Published on Mar 3, 2014
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For the first time since the Soviet Union’s collapse more than two decades ago, Russian military forces have moved into an Eastern European country and occupied its territory. Over 15,000 Russian soldiers are now stationed in Ukraine’s autonomous republic of Crimea, according to Ukrainian officials (it’s not clear how many of them were already in the region before this crisis), in a deployment ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin to protect “Russian citizens and compatriots on Ukrainian territory.” No shots have been fired, but Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, has placed his country’s military on its highest alert level to deter “potential aggression,” as the United States condemned Russia’s “invasion and occupation of Ukrainian territory” in violation of international law.
Fifteen independent countries, including Russia, emerged from the Soviet Union’s disintegration. Six of them—Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—are in Europe, and all of them have a complicated relationship with modern Russia. Seven other countries once belonged to the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet Union’s military alliance in Eastern Europe. With the Cold War’s end, none of them had faced the threat of military intervention by the communist superpower’s successor state—until now. (In discussing Europe here, I’m not including Eurasian countries like Georgia, which fought a war with Russia in 2008, or the military support Russia offered Moldova’s breakaway Transnistria region in the early 1990s.)
In his 14 years in power grieving the loss of the Soviet empire, Vladimir Putin has launched three wars against Russia‘s neighbours and territories formerly under the Kremlin’s domination. As a newly appointed prime minister in 1999, before becoming president on New Year’s Day 2000, he began with a war in Chechnya, brutally suppressing an armed insurrection against Moscow’s rule in the north Caucasus and razing the provincial capital, Grozny.
In 2008, the former KGB officer ordered a blitzkrieg against Georgia, partitioning the country in five days. He remains in control of 20% of Russia’s Black Sea neighbour: the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Russian military also controls a slice of Moldova known as Transnistria in a frozen conflict dating from the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In the Crimea and Ukraine, however, in the event of full-scale war, Putin has opted for a game-changer with the potential to be Europe‘s worst security nightmare since the revolutions of 1989 and the bloodiest since Slobodan Milosevic’s attempts to wrest control of former Yugoslavia resulted in four lost wars, more than 100,000 dead, and spawned seven new countries in the Balkans. Ukraine is a pivotal country on the EU’s eastern and Russia’s south-western borders. Territorially it is bigger than France. Its population is greater than those of Poland or Spain at 46 million. It has a proper military and is well armed. Ukraine was the Soviet Union’s arms manufacturing base; it remains in the top league of global arms exporters.
Ukraine’s military machine is no match for Russia’s. It has around 130,000 troops compared to around 850,000 in Russia. Its forces in Crimea are no match for the 15,000-plus men serving with the Russian Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol. Russia has more men in its western military division than there are in the entire Ukrainian armed forces. Ratios of fighter aircraft, attack helicopters, special forces units and Black Sea warships are similarly one-sided.
But Ukraine’s forces could inflict a lot of damage if forced to defend their country. With this in mind, three broad scenarios suggest themselves:
The most benign outcome is that Putin envisages a Georgia-style incursion, a brief week of creating new facts on the ground, limiting the campaign to taking control of the Crimean peninsula with its majority ethnic Russian population, and then negotiating and dictating terms from a position of strength to the weak and inexperienced new leadership in Kiev.
• Senior officials say goal is to avoid further Ukraine incursion
• Administration to apply economic and political pressure
• Kerry to fly to Kiev after saying Russia G8 status at risk
• Obama’s 90-minute Putin call: no meeting of minds
The US conceded on Sunday that Moscow had “complete operational control of the Crimean peninsula” and announced that the secretary of state, John Kerry, will fly to Kiev in an attempt to halt a further Russian advance into Ukraine.
Senior US officials dismissed claims that Washington is incapable of exerting influence on the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, but were forced to admit that Crimea had been successfully invaded by 6,000 airborne and ground troops in what could be the start of a wider invasion.
“They are flying in reinforcements and they are settling in,” one senior official said. Another senior official said: “Russian forces now have complete operational control of the Crimean peninsula.”
Although President Barack Obama’s administration called for Putin to withdraw troops to Russian military bases on the peninsula, its objective appeared to have shifted to using political and economic threats to prevent any further military incursion.
