Saturday, March 08, 2014

The Anti-Empire Report #126 - By William Blum

The Anti-Empire Report #126

By William Blum – Published March 7th, 2014


When it gets complicated and confusing, when you’re overwhelmed with too much information, changing daily; too many explanations, some contradictory … try putting it into some kind of context by stepping back and looking at the larger, long-term picture.
The United States strives for world domination, hegemony wherever possible, their main occupation for over a century, it’s what they do for a living. The United States, NATO and the European Union form The Holy Triumvirate. The Holy Triumvirate has subsidiaries, chiefly The International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, International Criminal Court … all help to keep in line those governments lacking the Holy Triumvirate Seal Of Approval: the IMF, WB, and WTO impose market fundamentalism, while foreign leaders who act too independent are threatened with being handed over to the ICC for heavy punishment, as the United States imposes sanctions on governments and their leaders as only the King of Sanctions can, lacking any sense of hypocrisy or irony.
And who threatens United States domination? Who can challenge The Holy Triumvirate’s hegemony? Only Russia and China, if they were as imperialistic as the Western powers. (No, the Soviet Union wasn’t imperialistic; that was self-defense; Eastern Europe was a highway twice used by the West to invade; tens of millions of Russians killed or wounded.)
Since the end of the Cold War the United States has been surrounding Russia, building one base after another, ceaselessly looking for new ones, including in Ukraine; one missile site after another, with Moscow in range; NATO has grabbed one former Soviet Republic after another. The White House, and the unquestioning American mainstream media, have assured us that such operations have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO some years ago, “is this is a military organization? Yes, it’s military. … Is it moving towards our border? It’s moving towards our border. Why?” 
The Holy Triumvirate would love to rip Ukraine from the Moscow bosom, evict the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and establish a US military and/or NATO presence on Russia’s border. (In case you were wondering what prompted the Russian military action.) Kiev’s membership in the EU would then not be far off; after which the country could embrace the joys of neo-conservatism, receiving the benefits of the standard privatization-deregulation-austerity package and join Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain as an impoverished orphan of the family; but no price is too great to pay to for being part of glorious Europe and the West!
The Ukrainian insurgents and their Western-power supporters didn’t care who their Ukrainian allies were in carrying out their coup against President Viktor Yanukovych last month … thugs who set policemen on fire head to toe … all manner of extreme right-wingers, including Chechnyan Islamic militants  … a deputy of the ultra-right Svoboda Party, part of the new government, who threatens to rebuild Ukraine’s nukes in three to six months.  … the snipers firing on the protestors who apparently were not what they appeared to be – A bugged phone conversation between Urmas Paet, the Estonian foreign minister, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, reveals Paet saying: “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.”  … neo-Nazi protestors in Kiev who have openly denounced Jews, hoisting a banner honoring Stepan Bandera, the infamous Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on February 24 that Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman advised “Kiev’s Jews to leave the city and even the country.” Edward Dolinsky, head of an umbrella organization of Ukrainian Jews, described the situation for Ukrainian Jews as “dire” and requested Israel’s help.
All in all a questionable gang of allies for a dubious cause; reminiscent of the Kosovo Liberation Army thugs Washington put into power for an earlier regime change, and has kept in power since 1999.
The now-famous recorded phone conversation between top US State Department official Victoria Nuland and the US ambassador to the Ukraine, wherein they discuss which Ukrainians would be to Washington’s liking in a new government, and which not, is an example of this regime-change mentality. Nuland’s choice, Arseniy Yatseniuk, emerged as interim prime minister.
The National Endowment for Democracy, an agency created by the Reagan administration in 1983 to promote political action and psychological warfare against states not in love with US foreign policy, is Washington’s foremost non-military tool for effecting regime change. The NED website lists 65 projects that it has supported financially in recent years in Ukraine.  The descriptions NED gives to the projects don’t reveal the fact that generally their programs impart the basic philosophy that working people and other citizens are best served under a system of free enterprise, class cooperation, collective bargaining, minimal government intervention in the economy, and opposition to socialism in any shape or form. A free-market economy is equated with democracy, reform, and growth; and the merits of foreign investment in their economy are emphasized.
The idea was that the NED would do somewhat overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades, and thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert activities. Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, declared in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” 
NED, receives virtually all its financing from the US government ($5 billion in total since 1991  ), but it likes to refer to itself as an NGO (Non-governmental organization) because this helps to maintain a certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not have. But NGO is the wrong category. NED is a GO. Its long-time intervention in Ukraine is as supra-legal as the Russian military deployment there. Journalist Robert Parry has observed:
For NED and American neocons, Yanukovych’s electoral legitimacy lasted only as long as he accepted European demands for new “trade agreements” and stern economic “reforms” required by the International Monetary Fund. When Yanukovych was negotiating those pacts, he won praise, but when he judged the price too high for Ukraine and opted for a more generous deal from Russia, he immediately became a target for “regime change.”
Thus, we have to ask, as Mr. Putin asked – “Why?” Why has NED been funding 65 projects in one foreign country? Why were Washington officials grooming a replacement for President Yanukovych, legally and democratically elected in 2010, who, in the face of protests, moved elections up so he could have been voted out of office – not thrown out by a mob? Yanukovych made repeated important concessions, including amnesty for those arrested and offering, on January 25, to make two of his adversaries prime minister and deputy prime minister; all to no avail; key elements of the protestors, and those behind them, wanted their putsch.
Carl Gershman, president of NED, wrote last September that “Ukraine is the biggest prize”.  The man knows whereof he speaks. He has presided over NED since its beginning, overseeing the Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003), the Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004), the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (2005), the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005), the Green Revolution in Iran (2009), and now Ukraine once again. It’s as if the Cold War never ended.
The current unbridled animosity of the American media toward Putin also reflects an old practice. The United States is so accustomed to world leaders holding their tongue and not voicing criticism of Washington’s policies appropriate to the criminality of those policies, that when a Vladimir Putin comes along and expresses even a relatively mild condemnation he is labeled Public Enemy Number One and his words are accordingly ridiculed or ignored.
On March 2 US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” in Ukraine (Crimea) and threatened economic sanctions. “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text.” 
Iraq was in the 21st century. Senator John Kerry voted for it. Hypocrisy of this magnitude has to be respected.
POSTSCRIPT: Ukraine’s interim prime minister announced March 7 that he has invited the NATO Council to hold a meeting in Kiev over the recent developments in the country. “I invited the North Atlantic Council to visit Kiev and hold a meeting there,” Arseny Yatsenyuk said during a visit to Brussels, where he met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and EU officials. “We believe that it will strengthen our cooperation.”

Love among nations

by Viktor Dedaj, Paris, France
Washington’s response, or lack of it, has confirmed the authenticity of a YouTube clip of a leaked telephone conversation between US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt that emerged February 6. In the call, posted by an anonymous Russian source, Nuland and Pyatt discuss installing a new, pro-US government that will incorporate the fascistic opposition which had been leading street protests against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Even though Washington’s campaign for regime-change had been coordinated with the European Union, in the phone conversation with Pyatt, Nuland attacks the EU for being insufficiently aggressive, saying at one point, “Fuck the EU.” The same source has provided us with the text of a subsequent conversation between the EU and the US.
EU: But you said you loved me!
US: (sigh) There you go again.
EU: I left everything behind for you. Democracy, market regulations, state-owned companies, social welfare, an independent foreign policy.
US: (lighting a cigarette): pffff… Nobody forced you.
EU: I could have been an international star, you know?
US: Yeah, yeah, blah, blah …
EU: The whole world had hope in me! Now it’s that slut, Latin America, who’s showing off with her crummy progressive policies.
US: Oh that one … She was a hotty. I must admit it was fun at the time. But it’s over (for the time being). Now, you’re my bitch.
EU: (sniffing): Seriously? You’re not joking?
US: You are, you’re my little bitch. Come here.
EU: Are you going to hit me?
US: What? Of course not! What’s wrong with you?
EU: Latin America … She says you’re arrogant, and violent. She says that you have no friends, only interests.
US: She’s crazy. Forget her. C’mon, come here my little bitch.
EU: Oh Sam … Sam …

