| The Return of George Orwell and Big Brother’s War On Israel, Ukraine and Truth!

On Israel, Ukraine and Truth ~  John Pilger, Counterpunch, Tells the Facts and Names the Names.

The other night, I saw George Orwells’s 1984 performed on the London stage. Although crying out for a contemporary interpretation, Orwell’s warning about the future was presented as a period piece: remote, unthreatening, almost reassuring. It was as if Edward Snowden had revealed nothing, Big Brother was not now a digital eavesdropper and Orwell himself had never said, “To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country.”

Acclaimed by critics, the skilful production was a measure of our cultural and political times. When the lights came up, people were already on their way out. They seemed unmoved, or perhaps other distractions beckoned. “What a mindfuck,” said the young woman, lighting up her phone.

As advanced societies are de-politicised, the changes are both subtle and spectacular. In everyday discourse, political language is turned on its head, as Orwell prophesised in 1984. “Democracy” is now a rhetorical device.  Peace is “perpetual war”. “Global” is imperial. The once hopeful concept of “reform” now means regression, even destruction. “Austerity” is the imposition of extreme capitalism on the poor and the gift of socialism for the rich: an ingenious system under which the majority service the debts of the few.

In the arts, hostility to political truth-telling is an article of bourgeois faith.  “Picasso’s red period,” says an Observer headline, “and why politics don’t make good art.” Consider this in a newspaper that promoted the bloodbath in Iraq as a liberal crusade. Picasso’s lifelong opposition to fascism is a footnote, just as Orwell’s radicalism has faded from the prize that appropriated his name.

A few years ago, Terry Eagleton, then professor of English literature at Manchester University, reckoned that “for the first time in two centuries, there is no eminent British poet, playwright or novelist prepared to question the foundations of the western way of life”. No Shelley speaks for the poor, no Blake for utopian dreams, no Byron damns the corruption of the ruling class, no Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin reveal the moral disaster of capitalism. William Morris, Oscar Wilde, HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw have no equivalents today. Harold Pinter was the last to raise his voice.  Among the insistent voices of consumer- feminism, none echoes Virginia Woolf, who described “the arts of dominating other people … of ruling, of killing, of acquiring land and capital”.

At the National Theatre, a new play, Great Britain, satirises the phone hacking scandal that has seen journalists tried and convicted, including a former editor of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World. Described as a “farce with fangs [that] puts the whole incestuous [media] culture in the dock and subjects it to merciless ridicule”, the play’s targets are the “blessedly funny” characters in Britain’s tabloid press. That is well and good, and so familiar. What of the non-tabloid media that regards itself as reputable and credible, yet serves a parallel role as an arm of state and corporate power, as in the promotion of illegal war?

The Leveson inquiry into phone hacking glimpsed this unmentionable. Tony Blair was giving evidence, complaining to His Lordship about the tabloids’ harassment of his wife, when he was interrupted by a voice from the public gallery. David Lawley-Wakelin, a film-maker, demanded Blair’s arrest and prosecution for war crimes. There was a long pause: the shock of truth. Lord Leveson leapt to his feet and ordered the truth-teller thrown out and apologised to the war criminal. Lawley-Wakelin was prosecuted; Blair went free.

Blair’s enduring accomplices are more respectable than the phone hackers. When the BBC arts presenter, Kirsty Wark, interviewed him on the tenth anniversary of his invasion of Iraq, she gifted him a moment he could only dream of; she allowed him to agonise over his “difficult” decision on Iraq rather than call him to account for his epic crime. This evoked the procession of BBC journalists who in 2003 declared that Blair could feel “vindicated”, and the subsequent, “seminal” BBC series, The Blair Years, for which David Aaronovitch was chosen as the writer, presenter and interviewer. A Murdoch retainer who campaigned for military attacks on Iraq, Libya and Syria, Aaronovitch fawned expertly.

Since the invasion of Iraq – the exemplar of an act of unprovoked aggression the Nuremberg prosecutor Robert Jackson called “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” — Blair and his mouthpiece and principal accomplice, Alastair Campbell, have been afforded generous space in the Guardian to rehabilitate their reputations. Described as a Labour Party “star”, Campbell has sought the sympathy of readers for his depression and displayed his interests, though not his current assignment as advisor, with Blair, to the Egyptian military tyranny.

As Iraq is dismembered as a consequence of the Blair/Bush invasion, aGuardian headline declares: “Toppling Saddam was right, but we pulled out too soon”. This ran across a prominent article on 13 June by a former Blair functionary, John McTernan, who also served Iraq’s CIA installed dictator Iyad Allawi. In calling for a repeat invasion of a country his former master helped destroy , he made no reference to the deaths of at least 700,000 people, the flight of four million refugees and sectarian turmoil in a nation once proud of its communal tolerance.

“Blair embodies corruption and war,” wrote the radical Guardiancolumnist Seumas Milne in a spirited piece on 3 July. This is known in the trade as “balance”. The following day, the paper published a full-page advertisement for an American Stealth bomber. On a menacing image of the bomber were the words: “The F-35. GREAT For Britain”. This other embodiment of “corruption and war” will cost British taxpayers £1.3 billion, its F-model predecessors having slaughtered people across the developing world.

In a village in Afghanistan, inhabited by the poorest of the poor, I filmed Orifa, kneeling at the graves of her husband, Gul Ahmed, a carpet weaver, seven other members of her family, including six children, and two children who were killed in the adjacent house. A “precision” 500-pound bomb fell directly on their small mud, stone and straw house, leaving a crater 50 feet wide. Lockheed Martin, the plane’s manufacturer’s, had pride of place in the Guardian’s advertisement.

The former US secretary of state and aspiring president of the United States, Hillary Clinton, was recently on the BBC’s Women’s Hour, the quintessence of media respectability. The presenter, Jenni Murray, presented Clinton as a beacon of female achievement. She did not remind her listeners about Clinton’s profanity that Afghanistan was invaded to “liberate” women like Orifa. She asked  Clinton nothing about her administration’s terror campaign using drones to kill women, men and children. There was no mention of Clinton’s idle threat, while campaigning to be the first female president, to “eliminate” Iran, and nothing about her support for illegal mass surveillance and the pursuit of whistle-blowers.

