

NATO has no money, capability to buy out Russia-bound Mistral warships – source

RIA Novosti/Alexey Filippov

RIA Novosti/Alexey Filippov

NATO doesn’t have the necessary funds to meet the demands of US lawmakers and purchase French-built Mistral warships in order to prevent Russia from getting the vessels, a military source said.

“NATO’s budget is too small to not only purchase Russia-ordered Mistral helicopter carriers, but to even compensate France half of the penalties in accordance with the contract,” a military source in Brussels, Belgium told TASS news agency.

NATO’s military and civilian budget for 2014 amounts $ 1.6 billion, while the penalty for non-delivery of the two Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia could reach $ 3 billion, the source explained.

“Moreover, NATO simply doesn’t have a structure that that could receive the ships. The Alliance has almost no military equipment of its own. So there would be no use in the helicopter carriers even if the money to purchase them is found,” the source said.

The idea of buying the Mistral vessels is “absurd from a military point of view” because the ships are “custom-built in accordance with Russian standards, which makes their use by NATO highly problematic and will require additional, expensive refitting,” he stressed.

The source has called the proposal by the US senators “a purely political project, in which NATO as an organization is physically unable to participate.”

“The main irony in this situation” is that even if several NATO member states will be able to allocate the necessary funds and purchase the ships – it’s not France, but Russia, which will get the money, he said.

“The contract has been paid and the redemption price will go to Moscow,” which today is “probably” more interested in money than in Mistral and “does not look too concerned” about the problem with delivery.

“The fact that this logic isn’t obvious to the US congressmen may only cause disappointment among allies and laughter among the Russians,” he concluded.

The comment comes in response to Friday news that eight US lawmakers forwarded a letter to NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, urging the Alliance to purchase the Mistral vessels.

An aerial view shows the Mistral-class helicopter carrier Vladivostok constructed for Russia at the STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in the port of Montoir-de-Bretagne near Saint Nazaire

Reuters/Stephane Mahe

 

“Sensitive to the financial burden that France may incur should it rightly refuse to transfer these warships to Russia, we renew our call that NATO purchase or lease the warships as a common naval asset,” the letter said as quoted by The Hill website.

“Such a decisive move by NATO isn’t without precedent and would show President Putin that our rhetorical resolve is matched by our actual resolve and that this Alliance will not tolerate or abet his dangerous actions in Europe,” it added.

NATO headquarters confirmed that it received letter, but provided no official comments on the possibility of the purchase of the ships.

Russia and France signed a €1.12 billion ($1.6 billion) contract for building two Mistral-type ships in June 2011.

Under the deal, Russia was supposed to receive the first of the two warships, the Vladivostok, in October this year.

However, the delivery has been postponed due the pressure on France by the US and EU, which imposed several waves of sanctions against Moscow over its accession of Crime and the crisis in Ukraine.

The second Mistral-class helicopter carrier, the Sevastopol, is scheduled to be handed over to Russia in 2015.

Mistral deal: France says delivery of warships to Russia still on hold

The French Navy’s Tonnere multi-purpose amphibious assault ship of the Mistral class at the Toulon seaport. (RIA Novosti/Alexander Vilf)

The French Navy’s Tonnere multi-purpose amphibious assault ship of the Mistral class at the Toulon seaport. (RIA Novosti/Alexander Vilf)

The Mistral-type helicopter carriers can accommodate up to 30 light helicopters in its hangar and on deck, although Russia plans to arm the Vladivostok and the Sevastopol with 16 heavy aircraft.

Each ship can also carry up to 450 combat troops (or 900 for short missions) in addition to the crew, complete with amphibious transports, armor and a command center.

Conditions have not yet been met for France to hand over the Mistral-class warship to Russia. According to the contract, it is due to be delivered on November 14, Paris said.

“The conditions today are not met to deliver the Mistral,”French Finance Minister Michel Sapin told RTL radio in an interview.

He added that the conditions the French government wants to see are “that in Ukraine the situation becomes more normal, and things cool down.”

The Russian agency responsible for foreign arms trade said on Thursday that France so far hasn’t sent any official notice that the Mistral contract may not be fulfilled.

Earlier on Wednesday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said France had invited a new group of Russian Navy seamen and officers for training courses on handling Mistral-class warships, a move indicating that despite its ambivalent rhetoric France is continuing to fulfill the terms of the contract.

Launching the stern of the first Russian Mistral type dock assault helicopter carrier "Vladivostok" at the Baltic Shipyard. (RIA Novosti/Igor Russak)

Launching the stern of the first Russian Mistral type dock assault helicopter carrier “Vladivostok” at the Baltic Shipyard. (RIA Novosti/Igor Russak)

France may hand over the first of two Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia on November 14, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said. He announced that Moscow had received an invitation to take delivery at France’s Saint-Nazaire shipyards.

“Rosoboronexport [Russia’s state owned arms exporter] has received an invitation to arrive in Saint-Nazaire on November 14, where 360 Russian sailors and 60 specialist trainers are already,” Rogozin said.

On that day, Vladivostok – the first of two Mistral-class helicopter carrier ships – should be handed over to Russia. The Deputy PM also assumed the second carrier, the Sevastopol, would also be in dock.

“We act from the fact that France must protect its own reputation as a reliable partner, including on issues of military cooperation,” he said. France has always stressed that for them this would be “the litmus test of their national pride and sovereignty,” the Deputy PM added.

On Tuesday, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that France will decide on delivery of the Mistral-type helicopter carriers to Russia only in November.

“The French president stated earlier that if the political situation does not improve, he will not permit delivery of the helicopter carriers,” Le Drian said. “The president will make a decision by November.”

Launching the stern section of a Mistral-class amphibious assault ship at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg. The ship will be christened the Sevastopol. (RIA Novosti/Alexei Danichev)

Launching the stern section of a Mistral-class amphibious assault ship at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg. The ship will be christened the Sevastopol. (RIA Novosti/Alexei Danichev)

Rogozin emphasized that so far everything is proceeding according to plan.

French shipbuilders in the Saint Nazaire shipyard have said, according to RIA Novosti, that the helicopter carriers are ready for delivery.

There has been no official statement from the French authorities yet.

Russia and France signed a €1.12 billion ($1.6 billion) contract for building two Mistral-type ships in June 2011.
Under the deal, Russia was supposed to receive the first of the two warships, the Vladivostok, in October this year.

However, delivery has been postponed due to the conflict in Ukraine, the impetus behind the international community’s pressure on France to cancel the contract.

Western allies have been pushing Paris for months, saying that France has to make sacrifices to meet its commitment to oppose Moscow through sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine.

The second Mistral-class helicopter carrier, the Sevastopol, is expected to be handed over to Russia next year.

The Mistral-type helicopter carriers can accommodate up to 30 light helicopters in its hangar and on deck, although Russia plans to arm the Vladivostok and the Sevastopol with 16 heavy aircraft. The ship can also carry up to 450 combat troops (or 900 for short missions) in addition to the crew, complete with amphibious transports, armor and a command center.

The bullying of Hungary – the country that dared to disobey the US and EU

Reuters / Karoly Arvai

Reuters / Karoly Arvai

RT QUESTION MORE

25 years ago, Hungary was being toasted in the West for opening its border with Austria to East Germans, in a move which led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now the Western elites are not happy with Budapest which they consider far too independent.

The refusal of Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his ruling Fidesz party to join the new US and EU Cold War against Russia, which has seen the Hungarian parliament approving a law to build the South Stream gas pipeline without the approval of the European Union, in addition to the populist economic policies Fidesz has adopted against the largely foreign owned banks and energy companies, has been met with an angry response from Washington and Brussels.

Hungarian officials have been banned from entering the US, while the European Commission has demanded that the Hungarians explain their decision to go ahead with South Stream. That’s on top of the European Commission launching legal action against the Hungarian government for its law restricting the rights of foreigners to buy agricultural land.

The bullying of Hungary hasn’t made many headlines because it’s so-called “democrats” from the West who have been doing the bullying.

Viktor Orban is not a communist, he is a nationally-minded conservative who was an anti-communist activist in the late 1980s, but the attacks on him and his government demonstrate that it doesn’t matter what label you go under – if you don’t do exactly what Uncle Sam and the Euro-elite tell you to do – your country will come under great pressure to conform. And all of course in the name of “freedom” and “democracy.”

Fidesz has been upsetting some powerful people in the West ever since returning to power in 2010. The previous “Socialist”-led administration was hugely popular in the West because it did everything Washington and Brussels and the international banking set wanted. It imposed austerity on ordinary people, it privatized large sections of the economy, and it took out an unnecessary IMF loan. Ironically, the conservative-minded Fidesz party has proved to be much better socialists in power than the big-business and banker friendly “Socialists” they replaced.

One of the first things that Fidesz and its coalition allies, the Christian Democratic People’s Party, (KDNP) did was to introduce an $855m bank tax – the highest such tax in Europe – a measure which had the financial elite foaming at the mouth.

Orban clashed with the IMF too, with his government rejecting new loan terms in 2012, and paying off early a loan taken out by the previous government, to reduce interest payments.

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban (Reuters / Bernadett Szabo)

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban (Reuters / Bernadett Szabo)

In 2013, Orban took on the foreign-owned energy giants with his government imposing cuts of over 20% on bills. Neoliberals expressed their outrage at such “interventionist” policies, but under Orban, the economy has improved. Although it’s true that many still look back nostalgically to the days of “goulash communism” in the 1970s and 80s when there were jobs for all and food on the table for everyone. Unemployment fell to 7.4 percent in the third-quarter of this year; it was around 11 percent when Fidesz took power, while real wages rose by 2.9 percent in the year up to July.

The man his enemies called the “Viktator,” has shown that he will pursue whatever economic policies he believes are in his country’s national interest, regardless of the opinions of the western elite who want the Hungarian economy to be geared to their needs.

His refusal to scrap his country’s bank tax is one example; the closer commercial links with Russia are another. Russia is Hungary’s third biggest trading partner and ties between the two countries have strengthened in the last couple of years, to the consternation of western Russophobes. In April, a deal was struck for Moscow to loan Hungary €10 billion to help upgrade its nuclear plant at Paks.

Orban’s policy of improving trade and business links with Russia, while staying a member of the EU and NATO, has however been put under increasing strain by the new hostile policy towards Moscow from Washington and Brussels.

Orban again, has annoyed the West by sticking up for Hungary’s own interests. In May he faced attack when he had the temerity to speak up for the rights of the 200,000 strong Hungarian community living in Ukraine.”Ukraine can neither be stable, nor democratic, if it does not give its minorities, including Hungarians, their due. That is dual citizenship, collective rights and autonomy.” Hungary’s Ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Kiev. Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Poland, the US’s most obedient lapdog in Eastern Europe, called Orban’s comments “unfortunate and disturbing” as if it was anything to do with him or his country.

In August, Orban accurately described the sanctions policy of the West towards Russia as like “shooting oneself in the foot.”“The EU should not only compensate producers somehow, be they Polish, Slovak, Hungarian or Greek, who now have to suffer losses, but the entire sanctions policy should be reconsidered,” Orban said.

In October, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto also questioned the sanctions on Russia, revealing that his country is losing 50 million forints a day due to the policy.

Hungary has made its position clear, but for daring to question EU and US policy, and for its rapprochement with Moscow, the country has been punished.

It’s democratically elected civilian government which enjoys high levels of public support, has ludicrously – and obscenely – been likened to military governments which have massacred their opponents. “From Hungary to Egypt, endless regulations and overt intimidation increasingly target civil society,” declared US President Barack Obama in September.

Last month there was another salvo fired at Hungary – it was announced that the US had banned six unnamed Hungarian government officials from entering America, citing concerns over corruption- without the US providing any proof of the corruption.

RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov

RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov

At a certain point, the situation, if it continues this way, will deteriorate to the extent where it is impossible to work together as an ally,” warned the Charge D’Affaires of the US Embassy in Budapest, Andre Goodfriend. The decision and the failure to provide any evidence, understandably caused outrage in Hungary. “The government of Hungary is somewhat baffled at the events that have unfolded because this is not the way friends deal with issues,” said Janos Lazar, Orban‘s chief of staff.

The timing of the ban has to be noted, coming after the Hungarian government had criticized the sanctions on Russia and just before the national Parliament was due to vote on the South Stream pipeline. The pipeline, which would allow gas to be transported from Russia via the Black Sea and the Balkans to south and central Europe without passing through Ukraine, is a project which Russophobes in the West want cancelled.

