Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 23, 2014

Ukraine: Reuters Interviews Benedict Arnold: "Rebels Had BUK, Downed MH17"

Updated below

Reuters is currently running a sensational story headlined Exclusive: Ukraine rebel commander acknowledges fighters had BUK missile". There is a big problem with the story. The man in question is not a "rebel commander" and had recently changed sides. He is the Ukrainian Benedict Arnold. About a week ago the federalists had removed him (and a few others) from all positions because they had secretly tried to give control of Donetsk to the coup-government.

The Reuters lede:

A powerful Ukrainian rebel leader has confirmed that pro-Russian separatists had anti-aircraft missiles of the type Washington says were used to shoot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

In an interview with Reuters, Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of the Vostok Battalion, acknowledged for the first time since the airliner was brought down in eastern Ukraine on Thursday that the rebels did possess the BUK missile system.

He also indicated that the BUK may have originated in Russia and could have been sent back to remove proof of its presence.

If true that tale would surely fit the story the U.S. administration is peddling but for which it has no evidence.

The New York Times portrait Khodakovsky on June 4 and this part of it is very telling:

In an interview, Mr. Khodakovsky said that he was largely autonomous, that he coordinated on some matters with other separatist military commanders and that he would even turn against the separatist government “if the interests of the politicians and the people diverge.”

Also of interest:

Mr. Khodakovsky declined to provide more information about the militia’s financing or the sources of its weapons.

He denied rumors that he was being backed financially by Rinat Akhmetov, a Donetsk-based oligarch who is arguably the region’s most powerful man, but who has recently taken a strong stance against the separatists. He did say that he had told Mr. Akhmetov once that they have “similar interests” in preserving order.

Despite that denial it had been long acknowledged that the Vostok Battalion Khodakovsky was once leading was founded and paid for by the east-Ukrainian oligarch Akhmetov.

Ahkmetov has made a deal with Kiev, changed his stand and turned against the federalist.

In July some parts of the federalists in Donetsk, those alligned with Ahkmetov, started an internal coup against the federalists. They made a secret deal with the coup-government and where about to give up control over Donetsk. Shortly thereafter that whole groups was purged. The (long) internal story behind this is available here, On Political Perspectives of Novorossia, and one core fact, which Reuters does not mention, is this:

The failure of the "defeatist party" with the surrender of Donetsk (currently effectively all involved are removed from any meaningful political levers in the DPR – Lukyanchenko, Khodakovsky, Pozhidayev – there is also currently unconfirmed information about the possible resignation of Mr. Pushilin) didn't lead to their extinction. ...

Khodakovsky and the others no longer belong to the federalists. They no longer hold federalist positions. Khodakovsky allegedly fled. They have (together with the oligarch Akhmetov) changed sides and made their deal with Kiev.

Now tell me: how reliable are claims by one Benedict Arnold, a man paid by the "enemy" to hand over a federalist city to the imperial regime? Especially when the traitor's claims completely fit the likely false story the CIA advised coup-government in Kiev is trying to plant about the downing of the flight MH-17?

Besides all that, notice that the man Reuters interviewed does not even claim to ever have seen the alleged BUK system. All he is providing is hearsay:

"That BUK I know about. I heard about it. I think they sent it back."

I also heard a lot of things and sometimes I think something. But such does not provide factual knowledge and no court would accept is a proof.

As it leaves out the most important fact, the interviewed guy is no longer with the federalists but now works for Kiev, the Reuters interview is just a part of the U.S. managed information campaign against the federalists and against Russia. Unfortunately few will ever hear of that and are therefore likely to believe the false claims.

Update:

RIA now has (in Russian) a somewhat fishy denial of the Reuters interview by an anonymous spokesperson of Khodakovsky. Machine translation:

Donetsk, July 23 - RIA Novosti. Battalion commander "East" Alexander Khodakovsky denies that he spoke in an interview with Reuters on the alleged use of militias in eastern Ukraine system "Buk", said RIA Novosti on Wednesday a source close to the commander.