A Question re: Syria

There have been numerous news stories about Syrian government bombing of its civilian areas, with reports of many dead, and photos and videos of heavily damaged buildings. The source of the stories I’ve come across, when it’s mentioned at all, is almost always some element of the “rebels”; i.e., those opposing the Syrian government.
In all these stories – Have you ever seen a photo or a video of a plane dropping bombs? Or of the bombs in the air? I’m not saying that the bombings have not taken place. I’m just wondering why there is no graphic evidence of them.

Dialogue with readers

Last month’s report evoked an unusually large number of critical responses, concerning two basic issues:
1) My questioning the widely-held belief that if John F. Kennedy had not been assassinated he would have ended US military involvement in Vietnam. Those who wrote to me are convinced that in a second term as president, without the need to worry about re-election, the genuine liberal and man of peace residing inside JFK would have been free to blossom, and he would quickly have put an end to a war that he supposedly abhorred.
I had written in the report: “It appears that we’ll never know with any kind of certainty what would have happened if JFK had not been assassinated, but I still go by his Cold War record in concluding that US foreign policy would have continued along its imperial, anti-communist path.”
As I read letter after letter challenging this assertion, the thought occurred to me: This is just what we heard for four years concerning Barack Obama – In his second term the genuine liberal and man of peace would emerge; the Nobel Peace Laureate would show why he deserved the prize. Well, do I need to go into the awful details of the man’s second term, from drone assassinations to relentless persecution of whistleblowers who question his foreign policy?
2) I suggested a possible solution to the international problem of suicide bombers: Go to the very source. Flood selected Islamic societies with this message: “There is no heavenly reward for dying a martyr. There are no 72 beautiful virgins waiting to reward you for giving your life for jihad. No virgins at all. No sex at all.”
I was informed by reader after reader that the whole thing about virgins is a myth. That may very well be the case, but as I pointed out to them, I was using the story metaphorically, to describe killing and dying for a religious cause, then counterposing US military men killing and dying for a “religious” cause called patriotism, nationalism or American exceptionalism. Both “causes”, Islamic and American, need to be unlearned. That was my point. There’s no excuse for setting off a powerful bomb in a crowded restaurant nor for dropping a powerful bomb in a residential area.

In the land where happiness is guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence

President Obama and many other political and media figures have once again made discussion about the minimum wage a heated subject. Time for me to repeat something I wrote in 2007:
“Think raising the minimum wage is a good idea?”
“Think again.”
That was the message of a full-page advertisement that appeared in major newspapers in January. It was accompanied by statements of approval from the usual eminent suspects:
“The reason I object to the minimum wage is I think it destroys jobs, and I think the evidence on that, in my judgment, is overwhelming.” Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve Chairman
“The high rate of unemployment among teenagers, and especially black teenagers, is both a scandal and a serious source of social unrest. Yet it is largely a result of minimum wage laws.” Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize-winning economist
Well, if raising the minimum wage can produce such negative consequences, then surely it is clear what we as an enlightened and humane people must do. We must lower the minimum wage. And thus enjoy less unemployment, less social unrest. Indeed, if we lower the minimum wage to zero, particularly for poor blacks … think of it! … No unemployment at all! Hardly any social unrest! In fact – dare I say it? – What if we did away with wages altogether?
“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” – John Kenneth Galbraith


  1. Guardian Weekly (London), June 27, 2001
  2. RT television (, Moscow/Washington, DC), March 1, 2014
  3. Deputy Mikhail Golovko, RT, March 1, 2014
  4. RT, March 5, 2014, “The EU’s Ukraine policy and moral bankruptcy”; the phone conversation is believed to have taken place February 26.
  5. NED 2012 Annual Report
  6. Washington Post, September 22, 1991
  7. Victoria Nuland, speaking at the National Press Club, Washington, DC, December 13, 2013
  8. Washington Post, September 26, 2013
  9. “Face the Nation”, CBS, March 2, 2014
Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

"Soros Eruption" and "sleeper agents" at RT: subtle warning signs were there all along threatening unbiased news coverage

"Soros Eruption" at RT: subtle warning signs were there all along

Three years ago, this editor forecast the downward spiral which has led to the recent on-air diatribes by two RT (formerly Russia Today) anchors against Russia's policy of ensuring security in the majority ethnic Russian autonomous republic of Crimea in Ukraine. In 2008, I became the first American journalist to provide RT with a regularly-scheduled live news feed (12 noon Moscow time, 4:00 am Eastern time) from RT's original studio on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, DC. After RT moved to a larger broadcasting facility on G Street in Washington, thus expanding its broadcast operations, this editor became a regular commentator on RT, appearing at least three times a week on the network and additionally, for breaking news stories, and for commentary on RT's Spanish and Arabic language broadcasts.

RT's satellite news broadcasts in English, Spanish, and Arabic reached an estimated 380 million people around the world. With its expanding news coverage and influence, RT caught the attention of both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors chairman Walter Isaacson. In October 2010, Isaacson called RT and other broadcasters, including Press TV of Iran and CCTV of China, "autocratic" and enemies of the United States.

That same month, radio broadcaster and self-proclaimed "progressive" Thom Hartmann relocated his radio and television programs from Portland, Oregon to Washington, DC. Hartmann's radio program broadcast from studios of the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington, DC. Soros is an avowed enemy of the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the hedge fund multi-billionaire funds many of the domestic pressure groups against Putin in Russia, including the notorious Pussy Riot.

After signing off on his afternoon radio show at the CAP offices on H Street, Hartmann walked around the corner to RT's studio on G Street to air his one-half to one-hour television program.

Only weeks after Hartmann began showing up at RT's studios, there were subtle changes at the network and none of them were for the better. In addition to my own schedule of three appearances per week being pared back, it was apparent that RT was losing some of its veteran reporters and anchors, in addition to my own producer. Eventually, loyal anchors were replaced with newcomers like Liz Wahl and Abby Martin.

Earlier discussions about this editor co-hosting an on-air debate program called CrossTalk with Peter Lavelle in Moscow and a solo interview program in Washington were replaced by last-minute canceled appearances by the network.

By the summer of 2011, many former fans of RT in Washington, DC, including some who would recognize me on the streets, subways, and at the National Press Club, asked about RT "losing its bite." I merely explained to them that there had been some "changes" at the network.

In March 2011, Mrs. Clinton told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that she was concerned that RT, Al Jazeera, and CCTV were outgunning the United States in the propaganda war. Of course, Clinton wanted more money for Isaacson's operations at the BBG.

After Clinton's warnings about RT, this editor heard rumors at RT that Russia was being pressured by the Obama administration to tone down what the White House and State Department considered "anti-American" rhetoric on the network. In 2011, Russia was negotiating its membership of the World Trade Organization and the message from Washington was clear: curtail the rhetoric or face problems with WTO membership. Russia acceded to the WTO in 2012.

RT began inviting more and more "mainstream" guests to its programs, including policy wonks at the CAP, which hosted Hartmann's radio program. Neo-conservatives and pro-Obama "neo-liberals" began showing up more and more at the RT studio. Vapid policymakers from such institutions as the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies replaced commentators like myself, retired CIA officer Ray McGovern, and radio host Alex Jones who take a more critical view of U.S. policies and did so with vigor during both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations.

Infiltration of RT was made known by this editor to officials at RT in Moscow and its parent, RIA Novosti.

Within the past few days, Martin used her broadcast to issue a scathing attack on Putin's policies in Ukraine, although she admitted she was not familiar with the history of the country. That was followed by Wahl resigning from RT during a live broadcast. Wahl's screed was nothing more than a jingoistic pro-American attack on Putin and RT's coverage in a manner more befitting a Fox News commentator.

The danger of what was nothing more than an infiltration operation targeting RT was communicated in late 2010 and early 2011 by this editor to RT and its former parent company, the Russian state-owned RIA Novosti, by email and in person.

Now that we have experienced two "sleeper" agents, Wahl and Martin, slam Russia on RT in a premeditated "Soros Eruption" earning the immediate attention of and praise from the likes of the pro-Obama Daily Beast, CNN, Huffington Post, and other supporters of U.S. intervention in countries ranging from Ukraine and Syria to Venezuela and Libya, the warnings conveyed by this editor have, unfortunately, come to full fruition.

RT operates in the United States through its RT Television America subsidiary, with bureaus in Washington, New York, Miami, and Los Angeles.

Russia reached out to the concept of freedom of the press in America long after it was known by many Americans that independent news outlets were not allowed to function without overt and covert subterfuge from organs of the U.S. government like the State Department, BBG, and their privatized agents-of-influence like Soros and his infrastructure of propagandists and provocateurs. Russia took a chance on broadcasting independently from American shores while playing by First Amendment principles.

Russia found out like the rest of us that the concepts of free speech and freedom of the press were short-circuited within the Soros media matrix. With the recent on-air "Soros Eruptions" by two RT anchors, the attempt by Russia to experiment with America's First Amendment rights failed miserably. The news content of RT, for a few moments, was indistinguishable from Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. And the statement by RT and RIA Novosti successor -- Rossiya Segodnya -- editor-in-chief in Moscow, Margarita Simonyan, seemingly defending the bizarre and misinformed on-air statements of Wahl and Martin, suggest the subterfuge of RT in the United States also extends to its main news bureau in Moscow.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Operation SPADE, JOINT HAMMER, NEST EGG, DELEGO, etc. all lead back to Tymoshenko's Ukraine

Operation SPADE, JOINT HAMMER, NEST EGG, DELEGO, etc. all lead back to Tymoshenko's Ukraine

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, recently freed from prison by Ukrainian coup leaders and who remains the darling of neocons and bogus Democrats alike, may be known as a stalwart for the West in some countries but in her native Ukraine, she is known for harboring and giving sanction to a large child pornography industry.

WMR's continuing investigation of the reported "suicide" of  Ryan Loskarn, chief of staff for Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander, has uncovered major links to Ukraine, particularly during the rule of Tymoshenko, who was jailed for corruption by President Viktor Yanukovych.

During Tymoshenko's rule, successive international investigations of child pornography pointed to Simferopol, in Crimea, and the Artek International Children's Center in the same Ukrainian-ruled but Russian majority autonomous republic, as virtual photo and video factories for the global pedophile market. Tymoshenko's Economy Minister, Sergei Terekhin, was under investigation in 2009 for sexually abusing children at the Artek children's camp. Now that Russian troops have taken control of Crimea, there is no word on how the child pornography industry, formerly linked to Azov Films of Toronto and Stafford, Virginia has been affected.However, it is known that it was primarily Russian and Ukrainian children from poor families or orphanages who were preyed upon by the pedophile rings that operated withkout much pressure from Tymoshenko's government. Russia under Vladimir Putin has little tolerance for pedophiles.

