Documents revealed by Edward Snowden and analyzed by the daily Le Monde reveal the role of French Telecom/Orange in the collection of data by the French intelligence services over a period of decades. France’s General Directorate of the External Security (DGSE) freely obtains the data of all Orange’s customers, apparently in a totally illegal manner. ● Le Monde relied upon British signals intelligence spy network (GCHQ) documents extracted from the American National Security Agency (NSA) by Snowden. They show, according to the newspaper, that the co-operation between the DGSE and Orange was “maintained by people cleared for defence secrets, at the heart of the company, and ongoing for at least thirty years, by engineers who liaise between the two institutions.” In an article titled “The DGSE reportedly has total access to the Orange network,” Reuters stresses that intercepts were carried out within the framework of the July 10 1991 law, which concerns only cases related to the fight against terrorism and organised crime. This procedure operates on the prime minister’s authorisation, after being checked by the National Commission for Security Intercepts (CNIS), for a period of four months on the basis of a documented request.
What does Russophobia mean? Where does it come from? What are the West's russophobic stereotypes? And why is Russophobia dangerous. CrossTalking with George Szamuely, Alexander Nekrassov and Dmitry Babich.
Armoured personnel carriers driven into the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk under the control of Ukrainian armed forces are now believed to be in the control of pro-Russian separatists after Ukrainian soldiers surrendered their vehicles. ● Amid escalating rhetoric between Moscow and Kiev, the incident highlighted defiance by pro-Russian separatists, undermining central government efforts to push armed rebels out of captured buildings in 10 eastern towns without bloodshed. Ukrainian troops had driven armoured personnel carriers flying the Ukrainian flag into the town of Kramatorsk after securing control of a nearby airfield from the rebels on Tuesday, prompting Russian President Vladimir Putin to warn of the risk of civil war.
Oman Daily Observer: US considers arming Ukraine forces
The sharp escalation of the Ukraine crisis virtually puts the country on the brink of civil war, Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a telephone call. [The NSA & Obama were listening in on them...] ● Putin and Merkel discussed the upcoming Ukrainian crisis talks between Russia, Ukraine, the EU and the US, scheduled to be held on Thursday in Geneva. Merkel’s press office noted that, despite some differences of opinion, the upcoming talks were the main focus of the telephone conversation. "While there were differences in the interpretation of current events, preparations for the planned meeting in Geneva...were the focus of the talks," Merkel's office said in a statement. Putin meanwhile expressed hope that the Geneva talks will help to de-escalate the situation, and return it to peaceful cooperation.
Right after CIA director Brennan visited Kiev, then this:
Kiev putschists launches "anti-terrorist operation" in the east
Putschist Ukranian "President" Turchynov announces start of "anti-terror operation" in eastern Ukraine
CIA director in Kiev searching for missing mercenaries
Jason Ditz: White House Endorses Ukraine Crackdown on Protesters
Michael Collins: Triumph of the Ill – Ukraine Coup Leaders Turn on People
Johannes Stern: US-backed crackdown threatens civil war in Ukraine
In today's video, Christopher Greene of AMTV reports on a CIA led attack in Ukraine.
‘United Russia’ member Evgeniy Fedorov claims that Viktor Tsoi was assisted by American intelligence officers in writing the ‘Changes’ song. ● According to the parliament member, dozens thousands experts in the USA worked on the songs of the Kino band’s leader. They studied the situation in the USSR in order to pick the correct words and play on the listeners’ sentiment. “Songs for Tsoi were professionally written in Hollywood in Russian… there was a whole CIA department working for him on breaking up the USSR”, - Evgeniy Fedorov said.
From a British diplomatic source I learn that Britain has lobbied the United States against the publication of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture and extraordinary rendition. The lobbying has been carried out “at all levels” – White House, State Department and CIA. The British have argued that at the very least the report must be emasculated before publication. The British argument is that in a number of court cases including the Belhadj case, the British government has successfully blocked legal action by victims on the grounds that this would weaken the US/UK intelligence relationship and thus vitally damage national security, by revealing facts the American intelligence service wish hidden.
Russian President Vladimir Putin urged his American counterpart on Monday to use the White House’s influence on the Ukrainian government to prevent further “bloodshed” from occurring in the country. ● United States President Barack Obama placed a phone call to Mr. Putin on Monday afternoon (EST) to discuss the ongoing and increasingly tense situation in eastern Ukraine amid growing concerns surrounding the country’s future stability following the recent ousting of Pres. Viktor Yanukovych earlier this year, and the turmoil that has gripped the region ever since. ● According to a statement released after the phone conversation by the Kremlin, Putin dismissed recent reports that peg Russia as being responsible for heated protests that have erupted in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian activists have successfully managed to seize a number of local government buildings and police stations. "In response to the president of the United States' expressed concern about Russia's supposed meddling in southeastern Ukraine, the president of Russia noted that such speculations are based on inaccurate information," the press statement read. Putin stressed that protests in several south-east regions of Ukraine are a result of “the Kiev authorities’ unwillingness and inability to take into account the interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population,” read a Kremlin press service statement.
The Telegraph: Kiev putschists launches "anti-terrorist operation" in the east
Putschist Ukranian "President" Turchynov announces start of "anti-terror operation" in eastern Ukraine
PressTV: Charges of Russia role in Ukraine baseless: Putin
VoR: Russia to take measures if NATO's force configuration changes - Russian envoy
Reuters: Ukraine launches 'gradual' operation, action limited
VoR: Kiev launches military operation in northern Donetsk region
The Saker: The Next 24 Hours Are Crucial For Ukraine
Russia has to stop gas subsidies to Ukraine as it cannot keep supporting the bankrupt anti-Russian regime in Kiev, energy asset manager Eric Kraus told RT, adding that it will be the EU's problem if Ukraine eventually starts stealing their transit gas.
RT: Ukraine says it wants heavily discounted gas from Russia. Does it have grounds to ask for that?
Eric Kraus: I think it is fairly absurd considering that you have a strongly anti-Russian regime which has been brought into place by the Europeans and by the Americans in Kiev. You can't really ask the Russians to fund this regime, can you?
RT: On the other hand, Russia has doubled prices in the span of just a few months, perhaps some calling that too harsh?
EK: It is harsh, but basically what they did is not double prices. What they did is they removed subsidies. Russia has been very heavily subsidizing Ukraine, since Ukraine became independent, because they needed a friendly, at least a neutral state at their border. Now if Ukraine wants to align itself with NATO and basically anti-Russian countries, then they are going to have to pay their own way.
According to Obama, the Kerry, Samantha Power, Jen Psaki and the rest of the US 1%ers, most members of the UN Security Council and according to the EU clowns at the OSCE or PACE, what you are seeing in this video is: "Russian agents creating chaos were there was none and spreading hatred".
According to the freaks of the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev, what you see are terrorists. According to me, what you see is simple civilians willing to stand up in front of a tank with their car and their bodies to stop it. What I hear them say is "who the hell do you plan to shoot at? Stop the engine! Stop the engine! What are you pulling your assault rifle out for? Do you think that if we jump on your tank it will protect you?". Judging by the copious amount of cursing the civilians are really very mad because they are suspecting that this tank is headed for the city of Slaviansk. I would add that the poor tank crew is clearly frightened and ashamed and the tank commander does the only right thing: he climbs out of the tank, begs to crowd not to touch it (he is personally responsible for it) and tries to convince the crowd that they did not plan to shoot anybody. The tank commander looks like a nice young guy placed in an impossible situation, and I hope that the civilians will understand that. They are angry because initially the tank crew tried to avoid them. The good news is that I clearly hear a voice saying "stop screaming! stop screaming!" to try to cool down the angry crowd. And no, I don't see any Spetsnaz GRU in disguise or any sign of Russians at all. Decide for yourself what you see.
PS: One more thing. The tank sounds like it has some transmission problem (though not being an armor person I am not sure). It sure is an old tank. But what is absolutely certain, is that basic military tactic categorically forbids sending a lone tank cruising around the countryside. If these civilians had been military, even without anti-tank weapons, they could have easily set this tank on fire. In other words, what I see here is not anything remotely looking like a military assault on the city of Slaviansk, but complete total chaos.
Oriental Review ■ The flywheel of political repressions in Ukraine is gaining momentum these days. In sharp contrast with the liberal approach by president Yanukovych to the “Euromaidan” rout, the interim Kievan administration did not hesitate much about cracking down the public uprising against the “neo-Nazi regime” on the rise in the East and South of Ukraine. Today only in Kharkov at least 70 activists have been arrested during the so-called “anti-terrorist operation”. According to the reports, foreign mercenaries presumably from the US Greystone Ltd private military contractor firm were participating in the operation along with the National Guard (majorly consisting of the ultranationalist Pravy (Right) Sector fighters) and some loyal Interior Ministry units. ■ George Orwell was onto something when he coined the phrase, “war is peace,” to describe the groupthink of his fictional future totalitarian society. He would have no trouble recognizing the propaganda on parade during the recent overthrow of the Ukrainian government, during which “peaceful protesters” engaged in killing, burning, and looting … and continue to do so now.
Reuters: Ukraine's east braces for anti-rebel operation as deadline passes
EO Observer: Three EU countries back Ukraine's use of force
RT.com: Ukraine's Slavyansk under siege as Kiev orders crackdown on protests
Alex Lantier: UN Security Council holds emergency meeting over Ukraine
Stephen Lendman: We're All Ukrainians Now
This week, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove announced that the deployment of U.S. troops to Eastern European countries may serve as counter-measures against "Russia’s military threats" against Ukraine. ● Breedlove, who has been ordered to develop a plan for consolidation of allied forced until April 15th, mentioned in his interview to Associated Press that he would not ‘write off involvement by any nation, to include the United States’. ‘Essentially what we are looking at is a package of land, air and maritime measures that would build assurance for our easternmost allies. […]I’m tasked to deliver this by next week. I fully intend to deliver it early,’ – he told AP after the NATO conference in Paris, France.
Support for the eurosceptic UK Independence Party (UKIP) has spiked to 20 per cent while Britain's ruling Conservatives have hit their lowest rating this year, according to a poll. ● The ComRes survey for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror newspapers showed Nigel Farage's UKIP up four points since last month to achieve its highest ever result in a poll by the consultancy. Farage's personal approval rating increased seven points since last month to 27 per cent, level with Prime Minister David Cameron, according to the survey. The poll comes around two weeks after the UKIP leader was widely judged to have performed well in two live televised debates with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, over Britain's future in European Union. In the debates both leaders drew battle lines ahead of European Parliament elections being held on May 22.
US secret services are actively 'hunting' and jailing Russians in revenge for the annexation of Crimea – or so a warning by the Russian Foreign Ministry says. ● Russia's Foreign Ministry is warning that Russians should refrain from traveling abroad because they could be entrapped by US secret services who are actively "hunting" for Russians to persecute in punishment for Moscow's recent annexation of Crimea, according to an official notice published on the Ministry's website. The message seems directed at the approximately 15 million Russians, most of them middle-class, who leave the country each year for tourism. It says the US, which "unreasonably" refuses to accept the reunification of Russia and Crimea, is seeking revenge by "trying to make a routine practice of 'hunting' for Russian citizens in third countries with the goal of extraditing them to the US, where they will be convicted [and jailed] on what are usually doubtful charges." And it adds that "justice in America" is biased against Russians, who can be "kidnapped" and taken to the US without even notifying Russian consular officials about what is happening. The two cases cited as examples are old bones of contention between Russia and the US: those of convicted arms trader Viktor Bout and convicted cocaine smuggler Konstantin Yaroshenko, both of whom were arrested in third countries and extradited to the US for trial.
Finian Cunningham ■ It's been a busy week for NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The week began with him telling lies, spewing propaganda, seeking to please Washington, trying to incite war in Europe with Russia, and ended with a warning to Russia to back down from military aggression. Such is the busy life of a puppet on a string, bouncing in step with the tune called by his master. From here on, Rasmussen should be re-branded as the “Fogh of War.” Earlier in the week, Fogh Rasmussen addressed a meeting in Paris on the “transformation of NATO.” He licked the boots of French leaders by saying: “
From Central Africa to Eastern Europe, French forces are helping make our world safer - whether under the banner of NATO, the European Union, or of France.” Make our world safer? This was homage to French militarism that has ignited wholesale sectarian war in the Central African Republic (CAR) where thousands of people have been slaughtered since French troops landed in that country last December on the pretext of “halting genocide.”
PressTV: Over 1,000 Muslims flee CAR amid fears of genocide - Video
Ukraine appealed to Russia to halt "provocative actions" in its eastern regions on Saturday as pro-Russian militants seized two more government buildings and called for autonomy from Kiev. ● At least 20 armed militants wearing mismatched camouflage outfits took over the police and security services headquarters in the eastern city of Slaviansk, about 150 km (90 miles) from the border with Russia, seizing hundreds of handguns. Police said gunmen later took over the local headquarters of Ukraine's SBU security service. Ukraine's acting foreign minister, Andriy Deshchytsia, urged Russia to end what he called "provocative actions" by its agents in a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Government buildings in two other Russian-speaking cities, Donetsk and Luhansk, have been occupied by separatists since last weekend, in what the new pro-Europe leadership in Kiev says is part of a plan drawn up by the Kremlin to dismember Ukraine.
VoR: Lavrov denies east Ukraine unrest was conducted by supposed Russian agents
PressTV: Pro-Russians retain sieges in eastern Ukraine - Video
The Hindu: Ukraine commandos refuse to storm buildings
Jason Ditz: Ukraine Offers Concessions to East Ukraine Protesters
Washington's offer to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to help Ukraine is worthless as there are no banks willing to finance the recovery of crisis-hit country, President Vladimir Putin said Friday. ● Putin called Washington's negative response to his letter addressed to European leaders, which contains proposals on how to solve the Ukrainian crisis, "a bit strange" as the United States was able so far only to offer guarantees rather than actual loans. "What are these guarantees to the banks that would be ready to issue loans, but there are no such banks, which means there is no aid," Putin said at a meeting with members of Russia's Security Council. "We are seriously concerned about this," he added. Russia will fully honor its obligations to supply natural gas to European partners, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
President Putin has written to 18 European countries, warning that Ukraine’s debt crisis has reached a “critical” level and could threaten transit to Europe. He also called for urgent cooperation, blaming Russia’s partners for a lack of action. Among the countries who’ll receive the letter are major consumers of Russian gas such as Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Moldova, Poland and Romania. Given the accumulated $2.2 billion gas debt owed by Ukraine’s Naftogas, Russia’s Gazprom will be forced to ask Ukraine for advance payments, Putin said in his letter to European partners, referring to the 2009 gas contract signed between Moscow and Kiev. “In other words, we’ll be supplying exactly the volume of gas that Ukraine pays for a month in advance,” as Itar -Tass quotes Putin's letter. Putin added that introducing advance payments would be an extreme measure. “We understand that this increases the risks of unsanctioned retrieval of gas flowing through the territory of Ukraine to European consumers. And it could also hinder accumulation of gas supplies in Ukraine necessary to provide for consumption during the autumn-winter period.” Stable transit of Russian gas to Europe would require an additional 11.5 billion cubic meters of gas for Ukraine’s underground storages, which would cost $5 billion, Putin explained. Given all the discounts Russia has provided in the last four years, Moscow has subsidized Ukraine’s economy to the tune of $35.4 billion, coupled with a $3 billion loan tranche in December last year. “I would underline – nobody except Russia has done this,” Putin wrote in the letter.
F. William Engdahl : White House Lies to EU about US Gas Supply
Certain NATO countries plan massive troops deployment near Russian borders - Russian defense ministry
The position of NATO hardliners seeking to restrain Russia has prevailed against the backdrop of the crisis in Ukraine, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said. ● "Russia has taken note of the plans by certain members of the alliance to deploy large military contingents in their territories close to our borders," Antonov said at a conference titled "Modern aspects of international security" at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations on Wednesday. Contractors from private security companies are supposed to do what NATO cannot do openly, they train terrorists who destabilize situation in Ukraine, Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization told RIA Novosti Tuesday. "Those organizations (private security companies) will do what NATO cannot do openly. They can train people to be terrorists," Chossudovsky said, adding that in Syria private contractors were training al-Qaeda. "
We are talking about the continuation of US policy of military intervention in Ukraine and a preparatory stage for a massacre in southeastern Ukraine," Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of the National Defense monthly Russian-language magazine said, adding that the deployment of mercenaries from a private company Greystone Ltd. may be financed by Ukrainian oligarchs and organized in coordination with the US State Department.
By Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for The Guardian ■ The profound and pervasive crisis in Ukraine is a matter of grave concern for Russia. We understand perfectly well the position of a country which became independent just over 20 years ago and still faces complex tasks in constructing a sovereign state. Among them is the search for a balance of interests among its various regions, the peoples of which have different historical and cultural roots, speak different languages and have different perspectives on their past and present, and their country's future place in the world. Given these circumstances, the role of external forces should have been to help Ukrainians protect the foundations of civil peace and sustainable development, which are still fragile. Russia has done more than any other country to support the independent Ukrainian state, including for many years subsidising its economy through low energy prices. Last November, at the outset of the current crisis, we supported Kiev's wish for urgent consultations between Ukraine, Russia and the EU to discuss harmonising the integration process. Brussels flatly rejected it. This stand reflected the unproductive and dangerous line the EU and US have been taking for a long time. They have been trying to compel Ukraine to make a painful choice between east and west, further aggravating internal differences.
Eric Draitser ■ NATO, Russia, and the View from Mars Robert Heinlein’s classic novel Stranger in a Strange Land tells the story of a human, born and raised on Mars, who comes to Earth and struggles to understand the world around him. The protagonist of the novel, having no knowledge of the planet, is susceptible to misunderstanding issues based on a literal interpretation of all he sees and reads. Were he to come to the US or Europe today and pick up a newspaper or turn on the news, what would he think of Russia and its ambitions? Conversely, would he even encounter the word NATO? And would he have any concept of the fact that NATO is by far the most dominant military force in the world? Obscuring the Truth with Media: The onslaught of Western propaganda in recent months has attempted to portray Russia as an aggressor – an imperial nation with designs on Ukraine and its other neighbors. Russia is presented as a belligerent actor using its military to menace former Soviet republics in order to reconstitute its former glory.
The US dollar's position as the base currency for global energy trading gives the US a number of unfair advantages. It seems that Moscow is ready to take those advantages away. ● The existence of "petrodollars" is one of the pillars of America's economic might because it creates a significant external demand for American currency, allowing the US to accumulate enormous debts without defaulting. If a Japanese buyer wants to buy a barrel of Saudi oil, he has to pay in dollars even if no American oil company ever touches the said barrel. Dollar has held a dominant position in global trading for such a long time that even Gazprom's natural gas contracts for Europe are priced and paid for in US dollars. Until recently, a significant part of EU-China trade had been priced in dollars. Lately, China has led the BRICS efforts to dislodge the dollar from its position as the main global currency, but the "sanctions war" between Washington and Moscow gave an impetus to the long-awaited scheme to launch the petroruble and switch all Russian energy exports away from the US currency. The main supporters of this plan are Sergey Glaziev, the economic aide of the Russian President and Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the biggest Russian oil company and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Both have been very vocal in their quest to replace the dollar with the Russian ruble. Now, several top Russian officials are pushing the plan forward.
Cem Ertür ■ All the available evidence indicates that U.S., U.K., Israel, Turkey, France and Saudi Arabia meticulously planned the genocidal covert war on Syria for years before actually launching it in 2011. Right from the beginning, Turkey has been at the epicenter of this war in every possible respect. In the face of the increasingly brutal and reckless attacks across all of its land borders, the Syrian state, army and people have been displaying an outstanding resistance, courage and solidarity. As the prospect of a decisive victory by the Syrian army becomes ever more certain, the orchestrators of this genocide are disseminating all sorts of propaganda on a global scale to obfuscate and cover up their monumental war crimes. However, Turkey and NATO’s overt participation in the ongoing cross-border offensive on Kasab provides an incontrovertible evidence of these crimes for those who seek peace and justice for Syria and the entire humanity.
Despite Russia's veiled threat that any ongoing action against pro-Russian demonstrators had the potential to instigate civil war and bring action by the Russian forces, Ukraine's interior minister Arsen Avakov has announced, Reuters reports, that Ukraine has launched an "anti-terrorist" operation in the eastern city of Kharkiv and about 70 "separatists" have been arrested for seizing the regional administration building. Is this the red-line that Putin laid down last night? As Russia made clear last night, as ITAR-TASS reports,
The Russian Foreign Ministry urged Ukraine to halt any interior military preparations, which could instigate a civil war in the country, the ministry was quoted as saying on its Facebook.com account. “
According to our information, units of the Interior troops and Ukraine’s national guards as well as militants from the illegal armed formation ‘The Right Sector’ are being amassed in the southeastern parts of Ukraine and in the city of Donetsk,” the ministry said. “
We are particularly concerned that the operation involves some 150 American mercenaries from a private company Greystone Ltd., dressed in the uniform of the [Ukrainian] special task police unit Sokol,” the ministry said.
● Since Russian troops first entered the Crimean peninsula in early March, a series of media polling outlets have asked Americans how they want the U.S. to respond to the ongoing situation. Although two-thirds of Americans have reported following the situation at least “somewhat closely,” most Americans actually know very little about events on the ground — or even where the ground is. ● On March 28-31, 2014, we asked a national sample of 2,066 Americans (fielded via Survey Sampling International Inc. (SSI), what action they wanted the U.S. to take in Ukraine, but with a twist: In addition to measuring standard demographic characteristics and general foreign policy attitudes, we also asked our survey respondents to locate Ukraine on a map as part of a larger, ongoing project to study foreign policy knowledge. We wanted to see where Americans think Ukraine is and to learn if this knowledge (or lack thereof) is related to their foreign policy views. We found that only one out of six Americans can find Ukraine on a map, and that this lack of knowledge is related to preferences: The farther their guesses were from Ukraine’s actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene with military force.
People in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv have declared independence from Kiev following a same move by pro-Russians in Donetsk. ● Protesters announced on Monday the formation of the Independent People’s Republic of Kharkiv outside the regional administration building. They also held their own election of what they call national lawmakers. Moreover, the demonstrators clashed with pro-Ukraine groups in front of the building. Police tried to separate the two groups as they were throwing sticks and stones at each other. Some 50 percent of the region's inhabitants are ethnic Russians that believe Ukraine's acting authorities are nationalists who will repress Russians. Earlier in the day, people in the eastern city of Donetsk declared their independence and formation of the People’s Republic of Donetsk. They demanded a referendum on joining Russia to be held by May 11.
US sends warship to Black Sea amid tensions with RussiaUS issues fresh warning to Russia over Ukraine
Jason Ditz: Protesters Declare Republic of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine
RT.com: Lavrov: US and EU line on Ukraine ‘unproductive and dangerous’
Kopp Online: Moskau warnt Kiew vor dem Einsatz von Militär und Söldnern im Südosten der Ukraine
Johannes Stern: Pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine demand Crimean-style referendum
Stephen Lendman: Eastern Ukrainian Resistance
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