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Hillary Clinton’s Friends and the Kissinger of Death

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | September 8, 2014

In Hillary Clinton’s predictable, self-serving, overlong, boilerplate garbage review of Henry Kissinger’s new book, published last week in the Washington Post, she – well, the communications grunt who actually wrote the review – praises a man who should be serving life in prison for war crimes.

While there is no point addressing the majority of the article, nauseating and noxious as it is, a few things stick out. The first is that Hillary Clinton is friends with a whole lot of absolutely despicable people. This is unsurprising, but still gross.

“Kissinger is a friend, and I relied on his counsel when I served as secretary of state. He checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels,” Clinton writes in the review, echoing a passage from her own recent pre-presidential campaign manifesto, “Hard Choices.”

That book contains myriad references to Clinton’s “valued” and “invaluable friends,” most of whom are rich, powerful or famous public figures – often all three.

Included among these are war criminals Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres. Clinton writes that she and Netanyahu “worked together as partners and friends.” Peres, she notes in the book, is an “old friend.”

In her role as Secretary of State, Clinton routinely referred to former Israeli Prime Minister and then-current Defense Minister Ehud Barak as her “friend,” “old friend,” and “longtime friend and colleague.” In April 2010, Clinton remarked, “I have known the defense minister for more years than I care to remember. We were both very young, Ehud.”

Barak endearingly replied, “Immediately after your bat mitzvah.” A hearty chuckle was had by all.

Hillary, Hosni and Shimon

081121-humphries-oxford2While Netanyahu has, at times, called Clinton “a great friend and a great champion of peace,” Clinton and Shimon Peres have a history of gushing over one another. In early March 2009, Clinton meet with Peres in Jerusalem, describing him as “my dear and old friend” and thanking him “for the extraordinary example that your life sets, as someone who has devoted yourself to the state of Israel, to its security, and to the cause of peace.”

Shimon Peres – who was born Szymon Perski in 1923 in what is now Belarus and immigrated to Palestine in 1934 – procured weaponry for the Haganah during Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947-48. He was the architect of Israel’s illicit nuclear weapons program and forged close ties with the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

In November 1974, after visiting the leadership in Pretoria, then-Israeli Defense Minister Shimon Peres emphasized to the Knesset the “vitally important” economic, political and military ties between the South Africa and Israel, explaining that “this cooperation is based not only on common interests and on the determination to resist equally our enemies, but also on the unshakeable foundations of our common hatred of injustice and out refusal to submit to it.”

Years later, Peres was acting prime minister during the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon in 1996, including the Qana massacre, in which Israeli warplanes shelled a UN compound sheltering hundreds of displaced civilians, killing 106.

Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton fawned, “I always come away from my times with you both inspired and encouraged to think more deeply and more broadly. And I also am silently challenged by your ceaseless optimism about the future.” In earlier remarks, Clinton said to Peres, “You are an inspiration to me personally, as a person who has dedicated your entire adult life to the State of Israel.” She hailed her presence in Israel as “truly a visit among friends.”

The feelings were mutual. Peres addressed her as “our very dear Hillary,” and expressed sincere gratitude for her “understanding and sympathy and friendship.”

When she returned to Israel 18 months later, Peres hailed “her wisdom, her friendship, her carefulness and caring.” Clinton, again, described Peres as “my friend,” saying it was “a personal pleasure, privilege, and honor to be here with you.”

When the two shared a stage at the Israeli-obsessed Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute in June 2012, Hillary called Peres her “longtime friend” whom she “so greatly” admires, while Peres expressed his “personal admiration, which is really tremendous” for Clinton.

Back in Jerusalem the following month, Clinton made sure to “be the first friend to wish [Peres] a very happy birthday,” and expressed “such great gratitude how much I appreciate you, our friendship, the work we have done together and the work that we will do together in the future.”

A day before Clinton’s first official visit to Israel as Secretary of State in 2009, she was in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt. In an interview with Al Arabiya, Clinton effectively dismissed the State Department’s annual report on Egyptian human rights abuses as constructive criticism amongst chums, and declared, “I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family.”

In this context, her respect, admiration, and friendship with Kissinger makes a lot more sense.

