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Ill-informed first words on Ukraine by Canada’s new prime minister

New Cold War – November 17, 2015

Canada’s new prime minister is sounding not-so-new when it comes to the civil war that has devastated the lives of millions of people in eastern Ukraine. CBC News reports that Justin Trudeau directed critical and ill-informed words to Russian President Vladimir Putin two days ago during the G20 summit meeting in Antalya, Turkey. Trudeau’s words portend badly for the people of Ukraine if continued.

CBC cites Trudeau speaking of his exchange with Putin: “I pointed out that although Canada has shifted its approach on a broad range of multilateral and international issues, we remain committed to the fact that Russia’s interference in Ukraine must cease; that we stand with the Ukrainian people and expect the president to engage fully in the Minsk peace process.”

The reference to the Minsk ceasefire agreement of Feb 12, 2015 (‘Minsk-2’) is ill-informed or malevolent. Russia was a key international sponsor and negotiator of the agreement, along with Germany and France. Canada and the United States were nowhere to be seen or heard from. The agreement was effectively a refutation of the aggressive egging-on of Kyiv’s civil war in which the U.S., Canada and Britain have engaged ever since Kyiv launched its civil war–‘Anti-Terrorist Operation’–in eastern Ukraine in April 2014.

Minsk-2 sets out 13 very specific clauses which must be met by the governing regime in Kyiv and the rebel, pro-autonomy forces in Donetsk and Lugansk. Kyiv has violated every single one of those clauses. Today, only the first two of the clauses are close to being met by Kyiv–a ceasefire, and a withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the front line of the conflict which runs through the heart of the Donbas region (Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts).

Clause four requires the holding of local elections in Donetsk and Lugansk which would recognize principles of local autonomy. Clauses 11 and 12 require constitutional changes that recognize autonomy for Donbas. None of this has happened. On the contrary, Kyiv has crafted new political measures which block and deny said autonomy.

Clauses five and six require Kyiv to provide amnesty to combatants who resisted its civil war and to conduct a full prisoner exchange with the rebel side. It has failed on the first count, and Kyiv continues to hold many combatants and political prisoners it refuses to exchange.

Clause eight requires Kyiv to end its economic sanctions (cutting of social payments) against the population of the east which it implemented in the summer of 2014 and to end its obstruction and blocking of economic transactions. This has not occurred. Indeed, in the the latest in a string of human rights reports critically examining the situation in Ukraine, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Nils Muižnieks admonishes Kyiv for failing to end its economic blockade of eastern Ukraine. His report was issued on November 3.

Clause ten of Minsk-2 reads, “Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.” Yet Canada, the U.S. and Britain dispatched soldiers to Ukraine in the months following February 12, under the guise of launching “training missions” of the Ukrainian army. And as for the disarming of “illegal groups” (referring to the extremist paramilitary battalions fighting alongside the Ukrainian army), Kyiv has solved that little problem by incorporating the battalions into its National Guard. This effectively worsens the situation by legitimizing the battalions and giving them more formal access to training and weaponry, including from the aforementioned NATO countries.

So if Ukraine has violated the clauses of Minsk-2 so widely, and if the human rights commissioner of the European Union(!) effectively acknowledges much of this, what is Justin Trudeau talking about when he blames a foreign country, Russia, for violations of the agreement?

Trudeau is either being played by the governing regime in Kyiv, or he and his government have decided to play along.

Last summer, Kyiv began to face up to the fact that it could not longer openly flout Minsk-2 and continue its shelling of Donbas. The military setbacks it suffered during 18 months of civil war cannot be easily fixed. Polls of Ukrainians show very high numbers of people wanting an end to the fighting. Kyiv’s economic and social disaster at home is looming ever larger, including an impending default on its foreign debt. And Berlin and Paris decided last summer that a continued war in Ukraine was not in their interest; they had bigger problems requiring their undivided attention. So as of September 1, Kyiv largely ceased its shelling and it began to match the withdrawals of heavy weaponry already begun by rebel forces. This was and remains a significant political setback to Kyiv’s efforts to crush resistance to its pro-Europe, anti-Russia and pro-austerity program.

The one card that remains for Kyiv to play in order to avoid its obligations under Minsk-2 and obfuscate the real situation is the enduring myth of a Russian invasion and occupation of eastern Ukraine. This is what Trudeau is talking about when he speaks of Russian violations of the agreement. He is parroting the wording to this effect that was begun by Kyiv as it faced its forced climbdown on September 1.

