Triangle Drama Ukraine, Crimea and Jews

February 17, 2016

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office launched a criminal investigation into Shas MK Ya’acov Margi’s visit to Crimea on Feb. 2016, in an effort to dissuade others from visiting the peninsula and giving legitimacy to Russian rule there. According to a statement on the Prosecutor’s Office website, “a criminal investigation” against Margi was launched due the illegal entry into Crimea, the territory annexed by Russia in 2014.

ukraine-crimea-referendumAccording to Ukrainian law, violation of entry procedures into Crimea is punishable by up to five years imprisonment. Ukrainian authorities have also hinted that the visa-free travel to Uman for tens of thousands of Israelis visiting the grave of Rabbi Nahman of Breslov each year may be in jeopardy.

Ya’acov Margi, chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, met with the head of the Russian-established government in Crimea, Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov, breaking with Israel’s policy of maintaining strict neutrality in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Margi’s visit was trumpeted in the local press as an indication of cracks in the international isolation of Crimea. The Knesset’s spokesman said the trip was not an official Knesset delegation, and not planned or coordinated with the Knesset, beyond the requisite authorization from the Ethics Committee. Margi submitted to the Ethics Committee an invitation from Chief Rabbi of Sevastopol Binyomin Wolf, including an offer to fund his trip. Foreign Ministry officials said they did not know in advance about Margi’s trip.

Crimea’s PM Sergey Aksyonov put out a statement that the meeting was likely to help Israeli citizens and governmental bodies “form an objective opinion about contemporary processes and events in Crimea.” “Despite a widespread opinion that it is unsafe to be in Crimea, [Margi] became convinced of the opposite. He saw everything with his own eyes. I have no doubt that the people of Israel will learn the truth: Crimea returned to Russia on its own free will expressed by the people of Crimea,” Aksyonov said. The statement quoted Margi as saying he saw the life of the Jewish community there “and that tells you the truth about Crimea. I can see calm people who go to shops and ride in public transport, though I used to have a totally different picture. Jews live in many countries, and [a] bad attitude to Jews is growing in many of them. But I feel very comfortable in Crimea,” Margi said. (Source: Jerusalem Post )

crimea1Earlier on Jan. 2016 Ukrainian Embassy in Tel Aviv threatened sanctions on Israelis doing business in Crimea . Such activities, the embassy asserted in a statement, are a violation of both Ukrainian and international law, and should they continue, “relevant information will be transmitted to the competent authorities of Ukraine to further bring to justice perpetrators of violations of the current legislation.” Companies that continue operating in Crimea without coordinating with Kiev may be subject to “special restrictive measures,” such as sanctions. According to the Ukrainians, Israeli citizens have been traveling to the Black Sea peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, without permission from Kiev, and Israelis firms have been engaged in “business activity in cooperation with the illegal authorities of Crimea without a permit.” (Source: JPost )

On Aug. 2015 Jerusalem Post reported that during a meeting with Vladimir Putin, a leader of Reform Jews in Crimea said his community’s situation has improved since Russia annexed the peninsula from Ukraine. Anatoly Gendin, chairman of the Ner Tamid Reform Synagogue in the Crimean capital of Simferopol, thanked the Russian president for what Gendin described as Russian authorities’ attentiveness to the requests of Crimean Jews on restitution and other matters, and the rule of law in the disputed territory.

As Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula following a referendum of residents that showed majority support for the move, some Ukrainian Jewish leaders condemned the annexation. However many Jews in Crimea itself, including Reform and Orthodox rabbis and community leaders, say they feel safer under the sovereignty of Russia under Putin, who is widely credited for tough action on anti-Semitism and an attentive approach to the needs of local Jews. There are an estimated 17,000 Jews in Crimea.


P.S: More about theme in my articles

 


Comeback of South Stream?

August 29, 2015

grafik In my article Turkish, Greek And Tesla Streams Re-routing Energy Supply In Eastern Europe how new Turk(ish) Stream pipeline is re-routing the energy supply in whole Eastern Europe with Greek and Tesla [Balkan] Stream gas pipelines. South Stream, was cancelled last December (2014) after Bulgaria (influenced by the EU acting on behalf of the US) made it impossible to construct the pipeline through its territory. South Stream project was replaced with ‘Turkish Stream’, the Russian pipeline to Turkey’s Eastern Thrace region and from there with ‘Greek’, ‘Tesla’ (or ‘Balkan’) Streams intended to South Stream’s Serbian, Hungarian, and Austrian partners, but detouring through Greece and Macedonia to compensate for the exclusion of Bulgaria.

At the same time, several observers say that South Stream has a good chance of being revived. Since there’s been no official cancellation of the South Stream cooperation from Moscow, Bulgaria assumes that the project can still be saved. Speculation about a revival appears to have come from a source in Moscow. Russia needs the pipelines as a tool to assert political pressure. And Bulgaria could play a role in these plans. (Source: DW ).

European nations could buy gas from a terminal at the Greco-Turkish border, in what was interpreted as a vague hint that such purchases could either be LNG or possibly even the start of a brand new pipeline. Anyway with these plans Turk(ish) Stream and its follow-ups are according EU regulations. The obstacle of South Stream was the EU’s Third Energy Package (TEP). Under these rules, a single company cannot own the pipeline through which it also supplies gas.

Comeback of South Stream

Now though, according Deutsche Welle there’s a different tone between Moscow and Sofia. Earlier this week, Putin acknowledged that Bulgaria’s NATO membership is a done deal. “We have to respect the choice of the Bulgarian people and continue to work with Bulgaria, independently of all the difficult questions in connection with different projects, including South Stream,” he said. Putin added that Russia and Bulgaria have historically enjoyed close ties. In Bulgaria, his words have been taken as a “clear signal of reconciliation” and “a completely new tone in bilateral relations.”

According Natural Gas Europe Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova has announced new efforts to push forward with South Stream, recently telling local media the project still remains a major goal for the country. She also said that the country’s has never walked out of the South Stream project. Kiril Domuschiev, head of the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria, noted that pipework for South Stream could also be used for Turkish Stream or any other project involving both Bulgaria and Gazprom. He added that no one would stop Bulgaria from doing business with Russia.

No other country lying on the proposed route of the pipeline from Russia to central Europe is better prepared than Bulgaria in technical and organizational terms to start the construction works immediately, said Bulgaria’s former Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev who is deputy chairman of opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).  Another big advantage for Bulgaria is the availability of an agreed funding mechanism for the project which doesn’t involve budget spending and only needs to be activated, Stoynev said in comments after Putin’s earlier statement that Moscow will work closely with Bulgaria on the implementation of joint projects including those in the energy sector such as the South Stream gas pipeline. (Source: Novinite.com )

Energy expert Professor Atanas Tasev said in an interview for FOCUS News Agency , that “Both countries [Bulgaria, Russia] seem to have the intention. It remains Brussels to come out with a stance on the matter. Perhaps we will witness favourable processes in resolving the conflict in Ukraine,” “Many steps should follow from now on,” he added and stressed that the first official reaction from the Bulgaria came from Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova, who said that our country is ready.

“A problem can be solved only in the environment where it was created. Since it was the Russian President who created the problem, it is he who can solve it,” Prof Tasev, who has worked as a financial analyst for a number of deals in the Bulgarian energy sector, believes. He maintains that the route previously designated for South Stream is not “a result of some sentiments for the Bulgarian-Soviet fellowship” but is the most economically and technically viable solution. At the same time the professor notes that it is highly unlikely that South Stream is “reborn” with all of the four lines. He foresees that one of the pipes, with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas, might reach Europe via Turkey, while the others could be “redirected” to Bulgaria. (Source and more at Novinite.com )

Nine months after Russia loudly announced that it repeals the South Stream project, the Bulgarian government continues to carry out activities on construction of the pipeline. In addition the joint Bulgarian-Russian company South Stream Bulgaria, which had to build the pipeline on Bulgarian territory, continues to exist and accumulate costs. (Source: Radio Bulgaria )
turkish-stream-south-stream-karte

Nonetheless Greece, FYROM, Serbia, and Hungary are on the verge of signing a joint memorandum of cooperation on Turkish Stream and its Balkan route. Serbian media have already named part of the route as the “Tesla Pipeline” in an obvious attempt to “nationalize” the section that will pass through Serbia. Insiders suggest the Greek, Serbian, and Hungarian foreign ministers will meet in Belgrade in September to announce an agreement that will see the exact route formalized. It should be noted the foreign ministers, not energy ministers, have taken the lead on this file. (Source: Natural Gas Europe ) Latest developments with Tesla Stream wouldn’t have been possible had Macedonia not beaten back the Color Revolution attempt that aimed to sabotage the entire thing. (More in Terrorism in Macedonia Wasn’t An Isolated Act! ).

Eastring?

For Eastern Europe there is also a project called Eastring will bring gas from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Cyprus and Russia and will provide reverse deliveries from the gas hubs in Western Europe. This is actually a step towards the creation of a vertical gas corridor which is particularly valuable to Bulgaria.

Eastring would connect infrastructure in Slovakia to Romania and Bulgaria. Slovakia has taken the lead on the project and even suggested connecting to Turk Stream. Bratislava wants to be part of Gazprom’s plans to diversify transit options away from Ukraine because Slovakia is the critical link between pipelines in Ukraine and central Europe. The Slovakian company Eustream’s gas pipeline, expected to deliver gas to countries in the Balkans, and Gazprom’s Turkish Stream will be complementary projects, Eustream’s international development and public affairs head told RIA Novosti [on Feb. 2015]. Eustream’s Eastring pipeline will run from Bulgaria to Romania and then, via Hungary or Ukraine, to Slovakia. Its planned capacity will be from 20 billion to 40 billion cubic meters per year and project partners are Eustream, Transgaz and Bulgartransgaz.

Wider picture

Aside from production, the transportation of crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products is of paramount concern for oil-producing nations. For energy consumers, transit routes are necessary lifelines. A huge amount of the world’s energy is transited through pipelines, across the Eurasian landmass in particular. Natural gas has limited and expensive transport options. As a result, natural gas pipelines are constantly used as tool of the political pressure and bargaining. One of the most notable battlefields is the European continent, where Russia has exerted its influence through an intricate network of pipelines.

There is a strategic cooperation in the energy sector between EU and Russia as Russia is still the primary supplier of the EU’s hydrocarbon resources, providing 42% of its imported gas and 33% of its imported oil (2013). In addition due global warming the EU want to increase the share of renewable resources and natural gas in their consumption patterns. Russia’s bad relations with the West and Ukraine have created the need to Russia to rearrange its energy policy. From the Russia’s point of view Turkey, as a regional power with its independent policies, e.g. when deciding not to partake in the Western sanctions against Russia due to the Ukraine Crisis, is a more reliable partner than other alternatives. Cooperation between these two regional powers on issues related to Caucasia and Central Asia would generate mutual benefits so indeed the Ukraine Crisis may have paved the way for a new form of cooperation in Russian-Turkish relations.

The Continent has also taken steps to build a regulatory environment conducive to the new energy market it envisions. The Third Energy Package has played a key role in coordinating the European energy market and eroding monopolistic tendencies plaguing the natural gas networks. Among other things, the package’s regulations prevent pipeline operators from supplying natural gas and prevent suppliers from operating the pipelines. These rules have blocked Gazprom from owning or heavily investing in any European pipelines, with a few notable exceptions, such as the Ostsee-Pipeline-Anbindungsleitung pipeline. Europe has applied equal scrutiny to deals involving non-Russian companies, including Azerbaijani national oil company SOCAR’s proposed purchase of Greek pipeline operator DESFA.

Interactive: Veins of Influence

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Interactive: Veins of Influence is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

 

Turk Stream update

The Gapzrom-led Turk(ish) Stream pipeline project has stalled as negotiations between Russia and Turkey on gas pricing have broken down. On July 2015 the Russian Energy Ministry sent to Ankara two versions of an intergovernmental agreement on the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, proposing to construct either one or all four planned strings.

The technical director of South Stream Transport B.V. Andrey Fick has been appointed as general director of the company in charge of construction of the Russia-owned Turkish Stream gas pipeline, Russian energy giant Gazprom announced in its statement, April 2015.

Related to The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the Project benefits from the data available from the extensive surveying and approved EIA, and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in accordance with international financing standards, conducted for the South Stream Offshore Pipeline project. The EIA and permitting process for the Turkish portion of the offshore pipeline is divided into two parts. South Stream Transport is conducting an EIA for the portion of the pipeline from the border of the Turkish and Bulgarian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to the Turkish coastline, with a length of approximately 275 km. For the remainder of the offshore route, the EIA was already approved in 2014 in the context of the South Stream Offshore Project.

map_route_turkey

Bottom line

Gazprom has asserted several times that it will cut off gas transits through Ukraine by the end of the decade. The current alternative routes (Nord Stream + Belarus), however, only present a capacity of 86.5 bcm per year. To maintain the current level of Russia’s exports (119 bcm in 2014) at least 35 bcm of additional pipeline capacity would be needed.

Turk Stream as well South Stream, would enhance the Continent’s energy security because it would enable natural gas flows to Europe to continue uninterrupted in the event of a fallout between Ukraine and Russia. The pipeline project would also incentivize European Union-based companies to invest in infrastructure in Southeastern Europe, integrating countries such as Romania and Bulgaria, into the more mature natural gas markets in Central Europe. New infrastructure for Turk Stream could also eventually carry Iranian or Central Asian natural gas to Europe. Due political reasons USA and EU probably are not very pleased nor active with Turk Stream, they maybe are tolerating the project so long as Russia adheres to the Third Energy Package and finalized Energy Union Package rules restricting Russian control over the Turk Stream project.

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Ukraine: Not so quiet on the Western front

July 29, 2015

Ukraine: Not so quiet on the Western front

Written by Peter Mikhailenko Wednesday, 29 July 2015 [Reprint from In Defence of Marxism]

In the Western Ukrainian region of Zakarpattia, Far-right Right Sector have clashed violently with police, resulting in two militants dead and several bystanders injured. What does this mean for the stability of post-Euromaidan alliance?

right-sector-demoWhat can be described as a “vigilante” operation gone awry, has ended in a bloody clash with police, leaving two fascists dead, several bystanders, police and militants injured. Right Sector – a far right Ukrainian paramilitary organisation claiming the legacy of the Nazi-collaborating Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) – targeted a Ukrainian MP Mykhailo Lanio (formerly Party of Regions) on July 13th in his home region in Zakarpattia. Despite being heavily armed, they were met at the location by the MP’s guards along with local police, foiling their attempt to presumably kidnap the MP for what Right Sector claimed was the MP’s smuggling operation in the border region. This had put both the leaders in Kiev and Right Sector in uncomfortable positions.

For the oligarchs in Kiev, this was an embarrassing demonstration of the lawlessness that has followed the events of Euromaidan. Since those events, the primary objective of those in power had been to profit as much from the civil war while gaining loans from Western governments and the IMF. In their eyes, the legitimacy of the Kiev government lies in their ability to stabilize the situation in Ukraine for the business interests of foreign capital.

Ukraine’s total debt is estimated at a staggering 158% of its GDP and growing. Despite harsh IMF backed austerity measures being introduced by the government – including the cutting of pensions, social services and sacking of hundreds of thousands of public employees – the debt is continuing to spiral out of control. This is largely due to the enormous amount of spending going towards the war with the Donbas rebels along with the general militarization of the country. This of course is very convenient for the pro-Maidan oligarchs, as they are making billions of dollars off all of the business around supplying the army. Lenin, when he was told that “war is terrible” replied “yes, terribly profitable”.

The profit making of the oligarchs does not stop at the war effort as many have used the increased lawlessness to expand their business empires. This has nevertheless caused friction between some pro-Maidan oligarchs, most notably president Petro Poroshenko and the former governor of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Ihor Kolomoiskiy. This was brought to the open when last March, Kolomoiskiy and his thugs physically seized the headquarters of the state oil company UkrNafta last March, where Kolomoiskiy already owned a 42% stake. This type of takeover – although not entirely rare in Ukrainian business practices – was too high-profile and embarrassing for a corrupt Kiev president trying to present himself as a champion of “anti-corruption”. Shortly after, two minor government officials were arrested as a show of action, while Kolomoiskiy himself was only forced to resign from his position as Dnipropetrovsk governor after a face to face meeting with the president.

These types of manoeuvres are nothing new for the Ukrainian oligarchy. What has been a new occurrence is the reliance on militias – many with openly fascist and neo-Nazi ideologies – in their war against the rebels in the East and in quelling dissent in the rest of the country. Heavily implicated in the Euromaidan and the overthrow of Yanukovich in February 2014, they formed the basis for the National Guard battalions sent to combat the rebellion in Donbas. The battalions proved more willing than the regular Ukrainian army in combatting the rebels and so were useful.

While the Western media has often portrayed these battalions as “fighters for democracy”, often uncritically parroting the story’s from Kiev information ministries about Russian divisions crossing the border into Donbas. More and more, this façade is beginning to crumble.

The Western media has reluctantly been obliged to cover the far-right presence among the Ukrainian army. When the United States army began openly training the battalions earlier this year – notably the neo-Nazi Azov battalion – a bill was proposed by US congressman John Conyers to prevent the training of far-right elements, as if they could simply be sieved out of the National Guard ranks. Adding to this was the shocking revelations about the torture, rape and murder of civilians in the Lughansk region by members of the “Tornado” battalion, many of whom were violent criminals recruited from the Ukrainian prison system to fill the ranks of the battalion.

The dog lashes out against the master

In many ways, Right Sector became the symbol of the brute force at Euromaidan. Their ranks and influence swelled from a marginal group with few hundred members to a well-armed paramilitary organisation with thousands of members, and Members of Parliament. Their leader Dmitry Yarosh frequently appears on television, including the popular talk show Shuster Live.

Having gained their reputation as a combative force, they have focused their actions in military combat in Donbas, the kidnaping and torture of people suspected of “separatism” along with operations against drug rings. Local police are often less armed than the militias and are usually powerless and afraid to stop them, especially given the way Euromaidan transpired.

In Zakarpattia, they bit off more than they could chew in going after an oligarch MP well installed in the region. While the SBU tried to imply that the incident was the work of “Russian agents”, Poroshenko stated his intention to disarm Right Sector. Nevertheless, Right Sector was able to organize an armed rally numbering 3000-5000 outside the presidential office in Kiev, calling on the resignation of the president. In order to organise it they have also partially retreated from the front line.

Despite their anti-oligarch rhetoric, National Guard battalions and far-right groups in Ukraine are tied to oligarchs in terms of receiving funding and equipment. While Kiev is happy to have these groups fighting rebels, repressing opposition to the government and breaking up trade union actions, it is not out of the question that they could pit these groups against each other should they feel threatened as occurred last summer in Kiev.However, the show of strength of the Right Sector is a warning to what any Ukrainian government might face if it decides to finally settle the matter of the rebel republics.

The oligarchs and Western Imperialism

US imperialism historically has shown no hesitation in supporting brutal regimes, but prefer if these things stay hidden. As Ukraine’s economy veers closer and closer to default, it is more and more dependent on foreign aid, and thus, is in the process of transforming into a client state for foreign interests. This puts Ukrainian oligarchs in a contradiction however, as they have historically maintained a certain independence from both Western and Russian capital. Last June, Poroshenko dismissing Valentyn Nalyvaichenko – who is considered close to US interests – as the chief of the interior security agency, SBU.

Just how far Washington will tolerate the current Kiev regime remains to be seen. As of now, the US imperialism aims in the Ukrainian conflict are:

  1. The expansion of their influence at the expense of a rival power in Russia,
  2. The increasing of tensions between Russia and the EU (particularly Germany), that forces the EU industry to seek most expensive alternatives to Russian gas, reducing its competitively versus US industry,
  3. The opening of new markets for US multinationals, not only in Ukraine, but also the possibility of selling US gas to the EU.

Neither the Ukrainian oligarchs nor US imperialism has an interest in ending the conflict because it is simply too profitable. The conflict is equally advantageous for various speculators holding Ukraine’s debt, who can make profits speculating on the debt, despite Ukraine not likely to ever be able to repay.

While the far-right poses a threat to any Ukrainian opposing the current order they are too tied to the oligarchs and the government themselves to pose a real threat to their power. Support from the US will go to the section of the oligarchy most willing to continue the transformation of the country into a client state for the interest of their multinationals. Another overthrow of the president is certainly not out of the question. These kinds of changes will only lead to the further destabilisation of the country, and drive Ukrainians further into poverty and war.

Many people who passively or actively supported the overthrow of Yanukovich did so with the idea that “things could not get any worse”. The events of the past year have shown them that there is no end in sight in the race to the bottom. Even the newly appointed governor of the Odessa region, Mikhail Saakashvilli, the former Georgian president who is sought in his country on corruption charges, has stated that it will take 20 years of stability to bring the economy back to the level it was under Yanukovich. We would add that there is no bottom for capitalism in crisis, which applies not just for Ukraine, but essentially everywhere in the world at the moment.

27 July 2015


MH17 One Year On: What Really Happened and Why

July 20, 2015

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 20 July 2015.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TRANSCEND Media Service – TMS: MH17 One Year On: What Really Happened and Why, is included.

 

MH17 One Year On: What Really Happened and Why

Nimetön (24)July 17, 2015 By 21wire

Patrick Henningsen 21st Century Wire

This month marks the one year anniversary of the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 – an incident that took place against a backdrop of a brutal proxy war – pitting Kiev and its supporters in Washington DC, the EU and NATO – against rebel forces in eastern Ukraine and Russia. As with most 21st century conflicts, truth has been the first casualty of war here. Last July, 21WIRE released its own preliminary investigation into the disaster. That post still remains one of the most successful articles in the site’s history. One year on, we’ll revisit and review many of those key points and attempt many of the reamining unanswered questions…

On July 17, 2014, flight MH17 traveling east from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – crashed near the village of Grabovo, and on the outskirts of the town of Torez just outside of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, approximately 40 km from the Ukrainian-Russian border.

To call this situation volatile would almost be an understatement. A pivotal event such as this could easily be used as  a pretext for escalating not only a New Cold War between the West and Russia, but also a hot war. Only six months previously, the Ukraine found itself in the throes of a western-backed coup d’état in Kiev which tore the country apart. This was quickly followed by a snap referendum in Crimea, where voters opted for secession from the Ukraine and into the relatively secure arms of the Russian Federation. The west cried foul and so began a new grudge match. Arguably, tensions between the west and Moscow have been at their highest since the apex of the Cold War during the east-west Soviet era. Needless to say, with MH17 the stakes could not be any higher, and regarding the west, it was obvious who would be assigned the blame for this tragedy.

More than any other incident, this one was flushed out firstly through public relations channels, and then secondly through official government bodies. From the onset the West took its position by claiming it had “proof” that ‘Russian-backed rebels’ were responsible for shooting down the passenger airliner. Immediately after the incident took place, the western government-media complex insisted that the murder weapon was a Russian-made BUK Surface to Air Missile system.

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A Russian-made BUK SAM Missile battery, commonly stocked by the Ukrainian Army (Image: Wikicommons)

Western mainstream media outlets wasted no time in disseminating this government-issued conspiracy theory, backed-up by a number of other clams of “evidence” coming out of the Washington-backed regime in Kiev. At the time, US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed to have a “mountain of evidence” convicting ‘pro-Russian separatists’ and Moscow. Unfortunately, Kerry’s mountain was no more than a mole hill. Nearly all of those claims have since been debunked and exposed as fraudulent – but from a public opinion perspective, the damage was already done. RELATED: ‘Remembering MH17′ with Ray McGovern and Patrick Henningsen Within 48 hours, News Corp and other pro-war rags ran a series of loaded headlines including, “Putin’s Missile”, “Putin’s Victims” and “From Vlad to Worse”. Vladimir Putin and his government in Russia were already convicted in the Kangaroo court of public opinion under the guise of guilt by association with Russian-speaking rebels fighting Kiev’s military forces in the east.

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‘Factless’ News Corp: Always the loyal war rag.

However, upon closer examination of the facts surrounding this case, an alternative set of conclusions can be drawn from this event – one which points to the very strong possibility that what the world really witnessed last year was a classic ‘false flag’ event – an attempted slight-of-hand bit of military trickery designed to cast blame on one party for a crime that was really committed by another. It wouldn’t be the first time that this type of sub-plot was put into motion to advance a world power’s geopolitical objectives.

Revelation of the Method: A ‘False Flag’ Attack

The term false flag, or “black flag”, is most common in naval battles, and describes the historic covert, military use of a flag other than the perpetrator’s true flag colors as a type of ruse de guerre – designed to deceive and confuse in order to provide a fake ‘moral high ground’ in the theater of mass public opinion.

The classic blueprint for MH17 was not dreamt-up by Russian war planners, but by the Pentagon – over 50 years earlier. A clandestine plan known as Operation Northwoods, was similarly conjured in 1962 by the US Department of Defense’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the CIA in front of a Cold War backdrop pitting the United States against then Soviet ally Cuba, led by Fidel Castro. The plan was signed off by then JCS Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer and detailed how spooks would use prepositioned explosives to blow-up a passenger airliner over Cuba, blaming it on Cuba and by extension – Washington’s arch-nemesis the Soviet Union. This ‘false flag’ attack would then be used as valuable leverage in a global public opinion campaign against Washington’s existential and ideological enemies. They also talked about developing a “Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington”. Fortunately, the deceptive plot was eventually rejected by the Kennedy administration.

It’s important to note that had the US been successful in framing Moscow for the downing of MH17 in 2014, it would have given Washington a bright green light to intensify its efforts in destabilizing neighboring Ukraine, and later in Georgia, then in Estonia, and so on. As the MH17 false flag began to crumble, so did any prospects of a Washington geopolitical takeover in the region. Arguably, Washington DC and its allies attempted a similar geopolitical frame-up only one year earlier in August 2013 in Syria. What we now know to be a false flag chemical weapons attack took place in Ghutta, a suburb located on the outskirts of Damascus. The plan was simple: create a chemical or ‘WMD’ event to coincide with the visiting of UN weapons inspectors in Damascus and blame it on the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Once international outrage and blame could be established, then a US-led ‘Coalition’ would carry out yet another oxymoronic ‘humanitarian’ military intervention against Syria, topple the regime and then work on installing a US-compliant government there. It almost happened. Had the British Parliament passed a war resolution in early September, then the US would have had the green light to begin bombing – risking another potential world war in the process.

In the end it was Russia who quickly supplied the solution: a UN monitored disposal of all of the Syrian military’s aging chemical weapons stocks – and thus removing any future change by the US or Britain to fabricate another ‘WMD’ indictment against the Assad regime in Syria. That master chess move was down to Russia’s dab-handed foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and it was a masterstroke which may have helped to avoid a wider world war.

The Case

Tracing the whereabouts of MH17 during its final moments is of great importance if one is to determine what happened and why. For this reason, a number of key data sets and important information and testimonies have been buried – not by Russia and Russian-speaking rebels in the east Ukraine, but rather by US and European stakeholders as well as obscured by the entirety of the western corporate media.

We know that a Malaysian Airlines spokesman has already confirmed that, for some unknown reason, Kiev-based Ukrainian Air Traffic Control (ATC) ordered MH17 off of its original flight path along the international air route, known as L980. Most likely, this order was given to pilots while MH17 was still in Polish air space. L980 is one of the most popular and most congested air routes in the world, as well as a key link between major international hubs in Europe, like London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol,  Frankfurt, and Asian destinations, like Singapore, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. As MH17 moved into Ukrainian air space, it was moved by ATC Kiev approximately 200 miles north – putting it on a new course, heading directly into a war zone, a well-known dangerous area by now – one that hosted a number of downed military craft over the previous 3 weeks.  Robert Mark, a commercial pilot and editor of Aviation International News Safety magazine, confirmed that most Malaysia Airlines flights from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur would normally travel along a route significantly further south than the route MH17 was diverted onto. Data on these and other similar flights can be found at the website Flight Radar24¹.

The plot (or the cover-up) thickens even more at this point, as publically available data appears to have been changed in the weeks following the incident. In the days after the crash, popular microblogger Vagellis Karmiros showed MH17’s clear change of course over the warzone to the north from compiling flight location and route data publically available on the website FlightAware. Karmiros’s findings were even featured in an infographic in the UK’s Daily Mail at the time².

The digital smoking gun: Then approximately six days after the crash, the information on popular publicly accessible flight tracking websites like FlightAware and FlightRadar24 appear to have been altered – to give the impression that all recent MH17 flights had gone over the Donetsk war zone too – effectively erasing the possibility that the plane’s flight path had been altered by Air Traffic Control in the first instance³.  The following is a screenshot from FlightAware, of MH17 on the day of the incident, July 17, 2014, where the doomed journey came to an abrupt halt over the village of Grabovo, in eastern Ukraine. Notice the flight path along a trajectory north of Crimea:

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Below are a set of five different FlightAware screenshots which originally showed how MH17’s normal route was approximately 200 miles south of its fatal kill zone on July 17th, 2014. Here are four samples: MH17 flight path for July 12, 2014 – Original data available in the immediate days following the crash:

MH17 ‘new’ flight path for July 12, 2014 – since changed approximately 6-7 days after the crash:

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MH17 flight path for July 13, 2014 – Original data available in the immediate days following the crash:

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MH17 ‘new’ flight path for July 13, 2014 – since changed approximately 6-7 days after the crash:

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MH17 flight path for July 14, 2014 – Original data available in the immediate days following the crash:

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MH17 ‘new’ flight path for July 14, 2014 – since changed approximately 6-7 days after the crash:

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MH17 flight path for July 15, 2014 – Original data available in the immediate days following the crash:

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MH17 ‘new’ flight path for July 15, 2014 – since changed from approximately 6-7 days after the crash:

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Were these flight paths changed, and if so why? Again, the obvious motive here is misdirection. By altering the public-facing flight path data of MH17 after the fact would be to cloud the realization that MH17’s fateful path on July 17, 2014 was NOT it’s normal flight path – and thus halting any further inquiry as to exactly who diverted MH17 and why. According to these revised images that appears to be exactly what has been attempted here. Was FlightAware hacked and the flight path data altered? The answer to this question might help lead to finding out whether or not we are in fact witnessing a very elaborate cover-up here. The Missing Tapes

So what about the air traffic control tapes? These could easily provide the information investigators need to establish the who, what, when, where and why of MH17’s doomed journey. The BBC reported⁴ on July 17th:  “Ukraine’s SBU security service has confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner, a source in Kiev has told Interfax news agency.”

Were the ATC audio records of the MH17 flight confiscated by the Kiev government? No reason has been given for this loss of transparency, but not a word from Washington regarding this cover-up of crucial evidence. Did the order to change the flight path come from the Ukrainian authorities? Was the pilot instructed to change course? To be sure, the order to change the flight path did not come from Eurocontrol, but more likely from ATC in Kiev.

Undoubtedly, this is the most obvious smoking gun that the fix was in for MH17 – as someone directed the flight directly over a war zone. Mainstream pundits and investigators have gone to great lengths to conceal this single most damning piece of evidence which should indicate that there is a running cover-up surrounding this incident.

Soon after the incident, British news outlets began floating the story – without evidence, that MH17 was diverted to “avoid thunderstorms in southern Ukraine”. This was also placed on Wikipedia at the same time⁵. Nico Voorbach, Dutch president of the ‘European Cockpit Association’, appears to be the man used to nudge along this talking point. Voorbach casually slides this crucial fabrication out there, telling The Guardian of all papers, “I heard that MH17 was diverting from some showers as there were thunderclouds”.

The only problem is that Malaysian Airlines immediately refuted this in a report from Malaysia News: “MAS operations director Captain Izham Ismail has also refuted claims that heavy weather led to MH17 changing its flight plan (…) There were no reports from the pilot to suggest that this was the case,” Izham said 6.

What is significant, however, is that the Western media acknowledged that the change in the flight path did occur, indicating that the alleged “heavy weather” narrative is a fabrication designed to distract and obscure the fact that MH17’s course was indeed diverted directly into the war zone that day.

Amazingly, when searching all weather sites online, there is no weather data available for July 17th in the area of the incident. What? More digital chicanery to cover-up the truth?

Weather and Visibility Factor Another argument can be made that Kiev-based air traffic controllers not only led MH17 right over its alleged ‘target zone’ in Eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, but they also helped make it both visible to SAM missiles and to fighter jets.  Although weather data online is all but unavailable for the area of Donetsk, Ukraine for July 17th, conditions are evident by numerous videos depicting the crash and crash site in the aftermath — it was cloudy and overcast, with more visibility above the cloud canopy. This factor is important because at its cruising altitude of approximately 33,000 feet (10,000 meters), the airliner would not be visible from the ground in the rebel-held area where Washington is insisting a SAM missile was launched. Why Kiev air traffic controllers order MH17 to suddenly drop its altitude, from 35,000 feet to around 33,000 feet, just before the plane’s demise is unknown for sure, but it would have been near impossible for the alleged rebel gunman occupying this relatively small rebel-held patch of land to make a visual sighting of MH17 and acquire the target during the 1-2 minute window they would have had (assuming they were even in possession of the BUK missile system).  The following are some fresh footage and eyewitness reports from the scene of the crash:

The Takedown

Washington’s fragile ‘conspiracy theory’ quickly fell apart.  Russian officials blindsided Washington and its NATO partners when it released all available satellite imagery and air traffic control data which was recorded in and around the final minutes of Flight MH17 – and presented it to the world media on live television. The data painted a very different picture, drawing contrasting conclusions to what Washington and Kiev officials had been disseminating via western media since July 17th. Following their presentation, Moscow handed its findings – air traffic data and time stamped satellite imagery – to European authorities. In stark contrast, US officials were reluctant to do the same – despite numerous cock-sure claims by high-ranking US officials including Secretary of State John Kerry.

On Monday July 21st, the Russian government, with almost every major global media outlet in attendance, released all of its air traffic data and satellite imaging data – all verifiable, including time stamps and supporting data. The entire content of the presentation was also handed over to the European authorities. Watch the official broadcast here:

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The conclusions to be drawn from this are stunning, to say the least. Despite the public release of this information, US and British media outlets did not bother to report back to its people on these findings. They are as follows: Minutes before the downing of MH17, the plane made a mysterious ‘Left Turn’ as it flew over the Donetsk area at approximately 17:20:00 Moscow Time, making a sharp 14km deviation, before attempting to regain its previous course before dropping altitude and disappearing from radar at 17:23:00. As we previously pointed out, air traffic controllers in Kiev had already diverted MH17 200 miles further north into the target zone, so the question remains: was Kiev ATC also responsible for this final, fatal diversion, or was there another reason for this unusual turn? According to clear satellite images provided, on July 16th, the Ukrainian Army positioned 3-4 anti-aircraft BUK M1 SAM missile batteries close to Donetsk. These systems included full launching, loading and radio location units, located in the immediate vicinity of the MH17 crash site. One system was placed approximately 8km northwest of Lugansk. In addition, a radio location system for these Ukrainian Army missile batteries is situated 5km north of Donetsk. On July 17th, the day of the incident, these batteries were moved to a position 8km south of Shahktyorsk. In addition to this, two other radio location units are also identified in the immediate vicinity. These SAM systems had a range of 35km distance, and 25km altitude.  From July 18th, after the downing of MH17, Kiev’s BUK launchers were then moved away from the firing zone.  Unlike rebel fighters, the Ukrainian military is in possession of some 27 BUK missile systems capable of bringing down high-flying jets, and forensic satellite imagery places at least 3 of their launchers in the Donetsk region on the day of this tragedy. Yet, Washington and NATO will not inquire about the possibility that any of these system had targeted MH17.

This is another definitive smoking gun: why did the Ukrainian Army move these short-range anti-aircraft SAM missile batteries into position on July 16-17th – to an interior region of East Ukraine where it’s known that the rebel resistance possess no air crafts whatsoever? Not surprisingly, both the US and Kiev have not answered that difficult question, perhaps for obvious reasons.

Most importantly however, Moscow radar picked up a Ukrainian Air Force fighter jet. At 17:20 Moscow Time, MH17 began to abruptly lose speed, eventually slowing to 124mph (200kmph). At that moment, what appears to be an SU-25 Ukrainian fighter jet appears on ATC radar, climbing in the direction of MH17 before trailing MH17 on the same flight path approximately 3-5km behind the passenger airliner, as it began rapidly approaching the same flight level. This happened just minutes before MH17 disappeared on radar. Note here that a Ukrainian fighter would not have been visible on ATC radar before it broke the ATC long-range standby radar tracking ceiling of 5km in altitude. Civilian ATC radar would not be able to identify this Su-25 as military because no secondary detection system is mounted – typical for military aircraft. Over the next four minutes, the Ukrainian fighter remained in the area. Note also that the Su-25 can be armed with air-to-air R-60 missiles with a range of up to 5km-12km.

Nimetön (13)Then assistant spokesperson for the US State Dept. Marie Harf had already declared her support for the western-backed coup in Kiev (Image: Twitter)

Washington’s Revised Conspiracy Theory In a damage control exercise, US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf, called an ‘urgent’ press conference. The plan was to try and rescue the narrative. The Los Angeles Times reported: “U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile. U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 [anti-aircraft missile] was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.” 

The quiet U-turn by Washington signaled that its previous case blaming the rebels has been destroyed, and rather than concede that the Ukrainian Army has actually shot down MH17, they instead tried to concoct a revision about an unlikely Bond-like “rogue defector” villain and his “rogue team” – who all just happened to be wearing Ukrainian Army uniforms.

Even Hollywood’s best script writers could not rescue Washington’s terminally over-worked MH17 narrative.

The Crash Site

Most importantly, but completely overlooked by analysts following this story is the location (s) of the crash site itself. The scatter patterns of debris, along with the arguing which ensued between international bodies and the Donbass Rebels in east Ukraine – speaks volumes about a false flag master plan gone wrong.

The Boeing 777-200ER airliner lost contact at about 10 km before the eventual crash site. The fatal event occurred somewhere in the interval between 17:21:28 and 17:22:30 Moscow Time. The exact time of the crash is believed to be at 17:23:00.

Had the plane been shot down further east, and crashed some 30-40 miles southeast of its eventual grave, then the Ukrainian Army would have had complete control of the crash site, the evidence, as well as the flight data recorder ‘blackboxes’. As luck would have it, Kiev and Washington were not afforded the luxury of being able to hermetically seal off the crime scene – and thus completely control the narrative. For whatever reason, the plane was shot down too early, placing the wreckage along with the all-important black boxes in the wrong place – all of which made the false flag narrative slightly more complicated to sell than operation planners had originally intended (theoretically anyway).

The Investigation That Wasn’t

Once again, Russia’s impressive chess move by presenting all of their satellite and radar data in the immediate aftermath of the crash may very well have helped to avoid a major international conflagration.

With the egg still drying on their faces, western mandarins shifted into PR damage-control mode. In a massive face-saving exercise, much was made in the western media and in high-powered political circles about the need for a “thorough and fair investigation into MH17”. Any chance of that happening quickly died once the flight data recorders were handed over to British authorities for safe keeping at the UK’s Air Accidents Investigative Branch located in Farnborough, England. It’s been nearly one year now since the aircraft’s black boxes were placed into the hands of British authorities and it seems as if any further factual inquiries into what really happened that day have hit the wall. After Russia’s data dump there is simply no chance that the ‘Russian-backed’ Rebels could be framed for the disaster, so NATO’s intelligentsia have little choice other than to simply sit on the evidence indefinitely. It seems that the biggest losers are still the victims’ families. In December 2014, the Netherlands rejected families’ demands to allow the UN to take over from Dutch leading the investigation, as relatives claim the Dutch have “completely botched” the case by failing to meet basic international CSI protocol for securing evidence, as well as their inability to build a legal case to prosecute those responsible. As a leading NATO member with a clear stake in the Ukrainian civil war, the Netherlands can hardly consider themselves as a neutral arbitrator in the case. This is a good example of what happens to false flags once they reach the legal phase – when all of the previous hype and inertia generating through break-neck media speculation and wild political hyperbole – comes to a grinding halt in the face of the facts. This past week saw the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) release its ‘preliminary findings’ in a new report which claims to have identified a “Russian BUK Missile” launcher as the smoking gun, as well as blaming Malaysian Airlines for being ‘sloppy’ in its professional conduct by “not doing enough” to prevent its plane from flying over the deadly war zone. Far from fact-based, both citations by the DSB amount to nothing more than gross speculation and wild theorizing. To call it an investigation is laughable.  Western media pundits have also been working overtime to characterize the DSB as a neutral arbitrator who is also apolitical, and a “meticulous”, honest broker. As a leading member of NATO, the Netherlands are anything but neutral and for anyone to suggest that that is truly the case would be both naive, and worse – ignorant – considering how NATO has managed to leverage the west’s fictional account of MH17 in order to fund and arm the Ukrainian military, as well as begin its recent unprecedented, break-neck expansion eastward right up to Russia’s border. They claim that their final “definitive report” will be released sometime in the fall – but few in the know will be holding their breath, as this one looks like it has all the makings of a protracted exercise in obfuscation designed to stay as far away from any conclusive investigation as possible, and allowing for continuing political pressure on Moscow via the original blame game.

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Image: Wikicommons

The disinformation merry-go-round Who needs evidence when you have social media instead? The week following the downing of MH17, Washington deployed its front-of-house asset, US ambassador to the Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt (image, left), in its endless running fabricated social media campaign designed to somehow convince the world (or at least naive US media consumers) that the Russian military were occupying eastern Ukraine.  Here, his damning tweet would implicate Russia for “firing artillery over its border into the Ukraine.”  As cheap stunts went, this was one of the lowest ever. It turns out that Pyatt had simply grabbed a series of images off of the Google World-style satellite mapping website Digital Globe, while proudly touting it as “evidence” of Russia artillery fired into eastern Ukraine.  This sort of media buffoonery has since become par for the course ever since the neoconservative faction led by Victoria Nuland managed to seize control of the US State Department in 2013. Here is Pyatt’s ‘evidence’ as it appeared last summer:

Pyatt’s Twitter gaff was part of an “disinformation merry-go-round” currently on heavy rotation in Kiev. Unlike the all-too-eager media drones in the US and Europe, Russian officials have been able to explain the mechanics of the Washington-Kiev fiction mill:

“This scheme is called “an informational merry-go-round,” Konashenkov added, using an expression commonly uttered in Russia relating to feeding the information to the media.  “It’s no secret to anyone that fakes like this are made by a group of US counselors staying in the Kiev building of the Security Council, led by General Randy Kee,” he noted.

The general outlined the cycle as follows: the US counselors in the Kiev feed the disinformation to the Ukrainian media, with the news being taken by the Washington official representatives and presented as statements.

Afterwards, Washington’s stage-managed Ukrainian media outlet’s immediately cited the US Ambassador’s flimsy findings and published numerous articles as labeled as “objective” reporting on alleged Russian military movements inside Ukrainian territory. Opportunity and Motive Considering the military conflict which was taking place in eastern Ukraine at the time, there are three uncomfortable coincidences (or realities) that were prevailing before the downing of MH17 on July 17th. Firstly, the crash was also timed with an all-out Ukrainian Military offensive which was planned weeks in advance and was set to begin on July 18th. Secondly, it was widely reported that the troops were losing morale, and were suffering defections in an increasingly unpopular military theater of Eastern Ukraine. Kiev was losing the PR war hearts and minds in the Ukraine and abroad. Lastly, following the downing of MH17, Kiev was again characterized as a victim of “Russian aggression” and went on to garner huge public sympathy and support.

In the weeks leading up to July 17th, NATO, led by the US, conducted two large-scale military and intelligence drills in the Black Sea region. The first was an annual affair named, SEA BREEZE 2014, which just so happened to end on… July 17th. The drill included hundreds of US military specialists running ‘war simulations’ in electronic warfare, data collection from a spy satellite, and ‘monitoring’ of all passenger aircraft flying in the region. In addition, both US and British armed forces had also scheduled a concurrent military exercise code named, Rapid Trident 2014, another NATO sanctioned international drill which takes place around the Ukraine, which, according to the US Forces in Europe website, is supposed to “promote regional stability and security, strengthen partnership capacity and foster trust while improving interoperability between the land forces of Ukraine, and NATO and partner nations.” Since March, the Pentagon has kept quiet regarding the number of US forces, and hardware assets expected to participate in the maneuvers. According to US Army spokesman Col. Steven Warren, Rapid Trident is the only Ukraine military exercise the US planned to participate in this year, and it’s main purpose was, “To help the Ukrainian military improve its troops and weapons operability with NATO forces.”  Just another coincidence. Eye in the Sky Here’s yet another smoking gun. The US had deployed its latest state-of-the-art, experimental satellite which just happened to be positioned over Eastern Europe for 1-2 hours, and directly over Donetsk in eastern Ukraine between 5:06pm – 5:21pm – the exact time frame in which MH17 was shot down. Did the US know something was happening in advance? It certainly seems so.  Will the US ever release the information it clearly has documenting the MH17 disaster? Probably never.

MH17 Endgame: International Sanctions Clearly, war planners in Washington are determined to fabricate a case against Russia in order to enable either of these two outcomes:

  1. Create a ‘global’ mandate for wider international sanctions against Russia. 2. Create a UN Security Council Crisis by implicating Russia via an “international violation”. In retrospect, the primary endgame of framing Moscow for the downed passenger airliner was to impose international sanctions against Russia. It’s crucial to note here that the west’s continued determination in blaming rebels in eastern Ukraine for MH17, and by extension Moscow, seems necessary in order to maintain the facade which was the original basis for their sanctions regime against Russia. Unlike Washington, the European economies have suffered greatly from sanctions against Russia, hitting Germany, France and Spain exports particularly hard at a time when when an already fragile Eurozone is teetering on the edge of disaster. If the truth about MH17 were ever to be revealed, and thus shattering the cheap narrative constructed by Washington’s conflict marketing department last year, the political blow-back from Europe’s leading economies would be substantial, with America’s allies demanding some sort of quid pro quo to cover their own shortfalls.