"I did not say anything like" Reuters "and I have a recording of a conversation" - quoted the spokesman Khodakovskogo words.

Posted by b at 02:45 PM | Comments (34)

No Evidence - Administration's MH17 Case Against Russia Falls Apart

The federalists fighting in east Ukraine just took down two more SU-25 ground attack fighters that were bombing their positions. The weapons used against these planes are either simple air-defense guns or short ranged missiles unlike the missiles that allegedly took down the Malaysian passenger jet.

The case the Obama administration made against the federalists and Russia in connection with that MH-17 flight is completely falling apart.

Even the aggressive State Department spokesperson has to admit (vid) there is no real evidence at all. The "mountain of evidence" Secretary of State Kerry talked about is nothing but doctored photos and sound files provided by the Ukrainian coup government. One photo, for example, is supposed to show a missile system in federalists hands in a town in east Ukraine. But two reporters asking locals there can not find anyone who has seen the bulky and loud system. The photo is therefore likely a montage.

After being public criticized for showing no real evidence the Obama administration trotted out some "senior intelligence officials" who then admitted that they have nothing, NOTHING, to connect the case to Russia and only vague circumstantial "social media evidence" that federalists COULD have downed the jet:

But the officials said they did not know who fired the missile or whether any Russian operatives were present at the missile launch. They were not certain that the missile crew was trained in Russia, although they described a stepped-up campaign in recent weeks by Russia to arm and train the rebels, which they say has continued even after the downing of the commercial jetliner.

In terms of who fired the missile, "we don't know a name, we don't know a rank and we're not even 100 percent sure of a nationality," one official said, adding at another point, "There is not going to be a Perry Mason moment here," a referenc to a fictional detective who solved mysteries.

Most damning for the case may be this:

The senior intelligence officials said spy agencies were not aware that an SA-11 system was in eastern Ukraine until the attack had happened.

So the alleged transfer of such a big weapon system from Russia was either not observable for the multi-billion dollar, all seeing, all hearing U.S. intelligence or it never happened. Case closed.

But the neolibcons in the Obama administration do not despair yet. The murky Ukrainian company that hired Vice President Biden's son is now paying more lobbyists in Washington. The bribes will flow in bigger amounts. The lies from the Obama administration, and especially from Kerry, will continue as its tries everything possible to restart a Cold War against Russia or, if possible, even a hot one.

Let the Europeans bleed. As long as the U.S. is safe everything is hunky dory.

Posted by b at 08:28 AM | Comments (72)

July 22, 2014

Hamas Win Leaves Netanyahoo and U.S. Position In Shambles

Hamas just won a major victory. The U.S. airlines Delta, USAir and United have suspended indefinitely all flights to and from Israel. This after a rocket fired from Gaza exploded somewhere near the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. After MH-17 came down in Ukraine the sensitivity of possible flight casualties during a conflict has dramatically increased. No airline wants to be the next to loose a plane to some errant missile. This practically closes the only international airport Israel has and will increase the pressure on Israel to accept some of Hamas' conditions for a ceasefire.

That will still take a while though and the slaughter will for now continue. Neither Hamas and the population of Gaza nor the Netanyahoo government and the people in Israel are so far willing to offer any concessions. On both sides the people push their governments to continue the fighting.

There is also no real international pressure for a ceasefire yet. Kerry and his UN clown Ban Ki Moon are in the region and are trying to find a solution that favors Israel. But there is no solutions without accepting Hamas' demands. They will have little luck to find some united Arab push for a compromise or to pressure Hamas. The only parties that could negotiate on behalf and in support of Hamas are Qatar and Turkey. But the Turkish soon-to-be-dictator Erdogan is no longer talking to Obama and has other problems.  The chickens are coming home to roost as "smugglers" from the Islamic State have started to kill Turkish soldiers on Turkey's border to Syria. Qatar is disliked by all other Arab Gulf states plus especially by Egypt for its support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

But Egypt is the other country next to Israel and the U.S. that will have to make concessions to Hamas. The wide opening of the Rafah border that is needed to lift the siege on Gaza can only be done when Egypt fully agrees. Kerry will want to achieve that but when he met the Egyptian dictator Sisi today he and his stuff were made to undergo security controls before entering the palace in Cairo. That was a significant snub and more were likely made during the talks.

The U.S. is simply no longer in a position where it can effectively create political solutions in the Middle East. As Chas Freeman analyzes the Obama administration has, over the recent years, managed to make the mess in the Middle East even messier than it usually is. Its addiction to Israel (and its utter hypocrisy) has ruined its own position:

From the outset, Israel used the “peace process” as a distraction while it created facts on the ground in the form of illegal settlements. Israeli expansionism and related policies have now made Israel’s peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians– and, thus, with Israel’s Arab neighbors – impossible. The United States created the moral hazard that enabled Israel to put itself in this ultimately untenable position. Forty years of one-sided American diplomacy aimed at achieving regional and international acceptance for Israel have thus perversely produced the very opposite – increasing international isolation and opprobrium for the Jewish state.

We will now “cover Israel’s back” at the United Nations as its ongoing maltreatment and intermittent muggings of its captive Arab population complete its international delegitimization and ostracism. We will pay a heavy political price for this stand globally, in the Middle East, and very likely in escalating terrorism against Americans abroad and at home. It may satisfy our sense of honor. But it more closely resembles assisted suicide than a strategy for the survival of Israel and our own position in the Middle East.

With Ben Gurion closed Netanyahoo will soon have to somehow end the war he started, with U.S. support, for no sensible reason. His political position in Israel will then be very weak and even more crazy people than him will come to rule. That again will further reduce the political might of the United States and the region may then, left to itself, finally be able to find a new sustainable balance.

Posted by b at 12:49 PM | Comments (94)

July 21, 2014

Ukraine: New Coup-Government Offense in Donetsk

Hiding behind the false outrage* over the likely accidental destruction of flight MH17 the Ukrainian coup-government launched a severe attack on the city of Donetsk:

The western part of the city has been shelled since 4 a.m. local time (2 a.m. UTC) on Monday from Grad multiple launch rocket systems, local residents told ITAR-TASS. Heavy weapons are used and explosions are heard.

Ukrainian warplanes delivered an air strike by unguided rocket projectiles at the railway station in the city of Donetsk on Monday morning.

There are allegedly several "volunteer groups" on the ground involved on the government side. These are likely groups of the fascist Right Sektor. They are supported by massive armored forces. Unless the federalists have thoroughly prepared their defenses they will likely have to retreat to new positions.

There advantage so far have been unexpected strikes against flank or rearward positions of the attackers. I expect something similar to happen again soon.

*Why would anyone criticize temporarily storing dead bodies in freezer cars?

Posted by b at 07:43 AM | Comments (187)

Hamas Not Yet Informed It Has Lost

Amos Harel reviews the Israeli campaign against the people of Gaza. He concludes:

Despite the optimism of decision-makers in Jerusalem, it seems that Hamas has not yet been informed that it has lost the war.

The Israeli army continues to have the same equipment, training and doctrine problems it had when it lost the 2006 campaign against the people of Lebanon.

The seven soldiers killed by a rocket-propelled grenade were travelling in an M-13 armored personnel carrier, used by the Americans in Vietnam and by the IDF since the 1970s.
...
Questions also arise with regard to the crowding of dozens of soldiers from Golani’s reconnaissance battalion in the house that was hit by rockets. This is one more example of flawed decisions, following the mishap on Saturday, in which an Armored Corps officer and soldier were killed by Hamas fighters emerging from a tunnel.
...
[I]t should be noted that in recent years the IDF has had no experience in ground battles in general and in Gaza in particular. Some of the combat experience was lost with a generation of commanders that retired. Training was also eroded over the last year due to budgetary considerations.