Trudeau can get away with uttering nonsense about Russia violating Minsk-2 because the Canadian population has been deeply misled and misinformed about the situation in Ukraine. Parliamentarians of all parties in Ottawa and the country’s corporate media are 100 per cent united behind a hostile, anti-Russia policy that blames all the ills in Ukraine on its large neighbour to the east. Much of the Canadian population knows of no other story of Ukraine than the one it has been aggressively fed for two years now. But the unfolding disaster of U.S., Canadian and European policy taking place in Syria and the Middle East, and the contrast to that of the apparent, early achievements of Russian diplomacy, have growing numbers of Canadians on full alert against more foreign policy deceptions and misadventures.

Justin Trudeau and his government, not to speak of the people of Ukraine, have nothing to gain and much to lose by a continuation of Stephen Harper’s aggressive and hostile policy towards Ukraine and Russia.

The Toronto Star report on Justin Trudeau’s encounter with Vladimir Putin explained, “Trudeau’s brief chat [with Putin] is in contrast with the lengthy discussion that unfolded here between Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama on the crisis in Syria.”

November 18, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Minsk -2: A Rotting Corpse

By Christopher Black – New Eastern Outlook – 21.08.2015

The Minsk-2 ceasefire agreement is dead but no one wants to bury the rotting corpse. Since it was signed in February of this year the Donbas governments and Russia have bent over backward to comply with the terms of that agreement hoping against hope that the Kiev junta would do the same. They hoped in vain.

Poroshenko and his fascist allies instead have refused to change the constitution to accommodate the concerns of the Donbas republics, have tried to suppress the Communist Party and other parties in opposition, have refused to withdraw heavy weaponry from the line of contact, have maintained increasingly heavy artillery attacks on the civilian populations and areas and cut off routes for essential foodstuffs, medical aid and technical equipment. Rather than enjoying a ceasefire, the peoples of the Donbas are under a state of siege.

Poroshenko openly calls for a military solution to the crisis and has increased the draft in the west. The NATO alliance continues to pour in its forces disguised as “advisers” and “mercenaries” and puts additional pressure on Russia with multiple military exercises from the Baltic to Bulgaria, where more tanks have been recently dispatched to “send Russia a message.”

The reality of the situation was stated on the 18th of August when President Putin stated, “It was the Donbas militias that suggested withdrawing all military equipment with calibre under 100mm. Unfortunately, the opposite side didn’t do that. On the contrary, according to the available data, it is concentrating its units there, including those reinforced with military hardware.” He continued to pay lip service to the Minsk-2 agreement, stating, “As for the Minsk-2 agreement, I believe there is no alternative for resolving the situation and that peace will prevail in the long run… “ and continued with “Our task is to minimize the losses with which we will come to this peace.”

There can be no doubt that the Minsk-2 agreements do provide the framework for a peaceful settlement of the impasse but there is also no doubt that the Kiev and NATO forces have no intention of abiding by its terms and are preparing for another offensive. Putin also stated, “I hope that it will not come to direct large scale clashes.” Yet, the people of the Donbas would be surprised to be told that the thousands of shells raining down on them from the Kiev junta’s artillery in order to provoke those clashes do not count.

But what is the purpose of this state of siege? Since the Donbas forces have proved their strength and resilience the Kiev regime has little hope of achieving the total destruction of those forces and imposing its will on the Donbas. Kiev and NATO also know that Russia does not want to be drawn into a direct clash with NATO that could lead to a general war. In consequence the Kiev-NATO axis have decided to engage in operations that have direct political repercussions designed to disrupt the Russian-Donbas alliance or to paralyze it and try to enlist new allies. At the same time they have decided to make the war more costly for the Donbas and Russia both in military and economic terms, and to try to bring about a gradual exhaustion of their physical and moral resistance.

We see this strategy being played out with the constant increase of economic warfare against Russia, which is clearly the ultimate target, the increasing use of propaganda including the planting in the media of the most absurd stories about Russia and its government, the use, once again of the OSCE observes as intelligence agents for NATO as happened in the Yugoslav war, and, in the political sphere, attempts by the United States and Britain to humiliate Russia with the politically motivated attempt to set up a tribunal regarding the downing of flight MH17.

Clausewitz said that “war is a pulsation of violence, variable in strength and therefore, variable in the speed with which it explodes and discharges it energy’ and that “If we keep in mind that war springs from some political purpose, it is natural that the prime cause of its existence will remain the supreme consideration in conducting it.”

Indeed, we see in Ukraine the expression of the Anglo-American-German political purpose: the desire to force Russia to submit to their will. They failed in World War I. The attempt failed again in World War II. The so–called Cold War succeeded in bankrupting the socialist state but the capitalist state that rose from that sad decline is gathering its strength once again and refuses to submit to anyone’s diktats. And so the NATO coup in Kiev, in order to take Ukraine away from Russian influence as the Nazis tried to do in World War II.

But the Kiev-NATO cabal cannot break the will of the peoples of the Donbas nor of Russia and so the constant attacks, the constant propaganda, the constant turning of the economic screws.

These actions are all illegal under international law and the laws of war. They are violations of the principles and articles of the UN Charter. They are violations of several Geneva Conventions and other international treaties. The attacks on civilians are war crimes. The use of prohibited weaponry, in these attacks, is a war crime. The collective punishment of entire populations is a war crime. The use of economic warfare is a war crime. Yet nothing is done by any western government to stop it nor does the International Criminal Court lay any charges where it can. Instead it stands by and condones these crimes by its inaction.

Article 7 of the Rome Statue that created the ICC states, “that crimes against humanity includes persecution of an identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic…grounds.”

Article 7-2(b) states that the crime of extermination includes the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia, the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population.

Article 8 defining war crimes, states that it includes wilful killing, wilfully causing great suffering, extensive destruction of property not justified by military necessity, and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population not taking part in hostilities, intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, attacking or bombarding by whatever means towns, villages, dwellings or buildings which are undefended and which are not military objectives, declaring that no quarter will be given, using weapons designed to inflict unnecessary suffering or are indiscriminate, and intentionally using starvation as a method of warfare. The list goes on and is a compendium of the crimes being committed by the Kiev-NATO axis powers in Ukraine.

On April 17, 2014 the Kiev regime sent a declaration under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute accepting jurisdiction of the ICC over alleged crimes committed on its territory from November 21 2013 to 22 February 2014. This was clearly a propaganda gesture at the time to justify the coup that overthrew the legitimate government. The Prosecutor has not reacted publicly to this declaration nor to its meaning but the argument can be made that if the Kiev regime speaking for Ukraine has accepted the ICCs jurisdiction for crimes in one time frame it should also accept it for the crimes committed since then. One could argue that the situation is so grave that the ICC must take action against any persons committing crimes in a territory over which it has jurisdiction that being Ukraine. Even if that argument were rejected on technical grounds, one would think that the Prosecutor would at least make a statement that the operations of the Kiev-NATO axis constitute war crimes under the Rome Statue and that they should stop those operations at once. But the Prosecutor stays silent, as silent as she was when she served US interests at the Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal and did not protest the on -sided indictments handed out there. As the saying goes, “Once in the American pocket, always in their pocket.”

On August 18th the Russian Foreign Ministry called for all sides to adhere to the Minsk agreements and expressed concern that the “bellicose rhetoric coming from Ukraine which is encouraged by a number of its foreign patrons, causes major concern and clearly attests to the intention to prepare the public opinion for another attempt to resolve the Ukrainian crisis by force. Under the circumstances, all responsibility for the negative consequences of such provocative actions will be borne by the current Ukrainian authorities.” Ominous words.

When the Minsk Agreements were signed in February I wrote an article doubting that the Kiev-NATO side had any intention of using it except as a means of pausing their operations in order to reorganise and prepare for the next offensive. My doubts proved justified.

The only way forward is to resolve the conflict at the political level on the basis of the recognition of the right to self-rule and autonomy for the Donbas republics, the creation of a federal state to assure ethnic stability, and the commitment by Ukraine that it will be a neutral state and not part of any plan to “contain” Russia, a plan that can only lead to world war.

But the NATO puppets in charge of Ukraine do not act in the interests of Ukraine. They act in the interests of the masters of war who have no concern for humanity in general or Ukrainians in particular and if they continue their operations they will not succeed in uniting Ukraine but only in laying it waste.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes.

August 21, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Constitutional maneuvering in Ukraine to deny recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk republics and sabotage Minsk-2

New Cold War | July 6, 2015

The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics have announced they will hold local elections on October 18 and November 1, respectively. The two dates surround announced local elections to take place in Ukraine on October 25.

Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic Aleksandr Zakharchenko made his announcement on July 2. According to UNIAN News, heads of cities and districts will be elected. No decision on the election of members of local councils has been made yet.

Lugansk People’s Republic Prime Minister Igor Plotnitsky announced on July 6 that similar local elections will take place there on November 1.

Interfax reports Zakharchenko as explaining, “In today’s situation, which emerged through Kyiv’s fault, the Donetsk People’s Republic has to independently start to implement the Minsk agreements in order to rescue them.

“We will begin acting immediately, without waiting for Kyiv to come to its senses and return to real, not fake, talks, because any further procrastination and delays will benefit only the Ukrainian party of war.”

Plotnitsky’s statement said, “Recently, we concluded that Ukraine doesn’t intend to abide by its commitments. Kiev either breaks or pretends to execute the provisions of the Minsk Agreement. The Verkhovna Rada issues bills not consistent with our draft documents on matters affecting the Donbass. To date, they’ve refused to define the special status of the LPR, nor have they even begun to write the laws embodying that special status. Besides that, with each passing day, Kiev intensifies its blockade of the LPR.”

“From such a perspective, we decided to begin a unilateral implementation of the Minsk Agreement regarding local elections in the LPR.”

The two prime ministers are referring to the failure of the Kyiv government to respect clauses of the Minsk-2 ceasefire agreement of Feb. 12, 2015 requiring dialogue with the rebel regions of Donetsk and Lugansk as well as a decentralization of powers to them.

The announcements by the two people’s republics administrations are in response to an elaborate scheme by the government of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to dodge the key provisions of Minsk-2 requiring talks and constitutional change.

Back in May, at the eighth Kiev Security Forum, Poroshenko and Ukraine’s prime minister made it clear they will not engage in talks. “We will hold a dialogue with Donbass, but with the other Donbass, a Ukrainian one,” Poroshenko said. He went on, “We must ensure fair elections.”

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said his government would never talk to the current representatives in Donbas. “We will communicate only with the legitimate representatives of this region, we want to hold legitimate elections there.”

Yatsenyuk provocatively said his government would talk to leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics “only when they are behind bars”. He added, “By the way, we have got enough empty prison cells.”

Instead of talks, the Ukraine government convened a Constitutional Commission in April. That body is set to deliver its draft report to the Verkhovna Rada this week. It will propose some cosmetic decentralization changes, but crucially, the changes will deny any present or future recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. The constitutional changes will be sold to international public opinion as proof of compliance with Minsk-2.

Poroshenko earlier announced local elections for October 25 as part of the scheme. Donetsk and Lugansk republics will, of course, refuse to allow a government in Kyiv waging war on them to conduct elections on their territories. This will be sold as proof of their intransigence and impossibility of dialogue with them.

TASS reports Zakharchenko saying in his July 2 announcement that Kiev’s unilateral actions on adopting amendments to Ukraine’s constitution serve as evidence that “the Kiev regime has de facto exited the Minsk peace process”.

“Under the circumstances,” he said, “the Donetsk People’s Republic has to start implementing the Minsk agreements itself in order to save them.”

The following day, the DPR head responded to an orchestrated statement by U.S. Vice-President Joseph Biden criticizing the Oct. 18 election decision. Zakharchenko said, reports TASS, “The U.S. Vice President has most likely not studied the issue thoroughly. I doubt that he has even read the Minsk package of measures. And Poroshenko is distorting facts as usual.”

He continued, “If Biden is really concerned about the future of the Minsk accords, than he should make Poroshenko and Groysman [Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada] implement them.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued a statement on July 3 saying his government is deeply disappointed with what it calls the failure of the Ukrainian government to respect provisions of Minsk-2. He said, “Russia is deeply concerned about Kiev’s inability and unwillingness to fulfill its commitments to coordinate with Donetsk and Lugansk modalities of conducting local elections and its inability to attract representatives of the self-proclaimed republics to drawing up a new constitution.”

Lavrov said that Poroshenko’s and Yatsenyuk’s government has written a new, draft constitution without participation of Donetsk and Lugansk representatives. This “does not fulfill any of the requirements of the Minsk agreements with regard to this document.”

The draft “does not reflect the tasks of ensuring a special status for these territories on a permanent basis and does not reflect the tasks of decentralization of power,” as envisaged in the peace deal reached in the Belorussian capital in February.

July 7, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment