Category: Blow back


Murdoch: ‘More stuff coming out’ to hobble Chris Christie’s 2016 hopes

News Corp boss, hosted by Rand Paul, attends Kentucky Derby and hints at his thoughts for Republican presidential field

rupert murdoch
Rupert Murdoch talked about the race he cares most about at the race Americans cared about Saturday. Photograph: Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/AFP/Getty Images

The main business of the day on Saturday was America’s most famous horse race. It was also a chance for Rupert Murdoch to check out the Kentucky Derby.

Murdoch, the media boss and Republican party kingmaker, cast his view over the GOP presidential field on Saturday and thought some mounts looked stronger than others. In particular, Murdoch thought New Jersey governor Chris Christie, hobbled this winter by an abuse-of-power scandal, looked weak down the stretch.

“He’ll be a very strong, fighting candidate in the primaries, but there will be more and more stuff coming out, I think,” Murdoch told New York Times reporter Jason Horowitz in a private suite at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, as Derby Day went on below. “Not him but, you know, on his aides. There will be more stories.”

 

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 Al Jazeera

Egyptian court sentences 683 people to death

Amid crackdown on opposition, judge also confirms death sentences for 37 alleged Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Last updated: 28 Apr 2014 13:37
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Minya, Egypt – An Egyptian judge has sentenced 683 alleged Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death, including the group’s supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, and confirmed the death sentences of 37 of 529 alleged supporters previously condemned.

Outside the courtroom on Monday, when news of the sentences broke, families of the accused began to scream and several women fainted, falling to the ground.

The case killed the credibility of the Egyptian judicial system.

- Mohamed Elmessiry, Amnesty International researcher

Mohamed Elmessiry, an Amnesty International researcher monitoring the cases, said they “lacked basic fair trial guarantees”.

The defendants from the first case whose death sentences were not upheld were each sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Many of the lawyers for the accused boycotted the hearing, demanding that the judge be recused and calling him a “butcher”.

Lawyer Mohamed Abdel Waheb, who represents 25 of the defendants, said the verdict was handed down in a court session lasting less than five minutes. Previously, he said, the single session in the trial lasted just four hours, during which the judge refused to listen to any arguments from the defence.

Abdel Nasser Hassanien, standing outside the courtroom, said five of his relatives were among those sentenced to die, including his brother, Ahmed Hassenein Abdelatty, 22. “Of the five only one is related to the Muslim Brotherhood, and he didn’t do anything,” he said.

 

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NYPD Twitter campaign backfires, thousands of negative tweets

NEW YORK Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:18pm EDT

 

A pedestrian walks past a line of New York Police Department (NYPD) cars parked at Times Square in New York, October 18, 2011. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn

A pedestrian walks past a line of New York Police Department (NYPD) cars parked at Times Square in New York, October 18, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Hershorn

 

(Reuters) – A New York Police Department campaign to burnish its image via social media instead produced a flood of pictures of apparent police brutality and tweets critical of the force being shared at a rate of thousands an hour.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on Wednesday he would continue and expand the NYPD Twitter campaign a day after it backfired, triggering an outpouring of negative images including police violence at New York’s Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, an NYPD officer pointing a gun at a dog, and an officer asleep in a subway car.

“The reality of policing is that oftentimes our actions are lawful, but they look awful,” Bratton told a news briefing at New York City Hall.

“Most of those photos that I looked at are old news,” said Bratton, appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to take over from Ray Kelly, who served for 12 years under de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg.

 

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NYPD commissioner welcomes attention from disastrous #myNYPD hashtag

FILE - In this May 1, 2012, file photo, a police lieutenant swings his baton at Occupy Wall Street activists in New York. This photo is among the many put on Twitter in response to a New York Police Department request for Twitter users to share pictures of themselves posing with police officers. The NYPD sent a tweet on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, saying it might feature the photographs on its Facebook page. The responses soon turned ugly when Occupy Wall Street tweeted a photograph of cops battling protesters with the caption

This file photo, from May 2012, shows a police lieutenant swinging his baton at Occupy Wall Street activists in New York. It was recirculated Tuesday in response to a police hashtag that went awry. (Mary Altaffer/AP)

The New York Police Department’s attempt at using social media to connect with constituents on Tuesday went…well, let’s say awry.

An initial tweet asked people to post photos of themselves with police officers along with the hashtag #myNYPD. Obviously this went poorly, because obviously it was going to go poorly, because these things can really only go poorly (we’ll get back to that in a moment). In response, people sent in lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of photos of New York police officers doing violent things to people. (Like the photo at the top of this post. It’s almost two years old, but thanks to the #myNYPD hashtag, it has been everywhere over the last 24 hours.)

William J. Bratton, the police commissioner, said he isn’t too bothered by the reaction:

“I kind of welcome the attention,” Bratton said Wednesday as the negative tweets kept coming nearly 24 hours after cops invited the cyber-submissions….

“Most of the pictures I looked at, they’re old news,” Bratton said, tossing previous NYPD administrations under the patrol car. “They’ve been out there for a long time.”

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Russian troops amass on border as Kyiv authorities reformulate operation plans (LIVE UPDATES, VIDEO)

April 24, 2014, 11:47 p.m. | Ukraine — by Kyiv Post

UKRAINE, Slavyansk : A member of the Ukrainian special forces takes position at an abandoned roadblock in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on April 24, 2014. Ukraine’s military launched an assault on the flashpoint rebel-held town of Slavyansk, sending in armoured vehicles and a helicopter, AFP journalists in the town reported. Several armoured personnel carriers drove past an abandoned rebel roadblock in flames to take up position at the entry to the town. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV
© AFP


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Editor’s Note: On April 22, interim President Oleksandr Turchynov announced that Ukraine would restart its anti-terror operation to quell Russian-backed separatist movements in Donetsk Oblast. The operation had been put on hold after quadrilateral talks between the U.S., EU, Russia, and Ukraine in Geneva led to an agreement whereby separatists in eastern Ukraine were requested vacate public spaces and buildings, and surrender their arms. The insurgents refused to comply with the stipulations of the Geneva Statement, and, over Easter weekend, seized several more buildings in Donetsk Oblast.

On the morning of April 24, Ukrainian troops repelled a separatist attack on a military base in the city of Artemivsk, Donetsk Oblast. Ukrainian forces also retook the city council building in the city of Mariupol, Donetsk Oblast, which had been controlled by insurgents since April 13.

On April 23, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Russia Today that Russia will be forced to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine if they are attacked directly.

The Kyiv Post will be live blogging the anti-terrorist operation as it continues in eastern Ukraine.

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Russia’s rep to OSCE hopes OSCE monitoring mission to be sent to Sloviansk immediately

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Andrei Kelin said that he has raised the issue of sending an OSCE monitoring mission to Ukraine’s Slovyansk and that he hoped it has already arrived there.

“I raised the issue today in the morning during a meeting with a range of ambassadors to the OSCE that it is necessary to send monitors of the mission to Slovyansk immediately. I hope they are already there,” Kelin said on the Rossiya 24 (Russia 24) TV channel.

Monitors of the OSCE mission have visited Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, the diplomat said.

“It should be said that for now I see quite an honest story regarding what they see and what is happening,” Kelin said.

Putin spokesman: Actions of Kyiv authorities cast doubt on coming presidential elections

21:15 – The Actions of the Kyiv authorities in eastern Ukraine cast doubt on the coming presidential elections in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

“Such situational developments in Ukraine and such criminal actions of those, who are in Kyiv – even now they challenge a priori the legitimacy of the elections scheduled in May,” Peskov told reporters in St. Petersburg on Thursday, Interfax reported.

Putin spoke during a media forum of the All-Russia People’s Front on Thursday, Peskov said. “The main thing is namely the crime of using armed forces against the country’s ethnicities,” the spokesman said.

“What is happening in Slovyansk can be interpreted in two ways – on the one hand, as an attempt to disrupt the May elections, on the other, as an aspiration to hold them amid any conditions,” Peskov said. “Kyiv’s actions do not add legitimacy to the authorities in both cases,” he said. — Kyiv Post, Interfax

Chief editor of Russia Today tweets “Ukraine. R.I.P.”

8:57 p.m. — Margarita Simonyan, the chief editor of Russia Today, the Kremlin’s flagship English language news organization, tweeted “Ukraine. R.I.P.” early in the morning on April 24. — Isaac Webb

 

Vice News reporter Simon Ostrovsky has been freed

7:46 p.m. — Kevin Bishop, BBC’s acting bureau chief in Moscow, says that Vice News reporter Simon Ostrovsky has been freed after nearly two days of captivity in Sloviansk.

J-Francois Belanger, a foreign correspondent in Moscow for CBC television, says that Ostrovsky is currently in a CBC car traveling from Sloviansk to Donetsk.

Ostrovsky was taken hostage on April 22 by Russian-backed separatists in Sloviansk.

Vice News issued the following statement:

“VICE News is delighted to confirm that our colleague and friend Simon Ostrovsky has been safely released and is in good health. We would like to thank everyone for their support during this difficult time. Out of respect for Simon and his family’s privacy, we have no further statement at this time.”

At 8:45 p.m., Ostrovsky tweeted: “I’m out and safe. Thank you all for your support. Had no idea I had so many good friends.”

– Isaac Webb

Deputy Foreign Minister Lubkivsky suggests Ukraine needs lethal aid to defend its borders

7:09 p.m. – Speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington D.C. on April 24, deputy Foreign Minister Danylo Lubkivsky said that Ukraine “would definitely be interested to gain all necessary means to protect our country.”

When asked whether Ukraine is asking the U.S. to provide it with weapons to defend its eastern border against a Russian invasion, Lubkivsky said, “We have to protect Ukraine against the aggression. All possible means that may help in this case should be used.”

BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray first reported Lubkivsky’s remarks. — Isaac Webb

 

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Uneasy standoff in Ukraine’s pro-Russian stronghold of Slavyansk

Opinion divided on Kiev’s actions, but army holds back from storming town, which is firmly in the hands of separatists
Ukraine troops Slavyansk

Ukraine armoured vehicles skirmished with separatists on the edge of Slavyansk, but stopped short of attacking the town. Photograph: Pierre Crom/Le Journal/Sipa/Rex

By late afternoon on Thursday it was a surprisingly tranquil scene. A few people stood and chatted at a militia checkpoint leading into Slavyansk over a bridge. A Russian tricolour flew above a wall of tyres. Next to it was the flag of the “Donetsk People’s Republic”. The armed pro-Russian separatists who hijacked the town in eastern Ukraine almost three weeks ago were still in business. Earlier they had fended off a demonstrative mini-attack by the Ukrainian army.

Six miles down the road, past several crumbling Soviet-era factories and a sliver of forest, was a crossroads. Here, the Ukrainian forces had set up a new checkpoint of their own. Soldiers dressed in black body armour and helmets inspected vehicles driving up and down in the afternoon sunshine. An armoured personnel carrier half-blocked the road; from the adjacent field came the clang of shovels, as troops dug in for the night.

“We arrived here this morning,” Dima, a 21-year-old Ukrainian soldier said. What were his orders? “We’ve been told to search all cars. The idea is to stop any weapons from reaching Slavyansk.” A giant blue and yellow Ukrainian flag flew from Dima’s armoured vehicle. “It’s a BMD-1. Good but old,” he said. Another soldier, 30-year-old Vyacheslav, said his battalion, the 25th, had arrived from the city of Dnipropetrovsk.

Earlier on Thursday, other Ukrainian armoured vehicles had skirmished with separatists on the outskirts of the city. The column destroyed several militia checkpoints, transforming ramshackle barricades into smouldering rubber pyres. The assault took place in several places. The troops cleared a militia blockade next to a disused animal feed factory, as well as another rustic roadblock to the city’s north-west.

On Tuesday, Ukraine’s acting president Oleksandr Turchynov had announced the “anti-terrorist operation” against pro-Russian gunmen who control a patchwork of municipal buildings across the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. For a moment on Thursday it appeared Ukrainian troops were about to storm Slavyansk – a small, usually sleepy provincial town, which has become the de facto rebel capital.

After burning down a couple of barricades, however, the army pulled out, retreating towards the nearby town of Malynovka. According to the pro-Russian militia, one man waiting at a bus stop was killed in the morning shoot-out, and another injured. Vyacheslav Ponomarev – the self-appointed mayor of Slavyansk – said mines planted in a field had blocked the advance. He said that he would turn the town into a second Stalingrad. But Ukrainian forces seemed reluctant to play the role of aggressors.

Opinions among locals were divided as to who was to blame for this not-quite war. “Everything inside the city is peaceful now. There are no Ukrainian troops there,” said Alexander, a 43-year-old taxi driver. “But what government uses an army against its own people? It’s a crime. The army is supposed to defend us, not attack us. These people in power in Kiev don’t listen.” Alexander complained that gunfire was bad for business, adding that the price of water in Slavyansk was extortionate, even though the city sits on Donetsk’s northern canal.

Another local, Oleg, however, was scathing about the heavily-armed militia who had taken over Slavyansk’s executive committee building and police station. The government in Kiev says that among the militia are undercover Russian soldiers who first appeared in Crimea when Moscow launched its stealth invasion of the Black Sea peninsula. Ukrainians have nicknamed these masked Russian forces who carry automatic weapons but no insignia “little green men”.

“How would you like it if 400 little green men turned up and took over your town?” Oleg – who declined to give his second name – wanted to know. “Obviously it’s crap. We have guys roaming the streets with guns and masks.”

But didn’t the public support them? “No. We have a couple of million voters here. Five thousand people can’t decide for everyone.” He said Slavyansk’s existing legislative structures were still intact – a local council, and an elected mayor, now imprisoned by the militia. “People voted for her,” Oleg said bitterly.

 

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Pentagon orders 600 troops to Eastern Europe, criticizes Russia

Donald Cook

The U.S. guided-missile destroyer Donald Cook sails past Istanbul, Turkey, en route to the Black Sea. (Bulent Kilic / AFP/Getty Images / April 10, 2014)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Tuesday that it was sending 600 soldiers to Eastern Europe for military exercises in response to “aggression” by Russia in Ukraine, the first U.S. ground forces dispatched to the region in the 2-month-old crisis.

The 173rd Infantry Brigade, a U.S. Army airborne unit based in Vicenza, Italy, will deploy 150-soldier companies to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia over the next month and will rotate more U.S. forces to those and possibly other countries at least through the end of the year, Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters.

The four countries, all of which were under Moscow’s control during the Cold War and later joined NATO, have been among the most vocal in asking the U.S. and other alliance members to send forces to their territory in response to Russia’s military buildup along the Ukrainian border.

“What we’re after here is persistent presence, a persistent rotational presence,” Kirby said. “If there’s a message to Moscow … it’s that we take our obligations” to defend NATO members “very, very seriously.”

 

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Vice President Joe Biden meets with Ukraine's acting prime minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk, in Kiev on Tuesday.

( Sergei L. Loiko / Los Angeles Times / April 22, 2014 )

Vice President Joe Biden meets with Ukraine’s acting prime minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk, in Kiev on Tuesday.

 

U.S. will stand by Ukraine in face of Russian aggression, Biden says

 

KIEV, Ukraine — The United States will stand by Ukrainians against Russian aggression that threatens their nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Vice President Joe Biden pledged Tuesday during a visit to Kiev.

“No nation has the right to simply grab land from another nation, and we will never recognize Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea, and neither will the world,” Biden said after meeting with Ukraine’s acting prime minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk. “No nation should threaten its neighbors by amassing troops along the border. We call on Russia to pull back these forces. No nation should stir instability in its neighbor’s country.”

Biden threatened greater costs and greater isolation for Russia, already facing fresh sanctions after annexing Crimea last month, and demanded that it “stop supporting men hiding behind masks in unmarked uniforms sowing unrest in eastern Ukraine.”

“I came here to Kiev to let you know, Mr. Prime Minister, and every Ukrainian know that the United States stands with you and is working to support all Ukrainians seeking a better future,” Biden said. “You should know that you will not walk this road alone. We will walk it with you.”

He accused Russia of failing to abide by commitments to help de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine made last week during meetings with officials from the U.S., Ukraine and the European Union.

“Now it is time for Russia to stop talking and to start acting on the commitments that they made to get pro-Russia separatists to vacate buildings and checkpoints, accept the amnesty,” Biden said. “That is not a hard thing to do …. We need to see this kind of concrete steps, we need to see them without delay.”

Biden pledged that the U.S. would provide nonlethal military aid to Ukraine. He also noted that the U.S. had committed to providing a $1-billion loan guarantee to help shore up the interim government in Kiev, which took power in February with the fall of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich.

 

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The New American

Did Team Obama Blunder or Conspire in Ukraine?

Written by 

While no one ever lost money overestimating the capacity of the U.S. government to blunder, we cannot rule out that American officials knew exactly what they were doing when they helped provoke the crisis in Ukraine.

It is hard to believe that all these officials are so ignorant of Russian history that they could not anticipate how President Vladimir Putin would respond to U.S.-backed machinations in Kiev. These machinations led to the ouster of elected (if corrupt and power-hungry) president Viktor Yanukovych after street demonstrations, which included neo-Nazi elements now represented in the new government.

About these machinations there is little doubt. We have a phone call between Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, in which they talk about who should rule Ukraine next. Nuland says, “I don’t think Klitsch [an opposition leader, Vitaly Klitschko] should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea…. I think Yats [Arseniy Yatsenyuk, another opposition leader] is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience.” Yatsenyuk became the prime minister after Yanukovych’s ouster.

Pyatt responds, “I think you reaching out directly to him [Yatsenyuk] helps with the personality management among the three [opposition leaders].”

The U.S. government worked to replace Yanukovych with its “guy” — which is not what the Obama administration tells the American people.

Pyatt adds, “But anyway we could land jelly side up on this one if we move fast…. [W]e want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing.”

This phone call made headlines because Nuland used an obscenity regarding the European Union. But the news is that, contrary to public statements, the Obama administration sought to “midwife” regime change.

One need not be a Putin apologist to ask how the Americans failed to see that this activity would provoke the Russian president.

 

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Russia warns it will respond if interests attacked in Ukraine

US vice president Joe Biden and Ukraine PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Joe Biden (left) and the Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, at a joint news conference in Kiev. Photograph: UPI /Landov/Barcroft Media

Russia issued a blunt warning on Wednesday that it would respond if its interests were attacked in Ukraine, as pro-Kremlin rebels in the east of the country braced for a new military offensive by Kiev.

The threat by the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in which he recalled the 2008 war with Georgia over breakaway South Ossetia, came as Russia accused Kiev and the US of distorting an agreement reached in Geneva last week to defuse the crisis and of ignoring what it said were provocative actions by Ukrainian nationalists.

Lavrov used an interview with the Russian state-controlled broadcaster RT to accuse the US of “running the show” in Ukraine, claiming that it was “quite telling” that Kiev had announced a new offensive in the east of the country after US Vice-President Joe Biden had visited.

“If we are attacked, we would certainly respond,” Lavrov told RT.

“If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in accordance with international law.”

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that it believed the west was serious about seeking peace in Ukraine but “the facts speak of the opposite”.

Moscow also announced a seven-day naval exercise in the Caspian Sea and began military exercises in its Rostov region, bordering Ukraine. The US on Tuesday announced military exercises in Poland.The crisis deepened on Tuesday after Biden’s departure from Kiev following a two-day visit. In a late-night phone call, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, told Lavrov, of his “deep concern over the lack of positive Russian steps to de-escalate” the crisis in eastern Ukraine, a state department official said.

 

 

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Black smoke billows from barricades outside the Ukrainian town of Slovyansk, set alight by pro-Russia gunmen as they were driven from the site by Ukrainian national forces trying to recover occupied towns and cities in the east of the country.

( Mika Velikovskiy / Associated Press / April 24, 2014 )

Black smoke billows from barricades outside the Ukrainian town of Slovyansk, set alight by pro-Russia gunmen as they were driven from the site by Ukrainian national forces trying to recover occupied towns and cities in the east of the country.

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Ukrainian forces report killings, ouster of separatist gunmen

 

Ukrainian forces launch an operation Thursday to drive pro-Russia insurgents out of occupied buildings in the country’s tumultuous east, prompting new threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian government troops killed at least two pro-Russia separatist gunmen in Slovyansk on Thursday and drove away others occupying key public buildings in the city of Mariupol in an operation the Kremlin condemned as the Kiev government attacking “its own people.”

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the actions in eastern Ukraine and the deployment of NATO forces in member states bordering Russia to the west had “forced” the Kremlin to order more military drills of its troops amassed on Ukraine’s border.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said that “up to five” separatists had been killed in Kiev’s “anti-terrorist operation” targeting armed checkpoints set up by the Russian-speaking militants in Slovyansk.

A spokeswoman for the militants, Stella Khorosheva, confirmed to the Associated Press that two had been killed in the provincial town 100 miles west of the Russia-Ukraine border. Slovyansk has become the main flashpoint in the weeks-old confrontation between pro-Russia gunmen demanding autonomy from Kiev for the territory they are holding and Ukrainian officials trying to hold the country together.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the Ukrainian interim leadership of “consequences” for its move against pro-Russia militants who have seized a dozen towns and cities in eastern Ukraine in demand of local votes on whether to secede from Ukraine and join Russia or revise the constitution to make their regions virtually independent. The separatists’ actions followed last month’s Russian  annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula after a swift occupation by Russian troops and a hastily called referendum on secession.

 

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Amid Russia warning, Ukraine is in a security bind

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Russia’s foreign minister warned Wednesday that attacks on Russian citizens or interests in Ukraine would bring a firm response and drew a comparison to the circumstances that opened the war with Georgia in 2008.

“Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, a day after Ukraine announced it was re-launching a campaign against pro-Kremlin insurgents occupying government facilities in the mostly Russian-speaking east.

“If we were attacked we could certainly respond,” Lavrov said, speaking on the Kremlin-funded satellite TV channel RT.

Lavrov’s warning came as the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a separate statement demanding that Ukraine pull its armed forces out of the crisis-ridden region.

“If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia, I do not see any other way but to respond in full accordance with international law,” Lavrov said, referring to the 2008 war that led to the breaking away of the Georgian republic of South Ossetia.

In that conflict, Russia launched an invasion of Georgia after it unleashed an artillery attack on the capital of the separatist region, where Russian peacekeeping forces were stationed. However, unlike the conflict with Georgia, Russia has denied having troops or agents in eastern Ukraine.

The Russian warnings came as an accord reached last week in Geneva to defuse the Ukraine crisis continued to crumble, with pro-Russian insurgents in the east defying calls for all sides to disarm and to vacate the buildings they are occupying.

On Tuesday, Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, ordered resumption of an “anti-terrorist operation” against the pro-Russia forces. However, the highly publicized move produced little action on the ground Wednesday.

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 The Propaganda War: Opposition Sings Kremlin Tune on Ukraine

By Christian Neef and Matthias Schepp in Moscow

Photo Gallery: A Country in Lockstep Photos
AFP

The propaganda war in the Ukraine crisis has spawned a renewal Russian nationalism, with members of the opposition and the intellectual class suddenly praising President Putin. Many in Russia are accepting the Kremlin’s official line uncritically.

Perhaps Alexander Byvshev was a little naïve. Maybe he thought his small village was somehow a safe haven from the world of global politics. But how wrong he was.

Byvshev, a German teacher in the district of Orlov, recently opened up his local newspaper, Sarya, or “the dawn,” only to find his name featured in a prominent slot. “In these troubled times, when enemies outside the country are showing their teeth and preparing to take the leap of death, you can find people who would like to undermine Russia from within,” the newspaper wrote. “People like A. Byvshev.”

How did Byvshev wind up in the newspaper? All it took was a short poem he wrote and posted on VK, Russia’s popular social network answer to Facebook. He had directed the poem at “patriot cheerleaders” who uncritically follow Moscow’s propaganda. “From a very early age, I have been accustomed to not telling lies,” Byvshev says. “If Russia stole Crimea from Ukraine, then one has to speak openly about the fact that it was theft.”

‘No Place for Patriots Like This in Russia’

It’s an openness that hasn’t done him much good recently. “There’s No Place for Patriots Like This in Russia,” blared the headline of the article about Byvshev. Acquaintances stopped greeting him, local businesses began ignoring his presence and now the local regional prosecutor is threatening to press charges against him for “incitement to hatred.” He faces two years behind bars if convicted.

It is an incident reminiscent of the 1930s, an era when the line between Communist and public enemy was a fine one. At the time, Stalin had hundreds of thousands of so-called enemies of the people shot and killed.

Today, Moscow’s territorial claims in Ukraine have unleashed a sense of nationalism so aggressive that it has silenced virtually all critical voices. Indeed, it is a singular official view that appears to have prevailed in Russia — namely that a clique in Kiev, with American support, is seeking to destroy Ukraine despite heroic efforts by millions in the eastern part of the country. And that these people need Russia’s support.

The ability to differentiate appears to have evaporated and the state propaganda machine has become as effective as it is comprehensive. The media seem to be following it in lockstep, as evidenced last week. “Ukraine Is Waging War against Its Own People” read the front page of one issue of Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the official Russian government newspaper, in response to the decision by the interim government early last week to send troops to the eastern part of the country. The “Kiev junta” wants to “bombard the Donbas,” commented Russia’s largest-circulation daily, Komsomolskaya Pravda, adding: “Our people are mourning the dead and injured.” “Sloviansk is covered in blood,” claimed the tabloid Tyov Den (“Your Day”). None of these reports is true.

Have Russians Become Gullible?

The problem is that people in Russia these days seem to believe almost every false report that comes out of Moscow, and few are questioning their accuracy. New channel Russia 24 unceasingly shows Ukrainians in the eastern part of the country holding machine guns and grenade launchers. But nobody in Russia bothers to ask where they are getting their arms from.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, the man ostensibly rushing to the aid of Russians in Ukraine, is the hero of the day. Finally, Russians seem to believe, he is paying the West back for years of humiliation. And yet the justifications Putin has provided could hardly be more cynical.

Last Wednesday, Putin declared the escalation of the crisis in eastern Ukraine to be the product of the “irresponsible and unconstitutional policies of the regime in Kiev,” which, he claimed had used the army to suppress the protests of peaceful citizens in the region. Yet to that point, there had been little activity by the army. During the Maidan square revolt, he called for the exact opposite: Putin said the military must use force to stop the protests.

Nationalist Delirium

Moscow is acting as though it were located just behind the front lines. Indeed, the pull of nationalist delirium has become so strong that even Putin’s own opponents seem no longer capable of resisting it.

Only two years ago, Sergei Udaltsov, along with blogger and opposition politician Alexei Navalny, was one of the most eloquent speakers at anti-Putin protests in Moscow. He has been under house arrest since 2013 on charges he sought to incite mass riots. Despite his situation, even Udaltsov has declared his support for Russia’s actions and its annexation of Crimea. “I am a supporter of direct democracy, and I welcome the Crimea referendum as an expression of popular government,” he recently stated.

 

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Pro-Russian gunmen seize key buildings in eastern Ukraine

Armed pro-Russian activists in Slavyansk

Armed pro-Russian activists guard a police station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk. Photograph: Anatoliy Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images

Gunmen have seized a police station and other government buildings in Ukraine‘s eastern industrial heartland amid a tense deadlock in the country’s east, where armed pro-Russian protesters have barricaded themselves inside government buildings and demanded independence from Kiev.

Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said another group of gunmen tried to storm the Donetsk regional prosecutor’s office but was repelled.

The early morning raid on the police station happened in Slavyansk, a town about 35 miles north of the regional capital, Donetsk. The men collected weapons and distributed them to their supporters. A second group later took the headquarters of the state security service.

“Armed men in camouflage fatigues have taken the police station in Slavyansk,” Avakov wrote on his Facebook page. “Here, our response will be very severe.”

A local police official told Kiev’s private Channel 5 television that the raid was staged by six men who had fired several shots into the air before storming the station. It was not immediately clear how the local police responded or whether the gunmen had taken any hostages.

 

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Voice of America

Ukraine Accuses Russia of ‘Aggression’

Henry Ridgwell

— Ukraine says Saturday’s attacks by pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine are “an act of external aggression” by Russia, and security officials are preparing to implement “an operational response plan.”

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov’s evaluation appeared on Facebook Saturday, shortly after armed militants with Russian weapons seized more government buildings in the Russian-speaking east, including police headquarters in Donetsk and Kramatorsk.

Witnesses, including western journalists, say the Kramatorsk facility was captured after a firefight, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Armed men stand in front of police headquarters in Slaviansk, April 12, 2014.Armed men stand in front of police headquarters in Slaviansk, April 12, 2014.

The takeover of police facilities in Donetsk prompted the city’s police chief to resign, while elsewhere, Western news accounts late Saturday said militants controlled the eastern city of Sloviansk.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any role in Ukraine’s unrest, which erupted in full two months ago, when anti-Russian protesters in Kyiv forced then-president Viktor Yanukovych to flee the country.

US reaction

Meanwhile, the United States has called on Russia to “cease all efforts” to destabilize Ukraine.  A White House National Security Council spokeswoman said Saturday the United States is concerned that Russian separatists — with apparent support from Moscow — are “inciting violence and sabotage” against the Ukrainian state.

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the State Department said.

“During the call Kerry expressed strong concern that attacks today by armed militants in eastern Ukraine were orchestrated and synchronized, similar to previous attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea,” said a senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Militants were equipped with specialized Russian weapons and the same uniforms as those worn by the Russian forces that invaded Crimea. The secretary made clear that if Russia did not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine’s border, there would be additional consequences,” the official added.

The official did not state what those consequences would be.

US officials met Friday with Ukrainian finance officials to discuss a “range of strategic and economic issues” according to a State Department statement.

 

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A resident passed food to a pro-Russian militant at a police station in Slovyansk. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — The Ukrainian government on Sunday for the first time sent its security services to confront armed pro-Russian militants in the country’s east, defying warnings from Russia. Commandos engaged in gunfights with men who had set up roadblocks and stormed a Ukrainian police station in Slovyansk, and at least one officer was killed, Ukrainian officials said.

Several officers were injured in the operation, as were four locals, the officials said. Russian news media and residents here disputed that account, saying the Ukrainian forces had only briefly engaged one checkpoint.

In either case, the central government in Kiev has turned to force to try to restore its authority in the east, a course of action that the Russian government has repeatedly warned against.

With tens of thousands of Russian troops massed along Ukraine’s eastern border near Donetsk, Western leaders have worried that Moscow might use unrest in Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking areas as a pretext for an invasion.

Both governments intensified their statements on Sunday. Ukraine’s interim president, Oleksandr V. Turchynov, issued another ultimatum, saying separatists should vacate occupied buildings by Monday or face a “large-scale antiterrorist operation” that would include the Ukrainian military. And Russia claimed that the Ukrainian government was cracking down at the behest of American and European officials.

Ukraine’s ousted president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, speaking late Sunday in Rostov-on-Don, in Russia, echoed Moscow’s charges of American meddling.

Insisting that he remained Ukraine’s commander in chief despite having fled to Russia more than a month ago, he ordered Ukrainian troops to defy what he called “criminal orders” for a crackdown and said the country stood “on the brink of civil war.”

The police station contested by Ukrainian forces was one of several security centers in the eastern region of Donetsk that were seized on Saturday by masked gunmen in coordinated raids that the Ukrainian authorities denounced as Russian “aggression.”

Photo

Residents gathered as protesters guarded a fortified barricade set up at the entrance. At least one officer was killed when Ukrainian armed forces stormed the station on Sunday, officials said. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

By Sunday afternoon, the government’s push to reassert its authority in a vitally important industrial and coal-mining region appeared to have made little headway. Pro-Russian protesters appeared to control not only the police station but also the entire town of Slovyansk, having set up checkpoints at major streets leading into town.

The protesters blocked a major highway in the east, and flags of Russia and their newly declared and unrecognized People’s Republic of Donetsk flew over administrative buildings in several other midsize towns. These included Mariupol, where protesters seized a building Sunday.

Roman Svitan, a security adviser to the Ukrainian authorities in Donetsk, said the operation on Sunday was carried out by Alfa, a special services unit of Ukraine’s state security service. He gave an upbeat assessment of its progress, saying Ukrainian forces had evicted gunmen from the Slovyansk Police Headquarters, though protesters there said nothing of the sort had happened.

Mr. Svitan said most of the expelled gunmen were local pro-Russian extremists, but they had also included Russian operatives.

Residents and men standing by barricades in Slovyansk denied that Ukrainian forces had even entered the town on Sunday. They said one local man who had been out fishing was in a hospital with a wound from a shooting on a highway outside town. Russian television and some locals said the Ukrainian nationalist group Right Sector had attacked protesters at a checkpoint, injuring the fisherman.

Requests to speak to a leader of the armed men produced a man wearing a ski mask who introduced himself as Aleksandr and described himself as a deputy commander of the city of Slovyansk after its merger with the People’s Republic of Donetsk.

 

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Voice  Of America

Gunmen Seize Another Building in Ukraine, Gas Payments to Russia Suspended

Pro-Russian militants have extended their takeovers of public buildings in eastern Ukraine.

The regional interior ministry says gunmen have seized a state security building in Slovyansk.

Earlier Saturday, armed men seized a police station in the city. A VOA correspondent in the region says the militants took about 400 weapons from the station.

Meanwhile, pro-Russian protesters continue to occupy government buildings in the regional capital Donetsk and in Luhansk. Kyiv has offered concessions to the protesters and regional leaders, after its Friday deadline passed for separatists to vacate the buildings.

Acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said he supported amending Ukraine’s constitution and changing laws so regional governors are no longer appointed by the central government, and regional referendums are permitted. He also promised no one would be allowed to “limit the Russian language and the right to speak it in Ukraine.”

NATO says there has been a buildup of Russian military forces along the border with Ukraine recently.

 

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Historic! Feds Forced to Surrender to American Citizens

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 Liberty Blitzkrieg

Why the Standoff at the Bundy Ranch is a Very Big Deal

If you haven’t been following the unfolding drama at the Bundy Ranch about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas you need to start now. The escalating confrontation between irate local residents and federal agents of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has the potential to take a very dangerous turn for the worse at any moment, as hundreds of militia members from states across the country are expected to descend upon the area and make a stand with 67-year-old Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.

Before I get into any sort of analysis about what this means within the bigger picture of American politics and society, we need a little background on the situation. The saga itself has been ongoing for two decades and the issue at hand is whether or not Mr. Bundy can graze his 900 head of cattle on a particular section of public lands in Clark County. Cliven Bundy has been ordered to stop on environmental grounds to protect the desert tortoise, but he has stood his ground time and time again. As a result, the feds have now entered the area and are impounding his cattle. According to CNN, Between Saturday and Wednesday, contracted wranglers impounded a total of 352 cattle. The Bundy family, as well as a variety of local residents have already had confrontations with the BLM agents. Tasers have been used and some minor injuries reported. Most significantly, militia members from across the country have already descended upon the area and it seems possible that hundreds may ultimately make it down there.

To me, the argument of who is right and who is wrong in this situation is the least interesting part of the story. I have noted time and time again that the feds are becoming increasingly out of control and belligerent to American citizens. We know the stories (think Aaron Swartz) and we know the overall trend. However, the reason the Bundy Ranch confrontation is so interesting, is that for whatever reason this particular incident seems to be striking a chord of dissent. It is often times the most random, unforeseen and innocuous things that spark social/political movements. This standoff has it all.

…..This picture basically says it all:

Bundy ranch

 

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The Truth About the Nevada Rancher’s Standoff

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Nevada Cattle Rancher Wins ‘Range War’ With Feds

PHOTO: Federal agents clash with armed protestors over a ranchers 20-year tax fight.

A Nevada cattle rancher appears to have won his week-long battle with the federal government over a controversial cattle roundup that had led to the arrest of several protesters.

Cliven Bundy went head to head with the Bureau of Land Management over the removal of hundreds of his cattle from federal land, where the government said they were grazing illegally.

Bundy claims his herd of roughly 900 cattle have grazed on the land along the riverbed near Bunkerville, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, since 1870 and threatened a “range war” against the BLM on the Bundy Ranch website after one of his sons was arrested while protesting the removal of the cattle.

“I have no contract with the United States government,” Bundy said. “I was paying grazing fees for management and that’s what BLM was supposed to be, land managers and they were managing my ranch out of business, so I refused to pay.”

The federal government had countered that Bundy “owes the American people in excess of $1 million ” in unpaid grazing fees and “refuses to abide by the law of land, despite many opportunities over the last 20 years to do so.”

However, today the BLM said it would not enforce a court order to remove the cattle and was pulling out of the area.

“Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public,” BLM Director Neil Kornze said.

“We ask that all parties in the area remain peaceful and law-abiding as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service work to end the operation in an orderly manner,” he said.

The roundup began April 5, following lengthy court proceedings dating back to 1993, federal officials said. Federal officers began impounding the first lot of cows last weekend, and Bundy responded by inviting supporters onto his land to protest the action.

“It’s not about cows, it’s about freedom,” Utah resident Yonna Winget told ABC News affiliate KTNV in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“People are getting tired of the federal government having unlimited power,” Bundy’s wife, Carol Bundy told ABC News.

 

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Screenshots  Of  FAA Records For No Fly Zone Over  The Bundy Ranch

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Federal agents back down in stand-off with armed cowboys  1 photo Federalagentsbackdowninstand-offwitharmedcowboys1_zpsaef4e7e9.png

Federal agents back down in stand-off with armed cowboys  3 photo Federalagentsbackdowninstand-offwitharmedcowboys3_zps3e63d363.png

Federal agents back down in stand-off with armed cowboys  2 photo Federalagentsbackdowninstand-offwitharmedcowboys2_zps8aff68c7.png

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Federal agents back down in stand-off with armed cowboys: BLM release cattle after they were surrounded by militia following agreement to stop targeting rancher in modern-day ‘range war’

  • Bureau of Land Management would not enforce court order to remove  cattle and was pulling out of the area
  • Politicians have compared the standoff to Tienanmen Square
  • The Bundy family says they’ve owned the 600,000 acres since 1870 but the Bureau of Land Management says they are illegally grazing
  • The dispute began in 1993 when land was reclassified as to federal property to protect a rare desert tortoise, the government claimed
  • Federal officers stormed the property this week with helicopters and snipers to back up about 200 armed agents
  • They have reportedly seized around 350 of Cliven Bundy’s 900 cattle
  • Cattle were handed back to rancher after tense standoff
  • Tensions escalated after private militias poured in to support the family

By Ryan Gorman and Dan Miller and Meghan Keneally and Jessica Jerreat

Hundreds of heavily armed militia members celebrated their victory over federal law enforcement officers on Saturday after they secured the release of Cliven Bundy’s captured cattle.

In an embarrassing climbdown, the Bureau of Land Management retreated from its high profile standoff with Bundy and his rag-tag bunch of anti-federalists after the BLM attempted to forcibly capture nearly 1,000 of his cattle.

The militia member showed up at corrals outside Mesquite to demand the animals’ return to rancher Cliven Bundy. Some protesters were armed with handguns and rifles at the corrals and at an earlier nearby rally.

Victory: The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released by the Bureau of Land Management back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

Victory: The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released by the Bureau of Land Management back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

Thanks: Rancher Cliven Bundy, middle, addresses his supporters along side Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, right, on April 12, 2014

Thanks: Rancher Cliven Bundy, middle, addresses his supporters along side Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, right, on April 12, 2014

 

Bundy, 67, doesn’t recognize federal authority on land he insists belongs to Nevada. His Mormon family has operated a ranch since the 1870s near the small town of Bunkerville and the Utah and Arizona lines.

‘Good morning America, good morning world, isn’t it a beautiful day in Bunkerville?’ Bundy told a cheering crowd after his cattle were released, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

A number of Bundy’s supporters, who included militia members from California, Idaho and other states, dressed in camouflage and carried rifles and sidearms. During the stand-off, some chanted ‘open that gate’ and ‘free the people.’

A man who identified himself as Scott, 43, said he had traveled from Idaho along with two fellow militia members to support Bundy.

‘If we don’t show up everywhere, there is no reason to show up anywhere,’ said the man, dressed in camouflage pants and a black flak jacket crouched behind a concrete highway barrier, holding an AR-15 rifle. ‘I’m ready to pull the trigger if fired upon,’ Scott said.

Wild west: The Bundy family and their supporters drive their cattle back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nev. after they were released by the Bureau of Land Management on Saturday

 

Fanatical: The edge of a Cliven Bundy supporter camp is shown near the Virgin River Saturday, April 12, 2014, near Bunkerville, Nevada

Fanatical: The edge of a Cliven Bundy supporter camp is shown near the Virgin River Saturday, April 12, 2014, near Bunkerville, Nevada

 

The dispute between Bundy and federal land managers began in 1993 when he stopped paying monthly fees of about $1.35 per cow-calf pair to graze public lands that are also home to imperiled animals such as the Mojave Desert tortoise.

Support: An armed civilian waits nearby in some bushes as the Bundy family and their supporters gather together under the I-15 highway just outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

Support: An armed civilian waits nearby in some bushes as the Bundy family and their supporters gather together under the I-15 highway just outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

 

Land managers limited the Bundy herd to just 150 head on a land which the rancher claims has been in his family for more than 140 years.

The government also claims Bundy has ignored cancellation of his grazing leases and defied federal court orders to remove his cattle.

‘We won the battle,’ said Ammon Bundy, one of the rancher’s sons.

Hundreds of Bundy supporters, some heavily armed, had camped on the road leading to his ranch in a high desert spotted with sagebrush and mesquite trees.

Some held signs reading ‘Americans united against government thugs,’ while others were calling the rally the ‘Battle of Bunkerville,’ a reference to a American Revolutionary War battle of Bunker Hill in Boston.

The large crowd at one point blocked all traffic on Interstate 15. Later, as lanes opened up, motorists honked to support the demonstrators and gave them a thumbs-up sign.

Las Vegas Police Lt. Dan Zehnder said the showdown was resolved with no injuries and no violence. Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie was able to negotiate a resolution after talking with Bundy, he said.

The fight between Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management widened into a debate about states’ rights and federal land-use policy.

Anti-federalist: Armed militia members stand guard on a hilltop overlooking a Clive Bundy supporter camp near the Virgin River Saturday, April 12, 2014, near Bunkerville, Nevada

Anti-federalist: Armed militia members stand guard on a hilltop overlooking a Clive Bundy supporter camp near the Virgin River Saturday, April 12, 2014, near Bunkerville, Nevada

 

The dispute that ultimately triggered the roundup dates to 1993, when the bureau cited concern for the federally protected tortoise in the region.

The bureau revoked Bundy’s grazing rights after he stopped paying grazing fees and disregarded federal court orders to remove his animals.

Kornze’s announcement came after Bundy repeatedly promised to “do whatever it takes” to protect his property and after a string of raucous confrontations between his family members and supporters and federal agents during the weeklong operation.

Bundy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Republican Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval issued a statement praising the agency for its willingness to listen to the state’s concerns.

 

 

Victor: Rancher Cliven Bundy at his home in Bunkerville, after officials called off the government's roundup of cattle

Victor: Rancher Cliven Bundy at his home in Bunkerville, after officials called off the government’s roundup of cattle

 

And they're out: The Bundy family and their supporters drive their cattle back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nev. after they were released by the Bureau of Land Management

And they’re out: The Bundy family and their supporters drive their cattle back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nev. after they were released by the Bureau of Land Management

He earlier criticized the agency for creating “an atmosphere of intimidation” and trying to confine protesters to a fenced-in “First Amendment area” well away from the sprawling roundup area.

‘The safety of all individuals involved in this matter has been my highest priority,’ Sandoval said.

‘Given the circumstances, today’s outcome is the best we could have hoped for.’

Nevada’s congressional delegation urged the protesters to be calm and to leave the area.

‘The dispute is over, the BLM is leaving, but emotions and tensions are still near the boiling point, and we desperately need a peaceful conclusion to this conflict,’ U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said in a statement.

‘I urge all the people involved to please return to your homes and allow the BLM officers to collect their equipment and depart without interference.’

The 400 cows gathered during the roundup were short of the BLM’s goal of 900 cows that it says have been trespassing on U.S. land without required grazing permits for over 20 years.

The dispute less than 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas between rancher Cliven Bundy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management had simmered for days.

Bundy had stopped paying fees for grazing his cattle on the government land and officials said he had ignored court orders.

Mission accomplished: Supporters of the Bundy family hang a sign on the I-15 highway just outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

Mission accomplished: Supporters of the Bundy family hang a sign on the I-15 highway just outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

 

The dispute between Bundy and federal land managers began in 1993 when he stopped paying monthly fees of about $1.35 per cow-calf pair to graze public lands

The dispute between Bundy and federal land managers began in 1993 when he stopped paying monthly fees of about $1.35 per cow-calf pair to graze public lands

 

Cowboys and patriots: Kholten Gleave, right, of Utah, pauses for the National Anthem outside of Bunkerville , Nev. while gathering with other supporters of the Bundy family to challenge the Bureau of Land Management

Cowboys and patriots: Kholten Gleave, right, of Utah, pauses for the National Anthem outside of Bunkerville , Nev. while gathering with other supporters of the Bundy family to challenge the Bureau of Land Management

 

Anti-government groups, right-wing politicians and gun-rights activists camped around Bundy’s ranch to support him, in a standoff that tapped into long-simmering anger in Nevada and other Western states, where vast tracts of land are owned and governed by federal agencies.

The bureau had called in a team of armed rangers to Nevada to seize the 1,000 head of cattle on Saturday but backed down in the interests of safety.

‘Based on information about conditions on the ground and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public,’ the bureau’s director, Neil Kornze, said in a statement.

The protesters, who at the height of the standoff numbered about 1,000, met the news with applause. Then they quickly advanced on the metal pens where the cattle confiscated earlier in the week were being held.

After consultations with the rancher’s family, the bureau decided to release the cattle it had rounded up, and the crowd began to disperse.

‘This is what I prayed for,’ said Margaret Houston, one of Bundy’s sisters. ‘We are so proud of the American people for being here with us and standing with us.

No horsing around: The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released from a corral

No horsing around: The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released from a corral

 

Cheers: Protesters pump their fists as cowboys herd cattle that belongs to rancher Cliven Bundy

Cheers: Protesters pump their fists as cowboys herd cattle that belongs to rancher Cliven Bundy

 

Firepower: Protester Eric Parker from central Idaho aims his weapon from a bridge next to the Bureau of Land Management's base camp where seized cattle

Firepower: Protester Eric Parker from central Idaho aims his weapon from a bridge next to the Bureau of Land Management’s base camp where seized cattle

 

Victory speech: Rancher Cliven Bundy, middle, addresses his supporters along side Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, right, informing the public that the BLM has agreed to cease the roundup of his family's cattle

Victory speech: Rancher Cliven Bundy, middle, addresses his supporters along side Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, right, informing the public that the BLM has agreed to cease the roundup of his family’s cattle

 

In an interview prior to the bureau’s announcement, Bundy said he was impressed by the level of support he had received.

‘I’m excited that we are really fighting for our freedom. We’ve been losing it for a long time,’ Bundy said.

An official with an environmental group that had notified the government it would sue unless federal land managers sought to protect tortoises on the grazing allotment used by Bundy’s cattle expressed outrage at the end of the cattle roundup.

‘The sovereign militias are ruling the day,’ said Rob Mrowka, senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. ‘Now that this precedent has been set and they’re emboldened by the government’s capitulation, what’s to stop them from applying the same tactics and threats elsewhere?’

Roger Taylor, retired district manager with the Bureau of Land Management in Arizona, also said the agency’s decision to release the cattle will have repercussions.

‘The (agency) is going to be in a worse situation where they will have a much more difficult time getting those cattle off the land and getting Bundy in compliance with regulations,’ he said.

Deal: Cliven Bundy shakes hands with Sheiff Doug Gillespie on Saturday morning as the rancher comes to a deal to stop federal agents rounding up his cattle

Deal: Cliven Bundy shakes hands with Sheiff Doug Gillespie on Saturday morning as the rancher comes to a deal to stop federal agents rounding up his cattle

Show down: Ranchers on horseback and protesters gather at the BLM camp to try to claim back cattle the agency has already rounded up

Show down: Ranchers on horseback and protesters gather at the BLM camp to try to claim back cattle the agency has already rounded up

 

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Bundy Ranch Showdown! The Bigger Picture!

 

Published on Apr 12, 2014

 

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Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Putin Pledges To Protect All Ethnic Russians Anywhere. So, Where Are They?

Russian enough?

Russian enough?

By Robert Coalson
In recent weeks, the Russian government has articulated what might be called the Putin Doctrine, a blanket assertion that Moscow has the right and the obligation to protect Russians anywhere in the world.

Speaking on Russian television last month, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said that “Russia is the country on which the Russian world is based” and that Putin “is probably the main guarantor of the safety of the Russian world.”

The ebbing and flowing of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union over recent centuries have left millions of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers outside the borders of today’s Russian Federation.

Many of them — from Moldova’s Transdniester to eastern Ukraine and elsewhere — have responded to the Putin Doctrine with calls for Russian “protection.”

A banner outside a government building in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk that is occupied by pro-Russian separatists reads: “Russia! Save us from slavery.”

‘New Russia’ And Ukraine

The Kremlin’s new position has come into sharp focus in recent weeks in the Ukrainian region of Crimea — annexed by Russia last month — and in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine. Russian nationalists such as the Eurasianist ideologue Aleksandr Dugin refer to this region by the historical name “Novorossiya,” or “New Russia,” which also encompasses several southern regions of Russia including Rostov Oblast and Stavropol and Krasnodar krais.

The area was added to the Russian Empire over the 18th and early 19th centuries by military conquests over the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire. Beginning with Catherine the Great, the fertile region was handed out to Russian nobility who enserfed the local population. Although Catherine notably invited foreigners from Europe to settle in the region, Russification of the region was official policy.

Click to open interactive infographic in new windowClick to open interactive infographic in new window

Today there are more than 5 million ethnic Russians in the Ukrainian parts of Novorossiya, making up a significant plurality in most of the regions. Russians compose a majority in Crimea because of energetic Russification there and the 1944 mass deportation of Crimean Tatars, who are only now approaching their pre-deportation population levels on the peninsula.

Deportations In Moldova

On the edge of historical Novorossiya is the Moldovan region of Transdniester, which today is home to at least 150,000 Russian passport holders. The region was brought into the Russian Empire in the 1790s and its capital, Tiraspol, was founded as a border outpost by the legendary General Aleksandr Suvorov.

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