Thursday, August 17, 2017

Putin-Trump G20 Talk: Perspectives of the Russian Leaders


Successful Talk Meets Expectations

Introduction and conclusion by Karl Pomeroy
Quemado Institute
Originally published July 9, 2017
Reposted August 16, 2017


“Mr Trump’s television image is very different from the real person; he is a very down to earth and direct person, and he has an absolutely adequate attitude towards the person he is talking with; he analyses things pretty fast and answers the questions he is asked or new ones that arise in the course of the discussion.” –Vladimir Putin, July 8, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump conducted a long-awaited intensive discussion at the sidelines of the G20 Meeting in Hamburg, Germany on July 7, 2017. The bilateral talk was highly successful, a meeting of intelligent minds. Official accounts by Lavrov and Putin evidence no discord between the two superpower leaders, as we long ago predicted at Quemado Institute.

Below is a full transcript of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s press release about the historic event. After that, excerpts from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s interview on the G20 meeting are presented, with a focus on his talk with President Trump, the Ukraine crisis, and roads to peace in Syria.

Finally, I post an article from Blacklisted News on US-Russian cooperation in Syria, as discussed by Trump and Putin.

*

Lavrov Discusses Interaction of Presidents Trump and Putin

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to Russian media questions following President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, Hamburg, July 7, 201

Mid.ru (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russian Federation)
July 7, 2017
Updated July 10, 2017 with full Lavrov transcript.


Question: Mr Lavrov, how did this long meeting go?

Sergey Lavrov: If the presidents see that they have issues to discuss and to solve something rather than just exchange opinions, I don’t think that time is of paramount importance. Indeed, they had a very long conversation. My feeling was confirmed that President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and President of the United States Donald Trump are driven by the national interests of their countries and pursue them primarily by seeking to achieve mutually beneficial agreements rather than trying to act out confrontational scenarios and invent problems out of the blue. It was in this concrete and business-like vein that Syria, Ukraine, the Korean Peninsula, cyber security and a number of other issues were discussed.

Agreements were reached on some quite concrete things.

First, literally today, Russian, US and Jordanian experts finished work in Jordan’s capital Amman and agreed on a memorandum on de-escalation zones in the south-west of Syria – in Daraa, Quneitra and Souweida. The ceasefire in this zone will come in effect on July 9 at 12 pm Damascus time.
Russia and the United States have undertaken commitments to ensure the ceasefire regime by all the groups present there and also to provide humanitarian access and establish contacts between the opposition in that region and the Monitoring Centre being set up in the capital of Jordan. In the beginning, security around this de-escalation zone will be provided by Russian military police in coordination with Americans and Jordanians.

It is crucial that the document clearly confirms the commitment of Russia, Jordan and the United States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and the UN Security Council resolutions which laid the foundation for promoting a political settlement. This is the agreement that both the presidents welcomed today.

Second. While discussing Ukraine, the US side reported that they had appointed a special envoy to assist in settling the Ukrainian crisis. It was agreed to set up a channel between Russian and US officials so as to use US capabilities for promoting a settlement on the basis of the Minsk agreements and relying on the groundwork laid by the Contact Group and in the Normandy format. We expect that the US envoy on the Ukrainian settlement will arrive shortly in Russia for consultations.

The third issue is cyber security which was understandably given considerable attention. The presidents agreed that this area is becoming ever more dangerous. There are numerous threats emerging in cyber space, including a terrorist threat, threats in other areas of organised crime, such threats to the normal functioning of societies as child pornography, pedophilia, the so-called suicide networks. Of course, President Trump also mentioned that certain circles in the United States keep on spinning the issue of Russia’s interference in the US elections even though they are unable to prove that.

All these issued combined, including fight against terrorism, organised crime, hacking in all its forms, were agreed as subjects of Russian-US interaction. A bilateral working group will be set up for that purpose.

The fourth agreement envisions shorter procedures for appointing new ambassadors, the Russian ambassador to the USA and the US ambassador to Russia.

Question: Was the issue of the Russian diplomatic property on US territory raised?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, it was. We will continue seeking justice.

Question: Did the sides fail to agree on anything on this issue?

Sergey Lavrov: If I said we will continue doing this, it means there is still work to do.

Question: You are a diplomat and you notice details. There are no minor details in diplomacy. What do you think about the atmosphere at the meeting? What set the tone? Where can things go from here in your opinion?

Sergey Lavrov: The atmosphere was constructive. As I said in the beginning, the tone was set by the desire of both presidents to promote the national interests of Russia and the United States, respectively. It was determined by the understanding that each country will be able to do this better if we cooperate and seek a balance of interests, and also if we work for stabilisation in different parts of the world, where the situation is very turbulent, be it the Middle East or North Africa, the Korean Peninsula or Afghanistan.

Question: Were there any agreements on Ukraine? US President Donald Trump had proposals on a different plan.

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t remember US President Donald Trump offering some other plan. A lengthy conversation with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today in the morning did not reveal any departures from the Minsk agreements either. Just as during the conversation with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris yesterday, it was stated that the sides are interested in speeding up the implementation of the Minsk agreements and are determined to work toward this.

Question: What was said on Russia’s “interference” in the US election?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already spoken on this subject.

Question: Now you have essentially announced the agreement on the south of Syria. Two days ago the result in Astana was zero although this issue was discussed. Is the Russia-US-Jordan format you mentioned new? Will you put it through Astana later on? Will you discuss it with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan tomorrow?

Sergey Lavrov: Read the May 4 Memorandum approved in Astana. It deals with four de-escalation zones in Syria: northern (in the area of Idlib); a zone a bit to the north of Homs; a zone covering the greater part of Eastern Ghouta and the south-west of Syria. Obviously, it will be very difficult to agree on anything in the south-west without the Jordanians and the Americans who are working with the Jordanians and representing the interests of the coalition in this region. Three other zones were primarily discussed in Astana a couple of days ago. As we said, there is an understanding on how the zones near Homs and Eastern Ghouta should look. The discussion of the northern zone is still going on.

Question: Is it true that US President Donald Trump raised the issue of the alleged Russian interference in the US elections and that he hinted that he does not believe the allegations?

Sergey Lavrov: President Trump said – I am sure that either he himself or Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will confirm this – that this campaign is getting increasingly strange, because not a single fact to prove these allegations has been provided over the many months since they were first reported. The Congressmen who led the campaign and who called various members of the US administration out on the carpet have admitted this. President Trump has said that President Vladimir Putin assured him that this is not true and that the Russian authorities did not try to influence US elections. President Trump said he accepted this denial. This is all.

Question: Did they discuss North Korea?

Sergey Lavrov: You don’t seem to be listening. I have said twice that they discussed North Korea. Secretary Tillerson and I have been instructed to continue and strengthen cooperation between our ministries on all international issues, including North Korea, directly, and also at the UN Security Council.

Question: Did they discuss the possibility of the United States joining the Normandy format?
Sergey Lavrov: As I have said, a bilateral channel will be created to support the efforts taken by the Contact Group and in the framework of the Normandy Format.

Question: Did Moscow ask Washington to influence its partners in Kiev?

Sergey Lavrov: This is what we keep asking our partners in Washington and Europe.

Question: And what is the answer?

Sergey Lavrov: The answer is that they want all parties to the Minsk Agreements, including Ukraine as the key party, to implement these agreements. I can tell you that our Western partners, as we see it, are aware of the need to further influence this process, which has ground to a halt.

Question: How would you describe the relationship between President Putin and President Trump? Are they colleagues, partners or possibly even friends?

Sergey Lavrov: This is conjecture. I have told you about the atmosphere at these talks. You can come to your own conclusions.

Question: Has President Trump explained the statement he made in Poland?

Sergey Lavrov: This issue was not discussed. We believe the parties should discuss the issues on the meeting agenda. I have described what was discussed today. I confirm that both presidents have shown the resolve to find solutions that will meet the national interests of Russia, the United States and the international community.

Question: The G20 is an economic forum. Are there plans for a meeting in a political format to discuss political issues?

Sergey Lavrov: The meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump was purely political and was held as a side event, which can be held at any meeting, even a sports tournament.

Question: Did they discuss the future of detained Russians, Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko?

Sergey Lavrov: We continue to work on this issue. We believe that this is a clearly humanitarian issue and that our American colleagues will make the right decision and will find a correct solution.

*

News Conference Following the G20 Summit

President of Russia Vladimir Putin answers journalists’ questions on the results of the two-day G20 Summit.

Kremlin Official Website
July 8, 2017


President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. Allow me to skip any statements and monologues. You have seen and heard everything, a great deal. Let us get straight to questions. Go ahead, please.

Question: Mr President, both experts and ordinary people, some of whom are rampaging near this building now, are known to have different opinions on the usefulness of G20 summits. At this summit, for example, there was more talk about your meeting with Mr Trump. And yet which of the issues discussed by the G20 is most relevant for Russia? Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: G20 is primarily an economic forum, even though many political and similar issues emerge. Nevertheless, the main issue is the development of the global economy, and this is what received the greatest attention.
[…]
Finally, a very big and very sensitive issue is climate change. I think in this respect the Federal Republic of Germany chairing the G20 has managed to reach the best compromise in a difficult situation the chairing nation has found itself in, namely due to the US quitting the Paris Climate Agreement. An agreement was reached, a compromise, when all the countries have recorded that the United States pulled out of the agreement but they are ready to continue cooperating in certain areas and with certain countries on addressing climate change challenges. I think this is a positive result in itself, which can be credited to Chancellor Merkel.
[…]

Question: Mr President, your meeting with President Trump was literally the focus of everyone’s attention at the summit. How do you access the results of this meeting? It is no secret that US President had voiced a rather tough rhetoric in Poland, and there had even been unfriendly statements from US media in the run-up to the summit. Did Mr Trump ask you directly about Russia’s interference in the US [presidential] election? Did you like him personally? Do you think you will get along?

Vladimir Putin: The US President asked me this question directly, and we discussed it. And this was not a single question, there were many, and he gave much attention to this issue. Russia’s stance is well-known and I reiterated it. There is no reason to believe that Russia interfered in the US election process.

But what is important is that we have agreed that there should not be any uncertainty in this sphere, especially in the future. By the way, I mentioned at the latest summit session that this directly concerns cyberspace, web resources and so on.

The US President and I have agreed to establish a working group and make joint efforts to monitor security in the cyberspace, ensure full compliance with international laws in this area, and to prevent interference in countries’ internal affairs. Primarily this concerns Russia and the United States. We believe that if we succeed in organising this work – and I have no doubt that we will – there will be no more speculation over this matter.

As regards personal relations, I believe that they have been established. This is how I see it: Mr Trump’s television image is very different from the real person; he is a very down to earth and direct person, and he has an absolutely adequate attitude towards the person he is talking with; he analyses things pretty fast and answers the questions he is asked or new ones that arise in the course of the discussion. So I think that if we build our relations in the vein of our yesterday’s meeting, there are good reasons to believe that we will be able to revive, at least partially, the level of interaction that we need.

Question: To follow up on of your answer, could you please say if President Trump has accepted your denial of Russia’s involvement, Russia’s interference in the US election?

Vladimir Putin: I repeat, he asked many question on this matter. I answered all of his questions as far as I could. I think he took note and agreed. But it would be better if you asked him about what he thinks about it.
[…]

Question: Earlier this morning you had a meeting with the French President and the German Chancellor. I assume you had an in-depth discussion on the situation in Ukraine. Did a new vision emerge, and is there any hope that Donbass will come out of the ordeal gripping it right now? Can the discussion of the issue launched with the US President play its role, or do the interests of Russia and the United States still diverge in Ukraine, or may be even oppose each other in some matters? Which, by the way, can be presumed from the background of the US diplomat who was appointed special envoy.

Vladimir Putin: The interests of Russia and Ukraine, the interests of the Russian and Ukraine people – and I am fully and profoundly confident of this – coincide. Our interests fully coincide. The only thing that does not coincide is the interests of the current Ukrainian authorities and some of Ukraine’s political circles. If we are to be objective, of course, both Ukraine and Russia are interested in cooperating with each other, joining their competitive advantages and developing their economies just because we have inherited much from the Soviet era – I am speaking about cooperation, the unified infrastructure and the energy industry, transport, and so on.

But regrettably, today our Ukrainian colleagues believe this can be neglected. They have only one ”product“ left – Russophobia, and they are selling it successfully. Another thing they are selling is the policy of dividing Russia and Ukraine and pulling the two peoples and two nations apart. Some in the West like this; they believe that Russia and Ukraine must not be allowed to get closer in any areas. That is why the current Ukrainian authorities are making active and successful efforts to sell this ”product.“
But I think this will eventually come to an end. Russia, at any rate, wants for this situation to be over as soon as possible.

As regards the United States’ involvement in settling the situation in Ukraine, President Trump and I have talked about this and we agreed – and actually, this has already been done – that a special representative of the administration would be appointed to handle this issue on a permanent basis and to be in constant contact both with Russia and Ukraine, with all the parties interested in settling this conflict.

Question: Mr President, I have a question about the Middle East, which is seething at the moment: Syria, Qatar and other countries. You must have had discussions on Syria at the G20 Summit. How do you assess the prospects for the Syrian settlement after those discussions and after the recent meeting in Astana? Has the stance of the new US Administration on this issue changed or become more constructive, especially in view of yesterday’s agreements?

