Daily Archives: April 15, 2014

In Ukraine crisis, West is part of problem, not solution – analyst

Ukrainian troops have seized an airfield in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, said anti-government protesters. Four people were killed and two injured, activists added. At the same time Slavyansk is being raided by the Ukrainian military. Armored personnel vehicles are entering the city, there are many troops and the men are getting ready to defend the city, the head of the Donbass people’s militia, Sergey Tsyplakov.

Western stance on Ukraine: emotional and out of touch

Anti-government protesters have been holding rallies in the south-eastern part of Ukraine following the coup in Kiev on February 22. Activists have seized government buildings in most of the cities in the Donetsk region. On Sunday, the Kiev government launched a crackdown operation in Slavyansk. Following the event, Ukraine’s Security Council approved a full-scale security operation in the country’s eastern regions. On Monday, coup-imposed President Aleksandr Turchinov signed a decree to officially begin a “special anti-terrorist operation” in the east of the country. Voice of Russia discussed the situation with a political analyst Dmitry Babich.

Dmitry? You know the latest news. What is the likely scenario for further developments now in the country?

My impression is that the Ukrainian authorities already made a mistake, because the only way they could indeed win this war would be just to quickly attack several most important locations using the factor of unexpected attack to take back Donetsk and Kharkov maybe in just one or two days. What they did was to launch first an operation in Kramatorsk and also to block Slavyansk. So, they are losing time and, unfortunately, there are already reports about people being killed and injured. All of this will certainly make their victory, if they have some sort of victory, a mixed story.

Also, I would like to add that the people who are conducting this operation, such as the Secretary of the National Security Council of Ukraine – Andrei Paruby – these are real neo-Nazis. I’m very sorry, but Paruby was one of the founders of the National-Social Party of Ukraine in 1991 together with Oleg Tyagnibok. And you can understand very well that National-Social was just a euphemism for national socialists. These people are national socialists. That’s their true name.

Still, the authorities in Ukraine, whether we like it or not, are more or less recognized by most of the world and they are saying that they are preserving the unity of the country. In some cases Russia as well supports the actions of governments who somehow try to keep the unity of the country and fight separatists. Why in this case you believe this is a mistake?

Because in this case we just recently had similar protests in Kiev and then the West and all the countries that you just described recognized the legitimacy of this new Kiev Government. At that time all these people said that the use of force would be a sort of a death penalty for Mr. Yanukovych. They said it was the reddest of all red lines. And now we see the Army being used in fighting the civil unrest and we have no protest from the West.

So, if you point out to certain inconsistencies in Russia’s position, I think that there can be many ways to answer that question. First, neither in Yugoslavia, where Russia supported the unity of the country, nor in other countries, that I can remember of during the last ten years, the authorities fighting for the unity of their country did have Nazi slogans, did use Nazi paraphernalia, did have an openly racist ideology.

Milosevic, as bad as he was, if you read all of his speeches, he was very politically correct, he never made any ethnic slurs. Mr. Paruby made terrible ethnic slurs and now he heads this operation using the Army against the civilian protesters.

If we get back to separatism in general, do you consider those disturbances in Ukraine as a reflection of separatist movement in general or it is not separatism at all?

Well, formally speaking, these people are demanding a referendum and they are demanding some kind of federalization for Ukraine. Legally, speaking this is not separatism. Some of them may want to join Russia, that’s true. But this is not a reason to use the Army against them.

And also, I think I can understand them from the human point of view, because I have been reading the Ukrainian nationalist press during the last 20 years. And in that press people from Donbas and from Kharkov were insulted in all possible ways as Soviet conservatives, as drunkards, good-for-nothings who should be exiled to Russia or maybe even cut to size and put in prison.

So, I understand why people in Donetsk are worried about being governed by the Government that basically believes in this kind of ideas. And I understand why they don’t believe they can achieve their aims by voting, because they have been trying to achieve their aims by democratic means, by voting for 20 years.

But, unfortunately, now that Crimea is no longer a part of Ukraine, the east of Ukraine is losing to the West in terms of a number of votes. Until Crimean was part of Ukraine the east and the center of Ukraine together had about 55% of the vote. Now they have less than 50% and that’s why I think they want autonomy for themselves, they want to elect their own governor, they don’t want the governor sent from Kiev. And that’s why we have all these passions running high right now.

If we get back to those latest developments, those latest news we’ve heard just now, some media have already dubbed the current situation “a point of no return”. Do you think this is the case?

No, I think that there is always a way to start a dialog, because the vast majority of Ukrainians and Russians are capable of having a dialog and the vast majority of Ukrainians and Russians do not want an open confrontation or, heaven forbid, a war. So, I think that there is always a possibility to restart a dialog.

But certainly, the Government that is now ruling the country in Kiev is discrediting itself very quickly. And I can only hope that this Government’s tumbling down will not take all of Ukraine with itself. Unfortunately, it seems to me that the Western support for this Government is almost 100%. The West has engaged itself completely with one of the sides in the conflict and this is very dangerous and very sad.

You’ve just mentioned the West, what do you think should Russia do in this situation?

Russia has been doing everything it could in terms of legally attracting attention of the West to the problems of Ukraine, trying to help the West save that country.

But if the West does not react to beatings of the two presidential candidates that happened just hours ago, if the West keeps talking about the Russian troops and Russian agents doing all the unrest in eastern Ukraine, if the West doesn’t want to notice that there are probably tens of thousands of regular civilians taking part in these protests, then the West just sort of disqualifies itself from being a party to the solution of the problem.

The West created this problem by pressuring Ukraine to sign the association agreement. And now the West just doesn’t want to become a part of the solution.

 The Voice of Russia

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan removed

Prince Bandar bin Sultan was appointed head of the General Intelligence Presidency in July 2012

Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, has been removed from his post “at his own request”, state media report.

Prince Bandar, King Abdullah’s nephew and a former ambassador to the US, recently returned to Riyadh after two months abroad for medical treatment.

The 65 year old has been replaced by his deputy, Gen Youssef al-Idrissi.

His departure comes months after he was quoted warning of a “major shift” from the US over its Middle East policy.

Largely in protest over Washington’s reluctance to get involved militarily in Syria, he reportedly told European diplomats in October that Saudi Arabia would be scaling back its co-operation with the CIA over arming and training rebel groups seeking to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

A trip to Moscow to press Russian President Vladimir Putin to abandon his support for the Syrian government also failed to produce results.

“He had been more or less disengaged from the Syrian file for the past five months,” Mustafa Alani, a security expert with close ties to the Saudi government, told the Reuters news agency.

“The responsibility was divided between a number of people – officers in the intelligence sphere and other princes. So the reality is that any changes have already happened.”

Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef is believed to have taken overall control of the kingdom’s Syria policy and attended a meeting of Western and Arab intelligence agencies in Washington in February.

As head of the General Intelligence Presidency, Prince Bandar was also said to have been closely involved in supporting Egypt’s military-backed interim government after President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in July.

The royal decree quoted by the Saudi Press Agency on Monday did not say if the prince would continue as head of the National Security Council.

Enhanced by Zemanta

‘We are to see severe destruction of Western economic system’

With $1.7 quadrillion debt and the present bailout policy that will inflate prices, we’ll see the West collapsing while China and Russia will not be responsible for it or able to help, Lawrence Freeman from Executive Intelligence Review Magazine told RT.

RT: The EU and the US are once again considering sanctions against Russia over mass protests in eastern Ukraine. Can Europe and the States actually afford to lose billions of dollars worth of contracts with Russia?

Lawrence Freeman: No, in fact the real victim is going to be the American and the European people because the Western financial system based in the city of London and Wall Street is going through a bailing, collapse, bankruptcy, and therefore the conditions in the West are horrible and will get far worse as a result of these kinds of economic policies imposed on Russia.

RT: If Europe and America freeze trade with Russia, Moscow will likely just turn to its biggest trading partner, China. Who’s going to win in such a scenario?

LF: I think I would look at it a bit more strategically. There is actually an alliance – very deep alliance – between Russia and China, together with India, South Korea to actually go forward with economic development and especially space exploration, nuclear energy and high-speed rail infrastructure. This alliance, which Russia and China are the leaders of, is what is terrifying the Western countries, which is driving this confrontation, which could go all the way to the thermo-nuclear war because the Western system is collapsing and accelerate rate in Russia-China alliance with others is moving forward in a completely different direction.

So really Russia and China will form greater ties and cooperation. You’ll see this with a visit of Lavrov to Beijing on Wednesday and President Putin next month.

RT: How much will China benefit from this, considering that all the sides will be forced to step up their co-operation Beijing?

LF: I don’t look at this in that way. If you look at the remarks that President Obama has made concerning China and the recent visit of Secretary of Defense Hagel through the China Pivot policy, they are beginning to make the same threats against China that they are making against Russia and in fact the State Department for Asia, a fellow by the name of Daniel Russel, threatens China to not try a Crimea by allegedly taking over territory in the China Sea.

China is under the gun and under attack as well because the Western economies are going to collapse. China is not, Russia is not. The amount of debt $1,7 quadrillion in derivative gambling debt cannot be sustained in the present bailing policy, it is going to inflame prices massively, we are going to see a very severe destruction of the Western system. China and Russia are not going to be responsible for that, nor can they save the West from that.

RT: Experts predict China will become the world’s biggest economy in just over a decade. Do you think what’s happening in Ukraine and similar situations will bring it about?

LF: Well, certainly. If fact you have these comments from the official Dmitry Rogozin who said, “Look, the 21st century is going to revolve round Russia, China, South Korea, Japan and India. This is going to be the pivot for the future of the 21st century.” And that is going to take place. But the problem is that the Western financial system, the British financial empire, doesn’t want to give up its power, it doesn’t want to allow this other political bloc control the planet. That is why they are committed to go to war to prevent Russia and China and others from moving for real economic development and prosperity on the planet, but their system is in a state of collapse.

That’s the friction that is leading to this confrontation in Ukraine. It is not Ukraine, that is not even Russia, it’s breaking the back of this commitment by Russia and China for economic development while the West is collapsing.

 RT Op-Edge.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Russia expects clear condemnation by UN and int’l community of Kiev’s actions in eastern Ukraine – Putin

Putin says Russia expects a clear condemnation by the United Nations and international community of “Kiev‘s anti-constitutional actions in eastern Ukraine“, RIA reports. Russian President Vladimir Putin talked with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the telephone on Tuesday.

“The crisis situation in Ukraine, which escalated rapidly due to the forceful operation initiated by the Kiev authorities in the country’s south-east, has been discussed,” the Kremlin press office said in a statement.

“Putin emphasized in particular that Russia expected the UN and international community to clearly condemn these anti-constitutional actions,” the document said, Interfax reports.

 The Voice of Russia

Enhanced by Zemanta

Up to 11 people killed in Kramatorsk airfield battle

Between four and eleven people have been killed in a battle at the airport in Kramatorsk, a correspondent of the Rossiya 24 television channel said.

“Indeed, there are fatalities. Efforts are under way to clarify their number, which is between four and eleven people,” the correspondent reported live on Tuesday.

As a result of clashes the Ukrainian troops opened fire against self-defense fighters who tried to stop paratroopers from landing at the airfield in Kramatorsk, he said.

Talks are now under way outside the airport building, a representative from the Ukrainian Army has met with the people who came up to the airfield, he said. Asked why the troops were shooting, he said: “I do not know.”

“The situation here is fairly tense, but at this moment there are no clashes,” he said.

“The town residents demand an explanation from the military. Moreover, a rally is about to begin: people arrive by taxi and in their own cars, there is now a traffic jam near the airport building,” the correspondent said, according to Interfax.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Breaking news ‘Kiev resorted to force against protesters, ignoring demands of citizens’

Breaking News

Kiev authorities have reportedly started a military operation against the anti-government protesters in eastern Ukraine. Protesters say, the troops are storming some areas with the assistance of armored vehicles.

A Ukrainian general leading the operation against protesters in the east of the country has warned that activists who refuse to lay down their arms will be “destroyed.”

“They must be warned that if they do not lay down their arms, they will be destroyed,”General Vasily Krutov, first deputy head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) told reporters, as cited by AFP.

Krutov, recently appointed chief of the SBU’s Anti-Terrorist Center, then alleged that activists were being supported by hundreds of soldiers from the Russian army‘s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU).

Related articles

Enhanced by Zemanta

Kiev military take positions in eastern Ukraine as operation starts

Members of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry walk past a MI-8 military helicopter and armored personnel carriers at a checkpoint near the town of Izium, eastern Ukraine, April 15, 2014.

The coup-imposed Ukrainian government has amassed military hardware near the eastern Ukrainian towns refusing to recognize Kiev’s rule, and rallying for the country’s federalization. Videos from the area show tanks, APCs and army helicopters.

Following the Tuesday announcement of an “anti-terrorist operation” by the coup-imposed acting president Aleksandr Turchinov, armored vehicles have been spotted moving and taking positions kilometers away from the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, where activists seized several administration buildings with the assistance of armed self-defense volunteers.

While Slavyansk is in the Donetsk region, sightings of groups of military vehicles have been reported in the neighboring Kharkov and Lugansk regions, where pro-Russian and anti-Kiev sentiment is high.

Some 40 kilometers from Slavyansk in the Kharkov region town of Izyum, hundreds of troops with armored vehicles, including tanks and a helicopter, have been filmed by media and amateur reporters.

The force is being described as a mix of army troops, Ukrainian special forces and the so-called National Guard troops loyal to Kiev, with some reports claiming armed radical Right Sector members have also been transferred to the area. The unusual mix is explained by the fact that Ukrainian army divisions have previously refused to act on orders from Kiev to crack down on eastern Ukrainian protesters.

Late on Monday, dozens of armed Ukrainian vehicles moving in the direction of Slavyansk were filmed by locals in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Near the town of Volodarsk, a massive force was spotted on the move.

Locals opposing Kiev’s military operation have repeatedly tried to block the movement of the military, in one instance halting a tank in Rodninskoye town on Monday. The vehicle was manned by young conscripts who eventually chose to shut down the engine and negotiate with the people.

Kiev has ordered military vehicles transferred to Ukraine by Russia from Crimea, to move to eastern Ukraine to cover up for the lack of hardware, a source in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti.

 RT News

Enhanced by Zemanta

Rebel videos show first U.S.-made rockets in Syria

7554

(Reuters) – Online videos show Syrian rebels using what appear to be U.S. anti-tank rockets, weapons experts say, the first significant American-built armaments in the country’s civil war.

They would signal a further internationalization of the conflict, with new rockets suspected from Russia and drones from Iran also spotted in the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

None of that equipment, however, is seen as enough to turn the tide of battle in a now broadly stalemated war, with Assad dominant in Syria’s central cities and along the Mediterranean coast and the rebels in the interior north and east.

It was not possible to independently verify the authenticity of the videos or the supplier of the BGM-71 TOW anti-tank rockets shown in the videos. Some analysts suggested they might have been provided by another state such as Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, probably with Washington’s acquiescence.

U.S. officials declined to discuss the rockets, which appeared in Syria around the same time Reuters reported that Washington had decided to proceed with plans to increase aid, including delivery of lower-level weaponry.

U.S. officials say privately there remain clear limits to American backing for the insurgency, given the widely dominant role played by Islamist militants. A proposal to supply MANPAD surface-to-air missiles was considered but rejected.

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said the Obama administration was giving support she did not define.

“The United States is committed to building the capacity of the moderate opposition, including through the provision of assistance to vetted members of the moderate armed opposition,” she said in response to a query over the rocket videos.

“As we have consistently said, we are not going to detail every single type of our assistance,” she said.

While the number of U.S. rockets seen remains small, reports of their presence are steadily spreading, analysts say.

“With U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles now seen in the hands of three groups in the north and south of Syria, it is safe to say this is important,” said Charles Lister, visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution Doha Centre and one of the first to identify the weapons.

The first three videos were posted on April 1 and 5, Lister said. While two have since been removed, one remains on YouTube.

here

He posted clearer still images on a blog for Huffington Post last week.

here

Several other arms experts and bloggers on the Syrian conflict have also reviewed the videos. They include Eliot Higgins, a Britain-based, self-taught arms and video specialist who blogs under the name “Brown Moses” and has emerged as one of the leading authorities on foreign firepower reaching Syria.

The rebel faction shown operating the U.S. missiles in the first videos, a relatively secular and moderate group called Harakat Hazm, declined comment. But an opposition activist based in southeastern Turkey who is a former member of Harakat Hazm said that they were provided by the Americans.

The Syrian activist, who identified himself as Samer Muhammad, said Harakat Hazm received 10 anti-tank missiles earlier this month near Aleppo and Idlib, two cities torn by heavy fighting near the northern border with Turkey.

He said that Harakat Hazm had launched five of those rockets to destroy four tanks and win a battle in the Idlib suburbs of Babulin and Salheiya, and this was the first time such U.S. arms had figured in Syria’s fighting.

His information could not be confirmed independently.

SAUDI, QATARI SUPPLIES

More recent videos had shown the rockets in the hands of the Syrian Revolutionary Front and another group named Awliya wa Katalib al-Shaheed Ahmed al-Abdo, Jessop said. Both are also seen as broadly moderate, in contrast with radical Islamists.

Western states have long been reluctant to make good on repeated talk of supplying weapons to Assad’s foes, nervous of arms falling into the hands of jihadi militants or simply abetting more bloodshed in a conflict that has killed over 150,000 people and displaced millions over the past three years.

Lister said that if Washington were unwilling to supply TOW rockets itself, the most likely point of origin was Saudi Arabia which has thousands of anti-tank projectiles in its arsenal.

Under terms of the original sale, Riyadh would be obliged to tell Washington if it were transferring them to any third party.

“Considering the groups already seen with these missile systems and considering Saudis’ already established reputation for providing weapons to moderate… groups, Saudi would seem the most likely candidate at this stage,” Lister said.

The other major regional supporter of the rebels, Qatar, apparently do not hold such rockets in its regular military stores, analysts say, and may have bought Chinese weaponry from elsewhere, perhaps Sudan, for shipment to rebels last year.

Chinese-built HJ-8 anti-tank guided missiles remain a relatively common part of the rebel arsenal, according to Syria arms experts. HJ-8s first popped up largely in the hands of Islamist groups early last year, possibly coming from Qatar.

More recent shipments have been noticed in the hands of relatively secular insurgent factions and are believed by analysts to have been supplied by Saudi Arabia instead.

RUSSIAN ROCKETS, IRANIAN DRONES

Use of Chinese MANPAD anti-aircraft missiles by Islamist militants has dwindled in recent months, monitors say. Such missiles arrived last year, again believed to have come from Qatar, a development that particularly worried Western states.

“I suspect there’s been two waves of Chinese weapons, the first from Qatar and the second from Saudi Arabia going to different groups,” said “Brown Moses” blogger Higgins.

The United States and other Gulf Arab states have bemoaned Qatar’s scattergun approach to arming rebel forces that has seen many weapons end up in the hands of fighters affiliated with al Qaeda linked and other radical Islamists. Qatari and Saudi officials will not discuss their Syria policy in detail.

Gulf states have also been alarmed by growing signs of support from Iran for Assad’s military. The latest new piece of Iranian equipment to appear on the battlefield, an unmanned Shahed 129 drone photographed over Damascus, is said by Tehran to carry weapons as well as conduct surveillance.

Higgins said the other most significant development in Syrian conflict firepower this year had been the government’s growing use of Russian-made BM-27 and BM-30 rocket launchers to deliver cluster munitions. While the former had long been known to be part of Assad’t armories, the latter was not.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

How ‘Heartbleed’ May Have Infiltrated Every Website on the Internet

Susanne Posel | Chief Editor, The US Independent

The Heartbleed (HB) bug is causing quite a stir because it exposes “end-user passwords, the contents of confidential e-mails, and other sensitive data belonging to Yahoo Mail and almost certainly countless other services.”

According to the Tor Project: “If you need strong anonymity or privacy on the internet, you might want to stay away from the internet entirely for the next few days while things settle.”

Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Amazon and others have taken security measures and fixed issues to avoid any more problems from HB.

Tumblr said that they did not find evidence of HB or any security breach.

Amazon explained they fixed HB for most of their services.

In Canada, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) closed access to the public for “electronic services” because of HB; stating that they were concerned about protecting “the security of taxpayer information”.

Sites tested and found to be vulnerable include:

• Yahoo

• Kickass

• Flickr

• Slate

• Scoop

• USMagazine

• Price Monkey

• Facebook

• Google

YouTube

• Wikipedia

• Twitter

LinkedIn

• Amazon

• Blogspot

• WordPress

eBay

• pintrest

• Instagram

• Paypal

• Apple

• Craigslist

• BBC

Continued . . .

via How ‘Heartbleed’ May Have Infiltrated Every Website on the Internet – THE US INDEPENDENT : THE US INDEPENDENT.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Hamas, Islamic Jihad praise West Bank terror attack

Militants say attack that killed one Israeli and injured two others was a response to ‘Israeli crimes’

Palestinian militant organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised a shooting attack on Israeli cars near the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Monday, which left one dead and two others wounded.

Stopping short of claiming responsibility for the shooting, the groups linked the attack to recent unrest in the flashpoint Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem’s Old City.

“We in Hamas welcome the shooting action in the Hebron area, during which shots were fired at several settlers, causing the death of one and wounding of others,” said Hamas spokesman Husam Badran. “We see this action as a natural response to the crimes of the occupation [Israel] against the rights of our people and the repeated assaults on the al-Aqsa Mosque and our prisoners jailed in Israel.”

Islamic Jihad released a similar statement, hailing the attack and linking it to “settlers appropriating the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque.”

The attack took place as the seven-day Jewish Passover holiday began.

“Fire was opened at Israeli civilian vehicles on Route 35, near Hebron, and we’re conducting widespread searches for the perpetrators… An Israeli civilian was killed in the attack,” an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said.

Israel’s Army Radio radio said the victim was a man, and that his wife and one of their children were those hurt.

A separate army statement said two other Israelis were wounded.

The flashpoint city of Hebron is home to nearly 200,000 Palestinians. Additionally, there are some 80 settler homes in the center of town housing about 700 Jews who live under Israeli army protection.

In September, an Israeli soldier was shot dead by a suspected Palestinian gunman in the center of Hebron during the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Temple Mount clashes

Tensions were running high earlier in the week in Jerusalem, after Israeli police arrested five people after Palestinians clashed with security forces at the Temple Mount compound on Sunday.

Police said “stones and Molotov cocktails” were thrown at officers, who responded using stun grenades and entered the compound. An AFP journalist said Hamas members were among the protesters.

The compound, in the walled Old City, houses the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques, and is the third most sacred site in Islam.

It is also the holiest place in Judaism, venerated as the site where King Herod’s temple stood before it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

Clashes frequently break out there between Palestinians and Israeli security forces. Muslims are intensely sensitive to any perceived threat to the status of the compound and many believe Jews are determined to build a new temple on the wide esplanade. Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, but often try to enter the compound.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta