The Times’ Obsession with Russia: Russia Continues to Train and Equip Ukraine Rebels, NATO Official Says

World  – Europe

The Times – November 3, 2014

Rebel election officials said that Aleksandr Zakharchenko, left, had won in Donetsk  and that Igor Plotnitsky had won in Luhansk. Associated Press

Rebel election officials said that Aleksandr Zakharchenko, left, had won in Donetsk and that Igor Plotnitsky had won in Luhansk. Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of Russian troops are still training and equipping separatists in Ukraine, NATO’s top military commander said Monday, activities that are heightening tensions with the West and Ukraine’s government that were aggravated by Sunday’s elections in the breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine.

As the Russian Foreign Ministry appears to be moving toward recognizing the results of the voting, which was dismissed by the United States as a “sham,” Western officials are increasingly concerned that the Kremlin may be taking the steps necessary to establish an enclave that remains outside Kiev’s control.

During a visit to the Pentagon, the commander, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, echoed those worries, telling reporters that “I am concerned that the conditions are there that could create a frozen conflict.”

Moscow followed that blueprint after the war with Georgia in 2008, establishing enclaves in Abkhazia and South Ossetia to ensure that the territorially compromised nation could not join NATO. It did the same earlier with Transnistria, a breakaway territory of Moldova where Russians have been stationed.

The concern now is that a buffer zone between Ukrainian and separatist forces, established as part of a September cease-fire, may become a de facto border of the new enclave. Meanwhile, the border between eastern Ukraine and Russia has remained open.

“We have seen a general trend towards a hardening of this line of demarcation and much more softening of the actual Ukraine-Russia border,” General Breedlove said.

“The Ukraine-Russia border is wide open,” he added. “It is completely porous. Russian equipment, resupply, training flows back and forth freely.”

Though the Kremlin has denied that it has sent forces into Ukraine, General Breedlove said about 250 to 300 Russian soldiers are still in the country.

“These are not fighting formations,” he said. “These are formations and specialists who are in there doing training and equipping of the separatist forces.”

And as the Sunday vote approached, he reported, some Russian military units edged closer to Russia’s border with Ukraine, an intimidating move that appeared intended to caution the Ukrainian government not to intervene.

“Some of those formations have moved closer to the border,” General Breedlove said. “We believe that was probably to bring some pressure on and make sure that the elections went according to the separatists’ plans.”

On Saturday, in another show of force, a column of about 60 unmarked military trucks drove through Donetsk.

In total, Russia has seven battalions near Ukraine, down from the 18 battalions — about 20,000 troops — it had there in August. But the forces are enough to maintain Russia’s influence in the area and to buttress Moscow’s efforts to help the separatists.

On Monday, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reported that pro-Russian fighters had fired on one of its surveillance drones the day before as it was filming pro-Russian forces on the move near a Ukrainian checkpoint. “New drones under fire east of the contact line,” the group said in a post on Twitter.

The organization issued a statement saying the drone was flying at an altitude of about 5,000 feet near Mariupol, in the south of the Donetsk region, on the pro-Russian side of the front. It was filming a civilian truck when “a canvas covering on the back of the truck was removed, revealing a truck-mounted antiaircraft gun, which immediately fired numerous rounds” at the drone but missed.

Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, has said he does not want a crystallization of the status quo into a frozen conflict, but the Russian Foreign Ministry nevertheless issued a statement saying it would respect the outcome of separatist elections.

Russia “respects the choice made by residents of the southeast” of Ukraine, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin, later told the Interfax news agency.

“Our position is that the elected representatives of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions thereby received a mandate to hold negotiations with the central Ukrainian authorities and, acting as part of their political dialogue, tackle all the problems that have accumulated over many months,” Mr. Karasin said.

The ministry statement stopped short of recognizing the outcome of the vote, but still drew a din of criticism from European officials.

Steffen Seibert, the spokesman for Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, told reporters in Berlin that it was “incomprehensible that there are official Russian voices that are respecting or even recognizing these so-called elections.”

The turn of events in the rebellious territories ruled out any early lifting of European sanctions imposed on Russia and could lead to further sanctions if security deteriorated, Mr. Seibert said.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said in a statement, “I consider today’s ‘presidential and parliamentary elections’ in Donetsk and Luhansk ‘People’s Republics’ a new obstacle on the path toward peace.”

The Ukrainian government has refused to negotiate directly with the rebel leadership outside of the O.S.C.E.-brokered cease-fire talks that include European and Russian officials, and it calls the separatist leadership “terrorists.” President Petro O. Poroshenko described Sunday’s elections as a farce.

The rebel central election committee in Donetsk said Aleksandr Zakharchenko, a former electrician, had won the election with about 78 percent of the vote. Mr. Zakharchenko commanded a pro-Russian militia, Oplot, until August, when the Donetsk Supreme Soviet elevated him to prime minister, replacing a Russian citizen in a leadership shuffle intended to put a local face on the movement. Mr. Zakharchenko is a Russian-speaking ethnic Ukrainian.

In Luhansk, election officials said Igor Plotnitsky, a former public health inspector, had won with about 63 percent of the vote. The elections in both regions offered few plausible alternatives, and separatist officials said the purpose of the voting was to legitimize the leadership and compel Kiev to negotiate with them.

Jack Bruce, Cream’s Adventurous Bassist, Dies at 71

 Jack Bruce, left, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker performing together as Cream in 2005. Credit Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

Jack Bruce, left, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker performing together as Cream in 2005. Credit Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

Oct 25, 2014

Jack Bruce, who became famous in the 1960s as the bassist and lead vocalist for the hugely successful rock group Cream, and whose adventurous approach to his instrument influenced two generations of rock bassists, died on Saturday at his home in Suffolk, England. He was 71.

The famous rocker died a few weeks before the band’s release of a box set on November 24th.

His family announced the death on his website. A spokesman said the cause was liver disease; Mr. Bruce had received a liver transplant several years ago.

Mr. Bruce was well known in British rock and blues circles but virtually unknown in the United States when he teamed with the guitarist Eric Clapton and the drummer Ginger Baker to form Cream in 1966.

One of the first of the so-called power trios — the Jimi Hendrix Experience soon followed in its wake — Cream had its roots in the blues and became known for Mr. Clapton’s long, virtuosic solos on reworked versions of blues standards like “Crossroads” and “Spoonful.”

“Those original blues records had been done so well, which meant you could only ever be second best,” Mr. Bruce was quoted in the booklet for a 1997 Cream compilation CD. “But if you treated those songs with a great deal of love and respect, you could remake them into your own.”

 Mr. Bruce performing with Cream at a music festival in Windsor, England, in the late 1960s. Credit David Redfern/Redferns


Mr. Bruce performing with Cream at a music festival in Windsor, England, in the late 1960s. Credit David Redfern/Redferns

There were also many original compositions in Cream’s repertoire, most of them — including the hits “Sunshine of Your Love,” “I Feel Free” and “White Room” — written by Mr. Bruce, usually with lyrics by the poet Pete Brown. (“Sunshine,” the group’s biggest hit, was a rare Bruce-Brown-Clapton collaboration.)

Mr. Bruce did most of the singing, in a polished tenor that could be both powerful and plaintive, and his fluid playing provided a solid counterpoint to Mr. Baker’s explosive drumming and Mr. Clapton’s guitar pyrotechnics. His inventive introductions to songs like “Badge” were an essential part of Cream’s sound. Roger Waters of Pink Floyd recently called Mr. Bruce “probably the most musically gifted bass player who’s ever been.”

Cream enjoyed almost immediate success but did not last long. Friction between Mr. Bruce and Mr. Baker is the reason most often cited for the group’s breakup in 1968, after touring extensively and releasing four albums whose total sales have been estimated at 35 million.

Mr. Clapton and Mr. Baker soon reunited and joined with the keyboardist and guitarist Steve Winwood and the bassist Ric Grech to form the group Blind Faith. Despite high expectations, Blind Faith proved to be even more short-lived than Cream, disbanding after one album and one tour. Mr. Bruce, meanwhile, was charting a more ambitious if less commercial musical course.

He recorded a jazz album, “Things We Like,” shortly before Cream disbanded, although it was not released until after an album in a more conventional rock vein, “Songs for a Tailor,” which he recorded after the breakup. He briefly toured with the guitarist Larry Coryell and the drummer and former Hendrix sideman Mitch Mitchell, and then joined the drummer Tony Williams’s pioneering jazz-rock band, Lifetime, alongside the guitarist John McLaughlin and the organist Larry Young.

 

Mr. Bruce later led several groups of his own and co-led bands with the guitarist Robin Trower and with the guitarist Leslie West and the drummer Corky Laing. He was also an occasional member of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band.

Among the albums on which Mr. Bruce played were the experimental Carla Bley-Paul Haines jazz-rock opera “Escalator Over the Hill” (on which he also sang), Lou Reed’s “Berlin” and Frank Zappa’s “Apostrophe,” whose title track was a Zappa-Bruce co-composition. He recorded more than a dozen albums as a leader; the most recent, “Silver Rails,” was released this year.

John Symon Asher Bruce was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on May 14, 1943. He studied cello and composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music.

“Growing up, I had envisioned being some kind of a Mozart,” he once said. “I studied classical music early on, and composed a string quartet at age 11.”

But he became disenchanted with the formal study of music and left the academy after a few months. He moved first to Italy and then to England, where he joined the band Blues Incorporated in 1962. The next year he joined the organist Graham Bond’s band, the Graham Bond Organisation, whose members also included Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Baker. He later had brief stints in John Mayall’s Blues Breakers — where he first worked with Mr. Clapton — and the pop group Manfred Mann.

Cream was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, and received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2006. In 2005, the band reunited for concerts in London and New York.

Mr. Bruce’s survivors include his wife, Margrit, as well as four children and a granddaughter.

Catalunya Cancels Vote to Secede From Spain, but Calls for Nonbinding Ballot

Students protested in Barcelona last week after Spain's Constitutional Court issued a ruling that prevented Catalonia from holding an independence referendum on Nov. 9. Lluis Gene/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Students protested in Barcelona last week after Spain’s Constitutional Court issued a ruling that prevented Catalonia from holding an independence referendum on Nov. 9. Lluis Gene/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

 

The Times

In his latest act of defiance toward Madrid, Artur Mas, the Catalan leader, called off his push for a secession vote next month but announced that the regional Catalan government would instead urge its citizens to take part in a looser, nonbinding consultation on the same date. He added that his government had the right to organize such an expression of popular will and that doing so would not violate Spanish law.

“We have sufficient strength to do what we said we would do, which is to consult the people of Catalonia,” Mr. Mas said at a televised news conference. “There will be ballot boxes and papers” on Nov. 9, he added.

Catalans in Barcelona were among hundreds of thousands in a human chain on Wednesday to show support for separating from Spain.

His alternative plan is less likely to push Spain into a constitutional crisis, even if it creates, at least for now, further political and legal uncertainty and continues to be opposed by the central government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. An informal ballot would also struggle to receive the international legitimacy that Mr. Mas had hoped to achieve with a vote.

In the coming weeks, Mr. Mas also faces a significant challenge in keeping other pro-independence parties aligned with his governing Convergence party. “We continue to go forward, but at the moment not as united as 10 days ago,” he said.

Mr. Mas, a late but staunch convert to secessionism, has been trying to lead Catalonia toward independence without being held responsible for provoking an unprecedented crisis for Spain. Catalonia, Spain’s economic powerhouse, has been pushing for a vote on secession that the central government has vowed to block. Mr. Rajoy is also counting on the support of Spain’s Constitutional Court.

Mr. Mas and Mr. Rajoy have been at loggerheads for two years, initially over fiscal issues. However, tensions came to the fore late last month, when Mr. Mas signed a decree approving the Nov. 9 vote. Mr. Mas contends that his position had been made untenable by Mr. Rajoy’s refusal to talk, even after Scotland rejected independence from Britain in a referendum in September.

Mr. Rajoy’s government has steadfastly refused to allow Catalans to vote on independence and, if anything, has been emboldened by the failure of the Scottish push for secession.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr. Rajoy described the cancellation of the Catalan vote as “excellent news.” He said at an economic conference in Madrid that “Spain is a democracy and an advanced country, and to comply with the law is an obligation for everybody.”

But Mr. Mas later sought to dampen Mr. Rajoy’s celebration.

“There are people who say they have excellent news, but excellent news sometimes lasts only a few hours,” Mr. Mas said. He added that his government had “competencies in terms of consultation” of its citizens, without specifying how his latest plan could be deemed legal by Spanish courts.

Mr. Mas must now hope a nonbinding referendum can generate sufficient popular enthusiasm amid discord among the main secessionist parties and without legal guarantees from the government of Spain.

However, the possibility that Mr. Mas will instead eventually switch to a longer-term strategy to achieve an independent Catalonia, by calling for new elections for the regional Parliament, raises the prospect that Mr. Rajoy will end up facing a Catalan Parliament controlled by more hard-line secessionist politicians than Mr. Mas.

Mr. Mas changed tack on Tuesday after a long, tense meeting with other secessionist politicians on Monday, during which he failed to gain their support for his latest consultation plan. After that meeting, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, a left-wing secessionist party that has the second-largest representation in Catalonia’s Parliament, issued a statement suggesting that it wanted new elections to move swiftly toward a unilateral declaration of independence.

“I don’t consider what happened yesterday as the burial of the consensus in Catalonia,” Mr. Mas said. “The real adversary isn’t within Catalonia, but it is the Spanish state, which is doing everything possible to deny us the right to vote.”

Mr. Mas was also forced to forget his voting decree after the Constitutional Court recently ordered the suspension of the Catalan voting campaign pending a final ruling on its legality. The court could take as long as five months to rule.

Still, Mr. Mas insisted that the vote on Nov. 9 would look similar to what had initially been planned, organized with the help of more than 20,000 volunteers, held in polling stations across Catalonia and with the backing of 920 town halls that recently voted in favor of a secession ballot in November.

On Tuesday, Mr. Rajoy suggested that he would be willing to reopen talks with Mr. Mas, if his voting plan was shelved. “We need to dialogue and speak,” Mr. Rajoy said.

Mr. Mas has fanned expectations for independence among Catalans since a falling out with Madrid in 2012, after Mr. Rajoy rejected a Catalan request to reduce its contribution to a Spanish system that redistributes tax revenues from richer to poorer regions.

The fiscal dispute coincided with hundreds of thousands filling downtown Barcelona on Catalonia’s national day to push for independence. Catalonia has 7.5 million people, 16 percent of Spain’s population, and it accounts for 19 percent of the nation’s output.

The Times’ Editorial Demand that Sanctions on Russia Must Continue IS A JOKE

 

Keeping the Pressure on Mr. Putin
To Give Ukraine a Chance, Sanctions on Russia Must Continue

 

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD OCT. 3, 2014

 

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany knows a bit about dealing with Russia. She has spoken with Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, more often than any other Western leader, and, more to the point, she grew up under Moscow’s yoke in East Germany. So when she says that it’s far too early to lift the sanctions imposed on Russia, Western capitals should listen.

But why, some may ask, should lucrative economic dealings with Russia be curtailed when a cease-fire with Ukraine was agreed to on Sept. 5 and the crisis has abated? Russia has pulled most of its forces out of Ukraine — not that it ever acknowledged having any there — and negotiations are underway over a buffer zone along the Ukraine-Russia border and about resumption of gas deliveries to Ukraine.

Here’s why: Even setting aside the illegal annexation of Crimea and continuing fighting around Donetsk, the fact is that in the absence of pressure from the United States and the European Union, Mr. Putin has little incentive to make any concessions to Ukraine. Freezing the conflict, with pro-Russian insurgents in effective control of Ukraine’s industrial southeast and negotiations plodding along indefinitely, suits him just fine.

One of Mr. Putin’s advantages in the conflict is that he has never revealed his hand. Even the annexation of Crimea was regarded in Western capitals as unlikely until it happened. In the Donbass region of southeastern Ukraine, Mr. Putin has simply denied that Russia is involved while actively backing Russia’s proxies with arms and soldiers. When Ukrainian forces actually began to get the upper hand over the insurgents, Russia sent in more troops and arms, finally forcing the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, to settle for a cease-fire that was essentially a tactical victory for Mr. Putin.

Mr. Putin’s plan now seems to be to keep Ukraine out of NATO and the European Union, achieve de facto recognition of the annexation of Crimea and keep Ukraine weak. Control over southeastern Ukraine is one lever; gas supplies, trade and Ukrainian debt are the others. Mr. Poroshenko hopes to gain enough breathing room to start straightening out Ukraine’s flailing economy so that he can start moving his country toward Europe.

While the fighting may have ebbed, the struggle continues, and will for a long time to come. The Western sanctions are hurting Russia’s sputtering economy, but that has not yet weakened popular support for Mr. Putin. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s economy continues to disintegrate.

Mr. Poroshenko has demonstrated courage and realism in dealing with Russia while insisting that his goal remains to join the European Union. If Ukraine is to have a fighting chance, the European Union and the United States must not waver in their support for Kiev or in their sanctions on Russia. “Sometimes in history one has to be prepared for the long haul,” Ms. Merkel said recently, “and not ask after four months if it still makes sense to keep up our demands.”

10 CENTS WORTH:

As politically popular as sanctions are for Americans, they have proven ineffective and counterproductive. Among other things, sanctions occupy a middle ground between condemnation and war.

Does the US really want to seriously escalate tensions with a major nuclear power and a potential ally?

Meanwhile, Europe is warning Russia not to use gas as an economic weapon (EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger).

Europe (with the US as water boy), has recklessly expanded NATO and shows no interest in stopping. Russia has legitimate interests in reigning in NATO (as does the United States).

Likewise, the EU has barely survived its crisis with its PIIGS and has yet to begin to integrate Romania and other Eastern members, and has neither the need nor the ability to spend the resources to reform Ukraine. It is past time for the West to get real about negotiating with Russia and stop mindlessly escalating a problem into a catastrophe.

I am sick of the US handing out money to this country or that country. No wonder Americans are broke. They should not be wasting money on Ukraine – let the EU spend the money! Why should the Americans [yes, the taxpayers pay for the wars]. They are forced to spend billions in Afghanistan, they are now [again] spending billions in Iraq to defeat ISIL with little or no possibility of winning.

Let some other countries worry about and pay for Ukraine. The U.S. should be spending the money in their nation, and letting the countries facing civil wars take care of their own problems.  President Obama is not the savior of the world – these are illusions not the reality. He has very serious problem in his nation that he’s not addressing: poverty is growing at fast pace, crime, racial problems that need to be addressed, and veterans of wars, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, that are dying because they have been ignored when requesting an appointment to see a doctor – many of whom are dying from cancer and other serious illness. Needless to say, the infrastructure crisis in the United States.

Let Europe deal with Ukraine. It is high time for Europe to learn instead of pointing a finger at Russia. The EU should pay for Ukraine’s gas bill owed to Russia, and ask the Brussels mafia for help, instead of the U.S. Let Russia and Ukraine solve their problems. It’s the appropriate time for the U.S. with all the problems at home to stop intervening in other countries’ affairs even if the countries ask for help, unless they have a health or other humanitarian crisis.  But NO WARS.  Get it?  Got it?

Is The Times already collecting ammunition for Obama’s “regime change” in Russia?

The Times:

Articles in this series are examining how President Vladimir V. Putin’s system of personalized state-sponsored capitalism allows him to wield power at home and abroad.

According to The Times, weeks after President Vladimir V. Putin annexed Crimea in March, an obscure regulatory board in Moscow known as the Market Council convened inside an office tower not far from the Kremlin to discuss the country’s wholesale electricity market. It is a colossal business, worth 2 percent of Russia’s gross domestic product, and a rich source of fees for the bank that had long held the exclusive right to service it.

Times: “With no advance notice or public debate, though, the board voted that day in April to shift that business to Bank Rossiya, a smaller institution that lacked the ability to immediately absorb the work. For Bank Rossiya, it was a tidy coup set to yield an estimated $100 million or more in annual commissions, yet it was hardly the only new business coming in. State corporations, local governments and even the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea were suddenly shifting their accounts to the bank, too.”

And it goes on… “The reason the Kremlin rushed to prop up Bank Rossiya is the same reason that the United States, and later its European allies, placed it on the sanctions list: its privileged status as what the Obama administration calls the “personal bank” of the Putin inner circle. Built and run by some of the president’s closest friends and colleagues from his early days in St. Petersburg, Bank Rossiya is emblematic of the way Mr. Putin’s brand of crony capitalism has turned loyalists into billionaires whose influence over strategic sectors of the economy has in turn helped him maintain his iron-fisted grip on power.”

You can read the entire article in The Times.

My ten cents worth:

And… how is this any different from the trillions (with a T) handed out by the Bush and Obama administrations to their “Buds in the Banks” – or as Eric “Resigning-to-spend-more-time-with-my-family” Holder called, the “Too Big to Fail and Too Big to Jail”?

Jamie Dimon – recipient of the “Obama Golden Cufflinks Award” and Sir Lloyd Blankfein – “Of Blessed Memory of Those Who Do God’s Work” all received the bounty and largess of the US Government via the Taxpayer – and did the New York Times vilify them, like they are now obsessed with Putin?

It’s lovely and so convenient to have a Bad Guy we can diss – all the while making sure that the bought-and-paid-for hacks in Government fill the coffers of Private Institutions – knowing full well that when those same political hacks who have helped pillage the US Treasury to benefit the banks are looking for work aprés DC, the revolving door opens – no questions asked.

I’d say it sure pays to be Obama’s/Bush’s/Clinton’s/Pelosi’s/Feinstein’s friends as well.

 

This comment from Norman Pollack says it all:

Excellent documentation. Yet what does a comparative analysis reveal? That crony capitalism is alive and well in both Russia and the West, and that the latter’s criticisms seem odd because the same ideological framework holds true for America and Russia. We feign the same spirit of anticommunism characteristic of the First Cold War (undeniably, we are now into a Second), when in reality the US is jealous of Russia’s capitalistic success.

Attacks on Putin are sour grapes. What is the bailout of American banks, but crony capitalism? What is the cozy relationship between the Pentagon and the major defense companies, but crony capitalism? It does not require a leader, here, Putin, to define the condition. Crony capitalism can be, and is, in America, SYSTEMIC, with Obama hardly passive in advancing the wide cleavage in US wealth distribution.

No one claims Putin enriches himself through crony capitalism, and in fact, I accept his argument that, not the Russian companies, but geopolitical and geostrategic concerns motivate his policies. Can Obama and the US say the same, when he serves as a shill for US business abroad, esp. in the Far East?

The sanctions-business is amusing: a cover for the more ambitious plan to contain, isolate, and weaken Russia–next, ditto, China–as America desperately strives to return to unilateral preeminence in the global structure. The world is de-centered with Russia and China’s rise; America must learn to share power, or else collapse.

 

 

 

New York Times Editors Defend the Indefensible – Stephen Lendman

By Stephen Lendman
Published by Global Research, May 20, 2014
news11Jill Abramson is gone. Dean Baquet replaced her as executive editor. Deplorable policy remains unchanged.

It’s featured daily. It’s done so in articles, commentaries and editorials. Disgraceful op-eds are standard practice.

Misinformation rubbish is featured. What readers most need to know is buried.

Lies, damn lies and Big Ones infest Times pages. Yulia Tymoshenko is a former illegitimate Orange Revolution prime minister.

She’s billionaire mega-thief. She accumulated wealth the old-fashioned way. She stole it.

She was imprisoned for embezzlement and serious “abuse of public office.”

Charges included illegally diverting $425 million meant for environmental projects into pension funds. A second case involved stealing around $130 million for personal use.

Putschists freed her. They did so lawlessly. She has presidential aspirations. She enjoys weak support.

Earlier she had dozens of secret offshore bank accounts in over two dozen countries. Reportedly most are closed.

At least 13 worldwide remain open. They hide her ill-gotten wealth. She conspired with former prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko among others.

From the mid-1990s, enormous funds were stolen. They disappeared. They did so when Tymoshenko ran United Energy Systems (UES).

Lazarenko awarded it monopoly rights to import Russian natural gas. In 2004, a US court convicted him of money laundering, theft, and hiding funds in foreign accounts.

His indictment called his crime “part of a conspiracy (related to) receiv(ing) money from companies owned or controlled by Tymoshenko, including United Energy Systems, in exchange for which (he) exercised his official authority in favour of (her) companies.”

US prosecutor Martha Moerosch cited “evidence that companies controlled by Tymoshenko took part in the schemes for transferring money to Lazarenko’s accounts.”

“There were bank statements” proving it, she said. Prosecutors found Tymoshenko funds worldwide.

As Orange Revolution prime minister, “she did nothing to reform the economy and establish rule of law,” she explained.

“Instead, she focused her attention on infighting inside the Orange Revolution in order to prepare her presidential race.”

“Most (Euromaidan protesters) were not demanding her release.” Her shady business practices earned her the nickname “gas princess.”

On May 18, she headlined her NYT op-ed “A Vote for Ukrainian Freedom.”

She lied about Ukraine’s upcoming sham May 25 elections. She called fascist governance democratic.

She ludicrously cited “threats of invasion and sabotage by fifth-column separatists.” She outrageously suggested putschist-run Ukraine resembles America under Lincoln.

She quoted his 1864 reelection comment, saying:

“We cannot have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forgo, or postpone, a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.”

