Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Radwan Mortada makes his living by pretending he can ring these mythical bastards up and get press statements. Newspapers that pretend to be anti-imperialist should stop peddling this garbage, otherwise they themselves will have to be regarded as imperialist mouthpieces too. Perhaps they have no choice. Governments whose backs are against the wall in every other respect, go on paying obeisance to the myth of AQ. I’m talking about Iran and Russia, first and foremost. It’s like an over-civilised man being bashed against the wall by a homicidal gangster who has his hands tight round the victim’s throat, and the victim keeps gasping, “I say old boy, don’t you appreciate that I am still adhering to your norms of civilised propaganda management?” Pathetic lying governments with your phony charade of anti-imperialism: if you go on spouting this garbage, you’re no better than the killers you hypocritically condemn – RB
when your rulers become stupider and stupider every day, the fact that they are organised and you are not becomes less decisive to the eventual results
I wonder why supposedly penny-squeezed small websites continue to waste very large sums buying worthless and meaningless cartoons and photos from major agencies? It’s stupid, unnecessary, distracting, and sometimes downright offensive, because the cartoons are seldom amusing, and more usually just concessions to what I fear is a trade union deal that extends across all media that employ union journalists at all. Anyway, 9 times out of 10 I omit them here – RB
Filtering in the UK: The hinterland of legality
Ian Dunt, Index on Censorship, Apr 17 2014
James Brokenshire was giving an interview to the Financial Times last month about his role in the government’s online counter-extremism programme. Ministers are trying to figure out how to block content that’s illegal in the UK but hosted overseas. For a while the interview stayed on course. There was “more work to do” negotiating with internet service providers (ISPs), he said. And then, quite suddenly, he let the cat out the bag. The internet firms would have to deal with “material that may not be illegal but certainly is unsavoury”, he said. And there it was. The sneaking suspicion of free-thinkers was confirmed. The government was no longer restricting itself to censoring web content which was illegal. It was going to start censoring content which it simply didn’t like. If you call the Home Office they will not tell you what Brokenshire meant. Does it mean “unsavoury” material will be forced onto ISP’s filtering software? They won’t say. Very probably they do not know. There is a lack of understanding at the Home Office of what they are trying to achieve, of how one might do so, and, more fundamentally, of whether one should be trying at all. This confusion, more of a catastrophe of muddled thinking than a conspiracy, is concealed behind a double-locked system preventing any information getting out about the censorship programme. It is a mixture of intellectual inadequacy, populist hysteria, technological ignorance and plain old state secrets. And it could become a significant threat to free speech online.
The Home Office’s current over-excitement stems from its victory over the ISPs last year. Ministers, from New Labour onward, have always tried to bully ISPs with legislation if they refuse to sign up to ‘voluntary agreements’. It rarely worked. But David Cameron positioned himself differently, by starting up an anti-porn crusade. It was an extremely effective manouvre. ISPs now suddenly faced the prospect of being made to look like apologists for the sexualisation of childhood. Or at least, that’s how it was sold. By the time Cameron had done a couple of breakfast shows, the precise subject of discussion was becoming difficult to establish. Was this about child abuse content? Or rape porn? Or ‘normal’ porn? It was increasingly hard to tell. His technological understanding was little better. Experts warned that the filtering software was simply not at the level needed for it fulfill politicians’ requirements. It’s an old problem, which goes back to the early days of computing: how do you get a machine to think like a person? A human can tell the difference between images of child abuse and the website of child support group Childline. But it has proved impossible, thus far, to teach a machine about context. To filters, they are identical. MPs like filtering software because it seems like a simple solution to a complex problem. It is simple. So simple it does not exist. Once the filters went live at the start of the year, an entirely predictable series of disasters took place.
The filters went well beyond what Cameron had been talking about. Suddenly, sexual health sites had been blocked, as had domestic violence support sites, gay and lesbian sites, eating disorder sites, alcohol and smoking sites, ‘web forums’ and, most baffling of all, ‘esoteric material’. Childline, Refuge, Stonewall and the Samaritans were blocked, as was the site of Claire Perry, the Tory MP who led the call for the opt-in filtering. The software was unable to distinguish between her description of what children should be protected from and the things themselves. At the same time, the filtering software was failing to get at the sites it was supposed to be targeting. Under-blocking was at somewhere between 5% and 35%. Children who were supposed to be protected from pornography were now being denied advice about sexual health. People trying to escape abuse were prevented from accessing websites which could offer support. And something else curious was happening too: A reactionary view of human sexuality was taking over. Websites which dealt with breast feeding or fine art were being blocked. The male eye was winning: impressing the sense that the only function for the naked female body was sexual.
It was a staggering failure. But Downing Street was pleased with itself, it had won. The ISPs had surrendered. The WaPo described it as “some of the strictest curbs on pornography in the Western world,” music to Cameron’s ears. Suddenly the terms of the debate started shifting. Dido Harding, the chief executive of TalkTalk, was saying the internet needed a “social and moral framework.” So instead of proving the death knell for government-mandated internet censorship, the opt-in system became a precursor for a more extensive ambition: banning extremism. If targeting porn without also blocking sexual health websites was hard, countering terrorism was even more difficult. After all, the line between legitimate political debate and inciting terrorism is blurred and subjective. And that’s not even to address other pieces of problematic legislation, such as the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006, which bans incitement to hatred against religions. Even trying to block what everyone agrees is extremist content is highly controversial. Anti-extremism group Quilliam and security experts at the Royal United Services Institute have warned that closing websites where people are liable to being radicalised actually hinders intelligence services (it’s where they select people to frame, imprison, pressurise and recruit – RB).
A lot of what we know about Brits going off to fight in Syria or elsewhere comes from the fact they write it on message boards. Blocking them just reduces your ‘intelligence take’. Groups like Quilliam also use those sites to go in and engage with people, offering them a ‘counter-narrative’. Blocking the sites prevents them doing their work. The Home Office mulled whether to add extremism and Brokenshire’s “unsavoury content” to something called the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) list. The list was supposed to be a collection of child abuse sites, which were automatically blocked via a system called Cleanfeed. But soon, criminally obscene material was added to it, a famously difficult benchmark to demonstrate in law. Then, in 2011, the Motion Picture Association started court proceedings to add a site indexing downloads of copyrighted material. There are no safeguards to stop the list being extended to include other types of sites. This is not an ideal system. For a start, it involves blocking material which has not been found illegal in a court of law. The Crown Prosecution Service is tasked with saying whether a site reaches the criminal threshold. This is like coming to a ruling before the start of a trial. The CPS is not an arbiter of whether something is illegal. It is an arbiter, and not always a very good one, of whether there is a realistic chance of conviction. As the IWF admits on its website, it is looking for potentially criminal activity, content can only be confirmed to be criminal by a court of law. This is the hinterland of legality, the grey area where momentum and secrecy count for more than a judge’s ruling.