One senior official said the major decision facing Putin was whether to “continue to escalate troop movements into other parts of Ukraine”.
“We’ve already seen the intervention in Crimea,” the official said. “It would be even further destabilising to expand that intervention into eastern Ukraine.”
The official added: “Our bottom line is they had to pull back from what they’ve already done, go back into their bases in Crimea. We’ll be watching very, very carefully of course and will be very, very concerned if we saw further escalation into eastern Ukraine.”
When Ukraine is the topic, the major U.S. media outlets agree: “Europe and the United States have made a priority of fostering democracy in the former Soviet republics,” David M. Herszenhorn wrote in the New York Times. The Washington Post asserted that Ukraine is “a country that has been struggling to become a genuine democracy” with help from Western powers, who keep it “from becoming an autocratic Kremlin colony, like neighboring Belarus.” “Ukraine is the crossroads between a free and an authoritarian Europe,” the Wall Street Journal concurred, while Yale professor Timothy Snyder urged, in a CNN piece, Europe and America to back the Ukrainian protesters—“a chance to support democracy,” he emphasized. Marvelous. But in the real world, Ukrainian democracy is not merely something Washington has failed to support, but is actually incompatible with U.S. governmental aims.
U.S. officials are quite open about their opposition to Ukrainian self-determination and well-aware how unpopular Washington’s preferred policies are. Nearly a decade ago, for example, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Europe met for a hearing on “Ukraine’s Future and U.S. Interests.” Rep. Doug Bereuter (R-NE) opened the session, noting that “a recent survey conducted by a center for economic and political research suggests that up to 40 percent of Ukrainians believe that relations with Russia should be a priority.”
It’s not just that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was a coward for fleeing in the dead of night from angry and rebellious Ukrainian nationalists in Western Ukraine to what (he hoped) would be a friendlier population in the Russian-speaking Eastern Ukraine. Of course, he probably was a coward to run away. However, a coup d’etat had been carried out against him, his government security forces were melting away, and roughnecks with weapons and shields were just outside his door.
But more important than his cowardice is the fact that he is a scoundrel.
He could have easily calmed the rebellion in Independence Square in Ukraine’s capital Kiev early on if he had simply told the crowds the truth about what the Association Agreement with the European Union would mean to their lives and futures, which is one reason he apparently refused to sign it. His refusal to sign this Agreement on November 21, 2013 has been called the “spark” that led to the current crisis and his overthrow. However, if, for example, he had summarized the terms of only one part of it–the Agreement’s “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area”–and explained what it would mean to the Ukrainian people, he would have severely dampened enthusiasm for this Agreement. This Free Trade section alone–removing tariff barriers and export duties–would convert Ukraine into one big “free trade zone,” where the anti-environment, anti-labor, and pro-business laws would prevail.
Government buildings are being trashed, ransacked. It is happening in Kiev and Bangkok, and in both cities, the governments appear to be toothless, too scared to intervene.
What is going on? Are popularly elected administrations all over the world becoming irrelevant; as the Western regime creates and then supports thuggish ‘opposition movements’ designed to destabilize any state that stands in the way of its desire to fully control the planet?
They are shouting and intimidating those who want to vote for the moderately progressive government that is presently leading Thailand. There is no dispute over the electoral process – voting is generally free, as both international observers and most of the local Election Commission members agree.
Freedom, legitimacy or transparency is not what is at stake now.
As protests have been taking place in Venezuela the last couple of weeks, it is always good to check on the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the US Empire’s “stealth” destabilizer. What has the NED been up to in Venezuela?
Before going into details, it is important to note what NED is and is not. First of all, it has NOTHING to do with the democracy we are taught in civics classes, concerning one person-one vote, with everyone affected having a say in the decision, etc. (This is commonly known as “popular” or grassroots democracy.) The NED opposes this kind of democracy.
The NED promotes top-down, elite, constrained (or “polyarchal”) democracy. This is the democracy where the elites get to decide the candidates or questions suitable to go before the people—and always limiting the choices to what the elites are comfortable with. Then, once the elites have made their decision, THEN the people are presented with the “choice” that the elites approve. And then NED prattles on with its nonsense about how it is “promoting democracy around the world.”
This is one of the most cynical uses of democracy there is. It’s notable even in what my friend Dave Lippmann calls “Washington Deceit.”
Originally published on State of Nature, May 19, 2008.
Republished by Michael Barker with additional links.
by Michael Barker
“It is the more subtle support that democracy manipulators provide to progressive activist organizations that are the most important yet least understood part of their activities.”
According to, the once progressive, now neo-conservative commentator, David Horowitz, Professor Stephen Zunes is a member of a select group of leftist activists that he refers to as The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America (2006). Horowitz is infamous for co-founding the Center for the Study of Popular Culture – which has been ominously renamed as the David Horowitz Freedom Center. More recently though, in 2005, this Center launched DiscoverTheNetworks, an online project that has been accurately referred to as “Horowitz’s Smear Portal”. The relevance of this background is found in the fact that I have also assessed Zunes’ connections to the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (where he chairs the board of academic advisors). While both I and Horowitz have criticised Zunes’ background and affiliations, needless to say Horowitz’s “Smear Portal” attacks Zunes for very different reasons than my own.  Nonetheless, it is interesting to note that DiscoverTheNetworks approach to investigating Zunes is very similar to my own, as it identifies the “individuals and organizations that make up the left and also the institutions that fund and sustain it”. The crucial difference, between these two parallel analyses, however, is that I criticise the Left in an attempt to strengthen it by causing it to reflect on the elite manipulation and co-option of civil society, while DiscoverTheNetworks simply aims to undermine the Left. 
Unfortunately, my attempts to produce reflection did not bear fruit from Professor Zunes who, rather than addressing the substance of my criticisms, ‘responded’ with accusations of “absurd leaps of logic”, concluding that he “wonder[ed] whose side Barker is really on”. This was disappointing as the criticisms of Zunes’ connections with the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict had been explicit and my intention had been to promote this vital critical reflection amongst the Left, especially with regards to their reliance upon funding from The Power Elite.  Such funding questions are especially relevant with regards to the work of the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict, as their work is funded by Peter Ackerman and his wife Joanne Leedom-Ackerman, whose work has anti-democratic aspirations.
March 02, 2014
Moscow police have arrested dozens of people protesting against military intervention in Ukraine.
The Interfax news agency quoted police as saying 40 people were detained for “attempts to violate public order” at a protest near the Defense Ministry in central Moscow.
Ovdinfo, a rights group that tracks arrests at demonstrations, put the number of detentions at 100.
Antiwar protesters also gathered at a separate demonstration on Manezhnaya square close to the Kremlin and Red Square, which police cordoned off and blocked with parked buses.
Rep. Michael Rogers, Michigan Republican chair of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, said Russian president Vladimir Putin is outmaneuvering President Obama in recent negotiations, including the Russian presence in the Ukraine.
“Not even a little bit,” Mr. Rogers said when asked if the halting the summit planning would stop Mr. Putin. “If any of that would’ve gotten Putin’s attention, we wouldn’t have been there in the first place. This isn’t an isolated incident, they’re expanding their border.”
By James Nye
President Obama is being hopelessly outmaneuvered on the global stage by President Vladimir Putin after Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine said senior House Republican, Mike Rogers on Sunday.
‘I think Putin is playing chess, and I think we’re playing marbles. It’s not even close,’ said the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on FoxNews.
Rogers said that the United States was being recklessly naive in its dealing with Russia and that Putin’s move to send Russian troops into Crimea following the ousting of Ukraine’s president ‘is not an isolated incident.’
Critical: Republican Mike Rogers was hugely critical of President Obama and his administrations reaction to President Putin of Russia and his decision to militarily intervene in Ukraine
‘They have been running circles around us and I believe we are being naive,’ said Rogers.
‘We think it we keep on giving things to Russia they will wake up one day and say, ‘Oh the United States is not that bad’
‘That is completely missing the motivations of why Russia does what Russia does.’
This is the latest critique of the president as politicians from both parties attacked President Barack Obama’s threats to Russian President Vladimir Putin .
Republican Senators John McCain (AZ), Marco Rubio (FL) and Bob Corker (TN) and others, as well as some Democrats, reached across the aisle to call for immediate sanctions against Russia and aid to Ukraine before Putin becomes even more emboldened.
Stern warning: President Barack Obama threatened sanctions while talking Saturday on the phone from the Oval Office with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the situation in Ukraine
McCain was quick to criticize the president’s threats in an interview with the Daily Beast, calling them ‘laughable’ and partly blaming former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for thinking she and Obama could ‘reset’ relations with Russia back in 2009.
‘She believed that somehow there would be a reset with a guy who was a KGB colonel who always had ambitions to restore the Russian empire,’ said McCain. ‘That’s what this is all about.’
The Senator called for the Obama administration to more liberally enforce the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law and Accountability Act, which has allowed the US government to sanction Russian officials for human rights violations since being signed into law in 2009.
And on Sunday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry called Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine ‘an incredible act of aggression’ and said President Vladimir Putin has made ‘a stunning, willful’ choice to invade another country.
Kerry says Russia should respect the democratic process through which the Ukrainian people ousted their pro-Russian president and assembled a new government.
Tense: Armed men stand guard at the local government headquarters in Simferopol, Crimea March 2, 2014. Ukraine mobilised for war on Sunday and Washington threatened to isolate Russia economically
Defection: Ukrainian navy chief Denis Berezovsky swears allegiance to the pro-Russian regional leaders of Crimea in Sevastopol March 2, 2014 in this still image taken from video
And inside Ukraine matters twisted yet again as the the country launched a treason case on Sunday against the head of the navy, who surrendered his headquarters on Sunday in the Crimean port of Sevastopol on only his second day on the job.
Denis Berezovsky was shown on Russian television swearing allegiance to the pro-Russian regional leaders of Crimea. Russian forces have seized the Black Sea peninsula and told Ukrainian forces there to give up their weapons.
‘During the blockade by Russian forces of the central headquarters of the navy, he declined to offer resistance and laid down his weapons,’ said Viktoria Syumar, deputy secretary of Ukraine’s Security Council.
‘The prosecutor’s office has opened a criminal case against Denis Berezovsky under statute 111: state treason,’ she said. Another admiral, Serhiy Hayduk, was placed in charge of the navy.
A treaty signed in 1994 by the US and Britain could pull both countries into a war to protect Ukraine if President Putin’s troops cross into the country.
Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine – agreed to the The Budapest Memorandum as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Technically it means that if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.
The revelation comes as reports suggest the Kremlin was moving up to 2,000 troops across the Black Sea from Novorossiysk to their fleet base at Sevastopol.
At least 20 men wearing the uniform of the Russian fleet and carrying automatic rifles surrounded a Ukrainian border guard post in a standoff near the port yesterday.
The Budapest Memorandum was signed in 1991 by Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine. It promises to protect Ukraine’s borders, in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons
Last night it was still unclear the exact scale of Russian boots on the ground in Crimea or the identity of gunmen who have taken over airports in Simferopol and Sevastopol – though reports suggest they are Russian marines or Moscow- controlled militias.
The action came as President Obama delivered blunt warnings to Moscow.
‘We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine,’ he told reporters at the White House.
‘Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing,’ he said in a brief appearance.
‘The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.’
U.S. officials also said the President could scrap plans to attend an international summit in Russia and take negotiations on deepening trade ties with the country off the table in response to Russian involvement in the Ukraine.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel added: “This could be a very dangerous situation if this continues in a provocative way.”
Asked about options in a CBS News interview, he said that “We’re trying to deal with a diplomatic focus, that’s the appropriate, responsible approach.”
Both the U.S. and the UK are advising against all non-essential trips to Ukraine – especially Crimea.
former British Ambassador to Moscow Sir Tony Brenton, who served as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said in an interview that war could be an option ‘if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding.’
NATO also asked Russia not to take action that could escalate tension. However Moscow responded by telling the organization to ‘refrain’ from provocative statements on Ukraine and respect its ‘non-bloc’ status.
Sir Tony Brenton, who served as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said that war could be an option ‘if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding.’
It promises to protect Ukraine’s borders, in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.
Kiev has demanded the agreement is activated after insisting their borders had been violated.
In response Mr Brenton said in a BBC radio interview: ‘If indeed this is a Russian invasion of Crimea and if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding then it’s very difficult to avoid the conclusion that we’re going to go to war with Russia’.
Ukraine accused Russia of a ‘military invasion and occupation’, saying Russian troops have taken up positions around a coast guard base and two airports on its strategic Crimea peninsula.
Russia kept silent on the accusations, as the crisis deepened between two of Europe’s largest countries.
Published on Mar 1, 2014
Make note that have already replaced all the navy commands top leaders, They have been completely infiltrated !!
Ukraine’s Navy flagship, the Hetman Sahaidachny frigate, has reportedly refused to follow orders from Kiev, and come over to Russia’s side and is returning home after taking part in NATO operation in the Gulf of Aden flying the Russian naval flag.
There has been conflicting information on where exactly the vessel is, but a Russian senator has confirmed to Izvestia daily that the frigate defected to the Russian side.
“Ukraine’s Navy flagship the Hetman Sahaidachny has come over to our side today. It has hung out the St Andrew’s flag,” Senator Igor Morozov, a member of the committee on the international affairs, told Izvestia daily.
He said the flagship is on its way back to the Black Sea after drills in the Mediterranean. “The crew has fulfilled the order by the chief commander of Ukraine’s armed forces Viktor Yanukovich,” he added.
Ukrainian Navy flagship Hetman Sahaidachny has reportedly refused orders from Kiev and defected to the Russian side, a Russian senator has claimed in an interview with Ivestia Daily.”Ukraine’s Navy flagship the Hetman Sahaidachny has come over to our side today. It has hung out the St Andrew’s flag,” Sen. Igor Morozov, a member of the committee on the international affairs, told Izvestia. “The crew has fulfilled the order by the chief commander of Ukraine’s armed forces Viktor Yanukovych.”
Published on Mar 1, 2014
A leader of the Ukrainian radical group Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), Dmitry Yarosh, has called on Russias most wanted terrorist Doku Umarov to act against Russia in an address posted on Right Sectors page in VKontakte social network. READ MORE:
A leader of the Ukrainian radical group Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), Dmitry Yarosh, has called on Russia’s most wanted terrorist Doku Umarov to act against Russia in an address posted on Right Sector’s page in VKontakte social network.
The statement points out that “many Ukrainians with arms in the hands” supported Chechen militants in their fight against Russians and “it is time to support Ukraine now.”
The message, signed “leader of Right Sector Dmitry Yarosh” then calls on Umarov “to activate his fight” and “take a unique chance to win” over Russia.
Yarosh, who is a self-proclaimed deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, leads the far-right militant Right Sector group. He used to be a leader of radical nationalist group Trident, which became the core of Right Sector.
The radical leader has been consistently anti-Russian in his statements, calling for the destruction and division of the “Moscow Empire” and openly supporting Chechen militants and Georgian aggression. Yarosh believes Russia is Ukraine’s “eternal foe” and has said that war between the two countries is “inevitable.”
At the same time, the Right Sector leader said Ukraine should be “careful” with its future EU membership, as the “bureaucratic monster of Brussels” is “doing everything to bring to naught the national identity” of EU member countries.
Yarosh’s outrageous plea to terrorist Doku Umarov exhibits the “guts of the so-called new Ukrainian authorities,” Chairman of the Presidium of the Russian Congress of Peoples of the Caucasus told Itar-Tass.
“Extremists, nationalists of all stripes, flooded the peaceful republic threatening it with chaos and violence,” Aliy Totorkulov said.
Russian migration authorities report a huge spike in requests coming from Ukrainians to seek asylum in Russia, as some 143,000 people filed documents in just two weeks. Officials vow to process the requests in shortest possible time.
“Tragic events in Ukraine have caused a sharp spike in requests coming from this country seeking asylum in Russia,” said chief of citizenship desk Valentina Kazakova. “We monitor figures daily and they are far from comforting. Over the last two weeks of February, some 143,000 people applied.”
Kazakova said most requests come from the bordering areas and especially from Ukraine’s south.
“People are lost, scared and depressed,” she said. “There are many requests from law enforcement services, state officials as they are wary of possible lynching on behalf of radicalized armed groups.”
Relatives residing within Russia have been urging officials to process the requests in the shortest possible time. Officials say that though each request will be treated individually, all such addresses will be handled as soon as possible.