How Russia Implements the Minsk 2 Agreement, by Scott Humor

 

A few years ago, I was having coffee with my then-business partner. He happened to be in the middle of a process called “enrolling your child in a private school.”

In my naiveté I thought that this process was a fairly straightforward one: you give them your application and a check, and they accept your kid. But apparently, there were more people with money that this particular school was willing to take, and as it happened, his step-daughter didn’t get in the previous year.

“You didn’t accept my daughter last year,” he reminded the head of the admission office.

“I am sorry, but your application came in after the deadline,” she was on speakerphone, so I could hear her clearly. He looked at me and shook his head mouthing, “No, she is lying.”

“Are you aware that I am an alumnus of this school? I was there from kindergarten through high school. After school I served in the Army, got a master’s degree in engineering and I’ve been a military contractor for thirty years.”

“Oh,” she said. “I didn’t know that. Congratulations.”

“I’m also a certified explosives specialist, which means that I know how to defuse explosive devices and also how to set them up. I can make a powerful explosive from several common household items. If you don’t accept my daughter to your school, I am going to blow up your administrative building with all of you inside.”

“Oh,” she said. “I see. Well, there is no need for you to do that. There is no need to blow us up. We are accepting your daughter as we speak. She is already in.”

Later I asked why wasn’t he worried about her reporting him to the feds.

“She is not going to. She got my message. I reminded her that the school is a private club in which I, as part of its alumni, am a member, and she is a hired aid. It costs north of a half a million dollars to go from kindergarten to  graduation in this school. She is getting paid and has her job with the club members’ fees that I pay. If they treat me badly, other alumni will realize that the hired help took power over the club members. As a result, they might withdraw their support, the school will go bankrupt, and all those f-ing servants would lose their livelihood.”

Something similar took place in the UN building to Mr. Lavrov, Russia’s foreign secretary. He was known to smoke before, during, and after meetings, so the UN secretary Kofi Annan declared “a war on smoking” and started gathering petitions among the staff workers to ban smoking inside the UN building.

Everybody understood that the smoking ban was directed personally against Lavrov and everyone knew that this would put additional pressure on him during the long and stressful negotiations.

For 70-some years, no one even thought about banning smoking, and now this. It all, allegedly, ended when Sergey Lavrov told to Kofi Annan that the UN was a common home for its members. I.e., Anon was nothing but a hired manager, a fired help in essence. “Please, don’t try to tell us, the owners of this home, how to behave,” Lavrov said reportedly.

On February 18, a historic event took place that very few people even noticed. In a word, Russia has started implementation of the Minsk 2 Agreement.

A couple of weeks ago, in one of my previous SITREPs,  I wrote that Russia was about to start implementing the Minsk Accord, after the numerous demands to do so coming from the EU and the US parliaments and also from their individual member states.

Russia has the same level of the involvement in this agreement as Germany and France. The agreement was signed by the Kiev authorities and the authorities of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. At the signature time, all three sides had the same questionable level of legitimacy, resulting from the violent armed coup and the civil war.

After the Minsk agreement was signed, Germany, France, the EU and the US imposed political, economic and military sanctions on Russia, which have been completely illegitimate. The sanctions have been imposed under a false pretense of making Russia fulfill the Minsk Agreement, which it is not a part.

Russia, in response, imposed several counter-sanctions on the EU members and the US.

The Presidential executive order to recognize the identification papers issued by the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics is in fact the unilateral sanctions that Russia imposes on Kiev authorities, France and Germany, the EU and the US in order for them to fulfill the Minsk-2 Agreement, which should result in cessation of all armed hostilities and withdrawal of all foreign troops, including all the NATO troops, the US, Polish, German and Canadian military advisers, the CIA and so on.

After the foreign troops have been withdrawn, the federalization of Ukraine will take place with local independent elections.

Again, the Minsk-2 Agreement is a pure genius document that lays out a road map for a peaceful liberation of Ukraine from the foreign military occupation and the transfer of political and state powers from the hands of foreign agents that took the power as a result of an armed coup, and transfer this power back into the hands of the people.

By this presidential order, Putin demonstrates to all the politicians involved in the Ukrainian crisis that people living on the territory called Ukraine are the club members, and the Western politicians subjecting the people to an endless bloody armed conflict are nothing but hired help gone mad.

In the following days more will be written and said about this presidential executive order. There is no doubt that it was a carefully calculated, timed, and prepared event. Below is the outline of the some steps taken before this degree was signed.

 

We have been waiting for this for so long…

Everyone is ready.

 

  1. Anti-terror forces

On Thursday, February 16th, Vladimir Putin took part in an annual expanded meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Board to discuss the FSB’s results for 2016 and the priority tasks for ensuring Russia’s national security.

“Military-political and economic rivalry between global and regional policy makers and between individual countries has increased.

International terrorist groups, essentially terrorist armies, receiving tacit and sometimes even open support from some countries, take active part in these conflicts.

At the NATO summit last July in Warsaw, Russia was declared the main threat to the alliance for the first time since 1989, and NATO officially proclaimed containing Russia its new mission. It is with this aim that NATO continues its expansion.

They have stepped up the deployment of strategic and conventional arms beyond the national borders of the principal NATO member states.

They are provoking us constantly and are trying to draw us into confrontation.

 We see continued attempts to interfere in our internal affairs in a bid to destabilise the social and political situation in Russia itself.

We also see the recent serious flare-up in southeast Ukraine.

What is more, they (the current Ukrainian authorities) speak openly about organising sabotage and terrorism, particularly in Russia. Obviously, this is a matter of great concern.”

  1. Warning to people to stay home

On the same day, 16 February 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a warning for Russian citizens travelling abroad on the risk of detention or arrest in third countries at the request of US law enforcement agencies or intelligence services

“The US continues the unacceptable practice of ‘hunting’ for Russian citizens around the world.”

“The number of such incidents now exceeds 30. In 2016, four Russian citizens were extradited to the United States: Maxim Senakh, Alexander Sergeyev, and Mikhail Serov from Finland, and Mark Vartanyan from Norway. Among the latest cases, we can cite the recent arrest of Stanislav Lisov in Spain.

We strongly recommend that Russian citizens, when planning travel abroad, weigh up carefully all the risks, especially if they have reason to believe that American law enforcement agencies might have demands in their regard. “

  1. Russia’s ultimatum

On February 18, Speaking at the Munich Security Conference Lavrov said:  Moscow as well will not lift counter-sanctions against the EU until Minsk deal is implemented

In essence, this is Russia’s unilateral sanctions against the EU and US. If the EU and US fail to do anything, there will be more sanctions.

“As our European partners are saying in regard to sanctions, I have already spoken on that matter. Since it is quite illogical and artificial to talk about the formula that Minsk agreements should be implemented by Russia then the European Union will lift sanctions. We also want the Minsk agreements to be implemented and our sanctions against the European Union would not be lifted as well until the Minsk agreements are implemented,” Lavrov said speaking at the Munich Security Conference.

  1. Moscow’s decision has been completely unforeseen and unanticipated

Lavrov didn’t mention the subject of validated IDs of Donbass resident at the Munich Security Conference and he didn’t mention this option during the Normandy Four meeting.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

FMs met on sidelines | Главы МИД “Нормандской четверки” встретились «на полях» Мюнхенской конференции по безопасности

“The decree stated clearly this was made out of humanitarian concerns…until Minsk agreements have been fulfilled. The presidential decree validated IDs of Donbass residents so that they could enter Russia legally and use Russian rail transport and air carriers,” he explained.”

After the eruption of the crisis in Ukraine in 2014, over a million of Donbass residents applied for a refugee status and temporary shelter in Russia. According to Russia’s Federal Migration Service, more than 1 million people fled to Russia following the outbreak of the civil war in Ukraine, of whom approximately 600,000 decided to settle there permanently.

  1. A day before, on February 17th, Plotnitskiy and Aleksandr Zakharchenko made a very important statement

“we decided to implement a programme of humanitarian aid and environmental safety for our brothers and sisters living in Ukraine-controlled Donbass areas. The main guidelines for humanitarian assistance are medical and educational services, payments to veterans and assistance to divided families.

We wish to underscore that humanitarian foundations have been set up to support our fellow countrymen. The programme also envisions joint cultural, educational and sport events involving residents on both sides of the contact line.”

This means that people living on the territory of Donbass that is occupied by junta and foreign supra-national organizations like the EU and NATO will be able to get  the republics IDs, and will be able to travel to Russia visa free for work, education or leisure.

This indicates that the Presidential order concerns not just the Donbass republics but an entire population of Ukraine.

Executive Order on recognising documents issued to Ukrainian citizens and stateless persons living in certain districts of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions

Being guided by universally recognised principles and standards of the international humanitarian law and in order to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals, the President has resolved that temporarily, during the political settlement period of the crisis in certain districts of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions pursuant to the Minsk Agreements, personal identification documents, education and (or) qualification certificates, birth certificates, marriage, divorce, name change and death certificates, vehicle registration certificates, and vehicle registration plates issued by the corresponding authorities (organisations), valid in the specified district, will be recognised in the Russian Federation as valid for Ukrainian citizens and stateless persons permanently residing in those areas.

Pursuant to the Executive Order, Ukrainian citizens and stateless persons permanently residing in certain districts of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions can enter and leave the Russian Federation without applying for visas upon showing identification documents (birth certificates for children under the age of 16), issued by the corresponding authorities which are valid in the said districts.

The Government of the Russian Federation has been instructed to take the necessary measures to implement this Executive Order.

The Executive Order will come into effect upon its signing.

A few additional points

  1. On February 18th, the Red Star military TV channel posted two videos of what is a clear message from the Defense ministry that MIG-31 is able to fly in stratosphere and to shoot down satellites and ballistic missiles with R33 missiles.

This fighter jet is fully battle ready, it takes them about 7.5 minutes to reach the stratosphere

That’s how the Russian pilots see the earth from 21,500 meters at the speed of 2,500 k/h 

 

  1. Denazification of Ukraine is going at steady path: Ukrainian news sources report that in Munich airport Interpol arrested former commander of the punitive armed formation 11th battalion “Kievskaya Rus” Yuriy Starov. He was detained following the Simferopol court decision, on the charges brought up by FSB against Mr. Starov in relations to his activities during the war on Donbass. He is fighting an extradition, but it looks like the Kiev authorities won’t be able to prevent Germany from extraditing him to Russia, since as a  Crimean he is considered to be a citizen of Russia.
  2. If you are looking for a precedent, the South Ossetia and Georgia come to mind:

“Plainly speaking, Putin sent a wire to Poroshenko, with simple and clear message, “Peter, dot. Remember the South Ossetia, dot. Take care of yourself, dot. Putin, dot.” Upon hearing about this decree, I immediately imagined future developments, based on the experience of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict. Georgia  had “experimented” with the population of South Ossetia prior to the Russian intervention, and tried to “experiment” after, but not for long. It all had started when Russia and South Ossetia signed an agreement on the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, which implicitly recognized the Republic, and it ended with the Russian troops responding to the direct aggression of Georgia, after which Russia recognized the South Ossetia and Abkhazia. However, in this scenario, Russia didn’t have a need to recognize passports of the South Ossetia, which the Republic started issuing in 2006, as all the residents of the republic at that time have already had the Russian passports.”

Veritas:Meanwhile Porkie invites VP Pence to come to Ukraine and whines about what the Russians are doing in Donbass. The “Normandy 4” all agree steps and again the whinney FM of Ukrnazi land dismisses the meeting to Reuters as soon as he leaves……well I suppose they have insane McCain to keep them warm at night!

The Kulak: “I still think Putin has the radar data showing a (Georgian) Air Force SU25KM, likely with a Georgian pilot, ambushing the airline after being vectored to it from a controller on the ground, most likely at the Dnepro tower controlled by Ihor Kholomoisky. This is why he is acting as if he has a ‘Trump card’ pun intended in the coming negotiations with the Trump Admin over Ukraine.

Someone who did not wouldn’t double down or take a tougher negotiating line as they did over the Munich Security Conference weekend by announcing LDNR citizens will now have their documents recognized in the RF, which of course is a preliminary step as everyone understands to giving Donetsk or Lugansk residents Russian passports. The kompromat Putin has on the false flag group that carried out MH17 (with clear coordination with the CIA, if not direct Langley involvement for deniability purposes, since the CIA’s people orchestrated the media hate campaign that was prepackaged as it were) is along with the Polish/Right Sector combined team Maidan snipers IDs and other Russian SIGINT we don’t know of the ‘high card’ in the coming talks.

Per the Kulak: John Helmer: US Navy releasing no pics/video of latest SU24 flyby incident in Black Sea, USS Porter may’ve been closer to Crimea than USN admits

“The US nuclear-armed missile destroyer, USS Porter, was steaming full-speed across the Black Sea in the direction of the Russian coastline, its Tomahawk firing radars activated, when a Russian airborne signals reconnaissance aircraft and three SU-24 fighter-bombers arrived in three waves. The US European Command headquarters in Stuttgart announced that the incidents had occurred on Tuesday, February 14, calling the Russian flights “unsafe and unprofessional”, putting the vessel and the militaries of the US and Russia at risk of “accident or miscalculation.”  The Pentagon repeated the exact words after daylight broke on the same day in Washington. But that was four days after the incidents had  actually taken place on Friday, February 10. The Russian Defense Ministry replied in the Moscow evening of February 14 that there “were no incidents”.”

This is how NATO ends:  Not with a bang but a whimper

This is how NATO ends: with the quiet shuttering of an irrelevant Brussels office building in September 2020. http://atfp.co/2l3rnuY 

Scott Humor

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Top 3 lies told by Insane McCain @SenJohnMcCain at the Munich Security Conference

Top 3 lies told by Insane McCain at the Munich Security Conference

At the Munich Security Conference, US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) used the stage to deride President Trump, tell tall tales about the Russian aggression, and declare the West’s superiority over everyone else.

This neocon warmonger is showing no signs of lighting up. While a member of the Republican Party, Insane McCain is acting more and more like Crooked Hillary on steroids.

“Russians are killing Ukrainians every single day. They are killing them!”

In this emotional outburst, McCain was talking about Ukraine’s Civil War in the east, which he falsely presents as a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Neither McCain nor anyone else, who has been running with this narrative, ever provided any hard evidence of Russian military presence in Ukraine’s breakaway region of Donbass (also known as the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk).

Ukrainians are in fact dying every single day but as a result of Kiev’s own armed aggression against its people in a part of the country that never recognized the 2014 armed and Western-backed coup d’etat, which ousted Ukraine’s legitimately elected President Viktor Yanukovich and installed an even more corrupt anti-Russian regime, infested with neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists.

“The unprecedented period of security and prosperity that we have enjoyed for the past seven decades happened because we backed our values with power and persevered in their defense.”

Not quite. First of all, from the end of World War II in 1945 up until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 (four and a half decades), the world was kept safe as a result of a strategic balance of power in a bipolar world order in which the United States and the Soviet Union, while adversaries, kept each other in check.

The attribution of security and prosperity during this period to the backing of Western values is simply not true since over half of the world at the time did not believe in, and in fact, was in a struggle against those values.

As for the post-Soviet period, which spans two and a half decades from 1991 to today, it can hardly be characterized as secure and prosperous. Yet this was the period of America’s unipolar moment and a time when, as McCain rightly noted, the West backed its values with power (in other words – bombed, invaded, and coerced against those who did not willingly embrace those values).

What was the result? Increased conflicts, destruction, and poverty around the world. The decline of living standards across the Western world and a refugee crisis unseen in decades. Not to mention the rise of radical Islamic terrorism – a plague the world has not witnessed since the defeat of Nazism in World War II.

“The west is based not on spheres of influence or conquest of the weak by the strong, but rather on universal values, rule of law, open commerce, and respect for national sovereignty and independence.”

No spheres of influence? That’s a good one, John. What about the American century and US hegemony? What about the US military bases all around the world? And how about NATO’s expansion eastward? All of the above were clear signs of the US and West’s expansion of its spheres of influence.

No conquest of the weak by the strong and respect for national sovereignty? Then how do you explain the West’s military invasions as well as support for regime change operations in countries around the world? Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afganistan, Libya, Georgia, Syria, and Ukraine are just a few examples from a long list of US and NATO interventions over the last two decades.

Rule of law and open commerce? Is that when contrary to the rules and spirit of the World Trade Organization and the UN, the US and its EU allies impose sanctions against countries that they don’t particularly like, including their competitors, in order to place them at an economic and technological disadvantage or punish for daring to stand in opposition?

The bottom line is that all of the above are applied only when they are convenient for the West. Whenever a non-Western power attempts to use these same principles to challenge the West or promote own national interests, it quickly finds itself face to face with double standards, or worse.

We Are Living in a ‘Post-Truth’ Era

lavrov21

By Richard Edmondson

Recently Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made an interesting comment. He described the time we are living in as a “post-truth” era. It’s a very apt, on-target description.

Lavrov made the comment at the Munich Security Conference, held February 17-19 in Munich, Germany. In his remarks at the gathering he spoke of the need for nations to seek harmony by advancing justice and also by practicing “modesty,” as he termed it. It’s hard to find fault with such a proposal.

“If everyone adopts that approach,” said Lavrov, “we could overcome the period of post-truth fast and resist information wars imposed on the international community.”

“Information wars” in a “post-truth” era–this of course is what we are experiencing now.

Lavrov also said that the expansion of NATO “has led to an unprecedented level of tension over the last 30 years in Europe,” and yet Russia now nonetheless seeks a relationship with the US based upon “pragmatism, mutual respect, and an understanding of special responsibility for global stability.”

Compare Lavrov’s remarks to those of Vice President Mike Pence, who represented America at the conference. Pence alluded to President Trump’s desire for better relations with Russia, but at the same time he also adopted a belligerent tone, calling for Russia to be held “accountable” for events in Ukraine.

“In regard to Ukraine we must hold Russia accountable and demand that they honor the Minsk agreements, beginning by deescalating the violence in eastern Ukraine,” Pence said.

He also spoke of “Russia’s efforts to redraw international borders by force,” an apparent reference to the alleged “forced annexation” of Crimea. Despite claims perpetually made by the media in this post-truth era, Crimea was not annexed by force. A referendum was held there on March 16, 2014 in which more than 96 percent of the people voted to join Russia. The referendum took place after the US had sponsored a coup in Kiev, overthrowing the legitimate, democratically-elected government.

One wonders: does Pence believe the US should be held “accountable” for organizing the coup which triggered the Ukrainian conflict in the first place? Apparently he does not.

Another US speaker at the conference in Munich was Sen. John McCain, who discussed what he views as the indispensable role that America and the rest of the West have played in advancing “truth,” and in advancing the current global order as well as the “prosperity” that the West now supposedly enjoys.

“We must take our own side in this fight,” said McCain. “We must be vigilant. We must persevere. And through it all, we must never, never cease to believe in the moral superiority of our own values—that we stand for truth against falsehood, freedom against tyranny, right against injustice, hope against despair.”

McCain made no mention of America’s shameful support for terrorists in Syria, and it defies logic of course to describe the US, whose mainstream media are widely recognized as the number one purveyors of fake news, as standing “for truth against falsehood” in today’s world.

The Arizona senator also described the West as having ushered in an “unprecedented period of security and prosperity that we have enjoyed for the past seven decades”–and of course for the wealthiest one percent, we are, no doubt about it, in an “unprecedented” period of prosperity. But the unemployment rolls and the numbers of homeless people on the streets of America would suggest that the “prosperity” has not been enjoyed by all. McCain may not be “certified,” as such, but he does appear to be a fully-fledged lunatic.

The unprecedented period of security and prosperity that we have enjoyed for the past seven decades did not happen by accident. It happened not only because of the appeal of our values, but because we backed them with our power and persevered in their defense. Our predecessors did not believe in the end of history—or that it bends, inevitably, toward justice. That is up to us. That requires our persistent, painstaking effort. And that is why we come to Munich, year after year after year.

McCain objectified his laudatory comments in terms of “the West,” for of course he was speaking at a conference held in the EU. But in his use of the words “we” and “us,” what he really meant was America. America is the “indispensable” and “exceptional” nation–this is the ideology relentlessly, one might even say fanatically, adhered to by US leaders and the mainstream media.

So it seems that while we get truth out of a Russian official like Lavrov, we get delusions, reverie, fantasy, and outright lies from our own leaders. Americans, I would say for the most part, are good, decent people. How did we end up in this fix?

Perhaps worth recalling are the words of Jesus: “The last will be first, and the first will be last.” If that principle applies to nations as well as to individuals, then the implications for America are not good.

By the way, those words–about the last becoming first and the first becoming last–appear in one form or another in Matthew 19:30 and again in 20:16, as well as in Mark 10:31 and Luke 13:30. Additionally, in Luke 9:48 we have Jesus telling his disciples that, “the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest,” this after overhearing them arguing about which one was to become the “greatest.”

And let us not forget also the episode related in the Gospel of John of Jesus washing his disciple’s feet. What we can conclude, then, is that the practicing of humility was a central tenet of Jesus’ teachings. Perhaps little wonder that Jesus was not terribly popular with his fellow Jews. Jewish “exceptionalism” (or more specifically “chosenness”) was, and still is, a central component of Judaic belief.

And yes, what we have in America are leaders who, rather than practice humility, spout boastful words like McCain’s. Thus it should come as no surprise we now find ourselves in a “post-truth” era. After all, boasting and lying are two human traits which go very much hand in hand.

I often wonder when, if ever, we will have a leader who will make Americans proud to be Americans again. Sadly it has been a very long time since we had one.

There’s a Deep State in America?!

February 18, 2017

by Ramin Mazaheri

There’s a Deep State in America?!

Imagine my surprise when, on my flight back from San Francisco to New York, that’s what my trusty New York Times revealed to me.

My first thought was: I can’t believe how this horrible Donald Trump has set up a Deep State in less than a month?!

Surely Russia was involved in its formation.

Then again, I strangely find myself thinking a lot about Russia these days. I’ll admit it – when my morning breakfast was late it fleetingly occurred to me that the Kremlin was behind this slowdown in my hotel room service.

Putting that aside, I was immediately relieved when by the 3rd paragraph our nation’s paper of record had put to rest my fears of an unprecedented formation of a US Deep State with, “Not quite, experts say….”

Whew.

I just don’t put anything past the evil capabilities of the Donald!

Reading the article I was surprised to find that the Deep State isn’t what I thought it was – apparently it’s only when the government leaks information to the media?

That’s funny, because one time on the SF-NYC “Job Creator Red-eye” I sat next to an Egyptian guy. Of course I was worried, at first, but I found out it he was a Coptic Christian, so that put me at ease. Who even knew they had those?!

This Egyptian told me about his country’s Deep State, and it sounded really bad:

He said that they colluded with “some Western countries” – he didn’t say which and looked kind of uncomfortable as he said it, for some reason – to stop that great Tahrir Square Revolution which was to guarantee that Israel would be safe.

“Mr. Gypsy” said that the Egyptian version of the Deep State was that their military controlled the economy, and that they bribed, imprisoned and killed people to keep their grip on the economy and control over foreign policy.

It sounded pretty bad.

I told him I was happy that Washington was supporting Al-Sisi’s military takeover with billions in aid, and that he didn’t have to thank me personally for that.

A “military” intertwined with the “economy”…I must admit, it did make me think.

Of Russia! I’m nearly certain that Putin created something similar over thereafter he banned elections, so why even verify it with some research?!

But this Egyptian must not have known what he was talking about, because the New York Times article didn’t say anything about the economy?

What they said was:

“Mr. Trump, apparently seeking to cut the intelligence community, State Department, and other agencies out of the policy-making process almost entirely, may have triggered a conflict whose escalation we are seeing in the rising number of leaks.”

Officials, deprived of the usual levers for shaping policies that are supposed to be their purview, are left with little other than leaking.”

Trump was clearly trying to cut public officials out of the democratic process, and they had no choice but to resort to these “illegal” leaks!

I mean, I’m pretty sure you don’t get elected to be a CIA spy or NSA agent, but somebody up top is and…well, I don’t know if they did the leaks…and I don’t know if the leaks are really true or not…but I’m telling you – we have to get Donald out NOW!

Anything that’s bad for Trump must be good. It’s really that simple, so case closed.

“We’re in a world now where the president is playing to the edge of his powers, and I think there are real concerns about the constitutional implications of some of the actions he’s taken,” said somebody who must be totally objective and perfect because why else would the New York Times choose them?

If there’s one thing Obama never, ever, ever did it was to expand his executive authority in ways unbeseeming to the presidential authority.

If Obama had done that, I would have been in the streets, you can bet! Trust me: I have my anti-Trump “pussy hat” in my closet and ready for the next protest!

Don’t bring up “drones”! You’ll just remind me of this guy at work nobody understands – Fazlollah “Lefty” Bittermani – he’s always doing that!

Between you and me, his last name ends in a vowel, so…you know….he may have certain sympathies. That guy really cheeses me off!

What Lefty doesn’t realize is that we are at war – not with Russia, yet – but with – not Muslims – but with…certain people, let’s just say. And the president has the right to fight war however he wants.

But when it comes to waging diplomacy the president must be restricted as much as possible!

We refuse to accept Hillary’s defeat until the Russians give back the Donbass to the Crimeans! This is simply a question of our humanitarian rights!

Trump is trying to make a liar out of not just Hillary, but of Sylvester Stallone and “Rocky IV” – even when the Russians cheat they are still supposed to lose to the Americans!

Was I back on Russia again? I don’t know…I’m like, obsessed with them, or something?

Back to the New York Times, which always reassures me when contradictions confuse me. Just after that last quote they wrote this:

That has forced officials in agencies to ask how far they will go themselves. As each side begins to perceive itself as under attack and the other as making dangerous power-grabs, it will justify more and more extreme behavior.

So clearly, these officials are justified more and more in extreme behavior…because it’s Trump!

I really wish we had some of these great, extreme officials during the Dubya era, but why bring up ancient history?

One thing is certain: During just four weeks in office Trump has clearly destroyed the culture and future of the United States and must be impeached. These officials – even if they are unelected – should absolutely not be listening to their elected leader!

Why? Well just read the next paragraph, another unassailable analyst of the Times:

“In President Trump, you have a president whose behavior shocks even more than the content of his policies.”

Yes! Behavior, not content!

I was telling my son this recently: He came in 19th place in a recent science competition (but out of 24!), and he was upset that his blue ribbon wasn’t an actual trophy.

I told him, “Son, I’m going to buy you that trophy because your behavior was correct, even if you totally screwed up measuring the contents of your volcano experiment, and it exploded and burned the girl next to you.”

I think the girl was Russian, anyway. She was certainly shocked.

Anyway, the Times goes on to say that now this dangerous Trump wants to appoint someone to review our intelligence agencies. Astounding, the gall of this man! I really think he’s psychologically insane.

“It looks, sounds and feels like a political witch hunt,” said Analyst #1 (the White one, not the Egyptian one). “It’s like pouring gasoline on the fire.”

It certainly does!

What else do you call our top elected official trying to find out what work is being illegally done in secret with taxpayer money?

I am certain this is something Putin would do with his KGB.

And that’s why Russia is not free – because the KGB cannot operate freely to undermine Putin’s attempts at diplomacy!

Don’t tell me I’m wrong, comrade!

“Mr. Flynn, in his short tenure, exemplified the breakdown between the president’s inner circle and career civil servants. He kept the National Security Council largely shut out of policy-making and sought sweeping changes in foreign policy.”

This is the US, not the USSR! Our career bureaucrats need to be in charge, not our elected officials!

Trump simply cannot make sweeping changes to foreign policy – even if he was democratically elected on that mandate – because career civil servants should run the show!

The next paragraph:

“For concerned government officials, leaks may have become one of the few remaining means by which to influence not just Mr. Flynn’s policy initiatives but the threat he seemed to pose to their place in democracy.”

Democracy is bureaucracy!

You vote for a person, they appoint an official, the person you voted for gets voted out of office, but the appointed official stays forever and amasses power – democracy!

I tried to explain this to that Egyptian guy, but he said,

“Then what’s the point of demonstrating and facing down gun barrels if the people can’t demand change?”

I kept telling him:

“But Israel is fine these days? Tahrir worked out great!”

He didn’t get it.

Anyway, Egypt is not the country who is threatening American democracy, and I don’t have to tell you who is, because I’ve just taken that pill that helps me with my compulsive psychological issues.

The Times continued:

Even if each individual leak is justifiable, as insubordination becomes more sustained and overt, it inches deeper into the gray zone of counter-democratic activities.

I already had the feeling that every anti-Trump leaks was justifiable, and that we are still many, many inches away from counter-democracy, so thanks Gray Lady! I almost had to take that other pill for my anxiety!

And “insubordination” is clearly justified because, as I said, in 4 weeks Trump has already proven himself to be a new Hitler! Don’t get me started on Steve Bannon!

“I don’t think you can say in advance what inappropriate deep-state activity would look like, because we haven’t seen this before,” said Analyst #1.

Exactly – this is a totally new day, and this was all appropriate deep-state activity. We’ve never seen anything like this in the history of the world, much less America.

I told this to Lefty back at work and he started ranting about Kennedy. I totally did not see what Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy had to do with this, but who can fathom what goes on in the mind of a Fazlollah?

The main thing is that we get Trump before he does damage to free trade, because my corporation and all businesses are totally helpless against the government.

They have no influence at all…unlike Egypt.

“There, ‘the deep state is not official institutions rebelling,’ he said, but rather ‘shadowy networks within those institutions, and within business, who are conspiring together and forming parallel state institutions.’”

We all know that there is absolutely nothing like this which is happening in America.

And that’s why the idea of business being involved in America’s Deep State did not appear until the 7th-to-last paragraph. I almost didn’t read that far!

And that’s why the New York Times finished on this heartening note:

“This war between the intelligence community and the White House is bad for the intelligence community, bad for the White House, and bad for the nation’s security.”

See? Our so-called Deep State has nothing to do with business. The New York Times is right next to Wall Street, so they would surely know, right?

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to make a call to the Pentagon for my work.

No, I’m in defense contracting or anything, but the Pentagon is the world’s largest employer…hard to work around them in the United States!

And the profit margins – wow!

I’m so glad our owners had a personal contact in there.

Frankly, I thought the New York Times’ headline was a bit too alarmist: “As Leaks Multiply, Fears of a ‘Deep State’ in America”.

But I’m glad they immediately put those fears to rest.

With that content, I would have run a headline like: “Internal leaks justified as Trump could affect share prices”.

I think that would have been more accurate.

Frankly I’m a bit surprised such a non-story could bump Russia off the front page?

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

Trump dreams vs Trump reality – hopes still permitted!

February 19, 2017

Trump dreams vs Trump reality – hopes still permitted!

This article was written for the Unz Review 

For a lot of Trump supporters the past week has been a painful one. Whether we chose to react with abject panic or pretended like nothing happened, something did happen and it was something big: the Tree Letter Agencies pulled-off a de facto coup against Donald Trump by forcing him to fire his most important foreign policy advisor and the man who had dared to declare that he wanted to reform the bloated and largely ineffective US intelligence community.

There is no way of putting a brave face on what happened. Not only because it showed that Trump is not loyal to those who are loyal to him, but because this episode pretty much killed what I would call the “Trump dream”. I chose my words carefully here. I speak of “Trump dream” as opposed to the Trump reality. Let me explain.

The “Trump dream”

When Trump won the elections the spectrum of hopes about his actions was very wide. It ranged from “Trump will forever reshape the international system, end the Empire and bring peace and prosperity to the USA” to “he will never be as bad as Hillary no matter what he does”. On that spectrum, here is what I would list as the key elements of the “Trump dream”:

  1. Draining the swamp: kicking the Neocons down to the basement they crawled out of 24 years ago, reforming the US intelligence community, possibly even dissolving the CIA or, at the very least, subordinating it, and the JCS, to the President.
  2. Making peace with Russia and negotiate a “grand bargain” which would clearly spell out how the USA and Russia would act towards each other and jointly against common threats. At the very least, this would imply an agreement on the Ukraine and Syria.
  3. Work with Russia to create a new European security system which would keep NATO as a political organization, but which would “dilute it” into a new security framework ranging from Portugal to the Ural mountains and which would include a 21st century version of the Conventional Forces Europe treaty.
  4. Stop pouring billions of dollars into the Empire and redirect the immense resources currently wasted on war, aggression and subversion back into the United States and their decaying infrastructure, medical care, education, small business, etc. Until now, the main profitable sectors of the US economy were either the military-industrial complex or finance. The hope was that Trump would kick-start the “real” economy: the production of goods and services.
  5. End what I would call the “dictatorship of the minorities” and replace it with a restoration of the sovereignty of the majority of the American people over their country. The “Rachel Maddows” who used to be the “ideological masters” of the AngloZionist regime would be gently ushered towards the doors and replaced by people most Americans could identify with.
  6. Law and order would be restored to the USA and the uncontrolled flow of immigrants would finally be regulated at least to some degree.
  7. Last, but most definitely not least, Trump would not act on this stupid, counter-productive and self-defeating Iran-bashing and China-bashing rhetoric. Remember – what I am listing here is not a realistic evaluation of what Trump might do once in power, but what I deliberately called the “Trump dream” with emphasis on the second word. Sure, there might be those who wanted Trump to deliver on his threats and possibly even start a war with Iran or China, but I have not met them. (Then again, these are not people I like to be around). Again, this is my, subjective and personal outline of what I think many (most?) Trump supporters were dreaming about, nothing more.

Following the past week, I would say that, for the most part, this dream is now over, especially points 1,2,3 and 5, points 6 and 7 are on life support and only 4 is having of chills and a runny nose but might still live.

They key, of course, is point 1: draining the swamp. In other words, wrestling the power away from the Neocons and the US ‘deep state’ and putting it back where it belongs: in the hands of a President with a mandate of a majority of the American people. That is, alas, the biggest loss we all suffered last week: the man who was supposed to drain the swamp got a humiliating smack-down by a deep state drunk on its own infinite chutzpah. The biggest deal is not that Flynn was sacked, although that is a big deal, but the fact that the deep state forced Trump into publicly betraying Flynn and sacking him instead of those who were involved in this palace coup (including Pence himself).

What the deep state demonstrated this week is that everybody in the Executive Branch serves not at the pleasure of the President, but at the pleasure of the deep state, including probably Donald Trump himself.

By terminating Trump’s #2 the Neocons have now shown the world that everybody else (#3, #4, etc.) and possibly #1 are all here only to the extend that they, the Neocons, let them. I am personally convinced that unless Donald Trump finds in himself the courage to mount a major counter-attack, the Neocons will find a way of kicking him out out the White House before his term ends. That is typically their style: sending “messages” and “making an example”.

If Trump “behaves” they might, possibly, let him do a little of points #6 (law and order) and #4 (redirecting some money to the US homeland). As for point #7 (Iran and China bashing), that is the only part of his program which they will enthusiastically support (thereby also ending the dream of him not acting on that crazy nonsense).

So yeah, this is bad, and barring a miracle, the dream is really over.

However, let’s put that right back in perspective.

The Trump reality

If the *dream* is over, that is hardly a reason to become despondent or to claim that supporting Trump was a mistake. Please always keep in mind what the alternative was: Hillary Clinton.

One of my favorite Russian commentators, Ruslan Ostashko, brilliantly put it when he said:

Not a single rational person was expecting Trump to display true friendship or love for Russia or an immediate recognition of Crimea (as part of Russia). Our joy at the election of Trump was linked to a single factor: with Clinton we would had no chances, none at all, to agree on anything. If Clinton was now sitting in the White House we would not be discussing the issue of the recognition of Crimea or the future of US sanctions. We would be trying to guess when the nuclear war would start, we would be studying our bomb shelter maps, how to use a Geiger counter, and how to count the correct dosage for iodine tablets.

He is absolutely right, of course. This is also exactly what I wrote on November 9th following the election:

So it has happened: Hillary did not win! I say that instead of saying that “Trump won” because I consider the former even more important than the latter. Why? Because I have no idea whatsoever what Trump will do next. I do, however, have an excellent idea of what Hillary would have done: war with Russia. Trump most likely won’t do that.

I never was a “Trump dreamer”. I was merely a Trump *hoper* meaning that I had hopes that Trump would not only be better than Hillary, but that he might deliver on, at least, some of his “dream” message.

But if the choice is the Neocons humiliating Trump or thermonuclear war – then I pick the former, with gratitude.

Furthermore, however unpleasant this thought might be to many Americans, it is an undeniable fact that the United States are currently the host upon which the AngloZionist parasite feeds and which this parasite uses to try to subjugate the entire planet.

What is happening now is that the Neocons and the deep state have succeeded in re-taking control of their host, but only at the cost of a major weakening of that host. And that is objectively good for our planet. Just as the coup in Turkey ended up gutting the military and security services and dramatically curtailing their ability to influence the events in Syria (this is, in part, why Erdogan is now playing ball with the Russians and the Iranians), the ongoing color revolution against Trump is gutting the power of the American host and, thus, of the AngloZionist parasite. For one thing, the entire political establishment is so deeply involved in the struggle for power inside the USA, that very little bureaucratic energy is left to deal with anything else. Furthermore, in political terms, the “indispensable nation” and “city upon the hill” are now the laughingstock of the planet. The next time around some State Department propagandist starts regurgitating the usual chunk of propaganda prolefeed about democracy, human right and fair elections he will be greeted with a hysterical laughter and screams of “physician, heal thyself!!”. And, frankly, God only knows where this process might lead us next. I, for one, would absolutely not exclude the possibility of civil war in the USA. And before that statement gets greeted with jeers and the usual set of ad hominems, let me remind you that I predicted the civil war in the Ukraine when almost everybody else was in total denial (see: The gates of Hell are opening for the Ukraine, written on Nov 20th, 2013). At this point in time, I am not predicting a civil war in the USA, but I am saying that it has become a real possibility.

Civil war or not, all the Neocons and the deep state are doing is accelerating the inevitable collapse of the USA as a world hegemon. True, Trump could not have prevented it, but he could have negotiated it, using the still immense power of the USA to get the best possible deal from the other big actors. If a person falls off a skyscraper, there is no way of preventing him of hitting the ground – but whether he has a parachute or not will make a huge difference to him on how he will land. That is what Trump could have done – making a “descent on the breaks” as the Russians expression goes. The skills to make that happen are straightforward: realism, willingness to negotiate, ability to understand the other guy, the courage to give up that which is not sustainable, etc. That is the exact skillset that the Neocons totally lack. What they can do is double-down, then double-down again, and then double-down some more. And that kind of maniacal attitude always leads to catastrophe.

Whatever may be the case, the big story for the foreseeable future will be the infighting inside the US deep state. Why infighting? Because Trump is also part of the deep state, he did just suddenly pop out of nowhere ex nihilo, he had, and still has, powerful backers. That’s the, comparatively speaking, the good news. The bad news is that the faction of the deep state which is backing Trump appears to be the weaker one. And Trump himself is not exactly a knight in shining armor, to put it mildly. Still, if we imagine that by some aggregate measure of power the anti-Trump forces inside the deep state are, oh, 70% and the Trump supporters are therefore 30%, the infighting between the 70% and the 30% will leave very little energy to either party to deal with Russia, China or Iran.

It is a sweet irony that the big proponents of divide et impera did just that to themselves, is it not?

Conclusion

It is way too early to become despondent. Yes, the “Trump dream” is probably over, it was beautiful as long as it lasted, but now the “Trump reality” is taking center stage and we all need to learn how to operate in this new context. We need to carefully and systematically study this new reality and carefully parse it for all the risk and opportunities it presents us with. And there are a lot of great opportunities, along with very real risks, to be discovered. Just the fact that the leaders of the Empire have turned against each other is a God sent blessing! Let’s use that to the max.

Coincidence or not, but the Duran is reporting that the Chairman of the JCS, General Joe Dunford, and General Valery Gerasimov, the Chief of the Russian military’s General Staff have met in Baku. This is the first such meeting since January 2014 and it took place in a “cordial atmosphere”. In fact, Dunford reassured Gerasimov that there are in fact no plans to deploy US ground troops to Syria (there are, of course, already several thousand US troops on the ground in Syria, both sides know that, but both sides also know what Dunford is referring to: regular armed forces).

Can you imagine such a meeting under Hillary?

What happened is really simple. With the election of Trump, the Neocons suffered a crushing defeat and it took them less than a month to regroup castrate Trump. This is bad and the “Trump dream” is over. But we – the resistance to Empire, as still in very good shape. After all, Trump was never *our* candidate, he was the candidate of the part of the deep state which we, opponents of the US deep state in toto, supported as a lesser evil: and we were right – he was and he still is the lesser evil. Furthermore, the party which really lost the most is the Trump-supporting part of the deep state, and they now enough power left (10, 30 or 45 percent – that does not really matter) to regroup and fight back. And if/when they do fight back, we still have to give them our support simply because that is the moral and pragmatic thing to do. Right now, Trump looks like Yanukovich, true. But I think that he is also a far smarter and much more honorable person than Yanukovich. Call me naïve, but my gut feeling is that Trump cares for the USA and that he wants to do the right thing. I might be wrong, of course. But at least so far I do not see the clear signs of the total rot and corruption which Yanukovich has all over his face. Furthermore, Trump appears to be learning. That is very important. In his latest press conference Trump finally finally showed some real guts and counter-attacked the media, very effectively I would say. And remember how fast Trump learned from his first defeat in the debate against Hillary? Trump might be a fast learner and if that is really the case, then he might learn some most useful lessons from the entire Flynn debacle.