This while Israeli officers find Hamas fighter to be more competent than ever before:

“It was a very hard battle there,” a senior Israeli military official said. “I have to admit that we were facing good fighters from the other side.”

The Israeli army continues to excel in the genocidal killing of whole families when one member may or may not be somewhat related to the resistance. This morning a house in Rafah was bombed and at least 11 member of the same family were all killed. Another house was destroyed in Khan Younes where 17 24 27 member of another family were killed. It is such outrageous behavior that makes the world public turn against Israel.

Netanyahoo's war was launched to prevent the creation of a Palestinian unity government. His aim is to keep Gaza and the whole Palestinian cause drowned in formaldehyde. But that will no longer work. Hamas and the people of Gaza will not agree to a ceasefire without receiving any benefit in form of more open borders and the lifting of the Israeli/Egyptian siege:

[T]hose within Hamas who saw the crisis as an opportunity to put an end to Weissglass’s [formaldehyde] regime gained the upper hand. So far, they appear to have the majority of the population with them, because they seem to prefer death by F-16 to death by formaldehyde.

Posted by b at 06:31 AM | Comments (38)

July 19, 2014

Ukraine: Financial Rating Propaganda Likely To Fail

International credit rating agencies like S&P are nothing but political instruments. Consider this from July 11:

Ukraine had its credit-rating outlook raised to stable from negative by Standard & Poor’s after the country obtained a $17 billion bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund.
...
“Full disbursement of the IMF program and related multilateral lending should enable Ukraine to meet its external financing needs over the next year,” S&P analysts said in an e-mailed statement.

Now compare that with a real world report from July 17:

The IMF now expects Ukraine's economy to shrink by 6.5% this year, compared with 5% at the time the emergency loans were agreed. GDP stagnated last year.

Ukraine's government is spending more than expected on security as it battles the separatists. Having lost control of parts of the country, revenue collection is also falling behind schedule.

And state gas firm Naftogaz is struggling to force customers to pay their debts.
...
"The program hinges crucially on the assumption that the conflict will begin to subside in the coming months," the IMF said. "A significant prolongation of the crisis would seriously strain their ability to [reform the economy] without a substantial increase in external support on adequate terms."

The IMF more explicitly formulated: "Expect more of your money being wasted on the Nazis in Kiev."

Fortunately, after the rating disaster of mortgage bonds and derivatives that led to the financial crisis, smart real world investors have become mostly immune of the rating companies' nonsense, diminishing their influence further into the pure propaganda territory. From the last lines of first piece:

Global bond yields showed investors ignored 56 percent of Moody’s and 50 percent of S&P’s rating and outlook changes in 2012, more often disagreeing when the companies said governments were becoming safer or more risky, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The S&P propaganda effort will therefore likely fail.

Posted by b at 03:48 PM | Comments (120)

July 18, 2014

Open Thread 2014-16

News & views other than current issues ...

Posted by b at 02:04 PM | Comments (44)

Current Issues

Gaza, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq.

Other issues here please.

Posted by b at 02:03 PM | Comments (206)

July 17, 2014

Plane Down In Ukraine - Facts? Who Needs Facts?

A Malaysian Boeing 777 with 295 people on board crashed today near Shakhtarsk 50 kilometer east of Donetsk, Ukraine.

The appropriate key for "western" journalist to press now is this one.

Over the now coming propaganda shit-storm the recent defeat of the coup-government troops will likely stay unreported.

Posted by b at 12:55 PM | Comments (269)

More Sanctions On Russia After Ukrainian Forces Defeated

Six days ago the Ukrainian troops fighting local federalists in the south-east were hit hard by an artillery barrage and had major losses. This map shows their locations of the four nominal brigades on the right bottom in a narrow south-eastern strip along the Russian border. The plan for these troops was obviously to cut off the federalists from the Russian border and to surround them. But that risky plan on a thin logistic string worked against them. Repeated artillery attacks and disorganization have left them incapable of further advances.


bigger

The Ukrainian troops have now themselves been surrounded and are cut off from their resupplies. Their attempts to break out of the encirclement failed and they can now either flee to Russia or surrender to the federalists:

Earlier on Wednesday the press service of the DPR told ITAR-TASS that its militiamen had divided the Ukrainian military units into “several sectors” in the areas of the Amvrosievka, Izvarino and Saur-Mohila localities near the Russian border.

The Ukrainian military units attempted to form a convoy and head for the port city of Mariupol, but failed as the DPR fighters encircled them.

In recent days the Ukrainian armed forces had suffered serious losses, and support to their rear services had been axed, the press service said adding that the army units were trying to retreat covering their rear.

The Ukrainian troops seem to be desperate with little left to better their situation.

It is this desperate military situation of the Ukrainian coup-government troops, I believe, that let Obama put new sanctions on Russian companies. The European Union did not follow up with sanctions of its own and the damage to the Russian economy will thereby be very limited. It was a stupid and self defeating step for Obama to take. What U.S. companies, including the oil majors, will now still be welcome in the rather large Russian market?

The military situation as well as the propaganda tide has turned against the U.S. supported coup government in Kiev. Now even the BBC admits that many coup supporters and the "National Guard" forces are Nazis including foreign ones.

Posted by b at 09:06 AM | Comments (84)

July 16, 2014

July 16 Gaza News - "At least they wont breed"

Peter Beaumont is Jerusalem correspondent of the Guardian and the Observer. This is what he experienced in Gaza today:

Today was a personal low point - giving first aid with colleagues to two children wounded by shrapnel on Gaza beach on terrace of our hotel

Four kids with them were killed in same incident all from same extended family

1st shell hit the harbour wall. It's been hit before so I assume its on a prerecorded grid. Gunner appears to have adjusted to hit survivors

who were an adult and three boys

Earlier he wrote:

no warning shot. kids killed by first round, then gunner adjusted and bracketed the survivors. i was 200m away

His longer report is now online. The kids were helping their father/uncle fixing fishing nets. The targeted artillery rounds came from an Israeli warship. Killed were Ahed Atef Bakr 10, Zakaria Ahed Bakr 10, Mohamed Ramez Bakr 11, Ismael Mohamed Bakr 9. An "Israel Activist and media monitor" responded to the news of the four killed children by writing:

At least they wont breed

Today Israel also intentionally hit the Wafa Hospital in Gaza with a smaller missile. The hospital is completely crowded with patients and the missile was considered a "warning shot" that might be followed up with a bigger attack. There is no place for the the people in the hospital to flee to.

The Israeli press now confirms what we wrote yesterday: Secret call between Netanyahu, al-Sissi led to cease-fire plan

Haaretz has learned that the PM spoke to the Egyptian president in a secret phone call prompted by Quartet envoy Tony Blair.

It was Tony Blair who arranged the scam cease-fire which Hamas rejected. Neither Hamas nor anyone else in Gaza was ever consulted about it and they learned of it only through the media. Peace between two parties can obviously not be achieved by only talking to one of them.

Instead of that stop-the-guns-but-don't-consent-on-anything-else scam by Tony Blair Hamas today offered a real and reasonable deal for a long term truce:

Hamas and Islamic Jihad have submitted a list of 10 demands to Egypt to establish a 10-year truce with Israel, the Hebrew-language daily Maariv reported Wednesday.
...
The first demand, according to Maariv, is the withdrawal of Israeli military tanks from the border fence area to a distance that enables Gaza farmers to access their fields and tend them freely.

In addition, Israel must free all Palestinian prisoners detained after the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the southern West Bank including those who were freed as part of Gilad Shalit prisoner swap. This precondition also includes softening procedures against all prisoners in Israeli custody.

A third demand stipulates that Israel ends the crippling siege on the coastal enclave, which means reopening all border crossings and allowing the entry of construction materials and all requirements needed to run the Gaza Strip’s power station.

The fourth demand stipulates the opening of an international seaport and international airport in the Gaza Strip to be run and monitored by the United Nations.
...