Shameless Cheap Shot

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(Image: Wikicommons)

In the aftermath of the tragedy, a number  of unscrupulous politicians sought to score what they thought were easy points against Russian president Vladimir Putin. Topping that list of shameless actors is none other than Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott (image, left), who threatened to “shirt-front” Putin over the issue ahead of the G20 Summit hosted by Australia last November. When Putin arrived, Abbott bottled, and revised his rhetoric to asking the Russian leader for an apology and also financial compensation for MH17 victims’ families – even though there was absolutely no evidence to even suggest that Russia had anything to do with the crash.

Towing the NATO line, as ever, Abbott then invited Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to visit Australia at a later date to “discuss security.” A Symbolic Date In terms of Russian history, there is not a more symbolic date than July 17th. This was also the date on which the Russian Imperial Romanov family led by Tsar Nicholas II, his wife and five children and other persons – were awoken at 2:00am and assassinated by firing squad in the early hours of 17 July 1918. Wikipedia recounts:

“Present with Nicholas, Alexandra and their children were their doctor and three of their servants, who had voluntarily chosen to remain with the family—the Tsar’s personal physician Eugene Botkin, his wife’s maid Anna Demidova, and the family’s chef, Ivan Kharitonov, and footman, Alexei Trupp. A firing squad had been assembled and was waiting in an adjoining room, composed of seven Communist soldiers from Central Europe, and three local Bolsheviks, all under the command of Bolshevik officer Yakov Yurovsky.”[85]

Conclusion Russia’s public satellite ‘data dump’ on July 21, 2014 was certainly a game changer – effectively snookering Washington and Kiev. The existence of this intelligence means that, for fear of losing face on the issue, Washington and its NATO partners cannot present any real intelligence – which they also have in their possession. In an attempt to save face, western governmental bodies will now likely stop short of issuing any definitive statements as they already had last summer, of accusing either Donbass Rebels or Moscow of actually shooting down MH17.  The only remaining option to nudge their PR agenda foward, is to continue with the campaign of endless innuendos and other slanderous remarks in the media sphere using nongovernmental agencies and war advocacy think tanks. During its news package this week on the latest Dutch Safety Nimetön (10)Board report, CNN featured Heather Conley (image, left) a senior VP from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC. Conley crowed that somehow the report was another “blow to Vladimir Putin’s credibility.” Naturally, the irony is lost on Washington. One year on, and we’re still no closer to closure, and very far from justice regarding the case of MH17. Expect more cover-ups and misdirection from western authorities who fear any new evidence that may threaten the narrative they were aggressively canvassing in the immediately aftermath of the last year’s tragedy.

Meanwhile, Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Grand Chessboard and the aged old battle to control Euraisa’s Heartland continues… Additional footnotes: 1. http://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/mh17 2. https://twitter.com/VagelisKarmiros/status/489926167731142656/photo/1 3. http://flightaware.com/live/flight/MAS17/history/20140717/1000Z/EHAM/WMKK 4. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28360784 5. Nico Voorbach, President, European Cockpit Association http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia_Airlines_Flight_17 6. http://news.malaysia.msn.com/tmi/dutch-pilot-says-mh17-could-have-veered-off-flight-path-in-bad-weather 7. http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-ukraine-intelligence-us-20140722-story.html

READ MORE MH17 NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire MH17 Files

Note:

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 20 July 2015. Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TRANSCEND Media Service – TMS: MH17 One Year On: What Really Happened and Why, is included.


Peace Index 2015: BRIC, Balkans And Eastwards

June 18, 2015

 

The Global Peace Index (GPI) is implemented by organization called Vision of Humanity, which groups together a number of interrelated initiatives focused on global peace. As its mission Visions of Humanity brings a strategic approach to raising the world’s attention and awareness around the importance of peacefulness to humanity’s survival in the 21st century. Now on May Vision of Humanity published its new edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI). It has been expanded to rank 162 independent states and updated with the latest-available figures and information for 2013-14.

Indicators

The index is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from respected sources, which combine internal and external factors, such as violent crime, political stability and military expenditure, correlated against a number of social development indicators such as corruption, freedom of the press, respect for human rights and school enrolment rates and relations with neighbouring countries. These indicators were selected by an international panel of academics, business people, philanthropists and members of peace institutions.

Global%20Peace%20Index%20Results%20Map

Some reservations

  • Vision of humanity, its expert panel and GPI are representing mainly western methodology, approach and values
  • GPI is based to data available of different indicators and as such a compromise
  • The 2015 scores are based information collected mainly information for 2013-2014 so there is some delay

With these reservations I however find GPI both interesting and useful and anyway I haven’t seen any better global survey.

 

The Rank

To the table below I have collected the GPI rankings from the Balkans and Eastwards on countries analysed in 2015 report. In addition I have included to table also top-3 and worst-3 countries, the BRIC countries and USA. Besides 2015 ranking I show also rankings and score in 2010 [when available]  to see trend during last years as this may help to track when and how some countries become more or less peaceful. Countries most at peace are ranked first. My source – Vision of Humanity Org, GPI results, full list of 149 countries, methodology and other explanations and scores per country/indicator can be found from here! Besides my table one can also explore the data on the interactive Global Peace Index map.

 

Country 2015 2010
Rank Score Rank Score
Iceland Iceland 1 1.148 2 1.212
Denmark 2 1.150    
Austria 3 1.198    
Slovenia Slovenia 15 1.378 11 1.358
Romania Romania 26 1.542 45 1.749
Croatia Croatia 27 1.550 41 1.707
Bulgaria Bulgaria 32 1.607 50 1.785
Serbia Serbia 46 1.768 90 2.071
Albania Albania 52 1.821 65 1.925
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 53 1.839 60 1.873
The image “https://i0.wp.com/europeandcis.undp.org/uploads/public1/images/Montenegro_Flag-RESIZE-s925-s450-fit.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Montenegro 57 1.854 88 2.060
gr Greece 61 1.878
Kosovo 69 1.938    
Moldova Moldova 70 1.942 66 1.938
Republic of MacedoniaMacedonia (FYR) 71 1.944 83 2.048
Georgia (country) Georgia 79 1.973 142 2.970
Armenia Armenia 91 2.028  113  2.266
United StatesUSA 94 2.038 85 2.056
BrazilBrazil 103 2.122 83 2.048
People's Republic of China China 124 2.267 80 2.034
AzerbaijanAzerbaijan 132 2.325 119 2.367
TurkeyTurkey 135 2.363 126 2.420
IndiaIndia 143 2.504 128 2.516
Ukraine Ukraine 150 2.845 97 2.115
Russia Russia 152 2.954 143 3.013
AfghanistanAfghanistan 160 3.427 147 3.252
Iraq Iraq 161 3.444 149 3.406
Syria 162 3.645    

Highlights

  • Since last year, 81 countries have become more peaceful, while 78 have deteriorated.
  • Many countries in Europe, the world’s most peaceful region, have reached historically high levels of peace. 15 of the 20 most peaceful countries are in Europe.
  • Also Balkans has bacome more peaceful as all countries of this region made better ranks between positions Slovenia – 15 to Macedonia (FYROM) -71.
  • All ranks of BIRC countries as well USA went down. 
  • In general the world is less peaceful today than it was in 2008. The indicators that have deteriorated the most are the number of refugees and IDPs, the number of deaths from internal conflict and the impact of terrorism. Last year alone it is estimated that 20,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks up from an average of 2,000 a year only 10 years ago.
  • Due to an increase in civil unrest and terrorist activity, the Middle East and North Africa is now the world’s least peaceful region for the first time since the Index began.  The best in Mideast ranks was Jordan -71 following Saudi Arabia -95, Egypt -137, Iran -138, Lebanon -145, Israel -150 and on the bottom Iraq -161 and Syria -162.
  • The country that suffered the most severe deterioration in peace was Libya, which now ranks 149th of 162 countries. Ukraine suffered the second largest deterioration, from 97 to 150: following a revolution which brought down the administration of Viktor Yanukovych, Russia supported regions of East Ukraine agains Kiev regime, meaning it scored poorly on organised conflict indicators.
  • Globally the intensity of internal armed conflict has increased dramatically, with the number of people killed in conflicts rising over 3.5 times from 49,000 in 2010 to 180,000 in 2014.
  • The economic impact of violence reached a total of US$14.3 trillion or 13.4% of global GDP last year.