Hopes still permitted 🙂

So hopes are still permitted. Not expectations – those are always bad. But reasonable, reality-compatible hopes. Like all humans, politicians change. If the Neocons don’t succeed in impeaching him, Trump might still end up kicking some ass, so to speak. And if they do impeach him, they will further weaken the Empire. So, all in all, I would say that while we had a very bad week we are still on good shape.

The Saker

BHL, the Ukraine and the Russian bear (priceless!)

February 16, 2017

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Vladimir Putin’s statement at the annual meeting of the FSB

 

February 16, 2017

Vladimir Putin took part in an annual expanded meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Board to discuss the FSB’s results for 2016 and the priority tasks for ensuring Russia’s national security.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.

These annual FSB Board meetings give us a chance to meet and not only thoroughly analyse and review the results of the agency’s work over the period, but also to discuss at length all important national security issues in general and outline the priorities for the immediate future and the longer-term.

The FSB plays a key part in protecting our constitutional order and our country’s sovereignty, and in protecting our people from threats at home and abroad.

Let me say from the start that last year’s results were positive and show good development. This concerns your work to counter terrorism and extremism, a series of successful counterintelligence operations, your efforts to combat economic crime, and other areas.

You ensured a high standard of security for major public events, including the State Duma election and regional and local elections.

I would like to thank both the executives and staff for their conscientious attitude towards their work and their timely and efficient performance of their duties.

At the same time, demands on the quality and results of your work grow constantly. The global situation has not become any more stable or better over the past year. On the contrary, many existing threats and challenges have only become more acute.

Military-political and economic rivalry between global and regional policy makers and between individual countries has increased. We see bloody conflicts continue in a number of countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. International terrorist groups, essentially terrorist armies, receiving tacit and sometimes even open support from some countries, take active part in these conflicts.

At the NATO summit last July in Warsaw, Russia was declared the main threat to the alliance for the first time since 1989, and NATO officially proclaimed containing Russia its new mission. It is with this aim that NATO continues its expansion. This expansion was already underway earlier, but now they believe they have more serious reasons for doing so. They have stepped up the deployment of strategic and conventional arms beyond the national borders of the principal NATO member states.

They are provoking us constantly and are trying to draw us into confrontation. We see continued attempts to interfere in our internal affairs in a bid to destabilise the social and political situation in Russia itself.

We also see the recent serious flare-up in southeast Ukraine. This escalation pursues the clear aim of preventing the Minsk Agreements from going ahead. The current Ukrainian authorities are obviously not seeking a peaceful solution to this very complex problem and have decided to opt for the use of force instead. What is more, they speak openly about organizing sabotage and terrorism, particularly in Russia. Obviously, this is a matter of great concern.

The events and circumstances I have mentioned require our security and intelligence services, especially the Federal Security Service, to concentrate their utmost attention and effort on the paramount task of fighting terrorism.

We have already seen that our intelligence services dealt some serious blows to terrorists and their accomplices. Last year’s results confirm this: the number of terrorism related crimes has decreased.

Preventive work has also brought results. The FSB and other security agencies, with the National Antiterrorist Committee acting as coordinator, prevented 45 terrorism related crimes, including 16 planned terrorist attacks. You deserve special gratitude for this.

You need to continue your active efforts to identify and block terrorist groups’ activity, eliminate their financial base, prevent the activities of their emissaries from abroad and their dangerous activity on the Internet, and take into account in this work Russian and international experience in this area.

The murder of our ambassador to Turkey was a terrible crime that particularly highlighted the need to protect our citizens and missions abroad. I ask you to work together with the Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Intelligence Service to take additional measures to ensure their safety.

You must also work to take our counterterrorism cooperation with partners abroad to a new level, despite the difficulties that we see in various areas of international life. It is a priority, of course, to intensify work with our partners in organisations such as the UN, the CSTO, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

It is in our common interests to restore dialogue with the US intelligence services and with other NATO member countries. It is not our fault that these ties were broken off and are not developing. It is very clear that all responsible countries and international groups should work together on counterterrorism, because even simply exchanging information on terrorists’ financing channels and sources and on people involved in or suspected of links with terrorism can substantially improve the results of our common efforts.

Our priorities include firmly suppressing extremism. Security methods must go hand-in-hand with constant prevention work. It is essential to prevent extremism from drawing young people into its criminal networks, and to form an overall firm rejection of nationalism, xenophobia, and aggressive radicalism. In this context, of great importance is open dialogue with civil society institutions and representatives of Russia’s traditional religions.

Counterintelligence services also face greater demands today. Operational data show that foreign intelligence services’ activity in Russia has not decreased. Last year, our counterintelligence services put a stop to the work of 53 foreign intelligence officers and 386 agents.

It is important to neutralise foreign intelligence services’ efforts to gain access to confidential information, particularly information concerning our military-technical capabilities.

This makes it a priority to improve our system for protecting classified information comprising state secrets, particularly with agencies going over to an electronic document circulation system.

I would like to note that the number of cyberattacks on official information resources tripled in 2016 compared to 2015. In this context, each agency must develop its segment of the state system for detecting and preventing cyberattacks on information resources and eliminating their consequences.

The public expects greater results in such key areas as economic security and the fight against corruption. I ask you to be particularly thorough in monitoring the funds allocated for state defence procurement (a subject I have spoken about before), major infrastructure projects, preparation of big international events, and implementing federal targeted and socially important programmes. Regrettably, we still see many cases of state funds being embezzled or misappropriated.

Reliable protection of our state borders plays a big part in ensuring our country’s comprehensive security. The priority here is to close off channels through which members of international terrorist and extremist groups enter Russia, and put a firm stop to all forms of smuggling, from weapons to drugs and various bio-resources.

Of course, we must continue the work to develop border infrastructure where it is not yet sufficiently developed, particularly in the Far East and in the Arctic.

Colleagues, let me stress that we will continue to bolster the FSB’s central and regional branches and ensure you have the most advanced arms and equipment. We will also continue to give attention to social provisions for FSB personnel and their family members.

I wish you success in protecting our national interests and the security of our country and our people. I am confident that you will continue working towards your targets with dignity.

Thank you for your attention.

source: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53883

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