Murray did ask one finger-to-the-lips question. Had Clinton forgiven Monica Lewinsky for having an affair with husband? “Forgiveness is a choice,” said Clinton, “for me, it was absolutely the right choice.” This recalled the 1990s and the years consumed by the Lewinsky “scandal”. President Bill Clinton was then invading Haiti, and bombing the Balkans, Africa and Iraq. He was also destroying the lives of Iraqi children; Unicef reported the deaths of half a million Iraqi infants under the age of five as a result of an embargo led by the US and Britain.

The children were media unpeople, just as Hillary Clinton’s victims in the invasions she supported and promoted – Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia — are media unpeople. Murray made no reference to them. A photograph of her and her distinguished guest, beaming, appears on the BBC website.

In politics as in journalism and the arts, it seems that dissent once tolerated in the “mainstream” has regressed to a dissidence: a metaphoric underground. When I began a career in Britain’s Fleet Street in the 1960s, it was acceptable to critique western power as a rapacious force. Read James Cameron’s celebrated reports of the explosion of the Hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll, the barbaric war in Korea and the American bombing of North Vietnam. Today’s grand illusion is of an information age when, in truth, we live in a media age in which incessant corporate propaganda is insidious, contagious, effective and liberal.

In his 1859 essay On Liberty, to which modern liberals pay homage, John Stuart Mill wrote: “Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end.” The “barbarians” were large sections of humanity of whom “implicit obedience” was required.  “It’s a nice and convenient myth that liberals are peacemakers and conservatives the warmongers,” wrote the historian Hywel Williams in 2001, “but the imperialism of the liberal way may be more dangerous because of its open-ended nature: its conviction that it represents a superior form of life.” He had in mind a speech by Blair in which the then prime minister promised to “reorder the world around us” according to his “moral values”.

Richard Falk, the respected authority on international law and the UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, once described a “a self-righteous, one-way, legal/moral screen [with] positive images of western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted political violence”. It is “so widely accepted as to be virtually unchallengeable”.

Tenure and patronage reward the guardians. On BBC Radio 4, Razia Iqbal interviewed Toni Morrison, the African-American Nobel Laureate. Morrison wondered why people were “so angry” with Barack Obama, who was “cool” and wished to build a “strong economy and health care”. Morrison was proud to have talked on the phone with her hero, who had read one of her books and invited her to his inauguration.

Neither she nor her interviewer mentioned Obama’s seven wars, including his terror campaign by drone, in which whole families, their rescuers and mourners have been murdered. What seemed to matter was that a “finely spoken” man of colour had risen to the commanding heights of power. In The Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon wrote that the “historic mission” of the colonised was to serve as a “transmission line” to those who ruled and oppressed. In the modern era, the employment of ethnic difference in western power and propaganda systems is now seen as essential. Obama epitomises this, though the cabinet of George W. Bush – his warmongering clique – was the most multiracial in presidential history.

As the Iraqi city of Mosul fell to the jihadists of ISIS, Obama said, “The American people made huge investments and sacrifices in order to give Iraqis the opportunity to chart a better destiny.” How “cool” is that lie? How “finely spoken” was Obama’s speech at the West Point military academy on 28 May. Delivering his “state of the world” address at the graduation ceremony of those who “will take American leadership” across the world, Obama said, “The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it. International opinion matters, but America will never ask permission …”

In repudiating international law and the rights of independent nations, the American president claims a divinity based on the might of his “indispensable nation”. It is a familiar message of imperial impunity, though always bracing to hear. Evoking the rise of fascism in the 1930s, Obama said, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being.”  Historian Norman Pollack wrote: “For goose-steppers, substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manqué, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while.”

In February, the US mounted one of its “colour” coups against the elected government in Ukraine, exploiting genuine protests against corruption in Kiev. Obama’s national security adviser Victoria Nuland personally selected the leader of an “interim government”. She nicknamed him “Yats”. Vice President Joe Biden came to Kiev, as did CIA Director John Brennan. The shock troops of their putsch were Ukrainian fascists.

For the first time since 1945, a neo-Nazi, openly anti-Semitic party controls key areas of state power in a European capital.  No Western European leader has condemned this revival of fascism in the borderland through which Hitler’s invading Nazis took millions of Russian lives. They were supported by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), responsible for the massacre of Jews and Russians they called “vermin”. The UPA is the historical inspiration of the present-day Svoboda Party and its fellow-travelling Right Sector. Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok has called for a purge of the “Moscow-Jewish mafia” and “other scum”, including gays, feminists and those on the political left.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has ringed Russia with military bases, nuclear warplanes and missiles as part of its Nato Enlargement Project. Reneging on a promise made to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that Nato would not expand “one inch to the east”, Nato has, in effect, militarily occupied eastern Europe. In the former Soviet Caucasus, Nato’s expansion is the biggest military build-up since the Second World War.

A Nato Membership Action Plan is Washington’s gift to the coup-regime in Kiev. In August, “Operation Rapid Trident” will put American and British troops on Ukraine’s Russian border and “Sea Breeze” will send US warships within sight of Russian ports. Imagine the response if these acts of provocation, or intimidation, were carried out on America’s borders.

In reclaiming Crimea — which Nikita Kruschev illegally detached from Russia in 1954 – the Russians defended themselves as they have done for almost a century. More than 90 per cent of the population of Crimea voted to return the territory to Russia. Crimea is the home of the Black Sea Fleet and its loss would mean life or death for the Russian Navy and a prize for Nato. Confounding the war parties in Washington and Kiev, Vladimir Putin withdrew troops from the Ukrainian border and urged ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine to abandon separatism.

In Orwellian fashion, this has been inverted in the west to the “Russian threat”. Hillary Clinton likened Putin to Hitler. Without irony, right-wing German commentators said as much. In the media, the Ukrainian neo-Nazis are sanitised as “nationalists” or “ultra nationalists”. What they fear is that Putin is skilfully seeking a diplomatic solution, and may succeed. On 27 June, responding to Putin’s latest accommodation – his request to the Russian Parliament to rescind legislation that gave him the power to intervene on behalf of Ukraine’s ethnic Russians – Secretary of State John Kerry issued another of his ultimatums. Russia must “act within the next few hours, literally” to end the revolt in eastern Ukraine. Notwithstanding that Kerry is widely recognised as a buffoon, the serious purpose of these “warnings” is to confer pariah status on Russia and suppress news of the Kiev regime’s war on its own people.

A third of the population of Ukraine are Russian-speaking and bilingual. They have long sought a democratic federation that reflects Ukraine’s ethnic diversity and is both autonomous and independent of Moscow. Most are neither “separatists” nor “rebels” but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland. Separatism is a reaction to the Kiev junta’s attacks on them, causing as many as 110,000 (UN estimate) to flee across the border into Russia. Typically, they are traumatised women and children.

Like Iraq’s embargoed infants, and Afghanistan’s “liberated” women and girls, terrorised by the CIA’s warlords, these ethnic people of Ukraine are media unpeople in the west, their suffering and the atrocities committed against them minimised, or suppressed. No sense of the scale of the regime’s assault is reported in the mainstream western media. This is not unprecedented. Reading again Phillip Knightley’s masterlyThe First Casualty: the war correspondent as hero, propagandist and mythmaker, I renewed my admiration for the Manchester Guardian’sMorgan Philips Price, the only western reporter to remain in Russia during the 1917 revolution and report the truth of a disastrous invasion by the western allies. Fair-minded and courageous, Philips Price alone disturbed what Knightley calls an anti-Russian “dark silence” in the west.

On 2 May, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians were burned alive in the trade union headquarters with police standing by. There is horrifying video evidence.  The Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre as “another bright day in our national history”. In the American and British media, this was reported as a “murky tragedy” resulting from “clashes” between “nationalists” (neo-Nazis) and “separatists” (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine). The New York Times buried it, having dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic policies of Washington’s new clients. The Wall Street Journal damned the victims – “Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says”. Obama congratulated the junta for its “restraint”.

On 28 June, the Guardian devoted most of a page to declarations by the Kiev regime’s “president”, the oligarch Petro Poroshenko.  Again, Orwell’s rule of inversion applied. There was no putsch; no war against Ukraine’s minority; the Russians were to blame for everything. “We want to modernise my country,” said Poroshenko. “We want to introduce freedom, democracy and European values. Somebody doesn’t like that. Somebody doesn’t like us for that.”

According to his report, the Guardian’s reporter, Luke Harding, did not challenge these assertions, or mention the Odessa atrocity, the regime’s air and artillery attacks on residential areas, the killing and kidnapping of journalists, the firebombing of an opposition newspaper and his threat to “free Ukraine from dirt and parasites”. The enemy are “rebels”, “militants”, “insurgents”, “terrorists” and stooges of the Kremlin. Summon from history the ghosts of Vietnam, Chile, East Timor, southern Africa, Iraq; note the same tags. Palestine is the lodestone of this unchanging deceit. On 11 July, following the latest Israeli, American equipped slaughter in Gaza – 80 people including six children in one family — an Israeli general writes in the Guardian under the headline, “A necessary show of force”.

In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl and asked her about her films that glorified the Nazis. Using revolutionary camera and lighting techniques, she produced a documentary form that mesmerised Germans; it was herTriumph of the Will that reputedly cast Hitler’s spell. I asked her about propaganda in societies that imagined themselves superior. She replied that the “messages” in her films were dependent not on “orders from above” but on a “submissive void” in the German population. “Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked. “Everyone,” she replied, “and of course the intelligentsia.”

John Pilger is the author of Freedom Next Time. All his documentary films can be viewed free on his website http://www.johnpilger.com/

GasOvenPTSD

| Ukraine can’t guarantee full transit of gas to Europe, warns Russian energy minister!

Ukraine can’t guarantee full transit of gas to Europe, warns Russian energy minister ~ RT.

Russia’s energy minister has warned that the situation concerning the injection of natural gas into Ukraine’s underground gas storage facilities is very critical, and Kiev, along with the EU, must take measures to ensure uninterrupted supply to Europe.

Reuters / Gleb Garanich

Reuters / Gleb Garanich

Aleksandr Novak reminded reporters that during Friday’s Warsaw meeting, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yury Prodan stated Ukraine can’t guarantee the injection of the required amount of gas into its underground gas storage facilities (UGS) during the summer months, which means that Ukraine no longer guarantees the transit of gas to Europe in the amounts agreed in contracts between Russian gas giant Gazprom and EU customers.

Russia, Ukraine, and the European Union failed to reach an agreement on gas supply issues during three-party talks in Warsaw on Friday. The parties gathered to search for a solution to the “crisis situation” around Ukraine’s payments for Russian gas, according to the Russian Energy Ministry.

Novak told reporters on Saturday that the situation is very critical, and that the EU and Ukraine need to take steps towards resolving the transit issue.

It’s very disturbing information, because we believe that it is unacceptable. It is necessary for Ukraine as well as our European partners – who are equally responsible for ensuring gas transit via Ukraine – to take urgent measures,” Novak said.

Novak estimated that Ukraine needs to inject 12 billion cubic meters of gas during the summer period to be all set for winter use and its transit obligations. The summer gas injection will ensure gas transit to Europe via Ukraine flows without interruption all year round.

According to EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger, the sides have agreed to hold two more rounds of consultations, in two and four weeks. During their next meeting in mid-May, the sides will focus on gas prices for Ukraine, Oettinger told journalists on Friday.

 

| Straw that breaks the camel’s back: Getting Ukraine Wrong!

Getting Ukraine Wrong ~ JOHN J. MEARSHEIMER, NYT.

President Obama has decided to get tough with Russia by imposing sanctions and increasing support for Ukraine’s new government. This is a big mistake. This response is based on the same faulty logic that helped precipitate the crisis. Instead of resolving the dispute, it will lead to more trouble.

The White House view, widely shared by Beltway insiders, is that the United States bears no responsibility for causing the current crisis. In their eyes, it’s all President Vladimir V. Putin’s fault — and his motives are illegitimate. This is wrong. Washington played a key role in precipitating this dangerous situation, and Mr. Putin’s behavior is motivated by the same geopolitical considerations that influence all great powers, including the United States.

The taproot of the current crisis is NATO expansion and Washington’s commitment to move Ukraine out of Moscow’s orbit and integrate it into the West. The Russians have intensely disliked but tolerated substantial NATO expansion, including the accession of Poland and the Baltic countries. But when NATO announced in 2008 that Georgia and Ukraine “will become members of NATO,” Russia drew a line in the sand. Georgia and Ukraine are not just states in Russia’s neighborhood; they are on its doorstep. Indeed, Russia’s forceful response in its August 2008 war with Georgia was driven in large part by Moscow’s desire to prevent Georgia from joining NATO and integrating into the West.

Fast forward to last November, when it seemed that President Viktor F. Yanukovych would sign an agreement with the European Union that was designed to deepen Ukraine’s integration with the West and greatly reduce Moscow’s influence there. Mr. Putin offered Ukraine a better deal in response, which Mr. Yanukovych accepted. That decision led to protests in western Ukraine, where there is strong pro-Western sentiment and much hostility to Moscow.

The Obama administration then made a fatal mistake by backing the protesters, which helped escalate the crisis and eventually led to the toppling of Mr. Yanukovych. A pro-Western government then took over in Kiev. The United States ambassador to Ukraine, who had been encouraging the protesters, proclaimed it “a day for the history books.”

Mr. Putin, of course, didn’t see things that way. He viewed these developments as a direct threat to Russia’s core strategic interests.

Who can blame him? After all, the United States, which has been unable to leave the Cold War behind, has treated Russia as a potential threat since the early 1990s and ignored its protests about NATO’s expansion and its objections to America’s plan to build missile defense systems in Eastern Europe.

One might expect American policymakers to understand Russia’s concerns about Ukraine joining a hostile alliance. After all, the United States is deeply committed to the Monroe Doctrine, which warns other great powers to stay out of the Western Hemisphere.

But few American policymakers are capable of putting themselves in Mr. Putin’s shoes. This is why they were so surprised when he moved additional troops into Crimea, threatened to invade eastern Ukraine, and made it clear Moscow would use its considerable economic leverage to undermine any regime in Kiev that was hostile to Russia.

When Mr. Putin explained why he was playing hardball, Mr. Obama responded that the Russian leader “seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations.” But the Russian leader is obviously not talking with lawyers; he sees this conflict in geopolitical, not legal terms.

Mr. Putin’s view is understandable. Because there is no world government to protect states from one another, major powers are acutely sensitive to threats — especially near their borders — and they sometimes act ruthlessly to address potential dangers. International law and human rights concerns take a back seat when vital security issues are at stake.

Mr. Obama would be advised to stop talking to lawyers and start thinking like a strategist. If he did, he would realize that punishing the Russians while trying to pull Ukraine into the West’s camp will only make matters worse.

The West has few options for inflicting pain on Russia, while Moscow has many cards to play against Ukraine and the West. It could invade eastern Ukraine or annex Crimea, because Ukraine regrettably relinquished the nuclear arsenal it inherited when the Soviet Union broke up and thus has no counter to Russia’s conventional superiority.

Furthermore, Russia could stop cooperating with America over Iran and Syria; it could badly damage Ukraine’s struggling economy and even cause serious economic problems in the European Union due to its role as a major gas supplier. Not surprisingly, most Europeans aren’t very enthusiastic about employing costly sanctions against Russia.

But even if the West could impose significant costs on Russia, Mr. Putin is unlikely to back down. When vital interests are at stake, countries are invariably willing to suffer great pain to ensure their security. There is no reason to think Russia, given its history, is an exception.

Mr. Obama should adopt a new policy toward Russia and Ukraine — one that seeks to prevent war by recognizing Russia’s security interests and upholding Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

To achieve those goals, the United States should emphasize that Georgia and Ukraine will not become NATO members. It should make clear that America will not interfere in future Ukrainian elections or be sympathetic to a virulently anti-Russian government in Kiev. And it should demand that future Ukrainian governments respect minority rights, especially regarding the status of Russian as an official language. In short, Ukraine should remain neutral between East and West.

Some might say these policy prescriptions amount to a defeat for America. On the contrary, Washington has a deep-seated interest in ending this conflict and maintaining Ukraine as a sovereign buffer state between Russia and NATO. Furthermore, good relations with Russia are essential, because the United States needs Moscow’s help to deal with Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, and eventually to help counter China, the only genuine potential rival to the United States.

John J. Mearsheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, is the author of “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.”

RussGasUkr Also see:

Russia is strong enough not to worry about Georgia joining NATO – analysts ~ The Voice of Russia.

 

| #Ukraine crisis: why #Russia sees #Crimea as its naval stronghold!

Ukraine crisis: why Russia sees Crimea as its naval stronghold ~  and theguardian.com.

We explain what’s up with Russia’s naval base in Crimea, a brief history of the peninsula, the Tatars and Peter the Great.

• Follow today’s live developments.

• Ukraine’s revolution and Russia in Crimea: how we got here.

 

 

A view of the Russian navy Frigate

A view of the Russian navy Frigate ‘Pytlivyy’ docked in the port of Sevastopol. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte /AFP /Getty

• Recent events

• Why does Russia have a naval base in Crimea?

• A brief history of Crimea and Crimean Tatars

• Peter the Great gets his own section

Recent events

On Thursday, Crimean ministers held a vote in their regional parliament to join the Russian Federation and secede from Ukraine, and to organize a referendum on the issue for 16 March. The move comes as international tensions continue to mount over the presence of Russian troops in the peninsula, which reportedly now number 30,000.

Ukraine’s interim prime minister warned the Crimean parliament that “no one in the civilised world” would recognize its referendum, calling the vote “unconstitutional” and “illegitimate”. But the referendum has the support of the Russian parliament, with the speaker of the upper house saying that Russia would “unquestionably back” the referendum’s choice.

The EU and US are mulling sanctions – so far targeting a small number of individuals with visa bans and asset freezes. This comes as a team of OSCE observers has been prevented for a second day from entering Crimea by unidentified armed men.

Why does Russia have a naval base in Crimea?

• Geographic limitations and ambitions: Russia’s capacity to reach the sea is limited by geography, so ports in the north and south seas, leading to larger waters, are crucial.

As the map below illustrates, Sevastopol is a strategically important base for Russia’s naval fleet, in addition to being Russia’s only warm water base. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a 1997 treaty with Ukraine allowed Russia to keep its Black Sea Fleet pretty much intact (with 15,000 personnel currently stationed) and lease the base at Sevastopol (extended to expire in 2042).

Black sea map

The Black Sea and Sevastopol. Photograph: /WikimediaAs Orlando Figes, author of Crimea: The Last Crusade, wrote last week:

Crimea was bound to be the focus of the Russian backlash against the Ukrainian revolution. … For more than 20 years, ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, its rule by Kiev has been a major source of Russian resentment – inside and outside Crimea – and a major thorn in Ukraine’s relations with Russia.

 

The Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation – by which Russia rents its naval base at Sevastopol from the Ukrainian government – is so far-reaching in the rights it gives the Russians to exercise their military powers that it is seen by many in Ukraine to undermine the country’s independence. In 2008 the Ukrainians said they would not renew the lease when it expired in 2017. But they buckled under the pressure of a gas-price hike and, in 2010, extended the Russian navy’s lease until 2042.

• Projecting power: Sevastopol has been an important hub to project Russia’s naval power on a global platform. The Black Sea Fleet has seen a flurry of activity since 2008: during the war with Georgia that year, the fleet staged blockades in the Black Sea. The Russian navy was actively engaged with Vietnam, Syria and Venezuela (and up until March 2011, Libya) “for logistics and repair services in their principal ports“. It has also been alleged that Sevastopol has served as the main source in supplying the Assad regime during Syria’s civil war and proved useful with Russia’s role in dismantling Syria’s chemical weapons last year. After Syria’s civil war forced Russia to stop using its naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus last year, Sevastopol became even more crucial.

You can find our explainer on the issue of Ukraine’s territorial integrity here, and the on the diplomatic deal that’s at stake here.

A brief history of Crimea and Crimean Tatars

• Before Tsarist subsumption: For five hundred years – roughly the middle ages in Europe – Turkic and Tatar tribes traded rule of Crimea. The peninsula spent a few hundred years as a Muslim Khanate and then an Ottoman vassal state, until Russia annexed it in 1783, under Catherine the Great, who thought the region symbolized Russia’s links to antiquity. (She proceeded to parcel out land to aristocrats and build classical-style palaces and gardens.)

By 1900, the Crimean Tatars, once the majority, had been halved by wars and campaigns of Russification. Their population was halved again in 1917, and shortly after that, Stalin forcibly deported most of the remaining Tatars to central Asia. Unsurprisingly, Tatars have largely held fiercely anti-Russian sentiments for a very long time. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Tatars have been returning, and though they number upwards of 200,000, they’re still a minority.

• Crimean War: With its Black Sea fleet based in Sevastopol, Tsar Nicholas I knocked the Ottoman Empire out of the region – a hugely symbolic feat considering Russia’s tricky relationship with its Muslim population and its centuries in need of a fleet.

Pro-Russian Cossacks share a laugh next to a war monument in Simferopol.

Pro-Russian Cossacks share a laugh next to a war monument in Simferopol. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesBut Nicholas’ overconfidence in Crimea in part led to the Crimean war with Britain and France, whose leaders sought to stop Russia’s expanding borders and to slow its influence in the Middle East. The allies won the war, bestowing British culture with the Charge of the Light Brigade, Florence Nightingale and Timothy the Tortoise. The Russians lost, but Tolstoy’s Sevastopol Sketches made sure that the 11-month siege of Sevastopol stuck in the national memory. (Between Sevastopol in 1854 and Leningrad in the second world war, the notorious Russian “siege mentality” may begin to make sense.)

• Khrushchev to Yeltsin: Crimea was given to Ukraine by premier Nikita Khrushchev (himself born at the border with Ukraine) to mark the 300th anniversary of Ukraine’s inclusion in the Russian Empire, a “donation” many in Russia still see as illegitimate. Surprisingly, Boris Yeltsin, the first president of post-Soviet Russia, didn’t propose an acquisition of Crimea during negotiations to dissolve the Soviet Republics.

Peter the Great gets his own section

• Let’s build some boats: Peter the Great changed the course of history in countless ways, and was an extremely strange man and very serious about boats. (He supposedly said “A great leader who has an army has one hand, but he who has a navy has two.” As a child, he would order around the children of other noblemen as “regiments” pretending to prepare for war. As an adult, he built a small boat by hand and used it to sail across the Neva, the river that runs through St Petersburg.) After a long trip in his youth to western Europe, in particular Amsterdam, where he studied shipbuilding, he returned to Moscow obsessed with dragging Russia into modernity – and making it a rival of the nations he saw in Europe.

Peter the Great

Peter the Great: an odd duckPeter saw Russia’s limited access to the ocean as one of its greatest weaknesses, and though it meant tens of thousands of dead serfs to build a city on a unforgiving swamp, he had St Petersburg built on the Gulf of Finland for this very reason: he would reach the sea at every opportunity. With his new northern capital giving access to the Baltic, Peter countered the power of his arch-rival, King Charles XII of Sweden. (To give you an idea of how deep-seated the contest over Ukraine is, Peter defeated Charles’ attempt to conquer Ukraine at the 1709 battle of Poltava.) To the south, Peter fought wars against the Tatars (who else) to gain access to the Black Sea, and built Russia’s first naval base in Taganrog in 1698.

| The Looting Of #Ukraine Has Begun!

The Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun ~ Paul Craig Roberts, Institute for Political Economy.

According to a report in Kommersant-Ukraine, the finance ministry of Washington’s stooges in Kiev who are pretending to be a government has prepared an economic austerity plan that will cut Ukrainian pensions from $160 to $80 so that Western bankers who lent money to Ukraine can be repaid at the expense of Ukraine’s poor. http://www.kommersant.ua/doc/2424454 It is Greece all over again.

Before anything approaching stability and legitimacy has been obtained for the puppet government put in power by the Washington orchestrated coup against the legitimate, elected Ukraine government, the Western looters are already at work. Naive protesters who believed the propaganda that EU membership offered a better life are due to lose half of their pension by April. But this is only the beginning.
ukrainian woman

This supporter of the Ukraine joining the EU has received her reward: a 50% cut in her pension.

 

The corrupt Western media describes loans as “aid.” However, the 11 billion euros that the EU is offering Kiev is not aid. It is a loan. Moreover, it comes with many strings, including Kiev’s acceptance of an IMF austerity plan.

Remember now, gullible Ukrainians participated in the protests that were used to overthrow their elected government, because they believed the lies told to them by Washington-financed NGOs that once they joined the EU they would have streets paved with gold. Instead they are getting cuts in their pensions and an IMF austerity plan.

The austerity plan will cut social services, funds for education, layoff government workers, devalue the currency, thus raising the prices of imports which include Russian gas, thus electricity, and open Ukrainian assets to takeover by Western corporations.

Ukraine’s agriculture lands will pass into the hands of American agribusiness.

One part of the Washington/EU plan for Ukraine, or that part of Ukraine that doesn’t defect to Russia, has succeeded. What remains of the country will be thoroughly looted by the West.

The other part hasn’t worked as well. Washington’s Ukrainian stooges lost control of the protests to organized and armed ultra-nationalists. These groups, whose roots go back to those who fought for Hitler during World War 2, engaged in words and deeds that sent southern and eastern Ukraine clamoring to be returned to Russia where they resided prior to the 1950s when the Soviet communist party stuck them into Ukraine.

At this time of writing it looks like Crimea has seceded from Ukraine. Washington and its NATO puppets can do nothing but bluster and threaten sanctions. The White House Fool has demonstrated the impotence of the “US sole superpower” by issuing sanctions against unknown persons, whoever they are, responsible for returning Crimea to Russia, where it existed for about 200 years before, according to Solzhenitsyn, a drunk Khrushchev of Ukrainian ethnicity moved southern and eastern Russian provinces into Ukraine. Having observed the events in western Ukraine, those Russian provinces want to go back home where they belong, just as South Ossetia wanted nothing to do with Georgia.

Washington’s stooges in Kiev can do nothing about Crimea except bluster. Under the Russian-Ukraine agreement, Russia is permitted 25,000 troops in Crimea. The US/EU media’s deploring of a “Russian invasion of 16,000 troops” is either total ignorance or complicity in Washington’s lies. Obviously, the US/EU media is corrupt. Only a fool would rely on their reports. Any media that would believe anything Washington says after George W. Bush and Dick Cheney sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN to peddle the regime’s lies about “Iraqi weapons of mass destruction,” which the weapons inspectors had told the White House did not exist, is clearly a collection of bought-and-paid for whores.

In the former Russian provinces of eastern Ukraine, Putin’s low-key approach to the strategic threat that Washington has brought to Russia has given Washington a chance to hold on to a major industrial complex that serves the Russian economy and military. The people themselves in eastern Ukraine are in the streets demanding separation from the unelected government that Washington’s coup has imposed in Kiev. Washington, realizing that its incompetence has lost Crimea, had its Kiev stooges appoint Ukrainian oligarchs, against whom the Maiden protests were partly directed, to governing positions in eastern Ukraine cities. These oligarchs have their own private militias in addition to the police and any Ukrainian military units that are still functioning. The leaders of the protesting Russians are being arrested and disappeared. Washington and its EU puppets, who proclaim their support for self-determination, are only for self-determination when it can be orchestrated in their favor. Therefore, Washington is busy at work suppressing self-determination in eastern Ukraine.

This is a dilemma for Putin. His low-key approach has allowed Washington to seize the initiative in eastern Ukraine. The oligarchs Taruta and Kolomoyskiy have been put in power in Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk, and are carrying out arrests of Russians and committing unspeakable crimes, but you will never hear of it from the US presstitutes. Washington’s strategy is to arrest and deep-six the leaders of the secessionists so that there no authorities to request Putin’s intervention.

If Putin has drones, he has the option of taking out Taruta and Kolomoyskiy. If Putin lets Washington retain the Russian provinces of eastern Ukraine, he will have demonstrated a weakness that Washington will exploit. Washington will exploit the weakness to the point that Washington forces Putin to war.

The war will be nuclear.

 

RussGasUkr

EarthSpeaks

| Who’s invading whom? Propaganda Rules The News!

Propaganda Rules The News – Paul Craig Roberts, Institute for Political Economy.

Gerald Celente calls the Western media “presstitutes,” an ingenuous term that I often use. Presstitutes sell themselves to Washington for access and government sources and to keep their jobs. Ever since the corrupt Clinton regime permitted the concentration of the US media, there has been no journalistic independence in the United States except for some Internet sites.

Glenn Greenwald points out the independence that RT, a Russian media organization, permits Abby Martin who denounced Russia’s alleged invasion of Ukraine, compared to the fates of Phil Donahue (MSNBC) and Peter Arnett (NBC), both of whom were fired for expressing opposition to the Bush regime’s illegal attack on Iraq. The fact that Donahue had NBC’s highest rated program did not give him journalistic independence. Anyone who speaks the truth in the American print or TV media or on NPR is immediately fired.

Russia’s RT seems actually to believe and observe the values that Americans profess but do not honor.

I agree with Greenwald. You can read his article here: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37842.htm Greenwald is entirely admirable. He has intelligence, integrity, and courage. He is one of the brave to whom my just published book, How America Was Lost, is dedicated. As for RT’s Abby Martin, I admire her and have been a guest on her program a number of times.

My criticism of Greenwald and Martin has nothing to do with their integrity or their character. I doubt the claims that Abby Martin grandstanded on “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” in order to boost her chances of moving into the more lucrative “mainstream media.” My point is quite different. Even Abby Martin and Greenwald, both of whom bring us much light, cannot fully escape Western propaganda.

For example, Martin’s denunciation of Russia for “invading” Ukraine is based on Western propaganda that Russia sent 16,000 troops to occupy Crimea. The fact of the matter is that those 16,000 Russian troops have been in Crimea since the 1990s. Under the Russian-Ukrainian agreement, Russia has the right to base 25,000 troops in Crimea.

Apparently, neither Abby Martin nor Glenn Greenwald, two intelligent and aware people, knew this fact. Washington’s propaganda is so pervasive that two of our best reporters were victimized by it.

As I have written several times in my columns, Washington organized the coup in Ukraine in order to promote its world hegemony by capturing Ukraine for NATO and putting US missile bases on Russia’s border in order to degrade Russia’s nuclear deterrent and force Russia to accept Washington’s hegemony.

Russia has done nothing but respond in a very low-key way to a major strategic threat orchestrated by Washington.

It is not only Martin and Greenwald who have fallen under Washington’s propaganda. They are joined by Patrick J. Buchanan. Pat’s column calling on readers to “resist the war party on Crimea” opens with Washington’s propagandistic claim: “With Vladimir Putin’s dispatch of Russian Troops into Crimea.”http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37847.htm
No such dispatch has occurred. Putin has been granted authority by the Russian Duma to send troops to Ukraine, but Putin has stated publicly that sending troops would be a last resort to protect Crimean Russians from invasions by the ultra-nationalist neo-nazis who stole Washington’s coup and established themselves as the power in Kiev and western Ukraine.

So, here we have three of the smartest and most independent journalists of our time, and all three are under the impression created by Western propaganda that Russia has invaded Ukraine.

It appears that the power of Washington’s propaganda is so great that not even the best and most independent journalists can escape its influence.

What chance does truth have when Abby Martin gets kudos from Glenn Greenwald for denouncing Russia for an alleged “invasion” that has not taken place, and when independent Pat Buchanan opens his column dissenting from the blame-Russia-crowd by accepting that an invasion has taken place?

The entire story that the presstitutes have told about the Ukraine is a propaganda production. The presstitutes told us that the deposed president, Viktor Yanukovych, ordered snipers to shoot protesters. On the basis of these false reports, Washington’s stooges, who comprise the existing non-government in Kiev, have issued arrest orders for Yanukovych and intend for him to be tried in an international court. In an intercepted telephone call between EU foreign affairs minister Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign affairs minister Urmas Paet who had just returned from Kiev, Paet reports: “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.” Paet goes on to report that “all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides . . . and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened.” Ashton, absorbed with EU plans to guide reforms in Ukraine and to prepare the way for the IMF to gain control over economic policy, was not particularly pleased to hear Paet’s report that the killings were an orchestrated provocation. You can listen to the conversation between Paet and Ashton here: http://rt.com/news/ashton-maidan-snipers-estonia-946/

What has happened in Ukraine is that Washington plotted against and overthrew an elected legitimate government and then lost control to neo-nazis who are threatening the large Russian population in southern and eastern Ukraine, provinces that formerly were part of Russia. These threatened Russians have appealed for Russia’s help, and just like the Russians in South Ossetia, they will receive Russia’s help.

The Obama regime and its presstitutes will continue to lie about everything.

TruthTree1

| Ukraine “Revolution” restores original oligarchs back to Power!

Ukraine “Revolution” Places Elites Back In Power ~ Brandon Turbeville,
Activist Post.

 In yet another example of how the recent Ukrainian “revolution” was nothing more than an Anglo-American destabilization of a foreign nation for geopolitical purposes, recent appointments to political posts inside Ukraine should serve as clear evidence of that fact.

In addition to the appointment of national positions to individuals belonging to the neo-Nazi Fascist Svoboda party, RT reports the installment of even more questionable characters, party affiliations aside.

These separate appointments do nothing but solidify any doubt regarding the nature of the “revolution” in Ukraine as the individuals being placed into public office are clearly of the Ukrainian national Oligarchical class.

For instance, the newly appointed Governor of Dnepropetrovsk, Igor Kolomoysky, is widely recognized as Ukraine’s third-wealthiest man, with an official fortune totaling over $2.4 billion. RT reports that Kolymoysky “co-owns the informal commercial group Privat, which includes Ukraine’s largest bank Privatbank, which Kolomoysky heads, as well as assets in the oil, ferroalloys and food industries, agriculture and transport.”

It is also reported that he is a major sponsor of the UDAR party, an organization that was one of the principle groups involved in the street campaign of the Euromaidan movement. Interestingly enough, Kolomoysky is a dual Ukrainian-Israeli citizen, although he manages his business operations out of Switzerland. He was also a former ally of Yulia Tymoshenko.

Kolomosky was accused of taking a hit out on a Ukrainian lawyer in the past, although those charges were dropped. However, after the dismissal of the charges, the lawyer was eventually found shot dead.

Sergey Taruta, the new Governor of the Donetsk region, is likewise a wealthy aristrocrat. Taruta himself is listed as one of the top ten wealthiest Ukrainians. His personal fortune is estimated to be around $2 billion. Taruta is the head of ISD, one of the largest mining and smelting companies on the planet, as well as the owner of the Metallurg Football Club.

Taruta was a backer of Vicktor Yuschenko after the latter was installed by the United States and related networks in the Orange Revolution of 2004.

The new Interior Minister, Arsen Avarkov, is listed as one of the 67th richest men in Ukraine. But what Avarkov lacks in wealth, he makes up for in criminal behavior. Avarkov was formerly wanted by Interpol for the theft of 55 hectares of state land.

Clearly, those Ukrainian people who joined the Euromaidan protests out of ignorance are clearly now feeling a very real sense of disappointment. Unfortunately, while most of the protests were simply engineered and funded by the West from the word go, those who took part hoping for real change have now found themselves in a much worse situation than they were in before.

Recently from Brandon Turbeville:

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 275 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

| US is a knuckle-dragging, low grade moronic culture – George Galloway!

The US is a knuckle-dragging, low grade moronic culture – George Galloway ~  John Robles, The Voice of Russia.

The high point of the American Empire has passed and mercifully we have emerged intact from the 20 very dangerous years during which the United States was the sole superpower in the world. We must never allow ourselves to endure that trial again. Power in the world is now passing to the East, to China, to Russia and to other rising nations as the United States is an aging tiger whose teeth are falling out.

This was stated in an interview which outspoken and brutally honest British MP George Galloway granted to the Voice of Russia’s John Robles. With regard to US surrogate NATO which is circling both Russia and China with bases and nuclear weapons, he labeled it an “imperial war machine” and called it “the greatest danger to peace and security in the world.” Mr. Galloway was also candid on his assessment of Saudi Arabia which he called a “gangster state” with Prince Bandar acting as chief capo who delivers severed horse’s heads into the bed of whomsoever they wish to intimidate.

As for Ukraine Mr. Galloway put the situation into stark perspective by saying: “Can you imagine what would happen if President Putin went to the streets of Toronto on street demonstrations whipping up anti-American feeling, in neighboring country. And yet this is precisely what is happening on the front line in Kiev now,” he added; again President Putin has again played a masterful diplomatic game. As for declining US hegemony he stated: “… they are losing and losing and losing. … they are losing because their power is waning, because hard power is waning, their financial power is defunct and their soft power, their cultural power is virtually non-existent. Anyone who takes a look at John McCain and thinks that that is a cultural soft power icon to desire, to head towards, would need their head examined. This is knuckle-dragging, low grade moronic culture,” he stated.

Download audio file

This is John Robles, you are listening to an interview with George Galloway, a member of the British Parliament. This is part 3 of an interview in progress. You can find the previous parts of this interview on our website at voiceofrussia.com

Part 1,  Part 2

Robles: Another country that, I just want to add to your list, was Saudi Arabia when Prince Bandar threatened terrorist attacks on the Olympic Games in Sochi. Russia would have had every right to just wipe it off the map.

Galloway: Well, Saudi Arabia is a gangster state and Bandar is increasingly the chief capo. He is the man who goes around delivering the severed horse’s headinto the bed of whomsoever they wish to intimidate.

They try bribery first of all and then they try browbeating, and finally they are ready to bully through the use of their surrogate auxiliary terrorist army.

