Category: Terror Plots / Suspects


 

 

 

1987 photo of Mark 149 Mod 2 20mm depleted uranium ammunition for the Phalanx CIWS aboard USS Missouri (BB-63).

1987 photo of Mark 149 Mod 2 20mm depleted uranium ammunition for the Phalanx CIWS aboard USS Missouri (BB-63).

Gunner’s mates inspect linked belts of Mark 149 Mod 2 20mm ammunition before loading it into the magazine of a Mark 16 Phalanx close-in weapons system aboard the battleship USS MISSOURI (BB-63). (Uploader’s note, those are probably Firecontrolman, the maintainers of Phalanx, not Gunners mates.)

ID:DNST9400420

Service Depicted: Navy
Camera Operator: PHAN BRAD DILLON

Wkimedia.org

Depleted Environment, Depleted Lives

Uranium Weapons Still Making Money, Wreaking Havoc

by JOHN LAFORGE

The US Army has awarded General Dynamics a $12 million contract to deconstruct and dispose of 78,000 depleted uranium anti-tank shells. The Pentagon’s May 6 announcement calls for “demilitarization” of the aging shells, as newer depleted uranium rounds are added to the US arsenal.

In the perpetually profitable business of war production, General Dynamics originally produced and sold some of the 120-millimeter anti-tank rounds to the Army. One of the richest weapons builders on earth, General Dynamics has 95,000 employees and sells its wares in 40 countries on six continents.

The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons in Manchester, England, reports the armor-piercing shells to be disassembled are thought to be the large 105-millimeter and 120-millimeter anti-tank rounds.

Depleted uranium, or DU, weapons are made of extremely dense uranium-238. More than 700,000 tons of DU has been left as waste in the US alone from the production of nuclear weapons and nuclear reactor fuel rods. The urankum-238 is left when fissionable uranium-235 is separated for H-bombs and reactor fuel. DU is only ‘depleted’ of this U-235. It is still a radioactive and toxic heavy metal. A tax and ecological liability, DU is given away free to weapons builders.

 

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NYU EDU

Sources

Depleted uranium is a byproduct of the enriching of natural uranium for use in nuclear reactors. When most of the fissile radioactive isotopes of uranium are removed from natural uranium, the residue is called depleted uranium. A less common source of the material is reprocessed spent reactor fuel. The origin can be distinguished by the content of uranium-236,[1] produced by neutron capture from uranium-235 in nuclear reactors.

As a toxic and radioactive waste product that requires long term storage as low level nuclear waste, depleted uranium is costly to keep but relatively inexpensive to obtain. Generally the only real costs are those associated with conversion of UF6 to metal. It is extremely dense, 67% denser than lead, only slightly less than tungsten and gold, and just 16% less dense than osmium or iridium, the densest naturally occurring substances known. Its low cost makes it attractive for a variety of uses. However, the material is prone to corrosion and small particles are pyrophoric. [2]

History

Depleted uranium was first stored in stockpiles in the 1940s when the U.S. and USSR began their nuclear weapons and nuclear power programs. While it is possible to design civilian power reactors with unenriched fuel, only about 10% of reactors ever built utilize that technology, and both nuclear weapons production and naval reactors require the concentrated isotope. Originally, DU was conserved in the hope that more efficient enrichment techniques would allow further extraction of the fissile isotope; however, those hopes have not materialized.

In the 1970s, The Pentagon reported that the Soviet military had developed armor plating for Warsaw Pact tanks that NATO ammunition couldn’t penetrate. The Pentagon began searching for material to make denser bullets. After testing various metals, ordnance researchers settled on depleted uranium. DU was useful in ammunition not only because of its unique physical properties and effectiveness, but also because it was cheap and readily available. Tungsten, the only other candidate, had to be sourced from China. With DU stockpiles estimated to be more than 500,000 tons, the financial burden of housing this amount of low-level radioactive waste was very apparent. It was therefore more economical to use depleted uranium rather than storing it. Thus, from the late 1970s, the U.S., the Soviet Union, Britain and France, began converting their stockpiles of depleted uranium into kinetic energy penetrators.

Photographic evidence of destroyed equipment suggests that DU was first used during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Various written reports cite information that was obtained as a consequence of that use.[1]

However, while clearing the decades-old Hawaii Stryker firing range, workers have found chemical weapons from World War I era and depleted uranium ammunition from the 1960s [3].

The U.S. military used DU shells in the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq War (Associated Press, August 12, 2006, free archived copy at: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0812-06.htm most recently visited November 1, 2006).

Production and availability

Natural uranium metal contains about 0.71% U-235, 99.28% U-238, and about 0.0054% U-234. In order to produce enriched uranium, the process of isotope separation removes a substantial portion of the U-235 for use in nuclear power, weapons, or other uses. The remainder, depleted uranium, contains only 0.2% to 0.4% U-235. Because natural uranium begins with such a low percentage of U-235, the enrichment process produces large quantities of depleted uranium. For example, producing 1 kg of 5% enriched uranium requires 11.8 kg of natural uranium, and leaves about 10.8 kg of depleted uranium with only 0.3% U-235 remaining.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) defines depleted uranium as uranium with a percentage of the 235U isotope that is less than 0.711% by weight (See 10 CFR 40.4.) The military specifications designate that the DU used by DoD contain less than 0.3% 235U (AEPI, 1995). In actuality, DoD uses only DU that contains approximately 0.2% 235U (AEPI, 1995).

 


Depleted Uranium Stocks as of end of 1999
Holder Country Approximate DU Stocks [t U]
as UF6 as U3O8 as metal TOTAL
DOE external link, USEC external link USA a) 470,000 10,000 480,000
Russia b) 450,000 10,000 460,000
COGEMA external link, EURODIF France 50,000 140,000 190,000
BNFL external link United Kingdom 30,000 30,000
Urenco external link Germany, Netherlands, UK 16,000 16,000
JNC external link, JNFL external link Japan c) 10,000 10,000
CNNC external link China d) 2,000 2,000
KAERI external link Rep. of Korea 200 200
South Africa 4 69 73
TOTAL 1,028,204 160,069 1,188,273

t = metric tonne
a) As of mid-2000. See also: Compostion of the U.S. DOE Depleted Uranium Inventory (70k PDF).
For more recent and detailed data, download Inventory of depleted uranium tails, Oct. 2, 2007 external link (PDF – U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce)
b) Estimate based on: Depleted Uranium from Enrichment, Uranium Institute, London 1996
c) As of February 2001
d) As of end of 2000
Source: OECD NEA 2001

Source: WISE Uranium Project

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 P R O G R E S S I V E  R E V I E W

Depleted uranium
Recycling death
 

URANIUM MEDICAL RESEARCH CENTER

 

NEW YORK TOWN PROVIDES EVIDENCE OF TRUE DANGER OF DEPLETED URANIUM 

Parrish’s team has found that DU contamination, which remains radioactive for millions of years, is in effect impossible to eradicate, not only from the environment but also from the bodies of humans. Twenty-three years after production ceased they tested the urine of five former workers. All are still contaminated with DU. So were 20 per cent of people tested who had spent at least 10 years living near the factory when it was still working. . .

MORE DAMAGE FROM DEPLETED URANIUM FOUND

GUARDIAN, UK – Depleted uranium, which is used in armor-piercing ammunition, causes widespread damage to DNA which could lead to lung cancer, according to a study of the metal’s effects on human lung cells. The study adds to growing evidence that DU causes health problems on battlefields long after hostilities have ceased.0508 05 1DU is a byproduct of uranium refinement for nuclear power. It is much less radioactive than other uranium isotopes, and its high density – twice that of lead – makes it useful for armor and armor piercing shells. It has been used in conflicts including Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq and there have been increasing concerns about the health effects of DU dust left on the battlefield. In November, the Ministry of Defense was forced to counteract claims that apparent increases in cancers and birth defects among Iraqis in southern Iraq were due to DU in weapons.

Now researchers at the University of Southern Maine have shown that DU damages DNA in human lung cells. The team, led by John Pierce Wise, exposed cultures of the cells to uranium compounds at different concentrations. The compounds caused breaks in the chromosomes within cells and stopped them from growing and dividing healthily. “These data suggest that exposure to particulate DU may pose a significant [DNA damage] risk and could possibly result in lung cancer,” the team wrote in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology. . . Prof Wise said it is too early to say whether DU causes lung cancer in people exposed on the battlefield because the disease takes several decades to develop.
“Our data suggest that it should be monitored as the potential risk is there,” he said.

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/05/08/1059/

DEPLETED URANIUM BACK IN THE NEWS

AUDREY PARENTE, DAYTONA BEACH HERALD, FL – Lori Brim cradled her son in her arms for three months before he died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Dustin Brim, a 22-year-old Army specialist had collapsed three years ago in Iraq from a very aggressive cancer that attacked his kidney, caused a mass to grow over his esophagus and collapsed a lung. The problems she saw during her time at Walter Reed, including her son screaming in pain while doctors argued over medications, had nothing to do with mold and shabby conditions documented in recent news reports. What this mother saw was an unexplainable illness consuming her son.

And what she has learned since her son’s death is that his was not an isolated case. Lori Brim has joined other parents, hundreds of other sick soldiers, legislators, research scientists and environmental activists who say the cause of their problems results from exposure to depleted uranium, a radioactive metal used in the manufacture of U.S. tank armor and weapon casings.

Health and environmental effects of depleted uranium are at the heart of scientific studies, a lawsuit in the New York courts and legislative bills in more than a dozen states (although not in Florida). . .

Despite a 1996 U.N. resolution opposing its use because of discovery of health problems after the first Gulf War, the military studies have concluded there was no evidence that exposure to the metal caused illnesses. . .

To the military, the effectiveness of weapons and armor made with depleted uranium outweighs any residual effects. Their bottom line: Depleted uranium saves soldiers’ lives in combat. . .

But Brim and others think there will not be enough known until soldiers are tested for exposure. They compare the debate over depleted uranium to the controversy surrounding Agent Orange, the toxic herbicide used to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam. Speculation over its effects continued for more than two decades before the Defense Department agreed to compensate veterans who suffered from ailments linked to its use. . .

http://www.news-journalonline.com/special/uranium/DUFOLO041507.htm

CANADIAN REPORT: U.S. USE OF DEPLETED URANIUM RAISED RADIOACTIVITY 300 TIMES

MNA – Canadian research centers have reported that during the war against Iraq the U.S. military used depleted uranium weapons which caused the radiation level to rise at least 300 times above normal, and the weapons caused similar effects in Afghanistan.

U.S. troops have recently begun removing contaminated topsoil in Iraq, taking it to an unknown location. Scientists believe the next generation of children of citizens of both countries exposed to DU will suffer from higher rates of birth defects and cancer.

The Uranium Medical Research Center issued a report based on a 13-day survey throughout the primary conflict zones in urban and rural areas of central and southern Iraq on October 2003, according to Risq News. . .

The most disturbing circumstance was observed in the U.S. occupied base in southwestern Baghdad in the Auweirj district. It is close to the international airport and hosts one of the largest coalition bases around Baghdad, occupying the operational headquarters of the Iraqi Special Republican Guard. . . Departing the coalition-occupied base was a long, a steady stream of tandem-axle dump trucks carrying full loads of sand, heading south away from the city. Returning from the south was a second stream of fully loaded dump trucks waiting to enter the base. As the team passed the base’s main entrance, the gates were opened to reveal bulldozers spreading soil while front-end loaders were filling the trucks that had just emptied their loads of soil (silt and sand). The arriving trucks were delivering loads of sand into the base while the departing trucks were hauling away the base’s topsoil.

DEPLETED URANIUM FOUND IN TROOPS

JUAN GONZALEZ, NY DAILY NEWS – Four soldiers from a New York Army National Guard company serving in Iraq are contaminated with radiation likely caused by dust from depleted uranium shells fired by U.S. troops, a Daily News investigation has found. They are among several members of the same company, the 442nd Military Police, who say they have been battling persistent physical ailments that began last summer in the Iraqi town of Samawah. . . A nuclear medicine expert who examined and tested nine soldiers from the company says that four “almost certainly” inhaled radioactive dust from exploded American shells manufactured with depleted uranium. Laboratory tests conducted at the request of The News revealed traces of two manmade forms of uranium in urine samples from four of the soldiers.

 

CARD GIVEN BRITISH TROOPS IN IRAQ 

 


NOTE: THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE WEB PAGE HAS BEEN TAKEN DOWN 

 

BRITISH ISSUE DEPLETED URANIUM WARNING CARDS TO ITS TROOPS IN IRAQ 

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION SUPPRESSED STUDY ON DEPLETED URANIUM

ROB EDWARDS, SUNDAY HERALD, UK – An expert report warning that the long-term health of Iraq’s civilian population would be endangered by British and US depleted uranium weapons has been kept secret. The study by three leading radiation scientists cautioned that children and adults could contract cancer after breathing in dust containing DU, which is radioactive and chemically toxic. But it was blocked from publication by the World Health Organisation, which employed the main author, Dr Keith Baverstock, as a senior radiation advisor. He alleges that it was deliberately suppressed, though this is denied by WHO.

Baverstock also believes that if the study had been published when it was completed in 2001, there would have been more pressure on the US and UK to limit their use of DU weapons in last year’s war, and to clean up afterwards. Hundreds of thousands of DU shells were fired by coalition tanks and planes during the conflict, and there has been no comprehensive decontamination. Experts from the United Nations Environment Program have so far not been allowed into Iraq to assess the pollution.

