Daily Archives: April 17, 2014

الجزائر – بوتفليقه يحصل على 80% من الأصوات وفق النتائج الأوليه واعلان النتائج الرسمية مساء الجمعه

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أكدت نتائج جزئية غير رسمية فجر الجمعة  تقدم الرئيس المنتهية ولايته عبدالعزيز بوتفليقة في نتائج فرز أصوات انتخابات الرئاسة. وشهدت شوارع الجزائر العاصمة احتفال أنصار بوتفليقة بالنصر مبكرا

حيث استبق أنصار بوتفليقة إعلان النتائج الرسميه ، باقامة الأفراح في المداومة المركزية للحملة الانتخابية، وأطلقت الفرق الفولكلورية العنان للأغاني الشعبية وطلقات البارود

وفى اقرار بهزيمته وقبل اعلان النتائج رسميا ادعى المرشح المستقل بن فليس في مؤتمر صحافي، فجر الجمعة حدوث تزوير في انتخابات الرئاسة الجزائرية

بينما قالت الأمينة العامة لحزب العمال و مترشحة الإنتخابات الرئاسية، لويزة حنون، مساء اليوم، أن التوجه العام للإنتخابات الرئاسية قد أتضح وأن عبد العزيز بوتفليقة هو الفائز

وفي تصريحات نقلها موقع صحيفة “النهار”،  أكدت لويزة حنون  أنها تحترم قرار الشعب في  إختيار رئيسه

ومن جانبه، حذر وزير الداخلية الجزائري الطيب بلعيز أي مرشح من استباق إعلان النتائج الرسمية للانتخابات الرئاسية وقال وزير الداخلية الجزائري إنه ووفقا للقانون، فإن وزير الداخلية وحده المخول بإعلان نتائج الأولية للإنتخابات ، على أن يعلن المجلس الدستوري، بصفته الهيئة الدستورية المخولة ، عن النتائج النهائية

وأكد بلعيز أنه سيعلن مساء اليوم الجمعة عن النتائج النهائية امام الصحافة الوطنية والدولية، في مؤتمر صحافي مفتوح

وتشير النتائج الأولية للانتخابات الرئاسية الجزائرية إلى أن نسبة المشاركة وصلت لـ 51.7 % وان الرئيس الجزائري المنتهية ولايته حصل على 80% من الأصوات وفق النتائج الأوليه

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الجزائر – إغلاق صناديق الاقتراع في انتخابات الرئاسه ومؤشرات على تقدم بوتفليقه بفارق كبير

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أغلقت صناديق الاقتراع في الانتخابات الرئاسية الجزائرية، مساء الخميس، بعد أن أدلى الناخبون بأصواتهم لاختيار رئيس للبلاد من بين 6 مرشحين، أبرزهم الرئيس الجزائري الحالي عبد العزيز بوتفليقة

وحسب وزارة الداخلية الجزائرية، فقد بلغت نسبة التصويت في الانتخابات الرئاسية، الخميس، 37 بالمائة من مجموع من يحق لهم الإدلاء بأصواتهم، وعدد 23 مليون ناخب

وقال وزير الداخلية الطيب بلعيز في منتصف نهار الخميس، إن عملية الاقتراع “تجري في ظروف جيدة” وأن هناك “إقبال كبير في 50 ألف مكتب تصويت” في أرجاء البلاد

وإلى جانب بوتفليقة، يتنافس في هذه الانتخابات رئيس الوزراء السابق علي بن فليس، ورئيسة حزب العمال التروتسكي لويزة حنون، ورئيس حزب جبهة المستقبل عبد العزيز بلعيد، ورئيس حزب عهد 54 علي فوزي رباعين، ورئيس حزب الجبهة الوطنية الجزائرية موسى تواتي

تدل المؤشرات على تقدم بوتفليقه بقارق كبير على اقرب منافسيه بن فليس , ومن المتوقع اعلان النتيجه النهائيه بعد ساعات قليله

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Breaking news – Kiev: Military operation in Ukraine southeast to go on despite Geneva agreement

Breaking NewsDETAILS TO FOLLOW

Despite calls for a peaceful dialogue in the document on Ukraine adopted in Geneva, the coup-imposed Ukrainian Foreign Minister said it will not affect the “anti-terrorist” operation in the East of the country and the troops will remain there.

Soon after the Geneva document, adopted at a four-side meeting between Ukraine, the US, the EU and Russia, was published, Ukraine’s acting Foreign Minister Andrey Deshchytsa said Kiev is not bound by its recommendations.

According to Deshchytsa cited by RIA Novosti, “the troops in the East of the country are carrying out a special operation and can remain where they are.”

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

This comes despite the statement issued by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry following the meeting, which says:

“All sides have pledged to refrain from any form of violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants of the meeting strongly condemned and rejected all forms of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including manifestations of anti-Semitism.”

Deshchytsa said the Ukrainian side has agreed on “joint efforts” with Russia “to start the process of de-escalation in eastern Ukraine.”

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia (R) stops U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton (C) in Geneva April 17, 2014.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia (R) stops U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton (C) in Geneva April 17, 2014.

Speaking after the four-side meeting, US Secretary of State John Kerry also gave an assurance that the Ukrainian authorities are ready to ensure “inclusive and transparent” constitutional reform. All regions of Ukraine will be included in the work towards this reform, he said.

Ukraine will take de-escalation measures in the coming days, Kerry claimed, adding that Washington will “watch that very closely.”

“All of this, we are convinced, represents a good day’s work, but on the other hand, this day’s work has produced principles, and it has produced commitments and it has produced words on paper. And we are the first to understand and agree that words on paper will only mean what the actions taken as a result of those words produce,” Kerry said.

The top US diplomat again threatened Russia with “additional sanctions, additional costs as a consequence,” if there is no progress in eastern Ukraine. At the same time, he hinted some sanctions may be lifted if the de-escalation process goes well.

All sides of the conflict in Ukraine must refrain from violence and provocations, Kerry stressed. International meetings on Ukraine should continue, he said.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has assessed the talks as “frank but constructive discussions,” saying that “it was extremely important to bring us all together here to have that process of dialogue begin.”

“We absolutely welcomed the Ukrainian commitment to conduct an inclusive and transparent constitutional process,” Ashton said.

The EU diplomat stressed that measures to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine should be taken “immediately,” with the leading role given to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, which will “assist the Ukrainian authorities and local communities to take the necessary measures that they need to take.”

Ashton said the EU will “continue to support efforts to stabilize the situation in Ukraine economically, financially and politically.”

“Today President Barroso of the European Commission wrote to President Putin on behalf of the European Union, accepting President Putin’s proposal for consultations with Russia and Ukraine, trilateral consultations, on the security of gas supply and transit,”
she added.

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Lavrov: Russia, US, EU, Ukraine agree on de-escalation roadmap

Russia, the US, the EU and Ukraine have adopted a joint document on the de-escalation of the Ukraine crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, after talks in Geneva. It calls for all illegal armed groups to lay down arms and a wide amnesty.

The document calls for an “immediate start of a nationwide national dialogue within the framework of the constitutional process, which must be inclusive and accountable,” Lavrov said.

The most important agreement reached during the talks, according to Lavrov, states that the Ukrainian crisis “must be resolved by the Ukrainians themselves concerning an end to the conflict” including those related to “detaining protesters, occupying buildings” and, in the long run “the start of true constitutional reform.”

“Among the steps that have to be taken are: the disarmament of all the illegal armed groups, and the return of all the occupied administrative buildings,” Lavrov told journalists at the Thursday briefing.

“An amnesty for all the protesters must take place, except of those who committed grave crimes,” the Foreign Minister added.

The issue of illegal armed groups and seized buildings concerns all the regions of Ukraine, Lavrov stressed.

“It is impossible to solve the problem of illegally seized buildings in one region of Ukraine when the illegally seized buildings are not freed in another,” he said.

“Those who took power in Kiev as a result of a coup – if they consider themselves as representing the interests of all the Ukrainians – must show the initiative, extend a friendly hand to the regions, listen to their concerns, and sit down with them at the negotiation table,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov said the document does not give any guidelines on the future political system of Ukraine.

“We did not use any terms… There are federations where the rights of the regions are limited, and there are unitary states in name only where the regions have broad authority,” he explained.

The goal of the meeting was to send a signal to the Ukrainians that they are responsible for stability in the country and must ensure that “each region can protect its history and language,” Lavrov stressed.

“Only then will Ukraine be a strong state, a proverbial bridge between the East and the West,” Lavrov said.

The Russian side on Thursday provided US and EU representatives with documents passed on from south-eastern Ukrainians, which contain “a thorough vision of how their interests should be reflected in the new [Ukrainian] constitution.”