And they found that President Putin could be neither bribed nor bullied, and he was sent away with a flea in his ear. But he was very lucky; it was only a flea in his ear. Frankly if he’d tried it with me he’d have gone home without an ear.

Robles: Yeah, I mean, you don’t threaten a nuclear superpower, I’m sorry, the West can say whatever they want but Russia is still a nuclear power. You don’t tell a president: “We are going to unleash Al Qaeda; we control your Chechen terrorists”. What about Scotland? You are Scottish, yes, sir?

Galloway: Yes, I am, yes.

Robles: What about Scottish independence? Do you think that will happen? How is it going?

Galloway: I don’t think it will happen and I don’t want it to happen. I’m against the breakup of states. This small country has been one country for more than 300 years. We speak the same language, we have a common language, a common culture, a common economic situation and once upon a time, if only briefly, we did some good things in the world, particularly in 1940 and 1941 when we stood alone against Fascist barbarism,and we didn’t ask the people who did so whether they were Scottish or whether they were English.

And I just think that working people divided are always weakened, working people together will be stronger. So, I was against the breakup of Yugoslavia, I was against the breakup of the USSR, I can hardly be in favor of the breakup of this small country.

Robles: Ok. Can you give us your opinion of sovereignty in the EU with regard to, for example, Ukraine and how much do countries lose in terms of sovereignty in your opinion when they join the EU?

Galloway: Before I answer that, let me just make this point. Can you imagine what would happen if President Putin went to the streets of Toronto on street demonstrations whipping up anti-American feeling, in neighboring country. And yet this is precisely what is happening on the front line in Kiev now. European and North American politicians are on the streets of Russia’s neighboring country whipping up anti-Russian feeling. But it seems to me, maybe I’m wrong – you will know better than I – but it’s running out of steam.

Again President Putin with his economic arrangements that he has now made with the President of Ukraine has again played a masterful diplomatic game. And the European Union, virtually bankrupt, is not in a position to match what Russia can do to help Ukraine in this terrible economic situation that it is in.

But to answer your point, the European Union is a good idea in principle. It has stopped the countries of the west of Europe in the first instance, from attacking each other, and murdering each other in their millions, which they did from 1870 until 1945, three times at least. And that is a good thing.

It is a good thing if working people in the European continent, not only within the boundaries of the European Union but throughout the European continent, can reach a common agreements on social policy, on environmental issues, on issues of social security and even common defense. There is nothing wrong with any of these things.

But the European Union is utterly dysfunctional when it comes to the manner in which it is run and the free market banking principles on which it is based.

We have a Reganite-Thatcherite European Central Bank which sets monetary and fiscal policy for the Franco-German center and not for the periphery even of Western Europe, never mind Central and Eastern Europe as they become more often members of the European Union.

So it is a very dysfunctional organization, it is broke and it ought to fix its own problems rather than sticking its nose into the problems of Ukraine and the Ukraine’s relationship with Russia.

Robles: I see. And by extension – NATO, what is your opinion about NATO and their expansion?

Galloway: Well, NATO is an imperial war machine; its name is increasingly of course a misnomer. The North Atlantic has been stretched as a geographical definition as far as the desserts of North Africa. And the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is circling both Russia and China with bases and nuclear armed warships and airplanes and so on. And it is the greatest danger to peace and security in the world.

And one of the many reasons why I find the call for Scottish independence implausible is that the Independence Party plans on making the independent Scotland a member of NATO which makes a mockery of its professed intention to be rid of nuclear weapons. You cannot be rid of nuclear weapons whilst joining a nuclear armed club.

Robles: Do you see NATO weakening or just growing and growing beyond all control?

Galloway: No, no, they are definitely weakening. The high point of the American Empire has passed as the high point of the British Empire before it passed.

Power is passing to the East, to China, to Russia and to other rising countries in the East and the South. I wouldn’t say as Chairman Mao said 30 years or 40 years, prematurely, that the United States was a paper tiger, but it is definitely an aging tiger whose teeth are beginning to fall out.

Robles: I see. Very well put, thank you sir – brilliant.

Galloway: Thank you.

Robles: If I could last, very last point and then I’ll let you go: Ukraine, right; Syria, we think Ukraine it was like revenge for their loss in Syria, right? Now if they lose in Ukraine what is the next hot spot going to be in your opinion?

Galloway: Well, the thing is they are losing and losing and losing. Now that might make them more angry but it doesn’t make them more able to win. They are losing because they are losing, they are losing because their power is waning, because hard power is waning, their financial power is defunct and their soft power, their “cultural power” is virtually non-existent.

Anyone who takes a look and a listen to John McCain and thinks that that is a cultural soft power icon to desire, to head towards, would need their head examined. This is knuckle-dragging, low grade moronic culture. And I don’t think that the great people of the Ukraine or in many other places are attracted to the soft power of the United States. The United States doesnot have the financial and economic wherewithal to make it worth their while.

So people are increasingly looking to themselves I hope, and looking elsewhere to other rising powers in the world. And let’s hope that in the next year and the next decade we have a number of great powers in the world.

Mercifully we have emerged intact from the very dangerous twenty years in which the United States was the sole superpower in the world, we escaped that and we must never allow ourselves to endure that trial again.

Robles: I see. Can we finish up with your film? Can you give us a few details maybe plug it if you want to, tell us where can we go.I understand, your film its very unique in that it’s being funded by the people.

Galloway: Yes, the Killing of Tony Blair began on Kickstarter, which is a crowd-funding mechanism. We asked for £50,000 and we got £160,000. And the money is still coming in, it can’t come in now by Kickstarter but you can still support us through PayPal, you can go to theblairdoc.com.

You can follow us on Twitter at the @TheBlairDoc. There are many many ways, if you forget any of those, just go to George Galloway MP on Facebook or follow me @George Galloway on Twitter and I’ll put you in the right direction. The film should be out next autumn, and it is coming to a cinema near you.

Robles: OK. I’m sure it will be very popular in Russia; hopefully we can get a Russian version.

Galloway: I hope so. Thanks very much indeed, John.

Robles: Ok, thank you, sir, it was an honor and a pleasure, and thanks for your time.

Galloway: My pleasure, my pleasure, thanks, bye.

Robles: Ok, bye-bye.

That was the end of Part 3 of an interview with British Member of Parliament George Galloway. You can find the previous parts of this interview on our website at voiceofrussia.com. Thank you very much for listening and as always I wish all the best and happy holidays wherever you may be.

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