Sunday, July 26, 2015
(Updated throughout the day)
OSCE Delegation Confirms That It Came Under Fire in Donbass / Sputnik / July 26, 2015 / A delegation from the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has confirmed that a mortar shell fell near two vehicles carrying five of its observers. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) confirmed via its Twitter account on Sunday that “mortar fire struck near two cars belonging to the OSCE today on the south side of the bridge leading to Lugansk. The Special Monitoring Mission condemns the incident.” he organization appears to confirm earlier reports by Lugansk-area news portal Lugansk Information Center that an OSCE delegation headed by OSCE envoy Toni Frisch came under Ukrainian army mortar attack near the town of Schastye, 15 km north of Lugansk. The town serves as the border between the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) and the part of the region under the control of the Ukrainian government. A source familiar with the situation on the ground told Lugansk Information Center that “after the shelling by the Armed Forces of Ukraine stopped, Frisch decided to return to Lugansk.” LPR People’s Militia also told the news hub that the OSCE representatives were forced to hide in dugouts . . . MORE>>
Kiev Could Have Triggered a Nuclear Disaster in Donbass – Former PM / Sputnik / July 25, 2015 / Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov noted that he is “disgusted” with the Ukrainian military’s constant shelling of heavily industrialized areas in Donbass, which he said have led to several nuclear and ecological close calls. “It disgusts me that there are constant artillery strikes being carried out against Donetsk and other localities, like Gorlovka,” Azarov noted, giving an interview to Russian news channel LifeNews. “Gorlovka, for those who don’t know, is a city filled with chemical plants. It has several huge chemical producers, including producers of combustible materials. How can Kiev fire at this city, knowing that if a round hits a pipeline, this could lead to a serious ecological catastrophe?” The former prime minister underscored that Kiev’s strategy of regularly firing artillery rounds at industrial centers demonstrates their absolute lack of responsibility with regard to the potential consequences. “I cannot understand the decisions taken by Kiev on the basis of elementary common sense,” he noted. Azarov pointed to the near miss “catastrophe which could have occurred in Donetsk, when the Ukrainian military fired Tochka U [OTR-21] ballistic missiles, which leave a crater between 15-30 meters deep, at a strategic weapons factory which had radioactive materials for producing weapons components.” The former prime minister noted that “if this rocket had [struck something] and resulted in the release of these radioactive materials, Ukraine as a whole wouldn’t know what hit it,” prefacing his comments by noting that his “voice shakes just speaking about it.” . . . MORE>>
Dutch Journalist, MH17 Expert: ‘UN Tribunal a Desperate Attempt to Hide Kiev’s Responsibility’ / Russia Insider / July 25, 2015 / The proposed UN-backed MH17 tribunal is a “desperate attempt to hide Kiev’s responsibility”, Dutch journalist and blogger Joost Niemoller argues in his post “How Chess Player Putin Wins the MH17 Game”. Niemoller is no layman. In October 2014 he published a book on the MH17 disaster whose title De Doofpotdeal (“The Cover Up Deal”) summarizes its key argument. The inside flap explains what the author means: “The Netherlands took charge of the investigation into the cause of the disaster, but agreed to grant a covert deal to Kiev. It thus became a pawn in an international political chess game. Unvarnished Cold War rhetoric is making a comeback. Putin here is the ultimate bad guy. What he says is labeled as poisonous propaganda in the West. Meanwhile, it seems, all those concerned suffer from tunnel vision. Can we still be assured that the investigators do their work independently and objectively?” In his piece, Niemoller laments the shortcomings of the Dutch Safety Board, the body charged with conducting the investigations on the MH17 disaster. The ever-postponed deadline – the final report might be released at the end of the year, hence one and a half year after the crash, but that too is still uncertain – he finds perplexing: “When the co-operating countries, the JIT (Joint Investigation Team), intend to complete their probe, is not known. Then, something gets leaked to the press: ‘At the end of this year’. With which legal framework? It is not yet known. Under which conditions? No idea. How will the co-operation between the Ukrainian, the JIT and Dutch Safety Board unfold?” “Everything is vague and secret. That is not the way it should be for such an important study.” Niemoller contrasts this with the approach taken by Moscow: “Russia proposed last year to conduct an international study based on research carried out by the UN – and not by means of a secret deal of countries . . . MORE>>