U.S. LEFT 75 TONS OF DEPLETED URANIUM TO POLLUTE IRAQ

U.S. FORCES UNLEASHED at least 75 tons of toxic depleted uranium on Iraq during the war, reports the Christian Science Monitor. An unnamed U.S. Central Command spokesman disclosed to the Monitor last week that coalition forces fired 300,000 bullets coated with armored-piercing depleted uranium during the war. “The normal combat mix for these 30-mm rounds is five DU bullets to 1 — a mix that would have left about 75 tons of DU in Iraq,” wrote correspondent Scott Peterson. Peterson measured four sites around Baghdad struck with depleted uranium munitions and found high levels of radioactive contamination, but few warnings to this effect issued among the populace at large. While the Pentagon maintains that spent weapons coated with the low-level, radioactive nuclear-waste are relatively harmless, Peterson notes that U.S. soldiers have taken it among themselves to print leaflets or post signs warning of DU contamination. “After we shoot something with DU, we’re not supposed to go around it, due to the fact that it could cause cancer,” said one sergeant requesting anonymity.

DEPLETED URANIUM

PAUL KRASSNER, NY METRO – The officer came around a row of missiles, and Ethan asked him the question he had for him about his TAD request, and then asked him, “What the hell kind of missiles are these?”

“Those aren’t missiles; they’re cobalt jackets.”

“What are they for?”

“Well, this is ‘need to know,’ so keep your mouth shut, but they are designed to slide on over most of our conventional ordinance. They’re made out of radioactive cobalt, and when the bomb they’re wrapped around detonates, they contaminate everything in the blast zone and quite a bit beyond.”

“So they turn regular ordinance into nukes?”

“No, not exactly. The cobalt doesn’t detonate itself. It just scatters everywhere.”

“Well, what? Does the radiation kill people?”

“Not immediately. Cobalt jackets will not likely ever be used. They’re for a situation where the U.S. government is crumbling during a time of war, and foreign takeover is imminent. We won’t capitulate. We basically have a scorched earth policy. If we are going to lose, we arm everything with cobalt ­ and I mean everything; we have jackets at nearly every missile magazine in the world, on land or at sea ­ and contaminate the world. If we can’t have it, nobody can. . .

I emailed the anecdote to no-nukes activist Harvey Wasserman, author of The Last Energy War and co-author of The Superpower of Peace. I asked him to comment in a couple of hundred words:

“This nightmare has now essentially come true with the use of depleted uranium on anti-tank and other shells in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. The military rationale is that the super-hard depleted uranium helps shells penetrate tanks and other hard structures. But the long-term effect is that the uranium vaporizes upon explosion and contaminates everything for hundreds of yards, if not miles.”

STUDY FINDS DEPLETED URANIUM USED IN AFGHANISTAN

IRAQI CITIES HOT WITH DEPLETED URANIUM

SARA FLOUNDERS, COASTAL POST, CA – In hot spots in downtown Baghdad, reporters have measured radiation levels that are 1,000 to 1,900 times higher than normal background radiation levels. It has also opened a debate in the Netherlands parliament and media as 1,100 Dutch troops in Kuwait prepare to enter Iraq as part of the U.S./British-led occupation forces. The Dutch are concerned about the danger of radioactive poisoning and radiation sickness in Iraq. Washington has assured the Dutch government that it used no DU weapons near Al-Samawah, the town where Dutch troops will be stationed. But Dutch journalists and anti-war forces have already found holes in the U.S. stories, according to an article on the Radio Free Europe website. . .

In this year’s war on Iraq, the Pentagon used its radioactive arsenal mainly in the urban centers, rather than in desert battlefields as in 1991. Many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people and U.S. soldiers, along with British, Polish, Japanese and Dutch soldiers sent to join the occupation, will suffer the consequences. The real extent of injuries, chronic illness, long-term disabilities and genetic birth defects won’t be apparent for five to 10 years.

By now, half of all the 697,000 U.S. soldiers involved in the 1991 war have reported serious illnesses. According to the American Gulf War Veterans Association, more than 30 percent of these soldiers are chronically ill and are receiving disability benefits from the Veterans Administration. Such a high occurrence of various symptoms has led to the illnesses being named Gulf War Syndrome.

DEPLETED URANIUM: DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL

JAY SHAFT, COALITION FOR FREE THOUGHT IN MEDIA – In three separate interviews a U.S. Special Operations Command Colonel admitted that the U.S. and Great Britain fired 500 tons of DU munitions into Iraq. He has also informed me that the GBU-28 BLU 113 Penetrator Bunker Buster 5000 pound bomb contains DU in the warhead. Until now, as far as I know, the materials used to make the warhead of the GBU-28 have remained shrouded in mystery. He admitted that privately the Pentagon has acknowledged the health hazards of DU for years. . .

J.S.: What about the cities? Did you deliberately use DU on them?

U.S.C.: Let’s just say that we didn’t do anything to avoid using DU in cities or heavily populated areas. I know that I selected some DU bunker busters because of the fact that they have a high penetration factor. I used DU weapons exclusively on some targets so as to ensure maximum damage on those targets. You don’t want to just halfway destroy some targets, you want maximum damage. . .

J.S.: What about the health risks that are associated with DU? Or do you deny there are any?

U.S.C.: You are determined to get me to make a statement about the health risks aren’t you?

J.S.: If you will, I want to see what the behind the scenes view of DU is in the Pentagon.

U.S.C.: Well. . . (long pause, followed by heavy profanity). . . Okay, I’ll give you some dirt if that’s what you’re looking for. The Pentagon knows there are huge health risks associated with DU They know from years of monitoring our own test ranges and manufacturing facilities.

There were parts of Iraq designated as high contamination areas before we ever placed any troops on the ground. The areas around Basra, Jalibah, Talil, most of the southern desert, and various other hot spots were all identified as contaminated before the war. Some of the areas in the southern desert region along the Kuwaiti border are especially radioactive on scans and tests.
One of our test ranges in Saudi Arabia shows over 1000 times the normal background level for radiation. We have test ranges in the U.S. that are extremely contaminated; hell, they have been since the 80′s and nothing is ever said publicly. Don’t ask don’t tell is not only applied to gays, it is applied to this matter very heavily.

I know at one time the theory was developed that any soldier exposed to DU shells should have to wear full MOP gear (the chemical protective suit). But they realized that just wouldn’t be practical and it was never openly discussed again.

J.S.: So the stories that they know DU is harmful are true?

U.S.C.: Yes, there is no doubt that most high level commanders who were around during the 80′s know about it.

J.S.: So how do you feel about the fact that you exposed your own men to DU?

U.S.C.: F…k you!! What do you know about my job? I did what I had to do to take out the targets I was given. If it was necessary to use DU, than I put it in my target analysis reports. I didn’t actually fire the rounds myself; I work in a remote office.

J.S.: So you’ll never have to worry about being exposed to DU huh? Very brave.

U.S.C.: (lot’s of profanity) this interview is over with (more profanity, followed by the phone slamming down)

U.S. TO USE DEPLETED URANIUM AGAIN

BBC – A United States defense official has said moves to ban depleted uranium ammunition are just an attempt by America’s enemies to blunt its military might. Colonel James Naughton of US Army Materiel Command said Iraqi complaints about depleted uranium shells had no medical basis. “They want it to go away because we kicked the crap out of them,” he told a Pentagon briefing.

If war starts, tons of depleted uranium weapons are likely to be used by British and American tanks and by ground attack aircraft. Some believe people are still suffering ill health from ammunition used in the Gulf War 12 years ago, and other conflicts. In the House of Commons in London on Monday, Labor MP Joan Ruddock said a test of the UK Government’s pledge to keep civilian casualties to a minimum in an attack on Iraq would include not using depleted uranium weapons.

Apparently anticipating complaints, the US defense department briefed journalists about DU – making it plain it would continue to be used. . .

Cancer surgeons in the southern Iraqi port of Basra report a marked increase in cancers which they suspect were caused by DU contamination from tank battles on the farmland to the west of the city. . . Depleted uranium is mildly radioactive but the main health concern is that it is a heavy metal, potentially poisonous. The likelihood of absorbing it is increased significantly if a weapon has struck a target and exploded because the DU vaporizes into a fine dust and can be inhaled. . .

A 1995 report from the US Army Environmental Policy Institute, for example, said: “If DU enters the body, it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences.”

 

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Ukraine crisis leaves stain on West: Analyst

A cyclist rides past a burned Ukrainian army vehicle in the eastern Ukrainian village of Oktyabrskoe, near Kramatorsk, on May 14, 2014.

A cyclist rides past a burned Ukrainian army vehicle in the eastern Ukrainian village of Oktyabrskoe, near Kramatorsk, on May 14, 2014.
Wed May 14, 2014 12:22PM

The prevailing crisis in Ukraine following a US-backed coup will remain a stain on the reputation of Western governments, an analyst writes in a column for the Press TV website.

“The killings in East Ukraine by sending in the Right Sector thugs to do the dirty work will be remembered as an example of Western moral bankruptcy,” Jim W. Dean wrote.

He stated that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the coup government in Kiev organized a “stupid anti-terror operation” which led to dozens of deaths in the southern city of Odessa on May 2.

Dean described the status quo in Ukraine as “a disgraceful episode” for the Western governments, adding, “Some political careers deserve to be destroyed for their ill-planned and motivated failure. It was a criminal plan.”

The analyst said the Western governments “have made fools of themselves” in the eyes of people.

 

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Ukraine Crisis Leaves Stain on West: Analyst

873604_original

Ukraine crisis leaves stain on West: Analyst

… by  Jim W. Dean, VT Editor,   … with Press TV,  Tehran

 

This poor woman must be avenged

[Update:  Our VT crisis team analysis concluded that the photographic evidence showed  the inconsistent burn injuries to be indicative of obscuring how and what was used to kill many of these people.

The only options really on the table was lethal gas, and we surmized Vx...something that lung tissue analysis would confirm or not.

We now have partial confirmation that we were right from RT today. "Victims of the Odessa fire massacre died within seconds, but not from smoke or carbon monoxide suffocation, the head of Odessa's emergency service department, Vladimir Bodelan, said on his Facebook page."

Witnesses reported bodies and people being herded into the basement, and then this dissapeared from the news. Not a word about "missing" people was mentioned by the Odessa authorities. And of course it is easy to have confusion here with witnesses hiding out who would like to stay alive.

Despite all the witnesses to building escapees being beaten to death by the Right Sector mob, Kiev preferred to give tag them as "jumpers". Of course on a frame of video of a jumped has emerged. I wonder why?

Smoke inhalation deaths can be confirmed by visual autopsies simply from the visible soot residue in the lungs. The good news is that foreign experts are supposed to be involved, but after all of thise time the chain of command of the evidence will be in question.]

 

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US military should rescue schoolgirls, even without Nigeria’s permission – McCain

Published time: May 13, 2014 22:58

From a video released by Boko Haram reportedly showing the missing schoolgirls abducted by the group .(AFP Photo / Boko Haram)

From a video released by Boko Haram reportedly showing the missing schoolgirls abducted by the group .(AFP Photo / Boko Haram)

The US military should rescue the 200 schoolgirls abducted in Nigeria by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, even if the Nigerian government disapproves, Sen. John McCain says. Meanwhile, negotiations on a prisoner-hostage exchange appear to be advancing.

The longtime US senator and two-time presidential candidate told The Daily Beast that the US should feel no compunction to withhold sending special operations forces to find the kidnapped girls – especially in a country led by “some guy named Goodluck Jonathan.”

“If they knew where they were, I certainly would send in US troops to rescue them, in a New York minute I would, without permission of the host country,” McCain said on Tuesday. “I wouldn’t be waiting for some kind of permission from some guy named Goodluck Jonathan,” he declared, in reference to Nigeria’s president.

As he suggested last week in a CNN interview, McCain insisted that if he were US president, his administration would have prepared special forces ready to enter Nigeria if a rescue opportunity was apparent. His rationale for military intervention rests with the United Nations charter, he said, since the mass abduction was akin to “crimes against humanity.”

“The United Nations Charter recognized crimes against humanity, this fits into the category of crimes against humanity, and that gives any nation the license if they can to stop a crime against humanity, the same reason we should have if we could have freed the people at Dachau or Auschwitz,” McCain said.

Yet, as The Daily Beast points out, the UN Charter “does not explicitly mention crimes against humanity.” But the news website found that the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum does, indicating that crimes against humanity “are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of human beings.”

 

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Fighting in Slavyansk on Monday, chaos in Odessa, and entrenchment on all elevates talk of open war

- Jon Queally, staff writer

Pro-Russia gunmen on armored personal carriers passing by barricades on a road leading into Slavyansk. (Photograph: Darko Vojinovic/AP)

 

Interim president Oleksandr Turchynov on Monday was the latest to indicate that the spiraling violence in an increasingly divided Ukraine looks more and more like civil war as efforts to contain uprisings in the east against Kiev’s authority have only elevated the violence in recent days.

“War is in effect being waged against us, and we must be ready to repel this aggression,” said Turchynov in a televised address from Kiev and referring to violence in the cities of Odessa, Slavyansk, and elsewhere over the weekend.

According to Agence France-Presse, the latest high-level warning from Kiev comes as Ukraine spirals “further into a chaos that many fear could result in open civil war.”

Turchynov has called up additional forces and reintroduced conscription for military-aged Ukrainians citing fear of a Russian invasion on the eastern border.

This AFP video report shows how some regular Ukrainians are preparing for “civil war”:

Report: civilians in Ukraine ready for civil war


Meanwhile, in and around the city of Slavyansk on Monday, journalists reported that opposing factions were exchanging heavy gunfire and that loud explosions could be heard throughout the area.

And in Donetsk, militias opposed to Kiev’s rule and calling for a referendum vote on their autonomy have now taken full control of the city despite continued threats from the Ukraine army.