There may have been court supervision in putting in place the blocking process itself but it is not present for individual cases. Record companies are requesting sites be taken down and it is happening. The sites are only being notified afterwards, are only able to make representations afterwards. The tradional course of justice has been turned on its head. The possibilities for mission creep are extensive. In 2008, the IWF’s director of communications claimed the organisation is opposed to censorship of legal content, but just days earlier it had blacklisting a Wikipedia article covering the Scorpions’ 1976 album Virgin Killer and an image of its original LP cover art. Sources close to the ISPs say they were asked to take the IWF list wholesale, including pages banned due to extremism, and block them for all their customers, whether they had signed into the filtering option or not. They’ve proved commendably reluctant, although their reticence is as much about legal challenges as a principled stance on free speech. Regardless, they seem to be insisting that universal blocking can only be carried out with a court order. Brokenshire is then left trying to get them to include it in their optional, opt-in filter. We don’t know if he’s succeeded in that. The Home Office are resistant to giving out any information. They direct inquiries to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport or ISPs themselves, who really have no idea what’s going on. They refuse to answer any questions on Cleanfeed, saying it is a privately owned service, a fact which is technically true and entirely misleading.
It is not conspiracy. It is plain old cock-up combined with an inadequate understanding of the proper limit of their powers. The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. Even inside departments of the Home Office, they do not know what they are trying to achieve. The policy formation is weak and closed. The industry is not in the loop. Media inquiries are being dismissed. The technological understanding is startlingly naive. The prospect of a clamp down on dissent is real. It would come slowly, incrementally, a cack-handed government response to technological change it does not understand. We must be grateful for James Brokenshire. His slip-ups are the best source of information we have.
You may recall that last Thursday, a pornographic snuff video briefly appeared on YouTube, purporting to show the police chief of Kramatorsk being tortured to death before the eyes of his wife, who was herself brutally raped. I mentioned this video but dismissed it as fake. However, the police chief is now reported as having been missing (RT says, missing since Monday, see the next post down), which is extremely ominous – RB
US warns Russia over Ukraine as Moscow announces military exercises
Graun, Apr 23 2014
The crisis in Ukraine deepened further overnight following Biden’s departure from Kiev after a two-day visit. In a late-night phone call, Jackass Kerry told Sergei Lavrov of his “deep concern over the lack of positive Russian steps to de-escalate” the crisis in eastern Ukraine, a State Dept official said. Jackass also called on Russia to “tone down escalatory rhetoric.” But Russia says the Kiev junta to blame for the collapse of the peace accord brokered in Geneva. Moscow maintains the accord was ruptured by ultra-nationalists who killed rebels in an attack on Sunday near Slavyansk. On Wednesday morning, Russia’s defence ministry announced on Interfax that the navy had launched snap military exercises involving its fleet in the Caspian Sea. The drill will last seven days and involve around 10 naval vessels and 400 sailors. Ukraine relaunched military operations against pro-Kremlin separatists late on Tuesday, hours after Biden ended his visit. Turchynov said he was ordering the military to restart operations against the rebels after the discovery of two brutally tortured bodies in Slavyansk. One of them, he said, was that of a recently kidnapped local councillor from a nearby town who belonged to his party. The US announced it was sending 600 troops to neighbouring Poland and to Baltic countries for exercises. A Ukrainian reconnaissance plane was hit by gunfire while flying above Slavyansk. The Antonov An-30 propellor-driven plane received several bullet impacts, but safely made an emergency landing and none of its crew members was hurt, said the neo-Nazi puppet defence ministry in Kiev. The OSCE, which has monitors in the country, also said that rebels had abducted a police chief in the town of Kramatorsk. Biden, in his news conference after meeting the Kiev authorities, warned Russia of isolation if it continued trying to pull Ukraine apart, underlining a US threat to impose further sanctions on Moscow. In a separate development, Sweden, which is not a NATO member, announced on Tuesday it was increasing defence spending because of the “deeply unsettling development in and around Ukraine.” It plans to boost its fleets of fighter jets and submarines.
Russia warns Ukraine could see Georgia repeat if interests threatened
Telegraph, Apr 23 2014
Russia will respond if its interests are attacked in Ukraine, as they were in South Ossetia in 2008 which led to war with Georgia, Sergei Lavrov has said. Lavrov told Russia Today, which published excerpts of the English-language interview to be broadcast later Wednesday (see below – RB):
Ukraine has chosen to relaunch military operations against separatists in the east during Biden’s visit to Kiev. Nothing that was agreed in Geneva that the Kiev authorities had to carry out has been implemented by them. There is no reason not to believe that the US are running the show in the most direct way. If we are attacked, we would certainly respond. Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation. If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians, have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in full accordance with international law. The only thing I would like to highlight at this stage is that the Russian troops are on the Russian territory. This has been confirmed by international inspections involving Ukraine, Europe and the US. No-one who participated in these inspections ever brought up any fact that would indicate Russia was engaged in some dangerous military activity.
Lavrov did not elaborate further on what the response would entail, but the reference to Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia strongly hints at the possibility of military action. In Aug 2008, Russia sent troops into South Ossetia and then into Tbilisi-controlled Georgian territory after then Saakashvili tried to reestablish control over the breakaway region. Russia then recognised South Ossetia and another breakaway Georgian region, Abkhazia, as independent in defiance of the West.
Lavrov: Kiev issued criminal order allowing use of weapons against civilians
RT.com, Apr 23 2014
The coup-appointed Kiev government’s order to use force against Ukrainian citizens is criminal, Sergei Lavrov told RT. He also denied claims that there is Russian military presence on Ukrainian territory. In an interview with RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze, Lavrov called Turchinov’s order to reinitiate an anti-terror operation in East Ukraine, a criminal act. Lavrov accused Kiev’s coup-appointed government of going back on its pledge to put a stop to all violence, saying:
In Geneva we agreed there must be an end of all violence. Next afternoon, Turchinov declared almost a state of emergency and ordered the army to shoot at the people.
Turchinov announced the resumption of the anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday. Moscow has decried the operation and urged the Ukrainian government to refrain from using force on civilians living in the region. Lavrov said the buildup of troops on the border with Ukraine was within the bounds of international law and denied the presence of Russian troops in East Ukraine. Lavrov said the troops were participating in routine military drills, something that has been verified by international inspectors. Describing a worst case scenario in the Ukrainian crisis, Lavrov said Russia would be forced to respond if it were attacked. He said:
If we are attacked, we would certainly respond. If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in accordance with international law. Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation.
ReferencingYatsenyuk’s trip to the Vatican on Wednesday, Lavrov said the coup-imposed puppet premier would do better to visit the South of Ukraine and actually meet with the anti-Maidan protesters. The foreign minister also spoke about US involvement in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, accusing Washington of trying to manipulate the situation, saying:
There is no reason not to believe that the US are running the show. It’s quite telling they chose the moment of Biden’s visit to announce the resumption of this operation, because the launching of this operation happened immediately after Brennan’s visit to Kiev. Ukraine is just one manifestation of the US unwillingness to yield in the geopolitical fight. They are not ready to admit that they cannot run the show in each and every part of the globe from Washington alone. Their ready-made solutions cannot remedy a crisis that they do not understand.
a new and much improved rolling update thread on RT (so much better, i have taken it back five days)
Eastern Ukraine stands defiant against Kiev LIVE UPDATES
RT.com, Apr 15 2014
Wednesday Apr 23
10:26 GMT: Aleksandr Sapunov, who was proclaimed ‘People’s mayor’ of the eastern Ukrainian city of Gorlovka by anti-government protesters there, has announced his resignation. He told RIA Novosti:
Following an attack, of which my close circle and I became targets, taking into account a threat to my life, I’m no longer going to fulfill duties of the ‘People’s mayor’ and also of the MP of the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’.
He said he will still be the leader of the local ‘City order’ movement and an active participant of the city’s self-defense. Sapunov said unknown people blocked a car driven by his friend on Apr 16. When the assailants found out there was no ‘People’s mayor’ in the car, they drove away.
08:58 GMT: Resumption of the military operation in eastern Ukraine is contrary to the Geneva agreement, a representative of the self-defense forces of the Donetsk Region, Sergey Tsyplakov, told RIA Novosti. Tsyplakov said:
The Kiev junta gets it the way they want. When it comes to vacating buildings, only the east should do this. This is all cynicism and double standards.
08:46 GMT: The military operation against protesters in eastern Ukraine, which the authorities in Kiev describe as an “anti-terrorist” one, has been resumed following its suspension during the Easter holidays, neo-Nazi puppet vice-president Vitaly Yarema told journalists. Interfax reported him as saying:
Law enforcement agencies are working on the eradication of all groups currently active in Kramatorsk, Slavyansk and other cities of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions.
Yarema said no military operations were carried out overnight.
Tuesday Apr 22
23:30 GMT: OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović expressed concern about the work of journalists in eastern Ukraine. Mijatović said:
I remain deeply concerned about the ongoing negative pattern in relation to journalists’ safety in Ukraine. I call on all those responsible to stop harassing and attacking journalists and let them do their job. Simon Ostrovsky should be released immediately.
Simon Ostrovsky, a reporter for Vice News, was sent to Slovyansk to cover the pro-federalization protest when he was taken under the protection of the pro-federalization forces. Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the “People’s mayor” of Slavyansk, said at a news conference after the mass media was quick to claim that Ostrovsky had been kidnapped:
Nobody abducted him, nobody holds him hostage, he is now with us. He is now working, preparing materials.
He confirmed that Ostrovsky holds both Iraeli and US passports. A spokesperson for VICE said in a statement:
Vice News is aware of the situation and is in contact with the US State Dept and other appropriate government authorities to secure the safety and security of our friend and colleague, Simon Ostrovsky.
RT stringer Graham Phillips says via twitter that Ostrovsky will most likely be released in the morning because “the mayor tells me they are expecting an attack on the building, no one leaves.”
Mayor has just told me Simon is ok, sleeping, told me to get some sleep. Hopefully release in morning.—
GrahamWPhillips (@GrahamWP_UK) April 22, 2014
22:35 GMT: Pro-federalization activists say that they are ready to vacate two floors and one of the halls of the Donetsk Regional State Administration so that its staff can resume work. The head of the committee on media relations of the People’s Republic of Donetsk, Alexander Khryakov, told RIA Novosti:
Vital state functions such as justice, perhaps, utilities and social services, the budget department, they will resume work.
20:09 GMT: Lugansk airport has suspended all regular flights due to a “tense socio-political situation” that has led to “planes flying below capacity,” according to an interview director Vasily Tatarinov gave to Ukraine’s CXID.info. The airport, which has been a site for demonstrations by pro-Russian activists, continues to service charter flights.
18:46 GMT: The ‘People’s Mayor’ of Slavyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, has confirmed to RIA news agency that bodies of two men with signs of torture have been recovered, but said that their murder could be a “provocation”. Ponomarev said that the two victims, who were found naked floating in the local river on Sunday, have not been identified. On Tuesday, Turchinov said that one of the men was pro-Kiev local deputy Vladimir Rybak, who had been responsible for organizing public demonstrations, and disappeared last Thursday. Ponomarev did confirm that Rybak’s relatives are on their way to identify the body. Ponomaryev said:
We need to look into this. Let’s wait for the results of the identification and the forensic analysis.
18:08 GMT: RT stringer Graham Phillips says he has personally found Vice News journalist Simon Ostrovsky in Slavyansk.
Ive just spoken with peoples mayor of Sloviansk, he says Simon is ok, news soon.—
GrahamWPhillips (@GrahamWP_UK) April 22, 2014
Im at city hall, Simon is being held here, will be free within minutes they say—
GrahamWPhillips (@GrahamWP_UK) April 22, 2014
Earlier, multiple Russian media reported that Ostrovsky had been arrested by pro-Russian militia, after traveling to film impromptu barricades on Monday night.
17:43 GMT: The OSCE mission has met with parties on both sides of the stand-off when visiting Donetsk. Mark Etherington, Deputy Chief Monitor, said:
We have had a useful and constructive meeting with representatives of the group occupying the Donetsk regional administration building, the Mayor of Donetsk and Donetsk chief of police. They explained their positions. We also discussed the need for dialogue and the de-escalation of tensions, and the need to refrain from violence.
Mission representatives have already visited Slovyansk and other eastern hotspots.
17:42 GMT: In Kiev OSCE Chief Monitor in Ukraine Ertugrul Apakan has asked for the release of the reportedly abducted head of the Kramatorsk police department, who went missing on Monday night. He said:
Coercion against representatives of the state is unacceptable, and I urge for the immediate release of Colonel Kolupai. These provocative actions run counter to the spirit of the recent Geneva Joint Statement to restore security on the ground, and can only worsen the existing tensions and contribute to further violence.
Earlier the Ukrainian interior ministry reported that the policeman was taken hostage by self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic activists, who burst into the Kramatorsk station on Monday night, and demanded that Kolupai hand them over all police weapons.
17:04 GMT: Turchinov has demanded that special services “resume productive anti-terrorist operations that will protect Ukrainians living in the east of the country,” his press service reported. According to the statement, the renewed focus was provoked by the discovery of two mutilated bodies, including one belonging to nationalist local deputy Vladimir Rybak. The dead politician was found near Slavyansk, which has been in the grip of pro-Russian activists. He accused the purported murderers of “crossing the line by torturing and killing Ukrainian patriots,” and said the illegal activities were carried out with “full support” from Russia.
16:32 GMT: RT’s Paula Slier documented the funeral of three men killed on duty at checkpoint in Slavyansk on Sunday.
12:02 GMT: A draft law on amnesty of the protesters in south-eastern Ukraine has been registered in the country’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada. According to ITAR-TASS, the bill will see those, who “didn’t commit grievous crimes” since Feb 22 striped from criminal and administrative liability. The authors of the bill believe that its adoption will “create a legal framework for the voluntary and peaceful solution to the existing domestic conflicts.”