Operations with the code names of ORE, SANCTUARY, THUNDERER, KOALA, DELEGO, JOINT HAMMER, NEST EGG, YEWTREE, and more recently, SPADE, have all discovered links between those who possess and distribute child pornography and filming facilities in Kiev, Kharkov, Simferopol, and Camp Artek. In fact, Operation SPADE shut down the operations of Azov Films, the Toronto and Stafford company that was named after the Sea of Azov, which surrounds the Crimean peninsula.

The discovery of the heavy involvement of Ukraine under Tymoshenko in the production of child pornography comes at the same time that Operation SPADE is continuing to implicate senior members of the governments of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Patrick Rock,Cameron's chief assistant for identifying ways to combat child pornography on the Internet through the use of software filters, was recently arrested for possession of child pornography.

The fallout and links between pedophiles around the world, partly exposed by SPADE, continue to grow:

THE ROVING EYE Spring fails in Ukrainian plunderland By Pepe Escobar

Spring fails in Ukrainian plunderland
By Pepe Escobar 

Here's the US's exceptionalist promotion of "democracy" in action; Washington has recognized a coup d'etat in Ukraine that regime-changed a - for all its glaring faults - democratically elected government. 

And here is Russian President Vladimir Putin, already last year,talking about how Russia and China decided to trade in roubles and yuan, and stressing how Russia needs to quit the "excessive monopoly" of the US dollar. He had to be aware the Empire would strike back. 

Now there's more; Russian presidential adviser Sergey Glazyev told RIA Novosti, "Russia will abandon the US dollar as a reserve currency if the United States initiates sanctions against the Russian Federation." 

So the Empire struck back by giving "a little help" to regime change in the Ukraine. And Moscow counter-punched by taking control of Crimea in less than a day without firing a shot - with or without crack Spetsnaz brigades (UK-based think tanks say they are; Putin says they are not). 

Putin's assessment of what happened in Ukraine is factually correct; "an anti-constitutional takeover and armed seizure of power". It's open to endless, mostly nasty debate whether the Kremlin overreacted or not. Considering the record of outright demonization of both Russia and Putin going on for years - and now reaching fever pitch - the Kremlin's swift reaction was quite measured. 

Putin applied Sun Tzu to the letter, and now plays the US against the EU. He has made it clear Moscow does not need to "invade" Ukraine. The 1997 Ukraine-Russia partition treaty specifically allows Russian troops in Crimea. And Russia after all is an active proponent of state sovereignty; it's under this principle that Moscow refuses a Western "intervention" in Syria. 

What he left the door open for is - oh cosmic irony of ironies - an American invention/intervention (and that, predictably, was undetectable by Western corporate media); the UN's R2P - "responsibility to protect" - in case the Western-aligned fascists and neo-nazis in Ukraine threaten Russians or Russian-speaking civilians with armed conflict. Samantha Power should be proud of herself. 

Don't mess with Russian intelligence
The "West" once again has learned you don't mess with Russian intelligence, which in a nutshell preempted in Crimea a replica of the coup in Kiev, largely precipitated by UNA-UNSO - a shady, ultra-rightwing, crack paramilitary NATO-linked force using Ukraine as base, as exposed by William Engdahl

And Crimea was an even murkier operation, because those neo-nazis from Western Ukraine were in tandem with Tatar jihadis (the House of Saud will be heavily tempted to finance them from now on). 

The Kremlin is factually correct when pointing out that the coup was essentially conducted by fascists and ultra-right "nationalists" - Western code for neo-nazis. Svoboda ("Freedom") party political council member Yury Noyevy even admitted openly that using EU integration as a pretext "is a means to break our ties with Russia." 

Western corporate media always conveniently forgets that Svoboda - as well as the Right Sector fascists - follow in the steps of Galician fascist/terrorist Stepan Bandera, a notorious asset of a basket of "Western" intel agencies. Now Svoboda has managed to insert no less than six bigwigs as part of the new regime in Kiev. 

Then there are the new regional governors appointed to the mostly Russophone east and south of Ukraine. They are - who else - oligarchs, such as billionaires Sergei Taruta posted to Donetsk and Ihor Kolomoysky posted in Dnipropetrovsk. People in Maidan in Kiev were protesting mostly against - who else - kleptocrat oligarchs. Once again, Western corporate media - which tirelessly plugged a "popular" uprising against kleptocracy - hasn't noticed it. 

Once again, follow the money
Ukraine's foreign currency reserves, only in the past four weeks, plunged from US$17.8 billion to $15 billion. Wanna buy some hryvnia? Well, not really; the national currency, is on a cosmic dive against the US dollar. This is jolly good news only for disaster capitalism vultures. 

And right on cue, the International Monetary Fund is sending a "fact-finding mission" to Ukraine this week. Ukrainians of all persuasions may run but they won't hide from "structural adjustment". They could always try to scrape enough for a ticket with their worthless hryvnia (being eligible for visa on arrival in Thailand certainly helps). 

European banks - who according to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) hold more than $23 billion in outstanding loans - could lose big in Ukraine. Italian banks, for instance, have loaned nearly $6 billion. 

On the Pipelineistan front, Ukraine heavily depends on Russia; 58% of its gas supply. It cannot exactly diversify and start buying from Qatar tomorrow - with delivery via what, Qatar Airways? 

And even as 66% of Russian gas exported to the EU transits through Ukraine, the country is fast losing its importance as a transit hub. Both the Nord Stream and South Stream pipelines - Russia not on-the-ground but under-seas - bypass Ukraine. The Nord Stream, finished in 2011, links Russia with Germany beneath the Baltic Sea. South Stream, beneath the Black Sea, will be ready before the end of 2015. 

Geoeconomically, the Empire needs Ukraine to be out of the Eurasian economic union promoted by the Kremlin - which also includes Kazakhstan and Belarus. And geopolitically, when NATO Secretary General, the vain puppet Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said that an IMF-EU package for the Ukraine would be "a major boost for Euro-Atlantic security", this is what clinched it; the only thing that matters in this whole game is NATO "annexing" Ukraine, as I examined earlier. 

It has always been about the Empire of Bases - just like the encirclement of Iran; just like the "pivot" to Asia translating into encirclement of China; just like encircling Russia with bases and "missile defense". Over the Kremlin's collective dead body, of course. 

Let's plunder that wasteland
US Secretary of State John Kerry accusing Russia of "invading Ukraine", in "violation of international law", and "back to the 19th century", is so spectacularly pathetic in its hypocrisy - once again, look at the US's record - it does not warrant comment from any informed observer. Incidentally, this is as pathetic as his offer of a paltry $1 billion in "loan guarantees" - which would barely pay Ukraine's bills for two weeks. 

The Obama administration - especially the neo-cons of the "F**k the EU" kind - has lost is power play. And for Moscow, it has no interlocutor in Kiev because it considers the regime-changers illegal. Moscow also regards "Europe" as a bunch of pampered whining losers - with no common foreign policy to boot. 

So any mediation now hinges on Germany. Berlin has no time for "sanctions" - the sacrosanct American exceptionalist mantra; Russia is a plush market for German industry. And for all the vociferations at the Economist and the Financial Times, the City of London also does not want sanctions; the financial center feeds on lavish Russian politico/oligarch funds. As for the West's "punishment" for Russia by threatening to expel it from the Group of Eight, that is a joke. The G-8, which excludes China, does not decide anything relevant anymore; the G-20 does. 

If a wide-ranging poll were to be conducted today, it would reveal that the majority of Ukrainians don't want to be part of the EU - as much as the majority of Europeans don't want the Ukraine in the EU. What's left for millions of Ukrainians is the bloodsucking IMF, to be duly welcomed by "Yats" (as Prime Minister Yatsenyuk is treated by Vic "F**k the EU" Nuland). 

Ukraine is slouching towards federalization. The Kiev regime-changers will have no say on autonomous Crimea - which most certainly will remain part of Ukraine (and Russia by the way will save $90 million in annual rent for the Sevastopol base, which until now was payable to Kiev.) 

The endgame is all but written; Moscow controls an autonomous Crimea for free, and the US/EU "control", or try to plunder, disaster capitalism-style, a back of beyond western Ukraine wasteland "managed" by a bunch of Western puppets and oligarchs, with a smatter of neo-nazis. 

So what is the Obama/Kerry strategic master duo to do? Start a nuclear war? 

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

NATO used Sochi female bombers story as a ruse operation for Ukraine

March 4-5, 2014 -- NATO used Sochi female bombers story as a ruse operation for Ukraine

Less than a day after the U.S. military offered military support to Russian security to bolster defenses against terrorist attacks at the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Russians announced that they were looking for three women with ties to Dagestan who were said to be planning terrorist suicide bombings in and around Sochi during the Winter Games. WMR has been informed by reliable West European intelligence sources that the story of the three Islamic women bombers, all said to be wearing veils and identified as Ruzanna Ibragimova, Zaira Aliyeva, and Dzhannet Tsakhayeva, was a ruse operation, to use NSA/British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) terminology.

The suspected terrorist women were called "black widows" because it was said their husbands were killed in attacks by Russian security forces on Islamist guerrillas.

Western intelligence sources told us that NATO intelligence services, working with Saudi-funded militants in Libya, arranged for Libyan weapons of Russian origin to be smuggled into Ukraine. Some of these weapons, according to our sources, were used by neo-Nazi paramilitary groups in Kiev to fire on protesters in Maidan Square. Forensic analysis of the bullets showed that they were fired from Russian weapons. The global news media falsely claimed that Russian Spetsnaz special forces had snipers in buildings around Maidan Square and were shooting protesters. However, WMR's intelligence sources revealed to us that the weapons, while Russian made, were from Libyan arms caches captured by Al Qaeda affiliates from the ousted government of Muammar Qaddafi.

While Russian security forces were deployed away from the Ukrainian-Russian border to look for the three black widows, who were actually "bogeys" used to create a ruse operation coupled with a disruption operation, the focus by Russian and Ukrainian security in the region was on Sochi and the Olympics. The ruse was the three "black widow" suicide bombers and the disruption operation was aimed at disrupting security and customs controls on the Russian-Ukrainian border. The USS Taylor, a U.S. guided missile frigate, actually ran aground during its security screening of Black Sea waters off Sochi. Its commanding officer, Commander Dennis Volpe, was relieved of his command. However, it is not known whether Volpe or any other member of his crew or that of theUSS Mount Whitney, also providing maritime security, were aware of the smuggling of Libyan weapons by sea into Russia and subsequently across the border into Ukraine.

Western intelligence with Saudi help used Sochi suicide bombing story as a feint in order to smuggle Russian-made weapons from Libya into Ukraine for false flag operations.

The knowledge by Western intelligence of Russian-made Libyan weapons being sent to Ukrainian opposition forces for a potential false flag attack against Ukrainian forces in the event Russian troops move into eastern Ukraine to bolster their occupation of Crimea, the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet had Russian President Vladimir Putin hopping mad. The knowledge that Western intelligence services were providing Russian-made arms from Libya to Ukrainian opposition forces may have been part of the reason Putin ordered a quick takeover of all airports and other significant facilities in Crimea, an autonomous republic of Ukraine with a majority Russian population.

The provision of "evidence" by the Ukrainian opposition government that Russian weapons were used to attack Ukrainian forces would, in the view of the world, solidify support for Kiev in its showdown with Russia. However, a Western-directed covert false flag operation aimed at a nuclear-armed power like Russia runs the risk of plunging the world into a nuclear conflict in which there will be no winners. In fact, Russia has shown relative restraint in the face of the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies being caught red-handed smuggling weapons from Libya into Ukraine and helping to execute a coup d'etat against a democratically-elected government.