Friday, 31 July 2015

Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED


The National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED) duplicitous mission statement indicates a “dedicat(ion) to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world.”
Its practices are polar opposite – a State Department-funded agency created to undermine democracy wherever it exists.
It’s a global mischief-maker – a rogue agency financing anti-democratic groups and initiatives in scores of countries worldwide. Its objective is regime change – notably in independent nations like Russia. It subversively interferes in its electoral practices among other ways of targeting its sovereignty.
Moscow’s mid-year 2015 enacted Law on Undesirable Organizations justifiably targets foreign organizations posing a “threat to the constitutional order and defense capability or the security of the Russian state” – subversive groups no governments should tolerate.
On July 28, Russian Deputy Chief Prosecutor Vladimir Malinovsky “signed a decree recognizing the activities of the National Endowment for Democracy, a foreign non-commercial organization, as undesirable in the territory of Russia in compliance with a law on measures of impacting people linked to the violation of basic human rights and freedoms and the rights and freedoms of the citizens of Russia.”
The document was sent to Russia’s Justice Ministry – including NED in its register of undesirable foreign organizations.
Action against the organization was long overdue along with targeting other US subversive ones. More on them below. Washington works aggressively against Russian interests – a longstanding campaign to marginalize, contain, weaken and isolate Moscow, with internal subversion one of many methods used.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov called the undesirable organizations law “without any question a step in the right direction.” Many so-called NGOs (like NED) are agents of foreign governments.
In late May, Putin signed the new measure into law. It lets the Prosecutor General’s Office and Foreign Ministry declare activities of “undesirable foreign organizations” illegal – ones posing a “threat to the constitutional order and defense capability, or to the security of the Russian state.”
Non-compliance is punishable by administrative penalties. Repeated violations mandate imprisonment for up to six years. Russian citizens and organizations working with banned groups face fines only.
Russia’s 2012 Foreign Agents Law requires NGOs engaged in political activities to register as foreign agents or face stiff fines. They’re prohibited from supporting political parties. They’re free to engage in other activities.
NED is a longstanding political meddler. It’s named in a Russian upper house Federation Council “patriotic stop-list” – groups considered potentially threatening national security.
Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said the list was created out of concern about foreign organizations operating subversively in Russia.
A Federation Council statement said “(t)oday Russia faces its strongest attack in the past 25 years, targeting its national interests, values and institutes.”
“Its main goal is to influence the internal political situation in the country, undermine the patriotic unity of our people, undermine the integration processes within the CIS space and force our country into geopolitical isolation.”
Groups included in the Federation Council’s stop-list are “known for their anti-Russian bias.” They include:
NED, George Soros’ Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation), International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute, MacArthur Foundation, Freedom House;  Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Polish-based Education for Democracy Foundation, East European Democratic Center, Ukrainian World Congress, Ukrainian World Coordinating Council, and Crimean Field Mission on Human Rights.
Nations must protect themselves against foreign subversion without violating international rule of law principles. In enacting the Law on Undesirable Organizations and Foreign Agents Law, Russia acted responsibly.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached

Treason charges: What lurks behind the bizarre allegations

The bizarre attempt to have me indicted me on… treason charges, allegedly for conspiring to push Greece out of the Eurozone, reflects something much broader.
It reflects a determined effort to de-legitimise our five-month long (25th January to 5th July 2015) negotiation with a troika incensed that we had the audacity to dispute the wisdom and efficacy of its failed program for Greece.
The aim of my self-styled persecutors is to characterise our defiant negotiating stance as an aberration, an error or, even better from the perspective of Greece’s troika-friendly oligarchic establishment, as a ‘crime’ against Greece’s national interest.
My dastardly ‘crime’ was that, expressing the collective will of our government, I personified the sins of:
  • Facing down the Eurogroup’s leaders as an equal that has the right to say ‘NO’ and to present powerful analytical reasons for rebuffing the catastrophic illogicality of huge loans to an insolvent state in condirion of self-defeating austerity
  • Demonstrating that one can be a committed Europeanist, strive to keep one’s nation in the Eurozone, and, at the very same time, reject Eurogroup policies which damage Europe, deconstruct the euro and, crucially, trap one’s country in austerity-driven debt-bondage
  • Planning for contingencies that leading Eurogroup colleagues, and high ranking troika officials, were threatening me with in face-to-face discussions
  • Unveiling how previous Greek governments turned crucial government departments, such as the General Secretariat of Public Revenues and the Hellenic Statistical Office, into departments effectively controlled by the troika and reliably pressed into the service of undermining the elected government.
It is amply clear that the Greek government has a duty to recover national and democratic sovereignty over all departments of state, and in particular those of the Finance Ministry. If it does not, it will continue to forfeit the instruments of policy making that voters expect it to utilise in pursuit of the mandate they bestowed upon it.
In my ministerial endeavours, my team and I devised innovative methods for developing the Finance Ministry’s tools to deal efficiently with the troika-induced liquidity crunch while recouping executive powers previously usurped by the troika with the consent of previous governments.
Instead of indicting, and persecuting, those who, to this day, function within the public sector as the troika’s minions and lieutenants (while receiving their substantial salaries from the long-suffering Greek taxpayers), politicians and parties whom the electorate condemned for their efforts to turn Greece into a protectorate are now persecuting me, aided and abetted by the oligarchs’ media. I wear their accusations as badges of honour.
The proud and honest negotiation that the SYRIZA government conducted from the first day we were elected has already changed Europe’s public debates for the better. The debate about the democratic deficit afflicting the Eurozone is now unstoppable. Alas, the troika’s domestic cheerleaders do not seem able to bear this historic success. Their efforts to criminalise it will crash on the same shoals that wrecked their blatant propaganda campaign against the ‘No’ vote in the 5th July referendum: the great majority of the fearless Greek people.

Adam Goodes and racism: A PM's statesmanship is left behind by premiers and a casino boss

National affairs editor of The Age

"Yes, we're a robust people and I guess politicians typically get booed at the footy, but Adam Goodes is a good bloke and he's a great player and I hope he'll get treated with respect and civility."
In choosing to stay outside the ring over the Goodes mob bullying, Abbott reveals a further contradiction about himself. 
Tony Wright
You could study this statement all day and you wouldn't find a breath of serious leadership or statesmanship in it. It is wobbly motherhood. Is there anyone we might hope doesn't get treated with civility and respect?
Tony Abbott is pussyfooting around while Adam Goodes, a former Australian of the Year, is so distressed by a contemporary ugliness he has taken himself out of the arena, possibly for good.
Tony Abbott is pussyfooting around while Adam Goodes, a former Australian of the Year, is so distressed by a contemporary ugliness he has taken himself out of the arena, possibly for good. Photo: Getty Images
At a time when a fair slice of Australia is at odds with itself about what the weekly ritualised torment of an Indigenous footballer means to the national spirit, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has all but gone missing.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten hasn't been vastly better, though he has named the booing as racist, declaring it was obvious Goodes was being targeted because of his Indigenous background. His advice to those he calls "idiots"? "Just shut up. Don't say anything. Keep your thoughts to yourself."

Abbott took a week during which Australians had churned themselves into a dangerous stew of bitterly opposing views, the idiocy spilling out of the stands, before saying anything at all.

Yet he has shown himself as a man capable of swift judgment when he feels it necessary.

It took him mere minutes to defend "the sacred right of free speech" after a Federal Court ruled in 2011 that conservative columnist Andrew Bolt had breached the Racial Discrimination Act by writing an article that implied light-skinned people who identified as Aboriginal did so for personal gain.

"Free speech means the right of people to say what you don't like, not just the right of people to say what you do like," he said, and then decided to change the Racial Discrimination Act before finding it too hard.

In choosing to stay outside the ring over the Goodes mob bullying, Abbott reveals a further contradiction about himself.
He is the first prime minister to spend annual time in indigenous communities - an act of statesmanship.