Monday Apr 21
23:55 GMT: Federalization supporters in the Lugansk region have decided to hold a referendum in two stages about the status of the region, local media reported. In the first stage of the referendum, scheduled for May 11, voters are to state whether they want to region to preserve its current status or become autonomous. In the second phase, scheduled for May 18, residents of the region will state their opinion on whether the region should become an independent state or an entity within the Russian Federation.
23:14 GMT: The first talks between the senior European mediator in eastern Ukraine and the leader of pro-federalization activists in Slaviansk have been held, Reuters reports. Mark Etherington, an official with the OSCE special mission in Ukraine, met with Mayor Vyacheslav Ponomaryov for two hours to inquire if activists would comply with last week’s Geneva accord and agree to disarm and vacate occupied public buildings. Ponomaryov said during a news conference:
We did not negotiate, we talked. We told them our position, what happened here, and they told us about their plans.
Ponomaryov also said that OSCE officials spoke with former Mayor Nelya Shtepa, adding that “she is under our protection.”
22:29 GMT: Vladimir Varshavsky was proclaimed to be “national governor” of Kharkov by pro-federalization supporters, local media reports. Varshavsky already declared the creation of the executive committee, announcing the need to attract “skilled lawyers” and security officers to protect the interests of the region.
21:38 GMT: Cities in the Lugansk region have formed a new government by electing local parliamentarians from each of the populated areas, following mass pro-federalization meetings in the region on Monday, Interfax Ukraine reports. Valery Bolotov, commander of the so-called “army of the south-east, was proclaimed the “national governor” of Lugansk. He has pledged to take the region’s court and police under regional custody, promising to coordinate his region’s initiatives with other centers of pro-federalization uprisings in the southeast of the country.
20:21 GMT: Turchinov has appointed Valery Rudnitsky to head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) in Donetsk region, the presidential press service announced.
17:09 GMT: Anti-government activists have entered the local headquarters of the Ukraine Security Service in the town of Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region, RT’s RUPTLY stringer reports from the scene. The activists are currently installed in the building, over which the flag of the People’s Republic of Donetsk has been raised.
14:01 GMT: Yanukovich demanded that the Kiev coup-appointed government withdraw National Guard troops from eastern Ukraine and start peaceful dialogue with the citizens of the eastern regions. He said:
You called millions of people terrorists. They have no other choice but to fight for their rights, their own lives and lives of their children.
Yanukovich also spoke in favor of a referendum on Ukraine’s federalization, which should be followed by constitutional reform.
12:54 GMT: Biden is to announce new economic and energy-related technical assistance for Ukraine during his visit to Kiev, a senior Obama administration official flying on board Biden’s plane told Reuters. The assistance would help Ukraine boost energy efficiency and produce more gas at Ukraine’s own gas field. It may also include know-how on extraction of “unconventional” gas resources, the official said in a possible reference to fracking technology. Biden will also offer US help in allocating future international aid effectively, and discuss a possible tranche of non-lethal security aid to Kiev.
12:40 GMT: Irma Krat, a prominent Maidan activist and journalist, who was detained on Sunday in protester-held Slavyansk, gave a media conference on Monday. The protesters suspect the 29-year-old of having close links to the Right Sector, which they blamed for the deadly attack on one of the protesters checkpoints early on Sunday morning.
Krat denied having links with the radicals, and insisted that she had arrived in Slavyansk in her capacity as a journalist and said that the protest in Maidan, which she supported, and the protest movement in eastern Ukraine mirror each other.
She added that she was treated well by her detainers and that she feels fine. Both Krat and the protest activists said she will soon be released.
10:31 GMT: Protesters in Lugansk have announced the creation of a headquarters for the coordination their activities in the south-eastern region, Itar-Tass found out. The base will be set up in Donetsk. This is taking place in an atmosphere of public gatherings aimed at tackling the kind of issues that will make their way into the upcoming May 11 referendum, including the question of federalization.
01:19 GMT: The “people’s mayor” of Slavyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, has imposed a curfew from midnight to 6 am, Ukraine’s Unian news agency reported.
Sunday Apr 20
23:50 GMT: Educators from Ukraine’s eastern region of Lugansk have threatened the government with mass protests, chairman of the Lugansk Workers Union of Education and Science of Ukraine, Gennadiy Sorkin, said. He added that the decision was prompted by recent Cabinet decisions that would reduce the level of wages.
22:12 GMT: OSCE monitoring teams in Ukraine hope to get permission to visit the city of Slavyansk in Donetsk region “within several hours,” Michael Bociurkiw, media officer for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, told Interfax-Ukraine. So far, monitors have not been given access due to safety reasons and instability in the city. Bociurkiw said:
While we are aware of reports of violence in Sloviansk, our monitoring teams have been unable to access the location due to security concerns. We’ll try to visit Sloviansk in the next few hours. Regional and local authorities are conducting negotiations with protesters at a number of occupied buildings. I can tell you that patience and caution in negotiations are working to provide our monitors with access to people.
21:46 GMT: Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has called on former Berkut special forces troops to rejoin the Ukrainian military. However, the troops are viewing the invitation with skepticism, chairman of the Association of Veterans of Berkut, Vladimir Krashevsky, told RT. Krashevsky said:
Ukraine is now forming the National Guard forces with children and the elderly, who do not have any proper training. This is the reason why they called upon Berkut to return, because they have very few professionals they can rely on. I don’t think even one Berkut unit would respond to the invitation.
19:06 GMT: The Ukrainian Interior Ministry has announced the creation of a special unit to maintain order in the south-eastern parts of the country. The move is explained by the “externally inspired separatist terrorist attacks, creation of gangs financed from outside the country, and the threat to internal law and order” in those regions, the ministry’s website said.
18:40 GMT: The self-defense forces in Donetsk region are expecting assaults on checkpoints and administrative buildings they’re holding in the town of Slavyansk at 18:00 GMT, ITAR-TASS reports. The anti-government activists are on high alert, with preparations to repel the attack underway, said Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the “people’s mayor” of Slavyansk. According to Ponomarev, unidentified armed men were spotted gathering outside the town. The self-defense forces failed to establish their belonging to any units of the Ukrainian military and say they are militants from Right Sector.
18:09 GMT: Machine-gun fire has been heard in the center of Slavyansk, an RIA Novosti correspondent reported from the scene.
18:09 GMT: Anti-government demonstrators in Odessa have demanded the resignation of the head of the regional administration, Vladimir Nemirovsky, Vesti.ru reports. Hundreds marched the streets of Odessa on Sunday, with the demonstration concluding with a rally at the city’s Kulikovo Field. Protesters also showed their support to the idea of referendum on the federalization of Ukraine and urged the coup-imposed authorities to end political repressions.
18:09 GMT: The self-defense forces in Donetsk Region said that three of their checkpoint in the suburbs of the town of Slavyansk came under fire by unidentified gunmen, Interfax reports.
11:14 GMT: The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed outrage over the deadly gun battle on Saturday night in Slavyansk. It said Kiev must deliver on its commitment to de-escalate the violence.