The OSCE’s (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) monitoring mission must play “the leading role” in assisting the Ukrainian authorities to resolve the crisis, Lavrov stressed, adding that Russia “will support” the mission’s work.

The Geneva meeting has given Russia “hopes” that “the US and the EU are genuinely interested in a trilateral cooperation with Russia aimed at convincing the Ukrainian to sit down at the negotiation table,” Lavrov said.

According to the Russian top diplomat, the Americans now have a “decisive influence” on the Kiev authorities, which should be used for resolving the crisis.

Russia “does not want to send any troops to Ukraine,” Lavrov stressed, answering journalists’ questions. Moscow’s chief concern is that the rights of all the Ukrainian regions, including those with Russian-speaking majorities, must be taken into account in the constitutional reform.

“We have absolutely no wish to send our troops to Ukraine, to the territory of a friendly state, to the land of a brotherly nation. This is against the fundamental interests of the Russian Federation,” Lavrov said.

Calling the recent NATO statements on Ukraine’s neutrality “unacceptable,” Lavrov stressed that pushing for changes in the country’s non-aligned status will “undermine the efforts to resolve the crisis” in Ukraine.

“The fact that Ukraine has chosen non-aligned status and enshrined it in its law must be respected by all and there should not be any attempts to doubt it or to erode its meaning,” the Russian Foreign Minister stressed.

Ahead of the quadrilateral talks, Lavrov met US Secretary of State John Kerry, while EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton saw Ukraine’s acting Foreign Minister Andrey Deshchytsa. Both meetings were held behind closed doors.

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US foreign internal defense operations in Ukraine

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American Don Quixote

by John Stanton – 17.04.2014

Oh my God, I’m back. I’m home. All the time, it was… We finally really did it! You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!”

That’s the dialogue that accompanies the final scene of the classic movie Planet of the Apes, starring the fine actor Charlton Heston.  As Heston’s character (Taylor) finally escapes from Ape Society, he is seen riding a horse along a beach with his female, human companion.  A wide shadow appears in front of the horse Heston is riding and he is seen dismounting. He then falls to his knees overcome by grief, pounding the sand whilst uttering the dialogue above. The camera then cuts to the top third of the Statue of Liberty, the remainder buried in the sand.

News that General Wesley Clark, USA (Ret.) visited the Ukraine at the behest of the National Security Advisor there-and also a senior member of Ukraine’s parliament-should be a cause for alarm. A nonprofit foundation was involved in this exercise (more below). There is a sense of open, almost joyful viciousness in all this pro-war, anti-Russian sentiments on opinion pages and television broadcasts. It is certainly racist and demeaning in tone. Such is the first step in convincing the public that the “transgressor” is equivalent to a retrovirus.

Interim Report #1: Immediate Improvements Needed in Rapidly Implementing Non-Lethal US Military Assistance for Defense of Ukraine is available at Cryptome (and the New York Times) for viewing. General Clark and a former strategy advisor to Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger named Dr. Phillip Karber, indicates that the two “participated in 35 meeting [sic] with senior officials, military commanders and various politicians; with Karber visiting front line formations on the Northern, Eastern and Southern Fronts.”  The two aging Cold War Warriors recommend immediate shipments of American Body Armor, Night Vision Devices, Communications Equipment, Aviation Fuel and “to maximize their defense potential” Clark and Karber recommend the acquisition of Mig-29’s, T-72 tanks, Man-Portable Air Defenses, and Anti-Tank weapons.

Partial expenses for the Clark and Karber expedition were paid for by the Potomac Foundation, a nonprofit foundation in Vienna, Virginia. According to three of its Form 990’s, over the years it has received grants from the Smith Richardson Foundation, Soros/Open Society Fund, and Boeing. According to an official at the Potomac Foundation, some support is provided to Georgetown University, in particular, to Karber (the Chinese Tunnel guy). The official stated that the group does not have a website.

The Potomac Foundations also runs China Vitae as a charitable activity. According to China Vitae’s website it “was founded in 2001 with two objectives: to raise the quality and quantity of English language, biographical information on China’s top leadership; and to create a centralized repository of such information available to a worldwide audience.” China Vitae is run by husband and wife team David and Susan Gries. David Gries is on the board of the Washington Institute for Foreign Affairs and has affiliations to the CIA and Georgetown University. Members listed on the China Vitae website have an assortment of affiliations to universities, corporations and the US government.

The Sith Order Returns from the Dark Side: The General who wanted war with Russia

According to Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, writing in 1999, General Clark is a madman. “…anyone seeking to understand the bloody fiasco od the Serbian war need hardly look any further than the person of the beribboned Supreme Allied Commander, General Wesley K. Clark…A vain, pompous brownnoser, and the poster child for everything that is wrong with the GO (general officer corps)…”

In Wesley Clark: The Guy Who Almost Started World War III by Stella Jatras, “No sooner are we told by Britain’s top generals that the Russians played a crucial role in ending the West’s war against Yugoslavia than we learn that if NATO’s supreme commander, the American General Wesley Clark, had had his way, British paratroopers would have stormed Pristina airport, threatening to unleash the most frightening crisis with Moscow since the end of the Cold War. ‘I’m not going to start the third world war for you,’ General Sir Mike Jackson, commander of the international KFOR peacekeeping force, is reported to have told Gen. Clark when he refused to accept an order to send assault troops to prevent Russian troops from taking over the airfield of Kosovo’s provincial capital. The Times of London reported on 23 May 2001 in an article titled, ‘Kosovo clash of allied generals,’ that ‘General Sir Michael Jackson [was] told that he would have to resign if he refused to obey an order by the American commander of NATO’s forces during the Kosovo war to stop the Russians from seizing control of Pristina airport in June 1999. If General Clark had had his way, we might have gone to war with Russia, or at least resurrected vestiges of the Cold War and we certainly would have had hundreds if not thousands of casualties in an ill-conceived ground war”

Foreign Internal Defense Operations (FIDO): Standard Playbook

Given that US President Obama has blessed the new Kiev government with legitimacy, America now seeks to stabilize the country with infusions of cash, arms and advisors. And that means that FIDO is likely underway there. Former special operations soldiers-now defense contractors-are on the ground in Ukraine, and so are active duty special operators/advisors perhaps out of US Special Operations Command. They are training/tutoring Ukrainian security personnel.

The execution of US national security/military strategy, operations, tactics are very predictable and based on using the impressive US Instruments of National Power to shape the target environment in America’s favor. There are many simultaneous operations underway both covert and quite overt. In particular, military information support operations (MISO) begin with manipulating the public consciousness through cyber and meat-space means. That effort is clearly seen in the hyper-hypocritical statements on Russia’s annexation of Crimea made by all top national security officials and members of the US Congress. The official words-of-war are gleefully reproduced by the mainstream media and assorted NGO’s for a public seemingly unaware or uncaring of such serious international matters. There is little opposition to the anti-Russian, pro-war madness.

Then again American infrastructure is crumbling from sea-to-shining sea and so there is a solid rational that can be made for not caring about foreign affairs.

But Americans have seen this movie over and over again since the end of World War II. The script is the same, the bullshit propaganda/myth making is the same, the goals and objectives are the same, and the demonization of the adversary is the same. It is just so formulaic: the USA instigates and creatively destroys; Russia (or any opponent) attempts to counterpunch; China waits for the USA/Russia to commit suicide; and the rest of the world cowers, as they should, selecting to side with whatever one of the three giants can give them the best financial deal or “muscle.”

At any rate, according to Joint Publication 3-22, Foreign Internal Defense, 12 July 2010, “…joint operations, involving the application of all instruments of national power, support host nation efforts to build capability and capacity to free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency… An internal defense and development program (IDAD) program blends four interdependent functions to prevent or counter internal threats. Balanced development attempts to achieve national goals through political, social, and economic programs, allowing all individuals and groups in the society to share in the rewards of development, thus alleviating frustration. The security function includes all activities implemented in order to protect the populace from violence and to provide a safe environment for national development. The security effort should establish an environment in which the HN can provide for its own security with limited US support. Neutralization, a political concept, physically and psychologically separates an insurgent or criminal element from the population, thereby making threatening elements irrelevant to the political process. It includes all lawful measures (except those that degrade the government’s legitimacy) to discredit, disrupt, preempt, disorganize, and defeat the insurgent organization. Mobilization provides organized manpower and materiel resources and includes all activities to motivate and organize popular support of the government. Mobilization allows the government to strengthen existing institutions, to develop new ones to respond to demands, and promotes the government’s legitimacy…”

The ideals stated in the American Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution are currently being crushed by those addicted to warfare, power, money and a view that “they” are the anointed ones, the ones that know what’s best for the masses. Great leaders-with all their faults-do not exist any longer in America, nor does a citizenry that vigorously debates and then instructs their representatives to compromise for the sake of the nation, not an ideology.  The efforts of George Washington, George C. Marshall, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt may one day be viewed by future historians/generations as folly.

The maniacs are in charge. “God damn them all to hell!”

John Stanton – John Stanton is a Virginia based writer. Reach him at captainkong22@gmail.com

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Putin hopes USA will realize that it is not the only leader in world

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The United States is not the only leader in the world, and Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes that official Washington would come to realize this. Putin made this statement on Thursday in a televised question and answer session, adding that Russia and USA had many areas for mutually advantageous cooperation.“The United States is one of the world leaders,” the Russian president noted. “It seemed at some moment that it was the only leader, and a unipolar system was forming,” he added.

“Today, it has turned out that it’s not so,” the Russian leader said. “Everything is very interdependent in the world, and if [the United States tries] to punish all, it will finally cut off the branch it is sitting on,” the Russian president said. “One day it [the US side] will develop this understanding,” Putin believes.

Putin declined to answer what, in his view, was the notional score in Russia-US relations. “I would not interpret them is such a way, it’s not a sports competition,” he said.

“We are partners and I hope that we have a good future for the development of relations, because we have interests that coincide in many areas: security, non-proliferation, as well as fighting terrorism and the development of the world economic system,” he said.

“The fulfillment of these tasks meets both our and American interests, and we will not be able to effectively fulfill them if we fail to act together,” Putin is certain.

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Putin says oil wars with Russia will make West bleed

Opportunities for the West to hurt the Russian economy are limited, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday. Europe cannot stop buying Russian gas without inflicting pain on itself, and if the US tries to lower oil prices, the dollar will suffer.

If the West tries to damage Russia’s influence in the world energy market, efforts will likely backfire, the Russian President said during his twelfth annual televised question and answer session.

To really influence the world oil market a country would need to increase production and cut prices, which currently only Saudi Arabia could afford, Putin said.

The president added he didn’t expect Saudi Arabia, which has “very kind relations” with Russia, will choose to cut prices, that could also damage its own economy.

If world oil production increases, the price could go down to about $85 per barrel. “For us the price fall from $90 to $85 per barrel isn’t critical,” Putin said, adding that for Saudi Arabia it would be more sensitive.

Also the President said that being an OPEC member, Saudi Arabia would need to coordinate its action with the organization, which “is very complicated.”

Meanwhile, Russia supplies about a third of Europe’s energy needs, said Putin. Finland, for example, is close to Russia economically, as it receives 70 percent of its gas from Russia.

“Can Europe stop buying Russian gas? I think it’s impossible…Will they make themselves bleed? That’s hard to imagine,” the Russian president said.

Since oil is sold internationally on global markets cutting the price would mean lower dollar circulation, diminishing its value in the global currency market.

“If prices decrease in the global market, the emerging shale industry will die,” Putin said.

The US shale industry has boosted domestic production, helping the US become independent and situating it to overtake Russia as a producer.

Russia’s economy largely relies on energy. In 2013 more than 50 percent of the national budget was funded by gas and oil revenues. The main revenue comes from oil, as last year, oil revenues reached $191 billion, and gas $28 billion.

“Oil and gas revenues are a big contribution to the Russian budget, a big part for us when we decide on our government programs, and of course, meeting our social obligations,” the president said.

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Algeria’s Bouteflika poised to win re-election

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With the dominant National Liberation Front (FLN) party, allied movements and unions behind him, many Algerians believe Bouteflika, 77, is almost assured of victory and another five years governing the North African OPEC state.

Algeria is seen as a partner in Washington‘s campaign against Islamist militancy in the Maghreb and a stable supplier of around a fifth of Europe’s gas imports.

“No country is 100 percent good, but the things he has done, he has done well,” said Abdessaid Said, a retired technician who voted for Bouteflika in AlgiersBab El Oued district.

“I know he is ill, but I vote for him for what he has done for us. And he can still govern.”

Loyalists portray Bouteflika as the man who helped stabilize Algeria after a war with Islamist militants in the 1990s that killed around 200,000 people.

Bouteflika, a veteran of Algeria’s war of independence, won the 2009 election with 90 percent of the vote.

Police on Wednesday broke up a small rally by an anti-government movement called “Barakat”, or “Enough”, which is calling for peaceful change with rare public protests.