Yet he is pussyfooting around while a former Australian of the Year, an Indigenous man who has dragged himself out of poverty through force of character and a level of sporting talent that has earned him two Brownlow Medals, is so distressed by a contemporary ugliness he has taken himself out of the arena, possibly for good.

Goodes has played 365 games. No one can call him inexperienced in judging the mood of a crowd, or of being a coward.
Abbott says he can understand why Goodes is upset, adding "no one should be subject to taunts", and "certainly the last thing we want in Australia is anything at all that smacks of racism".

Anyone who has been anywhere near the growing mob that has been abusing Goodes week in, week out, in a manner reserved for no other player, could tell him that it more than "smacks of racism".

Critics, including friends of the Prime Minister, have offered the exotic argument that Goodes himself should apologise to a 13-year-old girl for calling her out for calling him an "ape" in the first place. In fact, Goodes, immediately after the incident, made clear his moral compass wasn't askew - he called for the girl to be supported. His point was that a part of society had let her down by allowing her to believe it was okay to call a black man an ape in public.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, James Packer and a crowd of 100 chose on Friday to offer three public cheers for Adam Goodes while launching Crown's Reconciliation Action Plan. The NSW Premier has declared baldly of Goodes' treatment that "some may argue that the line between good-natured and malicious heckling can be fuzzy" adding "but there is nothing fuzzy about this. The line has been crossed."

When leadership concerning a nation's heart comes from a casino boss and state premiers, the prime minister's ability to lead his nation's people to what he regularly calls their "better angels" has to be questioned.

Read more:

Where Did We the People Go?

The “P5+1” agreement with Iran basically mothballs the latter’s nuclear power activities for at least ten years.   Israel and its American loyalists, however, have ordered Congress to wreck the deal.  
Congress must obey Israel’s orders.  It’s right there in the Constitution – or, at least, in the version AIPAC must be handing out to newly elected Congressmen: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the State of Israel… ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Before Congress destroys the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” the reality-based community among “the People” should consider the following points.  
First, the deal does not eliminate an existential threat to the US.  It does not even eliminate a non-existential threat. 
So isn’t it a bad deal?  Not at all.  Why?  Because there isn’t any threat.  There never was.   Not to Israel.  Not to the US.  Not to anybody.  Except Iran.  The Jewish and Democratic State has used the nonexistent existential threat to threaten Iran with Armageddon on a routine basis for the past decade.     
The Iranian “nuclear weapons program” has been a hoax  from day one.   The Islamic Republic never had a nuclear bomb program.  
Remember how the story started.  In 2002, an outlaw cult of dissident Iranian crazies, the MEK, then listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organization, announced that Iran was constructing two nuclear fuel processing facilities.  Iran, a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, had every right to build them and no obligation to report them at such an early stage.  US intelligence, moreover, hadknown all about them.  At that time, however, the Bush/Cheney neocons were in fullreality-creating mode.  On their days off from cooking up bogus Iraqi WMD “intelligence,” they pushed the fraud that Iran’s “deception” meant it must be hiding a nuclear weapons program.
By relentless pounding, the Iraniphobes hammered the Big Lie of an Iranian nuclear weapons program into generally accepted “fact.” 
The Western world has since spent thirteen years obsessed with a chimera, every nowand then nearly exploding into World War III.  To this day, Americans by an overwhelming majority tell pollsters that they believe “that the development of nuclear weapons by Iran is a critical threat to the vital interests of the US.”  
Here, truly, is a tale told by idiots, full of sound and fury.
Second, it does not matter whether Zionist mob boss Ben Netanyahu and America’s Israeli fifth column are right about the agreement – that the restrictions on Iran are porous as a sieve. There’s nothing to catch.  Besides, it wouldn’t matter what Iran agreed to do.  Iran could agree to let a million IAEA inspectors crawl all over the country day and night, able to go anywhere at any time without notice.  Israel and itsfluffers in Congress would still reject it.  Short of restoring the Peacock Throne, no “deal” could ever be good enough.  
The Zionists do not want a deal.  They want war on Iran, financed and fought by the US. 
Third, just as there has never been any Iranian bomb program, the US government’s hostility toward Iran has not done Americans any good.  On the contrary, that enmity has not only brought the US dangerously close to a catastrophic war based on a mirage, but has poisoned the prospects for the obvious economic, cultural, andgeopolitical benefits from restoring full relations with Iran.  From the beginning, however, US policy makers used the bomb program hoax to promote an Israeli agenda, in treasonous degradation of the “common defense” and “general Welfare” of “the People.”
From almost all points on the US political spectrum, the merits of the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” turn on its impact and implications for Israel.  If there ever could have been any doubt about that, there can be no more.  Listen to anypolitician or look at any media coverage about the agreement.   The issues are defined by Israeli interests.  The “debate” is whether the deal is good or bad for Israel.  For the “pro” deal faction, the agreement’s removal of the “existential threat” to Israel is itsmarquee attraction.  For the “anti” deal side, well, all we need to know is that the deal “will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.”  The media attention, moreover, is dominated by the voices of Israelis and American Zionists and their apologists.  Despite occasional lip service to “American interests,” none of the participants in the “national discussion” explain how the agreement solves or does not solve specific US problems or implicates specific US interests.  That’s because it doesn’t.  That’s because there aren’t any! Indeed, the only specific “US interest” ever mentioned – repeatedly, by both sides of the argument – is protecting the Jewish state.  
The Obama administration’s supplications for approval of the agreement from Israel and major US Jewish leadership groups prove who the real audience has been for all these years warmongering.  The Executive is also trying to bribe the Zionists to ease off the pressure on Congress to kill the deal.  The administration is promising Israel billions more of American dollars in military aid.  It has agreed to eat shit by releasing the traitor Jonathan Pollard, serving a life sentence for selling top secret military information to Israel and causing “greater harm to the national security” than then Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger could imagine.  The President’s desperate, dog-like groveling for some miserable scrap of Zionist acceptance should make Americans retch with the realization that the Iranian nuclear bomb saga has had nothing to do with their security.  
Fourth, contrary to the speechifying and media accounts, “lifting” economic sanctions will not “give” Iran any financial “windfall.”   The deal will “give” Iran nothing.  The West has coerced Iran to accept severe restrictions on its explicit rights to peaceful nuclear development under the NPT as a condition of partial restoration of over $100 billion of Iran’s own financial assets stolen (euphemistically, “frozen”) by the US Treasury over the years.  Extracting the cession of legal rights in exchange for a partial return of the victim’s stolen property is not giving a “gift” or “windfall.”   It is extortion and racketeering. 
In any event, as Israeli loyalists in the Congress made clear, the Iranians, the perennial “leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world,” “fleeced” and “bamboozled”Secretary of State John Kerry into handing Iran this “windfall,” which they claim Iran will use to further finance all that terror.  But, once again, when it comes to specifics, “we the People” are nowhere to be found.  How much money has Iran spent either before or after the “sanctions” on terror against the United States? (Silence.) Who are the only “terrorists” these US solons ever identify?  Hamas and Hezbollah – resistance groups that have never committed any “terrorism” against the US.  And the onlynation ever targeted by these “terrorists?” The State of Israel, of course.   
The deal’s forward-thinking defenders, moreover, are no better than its Zionist antagonists.  The former argue that “Iran’s government will pump most of an expected $100-billion windfall from the lifting of international sanctions into the country’s flagging economy and won’t significantly boost funding for militant groups it supports in the Middle East.”  Maybe.  Who knows?  It’s Iran’s money to do with as it wishes.  But if Iran declared today that it would invest every penny of the “windfall” in Hamas and Hezbollah resistance to Israeli colonialism, would that be just cause for “we the People” to make war with Iran?          
Finally, the tale of Iranian nuclear weapons programs may be all sound and fury, but it does not signify nothing.  It is, and has always been, about Israel’s desire to bulldoze the only roadblock to expropriation of all of “Eretz Israel” – that is, all of Palestine –cleansed of Palestinians.  Iran, the roadblock, has provided indispensable military and financial support to those resisting Israel’s campaign of manifest destiny.  A long time ago, Israel came to the conclusion that it had to get rid of the Mullahs to fulfill its Zionist dreams.  Even with its massive “qualitative” military superiority (thanks to the donations of the US taxpayer), however, Israel on its own cannot effect “regime change” in Iran, much less destroy the Islamic Republic.  What better way to accomplish its ends than exploiting its own “unshakable and unbreakable” bonds with Washington, DC? 
The bomb myth has done yeoman’s service as provocation and pretext for US intervention against Iran as Israel’s attack dog.   It almost worked – and it may very well still. It may all depend on whether there are 34 United States Senators who, for once, put aside the duty they believe they owe to a foreign nation, and cast a vote for “We the People of the United States…to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” – and leave the Israelis to work out their own problems, real and imagined, for themselves.
Peter Casey is a lawyer living in New Hampshire.

Monsters of Ukraine: Made in the USA

Fascists proliferate as the country slides into a sinkhole

We’re in the summer doldrums of the news cycle, a perfect time for our government and the media – or do I repeat myself? – to drop certain inconvenient stories down the Memory Hole. My job, of course, is to retrieve them….
Remember Ukraine? I seem to recall blaring headlines about a supposedly “imminent” and “massive” Russian invasion of that country: the Anglo-Saxon media was ablazewith a veritable countdown to D-Day and we were treated to ominous sightings of Russian troops and tanks gathering at the border, allegedly just awaiting the order from Putin to take Kiev. And it turns out there has been an invasion, of sorts – although it isn’t a Russian one. It’s the Kiev regime’s own foot-soldiers returning from the front and turning on their masters.
The war is going badly for the government of oligarch Petro Poroshenko. The east Ukrainians, who rose in revolt after the US-sponsored coup threw out democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, show no signs of giving up: they’ve repulsed the “anti-terrorist” campaign launched by Kiev, withstanding relentless bombardment of their cities and enduring many thousands of casualties, not to mention widespread destruction. Indeed, the brutal protracted war waged by Kiev against its own “citizens” has arguably steeled the rebels’ resolve and made any thought of reconciliation unthinkable.
As is usual with violent fanatics, the war aims of the Kiev coup leaders – to bring the eastern provinces back into the fold – have been rendered impossible by their methods and conduct. The de facto blockade imposed on the east has bound the separatists all the more tightly to Russia, and so economics as well as searing hatred of a government the easterners regard as “fascist” has sealed the country’s fate.
Unable to crack the rebels’ resolve, the “revolutionaries” who once gathered in the Maiden have begun to turn on each other. Poroshenko, fearful of the rising power of the far-right militias who make up the backbone of his makeshift army, has ordered their dissolution – and the rightists are resisting.
standoff between the Right Sector militia and Ukrainian police the other day culminated in a pitched battle as the rightists attacked police positions in Mukachevo, in western Ukraine, and took a six-year-old boy hostage. A dispute over control of the local cigarette smuggling operation had ended with two Right Sector thugs killed and seven others – it’s not clear which side they belonged to – injured. The rightists used grenade launchers to pulverize two police cars. Oh well, no worries, Washington willsend replacements…. for both the cars and the launchers.
The big problem for the Kiev regime is that Right Sector and allied far-rightist militias are the core of their military operation against the east. Right Sector provided themuscle of the Maiden revolution, standing in the front lines against the widely fearedBerkut special forces loyal to Yanukovych. If these thugs must be reined in, then the success of the “anti-terrorist” campaign is doubtful: yet Kiev is increasingly unwilling to pay the high price of appeasing their increasingly troublesome Praetorians.
The aftermath of the Mukachevo stand off was a clear victory for the rightists, who saw their leader, Dmytro Yarosh, a member of parliament, negotiating with the Interior Ministry – and Right Sector militia blocking the road from Kiev to the scene of the fighting. The result was an announcement from the Interior Ministry that the police chief of Mukachevo has been suspended, pending an “investigation” of the charges of aiding and abetting smuggling.
In short, Right Sector emerged victorious. Following up their victory, the group declared that a national referendum will be held – without gathering the required signatures, and under their sponsorship – on multiple questions, essentially demanding that their entire program for the nation be adopted. They call for a formal declaration of war against Russia, a complete blockade of the eastern provinces, martial law, and the legalization of their militias. Oh yes, and they also want the present government, up to and including Poroshenko, to be impeached.
Mired in debt, and rapidly sinking into an economic abyss, Ukraine is literally coming apart at the seams – and the ugly underside of the Maiden “revolution” is being exposed to the light of day. The most recent atrocity is the uncovering of a torture chamber used by members of the “Tornado” Battalion, another far-right grouping, in which militia members kidnapped, tortured, raped, and robbed citizens in the easternLuhansk region, where the government is fighting to retain some modicum of control. Eight members of the Tornado militia were recently arrested and are being held by military prosecutors in Kiev: the Tornado “volunteers,” who mostly consist of ex-convicts, defend their actions by claiming that this is just retaliation because they uncovered a smuggling operation run by local officials – who, they say, are collaborating with the rebels. They initially refused to lay down their arms and barricaded themselves into their camp.
The Aidar Battalion, also operating in eastern Ukraine, has been accused by Amnesty International of committing war crimes: that was in 2014, but the charges were largely ignored until the local governor began to complain. Aidar’s leader, member of parliament Serhiy Melnychuk, of the ultra-nationalist Radical Party, has been stripped of immunity from prosecution and charged with kidnapping, issuing threats, and operating a criminal gang.  Melnychuk, while admitting there was “some looting,” attributed the dissolution of the Aidar Battalion by authorities to “Russian propaganda” and revealed that some members are still operating independently in Luhansk.
Then there’s the openly neo-Nazi Azov Brigade, whose members sport fascist symbols from the World War II era, and whose leader, Andriy Biletsky, declares that the goal of his group is to “lead the White Races of the world in a struggle for their survival.” There was so much bad publicity surrounding the Azov Battalion that the US Congress unanimously passed legislation forbidding any aid to the group – a provision, as this piece by Joseph Epstein in the Daily Beast points out, that is essentially unenforceable:
“In an interview with The Daily Beast, Sgt. Ivan Kharkiv of the Azov battalion talks about his battalion’s experience with U.S. trainers and US volunteers quite fondly, even mentioning US volunteers engineers and medics that are still currently assisting them. He also talks about the significant and active support from the Ukrainian diaspora in the US As for the training they have and continue to receive from numerous foreign armed forces. Kharkiv says ‘We must take knowledge from all armies… We pay for our mistakes with our lives.’
“Those US officials involved in the vetting process obviously have instructions to say that US forces are not training the Azov Battalion as such. They also say that Azov members are screened out, yet no one seems to know precisely how that’s done. In fact, given the way the Ukrainian government operates, it’s almost impossible.”
Yes, your tax dollars are going to arm, train, and feed neo-Nazis in Ukraine. That’s what we bought into when Washington decided to launch a regime change operationin that bedraggled corner of southeastern Europe. Your money is also going to prop up the country’s war-stricken economy – albeit not before corrupt government officials rake their cut off the top.
Dmytro Korchynsky, who heads a group of several far-right “volunteers” gathered together in “St. Mary’s Battalion,” declares his goal of organizing a “Christian Taliban” that will put Ukraine in the forefront of an effort to “lead the crusades,” adding: “ Our mission is not only to kick out the occupiers, but also revenge. Moscow must burn.”
That’s a goal American neocons and their liberal enablers can get behind, but Korchynsky’s invocation of the Taliban ought to make the rest of us step back from that precipice. For it was the US, in the throes of the last cold war, that coalesced, funded, trained, and armed what later became the Afghan Taliban – and we all know where that road led.
Once again, in our endless search for foreign monsters to destroy, we’re creating yet more foreign monsters who will provide the next excuse for future crusades. It’s a perpetual motion machine of foreign policy madness – and the War Party likes it that way.