Kissinger’s Democratic Values and Love of Legitimacy

In her sad stump speech/review of Kissinger’s book, Clinton assures readers that – though they have their differences -she, President Barack Obama, and Kissinger all share the “belief in the indispensability of continued American leadership in service of a just and liberal order.”

Justice. Liberal. Clinton. Obama. Kissinger. Right. Gotcha. But that’s not all.

The review sheds some light on these supposed “shared values” and the politically powerful’s collective view of American imperialism:

During the Cold War, America’s bipartisan commitment to protecting and expanding a community of nations devoted to freedom, market economies and cooperation eventually proved successful for us and the world. Kissinger’s summary of that vision sounds pertinent today: “an inexorably expanding cooperative order of states observing common rules and norms, embracing liberal economic systems, forswearing territorial conquest, respecting national sovereignty, and adopting participatory and democratic systems of governance.”

This system, advanced by U.S. military and diplomatic power and our alliances with like-minded nations, helped us defeat fascism and communism and brought enormous benefits to Americans and billions of others. Nonetheless, many people around the world today — especially millions of young people — don’t know these success stories, so it becomes our responsibility to show as well as tell what American leadership looks like.

Feel free to continue reading once you’ve stopped laughing and caught your breath.

Later, Clinton makes sure to note – in a glowing review of a book by Henry Kissinger, mind you – that “our devotion to human rights and democratic values” are an integral part of what “make[s] us who we are as a nation.” Adhering to such values, Kissinger apparently suggests in his new swag bag doorstop, is what leads to success.

Ok, I’ll wait.

One would be hard pressed to figure out where exactly respecting national sovereignty, an abiding commitment to democratic governance, and standing up for human rights fell into the policy prescriptions of the either the Nixon/Kissinger or Obama/Clinton administrations.

As David Corn succinctly wrote in Mother Jones, outside of Clinton’s twisted mind, Kissinger is best remembered for engaging “in underhanded and covert diplomacy that led to massacres around the globe, as he pursued his version of foreign policy realism. This is no secret.” Corn continues:

  • Chile: Nixon and Kissinger plotted to thwart the democratic election of a socialist president. The eventual outcome: a military coup and a military dictatorship that killed thousands of Chileans.
  • Argentina: Kissinger gave a “green light” to the military junta’s dirty war against political opponents that led to the deaths of an estimated 30,000.
  • East Timor: Another “green light” from Kissinger, this one for the Indonesian military dictatorship’s bloody invasion of East Timor that yielded up to 200,000 deaths.
  • Cambodia: The secret bombing there during the Nixon phase of the Vietnam War killed between 150,000 and 500,000 civilians.
  • Bangladesh: Kissinger and Nixon turned a blind eye to—arguably, they tacitly approved—Pakistan’s genocidal slaughter of 300,000 Bengalis, most of them Hindus.

And there’s more. Kissinger’s mendacity has been chronicled for years. See Gary Bass’ recent and damning book on the Bangladesh tragedy, The Blood Telegram. There’s Seymour Hersh’s classic, The Price of Power. In The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens presented the case against Kissinger in his full polemical style. As secretary of state, Kissinger made common cause with—and encouraged—tyrants who repressed and massacred many. He did not serve the American values of democracy, free expression, and human rights. He shredded them.

Kissinger and Pinochet

Documents declassified a year ago, upon the 40th anniversary of Salvador Allende’s overthrow in Chile (the other September 11th), “spotlight Kissinger’s role as the principal policy architect of U.S. efforts to oust the Chilean leader, and assist in the consolidation of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile,” according to the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Peter Kornbluh, who directs the archive’s Chile Documentation Project, has said, “These documents provide the verdict of history on Kissinger’s singular contribution to the denouement of democracy and rise of dictatorship in Chile.”

In her review, Clinton writes:

For an international order to take hold and last, Kissinger argues, it must relate “power to legitimacy.” To that end, Kissinger, the famous realist, sounds surprisingly idealistic. Even when there are tensions between our values and other objectives, America, he reminds us, succeeds by standing up for our values, not shirking them, and leads by engaging peoples and societies, the sources of legitimacy, not governments alone.

What Clinton of course doesn’t mention is that Kissinger despised legitimate, popular governments, as they too often undermined American domination and exploitation.

After Allende’s inauguration in November 1970, despite prior covert U.S. operations to derail it, Kissinger sent a memorandum to President Nixon warning of “the insidious model effect” of his democratic election.

Kissinger was convinced that the “consolidation of Allende in power in Chile… would pose some very serious threats to our interests and position in the hemisphere” and that “a successful elected Marxist government in Chile would surely have an impact on — and even precedent value for — other parts of the world” that could “significantly affect the world balance and our own position in it.”

He was particularly frustrated that “Allende was elected legally” and “has legitimacy in the eyes of Chileans and most of the world; there is nothing we can do to deny him that legitimacy of claim he does not have it.” Furthermore, Kissinger lamented, “We are strongly on record in support of self-determination and respect for free election” and that Nixon himself was “firmly on record for non-intervention in the internal affairs of this hemisphere.”

“It would thereby be very costly for us to act in ways that appear to violate those principles, and Latin Americans and others in the world will view our policy as a test of the credibility of our rhetoric,” he wrote.

Kissinger immediately outlined a strategy to topple the Allende government.

Following the successful coup and Pinochet’s installation as Chile’s dictator, Kissinger maintained that “however unpleasant they act, this government is better for us than Allende was.” Ignoring appeals to address the severe human rights abuses in Chile, he later told Pinochet himself, “In the United States, as you know, we are sympathetic with what you are trying to do here. We want to help, not undermine you. You did a great service to the West in overthrowing Allende.”

When Nixon complained that “liberal” press was giving him “crap” about the coup, Kissinger was indignant. “In the Eisenhower period, we would be heroes,” he said.

Kissinger knew this would strike chord with his audience of one. Nixon was Vice President when Eisenhower authorized the 1953 CIA-organized coup that overthrew popular Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh for the crime of nationalizing the nation’s oil industry and not buckling to British and American diktat. The coup consolidated U.S.-backed dictatorial power under Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah, who ruled Iran for the next quarter century.

“By restoring the Shah to power,” Nixon recalled years later, “it meant that the United States had a friend in Iran, a very strong friend, and for 25 years Iran played a role as a peace-keeper in the Persian Gulf area.”

Always valuing imperial interests over democratic and humanitarian values, Nixon made an official pilgrimage to visit the Shah in Iran shortly after the coup. Fifteen years later, as president, Nixon provided weapons systems and military assistance to the Iran on a massive scale, effectively bankrolling the Shah’s prospective $20 billion military build-up. At the time, Massachusetts Congressman Gerry E. Studds called the arms transfers “the most rapid buildup of military power under peacetime conditions of any nation in the history of the world.”

Kissinger himself mused, “[W]e adopted a policy which provides, in effect, that we will accede to any of the Shah’s requests for arms purchases from us (other than some sophisticated advanced technology armaments and with the very important exception, of course, of any nuclear weapons capability).”

In a private meeting with Kissinger on July 27, 1973 at Blair House, the Shah confirmed as much. “I have a friend in the U. S. that is ready to provide anything I need – short of atomic weapons and they are not an issue,” he said during a conversation about acquiring American fighter jets, tanks, and battleships and agreeing to arm Pakistan against India.

Kissinger and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

The Nixon White House – and Kissinger in particular – maintained very close relations with the Shah, in turn gaining a dutiful puppet in the region. This was especially beneficial during the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, when Arab members of the petroleum exporting consortium “cut production and stopped oil shipments to the United States and other countries that were backing Israel in the Yom Kippur War.” With the Shah in power, Iran continued production and export to the United States and its allies, including Apartheid South Africa, throughout the embargo and was rewarded handsomely by reaping the windfall of the oil shock.

When the Iranian Revolution finally forced the Shah to flee Iran, it was Kissinger and a cohort of other “influential friends” like Chase Manhattan Bank’s David Rockefeller, former statesman and World Bank president John McCloy, and National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski who intensively lobbied the Carter administration to eventually admit the Shah to the United States. Carter’s begrudging acquiescence was the main catalyst for the November 4, 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

A month after the seizure of the embassy, Kissinger gave an interview to People Magazine. He had already visited the Shah twice since his arrival. He also insisted that Iranians had no legitimate reason to resent American foreign policy. Admitting that the Shah was “certainly authoritarian,” Kissinger praised his “reforming government” for its supposed economic, education, environmental, and medical advances.

“Not everybody who attacks us is doing so because we supplied a just grievance,” he said, adding that “it must be made clear that challenging the U.S. is not for free. There has to be some penalty for opposing us and some reward for being friendly. Unless we can reestablish that balance, this trend will continue.”

Regarding his belief that the United States was indebted to its former quisling, Kissinger told People, “I have held the position all along that the Shah was a friend of the U.S. for 37 years. Every President, starting with Truman, lauded the Shah’s friendship and his modernizing tendencies and spoke of the gratitude we owed him.” Such a partner deserved “private humanitarian asylum,” Kissinger said. “In light of the Shah’s help to our nation, I felt a duty to help.”

Despite all this, in her review of “World Order,” Clinton remarks that “Kissinger’s analyses of the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East are particularly valuable.”

Atomic Drop

While writing about Kissinger’s diplomatic philosophies and policy prescriptions, Clinton manages to praise herself a lot for her own work as Secretary of State, including what she terms taking “decisive action on challenges such as Iran’s nuclear program.”

As one might expect, this “decisive action” was actually just issuing threats, ultimatums, and imposing “crippling” sanctions upon a country over its refusal to abandon its inalienable right to a domestic nuclear energy program. It wasn’t until she left the administration that the current negotiations got underway.

Yet bringing up such a topic in an article about Henry Kissinger is itself ironic as Iran may never have had a nuclear program to begin with were it not for him.

In 1975, during his tenure as Gerald Ford’s Secretary of State, “Kissinger signed and circulated National Security Decision Memorandum 292, titled ‘U.S.-Iran Nuclear Cooperation,’ which laid out the administration’s negotiating strategy for the sale of nuclear energy equipment projected to bring U.S. corporations more than $6 billion in revenue,” reported the Washington Post‘s Danfa Linzer in 2005.

The strategy paper, Linzer wrote, “commended Iran’s decision to build a massive nuclear energy industry,” and argued that Iran needed to “prepare against the time — about 15 years in the future — when Iranian oil production is expected to decline sharply.”

Working alongside other Ford administration officials like Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, Kissinger engaged in “intense efforts to supply Iran with U.S. nuclear technology” and even “tried to accommodate Iranian demands for plutonium reprocessing.” A directive signed by Ford in 1976 offered access to “a complete ‘nuclear fuel cycle’ — reactors powered by and regenerating fissile materials on a self-sustaining basis.”

When asked by Linzer about the potential consequences and hypocrisy of such a deal in light of more recent punitive and preventive policies, Kissinger shrugged. “I don’t think the issue of proliferation came up,” he said, eventually adding, “They were an allied country, and this was a commercial transaction. We didn’t address the question of them one day moving toward nuclear weapons.”

Diplomatic Double Standards

In mid-1969, when he was Nixon’s National Security Adviser, Kissinger outlined what would soon become official American policy regarding Israel’s clandestine nuclear arsenal. Once Israeli nuclear capability came to light – outside of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Israel refused to sign – the Nixon administration attempted to devise a strategy to deal with it.

A National Security Study delivered to Kissinger in May 1969 by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Rodger Davies noted, “Israel has committed to us that it will not be ‘the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the area’, but there are grounds for believing that Israel does not construe production of a weapon to constitute ‘introduction.'” It further stated:

If the possession of nuclear weapons offered an ultimate deterrent for Israel we would perhaps be prepared to conclude that, whatever other disadvantages this development might have, its contribution to Israel’s security, especially with the prospect of continuing Arab hostility, was in the US interest.

Israel wants nuclear weapons, as was both explicit and implicit in our conversations with Rabin, for two reasons: first, to deter the Arabs from striking Israel, and second, if deterrence fails and Israel were about to be overrun, to destroy the Arabs in a nuclear Armageddon.

In a July 19, 1969 memo to the president, Kissinger introduced a new policy option, wring that “while we might ideally like to halt actual Israeli possession, what we really want at a minimum may be just to keep Israeli possession from becoming an established international fact.”

Golda Meir, Richard Nixon, and Kissenger

Despite the efforts of Nixon officials to place curbs on the program, they eventually “withdrew step after step from an ambitious plan to block Israeli nuclearization, until they finally acceded, in internal correspondence – the content of the conversation between Nixon and Meir is still classified – to recognition of Israel as a threshold nuclear state,” wrote Amir Oren recently in Ha’aretz, basing his report on newly-declassified documents.

The Nixon advisers concluded that, all things considered, “we cannot force the Israelis to destroy design data and components, much less the technical knowledge in people’s minds, nor the existing talent for rapid improvisation.” Thus, Davies wrote in July, two months before the Nixon-Meir meeting, the lesser evil would be to agree for Israel to “retain its ‘technical option'” to produce nuclear weapons.

“If the Israelis show a disposition to meet us on the nuclear issue but are adamant on the Jericho missiles, we can drop back to a position of insisting on non-deployment of missiles and an undertaking by the Israelis to keep any further production secret,” Davies added.

Such “nuclear ambiguity” has been both official Israeli and U.S. policy ever since President Richard Nixon meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in September 1969. Accordingly, Nixon formally suspended all American inspection of and visitation to Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant in 1970 and ceased demands that Israel join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

When President Obama first met with Netanyahu in May 2009, he confirmed the continuity of the secret agreement, a stance one Senate staffer reportedly described as “call[ing] into question virtually every part of the president’s nonproliferation agenda” by giving “Israel an NPT treaty get out of jail free card.”

The Clinton Doctrine

Hillary Clinton’s review of Henry Kissinger’s new book provided her and her public relations team an opportunity to set the stage for what seems like another inevitable run for president. It affirmed her fealty to American imperialism and hegemony, her reliance on the advice of predecessors, colleagues and friends with demonstrably more appalling records than her own, and her firm commitment to continue the failed and dangerous policies of past administrations, all while standing on the same sanctimony and entitlement that got her where she is today.

From hailing Henry Kissinger as a gritty, truth-telling idealist to her role in the Obama administration’s expansion of the American surveillance state and drone program, the question remains: is there anything about Hillary Clinton that isn’t absolutely terrible?

September 8, 2014 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CrossTalk: Reinventing NATO?

RT | September 8, 2014

A military alliance in search of an identity: For over two decades NATO has had branding issues. To justify its existence, it absolutely needs an enemy. In the wake of the Ukraine crisis, Russia now fits that bill.

CrossTalking with Mark Sleboda, Alexander Mercouris and Brian Becker.

September 8, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arms firms implicated in illegal US drone strikes ‘bought influence’ at NATO summit – Reprieve UK

Government leaders watch a fly-past during the NATO summit at the Celtic Manor resort, near Newport

RT | September 8, 2014

Arms firms that provide core military components for drones deployed by the US to conduct covert strikes in violation of international law allegedly bought access to NATO’s summit in Wales last week, a British human rights charity says.

The defense companies concerned doled out up to £300,000 to ‘exhibit’ their military wares at the conference in Newport. Among the firms present were General Dynamics, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and MBDA, according to a British government press release.

General Dynamics manufacture Hellfire missiles utilized in most US drone strikes, while Raytheon make the targeting system for the Reaper drone deployed by the CIA and other actors to conduct strikes across the globe. Lockheed Martin operates as a contractor to provide select support services for both the Reaper and Predator, and MBDA is a European company that manufactures the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Brimstone – a variant of the Hellfire missile.

The US drone program has received widespread public criticism both at home and abroad. Critics say attacks carried out in foreign countries, including Yemen and Pakistan, are in violation of both international and US law.

Although US drone strikes have culminated in hundreds of civilian casualties, they are subject to little oversight, according to Reprieve. President Barack Obama has refused to formally acknowledge the program’s existence.

Reprieve’s Legal Director Kat Craig said it’s “deeply worrying” that a group of firms who potentially profit most from this breach of international law were able to buy access into an international global summit like NATO.

“It is unacceptable that the US’ drone campaign, and the UK’s support for it, has been allowed to remain in the shadows for so long”, he added.

“President Obama must be far more open about it – as must his European allies, especially the UK and Germany, about the support they provide.”

Craig suggested the drone manufacturers’ presence at NATO signaled their inherent capacity to buy political influence “behind closed doors,” highlighting the opaque, illicit and legally questionable nature of much of the global arms trade.

September 8, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

No more nuclear weapons testing

By Bjorn Hilt | International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War | September 8, 2014

A complete halt to all nuclear weapons testing is within reach. The testing of nuclear weapons is already prohibited under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) of 1996.

The problem is that not enough countries have yet ratified the treaty for it to enter into force. Along with 159 other governments, the nuclear-weapon-possessing states that have ratified the treaty so far are Great Britain, France, and Russia, while the US and China are still reluctant to do so, for who knows what reason (www.ctbto.org ). China says it will ratify the treaty the day the US does. For the CTBT to enter into force, however, six other  States still need to ratify the treaty: India, Pakistan, Israel, the DPRK, Egypt, and Iran. Many experts believe that US ratification is the key to all the others. Consequently, the whole world is held hostage just because the US Senate refuses to ratify an international treaty that is vital to us all.

During the past week, IPPNW held its 21st World Congress in Astana, Kazakhstan, with around 300 physicians and medical students from 35 countries participating. Our host country has suffered a lot from nuclear weapons testing. From 1949 until 1989 the former Soviet Union had its main testing site for nuclear weapons near the town of Semipalatinsk in eastern Kazakhstan. During that time the USSR performed at least 456 nuclear tests at the site of which at least 92 were atmospheric, introducing a serious radiation burden into the environment. Radiation from nuclear fallout was far beyond what humans can normally tolerate.

The health consequences of testing in Kazakhstan have been studied in recent years. They have been—and still are—dramatic: excess cancers and other diseases, malformations, and genetic damage. The good news in this terrible situation is that when Kazakhstan became independent in 1991, the government decided to shut down the nuclear weapons test site and to dismantle or return to Russia all of the 1,410 nuclear warheads that Kazakhstan had inherited from the former Soviet Union. The transfer was completed in 1995 and made Kazakhstan a much safer place for its 18 million inhabitants.

Moreover, in 2006, the independent states Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan declared Central Asia a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone and, in May 2014, the five old states that still possess nuclear weapons issued a guarantee that they would never use nuclear weapons against any of the Central Asian states. Good news for them.

As the Kazakhs have seen the terrible long term effects of nuclear testing on their own people, they have initiated an international campaign against nuclear testing called the ATOM project (Abolish Testing – Our Mission). They have called for 29 August to be the International Day Against Nuclear Weapons Testing, and the occasion was marked with a minute of silence in many places while we were in Kazakhstan.

I think that the states that have not yet ratified the CTBT, in particular the US and China, owe it to the victims of nuclear weapons testing and uranium exploitation all over the world to ratify the treaty right away as a concrete and necessary step on our way towards a safer world free of nuclear weapons.

September 8, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If new EU sanctions hit energy sector, Russia may close airspace – Medvedev

RT | September 8, 2014

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned Russia may shut its air corridors to Western airlines if the next round of European sanctions hit Russian energy companies.

siberia_flights“If there are sanctions related to the energy sector, or further restrictions on Russia’s financial sector, we will have to respond asymmetrically,” Medvedev said in an interview with the Vedomosti newspaper, published on Monday.

EU ministers will gather on Monday to discuss new sanctions against Russia and are rumored to be introduced on Tuesday. The prime minister promised a strong retaliation if the West slaps Russia with more sanctions.

“We could impose transport restrictions,” Medvedev said, adding, “We believe we have friendly relations with our partners, and foreign airlines of friendly countries are permitted to fly over Russia. However, we’ll have to respond to any restrictions imposed on us,” the prime minister said.

After sanctions hit Aeroflot’s low-cost subsidiary Dobrolet in late July, Medvedev discussed with ministers the possibility of limiting, of even completely blocking, European flights to Asia that overfly Russia.

“If Western carriers have to bypass our airspace, this could drive many struggling airlines into bankruptcy. This is not the way to go. We just hope our partners realize this at some point,” he told Vedomosti.