The outcome of the vote is being closely watched by Western governments as Algeria is seen as a partner in Washington’s campaign against Islamist militancy in North Africa and as a stable gas supplier to Europe.

Results are expected at the earliest on Friday (April 18).

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Snowden asks Putin LIVE: Does Russia intercept millions of citizens’ data?

Russia has “no mass surveillance in our country,” according to President Vladimir Putin, after he was asked a surprise question by whistleblower Edward Snowden at his Q&A session, adding “our surveillance activities are strictly controlled by the law.”

The former US National Security Agency contractor was interested to know Putin’s view as to whether there was any mass surveillance in Russia. The 30-year-old American mentioned that “two separate White House investigations, as well as a [US] federal court, all concluded that these programs are ineffective in stopping terrorism” in America and if, “Russia intercepts stores or analyzes the communications of millions of people in any way.”

Putin revealed that Russia uses surveillance techniques for spying on individuals, but this is “only with the sanction of a court order.” He added that “this is our law and therefore there is no mass surveillance in our country.”

There was plenty of joking by Putin, who began his answer to Snowden by saying, “You are a former agent or spy. I used to work for an intelligence agency, so we are going to talk the same professional language.” He concluded by adding with a smile that he hopes that Russia will never have the same kind of uncontrollable surveillance as America and this is unlikely to happen as “Russia does not have as much money to spend on this as they do in the States.”

Edward Snowden, who has been scathing about the use of mass surveillance by the US government, was appearing via a video link from an undisclosed location in Russia. He helped detail how the NSA managed to spy on the lives of millions of Americans as well as world leaders, despite almost all of them being individuals who have never been suspected of any wrongdoing or criminal activity.

The US citizen has been living in Russia since being granted temporary asylum in August 2013, after fleeing his homeland and then Hong Kong after leaking huge numbers of sensitive documents.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin expresses hope he won’t have to send troops to Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin replies to questions from Russian citizens at the Gostiny Dvor studio during annual question and answer session "Direct Line with Vladimir Putin,"

Russian President Vladimir Putin replies to questions from Russian citizens at the Gostiny Dvor studio during annual question and answer session “Direct Line with Vladimir Putin,”

MOSCOW — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Thursday rejected claims that Russian special forces are fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, but recognized for the first time that the troops in unmarked uniforms who had overtaken Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula before its annexation by Moscow were Russian soldiers.

He expressed hope for a political and diplomatic solution of the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War, saying he hopes that he won’t have to send Russian troops into eastern Ukraine, which has been engulfed by violent protests against the new authorities in Kyiv.

Speaking in a televised call-in show with the nation, Putin harshly criticized the West for trying to pull Ukraine into its orbit and said that people in eastern Ukraine have risen against the authorities in Kyiv, who ignored their rights and legitimate demands.

A wave of protests, which Ukraine and the West said was organized by Russia and involved Russian special forces, have swept eastern Ukraine over the past weeks, with gunmen seizing government offices and police stations in at least 10 cities.

“It’s all nonsense, there are no special units, special forces or instructors in the east of Ukraine,” Putin said.

At the same time, he recognized for the first time that soldiers in unmarked uniforms — dubbed “little green men” by some — who have swept Ukraine’s Black Sea region of Crimea laying the ground for its annexation by Moscow last month were Russian troops.

Putin, who previously said the troops were local self-defence forces, said the Russian soldiers’ presence was necessary to protect the local population from armed radicals and to ensure the holding of a referendum, in which an overwhelming majority of its residents voted for seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia.

“Our servicemen stood behind the back of Crimea’s self-defence forces,” Putin said. “They acted politely, but resolutely and professionally. There was no other way to hold the referendum in an open, honest and honourable way and allow the people to express their opinion.”

Putin insisted that protests in the east of Ukraine only involve locals. He said that he told his Western counterparts that only local residents are involved in the protests in the east, and “they have nowhere else to go, they are masters of their land.”

Putin denounced the Ukrainian authorities’ decision to use the military to uproot the protests in the east as a “grave crime.”

He expressed hope for the success of Thursday’s talks in Geneva that brings together the United States, the European Union, Russia and Ukraine for the first time since the Ukrainian crisis erupted.

“I think the start of today’s talks is very important, as it’s very important now to think together about how to overcome this situation and offer a real dialogue to the people,” Putin said.

via Russian President Vladimir Putin expresses hope he won’t have to send troops to Ukraine.

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