10:02 GMT: The OSCE mission in Donetsk does not possess evidence of any Russian troop presence in Ukraine. The mission’s head, Klaus Zillikens, told Ekho Moskvy radio that information appearing in the media regarding the number of victims of clashes in the Donetsk region is often unsubstantiated and not backed by evidence. This includes the Donbass region as well, Zillikens 09:26 GMT: Anti-Maydan activist Konstantin Dolgov has been jailed for two months by Kharkov’s court for his role in coordinating the local protest movement, his lawyer told Interfax-Ukraine.Dmitry Tihonenkov, the lawyer, told the newspaper:
We have five days to make an appeal.
No details of the specifics of Dolgov’s crimes are being shared at present, but it is known that the charge is for the deliberate destruction of property.
06:49 GMT: The Ukrainian neo-Nazi puppet Interior Ministry has called on the former members of the Berkut riot police to stand up and fight against “intervention” and “save Ukraine.” Berkut were involved in confrontation with radical activists during the Ukrainian protests in February, defending governmental buildings in Kiev from crowds, pelting them with Molotov cocktails and stones. Protesters accused the police officers of brutality, so after Ukraine’s coup all Berkut units were disbanded. Former Berkut members must forget that they used to be on different sides of the barricades and remember that “they are children of a united Ukrainian land, forget grievances, and leave behind all personal ambitions,” the ministry leaders said in a statement. The statement says:
In February there was enough human wisdom to stop just short of fratricide. The plot to discredit Ukraine’s national statehood failed.
It’s not clear whether the ministry chose to dismiss the killing of more than 100 people during the Kiev protest as irrelevant, or decided to go against the position of the General Prosecutor’s office, which charged several former Berkut members with mass murder. The attitude towards Berkut troops is one of several undermining the split in Ukraine following the February coup. Many anti-Maidan protesters hail them as heroes, who fulfilled their duty and resisted the violence of the radical activists. Some former Berkut members are reportedly taking active part in the protest movement in eastern Ukraine, which is defying Kiev.
05:15 GMT: Four people with gunshot wounds have been taken to a hospital in Slavyansk overnight, RIA Novosti confirms.
04:53 GMT: Five people have been reportedly killed in a shooting in Slavyansk, which is held by anti-government protesters. The fatalities came after a night attack on a protester checkpoint on the outskirts of the city, a Rossiya 24 news channel correspondent reported. Four cars drove by the checkpoint and opened fire at local residents holding it, killing three people and seriously injuring another one. A group of protesters, who had firearms unlike those holding the checkpoint, was called from their camp in the city. They opened fire at the attackers, killing two of them, the report said. The protesters in the confrontation reportedly captured the attackers’ two cars. Firearms, explosives and aerial photos of Slavyansk were discovered there.
Saturday Apr 19
23:03 GMT: One of the coordinating leaders of the pro-Russian movement in the eastern Ukrainian town of Kharkov was detained, Interfax quoted one of the coordinators of the ‘Borot’ba’ movement, Sergey Kirichuk, as saying.
22:18 GMT: A group belonging to Right Sector movement in the western Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr agreed to voluntarily surrender 21 boxes filled with Molotov cocktails and two 50-liter barrels of incendiary liquid to local authorities, RIA Novosti quoted Ukraine’s security service as saying. The move was explained as an effort towards de-escalating the situation in Ukraine following the Geneva talks.
Friday Apr 18
16:44 GMT: The OSCE mission on Ukraine has been ordered to start its work, Russian OSCE envoy Andrey Kelin told ITAR-TASS on Friday. Kelin said:
In Vienna, despite the Easter holidays, the work has started, the mission on Ukraine has been ordered to start acting immediately.
According to the Apr 17 Geneva treaty, the mission is to play the leading role> in de-escalating the political crisis in Ukraine. Neo-Nazi puppet Foreign Minister Andrey Deshchytsa on Friday said the mission is already working in eastern Ukraine.
The so-called “anti-terrorist operation” is continuing in eastern Ukrainian despite the Apr 17 Geneva agreements, but it has temporarily entered an “inactive phase,” Kiev authorities announced on Friday.
12:05 GMT: The Interior Ministry of Ukraine has denied all allegations of atrocities performed by Right Sector members in the eastern pro-federalization districts of the country, Interfax reported. Neo-Nazi puppet Interior Ministry counselor Stanislav Rechinsky said at a media briefing on Friday:
The rumors about atrocities allegedly perpetrated by the Right Sector in the area of the counter-terrorist operation are not consistent with reality. There’s no Right Sector there, only the servicemen of the National Guard, and they do not commit outrages.
Earlier this week, Andrey Parubyi, head of the neo-Nazi puppet National Security and Defense Council, announced that the first battalion of a National Guard “comprised of volunteers from Maidan self-defense troops” had left Kiev for the Southeast. The neo-Nazi puppet National Guard is being formed to eventually become a 60,000-strong force completely independent from the country’s military and police.
09:26 GMT: Over the last 24 hours, Ukraine’s border guards prevented 33 Russian citizens traveling by Aeroflot from entering the country, ITAR-TASS reported. A day earlier, Aeroflot warned its passengers that the company had received notification from Kiev that Ukraine will bar entry to Russian male citizens aged between 16 and 60. The same restrictions apply to all Ukrainian citizens registered in the Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which both recently seceded from Ukraine and joined the Russian Federation. Aeroflot schedules flights from Moscow to several Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kiev, Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov and Odessa. The company are prepared to reimburse passengers in full should they opt to cancel their trip to Ukraine, but so far only a few have done this and Aeroflot has no plans to stop flights to the country.
there is some truly weird disinfo swirling about regarding the photos the NYT printed of “russian spec ops”
The truly weird stuff can be found on this rather expensive-looking pro-Maidan disinfo site, but I don’t recommend spending time on it, because it is full of illogicalities and unprovables. The basic idea is, as I said before, to paint the Russians (all of them) as the new Nazis, so that NATO can launch WW3 to Jewish applause, which is the only applause that matters – RB
Biden Backs Ukraine Junta as State Dept Offers Weak Evidence of Russia Meddling
Kurt Nimmo, Infowars, Apr 22 2014
Biden met with Yatsenyuk and Turchynov in Kyiv and said the US will pledge an additional $50m as part of a package of assistance to help Ukraine pursue political and economic reform and strengthen its partnership with the US, according to CNN. Biden told Yatsenyuk, a former central banker who runs a foundation supported by the US State Dept, the National Endowment for Democracy, NATO, Chatham House, Horizon Capital, Swedbank, and the German Marshall Fund:
You will not walk this road alone. We will walk it with you.
Biden also said the IMF will soon kick in billions to prop up the regime as it ineptly tries to govern a country riven by social and political chaos following the February coup d’état. $11.4m of the $50 million will flow into the coffers of the country’s inept military. During an “anti-terror” operation last week in eastern Ukraine, the elite Dnipropetrovsk paratrooper brigade surrendered to unarmed pro-Russian activists and turned over their weapons, including armored vehicles, thus revealing problems the junta faces in attempting to pacify parts of the country opposed to the coup and its interim leadership, which includes ultra-nationalists and fascists.