Ukrainian military acknowledges it may have shot down flight MH17 / by Igor Korotchenko, translated by J. Hawk / Fort Russ / July 26, 2015 / An anonymous source in one of Ukraine’s security agencies said that the Malaysian Boeing was shot down as a result of an unauthorized Ukrainian Buk-M1 launch. RIA Novosti reports citing a source in a Ukrainian security agency that the MH17 catastrophe may have been the result of an unanticipated situation during the training of one of Ukraine’s air defense units. The anonymous source states the following: “On July 17 2014, the commander of the 156th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment was instructed to conduct missile crew training on providing coverage for Ukrainian ground forces in the suburbs of Donetsk, which entailed deploying the battalions, training target acquisition and tracking procedures, and carry out a simulated destruction of an aerial target using Buk-M1 missiles.” He said that battery commanders were issued launch keys, however, there were no plans to launch an actual 9M38M1 missile. The training exercise involved two Su-25 aircraft, their task was to conduct aerial reconnaissance and designated training targets in the vicinity of Ukrainian troop concentration to the West of Donetsk. The source: “After one of the aircraft entered Buk detection zone, it began to be tracked by a missile crew located near Zaroshchenskoye. In all likelihood, due to a tragic coincidence the flight paths of the Malaysian Boeing and the Su-25 coincided . . . MORE>> Quemado Institute comments: Author Korotchenko interprets the shootdown as an accident. His scenario does not cover all the facts though. For example, why was the Boeing directed off course by Kiev’s Air Traffic Control? And how could air traffic controller Carlos “Spainbuca” have been tweeting about the shootdown as it was happening? He could not have known about the shootdown in real-time unless he was there at the Kiev control tower, in which case the airliner was being shot down deliberately. We suspect it was (see our post MH17 Boeing 777 Remembered: A Theory on the Motive for the Crime). Korotchenko’s “anonymous source” may be fabricating a dodge for Kiev, as evidence mounts that Ukraine was responsible for the crime.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Donetsk Festival of National Cultures Draws Hundreds of Participants / DAN / Edited autotranslation / July 25, 2015 / DONETSK / Several hundred participants gathered in the capital of the Donetsk People’s Republic for the Festival of National Cultures “[Manifold] Unity”, dedicated to the upcoming July 30th International Day of friendship. People have come to demonstrate the unity of the multinational people of Donbass. The event was held at Shcherbakov, the Central Park of Culture and Rest. The event was attended by the head of the executive committee of the public movement “Donetsk Republic” Denis Pushilin, DPR Minister of Culture Alexander Paretsky, members of the National Council, the capital’s residents and visitors from other cities of the country.
“We all remember how over the last 20 years we have attempted to divide. Because of multinational people trying to make a nationalist society – the fact that now, as we see, what has happened with Ukraine. This did not happen for us. We remain a multi-ethnic people of Donbass, and we have the opportunity to say that we are free in regard to the language in which we think and talk,” Pushilin said in a statement. According to the Ministry of Culture, there are about 130 nationalities in Donetsk today, including Tatars, Georgians, Belarusians, Greeks, Russian and many more. According to the organizers, the purpose of the event is the strengthening of friendship and mutual understanding in Donbass, the preservation and promotion of their traditions and cultural heritage. “‘[Manifold] Unity’ is a celebration, a symbol of the unity of all ethnic groups represented in the territory of the People’s Republic of Donetsk. We are proud of Donbass, we are proud of all nationalities and all ethnic groups who live in unity, friendship and harmony,” said Paretsky. As part of the festival, there was an exhibition-fair of works of national masters of arts and crafts and fine arts from Donetsk and Makeyevka. On the central stage of the park, a concert was hosted for amateur groups from different cities of the Republic, who provided decorations of the national colors.
