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Showing posts from April, 2016

A Look at Ukraine’s Dark Side

By Gilbert Doctorow

A new French documentary depicts a long-denied truth that Ukraine is in the grip of extreme right-wing nationalists who seek to impose what the British scholar Richard Sakwa has called a monist view of nationhood, one which does not accept minorities or heterogeneity. Rainbow politics is not what the Maidan uprising was all about.

Like the Communism which held power in Ukraine before 1992, this new extreme nationalism can impose its will only by violence or the threat of violence. It is by definition the antithesis of European values of tolerance and multiculturalism.

Sen. John McCain appearing with Ukrainian rightists of the Svoboda party at a pre-coup rally in Kiev.

This intimidation is what Paul Moreira’s Canal+ documentary, “Ukraine: The Masks of Revolution,” shows us graphically, frame by frame. That this repression happens to take place under an ideology that incorporates elements of fascism if not Nazism is incidental but not decisive to the power of the documen…

Egypt’s Dangerous Turn

Egypt’s military regime is suppressing political opposition even more ferociously than the longtime Mubarak dictatorship while also collaborating in the strangulation of Gaza, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

By Paul R. Pillar

With U.S. attention toward the Middle East being recently focused on such matters as warfare in Syria and Iraq and on the relationship with Saudi Arabia, little attention span is left over for the relationship with the most populous Arab nation.

But developments in Egypt have, in multiple respects, significant capacity for creating attention-grabbing problems for Washington in addition to problems to which Egypt already is contributing in significant though less salient ways.

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi

The regime of Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has become increasingly harsh, illiberal, and downright brutal—much more so than the last previous Egyptian general-turned-president, Hosni Mubarak.

The State Department’s official human rights report on Egypt says that…

HomeNews In the Name of the Profit: New RT documentary exposes dirty oil secrets, ISIS cozy ties with Turkey

Exclusive eye witness reports and documents, abandoned by retreating jihadists and found by RT Documentary crew members in a region liberated by Syrian Kurds, point to a commercial scale oil smuggling operations and the terror group’s cozy relations with Turkey.

Exclusive and unprecedented footage, along with witness accounts, was filmed by the RT Documentary crew only ten days after the town of Shaddadi in Syrian Kurdistan was liberated from Islamic State terrorists. The area surrounding the town is well known for its vast oil reserves and extraction activity that for months was reaped by ISIS command to generate revenue.

Following Kurdish soldiers around the destroyed and abandoned homes, RT Documentary found documents which showed a direct link between Turkey and Islamic State fighters operating in Syria. The jihadi paperwork included an entire pile of foreign passports with Turkish entry stamps, and booklets encouraging jihad against the the Syrian government, printed in Turkey.

But …

US Pivot to Asia Poised to Enter Nuclear Phase


I’m expecting tactical nuclear weapons to reappear overtly in the US military equation for Asia…

…but only after the US Navy gets its chance to feast at the pivot trough for its long-for but perhaps strategically less-than-vital conventional forces buildout in Asia.

I have an article up exclusively on Asia Times, The Case of the Missing Nukes…and a Disappearing US Mission in Asia, concerning an interesting and, I fear, transitory lack of tactical nuclear weapons in theater in Asia.

US land based tactical nukes for the army and air force were pulled out of Asia at the end of the Cold War and it would require major political and diplomatic handwringing to put them back. The US Navy got out of the tactical nuke business for surface vessels worldwide at the same time. The Pentagon then stripped the Navy of its submarine tactical nuke, the nuclear-tipped Tomahawk cruise missile, the TLAM-N, formally and irrevocably retiring it in 2013 over the objections of Japan and a certain, To…

Paris attack suspect’s lawyer describes Abdeslam as ‘moron with intelligence of an ashtray’

As the main Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam appeared in a French court for the first time since his extradition, his Belgian lawyer described his former client as a “little moron” and more of a follower than a leader, with the “intelligence of an ashtray.”

Refusing to address charges formally brought against him by the French court on Wednesday, Abdeslam claimed to be tired from the “quite rough”extradition, when elite French military police flew him to France. The 26-year-old Abdeslam has been scheduled to appear in court on May 20.

The sole survivor of the Islamist cell which killed 130 people in a series of shootings and suicide bombings in Paris on Nov. 13 stands accused of belonging to a terrorist organization, murder, kidnapping and possessing weapons and explosives. As Abdeslam was handed over to the French authorities and a French defense team, his Belgian lawyer, Sven Mary, who has spoken to the suspect on eight occasions following his capture in Brussels on March 18 afte…

‘It’s tragic US continues series of experiments in Syria’ - ex-UN Assistant Sec-Gen


Barack Obama wants to leave a legacy that shows some sign of a successful presidency. However he continues to experiment in Syria, which may hamper the Geneva peace talks, says Hans-Christof Von Sponeck, former UN Assistant Secretary-General.

President Obama has announced the biggest escalation of American intervention in Syria to date with a further 250 troops, on top of dozens who are already on the ground.

"Given the success, I've approved the deployment of up to 250 additional US personnel in Syria, including special forces to keep up this momentum," the US President said in a speech at a trade fair in Hanover, Germany. "They're not going to be leading the fight on the ground, but they will be essential in providing the training and assisting local forces as they continue to drive ISIL back," he said.

RT: Mr. Sponeck, President Obama is now sending hundreds of American troops to help what he called “local forces” in Syria. That's a big vague, isn&…

Chaotic evacuation after blast & heavy smoke in Washington, DC metro station

Washington DC’s Tenleytown and Friendship Heights Metro stations were evacuated after reports that an explosion in a mechanical room had caused a fire and heavy smoke. Witnesses describe a chaos and poor communications by metro staff.

People reported hearing blasts and seeing flames and smoke underground.

Social media messages described the panic on a smoke-filled Red Line train.

DC Fire and EMS have tweeted out that there had been no casualties, but there is still smoke between the Friendship Heights & Tenleytown/AU stations.

The incident was caused by “trouble inside a mechanical room,” DC Fire and EMS reported on its Twitter account.

According to the emergency response team, the heavy smoke is concentrated around an insulator that caught on fire at the platform.

RT America producer Shefali Kapadia got stuck at the Bethesda metro station because of the fire. She reported that crowds of people were rushing from the metro and across the street, trying to get to other means of transport…

Jihadi black market: ISIS smuggles ‘blood artifacts’ out of Syria to buyers in US, Europe (VIDEO)

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is selling antiquities looted from Syria to buyers in the US and Europe as a means of funding its terrorist activities.

The jihadists are transporting the artifacts out of the country via Turkey according to documents from IS’s Ministry of Natural Resources, obtained exclusively by an RT documentary crew.

Yaya J. Fanusie, director of analysis at the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance told RT that this is a “very strategically important source of revenue for Islamic State”.

“There’s definitely a pipeline that goes through the states that border the region, so Turkey is one location where there’s a lot of smuggling,” he said.

Middlemen have told the center that buyers are coming from the US and Europe – but they haven’t documented the final buyers.

Fanusie was among a number of experts who testified at a special hearing held by the US House Financial Services Committee’s Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing this week.

The hearing, entitled …

N. Korea vows to stop nuke tests if US ends military drills with Seoul

Pyongyang said it will stop conducting nuclear tests if the US puts an end to its annual military drills in the South, North Korea’s foreign minister told AP on Saturday.

“Stop the nuclear war exercises in the Korean Peninsula, then we should also cease our nuclear tests,” Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong said in his first-ever interview with Western media. “If we continue on this path of confrontation, this will lead to very catastrophic results, not only for the two countries but for the whole entire world as well.”

At the same time, Ri stressed that his country has the right to maintain a nuclear deterrent and will not be bullied by international sanctions.

Korea’s foreign minister asserted that it was the US that had pushed the North to develop nuclear weapons as a self-defense strategy, adding that the only thing that could dissuade the country from carrying out its tests, would be for the US to halt its military exercises with Seoul.

“It is really crucial for the United States governme…

Turkish prison for refugees? EU to accept only 70,000 migrants from Turkey

EU-Turkey relations are like cattle trading with the EU trying to turn Turkey into a prison camp for refugees and Erdogan using it to boost his popularity, says Firat Demir, Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Oklahoma.

Germany’s Chancellor Merkel is heading to Turkey on Saturday to discuss implementing the migrant deal that was sealed with Ankara in March. Under it the EU will deport illegal migrants to Turkey while providing Ankara with financial aid and promises of a visa-free regime for Turks.

RT: Merkel's coalition partner the Social Democrats have urged the chancellor to send a message on freedom of speech during her visit. How do you think that will go?

Firat Demir: First of all, regarding the visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, that has been a disgrace for the EU since 1963. The EU agreed to visa-free travel for citizens of Turkey in 1963, and confirmed it in 1970 and even as recent as 2009 the European Council of Human Rights struck do…

'Many people killed, wounded in Kabul attack'

Many people have been killed and wounded in a blast that rocked central Kabul during the morning rush hour on Tuesday, President Ashraf Ghani said.

Afghanistan's Tolo News channel said at least 28 people were killed and more than 200 others injured in the coordinated attack.

The attack, claimed by the Taliban, apparently targeted the offices of Afghanistan's main security agency.

In a statement, the Presidential Palace condemned the attack "in the strongest possible terms," saying a number of people had been killed or wounded.

A spokesman for an emergency hospital in the city told Reuters that the facility had received eight lightly wounded Afghan soldiers.

A thick plume of black smoke was seen rising from the vicinity of the sprawling US embassy in the Afghan capital after the powerful blast.

Warning sirens were sounded at the embassy compound, which is also close to NATO headquarters in Afghanistan.

An Afghan official said a possible bomber carried out the attack which wa…

China sends military plane to disputed island

China says it has sent a military aircraft to one of its controversial islands in the South China Sea in order to evacuate workers wounded during construction work there.

The Chinese Defense Ministry said in a statement posted on its website that the plane was on patrol on Sunday when it was ordered to head to the Fiery Cross Reef island to evacuate three workers and fly them to the country’s southernmost island province of Hainan for treatment.

China has reportedly transformed Fiery Cross Reef into a man-made island. It sent three commercial jets to the island in January after the runway on the island was completed.

In recent years, China has built major structures, including radar systems and air strips, over reefs and outcrops.

The move, however, has drawn criticism from regional countries as well as the United States, which accuse Beijing of undergoing a massive “land reclamation” program in the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea.

Washington claims that Beijing’s alleged land r…

Should I be worried about a drone hitting a passenger plane?

Why are we asking this now?

A British Airways pilot has revealed his flight was struck by a suspected drone as it came in to land at Heathrow Airport.

Flight BA727 landed safety with 132 passengers and five crew on board. After being examined by engineers, it was cleared for its next flight.

However, the collision has raised concern about the use of drones, especially around sensitive areas such as airports.

Why are people worried?

The number of near misses involving drones and aeroplanes has quadrupled in the last year, a report released by the UK Airprox Board in March found.

Of 23 near misses recorded between April and October last year, 12 were given an A rating of "a serious risk of collision".

The aviation industry is fastidious about eliminating so-called FODs (Foreign Object Debris) from the “airside” area at airports. The dangers from debris were highlighted most tragically in the Air France Concorde crash in 2000, when a thin titanium strip left behind on the runway by …

UK offers help to Libya, while ministers meet in Luxembourg

The international community is ready to help Libya’s unity government with security training, British foreign minister Philip Hammond said on a visit to Tripoli on Monday.

Meanwhile, the EU’s foreign and defence ministers gathering in Luxembourg for what is called a “jumbo” meeting on the new major subject of worry: Libya.

Two of them, the German and French foreign ministers, have visited the country on Saturday, assuring Libya’s new U.N.-brokered unity government has the international community and Europe’s full support. The visit by Steinmeier and his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault followed a Thursday visit by the ambassadors of France, Britain and Spain who pledged to reopen embassies closed two years ago because of instability in the country.

Britain is one of several countries to try to train Libyan security forces abroad after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, but the efforts stalled until now amid militia infighting and political squabbles.

An earlier training scheme in Br…

Al-Qaeda, US Irregular Infantry in Syria: Webster Tarpley

[Dr. Webster Tarpley] tells Press TV that the Obama administration is using al-Qaeda terrorists as its irregular infantry in its proxy war against Syria.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that the West "will pay a heavy price" for pitting al-Qaeda militants against the Syrian government. He also condemned measures taken by Turkey and some of the country's Arab neighbors to support the anti-Syria terrorists, and their attempts to start a sectarian civil war in the country.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, author and historian from Washington DC

The West's Terrorist "Catch and Release" Program

Virtually every suspect involved in recent Brussels bombing had been tracked, arrested, in custody - either by European security agencies or the agencies of their allies - but inexplicably released and allowed to carry out both the Brussels attack as well as the Paris attack that preceded it.

So obvious is this fact, that the Western media itself admits it, but simply dismisses the obvious and deeper implications such facts pose by claiming it is merely systemic incompetence.

The Wall Street Journal would admit that the recently arrested "man in the hat" also known as Mohamed Abrini, was also arrested for suspected terrorist activity - allegedly scoping out potential targets in the UK - but also - like his collaborators - inexplicably released. His brother had been to Syria where he fought and died alongside the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS), and Abrini himself too appears to have been in Syria.

The Wall Street Journal's article, "Brussels Suspect Mohamed …