Biden’s visit coincides with a new propaganda campaign by the State Dept. Images provided by the coup regime and posted by the NYT purportedly show Russian “sabotage-reconnaissance groups” acting in Ukrainian towns. The photos, accepted as legitimate by the Obama administration, were vetted by Ukraine’s state security service, an organization run by the neo-Nazi Andriy Parubyi and his deputy, Right Sector fascist Dmitry Yarosh. Members of the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian Parliament, believe the Ukrainian Security Service has become a de facto unit of the CIA following a secret meeting between DCIA Brennan and junta officials last week. The CIA has specialized in propaganda since the 1950s, when former Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner headed up the CIA’s Directorate of Plans. Carl Bernstein writes:
Wisner was the Agency’s premier orchestrator of black operations, including many in which journalists were involved. He liked to boast of his mighty Wurlitzer, a wondrous propaganda instrument he built and played with help from the press.
The US started with a photo of a guy with a long beard in Slovyansk, and a picture of a Russian soldier in Georgia in 2008 with an even longer beard. Coincidence? The US can’t imagine it. But these photos are the closest thing to a smoking gun the US appears to have been able to find.
The photos, admitted by the BBC to be sketchy at best, are however merely supplemental. The US, the EU and NATO have argued for weeks events in Crimea and eastern Ukraine are orchestrated by Russia. SACEUR Gen Breedlove writes:
Obama, Merkel, Cameron, Hollande, Rasmussen and many others have publicly stated their belief that Russian forces are behind the events in Ukraine. What is happening in eastern Ukraine is a military operation that is well planned and organized and we assess that it is being carried out at the direction of Russia.
thierry meyssan completely fucked up again, didn’t know polish source was satirical, april fools’ day joke
This article is based on information obtained by the Polish opposition. I erroneously cited as my source the satirical weekly Nie, which published a pastiche mixing truths and non-truths. The data it provides needs to be verified. In any case, the matter concerning the training of Pravy Sector members has in the meantime been brought before the Attorney General of Poland.
i can promise you, israel has no intention whatever of relaxing its entry policy: this is just diplomatic cover for the intended US surrender on the question
Shapiro: Israelis welcome in the US
JTA, Apr 22 2014 12:35pm
JAYLOOMIA – The US State Dept is working to make tourist visas available for as many Israelis as possible, especially young people, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said. Shapiro wrote Sunday on his Facebook page:
Although two-thirds of young Israeli applicants receive visas, some people have a misconception that young Israelis are not welcome in the US. This is certainly not the case. Israel is one of our closest allies, and we welcome all opportunities to foster ties between USraelis, including visits to the US. Placing Israel in the visa waiver program is a goal shared by both countries.
Permitting Israel into the visa waiver program would exempt Israeli citizens from having to obtain a tourist visa. It would allow them to stay in the US for up to 90 days. USrael have created a working group to help Israel advance toward joining the visa waiver program. Two major obstacles have kept Israel from joining the program: Allegations by US officials that Israel has discriminated against Arab and Muslim USAians seeking entry, and a proliferation of young Israelis traveling to the US as tourists and then working illegally. Haaretz reported Tuesday that Israel is willing to treat Plastelinan USAians wishing to enter Israel the same as it treats other USAians, if Israel is allowed to join the visa waiver program. The newspaper cited an unnamed senior Israeli official. The maximum visa rejection rate for entry into the program is 3%, and Israel’s is at 9.7%, spiking up from a 6% average in recent years.
So here’s the article referred to. Of course, such remarks by anonymous officials are not formal commitments or undertakings, nor will there be any such, because they have no intention of changing their policy, which is after all genuinely security-mandated, and because they know they can lie to the US and kick it around with absolute impunity, since they own it. This is just a casual attempt to provide a thin, superficial cover, to fob off the ignorant masses – RB
Israel to US: We’ll ease stance on Plastelinan-USAians if we join visa waiver program
Barak Ravid, Haaretz, Apr 22 2014
Israel is willing to treat Plastelinan-USAians entering the country as it treats other USAians if Israel joins the US visa waiver program, a senior Israeli official said. In a new approach, Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin discussed the issue with senior State Dept and Homeland Security Dept officials in Washington in early March, the official added. For years, discrimination against Plastelinan-USAians entering Israel has been a main obstacle against Israel’s joining the program, under which citizens of approved countries can stay in the US for up to 90 days if they meet certain requirements. The State Dept has repeated this concern a number of times in recent years, including last month. State Dept spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters at a daily briefing in March:
Homeland Security and State remain concerned with the unequal treatment that Plastelinan-USAians and other USAians of Middle Eastern origin experience at Israel’s border and checkpoints, and reciprocity is the most basic condition of the visa waiver program.
A senior Israeli official said that when Psaki made this statement, Israel had already pledged to resolve the issue. According to the official, the problem is the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO. Under the agreements, Plastelinans who hold foreign citizenship but are registered in the Plastelinan population registry, and who seek to visit the West Bank, must cross into Israel via the Allenby Bridge from Jordan, not through Ben-Gurion International Airport. Under this clause, Israel has refused to admit many Plastelinan-USAians who arrive at Ben-Gurion and say they intend to visit the West Bank. But other USAians who arrive on the same flight are allowed to enter. The passports of Plastelinan-USAians entering at the Allenby Bridge receive a stamp stating that their entry is restricted to the West Bank.
At the end of February, the Foreign Ministry requested the State Dept and Homeland Security Dept for permission to join the visa waiver program. The letter expressed a willingness to meet every condition the USAians have raised over the years and that were part of two bills introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives. One condition is equal treatment of Plastelinan-USAians. A few weeks later Elkin came to Washington for talks on the matter, the senior official said. Before the trip, Elkin had been appointed by Netanyahu and Liberman to coordinate an inter-ministerial committee to find a solution to the USAians’ conditions and to cut some of the red tape that had slowed progress. Elkin met in Washington with Deputy Sec State William Burns, Asst Sec State Janice Jacobs and Deputy Homeland Security Sec Alejandro Mayorkas. At the meetings, Elkin said Israel would ensure equal treatment of Plastelinan-USAians if Israel were included in the visa waiver program. He said Israel would change procedures so that Plastelinan-USAians would be exempt from the clauses in the Oslo Accords that discriminated against them. The senior Israeli official said that after a long stalemate on the issue, significant progress had been made in recent months, apparently due to Israel’s new approach. For years, attempts to pressure the Obama administration through Congress and AIPAC have led to acrimony. Instead, Israel is now opting for direct dialogue with the State Dept and Homeland Security Dept. Israel’s letter at the end of February was the fruit of this new approach. In Washington, Elkin also pledged that Israel would meet US security requirements, such as providing passenger lists beforehand and reporting on stolen Israeli passports. The senior official said Elkin had received a positive response from both the State Dept and Homeland Security Dept. The two sides agreed to set up a joint working group to focus on Israel’s joining the visa waiver program. The group’s first meeting is expected to take place in early July. For now, a main obstacle is that under US law, to enter the visa waiver program, a country’s visa refusal rate must be below 3%. Israel’s is at about 10%. Senator Barbara Boxer has proposed a bill to be coordinated with the Obama administration. According to a draft of the bill, the US authorities would use their discretion in letting countries join the program whose visa refusal rate is between 3% and 10%.