Kiev’s Unpredictability Prevents Forecasting the Date of Signing of New Agreement on Weapons Withdrawal – Pushilin / DAN / Edited autotranslation / July 25, 2015 / Because of the unpredictability of Kiev, it is now impossible to forecast the date of the signing of the agreement dranw up in Minsk for withdrawal from the contact line of arms of caliber up to 100 mm. This was stated by the official DPR representative to the Contact Group on peaceful settlement, deputy chairman of the People’s Council Denis Pushilin. “I will not predict the date of signing, as we deal with Ukraine, said the DPR representative in the negotiations. There can again be many surpises.” The agreement to sign a document on the withdrawal from the contact line in Donbass arms of caliber up to 100 mm and tanks was reached at the Contact Group talks in Minsk on July 21. “Up to this point about three months have passed on the discussion itself, and each time we had the opportunity to sign the document, Ukraine finds excuses which prevented its signing,” recalled Pushilin. “We hope that this will not happen this time, and in the next few days we will really see the signed document.” The Vice-Speaker of the DPR Parliament stressed that the decisive push to reach consensus in the negotiations was due to the initiative of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republic in its unilateral withdrawal of tanks and armored vehicles to 3 km from the contact line.
Junta is Provoking Transcarpathia / By Oleg Nazarov, translated from Russian by J.Hawk / Fort Russ / July 25, 2015 / In connection with the events in Transcarpathia, it might be useful to remind about the 160-thousand strong Hungarian minority that lives there. We often mention the Rusyns, about the chicaneries they suffer at the hands of Kiev, but don’t mention the Hungarians who also suffer from the savagery of the Ukrainian authorities and their radical minions. On more than on occasion, unidentified supporters of “unified Ukraine” used black paint to cover Hungarian-language names of towns with Hungarian population. Naturally, Hungarian culture was not being respected. Rather to the contrary–the Hungarians were depicted as enemies of Ukraine. There is such a thing as a self-fulfilling prophecy. So the Transcarpathia Hungarians stopped viewing Ukraine as their second motherland. What kind of a motherland spends decades trying to stamp out its ethnic minorities? . . . MORE>>
Russia vs. US: Total War is the Obliteration of Reality / By Joaquin Flores / Fort Russ / July 25, 2015 / When the methods of Information War in Fourth Generation Warfare are used in Total War, it results in a war upon the psyche, a war upon cognition, a war upon our very conception and understanding of reality. This will be an increasing feature of our relationship with reality. As global conflict increases qualitatively and quantitatively, it is important to understand the new methods of warfare in which the conflict in Ukraine serves as an excellent case study. Understanding these methods, in combination with a syncretic approach to various competing schools and across several otherwise or previously unrelated fields, has been the key to our ability to accurately forecast any number of events and dynamics in the situation in Ukraine. The struggle between the Atlanticist and Eurasianist spheres not only acquires forms in the traditional areas of diplomacy, trade, intelligence, and military strength – but also in the increasingly dominating realm of synthetic, manufactured hyper-reality. These are important elements of fourth generation warfare (4GW) in the realm of information war and also what is termed ‘hybrid warfare’ – a feature of 4GW which blurs the lines between civilian and military groups, and allows power groups to dissemble . . . MORE>>
“Novorossia Today” Offline For Past Three Days. Except for a brief interlude Thursday, Novorossia Today, an excellent news source we often refer to, has been unavailable for over three days. Various error pages come up when we try to access the site. We do no know if they are having technical problems, or if the site has been hacked.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Normandy Four Calls for Pull-Back of Kiev Troops From Ukraine’s Shirokino / Sputnik / July 24, 2015 / The leaders of the Normandy Quartet (Germany, France, Russia, Ukraine), are calling for an urgent withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from the village of Shirokino in Ukraine’s southeast, the Elysee Palace said in a statement. / MOSCOW / According to the Thursday release, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed during phone talks held earlier in the day “to find practical solutions, by August 3, for the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops and the installation of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.” According to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the situation has been tense in the village of Shyrokyne (Shirokino), located in Ukraine’s southeastern region of Donetsk. Shyrokyne was considered neutral territory in the internal armed conflict that started in Ukraine’s southeast in April, 2014, when Kiev launched a military operation against Donetsk and Lugansk independence supporters. At the beginning of 2015 fighting in Ukraine’s southeast intensified, with the Donetsk Airport and Shyrokyne being some of the hotspots of violence. At the start of February, Shyrokyne was seized by Kiev forces. In mid-February, Kiev and the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Lugansk and Donetsk (LPR and DPR) signed a ceasefire agreement after Normandy Quartet talks in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. However, both sides have since repeatedly accused each other of violating the deal.
OSCE Reports on Protests against Special Monitoring Mission in Donetsk. / Highlights from official report of the OSCE / July 23, 2015 / About 300 people gathered in front and inside the SMM’s location in Donetsk city centre; 30 OSCE vehicles were spray-painted with different slogans. From its location in the “DPR”-controlled city centre at approximately 7:45hrs, the SMM observed about 300 people, mainly women and children, walking past the parking lot and gathering in front of the SMM’s location. The SMM also observed a large civilian bus and two vehicles blocking the parking lot, thus preventing OSCE vehicles from leaving the area. About six men in civilian clothing were standing in front of an OSCE vehicle and preventing it from leaving the parking lot. The SMM called “DPR” “police” for assistance at approximately 8:30hrs – after the crowd had grown and become more vocal. About two dozen “DPR” armed men and as many as eight “DPR” “police” members – standing in groups of two or three – moving around the SMM’s location, were observed. “DPR” members did not prevent the crowd from gathering, nor did they deal with the blocked parking lot entrances. The “DPR” “deputy minister of defence” stayed at the gathering for five minutes, but did not address the crowd. Some of the protesters entered the hotel lobby, shouting. The SMM met with 11 representatives of the protesters, led by Donetsk “mayor”, and explained the SMM’s mandate. Signs with messages directed towards the SMM and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were displayed by the crowd in front of the location. The signs showed closed eyes and/or had slogans such as “Peace to Donbas” or “Time to open your eyes” in Russian and “Open your eyes!” in English. The SMM saw people spray-paint 30 SMM and 11 ICRC vehicles. The graffiti on OSCE vehicles also included painted eyes, slogans such as “Peace Donetsk”. The crowd dispersed at approximately 11:30hrs. [Editor’s note: the gathering formed in protest of the OSCE’s inadequate reporting on Ukrainian bombardment of Donetsk residential neighborhoods.]
OSCE Comforts in Danger: A Twitter Dialogue on Donetsk Protest / July 24, 23:00 UTC / Malinka: “OSCE announced the restriction of its work in Donetsk. OSCE believe yesterday’s action was organized.” Hermius: “So, if they say a few people organised this, then theyre going to ‘punish’ the rest of Donetsk for a bit of paint?” Bea Magnan: “The OSCE weren’t really doing their work anyhow! That’s the reason the people of Donetsk are upset. THE GOOD REASON!” Hermius: “I know, but they havent got the right to make statements like that. Their lives weren’t in danger.” Bea Magnan: “True. Their cars were in danger. Their comforts. Their conveniences. Hey, priorities! For the OSCE!” Hermius: “They’re game-playing, trying to turn the population against the leadership for not banning the protest.” Bea Magnan: “You’re probably right, but I don’t think the population, having been bombed, is going to fall for it. Too smart & fed up!”