“I am inclined to think that it is a punishment for the fact that we talk to Russia,” said Gabor Stier, the head foreign policy editor of the leading Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet.

“America thinks that we are corrupt, but we are a sovereign state, and it is our business. Many people in the United States do not like that Viktor Orban is very independent…..Corruption is just an excuse.”

It’s hard to disagree with Stier’s conclusions. Of course, there is corruption in Hungary, as there is in every country, but it pales in comparison with some countries who are faithful US allies and who Washington never criticizes. The 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by Transparency International, reveals that Latvia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and Bosnia-Herzegovina are all below Hungary, as indeed is Italy. Yet it’s Hungarian officials that the US is banning.

True to form, the attacks on Orban and his government in the Western media have chimed with the political attacks. ‘Is Hungary, the EU’s only dictatorship?’ asked Bloomberg View in April. The BBC ran a hostile piece on Orban and Fidesz in October entitled Cracks Emerge in leading party, and which referred to “government corruption” and “the playboy lifestyle of numerous party officials.”

The piece looked forward to the end of Fidesz rule.

While earlier this week, the New York Times published an OpEd by Kati Marton, whose late husband Richard Holbrooke, was a leading US diplomat, entitled Hungary’s Authoritarian Descent. You’d never guess that the Hungarian government wasn’t the flavor of the month in the West would you?

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at their meeting in Budapest (RIA Novosti / Eduard Pesov)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at their meeting in Budapest (RIA Novosti / Eduard Pesov)

The question which has to be asked is: will Hungary be the next country to be the target of a US/EU sponsored regime change?

We all know what happened to the last Viktor who refused to sever links with Russia. Will Orban suffer the same fate as Ukraine’s Yanukovich? There are good reasons for believing that he won’t.

Fidesz did make a mistake by announcing the introduction of a new internet tax last month, which brought thousands onto the streets to protest but they have since dropped the plans and the problem for the US and EU is that Orban and his government remain too popular. In October’s local elections Fidesz won 19 of Hungary’s 21 larger towns and cities, including the capital city Budapest, not bad for a party that‘s been in power since May 2010.

Orban’s brand of economic populism, combined with moderate nationalism, goes down well in a country where people remember just how awful things were when the neoliberal “Socialists” were in power. His style of leadership may be authoritarian, but Hungarians prefer having a leader who has cut fuel bills and reduced unemployment to one who mouths platitudes about “liberal democracy” but who imposed harsh austerity measures and leaves them unable to afford the daily essentials.

Moreover Hungary, is already a member of the EU and NATO unlike Ukraine under Yanukovich and isn’t about to leave either soon. On a recent visit to America Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told the US TODAY newspaper “US is our friend, US is our closest ally.” The US clearly wants more from Hungary than just words, but while both Washington and Brussels would like to see a more obedient government in Budapest, the “liberal” and faux-left parties they support simply don’t have enough popular support for the reasons outlined above. And things would be even worse for the West if the radical nationalist party Jobbik, the third largest party in Parliament, and which made gains in October’s local elections, came to power- or if there was a genuine socialist/communist revival in the country. The fact is that Orban is in a very strong position and he knows it. That’s why he feels able to face down the threats from abroad and maintain a level of independence even though total independence is impossible within the EU and NATO.

We can expect the attacks on Orban and his government to intensify but the more the West attacks, the more popular Orban, who is able to present himself as the defender of Hungary’s national interests, becomes.

Hungary gave the West everything it wanted in 1989, and, as I pointed out here, its “reform” communist leadership was richly rewarded. But in 2014 it’s a very different story. In the interests of democracy and small countries standing up to bullying by powerful elites, long may Hungary’s spirited defiance continue.

Hajra, magyarok! Hajra Magyarorszag! [ Hurrah Hungarians! Hurrah Hungarians! ]

Putin’s Valdai speech reflects Russia’s ‘strategic clarity, coherent policy’

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the wrap-up session of the 11th Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi on 24 October 2013. (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Voskresenskiy)

 

RT Question More

Putin’s speech at the Valdai Club reflects Russia’s overall strategic clarity of thought and a coherent long-term policy of resistance to the American monopolar unilateralism, foreign affairs analyst Srdja Trifkovic told RT.

RT: Apart from the very strong rhetoric, Putin said that Russia does not really see a strong menace on the part of the US, do you think Washington might stop seeing Moscow as a threat?

Srdja Trifkovic: No, I think US policy is guided by the geopolitical intentions, strategic design to surround and squeeze Russia at every point and if possible in the fullness of time to engineer regime change in Moscow. So the US policy and Western policy in general which is really the result of what US dictates to the Europeans, are not a result of a general perception of a Russian threat, rather they are guided by a long term geopolitical game which hasn’t changed since the Cold War.

RT: Why do you think it has not changed towards Russia?

ST: Because in essence the Washingtonian policy makers do not see any difference in terms of geopolitical enemy whether it is the USSR or whether it is Russia. And effectively they really look upon Russia as the ‘other’ not only in political but also in cultural and emotional terms. And that is why you have such a strong, strident anti-Russian rhetoric at all levels of the Western establishment, whether it is politics or media.

RT: Do you think if the Western leadership acted differently towards Russia, then we would see a different stance from Putin?

ST: Oh, absolutely, because all along Russia has been responding to different signals from the West in an appropriate manner. When the rhetoric from the reset was all the rage, then we had a very conciliatory action from the Russians.

RIA Novosti / Ilya Pitalev

RIA Novosti / Ilya Pitalev

I think that even now, Russian response to the sanctions hasn’t been strong enough. In fact it should be strong as to prompt the unions, the employers and the shareholders of the Western companies to lobby on their own governments to change policies towards Russia because it is beginning to hurt. But I think that Putin has very correctly diagnosed the nature of the international system as increasingly anarchic, and the one in which the US is trying to impose rules. But they are not real rules because they are applied on an entirely ad hoc basis from one situation to the other. Kosovo can be independent but Crimea cannot re-join Russia and so on.

So I think it is a very important speech because it reflects the clarity on the Russian side. So far we have seen different circles surrounding President Putin advising different things. And some of the captains of the Russian industry have been advocating more conciliatory line and then you have people like Rogozin or Shoigu who are advocating a more firm line and maybe foreign minister Lavrov somewhere in between. And now I think we have a very welcome development. We have a strategic clarity of thought which will result in a coherent policy and a long term a policy of resistance to American monopolar unilateralism.

 

EU to Consider Lifting Sanctions on Russia This Month: Diplomat

The European Union countries will discuss cancelling sanctions against Russia in late October, the head of European Union's delegation in Russia, Vygaudas Usackas said Tuesday

The European Union countries will discuss cancelling sanctions against Russia in late October, the head of European Union’s delegation in Russia, Vygaudas Usackas said Tuesday

Topic: Sanctions Against Russia

Updated 2:05 p.m. Moscow Time

MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) – European Union member states will discuss the lifting of sanctions against Russia in late October, the head of European Union’s delegation in Russia, Vygaudas Usackas said Tuesday.

“The sanctions will be reviewed in the end of this month, it depends on progress and how the situation stabilizes, [as well as on] troop withdrawal and border control. On the basis of these results we will make our decision on possible partial or full removal of sanctions,” Usackas told reporters.

On September 5, representatives of Kiev and southeastern Ukraine’s independence leaders reached a ceasefire deal at a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine, also comprising Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Europe. The Group’s next meeting in Minsk on September 19 resulted in signing of a memorandum outlining steps for ceasefire implementation.

Among other points, Minsk memorandum specified that all the foreign armed groups, military equipment, as well as fighters and mercenaries shall withdraw from the Ukrainian territory under the supervision of the OSCE. Border demarcation between the Ukrainian forces and eastern Ukraine independence supporters would also pass along the line of contact of September 19.

The European Union has imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia’s largest banks, energy and defense companies, as well as certain individuals, over the country’s alleged meddling in the Ukrainian conflict. Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in what it describes as “Ukraine’s internal conflict” and made every effort possible to de-escalate the ongoing tensions.

As for the sanctions, Russia deemed them as counterproductive and threatening to international peace and stability. Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated that attempts to sever economic ties between Russia and the European Union would not contribute to successful business activities. The top diplomat added that Russia would not discuss any preconditions for the lifting of sanctions as it sees them as illegal to begin with.

 

 

German MP: “Germany Has No Evidence of Who Shot Down MH17, Sanctions Russia Anyways”

German government leveled sanctions against Russia without confirmation of who shot down MH17

German government leveled sanctions against Russia without confirmation of who shot down MH17

 

RIA NOVOSTI

Recently, German Left Party parliamentarian Alexander Neu gave an interview for Rossiya Segodnya. He shared his thoughts on several subjects, from the investigation and reaction by the European community to the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 to German’s proclaimed neutrality in its involvement in Ukraine. Alexander is a member of the Left faction and a deputy in the Bundestag. He is Chairman of the German Defense Committee and is a former member of the Yugoslavian OCSE.

Hello Alexander, thank you for speaking with us, can you tell us please about your recent inquiry into the crash of MH17 and its results?

Alexander Neu: On September 6, I requested a deputy’s inquest to the German government concerning the Boeing which was shot down over Ukraine. I was given a reply, which has now been released to the public. It was clear from the reply that, firstly, the German government had no idea whether MH17 was actually shot down. Secondly, if it had been shot down, the government couldn’t answer who the responsible party was. This, in short, was the result of the query. Two days later, The Hague published its first interim report from the Dutch Safety Board and it was announced the plane was hit by a missile, but again it was not said by whom. So at this point, who was to blame this point was not answered.

The reason why I decided to make the inquest to the government was that immediately after the disaster, they used the German media to unanimously blame Russia, either by directly doing so or by accusing them of supporting the fighters in the east of Ukraine… and it was on this basis that sanctions were leveled against Russia – the first round of them. And now the German government has confirmed  that it does not know who shot down the Boeing. This is astounding, because it means the first round of sanctions was enacted on the basis of speculation.

Why, in your view, is the investigation of the disaster taking so long?

Alexander Neu: I can imagine an investigation of this sort requires a lot of time. On the other hand, I found it very interesting that two weeks after the plane went down, suddenly there was a lull, both in the Western media and by Western governments. This really surprised me. Western journalists presented this narrative that Russia knew for certain who had shot the plane down and so did Ukraine and the US, but no one wanted to talk about it, since it would only intensify the conflict. In my opinion, this supposition by journalists does not stand up to criticism. I am almost certain that if it was Russia or the rebels who were to blame, and the West knew about it, then everything would have been done to tell the world community about it, to say that Russia or the rebels had perpetrated it. Since this still has not happened, the question remains about who is really to blame. And from here there are some new avenues of thought opening up, namely, that it could have been the Ukrainian side, either due to negligence, by accident or through a deliberate action on their part, in order to place blame on Russia. This is also a possibility.

The territory where the plane’s debris fell was hit many times by mass shelling by Ukrainian artillery. So finding any new evidence is pretty unlikely now; almost everything there has been destroyed. Also, why have the conversations between the pilots and the dispatchers still not been released?

Alexander Neu: If the pilots were talking to someone, whoever it may be, and these discussions have not been published, it is another example of the failure to inform the public…Why is this information not being released? And the more important point is, why is this information being hushed up? Why is the investigation not transparently being carried out? Again and again this brings me back to the question about who benefits from all this. Perhaps it is Ukraine after all, together with the United States, of course, and the West as a whole.

The Ukrainian regime would not do anything without the approval of the United States. This regime is, above all, a puppet of the Americans. The German government is also trying to influence the Ukrainian regime, with its own interests in mind, but mainly it is the Americans. The German government is an integral part of the Western Bloc, including in the front against Russia, and in this sense there is a certain logic, if we are talking about her loyalty to the Bloc. But there is no logic when it comes to genuinely contributing to the investigation.

What do you think about the intention of the German government to send German military forces to the conflict zone in east Ukraine?

Alexander Neu: My colleague from the Left Party, Andrej Hunko, asked the OSCE in Vienna whether the organization had appealed to the German government for German drone support. The OSCE replied stating, and I emphasize this, that they did not ask either the German or the French government for support via drones. And they certainly did not ask for military support in the form of troops or other military support. On Wednesday I told this to [German Defense Minister] von der Leien at a meeting of the parliamentary defense committee, where Ms. Von der Leien had said that yes, the OSCE had asked for support, but she gave no specifics.

In other words, von der Leien is pushing the drones, even though the OSCE had not specifically asked for them. We, the faction of the Left, insist that Germany and the West as a whole have no right to interfere in the military conflict in Ukraine in any way, as an arbitrator, so to speak. This is because Germany and France and the entire European Union, as well as the members of NATO are a part of the conflict. They are a part of it because they support the putschist regime. They’re supporting the Ukrainian regime with instructors and intelligence assistance. You cannot be a part of the conflict and at the same time a judge or a neutral observer. We see that Switzerland, the chairman of the OSCE, provides its drones (because Switzerland has drones to provide). Moreover, Austria will also provide drones via a private company –there is an agreement between the OSCE and this Austrian company. And this is normal, because these countries are neutral. But Germany isn’t, especially from a historical point of view. If German soldiers end up in Ukraine, in the former Soviet Union, where 27 million people lie on their [historical] conscience; if we go there in army uniforms, building ourselves up as judges and observers, how will all this look?

“Pardon Us For Our Country’s Existence in the Middle of Your Military Bases” – Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov’s Speech at the UN

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the United Nations

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the United Nations

THE GENIUS OF SERGEI LAVROV

 
 
In a courageous and brilliant speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2014, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pierced the veil of obfuscation that characterizes too many speeches at the United Nations, and delivered a scathing denunciation of Western imperialism, imperialism that can only be accurately described as global theft.  Lavrov, on behalf of the Russian Federation implicitly warned that US/NATO is risking global war in embarking on its campaign to seize and dominate huge territories, while inexorably and ruthlessly determined to conquer and subjugate Russia, having learned nothing from the historic reality that Napolean’s effort to dominate Russia led to the collapse of Napoleonic France, and Hitler’s attempt to subjugate Russia led to the obliteration of his Third Reich. 

 
Perhaps this third attempt to conquer and subjugate Russia may lead not only to war encompassing huge territories of the globe, but, dialectically, may be the catalyst leading to the ultimate decline of capitalism, an economic system which thrives almost entirely on imperialism, and is undergoing a possibly terminal crisis, as described by the French economist, Thomas Piketty in his best-selling work “Capital in the 21 Century.”  In desperation, dysfunctional Western capitalism is lashing out recklessly and irrationally, unwilling and unable to preclude the disastrous consequences of its myopic policies.  And one possible consequence of current US/NATO policies is thermonuclear war.

Lavrov stated:  “The U.S.-led Western alliance that portrays itself as a champion of democracy, rule of law and human rights within individual countries, acts from directly opposite positions in the international arena, rejecting the democratic principle of sovereign equality of states enshrined in the UN Charter and trying to decide for everyone what is good or evil.”

“Washington has openly declared its right to unilateral use of force anywhere to uphold its own interests.  Military interference has become a norm – even despite the dismal outcome of all power operations that the U.S. has carried out over the recent years.”

“The sustainability of the international system has been severely shaken by NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia, intervention in Iraq, attack against Libya and the failure of operation in Afghanistan.  Only due to intensive diplomatic efforts the aggression against Syria was prevented in 2013.  There is an involuntary impression that the goal of various ‘color revolutions’ and other projects to change unsuitable regimes is to provoke chaos and instability.”

“Today Ukraine has fallen victim to such an arrogant policy.  The situation there has revealed the remaining deep-rooted systemic flaws of the existing architecture in the Euro-Atlantic area.  The West has embarked upon the course towards ‘vertical structuring of humanity’ tailored to its own hardly inoffensive standards.  After they declared victory in the Cold War and the ‘end of history,’ the U.S. and EU have opted for expanding the geopolitical area under their control without taking into account the balance of legitimate interests of all peoples of Europe […] NATO enlargement to the East continued in spite of the promises to the contrary given earlier.  The instant switch of NATO to hostile rhetoric and to the drawdown of its cooperation with Russia even to the detriment of the West’s own interests, and additional build up of military infrastructure at the Russian borders – made obvious the inability of the alliance to change the genetic code it embedded during the Cold War era.”

“The U.S. and EU supported the coup d’etat in Ukraine and reverted to outright justification of any acts by the self-proclaimed Kiev authorities that opted for suppression by force of the part of the Ukranian people that had rejected the attempts to impose the anti-constitutional way of life to the  entire country and wanted to defend its rights to the native language, culture and history.  It is precisely the aggressive assault on these rights that compelled the population of Crimea to take the destiny in its own hands and make a choice in favor of self-determination.  This was an absolutely free choice no matter what was invented by those who are responsible in the first place for the internal conflict in Ukraine.”

“The attempts to distort the truth and to hide the facts behind blanket accusations have been undertaken at all stages of the Ukranian crisis.  Nothing has been done to track down and prosecute those responsible for February bloody events at Maidan and massive loss of human lives in Odessa, Mariupol and other regions of Ukraine.  The scale of appalling humanitarian disaster provoked by the acts of the Ukrainian army in the South-Eastern Ukraine has been deliberately understated.  Recently, new horrible facts have been brought to light when mass graves were discovered in the suburbs of Donetsk.  Despite UNSG Resolution 2166 a thorough and independent investigation of the circumstances of the loss of Malaysian airliner over the territory of Ukraine has been protracted.  The culprits of all these crimes must be identified and brought to justice.  Otherwise the national reconciliation in Ukraine can hardly be expected.”

In total contempt for truth and international law, Kiev’s escalation of the Ukranian crisis is being relentlessly prepared, in an ultimate act of deceit, as Ukranian President Poroshenko assumes military regalia, threatening Russia’s survival, and, indeed the survival of his own bankrupt country, and is now speaking of all-out war with Russia.

Last month Washington pledged and delivered 53 million dollars of US taxpayer’s money to provide military aid to the Kiev regime, which is using the ceasefire arranged by Russian President Putin and the OSCE as an opportunity to acquire more sophisticated and deadly weapons and prepare for another barbarous onslaught against civilians in east and southeastern Ukraine, where the massacre of almost 4,000 citizens of East Ukraine and the desperate plight of more than one million refugees  followed the “secret” visit to Kiev, (under a false name) of CIA Director John Brennan last April.

But perhaps the most brazen announcement of US/NATO intent to inflict further carnage upon the citizens of East Ukraine , whose rejection of the Nazi infested and Western controlled regime in Kiev has resulted in Kiev’s campaign of extermination of its dissident Ukrainian citizens, is the return to Kiev this month of the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, Victoria Nuland.  Ms. Nuland was made world famous (or world infamous) by her February declaration “Fuck the EU” while, on behalf of her neocon sponsors in Washington, she engineered the destabilization and overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovich, plunging Ukraine into the civil war that holds the potential of engulfing the world in a conflagration which will be known as World War III.

In her October 7, 2014 speech to the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev, Ms. Nuland boasted:  “Ukraine this year has received $290 million in U.S. financial support plus a billion dollar loan guarantee.  And now you have what so many of you stood on the Maidan for, you have an association agreement with Europe and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.”  That “Association Agreement” holds Ukraine virtual hostage to NATO and the IMF, whose imposition of “austerity measures” will further degrade the living standards of the already impoverished Ukranians.  Ms. Nuland brings a Trojan Horse into Ukraine, unctuously flattering gullible Ukranian students, who will ultimately provide cannon fodder for the war which US/NATO is inciting.

Further on in his September 27 address to the UN General Assembly, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov states:

“Let me recall a history of not so far ago.  As a condition for establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1933 the U.S. government demanded of Moscow the guarantees of non-interference into domestic affairs of the U.S. and obligations not to take any actions with a view to changing political or social order in America.  At that time Washington feared a revolutionary virus and the above guarantees were put on record on the basis of reciprocity.  Perhaps, it makes sense to return to this topic and reproduce that demand of the U.S. government on a universal scale.  Shouldn’t the General Assembly adopt a declaration on the inadmissibility of interference into domestic affairs of sovereign states and non-recognition of coup d’etat as a method of the change of power?  The time has come to totally exclude from the international interaction the attempts of illegitimate pressure of some states on others.  The meaningless and counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions is obvious if we took an example of the U.S. blockade of Cuba.”

 

“The policy of ultimatums and philosophy of supremacy and domination do not meet the requirements of the 21 century and run counter to the objective process of development of a polycentric and democratic world order.” ~ Sergei Lavrov