“Like Lincoln, we Ukrainians are resolved to go to the polls to choose a new president, in defiance of every threat.”

“We will not grant victory to those who would discredit and dismember our country by allowing the May 25 vote to be canceled.”

“Our election must go ahead if only to prove that the 100 and more men and women who died for our liberty in the protests around Maidan, Kiev’s Independence Square, did not die in vain.”

Fact: Coup-appointed putschists rule Ukraine.

Fact: They’re lawless fascists.

Fact: Washington elevated them to power.

Fact: They include neo-Nazi militants.

Fact: They’re Obama’s new friends.

Fact: He pretends they’re democrats.

Fact: They have no legitimacy whatever.

Fact: So-called May 25 elections exclude democracy from ballots.

Fact: Fascist putschists intend anointing likeminded ideologues.

Fact: They murdered scores of Maidan civilians and special Berkut police in cold blood.

Fact: They planned it well in advance.

Fact: Shots came from nearby Philharmonic Hall windows. Its rooftop.

Fact: Ukraine’s toppled legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych was wrongfully blamed.

Fact: Police died doing their job.

Fact: They showed remarkable restraint.

Fact: Washington’s dirty hands bore full responsibility.

Fact: Stooge putschists shared it.

Fact: Right Sector thugs were trained to commit what happened.

Fact: CIA operatives were involved.

Fact: Tymoshenko represents the worst of Ukrainian society.

Fact: She belongs in prison serving hard time.

She lied claiming Putin intends “transform(ing) our democratic country into a Russian vassal state.”

“No one should doubt that Mr. Putin’s primary aim is to hollow out our democracy.”

“But Americans, and free people everywhere, must not be deceived by Russia’s aggression, or by Mr. Putin’s current peace offensive.”

“The separatist cause fomented by Russia would never win on its merits in any free and fair vote of Ukrainians.”

“Russia’s separatist mafia can win only sham elections of the type that Mr. Putin has imposed on Russia since he came to power 14 years ago, and which he recently forced upon our fellow citizens, now hostages, in Crimea.”

Fact: Putschist-run Ukraine excludes democracy.

Fact: Putin represents responsible geopolitical leadership.

Fact: He’s polar opposite Obama.

Fact: He believes rule of law principles are inviolable.

Fact: He respects sovereign self-determination.

Fact: Democracy in Russia shames America’s sham process.

Fact: Crimeans voted near unanimously for reunification with Russia.

Fact: They reject Kiev fascists.

Fact: They want fundamental democratic rights.

Fact: They want what everyone deserves.

Fact: They merit universal support.

Tymoshenko lied called Putin Russia’s “strongman.” He’s overwhelmingly popular. He enjoys over 85% support.

It’s for good reason. He governs democratically. He opposes imperial lawlessness. He’s polar opposite Kiev fascists.

Tymoshenko lied claiming “Ukraine’s liberty is a mortal threat to the authoritarian, state-capitalist system that Mr. Putin has unleashed on Russia’s citizens.”

“If Ukrainians…can build an open society and a free economy…then ordinary Russians may recognize the scale of the liberties and the economic opportunities that have been stolen from them under Mr. Putin’s misrule.”

Fact: Putschist-run Ukraine is polar opposite Tymoshenko’s Big Lie.

Fact: Times editors are complicit.

Fact: They embrace it.

Fact: They featured it.

Fact: It’s longstanding Times policy.

Fact: Reprehensible rubbish substitutes for what readers most need to know.

“(W)e must man the barricades of freedom…if Ukraine is to remain free,” Tymoshenko claimed.

She turned truth on its head saying so. She wants more Western aid. She wants weapons and other military aid.

She wants it straightaway.

She wants democracy supporters crushed. She wants hardline fascist rule solidified.

She wants greater opportunities for more grand theft. She wants her share of plundered Ukrainian resources.

She wants her own people exploited. She wants freedom entirely crushed. She wants what most Ukrainians reject.

Perhaps it’s just a matter of time before thousands, maybe millions, of Ukrainians nationwide realize they were had.

Perhaps they’ll rebel and demand better. Real democracy replacing illegitimate putschist power.

Maybe they’ll defeat Obama’s imperial ambitions. Maybe handing him another defeat.

Maybe preserving rights too precious to lose. Maybe saving Ukraine at the same time. Maybe achieving real change.

Maybe inspiring others to emulate them. Maybe people everywhere wanting to live free.

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

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