US gives Ukraine $200 mn to buy equipment and light mortars / ZIK News (Ukraine) / July 24, 2015 / This is a part of the international aid package for Ukraine, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said, speaking in Lviv at Yavoriv the military training ground July 24, ZIK reports. “The international exercise, including the Rapid Trident one we are attending now in Yavoriv, is part of US military assistance to Ukraine, the ambassador said. The $200 mn will go to buy equipment, light mortars, scrambler wirelesses, and first-aid kits, the ambassador said. Part of the money will be spent to pay for Humvees armored vehicles. The first batch of them, 100 vehicles, has already been shipped to Odesa. Other NATO countries have their aid packages for Ukraine, Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said.
Wars and Sabre Rattling Bring no Benefits in Contemporary World / by Andrei Akulov / Strategic Culture Foundation / U.S. and Ukrainian officials are making plans to expand the training of Ukrainian military forces at a facility located in the western part of the country. Since April the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade, which is based in Vicenza, Italy, is training six Ukrainian National Guard companies on internal security and territorial defense at the training site, about 28 miles from Lviv, Ukraine. The United Kingdom has also sent 35 military trainers to Ukraine for a two-month deployment. Members of the National Guard, part of the Ministry of Interior, aren’t front-line troops but are in charge of defending supply lines and operating check points. U.S. officials have also begun planning for a potential expansion of the training, lining up funding and beginning planning for the expansion. On a visit to the facility, Gen. Ray Odierno, the US Army chief of staff, said he backed Ukrainian plans to expand the capability of the training base to handle larger units. In early June the US announced its plans to send dozens of tanks, Bradley armored fighting vehicles and self-propelled howitzers to allied countries in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to counter Russia. The equipment, enough to arm one combat brigade, will be positioned in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland to be moved around Europe for training and exercises. NATO is also developing a rapid reaction force . . . MORE>>
Ukraine to lift Donbass blockade?: Ukraine will create a trading network along the border with Donetsk Region / by Aleksandr Sabiy, translated from Russian by J.Hawk / Russia News Feed / July 24, 2015 / The head of Donetsk Region administration Pavel Zhebrovskiy said that a trading network will be established within the Ukrainian-controlled part of the Donetsk Region. These centers will sell food, household chemicals, and medicines. They will also contain ATMs. “In my capacity as the head of the military-civil administration, I received instructions from the President to create logistics centers between the Zero Kilometer and the checkpoints. Two will be established in the near future, and a third one later,” Zhebrovskiy said. There are plans to open several similar logistics centers, according to the announcement. The press service added the following: “The first two centers will appear between Mayorsk and Zaitsevo, in the Artyomovsk sector. Another one near Novotroitskoye, beyond the Bugas. The third one will be near Gnutovo. The Volnovakha checkpoint near Bugas will be moved to Novotroitskoye.” The logistics centers will include Oshchadbank terminals to allow retirees to collect their pensions, Zhebrovskiy concluded. J.Hawk’s Comment: This is in fact major news, and it follows on the heels of the most recent Minsk Contact Group meetings. It also follows on the heels of another round of Pyatt-Nuland finger-wagging–it’s hard to tell which of those two factors influenced Poroshenko more. But, one way or another, it’s another step toward the endgame.