Vladimir Putin: […] About Syria. Yes, we discussed this issue with almost all of my interlocutors. As for whether the US stance has changed or not – I would say it has become more pragmatic. It does not seem to have changed in general, but there is an understanding now that by combining efforts, we can achieve a lot. Yesterday’s deal on the southern de-escalation zone is clearly the result of this change. You know, others may react as they like, but I can tell you, this is one of the breakthroughs we have made in our work with President Trump. This is a real result of cooperation, including with the United States. Jordan has joined in the effort, and so have several other countries in the region. We have held consultations with Israel and will continue them in the near future. Still, this is a very good result, a breakthrough of a kind. Therefore, if we move the same way in other directions, towards other de-escalation areas…

We have discussed this very thoroughly with the President of Turkey today. This does not entirely depend on us, of course, as much has to do with the controversy between the countries in the region. Everyone has their own concerns, everyone has their own preferences, their own interests, I mean legitimate interests, so this is the way we must treat these – as their legitimate interests; we need to look for compromises.

You know, sometimes we find them. In any case, the fact that active military operations have ceased, the fact that we are now discussing de-escalation zones is a huge step forward.

Now we need to agree on the exact boundaries of these zones, and how security will be ensured there. This is a painstaking, even tedious effort, and it is extremely important and responsible work. Based on the recent positive experience, relying on the good will of Iran, Turkey, and of course, the Syrian Government and President al-Assad, we can take further steps.

The most important thing is – we have actually reaffirmed this, also in the documents establishing this zone in the south on the border with Jordan, and the area that borders on the Golan Heights – the most important thing is to ensure Syria’s territorial integrity, eventually, so that these de-escalation zones become the prototype of regions that could cooperate with each other and with the official Damascus. If we manage to do this, we will lay the groundwork, create the prerequisites for resolving the entire Syrian problem by political means.
[…]

Question: Thank you very much, Mr President, for the opportunity to ask you a question on behalf of my television network. We meant to ask you about your meeting with President Trump, but my colleague has already asked the same question. And you said we should ask President Trump about what had happened.

Vladimir Putin: No, I did not. You should ask him about how he sees it, what he thinks about my answers. As to what happened – nothing happened, we did not interfere.

Remark: Unfortunately, the White House offers practically no information about what is going on.

Vladimir Putin: We will give them a piece of our minds (Laughter.)

Remark: Could you just share what President Trump said during your meeting when you told him that Russia had not interfered in the political process?

Vladimir Putin: He started asking probing questions, he was really interested in some details. I gave him fairly detailed answers as much as I could. I told him about my dialogues with the previous administration, including with President Obama. But I do not feel that I have the right to give details of my conversations, say, with President Obama, it is not an accepted practice at this level. I think it would not be quite appropriate of me to give details of our conversation with President Trump. He asked me and I answered him. He asked probing questions, and I offered explanations. I think he was satisfied with those answers.

Remark: Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: You are welcome.
[…]

Question: You have spoken about the meeting with Mr Erdogan. Could you please elaborate – when you touched upon the issue of the first zone, the northern one, did you discuss the issue of the Kurds and particularly the territory of Afrin, where representatives of the Russian Centre for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides are present? The Turkish media are already preparing the ground for the Turkish army’s intervention to this area. Also, did you discuss the future of [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad with Mr Trump and Mr Erdogan? For instance, Mr Tillerson said yesterday that this person has no future in the Syrian politics. He did not say how and when, but that was what he said.

Vladimir Putin: Let me answer the second question first. Mr Tillerson is a well-regarded man, he received the Russian Order of Friendship, and we feel great respect for him and we like him. But he is not a Syrian citizen, and the future of Syria and President al-Assad as a political figure has to be determined by the Syrian people.

As regards the Kurdish issue, this is a very big and complicated problem. We keep in contact with many Kurdish groups and make no secret of this. But with regard to military support of their activities, here our US colleagues are far ahead of the game; they are making much greater efforts in this regard. Our servicemen – not advisers – who are monitoring the ceasefire are indeed present in many regions of Syria, where the truce agreement has been reached. But speaking of the regions you have mentioned, there are one or two of them there, they are not  military units. They are performing the task that everyone is interested in fulfilling. But so far, we are not witnessing any preparations for military action; quite the opposite, we expect that our preliminary developments on establishing the de-escalation zones in several regions – in the Idlib area, in the north – will be accomplished. And this cannot be done without Turkey’s support.

Question: My colleagues here have already recalled the words President Trump said in Warsaw. He made yet another statement about the United States being ready to begin direct supplies of liquefied natural gas to Poland and Central Europe. What do you think of these plans, especially in the context of our plans for the Nord Stream? What if gas becomes a new cause of tension in US-Russian relations?

Vladimir Putin: I view these plans highly positively because healthy competition is good for everyone. We support an open market and healthy competition.

The US President said yesterday during the discussion that the United States stands for open, fair competition. And, by the way, when I spoke, I supported his point. So, we are absolutely all right with this; if it is so, if there is open and fair competition, no political motives or political resources involved, it would be quite acceptable for us. Because to date, it is an obvious fact that any specialist would tell you: the cost of production and delivery of liquefied natural gas from the United States is much higher than our LNG – even LNG – and is not even comparable to Russian pipeline gas. So, there is no doubt that we have an absolute competitive advantage. But to keep it, our market participants must work hard. They need to retain these competitive advantages.

Let us wrap this up. Go ahead, please.

Question: After the first meeting with President Trump, do you think it would be possible to gradually pull Russian-US relations out of deep crisis they are in, or is it difficult to say anything at all yet?

Vladimir Putin: I very much hope so, and it seems to me that we have built certain prerequisites for this.

Thank you very much. All the best.


*

US and Russia Agree to Ceasefire in Southwest Syria –Lavrov

Blacklisted News (From RT)
July 8, 2017

The US and Russia have agreed on a ceasefire in southwest Syria, set to take effect on July 9 at noon Damascus time, Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has announced.

Lavrov was speaking following the landmark meeting between the Russian and US presidents on the fringes of the G20 summit.

“In this zone [in southern Daraa, Quneitra and As-Suwayda provinces] the ceasefire regime will take effect on July 9 starting 12:00 Damascus time,” Lavrov said. “The US took an obligation that all the militant groups, located there, will comply with the ceasefire.”

The ceasefire was agreed to by experts from Russia, the US and Jordan, who negotiated a memorandum on the creation of a de-escalation zone in southwestern Syria at talks in Jordan’s capital, Amman.

“At first, the security around this de-escalation zone will be maintained with the help of Russian military police in coordination with the Jordanians and Americans,” Lavrov said.
The ceasefire agreement shows the US and Russia can work together on solving the Syrian crisis, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at a separate news conference following the meeting between Putin and Trump.

“I think this is our first indication of the US and Russia being able to work together in Syria, and as a result of that we had a very lengthy discussion regarding other areas in Syria that we can continue to work together on to de-escalate the areas,” Reuters cited Tillerson as saying.

The deal is separate from the draft agreement on de-escalation zones, which were to be created under a deal brokered earlier this year during Russia, Turkey and Iran-sponsored talks in Astana between the Syrian government and representatives of the armed opposition.

While the discussions on the borders and mechanisms of de-escalation zones have been ongoing this week, a final agreement has not yet been signed.

The US and Russia had previously negotiated a ceasefire in Syria in September 2016, but it collapsed after US jets bombed a Syrian government position, leading Moscow to wonder if the Pentagon was undermining the State Department’s efforts.

“This will be a matter of trust,” former CIA analyst Ray McGovern told RT. “It’s going to be pretty soon when we find out whether Putin can trust that Trump has enough power not to be subverted.”

.
Quemado Institute Comment on Syria
By Karl Pomeroy

Our theory about American involvement in Syria is based on three principles: 1) The U.S. is there to fight ISIS; 2) The U.S. will protect its forces; and 3) The U.S. will do whatever is necessary to prevent an Israeli-Syrian war. We’ve maintained this theory, despite some evidence to the contrary, by applying the following interpretation of events:

The American-led coalition strikes on Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah convoys near Al-Tanf are examples of principle 2, according to which the U.S. was protecting its forces against the approach of Hezbollah, considered a terrorist organization by the West. Trump’s Tomahawk strike on Assad’s Shayrat Air Base is an exercise of principle 3. In this case, we assume Trump ordered the strike on the Syrian air base not because Assad allegedly used chemical weapons, but in retaliation for Assad’s downing from that very same air base of an Israeli warplane a few days earlier. Trump’s message to Assad: Do not touch Israel.

Trump’s recent threats to Assad regarding an imminent alleged chemical weapons attack was again a message to the Syrian President: Do not retaliate against Israel for it’s latest strikes from the Golan Heights. This is conceivably part of Trump’s plan to prevent escalation toward an Israeli-Syrian war.
A theory is only as good as its predictive value. Some of our predictions have been borne out, as noted above. Evidence against our theory includes the U.S. establishment an interim government in Raqqa, which looks like nation building, as well as the U.S.  downing of a Syrian aircraft near Raqqa, supposedly to protect American rebel allied forces.

The Trump-Putin meeting however seems to confirm our theory. The establishment U.S.-Russia-Jordan de-escalation zone on Syria’s border with Israel will have the effect of halting Israeli attacks on Syrian territory, thus forestalling war between the two nations. It will also assure Israel, for better or worse, that Syria will not attempt to take back its rightful territory in the Golan Heights. This guarantee will stop Israeli aggression.

The truth about America’s and Trump’s intentions in Syria will not be fully known until the U.S. completely withdraws from that sovereign nation.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

UN Finding a Moral Victory for Assange: Will The WikiLeaks Founder Be Freed?


UK Still Plans to Arrest Him

by Kennedy Applebaum
Quemado Institute
February 4, 2016

slavfeb4yJulian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks and acclaimed whistleblower who has published numerous documents revealing crimes of the US government, has been declared, by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) based in Geneva, as “illegally detained” during his 3.5 year stay in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Assange took refuge at the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for investigation into what are believed to be false allegations of sexual assault, as well as potential further extradition to the United States for inquiries into possible espionage. The UN finding is both a moral triumph for Assange and a confirmation of the universal right of freedom of the press.


Seong-Phil Hong (--dailysikhupdates.com)
Seong-Phil Hong (–dailysikhupdates.com)

 The UN panel, headed by South Korean academic Seong-Phil Hong, is authorised to investigate complaints from individuals on whether countries are adhering to international legal standards on detention. According to The Guardian, Seong-Phil Hong “has worked as a conciliator for the World Bank and also dealt with North Korean human rights and the issue of second world war sexual slavery. The other members of the panel are from Mexico, Benin, Australia and Ukraine.” The official announcement of the panel is to appear on Friday February 5.
WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson, lawyer Jennifer Robinson (--wlcentral.org)
Spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson, lawyer Jennifer Robinson (–wlcentral.org)

According to an earlier Sputnik News report, the finding that Assange’s detention is illegal means “the United Kingdom and Sweden would immediately have to release him and pay compensation….’In that case we would expect the Swedish and the British authorities to react immediately to lift the arrest warrant on Sweden, and for the UK authorities to return his passport,’ Kristinn Hrafnsson said. According to Hrafnsson, it is expected that Assange should be able to travel anywhere if the United Nations were to rule in his favor. ‘I would simply not want to believe that these two countries, Sweden and the UK would disregard finding of such an important UN panel,’ the spokesman said.”

The verdict of the UN panel, however, is not binding on national governments. As a later Sputnik report says, “The UK authorities still have a legal obligation to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden due to a European arrest warrant in place, according to a UK government spokesperson.”

British officials have stated Assange will still be arrested if he leaves the embassy, despite the UN findings, and extradited to Sweden in a sexual assault investigation, allegations Assange denies. According to NBC News, “The investigation into allegations of sexual assault was dropped in August 2015 because prosecutors ran out of time to bring charges, but prosecutors said they would continue investigation [into] a further allegation of rape.” That these are trumped-up charges is suspected but unproven.

The danger of extradition to Sweden is that the Swedish government may then extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States, where possible espionage charges might be brought for Assange’s publication of sensitive government documents. “Assange has expressed fear that if Britain extradites him to Sweden he would then be extradited to the United States to face trial,” reports NBC News.

Mark Ellis (--youtube.com)
Mark Ellis (–youtube.com)

The Guardian quotes the opinions of two legal experts on how the UN finding might impact Assange’s case: “Mark Ellis, executive director of the London-based International Bar Association, said: ‘The information seems to suggest that the UN panel has found in Assange’s favour. That decision would seem to contradict a fairly extensive legal process both in the UK and in Sweden. It’s important to maintain adherence to rule of law principles and ensure that individuals have to abide by legal rulings. It’s surprising to think that Assange could be exempted from those principles. The ruling by the UN panel is not binding on British law. It would, however, provide Assange with support for his claim that he should not be extradited. I’m sure the UK is trying to figure a way out.”

In another opinion, according to The Guardian: “Kirsty Brimelow QC, of Doughty Street Chambers, an expert in international law tribunals, said: ‘A finding by UNWGAD against the UK is not binding. It has no enforcement power. However, a finding that the UK has acted in a way which is inconsistent with relevant international standards should not be ignored by the UK. The UK should not act contrary to international law.’”

Julian Assange, August 2014 (--Reuters)
Julian Assange, August 2014 (–Reuters)
The Guardian goes on to conclude, “A clash between the moral authority of the United Nations and the stalled mechanism of the European extradition against Julian Assange is likely to provoke diplomatic anxiety inside Whitehall. The UN body’s expected ruling, at the very least, constitutes a publicity coup for Assange and his supporters. Both the UK and Sweden are active upholders of the United Nations. Neither will relish the prospect of having to answer to the UN’s human rights council about why they have failed to enforce the panel’s decision.”

Unlike Edward Snowden, who violated his security clearance to reveal damning US documents in an act of civil disobedience, Julian Assange may not be technically guilty of breaking US law, a determination that could involve complex legal arguments.

According to the Legal Information Institute, applicable law is documented in 18 U.S. Code § 798 – Disclosure of classified information:

(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States any classified information—–

(1) concerning the nature, preparation, or use of any code, cipher, or cryptographic system of the United States or any foreign government; or
(2) concerning the design, construction, use, maintenance, or repair of any device, apparatus, or appliance used or prepared or planned for use by the United States or any foreign government for cryptographic or communication intelligence purposes; or
(3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government; or
(4) obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of any foreign government, knowing the same to have been obtained by such processes—–

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

In certain previous cases, journalists reporting information obtained from third parties who leaked classified documents have not themselves been charged with espionage, a fundamental principle of freedom of the press. This is in contrast to persons who themselves hold security clearances, such as Hillary Clinton or Win Ho Lee, and violate the terms of their clearance, which is unambiguously illegal.

Wikipedi offers the following summary of Julian Assange’s enterprise:

WikiLeaks is an international, non-profit, journalistic organisation that publishes secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources. Its website, initiated in 2006 in Iceland by the organization Sunshine Press, claimed a database of more than 1.2 million documents within a year of its launch. Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its founder, editor-in-chief, and director. Kristinn Hrafnsson, Joseph Farrell, and Sarah Harrison are the only other publicly known and acknowledged associates of Julian Assange.

Supporters of Julian Assange who are able to be in London tomorrow are urged to show solidarity: Friday, February 5, 1pm till around 3.30, at the Ecuadorian Embassy, Hans Crescent, London SW1. Click here for more information.

© 2016 Kennedy Applebaum, Quemado Institute

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

US Warmongering in Libya Escalates World Catastrophe: Is there hope?

Introduction by Karl Pomeroy
Quemado Institute
February 3, 2016
NATO Pan-Arab Terrorist Blitzkrieg (--orientalreview.org)
NATO Pan-Arab Terrorist Blitzkrieg (–orientalreview.org)

Political analyst Adam Johnson paints a stark picture of sociopathic US and NATO policy on planned military operations in Libya and Iraq, underscoring the cheerleader role of the mainstream media in the perpetuation of a mob consciousness that craves ever-increasing slaughter and chaos. In the article reprinted below, Johnson is understandably pessimistic about the world’s future. Yet he ignores certain optimistic outcomes that may be possible with the next  US President.

Overlooking the positive potential of Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Johnson laments, “None of the major presidential candidates, including the most progressive member of the U.S. Congress, Bernie Sanders, outwardly opposes the U.S.’ current anti-ISIL efforts, including the once-unpopular drone program.”

slavfeb3uFortunately, Johnson’s statement is not quite accurate,. Trump, in his book Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, expresses unqualified opposition to all current US foreign policy, and advocates an entirely new approach to stopping the Islamic State, namely by destroying ISIS-controlled oil fields.

According to Trump, ISIS oil amounts to less than 2% of the world supply. Its destruction would cut off ISIS from its source of income, while having little impact on the global economy. This surgical tactic would also avoid civilian casualties. Trump suggests earnest cooperation in this effort with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a partnership that would lend itself to pragmatic solutions and ultimate success.


Nevertheless, Adam Johnson’s hard-hitting commentary sends a crucial message of warning to the American public:

Obama Plans Massive Military Escalation
and the Media Barely Seem to Care

U.S. troops are going back into Iraq, our presence in Libya is escalating, and Obama has widened the war in Afghanistan—all without much of a public debate.

By Adam Johnson
Source: Information Clearing House
February 2, 2016

Almost five years after the United States and its NATO allies launched a campaign in Libya to overthrow Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the United States is on the verge of massively escalating its military operations in the war-torn country. According to the New York Times, the new effort is “expected to include airstrikes and raids by elite American troops.” It is unclear how long this newest effort will last.

Ash Carter (--cnn.com)
Ash Carter (–cnn.com)

The announcement comes on the heels of U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announcing combat troops were going back to Iraq last week. While U.S special forces have been conducting “clandestine reconnaissance missions in Libya to identify militant leaders and map out their networks” over the past year, the New York Times report marks the first time overt combat troops will be deployed in the North African nation.

The 2011 campaign was itself something of a bait and switch. What was originally sold as simply a no-fly zone quickly became regime change. A few weeks after the UN-sanctioned bombing of Libya’s infrastructure and air capacity, the scope of the campaign pivoted when President Obama, along with Presidents Sarkozy and Cameron of France and the UK respectively, announced the entirely new objective: NATO airstrikes, in concert with ongoing CIA support of rebels, to overthrow the Qaddafi government.
After this was quickly achieved, the pundit classes rallied to congratulate a job well done. As Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept noted Wednesday: “War advocates such as Anne-Marie Slaughter and Nicholas Kristof were writing columns celebrating their prescience and mocking war opponents as discredited, and the New York Times published a front-page article declaring: “U.S. Tactics in Libya May be a Model for Other Efforts.”

It was widely expected that Hillary Clinton, one of the leading advocates for and architects of the bombing campaign, would be regarded as a Foreign Policy Visionary for the grand Libya success: “We came, we saw, he died,” Clinton sociopathically boasted about the mob rape and murder of Qaddafi while guffawing on 60 Minutes.

Despite the fanfare at the “overthrow” of Qaddafi (who suffered a brutal death at the hands of a mob), not much has been made of the U.S. military’s slow escalation of its involvement in Libya over the past year. This time the objective, much like in Iraq after the U.S. deposed its leader, is destroying the presence of ISIS, a process that could take, in the words of former Defense Secretary Panetta, “thirty years.” And it’s an escalation that has largely gone under the public’s radar.

Slowly trickling wars are a common feature in U.S. policy. The latest war in Iraq against ISIS was originally sold as “limited,” “humanitarian” airstrikes to save the Yezidi trapped on a mountain from ISIS, and it has now gone on for over a year and a half, spans two countries, and soon will include “boots on the ground.” All this with neither the corporate media nor Congress, which hasn’t yet brought military authorization to a vote, paying much attention.

This new level of indifference on the part of the public about what is an ISIS war spiraling into a massive global effort has even bothered the normally hawkish Times. In the context of Libya, it wrote: “This significant escalation is being planned without a meaningful debate in Congress about the merits and risks of a military campaign that is expected to include airstrikes and raids by elite American troops.”

That is deeply troubling. A new military intervention in Libya would represent a significant progression of a war that could easily spread to other countries on the continent. It is being planned as the American military burrows more deeply into battlegrounds in Syria and Iraq, where American ground troops are being asked to play an increasingly hands-on role in the fight.

It’s always difficult to tell if public indifference is what leads to a media blackout or the other way around, but the Times is correct that a broad public discussion about the wisdom of committing to potentially decades-long military efforts is disturbingly absent.

When the U.S. began its anti-ISIL efforts in August 2014, ISIL was in two countries. Now, after tens of thousands of aerial ordinances have been dropped on two continents, ISIS now has a presence in over 20 countries. The U.S. has even expanded its war in Afghanistan to include ISIS, the White House announced last Thursday. None of the major presidential candidates, including the most progressive member of the U.S. Congress, Bernie Sanders, outwardly opposes the U.S.’ current anti-ISIL efforts, including the once-unpopular drone program.

Over the past two weeks, the Defense Department and the Obama administration have been peppering the media with their plans to massively increase the war effort in Libya as well as Iraq, Afghanistan and potentially elsewhere. All the evidence points to the fact that war-makers in Washington and Brussels are gearing up for a major effort that could very well last a long time. The question is, will we ever have a public debate about it?

Adam Johnson is an associate editor at AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter at @adamjohnsonnyc.

Trump Victory Likely to Hurt Ukraine, Empower the US and Russia

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Original Source: Quemado Institute

Donald Trump (--linkedin.com)
Donald Trump (–linkedin.com)
Even though Donald Trump lost 28% vs 24% to Ted Cruz in the first US Republican primary event in Iowa on February 1, Trump still boasts an overwhelming lead in nationwide polls, with some estimates as high as 55% or 62% of potential voters favoring the billionaire businessman. Trump’s projected impact on world affairs, should he win the American presidency, is a pertinent and fascinating question today.

Donald Trump, like Vladimir Putin, is a pragmatic realist capable of solving the world’s problems in peaceful and practical ways. This entails restoring law to international relations, preserving Western civilization as we know it, promoting self-sufficiency, and upholding the sovereignty of nations. It is hard to criticize such a reasonable approach. Trying to vilify Trump, like trying to vilify Putin, is a tough challenge for Western journalists who serve the interests of the ruling elite—that infamous club of wealthy corporate owners obsessed with imposing their One World Government on an unwilling populace.

Bradford Richardson, commentator for The Hill, is no exception. In the September 11, 2015 report below, he  faults Trump’s foreign affairs expertise by attaching undue importance to knowing the names of terrorist leaders, rather than highlighting the front-runner’s strategy for bringing an end to ISIS, which calls for destroying their oil fields.

As Trump notes in his book “Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again”, ISIS-controlled oil comprises less than 2% of the world’s supply. Knocking out the oil fields would cut off ISIS from its source of funds, while having little impact on the global economy. This tactic—even more surgical than Putin’s bombing of  oil transport vehicles—would finish off the Islamic State with minimal civilian casualties, a moral requirement the US has long abandoned.

In the article below, Richardson discusses a video in which Trump presents his Ukraine policy to the corrupt Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk. Ignorant of Trump’s foreign affairs strategy, Richardson misinterprets the GOP candidate’s intent. Yet it’s hard to twist Trump’s meaning, and his principles shine through regardless:


Awkwardness Abounds at Trump Ukraine Speech
By Bradford Richardson
The Hill
September 11, 2015

Donald Trump delivered an address at a pro-Ukraine conference on Friday, calling President Obama “not strong” and saying Russian President Vladimir Putin “does not respect our president.” More notable than what he said, however, was the way he said it. Giving his speech via satellite feed, Trump spoke slowly, put heightened emphasis on his words and took long pauses between each sentence, evidently under the impression that he had to wait for translators to interpret his remarks to the audience. “You need not wait for any translation,” one of the conference moderators said at one point. The video feed also apparently cut out several times on the businessman’s end, with Trump muttering “it cut out” and “it just cut out again, there’s no sound.”

“The sound system is terrible, because there’s a huge delay and there’s also a lot of feedback but I think everyone understands what I’m saying, I hope,” he said. In the speech, Trump said that Putin’s lack of respect for Obama is indicative of the United States’ fallen status around the globe. “It is a big problem… and it’s a problem that is taking place all over the world with respect to the United Sates,” he said. “There is a lack of respect for our president and there is a lack of respect for the government itself.”

The speech, given at the 12th annual Yalta European Strategy conference in Kiev, was touted as a major event at which the GOP primary candidate would show off his foreign policy credentials. The conference, normally held in Yalta but moved to Kiev due to the Russian annexation of Crimea, was attended by pro-West diplomats, officials and scholars. Trump’s foreign policy expertise has come into question recently, after he was unable to identify the heads of major terrorist organizations on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show. Trump accused Hewitt of asking him “gotcha” questions. The real estate mogul also called Hewitt, who will take part as a questioner in the GOP primary debate on CNN Sept. 16, a “third-rate radio announcer.”

[Video available at source.]

Viktor Pinchuk, who is seated beside the moderator throughout the video, boasts a glorified biography in Wikipedia:
Viktor Pinchuk (--Forbes/Alexander Techinsky/Kommersant)
Viktor Pinchuk (-Forbes/Alexander Techinsky/Kommersant)

“Viktor Mykhailovych Pinchuk; born 14 December 1960) is a Ukrainian businessman and philanthropist [sic]. As of January 2016, Forbes ranked him as 1250th on the list of wealthiest people in the world, with a fortune of $1.44 billion. Pinchuk is the founder and main owner of EastOne Group LLC, an international investing, project funding and financial advisory company based in London, and of Interpipe Group, one of Ukraine’s leading pipe, wheel and steel producers. Pinchuk is the owner of four TV channels and a popular tabloid, Fakty i Kommentarii. He has been a member of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, for two consecutive terms from 1998 to 2006. He is married to Olena Pinchuk, the daughter of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.”

This glowing portrait of oligarch Viktor Pinchuk overlooks the businessman’s penchant for corruption, not to mention his complicity in Kiev’s war crimes against Donbass civilians.

The video is meaningfully entitled “Donald Trump’s Embarrassing Remarks to a Pro-Ukraine Conference.” And indeed, they are embarrassing—to Pinchuk, not to Trump.

A rough transcript of the video shows that Trump is keeping his cards on foreign policy close to his vest. Amidst long delays due to a poor VTC sound system, he says roughly the following about Ukraine policy: “With respect to training, people have to band together from other parts of Europe to help. I don’t think that the Ukraine is given the proper respect from other parts of Europe. Ukraine deserves respect and they’ve proven this over the years. But it’s a respect they absolutely deserve from Germany and other countries. I don’t think you’re getting the support you need. The US has been supportive, but more verbally than anytyhing else. Our president is not strong, and he’s not doing what he should be doing for Ukraine. So far all we have is lip service in this country. Part of the problem that Ukraine has with the US is that Putin has no respect for our president whatsoever.”

When the moderator asks him to elaborate, Trump doesn’t waver, saying, “You know, it’s just one of those things where it’s not happening and we’re talking about many many different elements but it’s a big problem and it’s a problem that is taking place all over the world with respect to the United States. There’s a lack of respect for our president. Frankly, the US itself is a problem. There’s a lack of respect for the government itself.”

At this point, the moderator presses Trump about how his presidency will affect the world, but Trump gives away no further secrets about his foreign policy objectives.

Meanwhile Viktor Pinchuck, seated silently on the stage beside the moderator, continuously rolls and shifts his eyes, as if disturbed by what he is hearing. His facial contortions convey stunned displeasure, which is no doubt why Richardson called the exchange “embarrassing”.

Donald Trump (--yourdailydish.com)
Donald Trump (–yourdailydish.com)

But Trump’s remarks are embarrassing only to backers of the Kiev regime. He is blunt, politically incorrect, and averse to appeasing the oligarch in any gracious way. Trump no doubt sees Pinchuk for the crook that he is, a trait Trump is an expert at spotting. This is in contrast to Joe Biden, who gushes affection for Kiev’s war criminals.

The Republican front-runner has deprived the shifty-eyed Pinchuk of the satisfaction of a promise of US assistance. Far from being an embarrassment, Donald Trump, always on top of his game, is adhering to the strategy advanced in his book—that of keeping his cards close to his vest when it comes to foreign policy.
It is clear Donald Trump plans to extend no favors to Ukraine. He expects Kiev to rely for support on Germany and other neighboring countries. Meanwhile, Europe has grown tired of trying to help Ukraine, which is nothing more than a corrupt failed state. The EU after all has problems of its own, with the migrant crisis and the threat of ISIS terrorism. If the US abandons Kiev, Europe will follow suit. The Normandy Four will soon lose interest, and the charade of the Minsk standoff will finally come to an end. Kiev can’t afford to launch an offensive on its own, so this is good news for Donbass.

If the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics can hold their ground for another eleven months, the scenario of a Trump presidency offers a chance for independence. Meanwhile, a Trump victory would also foster a constructive partnership with Russia, the two superpowers wielding sufficient influence to restore peace to the world.

In the Breitbart article below, author Ian Hanchett, marching in the footsteps of Richardson, tries to downplay Trump’s effectiveness, portraying his stance as less reasonable than it is:

Trump: ‘Always Felt Fine About Putin,’ US ‘Does Plenty of Killing Also,’
Maybe We Should Follow in Ukraine
By by Ian Hanchett
Breitbart News
December 18, 2015
Vladimir Putin (--ocl.org)
Vladimir Putin (–ocl.org)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stated that he has “always felt fine about Putin” and that while he “absolutely” condemns Putin killing journalists and dissidents, “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader” and “our country does plenty of killing also,” further stating that instead of being “at the forefront of leading the charge” “maybe we should do a little bit of following” in Ukraine on Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Trump, when asked if he liked Putin’s comments about him, said, “Sure. When people call you brilliant it’s always good especially when the person heads up Russia.” He was then asked about Putin’s killing of journalists and his political opponents and invasion of other countries would be “a concern.” Trump responded, “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader. You know, unlike what we have in this country.”

After he was asked again about Putin killing journalists that disagree with him, Trump stated, “Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe. So, you know. There’s a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now, Joe, a lot of killing going on, and a lot of stupidity, and that’s the way it is.” Trump did add that he “absolutely” condemns Putin’s killing of journalists and political opponents.
When asked how US-Russia relations would change if he became president, Trump answered, “Well, I think it would be good. I’ve always felt fine about Putin. I think that he is a strong leader. he’s a powerful leader. he’s represented his country—that’s the way the country is being represented. He’s actually got popularity within his country. They respect him as a leader. certainly over the last couple of years they’ve respected him as the leader. I think he’s up in the 80s, which is—you see where Obama’s in the 30s, and low 40s, and he’s in the 80s.”

The discussion then turned to how Trump would push Putin’s forces out of Crimea and Ukraine, and prevent further western movement by Russia. Trump said, “when I look at the Ukraine, and I see Germany doing nothing, and I see so many other countries over there not really engaged, and we’re totally engaged, and I ask myself, here’s this big monstrous country, Germany, and they hardly speak up. They accept his oil and gas and lots of other things and here we are fighting like hell, and we owe 19 trillion in debt, and we have nothing but problems in this country, and we’re sitting on a big fat beautiful bubble that’s ready to explode, financial bubble, I’m talking about. And we’re always at the forefront of leading the charge.

I think that other countries have to get involved with that, Joe. You have the Ukraine and it effects other countries a hell of a lot more than it effects us.” He added that he would “consider” giving Poland a missile defense system, and “maybe we should do a little bit of following, and let the neighbors sort of tell us — like let us — let the neighbors take more of an active roll in the Ukraine, because I don’t see a lot of active roll from the neighbors around the Ukraine. I see us always saying get out of the Ukraine, and frankly, I would like to see a little enthusiasm from the people that are most directly effected, Joe.”

Trump further argued, “I don’t think it’s leading from behind. I think I want to see our country get rebuilt again. Our country is falling apart, frankly. Our infrastructure’s a disaster. our bridges are falling down. 61% of bridges are in danger. our whole country’s a mess.” He was then asked about how he would pay for his plans to rebuild the military. Trump responded, “We’ve spent $5 trillion in the middle east, okay? If you add it all up, $5 trillion, probably close to 3 trillion in iraq. We have nothing.”

The fact is, Trump has said in other contexts that Putin probably has not killed journalists. But the truth is irrelevant to Ian Hanchett, who would rather paint Trump as outrageous.

If Hanchett has quoted Trump correctly, which Western journalists seldom do, the Republican candidate is advocating that America mind its own business, that it fix its problems at home and leave other countries to solve their own crises. This is a major step toward world peace and stability. After all, it is US meddling, under the guise of “humanitarian assistance” and “promotion of democracy”, that has catastrophically disrupted Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Ukraine; created the migrant crisis, a threat to European civilization as we know it; and sparked the massacre of thousands of innocent people.

Trump’s policy of noninterference can only restore sanity to a world torn asunder by America’s exceptional arrogance.

Update February 2, 2016
Upcoming Primaries and Caucuses February 9 – March 1, 2016

The next Republican primary is scheduled for February 9 in New Hampshire, with 23 delegates. After that are South Carolina, February 20, with 50 delegates; Nevada, February 23, with 30 delegates; Alabama, March 1, with 50 delegates; Alaska, March 1, with 28 delegates; Arkansas, March 1, with 40 delegates; Colorado, March 1, with 37 delegates; Georgia, March 1, with 76 delegates; Massachusetts, March 1, with 42 delegates; Minnesota, March 1, with 38 delegates; North Dakota, March 1, with 28 delegates; Oklahoma, March 1, with 43 delegates; Tennessee, March 1, with 58 delegates; Texas, March 1, with 155 delegates; Vermont, March 1, with 16 delegates; Virginia, March 1, with 49 delegates; and Wyoming, March 1, with 29 delegates.

For full schedule, click here.
The Republican National Convention will be held July 18-21, 2016.

Trump’s Standing in Recent Polls

Currently, polls show Trump at 30-38% in New Hampshire, with Cruz in second place at 12-13%. As of January 28, Trump was leading the South Carolina polls at 36%, with Cruz second at 20%.
In a nationwide CNN poll taken January 26, Trump led at 41% with Cruz following at 19%.

This article was originally published at quemadoinstitute.org.
© Copyright by Kennedy Applebaum, Quemado Institute, February 1, 2016.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Kiev De Facto Invasion: Will Novorossiya Fight Again?

Poroshenko Enters Under Cloak of Darkness

Introduction by Kennedy Applebaum
Quemado Institute
December 4, 2015
Edited December 5, 2015

Kiev neo-nazi junta (--ainhoaaristizabal.wordpress)
Kiev neo-nazi forces (–ainhoaaristizabal.wordpress)
Terrorist attacks in recent weeks have overshadowed the crisis in Novorossiya, where the Kiev neo-nazi forces continue their advance on Donbass. Under the cloak of media darkness, Kiev regime leader Petro Poroshenko is moving in to snatch Novorossiya from the jaws of Minsk. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have stockpiled heavy weapons along the line of contact, the US approved new arms shipments to Ukraine, neo-Nazi saboteurs have blown up Crimean power lines, punitive forces continue to shell Donetsk and nearby suburbs, and Kiev troops have confiscated village houses to make their winter quarters.

Today, the conflict has come to a head. The Donetsk News Agency reports that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have captured settlements in the buffer zone that were not under Kiev’s control at the time of the signing in Minsk. Essentially, Ukraine has launched a de facto invasion of Novorossiya.

DPR representatives Denis Pushilin and Eduard Basurin threaten the resumption of war. But first, they are appealing to the Normandy Trio to prevent full-scale hostilities.

Normandy Four: Putin, Poroshenko, Hollande, Merkel
Normandy Four: Putin, Poroshenko, Hollande, Merkel
Normandy leaders Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, and Vladimir Putin achieved major  success in that role at the Paris summit of October 2, when the German Chancellor stood at the height of her power, the French President was less distracted by emergencies at home, and the Russian President still had a strong commitment to Ukraine.

But a lot has changed since October 2. With the Muslim migrant invasion of Europe, the Russian airbus crash in Egypt, the Paris attacks that killed 130, Turkey’s shootdown of Russia’s SU-24, the revelations of ISIS oil smuggling, Erdogan’s threats to Moscow, Putin’s deepening quagmire in Syria, a fomenting coup in Albania, and the Islamic terrorists’ shooting in California, world events have eclipsed the Ukraine crisis.

Caught up in the Syrian-ISIS war, Putin has turned his attention away from Ukraine, and devoted his December 3 State of the Nation Address to terrorism, Turkey and Federation politics, while Merkel’s career unravels as she softens her stance on migrants, and Francois Hollande sinks eyeball-deep in Paris-attack retaliation. The Normandy Trio may have little time for Donbass.

Left to its own devices, will Novorossiya fight again?

The following reports describe conditions today:

Kiev’s Capture of Villages in Buffer Zone a Prerequisite
for Resumption of War – DPR Defense Ministry

Edited autotranslation by Quemado Institute
Donetsk News Agency
December 4, 2015

The capture by Ukraine of settlements in the “neutral” zone in the south of Donbass is a prerequisite for the resumption of hostilities. This was announced today at a briefing in the DAN press center by the deputy commander of the DPR Ministry of Defense Corps Eduard Basurin. “Yesterday, the military and political leadership of Ukraine said the seizure of the settlements Pavlopol and Pishevik in the Mariupol region was ‘victorious’. Data on violent capture of settlements by the UAF [Ukrainian Armed Forces] is a precondition for the resumption of the outbreak of hostilities,” said the corps representative.

Eduard Basurin stressed that the settlements Shirokino, Vinogradnoye, Pavlopol, Pishevik, and Gnutova, located in the buffer zone near the line of contact between the parties, were not under the control of the Kiev authorities at the time of the signing of the agreements. “I want to remind you that with the signing of the Minsk Agreements on February 12, 2015, the parties are obliged to withdraw heavy weapons to prevent violent seizure of settlements in the so-called ‘neutral zone’,” said the representative of the Defense Ministry. On the eve of December 3, the Ukrainian General Staff announced that Pishevik and Pavlopol previously were in the neutral zone, the security forces brought them under the control of Kiev, and the administrative authorities of Ukraine began work in the villages.


DPR Notifies OSCE of Kiev Seizure of Neutral-Zone Settlements

Edited Autotranslation by Quemado Institute
Donetsk News Agency
December 4, 2015

The Donetsk People’s Republic has sent a notification addressed to the OSCE about recent facts of the capture by the Ukrainian military of settlements on the front line. This was stated to DAN by the head of the DPR delegation to the talks in Minsk, Chairman of the National Council Denis Pushilin. “We have sent a letter to the address of Martin Sajdik, coordinator of the contact group in Minsk as well as the special monitoring mission of the OSCE,” the Speaker of Pariliament said in a statement. “Also we call on the Normandy format to assess the actions of Kiev and prevent the resumption of full-scale hostilities caused by Ukraine’s gross violations of the Minsk Agreements.” Pushilin clarified that they are talking about the settlements Pishevik, Pavlopol, vinoglodnoye, Gnutova, Shirokino, Bahmutovka and Zhovanka. According to the Speaker, the actions of the Ukrainian side are increasingly aimed at the escalation of the conflict. “During the removal of equipment at a time when the safety of the zone should only increase, this is unacceptable,” said Pushilin.

We recall a similar assessment of the actions of Kiev were already given by DPR Defense Ministry deputy corps commander Eduard Basurin, who named the capture of the villages of Pishevik and Pavlopol in the south of Donbass as a precondition for the resumption of hostilities. On the eve of December 3, the Ukrainian General Staff announced that Pishevik and Pavlopol previously were in the neutral zone, that the security forces brought them under the control of Kiev, and that the administrative authorities of Ukraine began to work in the villages. Full text of the statement by Denis Pushilin [is found in the article below].


Denis Pushilin’s Statement in Connection with Seizure
by Ukraine of Settlements in Buffer Zone

Edited autotranslation by Quemado Institute
Donetsk News Agency
December 4, 2015

We have to admit the fact that the actions of the Ukrainian side are increasingly gaining momentum towards the escalation of the conflict. Today the military forces of Ukraine carried out the action of the passive attack, and seized settlements that are in the buffer zone, namely Pishevik, Pavlopol, Vinogladnoey, Gnutova, Shirokino, Bahmutovka, and Zhovanka. During the removal of equipment, at a time when the safety of the zone should only increase, this is unacceptable.

We have sent the appropriate letters to Martin Sajdik, coordinator of the contact group in Minsk as well as of the special monitoring mission of the OSCE. We also call upon the Normandy Four to assess the actions of Kiev and prevent the resumption of full-scale hostilities due to Ukraine’s gross violations of the Minsk Agreements.