Monday, 30 June 2014

Moment of Truth: “Fascism As It Is” in Ukraine : A film by Andrey Karaulov

Moment of Truth: “Fascism As It Is” in Ukraine

A film by Andrey Karaulov

By Andrey Karaulov
Global Research, June 29, 2014

We bring to the attention of GR readers a film by Russian TV journalist, author and host of the “Moment of Truth” Andrei Karaulov

“Ukrainian fascism.” The film is dedicated to the tragic events in Ukraine.

The film’s title refers to the classic tape Mikhail Romm’s “Ordinary Fascism.”

In an interview with IA “Tatar-Inform” Andrei Karaulov said that work on the movie began 10 days ago.

“It turns out, there is still no documentary in our country, which would gather together at least some of the crimes that occurred in the south-east of Ukraine in April, May and June this year. Here we have done the job. And the most important thing in this film, of course, no questions asked Karaulova, and the testimony of those witnesses (over 10 people), who found the courage and strength to tell the truth, having gone through hell in Mariupol, Odessa, etc. “- he said .

The film is intended for Europe, United States, United Nations.

“I talked with the Foreign Minister of the country, and asked him for help – to make it look the ambassadors of all countries in the UN. Those ambassadors who have a conscience and a genuine interest in the events that are currently taking place in the People’s Republic of Donetsk “- said the journalist.

On Monday, June 23 disc with pictures will be on the table at the UN Secretary General. Andrei Karaulov also able to contact the Chief of Staff to Barack Obama and to deliver a letter and drive to U.S. President saw the movie and voiced his opinion on it. A similar request by the picture appealed to the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.

“All Western media accredited in Moscow, ignored not only the picture, but that came to the show specifically leader Donetsk Republic, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the DNI Dennis Pushilin. Afraid to look! “- Said Andrei Sentries.

The era of American drone supremacy is fading

June 29, 2014 4:56 pm
The era of American drone supremacy is fading
By Edward Luce FT
America would not tolerate another country operating with the same scope and secrecy
Ed Luce column©Matt Kenyon

In much of the world, the Predator drone symbolises US power. It is ubiquitous, stealthy and can strike at any moment. They patrol the skies of central Asia, north Africa, the Arabian peninsula – and now Iraq. Other countries have nuclear weapons and aircraft carriers. But nobody else can match the lethal ingenuity of America’s Hellfire missile. Little surprise that two US presidents – George W Bush, and now Barack Obama – have resorted to them so frequently. But their heyday is waning. America’s unipolar drone moment is ending.

Mr Obama’s chief problem is their speedy adoption around the world. Unlike nuclear weapons, there is no treaty governing the use of military drones. For roughly a decade, the Central Intelligence Agency has been able to strike targets pretty much with impunity – and blanket deniability. Of America’s partners, only the UK has been deemed fit for export. But others, including Iran, whose drones also patrol the same Iraqi skies as their US counterparts, have reverse engineered the unmanned aerial vehicle with relative ease. China is even exporting drones. Last month Saudi Arabia became its first big customer. Within five years, many countries, some of them highly unsavoury, will possess military drones, says the Rand Corporation.

All of which poses a quandary for Mr Obama and whoever succeeds him. Put simply, the US must emulate the hypocritical parent: do as I say, not as I do. Nobody wants other countries to act like the US. Many voices, including Mr Obama himself, have urged the US to put drone warfare on a transparent footing. At the moment, Mr Obama can order drone assassinations without having to admit it, or explain himself to anyone. Hundreds of militants have been killed in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere. But hundreds more civilians, perhaps thousands, have also been accidentally killed.

It is inconceivable the US would tolerate another country, even an ally, operating with the same scope and secrecy. Yet it would be ill-placed to object if they did. Imagine if China decided to take out Uighur separatists in Afghanistan or further afield. Like al-Qaeda, China’s Uighur minority poses a threat to the Chinese homeland. Like al-Qaeda they resort to terrorism. On what grounds could Washington complain? As set out last week by the Stimson Centre, a security think-tank, China’s president would refuse to acknowledge the strikes on grounds of national security, just like Mr Obama. The same would apply to Vladimir Putin if he ordered drone strikes in eastern Ukraine. And so on. The threat of drone multipolarity is real – and potentially endless. Yet America’s moral suasion would be worthless.

Likewise, Washington would have scant legal grounds to object. America’s instinct is to claim a US exception for drones. Much the same argument is used for the International Criminal Court, whose strictures apply to soldiers everywhere except American ones. Because the US is democratic and universal, it alone can be trusted to operate drones responsibility.

There is much truth to the argument. Hand on heart, most people would trust Mr Obama to use drones over Xi Jinping, Mr Putin or a Gulf prince. Alas, it would hold no water with precisely the regimes that are most feared.

And thus we approach a strange crossover moment. Just as others are acquiring the technology, the US is drawing up the rules. Before Mr Obama leaves office, he will put drones on a firmer legal footing.

The frequency of US drone strikes has been dropping off but terrorist threats continue to spread
As Stimson and others recommend, control over drones is likely to shift from the CIA, which is secretive, to the Pentagon, which is less so. Mr Obama is also likely to set up an independent panel to oversee the US president’s use of drones. He may even promise to acknowledge each strike and publish details about what happened, civilian deaths included. That too, is seen as an important plank in putting drones on a legal footing. Transparency is the order of the day. Whether it will be enough to constrain others is an open question.

Mr Obama’s other problem is their declining efficacy. Between them, he and Mr Bush have ordered almost 500 lethal drone strikes. Their peak usage was during Mr Obama’s first term.But the frequency of US drone strikes has recently been dropping off. In its latest budget request, the Pentagon halved – to $2.7bn – the amount it requested for drones compared with last year.In contrast, terrorist threats continue to spread, most recently into Iraq, where the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the al-Qaeda offshoot, now threatens the nation state itself. Last week Mr Obama deployed drones over the skies of Baghdad. But he made it clear that for the time being they would be used for surveillance only.

In war, as in peace, we live in an age of robots. Some of America’s technology will be unsurpassable for years – no country would be wise to fight a conventional war with it. Some of it, such as drones, is now easy to replicate. As a weapon against terrorists, drones are no panacea. By engendering impotent fear, they breed the kind of resentment that recruits terrorists. As Mr Obama is discovering in Iraq, there is no substitute for human engagement. Just as education is the answer to the rise of robots in the labour market, so terrorism can only be defeated by intelligence and smarter diplomacy. In the skies, and on the ground, there are no easy answers. With the rest of the world droning up, the US has no choice but to wise up.
Source: FT

Saturday, 28 June 2014

US flying armed drones in Iraq

US flying armed drones in Iraq
Pentagon says flights are to protect US military contingent that is assisting Iraqi forces in fight
against Isis

Associated Press in Washington, Saturday 28 June 2014 05.53 BST

The US has confirmed it is flying armed drones in Iraq. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features

The US has confirmed it is flying armed drones over Baghdad to protect US troops who recently
arrived to assess Iraq's deteriorating security.

The military for more than a week has been flying manned and unmanned aircraft over Iraq,
averaging a few dozen sorties daily for reconnaissance, according to the Pentagon. The decision
to arm some of the drones follows the deployment to Baghdad of troops whose publicly stated
role is to advise and assist Iraqi forces fighting Isis militants who have seized a number of cities
and key facilities.

"The reason that some of those aircraft are armed is primarily for force protection reasons now that
we have introduced into the country some military advisers whose objective will be to operate
outside the confines of the embassy," said the defence department's press secretary, Navy Rear
Admiral John Kirby.

A handful of Predators armed with Hellfire missiles were being used over the capital for the new
force protection mission, a senior defence official said. The official was not authorised to discuss
the new flights on the record and requested anonymity.

Officials stressed that Obama still had not authorised air strikes against Sunni militants who have
been overrunning territory in other parts of the country.

Sending aircraft to target the leaders of the Sunni-led insurgency was one of the options being
prepared for President Barack Obama as he considered what support to provide to Iraq, the
chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Martin Dempsey, said in a radio interview. Protection
of critical infrastructure was part of that option, he said.