Honest Abe Foxman weighs in:
Foxman: US concerns about Israeli tourist espionage are hypocritical, almost irrational
Sam Sokol, JPost, Apr 23 2014
The ADL has reacted harshly to reports that several US Congress critturs and representatives of the country’s intelligence community have cautioned against admitting Israel into the State Dept’s visa waiver program due to concerns over espionage. Abe Foxman told the JPost:
Is there a certain amount of hypocrisy? Sure. Every couple of years something publicly surfaces, focusing the light on Israelis or Israel spying. It is inordinate and inappropriate and inaccurate. This is the most recent example of it. I’m disturbed at the level of preoccupation, primarily in the US government, not just now but going back for years. I have a file of people who applied for clearance, US Jews who had difficulty getting it and didn’t get it because of questions which were inappropriate. But none of these people wanted to take the case public because they were afraid it was going to destroy their employment opportunities. One out of three USAians believe that US Jews are not loyal, and all this enhances the stereotype and it fuels it. This is endemic in our political system out of Washington. It long predates the Pollard case, which gave the stereotype legitimacy, but did not create it. The exchange of information and data and specific research on technology is very high, and so at the same time to say we have to be careful of Israelis who come here on tourist visas because they can spy on us is almost irrational. But if we are talking about being motivated in part by stereotypes, stereotypes are not rational. It’s a prejudice.
Syrian rebels get SA-16 anti-aircraft missiles after receiving advanced anti-tank weapons
DEBKAfile, Apr 22 2014
Syrian rebels have been sighted wielding anti-aircraft weapons in various combat sectors including the Damascus region in the last few days. Just as on Apr 6, DEBKA was the first publication to disclose the arming of Syrian opposition forces with their first US weapons, BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles, our military sources now reveal that they have also acquired and are using Russian-made 9K310 Igla-1 aka SA-16 anti-tank rockets, which have an operational range of 5.2 km. The SA-16 is not new, but it is effective and has been widely used for the past 30 years by various armies in several world conflicts. According to our sources, the very US-Saudi suppliers, who brought the TOW missiles to certain Syrian rebel units through Jordan and Turkey, are now consigning the anti-tank weapons through the same route. But although the rebels are now armed for the first time with a weapon for combating the Syrian air force, it has come too late to reverse the tide of war. The newly-armed rebels have gained not much more than the capacity to hold on to their present lines for a while longer, but ultimately they cannot prevent the combined weight of the Syria army, Hizballah and Iraqi Shi’ites who continue to stream into Syria, breaking through those lines.
Had the Obama administration seriously meant the rebel side to win the war even at this late date, it would have laid on a commensurate supply of 10,000 BGM-71 TOW and 5,000 SA-16 missiles. This hardware is available on international black markets. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies would have been ready to foot the bill and get the weapons smuggled through to their destination. But Washington shows no inclination to give the Syrian opposition the upper hand against Assad’s radical military coalition. At best, only a few hundred missiles are being made available, enough to send the war into standoff with neither side able to finally rout the other. Since the removal of Bandar, who opposed this half-and-half US policy, Riyadh is going along with the Washington line on Syria. This plays straight into Assad’s hands. After completing their takeover of the strategic Qalamoun mountain range on the Lebanese border, the Syrian army and Hizballah have finally achieved control of the Old City of Homs at the end of two years of vicious fighting. On Saturday Apr 19, they launched themselves on rebel positions in eastern Damascus, starting with Jobar and Douma so as to push the rebels out of the center of the Syrian capital and loosen their grip on the main roads to Damascus International Airport. To support this effort, Assad’s emissaries have entered into secret negotiation with three rebel militias holding the southern outskirts of Damascus in a bid to persuade them to pull back.
Having done his intelligence homework, the Syrian ruler sent agents to approach the leaders of the SyHrian Liberation Army or Brigade, the Brigade of Beloved Mustafa and the Imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman Brigades for a deal. They were offered immunity from attack if they changed sides and agreed to withdraw their fighting men as far south as Daraa and regroup in the area between that town and Quneitra on the Golan, along the Syrian-Israeli border. By this gambit, Assad plans to keep his own army at a safe distance from the anti-tank and anti-aircraft rockets newly supplied by US and Saudi Arabia to the rebels in the south. At the same time, he intends to insert the three militias into the security pockets that Jordanian- and USrael-backed rebels are carving out in southern Syria. Two of those militias are made up of radical Islamist fighters who maintain ties with AQ. The Syrian ruler’s plan is to transplant the Jihadi threat they pose to his forces in the Damascus area over to his southern borders, where they will be ranged face to face with Israel and Jordan.
more incredible drivel from the judeonazis in so-called israel (but they’re everywhere, they’re just noisier and nastier there)
Bennett to Abbas: ‘If you’re going to shoot, then shoot, don’t talk’
Attila Somfalvi, Ynet, Apr 22 2014
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett made light of Plastelinan threats to dismantle the PA if peace talks fail. His comments came after Mahmoud Abbas reiterated the threat before Israeli journalists and laid out Plastelinan demands for the extension of peace talks. Bennett said at a conference in Ramleh:
I suggest to Abu Mazen: If you’re going to shoot, then shoot, don’t talk. The State of Israel is stronger than Abu Mazen’s threats. We hear again and again the recycling of the same threat that if we don’t go forward, if we don’t give him everything he wants, then Oy Va Voi for us, because he will dismantle the Plastelinan Authority. If he does so for Zionistic motives, than I appreciate it. But if he uses it as a threat against us, than I ask him: What are you threatening us with? The dissolution of an authority that incites terror? The dissolution of an authority that breaches the Oslo accords? The dissolution of an authority that pays fixed stipends to murderers of Jews? This is the seventh time Abu Mazen has made this threat. On Jun 14, he vowed to dissolve the government, on Jul 30 2008, on Dec 27 2012, and in this way he has threatened to dismantle the PA six times. What is Abu Mazen essentially telling us? That if we don’t release murdering terrorists, if we don’t divide Jayloomia, if we don’t retreat, he will commit suicide? Friends, he must improve the incentive. Something here isn’t working.
Abbas told a group of Israeli journalists on Tuesday that if peace talks do not continue, Israel will have to take on the burden of governing Plastelinan lands. He told the reporters visiting his ‘presidential headquarters’ in Ramallah:
If the negotiations stop, it’s the Israeli government that will bear the responsibility for the economic situation and the paying of the salaries of employees, workers and farmers, for health and for education, just as it did before the establishment of the PA. Also it will bear responsibility for security, meaning Israel will bear full responsibility. We hope that we won’t come to this, but that we come to solutions.