All these demands are reasonable and fair and would give Israel, should it be itself reasonable and willing to stick to a truce, 10 years of peace at its southern front.

But to expect reasonablity from Israel when it is killing children for sport may just be a step too far.

Posted by b at 11:41 AM | Comments (121)

July 15, 2014

UK Foreign Minister William Hague Fired - But Why?

Reshuffle Surprise As William Hague Quits As Foreign Secretary , July 15

William Hague surprised Westminster on Monday evening by announcing he would quit as foreign secretary, as David Cameron culled male ministers of all ranks as part of a wide-ranging reshuffle expected to see the promotion of several women to top jobs.

Hmm ...

There is currently another inquiry into pedophile rings in the UK which, allegedly, included major British politicians since the 1960s and several, some seemingly still ongoing, cover-ups by those and other "elite" figures.

Some recent headlines:

Butler-Sloss had to quit the inquiry because she was, allegedly, related to the cover up in an earlier inquiry.

But what does have to do with William Hague? We do not really know.

But could it be that the British PM Cameron, in sight of the 2015 election, considered the recent paedophile flare up and its possible implications together with this older news item when he decided to fire Hague?

Steve Messham said Mr Hague had "questions to answer" over why a public inquiry by Sir Ronald Waterhouse was restricted under terms of reference laid down by the then Welsh secretary.

And, as Jam,es in the comments reminded us, some time ago there was also this curious "incident" with Hague's "special advisor":

Posted by b at 11:51 AM | Comments (63)

Gaza: Hamas Rejects Tony Blair's Cease-fire Scam

The war Netanyahoo launched on the people of Gaza has so far killed over 192, 80% of them civilians, wounded 1,400 people, completely destroyed 990 houses, damaged another 1,700 houses, and created billions of damage to the infrastructure in Gaza, including the already fragile water distribution system. For what?

In total Israel air force and missiles hit more than 2,000 "targets" while some 1,000 rockets were fired from Gaza. No Israeli was killed by the unguided rockets Hamas and other organizations launched from the strip.

This morning there was some talk of a cease-fire allegedly after an agreement was negotiatated by the Egyptian dictator Sisi. Israel's security cabinet immediately accepted it.

But this cease-fire agreement was actually written by the war-criminal and Zionist Tony Blair. No Palestinian had even seen it or was involved in its creation. They learned of the "agreement" through the media. It included nothing but a stop of fighting and some vague promise of further talks. For what then did so many people die?

Hamas and other groups rejected this scam and continued their ineffective rocket fire. Hamas, which has also to keep consensus with more radical Palestinian groups in Gaza, had set several conditions for stopping the fighting:

  • an end to all Israeli attacks on Gaza
  • opening of the border crossings to Israel and Egypt
  • release of the Hamas prisoners Israel, without reason, took in the West Bank over the last three weeks
  • payment by the Palestinian Authority for the government workers in Gaza.

Rocket launches from Gaza have continued over the day and Israel is now back to bombing whatever is left to bomb in Gaza. It's politicians have set the elusive aim of "dismantling Hamas". But Hamas has support of the people and unless all people are killed it will exist and a longer conflict will only make it stronger.

Posted by b at 08:20 AM | Comments (95)

July 13, 2014

#Ger #Arg

Hummels Reveals Germany's Half Time Team Talk

German defender Mats Hummels has revealed that the team agreed at half-time that they would stay professional and try not to humiliate Brazil.

That was appropriately done. The German team would be well advised to do the same with Argentine ;-)

Posted by b at 01:56 PM | Comments (46)

Iran: The Nuclear Negotiations Scam

Four "western" Foreign Ministers flew to Vienna today to further negotiate about Iran's nuclear achievements. It is quite dubious why Kerry thought that such a meeting now would be helpful. It looks like this was planned as an attempt to intimidate Iran into further concessions but failed because neither Russia's nor China's Foreign Minister are attending.

The negotiations are supposed to find a compromise until July 20. After that the negotiations would have to be prolonged for another 6 month which would only give more time to those who are against any deal to sabotage it.