Economic%20impact%20of%20violence_1

Peace and global challenge

“The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded” (Ban Ki-moon )

Related to the economic impact of violence one esily can see that peace has also its monetary value in terms of business growth and economic development.  However also war has its monetary value and in short term business – especially inside military-industrial-complex – world the profits from war can be more attracting than those from peace. In my previous articles Arms Trade: The Crux Of The MIC“, BTW MIC Still Rules and   “Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too?”.

Global challenges, such as climate change, decreasing biodiversity, lack of fresh water and overpopulation, call for global solutions and these solutions will require co-operation on a global scale unparalleled in history. Peace is the essential prerequisite because without it the level of needed co-operation, inclusiveness and social equity necessary to solve these challenges will not be achieved. The big challenge at global, regional and state level is to strengthen factors – or “drivers” of peace in social structures and attitudes.

 

 

 

 


FWD: Kiev ramps up repression by Ben Gliniecki

May 13, 2015

Kiev ramps up repression

The last few weeks have seen a wave of political killings in Ukraine. All the deaths have been of high profile figures associated with opposition to the current Kiev government. The two most recent killings, one of a former Party of Regions MP and the other of a journalist and author, coincided with the victims’ details being published on a website called The Peacekeeper shortly before their deaths.

Andrey BilestkyThis website, which has the support of Anton Geraschenko, a top advisor to Ukraine’s interior minister who encouraged his Facebook followers to send in information about “suspected terrorists and separatists” to the site, claims to be a database with information on “pro-Russian terrorists, separatists, mercenaries, war criminals, and murderers”.

Within hours of each other on 16 and 17 April, Oleg Kalashnikov, a former MP with ties to Yanukovich, and Oles Buzyna, a journalist who had appeared on Russian talk shows recently, were murdered. According to political expert Volodomyr Fesenko, a group claiming to be the Ukrainian Insurgent Army sent him an email addressed to the Opposition Bloc, claiming responsibility for the murders. Fesenko quoted the letter as saying “We are unleashing a ruthless insurgency against the anti-Ukrainian regime of traitors and Moscow’s lackeys. From now on, we will only speak to them using the language of weapons, all the way to their elimination.”

This claim by the neo-nazi Ukrainian Insurgent Army comes shortly after they have been legitimised by the Ukrainian parliament, in the same breath as banning all Communist symbols and propaganda and glorifying the nazi collaborators in WWII. Far right elements in Ukraine have also recently received a boost from the appointment of Dimitry Yarosh, leader of the fascist Right Sector, to Advisor to the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces in Ukraine. President Poroshenko’s reliance on fascist elements to silence opposition to his regime is increasing.

The final interview given by Buzyna before his murder is revealing. In it he says “I support the idea that relations between Russia and the Ukraine should become most comfortable and friendly [because] the ‘real’ Ukraine is in large measure dependent on economic ties with Russia”. He goes on to say “There was a coup d’état. After that, it was legalized, they did everything, anything they wanted, to make it look decent…The fact that there was a coup is hugely the fault of Yanukovich, who failed to perform his duties as President”. He also describes the country as being “governed by thieves from within” and concludes by saying that the government is “shelling civilians in towns instead of fighting terrorists… That’s the thing. My position is inconvenient to the current authorities in Ukraine”. One week after criticising the government in this way, Buzyna was dead.

These two most recent murders have been preceded by a spate of so-called suicides, all involving opposition figures. On February 28, Mikhail Chechetov, a former MP for the Party of Regions, reportedly jumped from the window of his 17th-floor apartment in Kiev. On March 9, Stanislav Melnik, also a former member of parliament with the Party of Regions and the manager of several businesses in Donetsk, was found dead in his apartment near Kiev. And finally, on March 12, Oleksandr Peklushenko, another former MP, was found in his house in Zaporizhzhya, in southeastern Ukraine, dead of a gunshot wound.

The Kiev authorities have claimed that many of these deaths are suicides. Regarding Buzyna and Kalashnikov the government has suggested that this could be the work of Moscow attempting a provocation by killing off opposition figures. This seems far-fetched to say the least, as Buzyna said in his final interview: “When the country is governed by thieves from within, it is very easy to blame Putin. Whatever happens—Putin is to blame.” In the context of a consolidation of fascist positions in the government and in law, as well as the breathing space afforded by the fragile ceasefire agreement, it appears that Kiev is making the most of this opportunity to unleash its far right thugs against its opponents.

Meanwhile US troops have begun training soldiers of the Ukrainian National Guard, while the US state department has hypocritically claimed that Russia is violating the terms of the Minsk agreement by massing weapons in prohibited zones and carrying out training exercises with rebel forces. Although the ceasefire appears to be holding in the main, there has been fighting breaking out at certain flashpoints, particularly near the key port of Mariupol.

Poroshenko, under pressure from the far right Ukrainian nationalists, will not be able to reconcile fascist support for his government with a separatist state in the east of the country. This will put the ceasefire under more and more pressure the longer it continues, but Poroshenko recognises the potential for general discontent, caused by continued war in the east, to spread widely among ordinary western Ukrainians. Thus he is cementing his position by eliminating figures around which opposition to his regime could coalesce, thereby paving the way for a renewed assault on the eastern republics.


Maidan Massacre – Documentary Video by John Beck-Hofmann

April 20, 2015

English version of documentary investigation into the shootings which occurred 20/2/2014 in Kiev’s Independence [Maidan] Square

[Directed by John Beck-Hofmann]

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A documentary film by John Beck-Hofmann, which recounts the chronology of events of the Kiev Maidan which led to a Coup d’etat and the demise of the democratically elected government of president Yanukovitch.

Maidan Massacre is an investigative documentary into the shootings which occurred on February 20th, 2014, when nearly 50 people were gunned down on the streets of Kiev’s Independence square. The massacre was the result of a massive three month long protest against the former Government of Viktor Yanukovich and his decision to reject a trade deal with the EU. Although no thorough investigation had been conducted, the blame was immediately placed on the officers who served under Yanukovich. This program investigates the scene of the crime, interviewing those who were there when the shootings occurred, and seeks to answer the questions as to who really was shooting that day on Kiev’s Independence square – a place known to the people of Ukraine, as Maidan. – Written by John Beck Hofmann

John Beck-Hofmann acknowledges that his film was censored, without going into details. It was initially 90 minutes, important sections pertaining to US sponsorship of the Coup d’Etat were removed.

In the words of John Beck Hoffman, in response to comments on his youtube channel:

Comment: On the basis of examining the issues of the Maidan snipers a decent documentary. However, more background to the events that led these “protests” would have been welcomed e.g. Oleg Tsarev’s claims of US NGOs funding regime change in Ukraine. The events in the attempted Macedonian coup shows that the US still up to its tricks.

Beck-Hoffman: “all that was in my original cut of the film which was closer to 90 mins. I went into great detail of USAID, NED, Nuland/Pyatt, corporate interests and the history of how this has happened many times before – I unfortunately had to cut it out for reasons I can’t go into, but I will eventually release the full “directors cut” of the program.”

Beck-Hoffman: [in response to another comment] A Russian language version was released first, as well on youtube. I had also originally made a longer version of the film which went into detail as to “who would benefit” from such an atrocity. It unveiled a lot of what was going on behind the scenes, but that segment ended up being cut from the final film. I would like to release that someday but I have no idea if and when that would be possible. If I do, I will put it on my youtube channel. But please, pass along this film to whomever you think would enjoy it. It needs to get more exposure as so many people have no idea what really happened over there. thanks you again. JBH

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[Source and original post by syrianfreepress ]

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