Netanyahu also belittled the PA’s threat to dismantle, saying on Monday:
Yesterday the PS discussed dismantling, today it is mulling uniting with Hamas. Let them decide whether to dismantle or unite.
A Plastelinan source slammed the comments, saying:
Netanyahu’s office response shows how unserious Israel’s government is. There is a huge difference between peace talks which lead to a peace accord, and talks which are a waste of time, like the ways of Netanyahu.
Also on Tuesday, a senior political source responded to the demands set forth by Abbas, according to which the Plastelinans would be willing to extend peace talks if Israel would freeze settlement construction, and talks would focus on delineating final border arrangements between Israel and the future Plastelinan state, by remarking:
The meaning of what Abbas said is that the Plastelinans do not want peace, because those who do, do not continue to make demands they know Israel cannot accept. Abbas wants to receive without giving anything. He will continue to do this, until the international community finally demands that he treat the talks seriously and focus on making process.
The source also slammed Abbas over the reconciliation talks that Fatah is holding with Hamas, with a PLO delegation arriving in Gaza, saying:
Behind the empty statements on peace, Abu Mazen is holding unity talks with Hamas, which around the world is considered a terror organization bent on destroying Israel and killing Jews…
From here on, ‘the source’ repeats word for word Bibi’s Maimuna comments, which I reported in a rather exaggerated way yesterday, to relieve their utter tedium – RB
i suppose what we are really talking about here is an understandable attempt by sudan proper to recover its stolen territory (and all the oil thereunder)
Most of the below is lies. The conflict is not ‘ethnic’ (ie ‘tribal’) but properly political. It suits the western imperialist media Wurlitzer to pretend that all the more or less confused and tragic struggles against their own imperialism that are occurring throughout the world are either ‘tribal’ or due to religious fanaticism. This is unlikely to be the case. The ‘natives’ are not as ‘primitive’ as they are painted. Sudan itself was carved out of southern Egypt by the British imperialists in 1899. The old game of divide and rule is not so hard to understand, once you have dissipated the racist media fog that surrounds you – RB
Piles and piles of bodies in South Sudan slaughter
Jason Straziuso, AP, Apr 23 2014
NAIROBI — The townsfolk believed the mosque was safe. They crammed inside as rebel forces in South Sudan took control of the town from government troops. But it wasn’t safe. Robbers grabbed their cash and mobile phones. Then gunmen came and opened fire on everyone, young and old. The UN says hundreds of civilians were killed in the massacre last week in Bentiu, the capital of South Sudan’s oil-producing Unity state, a tragic reflection of longstanding ethnic hostilities in the world’s newest country. Piles and piles of bodies were left behind after the shootings, said Toby Lanzer, the top UN aid official in South Sudan. Many were in the mosque. Others were in the hospital. Still more littered the streets. The violence appears to have been incited in part by calls on the radio for revenge attacks, including rapes. The attack, which targeted members of certain ethnic groups, was a disturbing echo of what happened two decades ago in another country in eastern Africa. Rwanda is marking the 20th anniversary this month of a genocide that killed an estimated 1 million people and also saw orders to kill broadcast over the radio. Thousands of people have been killed in violence in South Sudan since December, when presidential guards splintered and fought along ethnic lines. The violence later spread across the country as soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, tried to put down a rebellion led by Riek Machar, the former vice president and an ethnic Nuer. But Lanzer told AP in a phone interview Tuesday that the Apr 15-16 mass killings, carried out by Nuers, are quite possibly a game-changer in the conflict. Lanzer, who was in Bentiu on Sunday and Monday, said:
It’s the first time we’re aware of that a local radio station was broadcasting hate messages encouraging people to engage in atrocities. And that really accelerates South Sudan’s descent into an even more difficult situation from which it needs to extract itself.
Lanzer said thousands of civilians from several ethnic groups are streaming to the UN ‘peace-keeping’ base in Bentiu because many believe more violence is coming. The base now holds 22,000 people, up from 4,500 at the start of April, but can supply only one liter of water per person per day. Some 350 people must share one toilet. lanzer said:
The risk of a public health crisis inside our base is enormous.
Raphael Gorgeu, the head of MSF in South Sudan, said people will die inside the UN base in the coming days because of the water and sanitation situation. As rebel forces entered Bentiu last week, residents were led to believe that by entering the mosque they would be safe, Lanzer said, citing accounts from survivors. But once inside they were robbed of money and mobile phones and a short while later gunmen began killing, both inside the mosque and inside the city hospital. The UN hasn’t spelled out clearly who exactly the victims were, but it is likely that ethnic Dinkas were among the dead. If you were not Nuer, then nothing could save you. And even Nuers who refused to take part in the attacks were killed, according to the UN, as were former residents of the Darfur region of Sudan. The gunmen killed wantonly, including children and the elderly, Lanzer said. UN officials began helping to clear the bodies from the streets and city buildings after the bloodshed. Lanzer arrived in Bentiu on the third day of that operation but still counted 150 bodies. He said the UN is documenting the killings and will soon have a pretty good grasp on the precise number killed. At UN HQ in NYC, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday that many bodies remain by the side of the main road between Bentiu and Rubkona, another town in Unity state, and that the Rubkona market continues to be looted. Gorgeu said his team members in Bentiu, including 12 international staff, have treated more than 200 people wounded in the violence, including many gunshot victims. British Ambassador Ian Hughes said Tuesday that the killings are a clear violation of international law. He said those behind the atrocities and those inciting them will be held to account. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in a statement late Tuesday called the violence “an abomination” and said the perpetrators on both sides must be brought to justice. The statement reads:
They are a betrayal of the trust the South Sudanese people have put in their leaders. This is exactly the violence and suffering the South Sudanese people fought for decades to escape.
The violence is only one part of a dual crisis in South Sudan, a landlocked country that gained its independence from Sudan in 2011. Because of the fighting, more than 1 million people have fled their homes, and few residents are tending crops. Lanzer cited a severe risk of famine in the months ahead. The UN has been warning of mounting evidence of ethnically targeted killings as both government troops and rebel forces lose and gain territories in back-and-forth clashes. A cease-fire signed earlier this year has done little to quell violence. Though thousands of people are cramming into the UN base in Bentiu, they may not even be safe there. Dujarric said four rockets were fired at the base Thursday, including two that exploded within the compound and one just outside, wounding two people who had sought refuge. Also last week, an angry mob attacked a UN base in Bor, a town in Jonglei state, killing about 60 people. In that case, ethnic Nuers sheltering inside bore the brunt of the attack. Dujarric said the UN mission in South Sudan reports that the situation in Bor remains tense. Asked how the UN could protect the 22,000 people at the base in Bentiu, given what happened in Bor, Dujarric said there are 500 UN ‘peace-keepers’ in Bentiu. He reminded South Sudan’s government that it has a responsibility to protect civilians and that all armed groups have a responsibility to avoid civilian casualties.