The two sticking points are "breakout capacity" and the length of the period Iran would restrict itself to a certain limits of its industrial nuclear capacities. The "breakout capability" is a quite weird concept described as the total centrifuge capacity and thereby capability to produce enough enriched Uranium for one sole bomb in a certain time frame. Of course no state wanting a nuclear deterrent would use its officially declared, and highly controlled capacities to produce the materials needed. Nor would the reach of a "one bomb" capability be significant in any strategic sense.

But the U.S. negotiators seem to stick to the concept of arbitrarily limiting enrichment capabilities while even very seasoned U.S. proliferation experts find that it not helpful and that it risks to make any deal impossible:

So the most realistic goal in Vienna isn’t to make breakout impossible, but to make it a difficult and unattractive option for Iran. Once you see that as the goal, you realize that the gains in transparency from any likely deal—extremely close monitoring of declared facilities and the power to inspect undeclared facilities—should be at the forefront of American thinking about this problem. It would be a mistake to sacrifice such transparency in a failed attempt to reduce Iran’s breakout capacity by some arbitrary increment that is actually less valuable than many in Washington think it is.

The Chinese and Russian seem see the U.S. concept of "breakout capability" as a sham that is used to sabotage the talks:

Vladimir Evseyev of the Russian state-run CIS institute says Washington’s insistence that Iran shut down uranium enrichment facilities and negotiate on its missile program violates the accords outlining the scope of the talks. The U.S., he said, wants negotiations to “to be lengthy and painful,” so as to keep sanctions in place for its own political agenda.

Diplomats familiar with the talks say Moscow shares Washington’s desire to reach a deal but is significantly less demanding of Tehran. While the U.S. wants deep cuts in Iranian programs that could be used to make nuclear arms, Russia would settle for pervasive monitoring, they say.

The Chinese and Russians are agreeing with the U.S. proliferation experts. The "breakout capability" is nonsense and good monitoring is much more important than any numerical capacity restriction.

That "western" states use the concept of "breakout capacity" at all can only be interpreted as their unwillingness of reaching a deal with Iran.

Posted by b at 11:07 AM | Comments (26)

July 11, 2014

Ukraine: Pro-Coup-Government Forces Hit Hard

The pro-federation forces in east Ukraine seem to have severely hit the coup-government's army which is attempting to surround and attack them.

The Ukrainian 79th and 24th brigades from Lviv, western Ukraine, bunched up over night in some place around Zelenopliya between the south-eastern rebel positions and the nearby Russian border. They were hit by a barrage of grad rockets fired by the pro-federation forces. First pictures available on the Internet show many destroyed vehicle - main battle tanks, APCs, trucks - probably the result of secondary (ammunition) explosions.

The not yet confirmed casualty count is 67 killed and 175 wounded government soldiers.

This major loss could lead to a new assessment of the situation by the government side and then to serious attempts to negotiate a ceasefire. It could also lead to further military escalations.

Posted by b at 08:55 AM | Comments (115)

Gaza: The Media Coverage

This Latuff cartoon is spot on:

There have, as of now, 103 people killed in Gaza with more than 700 people injured. Most of them are women, children and elderly. 200 houses were completely destroyed and more than 1,500 houses partially damaged.

On the Israeli side no one was killed and one person was injured after a gas station, allegedly, was hit and exploded.

About 800 Israeli bombs have hit Gaza while some 400 unguided missiles were launched from Gaza onto Israel proper. A Israeli Defense Force spokesperson boosted that the IDF hits the densely populated Gaza every 4 1/2 minutes and would continue to do so.

But, despite reporting in Jewish media that Netanyahoo obviously planned and started this war, main stream media continue to depict the Jewish side as the sole victim of this very one sided conflict.

Posted by b at 08:11 AM | Comments (118)

July 10, 2014

Open Thread 2014-15

News & views ...

Posted by b at 01:50 PM | Comments (108)

 
Site Meter