NATO steps up military pressure on Russia

Stefan Steinberg and Peter Schwarz

François Hollande, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Petro Poroshenko and
Vitali Klitschko. Poroshenko and Klitschko have in recent weeks
met with various European political leaders, who all support the
fascist coup in Ukraine, thus throwing democracy under the bus.

NATO continued its military build-up on the Russian border even as US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Paris Sunday evening to discuss the conflict over Ukraine. The meeting, involving four hours of “frank” talks, ended with no breakthrough and separate news conferences.

The two men met after Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated his readiness to make certain concessions. Last Friday he phoned US President Barack Obama in Saudi Arabia to discuss a “diplomatic resolution to the crisis.” On Sunday, Kerry dismissed Lavrov’s proposal for a Federal Ukraine that was not part of NATO, cynically declaring that was “up to the Ukrainians”—that is, the fascist-led regime in Kiev backed by Washington.

Kerry again rejected Russia’s annexation of the Crimea as “illegal and illegitimate” and accused Russia of massing troops on its border with Ukraine. Western governments are using the alleged Russian troop movements to justify the steady boosting of their military presence in the Baltic states. The former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were admitted into NATO in 2004, but the military alliance did not previously deploy troops there in order not to provoke Russia. The three states have tiny armies, numbering between 5,000 and 12,000 each, and without any tanks or fighter jets. This is now being changed.

US, Europe step up threats against Russia over Ukraine

Stefan Steinberg

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stepped up pressure on the Russian government after a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Thursday.

“We expect other nations to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and avoid provocative action,” Hagel declared. “That’s why I’m closely watching Russia’s military exercises along the Ukrainian border, which they just announced yesterday.”

Hagel’s warning comes a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry issued his own threat against Russia.

“Any kind of military intervention that would violate the sovereign territorial integrity of Ukraine would be a huge, a grave mistake,” [he told reporters in Washington]. “The territorial integrity of Ukraine needs to be respected.”

Kerry and Hagel’s threats were echoed by German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen before the NATO meeting:

“The situation in Ukraine, especially in Crimea, fills us with great concern. The situation is very confusing and difficult, and it is now important that especially a breakup of Ukraine is prevented and the moderate forces will be strengthened in the country.”

US and European demands that other countries avoid “provocative action” are utterly hypocritical. It is the US and European powers, led by Germany, that have carried out a reckless and provocative policy, working with fascist groups to push Ukraine to the brink of civil war.

Their policy aims to break Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence and weaken Russia itself.

German report on horrendous treatment of refugees on Europe’s borders

Stefan Steinberg

On Tuesday, the German television news program “Report Mainz” broadcast a [short film][go to the 16:30 mark] dealing with the horrendous treatment of refugees trying to reach Europe.

The report began with the picture of a dead body of a man washed up on the beaches of the Greek island of Lesbos, a holiday destination 6 miles off the coast of Turkey. At the end of the report we learn that the same corpse was transported away by the island’s authorities and dumped in an anonymous grave next to a local rubbish tip.

The nameless individual was one of the many thousands of refugees fleeing war and repression in Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia who travel to Turkey and then try to cross to Greece and the European mainland in flimsy rubber dinghies.

Many of them do not make it. According to figures from Amnesty International cited in the program, up to 100 refugees are washed up dead on the beaches of Lesbos every year. The corpses are cleared away and buried unceremoniously in order to make the beaches free for holidaymakers.

German chancellor defends Western intelligence agencies

Stefan Steinberg

In a long interview with the weekly political magazine Die Zeit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel vehemently defended the work of US and western intelligence agencies and reaffirmed that her government was not prepared to offer whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum in Germany.

Merkel used the interview to whitewash the activities of intelligence agencies, and stressed that any discussions conducted over intelligence matters would be held in a spirit recognising that the US: “was and is our most trusted ally over decades.”

In recent weeks the German and sections of the international media have sought to play up differences between the German government and the US following the revelations of the extent of the NSA spying operation revealed by Snowden. The data released by Snowden made clear that in Europe Germany is the country that is most clearly subject to US surveillance.

Praising Merkel’s “caustic” criticisms of US intelligence practices, Die Tageszeitung welcomed one week ago what it referred to as a “transatlantic wake up call.” In fact, Merkel’s interview in Die Zeit makes clear that she will not lift a finger to challenge the illegal activities of the American or German intelligence agencies.

IMF chief: It’s “payback time” for Greek workers

Stefan Steinberg

In an interview with the British Guardian newspaper published Friday, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, vented her class hatred for the workers of Greece, denouncing them as tax scofflaws and ruling out any respite from the austerity measures that have devastated the country.

In the interview, Lagarde was questioned about the social catastrophe resulting from five years of economic crisis and austerity measures dictated by the IMF and the European Union. She was asked, in particular, to respond to the plight of pregnant women who “won’t have access to a midwife when they give birth,” patients who “won’t get life-saving drugs,” and the elderly who “will die alone for lack of care.”

Contemptuously dismissing the suffering and death caused by the policies she is helping to impose, Lagarde replied: “I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day… I have them in my mind all the time, because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens.”

The crocodile tears of Lagarde, formerly the finance minister under French President Nicolas Sarkozy, for the impoverished children of Africa carry little weight given the quasi-genocidal record of French imperialism in Africa and the neo-colonial interventions in the Ivory Coast, Libya and other parts of the continent carried out by the Sarkozy regime.

The IMF head continued: “As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about … all these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax.”

Asked whether she thought more about non-payment of taxes than “all those now struggling to survive without jobs or public services,” Lagarde replied, “I think of them equally. And I think they should also help themselves collectively … by all paying their tax.”

The Guardian article continued: “It sounds as if she’s essentially saying to the Greeks and others in Europe, you’ve had a nice time and now it’s payback time. ‘That’s right.’ She nods calmly.”

Anders Breivik Declared Insane: Who is Guilty? (Part1)

Charles E. Carlson

Anders Breivik and Mossad agent Pamela Geller

Everyone has heard the legal explanation of when free speech becomes a crime. “You must not cry 'fire' in a crowded theater." According to the findings of the Norway court-appointed psychiatrists who examined Anders Breivik, he believes there is an immigration fire in his native country, so he killed or wounded some 80 Norwegian youths whose parents belong to the political party he blames for the migration of Muslims into Norway.

Note that Breivik, as far as we know, did not gain a single krone for his violent, well-planned deed. And he risked his own life to do it, for had the police shown up before he ran out of bullets [1], or if anyone on Utøya Island had had a gun, Breivik would likely have been shot down. As it stands, Breivik may be in a mental institution for a few years, or for the rest of his life.

Some good may come from the unfamiliar and seemingly overgenerous Norwegian law, because it will now bring focus on those who Breivik heard shouting “fire” and who influenced him to kill 74 youths. Unlike Breivik, many of them are well paid and rewarded for promoting war.

Record levels of unemployment for Europe’s youth

Stefan Steinberg

The growth of long-term unemployment for a broad layer of European youth, including very many highly educated young people with academic qualifications who are unable to find work, has led a number of commentators to refer to a “lost generation”.

According to the latest figures from the German Statistical Office and Eurostat, youth unemployment across Europe has increased by a staggering 25 percent in the course of the past two and a half years. The current levels of youth unemployment are the highest in Europe since the regular collection of statistics began.

In the spring of 2008, prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the financial crash of that year, the official unemployment rate for youth in Europe averaged 15 percent. The latest figures from the German Statistical Office reveal that this figure has now risen to over 20 percent.

In total, 20.5 percent of young people between 15 and 24 are seeking work in the 27 states of the European Union. At the same time, these numbers conceal large differences in unemployment levels for individual European nations.

Obama demands regime change in Libya

Stefan Steinberg

L-R: Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron

In an open letter issued printed simultaneously in the Washington Post, the Times of London and Le Figaro, the Obama administration, together with the heads of government in France and Great Britain, openly acknowledged that the purpose of the NATO bombing of Libya was regime change, i.e., the forcible expulsion of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from power.

On March 28, Obama made a speech in Washington in which he denied that the aim of the current NATO war against Libya was regime change. Obama was subsequently criticized for his remarks by John McCain and other leading members of the US Senate Armed Services Committee. Obama’s comments at that time were welcomed by supporters of his government at home and abroad, including a layer of former leftists, who have repeatedly sought to justify the savage NATO bombing campaign against Libya as a “humanitarian action.”

Now, in his open letter on Friday, co-signed by the French and British leaders, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron, Obama has made his most explicit call for the overthrow of Gaddafi.

The three leaders write that the world would have committed an “unconscionable betrayal” if the Libyan leader is left in government. If Gaddafi is left in place, they continue, then Libya risks becoming a failed state.

The letter also indicates that the US and its closest Western allies in the Libyan campaign are digging in for a prolonged war.

Europe’s dirty secret

Stefan Steinberg & Barry Grey

A pedestrian walks past graffiti on a wall, in south Dublin. (Reuters)

In a revealing admission concerning the relationship between capitalist governments and international financial interests, the Financial Times on Tuesday wrote of “Europe’s dirty secret.”

The newspaper editorialized against the plan of the European Union, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund to loan Ireland tens of billions of euros in order to guarantee in full the investments of international bankers and bondholders in the country’s failing banking system.

Under the plan, Ireland will effectively surrender sovereignty over its economic policy to the EU and the IMF and agree to claw back the latest bailout of the global financial elite by imposing a new and even more savage round of attacks on the wages and living standards of the working class.

The Financial Times argued that using the €440 billion European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to cover the bad debts of the financial elite by propping up zombie banks, while driving the Irish state closer to default, would be “a fatal mistake.” The Times insisted that such a policy was shortsighted and self-defeating, since sovereign defaults would trigger new financial panics and bankruptcies.

The Times wrote:

“It would keep the Irish people indentured to those who recklessly fund their banks: EFSF funds must, after all, be paid back by taxpayers. It would also give an official EU imprimatur on Europe’s dirty secret: public treasuries will do anything to make private bank creditors whole.”

What the Financial Times calls a “dirty secret” is hardly news to those who have followed developments since the collapse of Lehman Brothers 26 months ago. What is remarkable, however, is the bluntness with which this organ of British finance capital acknowledges the existence of a dictatorship of the banks over government policy throughout Europe. Nor is it any different in North America, South America, Africa or Asia.

EU “rescue” operation for Ireland heralds deepening euro crisis

Barry Grey & Stefan Steinberg

"In an editorial published Tuesday, the Financial Times gave an unusually frank assessment of the basic social policy underlying the EU-IMF plan for Ireland. Arguing that the scheme will only intensify the European debt crisis, the newspaper wrote: “It would also give an official EU imprimatur on Europe’s dirty secret: public treasuries will do anything to make private bank creditors whole.”

The “dirty secret” of which the Times speaks is the class policy being pursued in every country—from the US to Europe to Japan and Australia—in response to the financial breakdown of 2008: the looting of public funds to pay off the gambling debts of the global financial elite."

After two days of crisis meetings in Brussels, European finance ministers dispatched a team of officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to examine the books of Ireland’s banks and prepare the way for a “rescue” plan that will shred Irish political sovereignty and impose even more savage attacks on the working class.

The European and IMF intervention is being dictated by global bankers, who are seeking to offload huge losses from the meltdown of Ireland’s banking system onto the Irish population and establish a precedent for similar “stabilization programs” in other heavily indebted countries in Europe and beyond.

Health topic page on womens health Womens health our team of physicians Womens health breast cancer lumps heart disease Womens health information covers breast Cancer heart pregnancy womens cosmetic concerns Sexual health and mature women related conditions Facts on womens health female anatomy Womens general health and wellness The female reproductive system female hormones Diseases more common in women The mature woman post menopause Womens health dedicated to the best healthcare
buy viagra online