Right Sector, ISIL Are Same Thing – French Expert / Sputnik / July 24, 2015 / The Ukrainian neo-Nazi militant group Right Sector poses a huge threat to entire Europe and it is similar to the Islamic State [ISIL] currently terrorizing the Middle East, said Pierre Lorrain, a French journalist and expert on Russia and the former Soviet Union. The Right Sector can turn Ukraine into a hotspot of violence at the gates of Europe and which could then spill into Europe, Lorrain said. “I think that both the Daesh [ISIL] and the Right Sector are terrorist organizations, as they exist only because of fear that they induce to local populations,” Lorrain told Sputnik in an interview. Both ISIL and the Right Sector emerged with the help of the United States. Washington financed the extremists in Ukraine to overthrow the government of former President Viktor Yanukovych. The same thing happened in Syria: the US government knew about the surge of various terrorist groups in the country, but ignored the situation and even supported some of the groups to counter the government of Bashar al-Assad. A few years later this resulted in the rise of ISIL. There is still a difference between the two militant groups. In Ukraine, the Right Sector doesn’t have overwhelming support among society and therefore the people of Ukraine could potentially stand up against the neo-Nazis and defeat them. Meanwhile, for the Syrians and Iraqis who live under the burden of ISIL, it’s too late — the terrorists have already become too powerful to rise against them, Lorrain said. After the Mukachevo incident that left three people killed and 13 injured, Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh blamed the local police for starting the shootout, even though Right Sector militants were driving to the town of Mukachevo armed with a heavy-machine gun on top of a truck. Yarosh called for all Right Sector members to hold protests in main Ukrainian cities until Interior Minister Arsen Avakov is dismissed. On July 17, in reaction to President Petro Poroshenko calling the Right Sector members who opened fire in Mukachevo “terrorists,” Yarosh then stated that Poroshenko is no longer fit for his role as the country’s leader. The situation in Ukraine remains highly unstable. The withdrawal of troops by Donbass militias raised hopes that the conflict may finally be resolved. But the last developments, including the activities of the far-right extremists and unwillingness of the Kiev government to take peaceful response measures, demonstrate that the situation is far from returning to normal.
Mukachevo conflict not to affect visa-free regime — Brok / Ukrinform / July 24, 2015 / The situation with the Right Sector in Zakarpattia [Transcarpathia] region will not have a direct impact on liberalization of the visa regime between Ukraine and the EU, however, there should be a state monopoly of use of force. Chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Elmar Brok said this at the briefing in Kyiv on Friday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. “It doesn’t have a quick effect. I would like to note that the members of our delegation stressed the importance of maintaining strict state monopoly of the use of force, disarmament of all armed formations and their full integration into the official security forces,” Brok said. The EP Chair has confirmed the EU’s full support for process of visa liberalization and has expressed hope that visa-free regime will be launched as soon as the necessary requirements are met.
Ukraine Army and US Advisers Heading to Mukachevo ATO in Transcarpathian Peoples Republic / Liveleak / July 24, 2015 /Ukraine Army and US pay masters head to Mukachevo ATO in Transcarpathian Peoples Republic to create fear amongst local population. They look set to create another warzone on the border of the European Union. [Editor’s note: no further details were given.]
Commentary: Ukraine Army Is Smuggling Goods Into Blockaded Donbass / by Yurasumy, translated by J. Hawk / Russia Insider / July 24, 2015 / The biggest headache for all sides in the conflict is the social tension caused by a rapid decline in individual welfare. The West has cultivated the concept of the consumer for decades. Both at home and in the colonies. Largely successfully. Those who adopted the ideology became its faithful adherents. The ideal consumer is not worried about what’s happening around him, which makes him valuable to the U.S. But he has to be constantly fed (as the Strugatskiy Brothers, science fiction writers, perceptively noted). The consumer must consume in order to remain loyal, controllable, and predictable. On this score, the Junta is doing very badly. The consumer noticed his “ration” has shrunk, he has “lost weight”, and his practically atrophied brains have come back to life. And he started to ask questions. That’s a very dangerous thing for the West, it’s what it fears the most. It is losing support and therefore it is coming up with all manner of devices to keep the starving consumer under control. Here are the reasons for the blockade of the republics, which has been pursued through a variety of strategies. The first strategy was the destruction of social institutions on territories not under Kiev’s control–the withdrawal of civil servants and banks in late 2014. It struck a serious blow against those local inhabitants who wintered over in LPR/DPR. These people were on the brink of survival, which was useful to the Ukrainian media as something with which to scare their own people. But the first “blockade wave” was overcome . . . MORE>>.
MH17 tribunal ‘not an issue for UN Security Council’ — American expert / TASS / July 23, 2015 / NEW YORK / The MH17 crash in Ukraine in July 2014 cannot be regarded as a threat to international peace and security, and, therefore, the UN Security Council is not an appropriate place for considering the establishment of the tribunal to identify and prosecute those responsible for the tragedy, expert on international law and President of the US-based Global Security Institute Jonathan Granoff has told TASS. Instead, he suggested setting up a structure dealing with such incidents on a permanent basis. “It’s an isolated incident, not a systemic one, not part of an ongoing offensive, the way, say, ISIS would be,” he said. “I do not think it is a threat to international peace and security, it doesn’t belong to the Security Council. It would be more legitimate, I think, for the Security Council to address the threat of ISIS. That’s an ongoing threat.” According to Granoff, “in this instance, at worst, it’s a renegade group that did it intentionally….” Granoff disagreed with the view that the idea to establish the MH17 tribunal, which is actively promoted by Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, stemmed from a desire to make “a political show.” “I think that the aggrieved families have a legitimate right to have justice,” he said, noting that “the legal system in Ukraine was not capable of handling this.” “I think it would be legitimate for some form of commission to be created to hold somebody culpable, but I don’t think it’s an issue for the Security Council. I just don’t think it’s a threat to international peace and security.” . . . MORE>>
Referendum Saved Crimea From Donbass-Like Bloodshed – French Lawmaker / Sputnik / July 23, 2015 / The Crimean referendum averted the bloody scenario that has been taking place in Donbass, Thierry Mariani said. / SIMFEROPOL / A Crimean vote to join Russia last year may have spared the Black Sea peninsula the conflict that is engulfing southeast Ukraine, the head of a French parliamentary delegation Thierry Mariani said Thursday. “If you had not decided on a referendum, if you had not turned to the people, perhaps the name of Crimea may have followed in the description of the events in Lugansk and Donetsk.” A group of 10 French lawmakers, led by lower-house National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee member Mariani, touched down in Crimea for a four-day visit earlier in the day. . . . MORE.
The Geopolitical Big Bang You Probably Don’t See Coming / by Pepe Escobar / Strategic Culture Foundation / July 25, 2015 / Let’s start with the geopolitical Big Bang you know nothing about, the one that occurred just two weeks ago. Here are its results: From now on, any possible future attack on Iran threatened by the Pentagon (in conjunction with NATO) would essentially be an assault on the planning of an interlocking set of organizations — the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the new Chinese-founded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the BRICS’ New Development Bank (NDB) – whose acronyms you’re also unlikely to recognize. Still, they represent an emerging new order in Eurasia. Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, Islamabad, and New Delhi have been actively establishing interlocking security guarantees. They have been simultaneously calling the Atlanticist bluff when it comes to the endless drumbeat of attention given to the flimsy meme of Iran’s “nuclear weapons program.” And a few days before the Vienna nuclear negotiations finally culminated in an agreement, all of this came together at a twin BRICS/SCO summit in Ufa, Russia—a place you’ve undoubtedly never heard of and a meeting that got next to no attention in the United States. And yet sooner or later, these developments will ensure that the war party in Washington and assorted neocons (as well as neoliberalcons) already breathing hard over the Iran deal will sweat bullets as their narratives about how the world works crumble. . . . MORE>>
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Donetsk Citizens Protest OSCE Inaction at Mission’s Park Inn Residence. This morning several hundred people staged a rally in front of the Park Inn Hotel in Donetsk, the residence of the OSCE monitors in the area. “The participants demanded from the international missions [OSCE Special Monitoring Mission] truthful coverage of events taking place in the Republic, including the shelling of residential areas with Ukrainian artillery,” the Donetsk News Agency reported. “The delegation of protesters, led by Mayor Igor Martynov, met with representatives of the OSCE and gave them the requirements of the protesters.” This followed the massive artillery bombardment on the center of the city Saturday evening July 18, in which one person was killed and three injured. Nineteen buildings were damaged. The Deputy Chief of the [OSCE Special Monitoring] Mission Alexander Hug claimed the security situation was causing a delay in the OSCE investigation, and they still had not determined who had caused the shelling.