"We're flying a great deal [of] manned and unmanned ... intelligence and reconnaissance assets,
and we're building a picture so that if the decision were made to support the Iraqi security forces
as they confront (Isis) we could do so," Dempsey said.

So far 180 of 300 troops promised by Obama have arrived in the country. The contingent includes
90 advisers and 90 who are setting up an operations and intelligence analysis unit.

Friday, 27 June 2014

IMF mission to arrive in Ukraine on Tuesday

11:56 24.06.2014
IMF mission to arrive in Ukraine on Tuesday
A mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will arrive in Ukraine on Tuesday for talks as part of the first revision of the economic program of the country's authorities supported by IMF funds, the press service of the Kyiv office of the IMF has reported.

An IMF mission headed by Nikolay Gueorguiev will arrive in Ukraine on June 24 to hold a series of discussions as part of the first revision of the government's economic program supported by the IMF's resources, according to the report.

According to a press release, the mission will assess the progress in the implementation of the program and discuss with the authorities goals and objectives for the next period.

Poul Thomsen, Deputy Director of the IMF's European Department, will join the mission's work for several days. The mission plans to complete its work on July 3, reads the press release.

Ukraine and EU sign free trade zone deal.

Ukraine and EU sign free trade zone deal
Published time: June 27, 2014 08:03
Edited time: June 27, 2014 20:28

Ukraine has signed the economic part of the Association Agreement with the EU, with Georgia and Moldova also joining the pact, even though big economic risks lie ahead.

The signing of the economic part of the agreement comes after 8 months of violent unrest in Ukraine, which broke out in Kiev and spread across the country in November after then-President Viktor Yanukovich decided to reject the trade agreement in favor of trilateral talks.

The document contains 31 signatures - Ukraine, all 28 EU member states, as well as that of the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. The agreement will only come into force when it is ratified by every national parliament in the EU. It is expected that the ratification process will be complete by this fall.

Georgia and Moldova also signed both political and economic parts of the Association Agreement. Ukraine signed a political part of the agreement in March, shortly after Crimea rejoined Russia.

"By signing the association agreement, Ukraine, like European nation, which shares the same rules of law, stresses its sovereign choice to become a member of the EU Association Agreement in the future," said Ukraine's President Poroshenko before the signing ceremony. The Ukrainian President sees the trade document as a stepping stone to eventual EU statehood.

Friday signing the Free Trade Agreement will open up trade barriers between the former Soviet states, but doesn’t guarantee them EU membership, a main goal of the three governments.

“It is their sovereign right, but the Russian Federation will have to take measures in case it negatively effects the local market,” Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesperson said, commenting on the agreements signed between the EU and Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.

Russia has warned these "measures" could include $500 billion in lost trade and possible bans on Ukrainian imports.

“There is no economic growth to be had by suddenly having western European goods dumped at low cost on your marketplace,” Patrick Young, an expert on emerging markets, told RT.

In order to fully implement the free trade zone, it could cost Ukraine’s already fragile economy an additional $104 billion, according to a previous estimate by Yanukovich. This will include adopting hundreds of new trade laws and thousands of new laws to comply with EU standards.

In 2013, EU exports to Ukraine were worth $33 billion (23.9 billion euro), dominated by industrial equipment, chemicals, and manufactured goods.

Ukraine exported 13.8 billion euro worth of goods to the EU, mostly materials like iron, steel, and minerals. Agricultural and food products are also substantial exports.

The Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) will replace the current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement Ukraine signed with the EU in 1998.

Eastern Ukraine, which rejects the new Ukrainian government's authority, is skeptical of Kiev’s European ambition, as is the EU itself.

“EU is not ready to integrate at this stage a country like Ukraine,” Jose Barroso, President of the European Commission said before the talks.

Brussels started the Eastern Partnership initiative to incorporate six former Soviet Republics into the EU free trade zone. Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia have followed Poland’s example, whereas Armenia, Belarus, and Azerbaijan are likely to opt for closer trade links with Russia.

Trilateral trade talks between the EU, Russia, and Ukraine will take place on July 3-4. Russia has made it very clear that by signing the trade agreement Ukraine can no longer enter the Eurasian Customs Union, which already includes Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Removing Saddam Hussein did not cause this crisis

Removing Saddam Hussein did not cause this crisis
By Tony Blair

The Middle East’s problems lie in the toxic mix of bad politics and bad religion, writes Tony Blair

For the avoidance of doubt, of course the Iraq of 2014 bears, in part, the imprint of the removal of Saddam Hussein 11 years ago. To say otherwise, as a recent editorial in this newspaper implies that I do, would be absurd.

However, there are two important points that must also be recognised.

We cannot ignore the fact that Isis, the jihadist group advancing across Iraq, rebuilt itself and organised the Iraq operation from the chaos in Syria. Isis and other al-Qaeda-type groups in Iraq were flat on their back four years ago, having been comprehensively beaten by a combination of US and UK forces and Sunni tribes. The civil war in Syria allowed them to get back on their feet.

So the first point is that non-intervention is also a decision with consequences. In the case of Syria those consequences have been dire, and as security chiefs in the UK and Europe are warning, they pose a real threat to our security.

Second, no analysis of the Middle East today makes sense unless we examine the impact of the Arab revolutions overturning the old regimes. It is odd to argue that revolution would not have come to Iraq. And surely Saddam Hussein’s response would have been more like that of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, than that of Hosni Mubarak. Whatever decision had been taken in 2003, in 2014 we would be facing a major challenge.
There is a tendency to write off the Saddam Hussein time in Iraq as if he were a force for stability and peace. Just to remind ourselves: he began the Iraq-Iran war in which there were more than 1m casualties, many dying from chemical weapons, something which then played a part in pushing Iran towards its nuclear programme; he invaded Kuwait; he used chemical weapons in a genocidal attack against the Kurds; he excluded the Shia majority; and he persecuted the Marsh Arabs. The region’s problems are the result of deep-seated issues that, with the removal of those regimes, have now come to the surface.

That is the point I am making. I am not seeking to persuade people about the decision in 2003. I am trying to convince them that the fundamental challenge is not the product of that decision or indeed the decision in Syria. It is a challenge of immense complexity that has not originated in anything we have done since this challenge burst fully on to our consciousness after the attacks of September 11 2001. Its origin lies in the toxic mix of bad politics and bad religion that is not confined to Iraq or Syria but is spread across not just the Middle East but also the world.

The reason we got into such difficulty in Iraq, as in Afghanistan, was precisely because once the dictatorship was removed, extremist Islamist forces then made progress extraordinarily difficult. That is their hideous impact the world over. The fundamental challenge today arises not from the decisions of 2003 or those of 2014. It is the challenge of Islamist extremism and it is global.

In the case of Syria the consequences of non-intervention have been dire.

It is a challenge we cannot avoid. Its outcome will dramatically affect our own security. We may be war weary and want to disengage but the people we are fighting do not share that weariness. Leave aside Iraq or Syria; look at Pakistan today. It has powerful institutions; it has a functioning democracy. Yet be in no doubt, the struggle it is waging is existential. Nigeria was two decades ago a model of religious tolerance. Today it is on the rack of extremism. Even in western societies, there are tensions that are real and dangerous.

The bad news is that this issue is not going away. That is why I am speaking about it. Since leaving office I have spent a large part of my time studying it and through my foundation trying to counter it.

Short term, we have to do what we can to rescue the situation in Iraq and Syria. In Iraq, without inclusive government this will be hard to do. The US is right in demanding political change as the price of its engagement. In Syria, an outright win for either side is no longer sensible; the majority of Syrians just want the torment to end.

Long term, we have to have the right mixture of soft and hard power responses, which fights this extremism wherever it is conducting its terror campaigns. We must deal with the root cause of the problem which lies in the formal and informal systems that educate young people in a closed-minded approach to religion and culture.

The good news is that this extremism does not represent the majority of Muslims. As the recent elections in both Iraq and Afghanistan show, where despite threats, violence and terror, people came out to vote in their millions. These people want to be free: free of dictators and free of terror. We should help them. It is in our interests that they succeed.

The writer was prime minister of Britain from 1997 to 2007
This article has now been closed to further comments. Many thanks for your contributions to the discussion.FT