“What is happening in the east is not a short-term action,” said Vasyl Krutov, who heads the Kiev government’s military operations in the east. “This is essentially a war.”

As the following map by AFP shows, the number of cities in open revolt against the Kiev government is growing:

The Associated Press reports:

Ukraine is facing its worst crisis in decades as the polarised nation of 46 million tries to decide whether to look towards Europe, as its western regions want to do, or improve ties with Russia, which is favoured by the many Russian-speakers in the east.

In the last few weeks, anti-government forces have stormed and seized government buildings and police stations in a dozen eastern Ukrainian cities. Authorities in Kiev – who blame Russia for backing the insurgents – have up to now been largely powerless to react.

And since Russia has kept tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine’s eastern border – and annexed its key Black Sea peninsula of Crimea last month – Ukraine’s central government fears Russia could try to invade and grab more territory.

Since the government began trying to take back the buildings late last week, Slavyansk has been under a tight security cordon. Movement in and out of the city has ground almost to a halt, causing shortages in basic supplies. Lines have been seen at grocery stores.

The goals of the insurgency are ostensibly geared towards pushing for broader powers of autonomy for the region, but some insurgents favour separatism, and the annexation of Crimea looms over the entire political and military discussion.

Following Friday’s violence in Odessa and the growing number of revolts in the east, former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, spoke with Time magazine and made this warning: “The last 24 hours was a major escalation,” told TIME. “This is real. This is war.”

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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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Benghazi attack could have been prevented if US hadn’t ‘switched sides in the War on Terror’ and allowed $500 MILLION of weapons to reach al-Qaeda militants, reveals damning report

  • Citizens Committee on Benghazi claims the US government allowed arms to flow to al-Qaeda-linked militants who opposed Muammar Gaddafi
  • Their rise to power, the group says, led to the Benghazi attack in 2012
  • The group claims the strongman Gaddafi offered to abdicate his presidency, but the US refused to broker his peaceful exit
  • The commission, part of the center-right Accuracy In Media group, concluded that the Benghazi attack was a failed kidnapping plot
  • US Ambassador Chris Stevens was to be captured and traded for ‘blind sheikh’ Omar Abdel-Rahman, who hatched the 1993 WTC bombing plot

By David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor

The Citizens Commission on Benghazi, a self-selected group of former top military officers, CIA insiders and think-tankers, declared Tuesday in Washington that a seven-month review of the deadly 2012 terrorist attack has determined that it could have been prevented – if the U.S. hadn’t been helping to arm al-Qaeda militias throughout Libya a year earlier.

‘The United States switched sides in the war on terror with what we did in Libya, knowingly facilitating the provision of weapons to known al-Qaeda militias and figures,’ Clare Lopez, a member of the commission and a former CIA officer, told MailOnline.

She blamed the Obama administration for failing to stop half of a $1 billion United Arab Emirates arms shipment from reaching al-Qaeda-linked militants.

‘Remember, these weapons that came into Benghazi were permitted to enter by our armed forces who were blockading the approaches from air and sea,’ Lopez claimed. ‘They were permitted to come in. … [They] knew these weapons were coming in, and that was allowed..

‘The intelligence community was part of that, the Department of State was part of that, and certainly that means that the top leadership of the United States, our national security leadership, and potentially Congress – if they were briefed on this – also knew about this.’

The weapons were intended for Gaddafi but allowed by the U.S. to flow to his Islamist opposition.

 

The Citizens Committee on Benghazi released its interim findings on April 22, 2014 in Washington. Pictured are (L-R) Clare Lopez, Admiral (Ret.) Chuck Kubic, Admiral (Ret.) James 'Ace' Lyons, former CIA officer Wayne Simmons and civil rights attorney John Clarke

The Citizens Committee on Benghazi released its interim findings on April 22, 2014 in Washington. Pictured are (L-R) Clare Lopez, Admiral (Ret.) Chuck Kubic, Admiral (Ret.) James ‘Ace’ Lyons, former CIA officer Wayne Simmons and civil rights attorney John Clarke

 

On September 11, 2012 armed terror-linked militias attacked U.S. diplomatic outposts in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans and driving the United States out of that part of the country

On September 11, 2012 armed terror-linked militias attacked U.S. diplomatic outposts in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans and driving the United States out of that part of the country

 

‘The White House and senior Congressional members,’ the group wrote in an interim report released Tuesday, ‘deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler [Muammar Gaddafi] who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress al-Qaeda.’

‘Some look at it as treason,’ said Wayne Simmons, a former CIA officer who participated in the commission’s research.

Retired Rear Admiral Chuck Kubic, another commission member, told reporters Tuesday that those weapons are now ‘all in Syria.’

 

‘Gaddafi wasn’t a good guy, but he was being marginalized,’ Kubic recalled. ‘Gaddafi actually offered to abdicate’ shortly after the beginning of a 2011 rebellion.

‘But the U.S. ignored his calls for a truce,’ the commission wrote, ultimately backing the horse that would later help kill a U.S. ambassador.

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Saudi Arabia fears democracy in Iraq: Expert

Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:33AM GMT

Transcripts of interview with Sa’ad al-Muttalibi

 

Press TV has interviewed Sa’ad al-Muttalibi, State of Law Coalition from Baghdad, to discuss comments made by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki over Saudi Arabia meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq and Syria.

What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: We see that Prime Minister [Nouri] Maliki has pointed the finger specifically at Saudi Arabia. Now our guest in Washington [Mr. Richard Weitz] says it’s basically countries supporting those closest in perspective but not necessarily destabilizing the country. I want your thoughts on who do you think or which entity or country do you think is destabilizing or trying to destabilize Iraq?

Muttalibi: We have to admit there is a proxy war going on in Iraq on behalf of regional powers. Now as the guest in the States mentioned not only is Saudi Arabia interfering in the Iraqi picture but as a destabilizing force and a power that is linked to ISIL and to al-Qaeda, we have definite proof of such interference.

Al-Qaeda is not fighting a proxy-war against neighboring Iran or Turkey or Kuwait or Syria, but they are actually striving to bring down the political regime and democracy in Iraq.

So, there are two agendas here. There is an interference from neighboring countries. But the agenda or the reason why there is a regional interference in Iraq and a proxy war going on — fueled by the push from the United States into creating this theory of this axis of evil where Syria and Iran are a part of those — then Saudi Arabia is manipulating on the picture and trying to get in, pushing for a seat as a leading Arab country or Islamic country to decide how things run in the region.

But for particularly Iraq as a destabilizing force — as Christopher Hill, ex-Ambassador to Baghdad, very clearly mentioned and as Jeffrey Feltman also – Undersecretary – was very correct in saying that there were and there are evidence of very serious Saudi meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq and aiming at destabilizing the political regime here.

So the political picture is complicated to say the least, but that does deny or does not say that Saudi Arabia is not part of a regional important force in trying to destabilize the state of Iraq.

Press TV: Let me just expand on what you said. I want to get clarity on what you just said. Are you saying that it is the United States that is the main entity behind this destabilization in your country?

Muttalibi: Yes, definitely. It’s a side product.

What America did by claiming the theory of the axis of evil and pushing Arab states that are closely linked to the United States into creating an enemy of Iran, unfortunately Saudi Arabia misunderstood this picture and considered Iraq as part of the overall Middle Eastern picture that Iraq is a close ally of Iran, therefore Saudi Arabia by hitting at Iran are by the way attacking Iraq to destabilize Iraq on the thought that Iraq and Iran are closely linked. Therefore, by hitting the Iraqi regime or the Iraqi political system, they think they are hitting Iran at the same time.

Press TV: In general, who do you think benefits from an unstable Iraq? –Because usually in a situation, obviously, countries around a country tend to want their neighbors to be stable. You pointed the finger at the United States and Saudi Arabia. Would the Saudis not be afraid of this type of violence actually backfiring and entering into its own soil?

Muttalibi: Finally and eventually yes. Saudi Arabia will suffer from the commodity that they exported to us and to Syria. Unfortunately it takes a wise man to understand that a stable country, a stable neighbor contributes to the stability of its own country.

But we have to remember that Saudi Arabia does not have a democratic system so they don’t really understand or care about what the people say. They have a king and they have a monarchy, a non-democratic system where the royal family decides whatever they want and a jurisprudence of clerics and religious institutions backs the monarchy. They don’t really have the same democratic system where they have to answer to their own people.

Press TV: Your take, Mr. Al-Muttalibi, because we saw when the revolution took place in Egypt, we saw immediately Saudi Arabia and Qatar definitely going against what the people wanted initially. Do you think that these types of regimes fear an Arab success model of representative government?

Muttalibi: It’s natural that democracy is contagious.

Democracy is not only contagious but it does not respect sovereign borders. It’s very natural for a regime such as Saudi Arabia to fear from any success story in particular from an important regional country like Iraq, with its natural resources and its ability to be a bridge between the West and the East, and a close ally to the Arab world at the same time holding an excellent relationship with Iran and Turkey at the same time.

Iraq, you have to remember, historically is the crossroads of all civilizations. Whatever happens in Iraq definitely passes a very strong footprint in the region.

Everybody knows that democracy is contagious. Saudi Arabia will naturally feel a bit worried.

Reading the literature of Saudi Arabia in the past few months or monitoring their media we see very clearly that they highlight all the atrocities that happen in Iraq and never once mentioned a positive aspect of Iraqi life.

So, the way they present to the people that the experiment in Iraq is the biggest failure in the Middle East and democracy in Iraq is such a failure that nobody should try and copy that example. This is their internal media and internal literature that they feed to their own people, which naturally shows that there is a fear of that.

Press TV: Your take on what’s happening in the al-Anbar province. We know that Takfiri insurgents have actually taken over parts of that province. I want to know the significance of that. Are they trying to send a message to the Iraqi people and do you think with the elections — first of all, will they be able to hold elections in that province, and the significance of this election, if it is successful, will it be a boost for security forces to get more of a stronghold or control over that region and others?

Muttalibi: We believe here in Iraq, and it’s not only me, I’m speaking on behalf of thousands and hundreds of people that I’ve actually seen and spoken to during this campaign, they talk very openly of the necessity of moving away from consensual democracy into majority democracy, and a government that should be formed on the basis of majority blocks within the government parliament, away from consensual agreement. Since the consensual agreement that was been imposed on Iraq, it definitely proved it is not working within our framework and our social structure.

Therefore, we consider this election to be a milestone election, the election that will decide the fate of the state of Iraq, the shape of Iraq. Will Iraq continue to be a federal state or centralized, decentralized? What kind of a federal state, is it confederation or federation? All these questions would be answered at this election.

Also, the upcoming elections and the political map that will be produced will be in charge of setting right the security forces and legislating laws that will allow our security forces to act more responsibly and more actively within the country.

Fallujah, what’s happening there is a big media thing. But nothing’s really been affected here in Baghdad. There is a try by al-Qaeda to move away attention from Fallujah and Anwar province into Baghdad, trying to draw attention away from Fallujah. But the war in Fallujah is between al-Qaeda, ISIS and the local tribesmen who are fighting al-Qaeda.

The Iraqi army until now is not involved in any battles with al-Qaeda or ISIS, therefore we can see how important the upcoming election is and how important the political map that it will produce.

Press TV: Your take on the same question, what will it take to reestablish security in your country?

Muttalibi: Yes, there are two issues here we have to take into consideration, the local political map from one side, and the regional events. As your guest very clearly said, what’s happening in Syria is a major factor in security in Iraq, and also the political map with the unfortunate presence of certain political entities that created a fertile ground for regional interference. That means there will always be a political group that will invite regional interference in particular from Syria and from extremist elements from Syria.

GMA/HSN

 

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Nearly 60 people killed in Iraq bomb attacks

Civilians and security forces gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Iraq. (file photo)

Civilians and security forces gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Iraq. (file photo)
Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:25PM GMT

 

The deadliest incident on Monday occurred in the Kurdish populated town of Khanaqin where 30 people were killed and 50 others injured after a bombing targeted a political gathering.

People had gathered to watch television footage of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani casting his ballot in Germany.

“Suddenly we heard a big explosion. I wanted to turn my car around to go back home, but I couldn’t because people were running towards me. Most of their clothes were covered in blood,” a witness said.

According to reports, 27 members of the Iraqi security forces were also killed in a series of bomb attacks across the country on the same day.

 

 

…..

ENERGY TECH

Ahead of Iraq polls, oil still fuelling economic hopes


by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) April 28, 2014


Iraqi forces cast ballots ahead of wider poll
Baghdad (AFP) April 27, 2014 – Iraqi soldiers and policemen vote Monday ahead of the country’s first national election since US troops left with worsening sectarian ties and fears the country is slipping into all-out conflict.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, lambasted by critics for allegedly consolidating power and targeting minority groups, is bidding for a third term in Wednesday’s polls with Iraqis frustrated over basic services, rampant corruption and high unemployment.The month-long campaign has seen Baghdad and other cities plastered with posters and decked out in bunting, as candidates have taken to the streets, staged loud rallies and challenged each other in angry debates.Attacks on candidates, election workers and political rallies have cast a shadow over the election, and parts of the country that have been out of government control for months will not see any ballots cast.Many shops in central Baghdad have been boarded up and authorities have announced a week’s public holidays to try to bolster security for the election.

Iraqis living outside of the country began voting at overseas polling centres on Sunday.

Along with members of the security forces, hospital and prison staff will also cast their ballots on Monday ahead of wider polling on April 30.

Although voters have a long list of grievances, from poor electricity and sewerage services to pervasive graft and difficulties securing jobs, to say nothing of near-daily violence, the election has centred around Maliki and his efforts to retain power.

His opponents, who span the communal spectrum, accuse him of shoring up his power base, while minority Sunnis in particular say the Shiite premier discriminates against them.

Maliki contends that foreign interference is behind deteriorating security and complains that he has been saddled with a unity government of groups that snipe at him in public and block his legislative efforts.

But according to analysts and diplomats, with a fractious and divided opposition and no clear replacement, he remains the frontrunner in the first national election since 2010, and the first since US troops withdrew in December 2011.

No single party is likely to win an absolute majority, however, and as in previous elections, coalition talks are likely to take months.

 

With a budget languishing in parliament, crucial reforms on the back burner and a hamstrung private sector, prospects for Iraq’s economy after Wednesday’s election hinge heavily on the oil factor.

Iraq has some of the world’s largest deposits of oil and gas and aims to boost energy production dramatically, but a slow-moving bureaucracy and poor infrastructure are holding it back.

Complicating things further is Baghdad’s long-running dispute with the energy-rich autonomous northern Kurdish region, which has sought to sign deals with foreign firms and export without the express permission of the central government.

Any new government formed after Wednesday’s parliamentary election will have its hands full with these and other challenges.

Crude oil accounts for more than 90 percent of exports and government revenues, and 70 percent of gross domestic product, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Despite calls for Iraq to do more to diversify its economy, oil still fuels the country’s attempts to rebuild after decades of conflict.

“What Iraq should be focusing on is actually developing something more diverse as an economy that’s less dependent on oil production,” said Ayham Kamel, Middle East and North Africa Director for Eurasia Group consultancy.

“The challenge here is, given the security environment, it’s very difficult to achieve that.”

Only one percent of Iraq’s workforce is employed in the oil sector but the industry indirectly supports countless others, with revenues in particular helping to pay salaries in the public sector.

Meanwhile private firms, outside the oil sector, often complain they are hamstrung by an ageing banking system, with few loans available and outdated laws that make it hard to set up or maintain a business.

Rampant corruption and soaring costs due to electricity shortages and deteriorating security also complicate running a business in Iraq, which is mired in its worst period of bloodshed in years.

“Iraq’s economy suffers from structural weaknesses,” said a World Bank report.

It noted that although the oil sector was delivering strong growth, overall economic expansion “has not been broad-based enough to make major inroads on poverty and exclusion.”

 

Read More Here

 

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Violence Kills Nearly 50 in Iraq Ahead of Key Vote

 

Militants on Monday targeted polling stations across much of Iraq and a crowd of Kurds jubilantly dancing on the street as soldiers and security forces cast ballots two days ahead of parliamentary elections, officials said. The attacks, including a suicide bombing northeast of Baghdad, left at least 46 people dead.

The wave of attacks was an apparent attempt to derail the balloting process and discourage the rest of the country’s 22 million registered voters from going to the polls on Wednesday in the first nationwide elections since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. forces.

The early balloting for police and soldiers is meant to free up the 1 million-strong military and security forces so they can protect polling stations and voters on election day.

More than 9,000 candidates are vying for 328 seats in parliament, which is widely expected to be won by an alliance led by Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is likely to seek a third four-year term in office.

The day’s worst attack took place in the Kurdish town of Khanaqin, 140 kilometers (87 miles) northeast of Baghdad close to the Iranian border. A suicide bomber walked toward a crowd of Kurds performing a traditional dance and blew himself up, killing at least 25 and injuring 35, many of them in critical condition.

The Kurds were celebrating the appearance on TV of Iraq’s ailing President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd who is being treated in Berlin since December 2012 following a stroke. The nearly 80-year-old Talabani was seen sitting in a wheelchair smiling and waving his index finger, stained purple, flanked by clapping relatives. Few details have been released about the severity of Talabani’s illness.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which bore the hallmarks of Sunni Arab militants.

Khanaqin is in Diyala province, a region where Arabs and Kurds context territory and where Sunni militants target Shiites and Kurds.

Iraq is experiencing a surge in sectarian violence, with Sunni militants increasingly chiefly targeting security forces, army troops and members of the nation’s Shiite majority. The resurgence of the bloodletting, which nearly tore Iraq apart in 2006 and 2007, underscores the precarious politics of a democratic, but splintered nation.

It also mirrors the three-year-old conflict in neighboring Syria, where the civil war pits forces loyal to President Bashar Assad whose powerbase stems from followers of a Shiite offshoot sect, against mostly Sunni Arab rebels whose ranks are dominated by Islamists and militants from al-Qaida-inspired or linked groups. Iraqi Shiite militiamen fight on the side of Assad’s forces.

Voters in Wednesday’s polls are widely expected to cast ballots along sectarian and ethnic lines.

But balloting will not take place in parts of the vast and mostly Sunni Anbar province west of Baghdad, where al-Qaida spin-off militants control parts of two cities, including the provincial capital, Ramadi.

Beside army troops and police, also voting on Monday were hospital patients, medical staff and detainees.

Abroad, Iraqi expatriates in more than 20 countries will also be able to cast ballots for a second day.

Authorities, meanwhile, announced the closure of Iraq’s air space, saying it will not reopen until after the polls close on Wednesday evening. Already, the government has decreed a weeklong national holiday to coincide with the elections, extending a previously announced three-day break. Such moves were common in past elections, chiefly to empty the streets and allow security forces faster access to attack sites.

 

 

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Dozens of Ukrainian troops surrender APCs in Slavyansk, refuse to ‘shoot at own people’ (PHOTO, VIDEO)

Published time: April 16, 2014 14:21
Edited time: April 16, 2014 20:18

Men wearing military fatigues sit by a Russian flag and a white flag reading "People's volunteer corps of Donetsk" as they ride on an armoured personnel carrier (APC) in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on April 16, 2014. (AFP Photo)

Men wearing military fatigues sit by a Russian flag and a white flag reading “People’s volunteer corps of Donetsk” as they ride on an armoured personnel carrier (APC) in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on April 16, 2014. (AFP Photo)

Dozens of army troops sent to the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk for an “anti-terrorist operation” refused to follow orders and surrendered their weapons and armored vehicles. Some troops openly voiced support for the eastern Ukrainians.

Follow RT’s LIVE UPDATES on military operation in eastern Ukraine

According to Interfax, citing local self-defense activists, some 300 Ukrainian troops agreed to lay down their weapons and “go home” following negotiations in Slavyansk.

“We managed to negotiate with them. About 300 military – only some of those who closed around the city – decided to lay down their arms and go home,” a self-defense activist was quoted as saying.

Reports from the scene said that the locals would not allow the soldiers to take back the APCs, but they were allowed to keep their rifles. The people were cheering the troops.

Meanwhile, the anti-government activists guarding the armored vehicles have said that they did not “seize” them as the media claimed, and that the troops “switched sides” peacefully.

“They were not seized by the self-defense forces. In fact, the Ukrainian troops arrived here flying a Russian flag. In this way, they have taken the side of the people,” a Slavyansk activist told Russia-24 TV.

 

Photos from the scene now show women and children climbing onto the APCs and taking photos with the armed men in camouflage with St. George ribbons.

A Ukrainian soldier interviewed by RIA Novosti in Slavyansk said the troops were told they are being sent against “Russian invaders who have taken the local population hostage and are waging war at us,” and that they must “free Donbas from occupants.”

“This morning, we started our attack, but the picture we saw in Kramatorsk turned out to be completely different. We saw in front of us a crowd of locals, mostly adults, women and men. They explained to us that there are no occupants here and there is no one to fight. Instead, they gave us food and talked to us,” the soldier was quoted as saying.

He added that the troops vowed “not to follow orders to shoot at these people.” Some soldiers chose to take the side of the locals, some decided to stay “neutral.” They are now “waiting what comes next.”

Photo from Twitter/@oivshina

Photo from Twitter/@oivshina

Similar developments were also seen in another Donetsk region city, Kramatorsk, where Ukrainian troops began entering Tuesday after taking a nearby airfield by force, captured a day earlier by armed self-defense activists.

As Ukrainian armored vehicles rolled into the city’s center Wednesday, they were surrounded by locals and surrendered. Some of the APCs were filmed flying Russian flags in support of the locals. Kiev eventually confirmed that six APCs were taken away in Kramatorsk but claimed that they were “captured by the extremists.” Earlier, coup-imposed Kiev officials dismissed the news as “fake” and even claimed that by raising Russian flags the troops “infiltrated” the areas “controlled by Russian Army units and separatists.”

In the village of Pchyolkino, south of Kramatorsk, locals blocked part of a large convoy of armored vehicles. The people are demanding that the troops turn back their vehicles and leave for Dnepropetrovsk, where they are stationed.

 

Read More Here

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cyweb74


Local residents trying to block troops on APCs in the same region were filmed showing bullets that they say were fired by the Ukrainian military as warning shots but in the direction of the people. At least one person was injured by such warning shots, according to reports.

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Witnesses:  Fighter jet was shot down Over Kramatorsk Airport

 

© Reuters/Michael Počuev
April 15, 18:31 UTC +4

Troops land in terminal area

 

Kyiv, April 15. /ITAR-TASS/.  Fighter  shot down over Kramatorsk Airport .  Reported by eyewitnesses on the scene.
In particular, they report that four fighter jets flew over Kramatorskom  , the Su-27, allegedly opened fire over the local airfield. Whose aircraft and who is responsible for  the fighter jet is still unknown. Witnesses noted that  an ambulance arrived on the scene to tend to  victims on the airfield.
Newspaper, News of Kramatorsk”, reports that three  were circling over the airfield.   According to  information,  a group of people had gathered near the aerodrome , some of them in camouflage uniforms, many local residents with  children. According to preliminary data, shooting in the aerodrome area wounded one person.

 

About 500 troops with military equipment  entered  Slavyansk
Witnesses report that troops had landed in the terminal area, there are no  more details available at this time.
The situation in Ukraine. Chronicle of events. 15 April
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Russia, West Face Off Over Ukraine at UN

  • A pro-Russian gunman stands guard at a police station that was seized by pro-Russian militants, in the eastern Ukraine town of Slovyansk, April 13, 2014.

    Ukrainian, Pro-Russian Militia Sustain Casualties in Slovyansk Gunfire

Russia came under heavy criticism from world powers at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council Sunday, as violent clashes flared between pro-Russia separatists and Kyiv government supporters in eastern Ukraine.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant accused Russia of orchestrating the violence.

Power said the instability in Ukraine was “completely man-made.” She said it was “written and choreographed” by Russia. Grant called on the Security Council to warn Russia against “further military escalation.”

Russia, which called the meeting, rejected the charges.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin called on the international community to demand that those who are in power in Kyiv stop war on their own citizens, referring to a warning by Ukraine’s government that it will use force against pro-Russia activists in the eastern part of Ukraine if they do not disarm.

In a televised speech Sunday, Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, vowed Kyiv will not let Russia take over eastern Ukraine after its annexation of the Crimean peninsula last month.

He said he will grant amnesty to any pro-Russian separatists who lay down their weapons by Monday but vowed to use force against those who don’t.

Turchynov accused Moscow of carrying out a war against Ukraine, once part of its Soviet empire.

“Blood has been shed in a war which the Russian Federation unleashed against Ukraine. The aggressor has not stopped but continues to incite unrest in Ukraine’s east. It’s not a war between Ukrainians; it’s an artificially created confrontation, whose goal is to see Ukraine weakened and destroyed as a country. But in the end it will weaken our enemies. Russia today has drawn condemnation from the entire civilized world,” said Turchynov.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry immediately dismissed Turchynov’s order to launch the operation as “criminal” and called for its immediate review by the U.N. Security Council. A meeting is set for Sunday night.

…..

Obama, Putin Talk as Separatists Tighten Grip on East Ukraine

Pro-Russia demonstrators on Monday defied a government deadline to vacate occupied buildings in exchange for amnesty, as Ukraine’s interim president threatened a military crackdown.

Dozens of protesters smashed windows of the police headquarters in the eastern Ukrainian city of Horlivka and scuffled with police as they took control of the facility.

Obama, Putin to continue diplomacy

Russian President Vladimir Putin urged U.S. President Barack Obama to discourage the Ukrainian government from using force against protesters.

During a phone conversation Monday with Obama, the Russian leader denied claims of Russian agents’ involvement in the protests as “speculations based on unreliable information.”  Putin said the protests vented public anger about the Ukrainian government’s reluctance to recognize the interests of Russian speakers in the east.

The Kremlin said it had requested the call. The White House said the call was frank and direct.

The White House said Obama urged Russia to use its influence to get separatists in the country to stand down.

“The president emphasized that all irregular forces in the country need to lay down their arms, and he urged President Putin to use his influence with these armed, pro-Russian groups to convince them to depart the buildings they have seized,” the White House said in a statement.

The two sides agreed to continue efforts to seek diplomatic cooperation in the context of the Ukrainian situation ahead of a four-party meeting (EU, Russia, U.S. and Ukraine) scheduled to take place in Geneva on April 17.

Demanding a referendum

The demonstrators are demanding a referendum on whether to split with Ukraine and join Russia – similar to last month’s vote in Crimea.

Donetsk, a province with 4.3 million people – 10 percent of Ukraine’s population – and much of its heavy industry, is the biggest prize of the eastern regions where pro-Russian separatists have captured government buildings in the past week.

Ukrainian leader Oleksandr Turchynov said he is not against a national referendum on what kind of country Ukraine should be.  He said he is certain a majority would support a united and independent Ukraine, possibly giving broader localized rights to the east.  He said such a vote could be held at the same time as the May 25 presidential election.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday he believes Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the eastern part of the country should be part of drafting a new constitution.

CIA visit

 

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“CIVIL WAR HAS BEGUN IN UKRAINE” = headline in major Russian paper this morning. No clarifying context, of course. pic.twitter.com/SGsoCw1ZeW
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