Flying over Russian airspace saves Western airlines headed to Asia at least 4 hours of flight time, which adds up to about $30,000 per flight.

Lufthansa said it could potentially lose more than €1 billion in three months if it does not use Russian airspace. Lufthansa, along with British Airways and Air France, are the largest EU airlines. US airlines currently don’t operate over Siberian airspace.

Many low-cost airlines have decided not to launch new routes to Russia, with the threat of sanctions possibly a factor. Last week Ryanair ditched plans to establish a Dublin-St. Petersburg route, and easyJet, another European-based airline, dropped its plans to develop a London-St. Petersburg service.

Medvedev didn’t specify whether the blocked airspace would also apply to cargo and delivery companies, such as UPS and FedEx.

EU sanctions, which will reportedly be introduced on Tuesday, will ban Russia’s three main oil companies- Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, and Transneft – from raising long-term (longer than 30 days) debt on European capital markets, according to the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.

Rosneft – Russia’s largest oil producer – was added to the US sanctions list on July 16 and was put on the EU list on July 29. Russia’s largest independent natural gas producer, Novatek, also was added to the blacklist in July, along with a ban on the export of hi-tech oil equipment needed in Arctic, deep sea, and shale extraction projects to Russia.
Gazprom Neft is the oil subsidiary of Russian gas giant Gazprom.

Transneft is Russia’s state-owned oil pipeline company that exports all of Rosneft’s crude oil, and 56 percent of Russia’s crude exports.

Sanctions likely won’t apply to privately-owned Russian oil groups such as Lukoil and Surgutneftegaz.

The EU will also reportedly follow America’s lead on banning the sale of weaponry from Russian companies that also supply the Russian military, the WSJ reported Sunday. On July 16, the US blacklisted several defense sector companies include Almaz-Antey Corporation, the Kalashnikov Concern and Instrument Design Bureau, as well as companies such as Izhmash, Basalt, and Uralvagonzavod.

“Sanctions are always a double-edged sword. Ultimately they end up backfiring and end up hurting those who are first to impose restrictions,” Medvedev said.

The EU has agreed on the new sanctions but said they could be delayed or even cancelled if Russia shows willingness to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.

On Friday Kiev introduced a ceasefire to calm fighting between the Ukrainian army and anti-government forces, but fighting and shelling continued in the country’s east.

September 8, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

127 Palestinians Detained in Past Week

IMEMC News & Agencies | September 7, 2014

prison_shadowpnnIsraeli forces took at least 127 Palestinians across the occupied West Bank into custody, during the first week of September alone, according to recent statements by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).

PPS said, according to Ma’an news, that most detainees came from the Hebron district, where 28 Palestinians were taken by Israeli forces.

PPS further stated that 23 of the detainees were from the Jenin district, in the northern West Bank, 21 from Ramallah, 20 from Jerusalem, 12 from Bethlehem, eight from Tulkarem, six from Nablus, three from Qalqiliya, and six from the Tubas/Salfit district.

Israeli forces abducted 10 Palestinians overnight, on Saturday, seven of whom were taken from Hebron, with one from Bethlehem, and two from Beit Sira village, western Ramallah district.

More than 7,000 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli prisons, including some 2,000 detained during the massive arrest campaigns which have taken place over the last three months.

See also — 08/31/14 PPS: 597 Palestinians Arrested During August

September 8, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Argentinian figures, groups sue Israel for war crimes in Gaza

Palestine Information Center – 07/09/2014

BUENOS AIRES – A lawsuit was filed on Saturday against Israel by actors, activists, politicians and pro-Palestinian solidarity groups in Argentina, a statement released by the Palestinian embassy in Buenos Aires said.

The case was brought before the federal court of justice in the city of Cordoba.

The case was named “Lawsuit against the Authorities of Israel for Committing Crimes against Humanity and Genocide against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.”

Journalist Serkhio Ortiz, head of the Argentinean committee of honoring the missing and victims, actor Juan Jose-Tutu, and singer and actress Mara Santosho, were among the people who signed the case.

The signatories called in their lawsuit for issuing an international arrest warrant against Israeli figures through the Interpol and forcing Israel to compensate for the human and material losses that it had caused during its war on Gaza.

September 8, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment