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‘Poroshenko fuels war & corruption with IMF money’ – fugitive Ukrainian MP to RT

RT | December 6, 2016

Petro Poroshenko holds sway in Ukraine by channeling western financial aid into war and bribery, while making big money with a close circle of loyal oligarchs, fugitive Ukrainian MP Aleksandr Onishchenko told RT in an exclusive interview.

Aleksandr Onishchenko, a former MP in Ukraine’s parliament, a billionaire oligarch and professional Olympic showjumper, fled the country this summer a week before being stripped of parliamentary immunity due to an investigation into an alleged gas fraud scheme.

He said that the case against him is a setup and the Ukrainian government tried to frame him to cover up a large-scale bribery scheme linked directly to President Poroshenko.

Onishchenko, who said he was a key figure in the complex scheme for two years, vowed to show western sponsors of the Ukrainian government where their money is actually going. He told RT that most IMF aid money is being used by President Poroshenko and his accomplices to fuel the ongoing civil conflict in the east of Ukraine.

“Most of the money they use for the war. I think that Poroshenko is very interested to keep the war,” Onishchenko said. An overgrown military not only allows Poroshenko to reap profits from “war-time” contracts but also suppress political opponents, the fugitive Ukrainian MP alleged.

“All the contracts for this war, even the smaller [ones], like weapons, or some stuff for the army, they [are going through] the companies which are close to [Poroshenko]. They are just [laundering] money … for them the war is like business.”

Ukraine’s president and his accomplices have a stake in all the major businesses in the country now and it’s impossible for someone outside the inner circle to make money in Ukraine, according to Onishchenko, who claims Poroshenko and his team are scared that someone could potentially fund the opposition in the wake of upcoming elections

“Poroshenko is in control now [of] all the state’s companies. It’s the biggest business they’re doing. It’s a chemical factory in Odessa, a lot of state energy companies,” said Onishchenko. Only people close to the president have been put in charge of these companies, he said.
Read more
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko © Valentyn Ogirenko Fugitive Ukrainian MP says he handed proof of Poroshenko ‘buying votes’ to US Justice Dept

“They use this money for political [advantage] for voting, for supporting … they use this money to make Poroshenko stronger,” Onishchenko added.

A scandal surrounding impressive income declarations, recently filed by Ukrainian politicians, brought to attention the scale of Ukrainian corruption, Onishchenko told RT.

He hopes the recent revelations about the scale of corruption in the Ukrainian government will result in the end of financial aid to the country.

“All Europe was shocked after the declaration of the people from the parliament of Ukraine. If you saw, all the people’s deputies, they declared so much cash. It was crazy, like millions and millions. How did they make that cash?” Onishchenko said.

“Poroshenko corrupts them … pays them money for… voting. That’s why they have so much money now. They’re buying … big houses, they are buying yachts and a lot of stuff. They must explain where the money is from. That’s why they put the money in these declarations. After these declarations from the government of Ukraine and this corruption scandal, even what I said to the press, I don’t see that western Europe will support [them] anymore, I mean, financially, Ukraine. Because they see they just use money for corruption and they’ll never accept this.”

December 6, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, Video | , | Leave a comment

Saving Poroshenko? US State Dept offers $800k to Ukraine NGOs

RT | November 30, 2016

Washington is offering a grant of up to $800,000 to Ukrainian public organizations that will monitor regional authorities and secure ties with local media. Experts say it’s a way to keep President Petro Poroshenko in power amid declining popularity.

“[The] goal is to enhance the accountability and responsiveness of the Ukrainian government at the local level through civil society advocacy, monitoring, and civic activism,” reads a US State Department funding announcement, published this week on the  website.

It explains further that the State Department is looking for “civil society organizations,” either non-profit or for-profit (with some conditions) that will provide proposals “to perform a watchdog function and advocate for democratic governance” in Ukraine.

The description states the program is aimed at increasing civic activism in Ukraine at a local level and building and training a network of civic activists throughout the country. These in turn are to keep watch on the activities of local governments and encourage partnerships between civil society and media “to communicate important information about local reforms to the public.”

The organizations applying for the grant must present a program for their activities, along with a financial plan, by January 17, 2017. They are also required to have ties with “thematic or in-country partners, entities and relevant stakeholders, including private sector partners and NGOs” and provide proof of these links or their potential development.

The description states that applicants are also requested to have “demonstrable experience in administering successful, and preferably similar, projects.”

It adds that: “Projects should have the potential to have an immediate impact leading to long-term sustainable reforms, and should have potential for sustainability beyond DRL (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the State Department) resources.”

Among other things, the bureau says it welcomes projects that “advance the rights and uphold the dignity of the most vulnerable or at-risk populations,” with one of the criteria for the selection of candidates being their cooperation with minority groups.

The State Department reserves a significant role for itself in the implementation of the program that receives the grant. It will, for instance, demand quarterly reports on the program’s spending and progress.

‘Chance to keep Poroshenko at helm’ – experts on funding grant

Experts believe that this and other such funding opportunities Washington has offered Ukraine are a means of preventing the fall of the country’s president and Washington favorite, Petro Poroshenko. The Ukrainian leader’s public approval ratings have plunged recently.

According to , in November Poroshenko’s rating drew 14.3 percent of popular support – having plummeted to a low of 10.7 percent in summer. He is still behind former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in the ratings.

 to RT Russian, political analyst Nikolay Shlyamin said: “The activists who will work in the country under this program and for the money from this grant will penetrate [Ukraine’s] state agencies to monitor the spending of officials and then publish reports on the expenditures from the state budget.

“In addition, they will attract the media who will cover the process of fighting against corruption in the country. In this case, there is a chance that the Americans will be able to keep their favorite at the helm for the upcoming presidential elections,” Shlyamin believes.

He notes that the Ukrainian people have become disillusioned with Poroshenko’s leadership, with his promises to introduce visa-free travel with the EU and eradicate corruption proving a failure.

“Under Poroshenko, Ukraine has so far been unable to secure European Union and NATO membership. In domestic policy [there have been] also continuous failures,” Shlyamin told RT Russian.

He believes the current grant is one of the final efforts by US President Barack Obama’s administration to maintain US-Ukraine relations as they have been since the coup in 2014.

“Obama will soon leave office. Therefore, he needs to have time to allocate the necessary financial resources to continue the current policy and prevent future president Donald Trump from building a new line of cooperation with Ukraine,” he says.

Some, like film director Oliver Stone, have called the Maidan revolution of 2014 a , while former US Congressman Ron Paul called on foreign actors – like Washington, NATO or Moscow – to stay out of the country.

In 2015, Sputnik news agency reported that the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – a bureau much like the DRL, which is offering the current grant – played a significant role in the preparation of the Kiev coup. From 2011 to 2014 it was  to have given some $14 million to Ukrainian NGOs which facilitated media coverage of mass demonstrations and organized youth movements.

After much speculation on the US role in the upheaval of 2014, President Obama last year openly  to having a hand in the events, or in his words “broker[ing] a deal to transition power in Ukraine.”

Shlyamin’s colleague Sergey Sudakov said that, given its political significance, a major grant like the one currently being advertised for Ukraine is likely to end up in the hands of someone trusted by Washington, such as billionaire investor George Soros.

“The government must be sure of the loyalty of those who are entrusted with such projects. After all, their goal [is] espionage and site preparation for the implementation of pro-American policy,” he said.

Experts say that under Obama, Washington has been striving to gain full control over Ukraine – a strategically important region due to its location close to Russia. Shlyamin noted that in this “struggle for Kiev,” Washington has been pursuing “soft force,” introducing US democratic values through methods such as education and cultural training.

Indeed, the US government has been known to large sums to work with Ukrainian media, businesses and civil society activists. Last year, Victoria Nuland, the State Department’s top diplomat for Europe, acknowledged that since 1991 America has poured $5 billion of taxpayers’ money into what she said was assisting Ukrainians in building “democratic skills and institutions.”

Grants were distributed through the DRL, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), with the money going to sponsor various NGOs, political parties and media outlets.

However, Ukraine is not the only country whose internal affairs Washington is keen on being closely involved in. Just two months ago it emerged that USAID had  $3 million to Russian non-governmental entities, according to data posted on government website .

The organization, which was banned in Russia in 2012 as “undesirable,” announced the funding opportunity just as Russia was preparing to hold parliamentary elections. The investment was listed under the heading ‘For activity in Russia,’ set to be completed by 2017.

Read more:

US allocates $3mn to back Russian NGOs ahead of parliamentary elections

Brokering power: US role in Ukraine coup hard to overlook

November 30, 2016 Posted by | Corruption | , , , | 1 Comment

Poroshenko appoints former NATO chief Rasmussen ‘non-staff adviser’

RT | May 28, 2016

A former NATO Secretary General has been chosen as a new “non-staff” adviser to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, according to a decree bearing his signature. However, the document implies that the ex-chief is yet to agree to the appointment.

“Appoint Anders Fogh Rasmussen as adviser to the President of Ukraine outside the official staff (subject to his consent),” says the decree also published on the Ukrainian president’s official website.

Rasmussen was the twelfth Secretary General of NATO in the period from August 2009 to September 2014. He was also Danish Prime Minister from 2001 to 2009. In 2014, Poroshenko awarded Rasmussen, who still was NATO Secretary General at that time, with the Order of Freedom – the highest Ukrainian award for foreign citizens – for his “significant personal contribution to the development of cooperation between Ukraine and NATO as well as for considerable support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.”

Rasmussen is yet to comment and either confirm or deny his appointment. Last year, US Senator John McCain, also appointed by Kiev to a similar position, eventually turned down the proposal claiming that the US constitution prohibited him from getting on board.

The assignment of the role to Rasmussen comes soon after Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council adopted a program for the reorganization of Ukraine’s defense industry as well as military in line with NATO standards on May 20.

“We are beginning real reorganization of the defense and security sector in order to join NATO,” Poroshenko said at the time, commenting on this decision. He stressed that Ukraine had not been directly making steps for immediate accession to the Alliance but called the move “The Rubicon” that Ukrainian armed forces and the defense industry would have to “pass” to adapt to NATO standards, as reported by TASS.

The deputy head of the Russian parliament’s defense committee, Sergey Zhigarev, called Rasmussen’s appointment to the position of the presidential adviser a sign of the Ukrainian president’s mistrust of his own people.

“This is a very bad sign. It shows that he [Poroshenko] does not trust his own citizens that entrusted him with leading their country,” Zhigarev told Sputnik.

In the meantime, Rasmussen is not the first foreign citizen in Ukraine’s Presidential Administration as some foreigners even held ministerial posts in the Ukrainian government. In 2014, Poroshenko appointed Natalie Ann Jaresko, an American-born Ukrainian investment banker, as Ukraine’s Minister of Finance, while former Georgian Health Minister Alexander Kvitashvili took the post of the head of the Ukrainian Health ministry and Aivaras Abromavicius, a Lithuanian businessman, became Ukraine’s Minister of Economy and Trade. They held their posts till the new government was installed in April 2016.

Leszek Balcerowicz, Poland’s former deputy prime minister, now serves as Poroshenko’s representative in the Ukrainian government while former Slovakian Finance Minister Ivan Miklos is now the head of a group of Ukrainian prime minister’s advisers.

Meanwhile, former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, wanted for trial on corruption charges at home, was granted Ukrainian citizenship so that he could take the post of the Ukrainian Odessa region.

Saakashvili was appointed as governor of Ukraine’s Odessa Region in May of 2015, after which he brought in several members of his old Georgian team, including Ukraine’s current national police chief Khatia Dekanoidze, who was Georgia’s education minister; Deputy Interior Minister Eka Zguladze, who held a similar position in the Georgian government; Deputy General Prosecutor David Sakvarelidze, who held a similar position in the Georgian government as well, and was also Saakashvili’s lawyer; and Gizo Uglava, Ukraine’s current Head of the Anticorruption Bureau and Georgia’s former deputy general prosecutor.

May 28, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Biden pledges Ukraine additional $335mn in military assistance

RT | April 1, 2016

The US has promised Kiev an additional $335 million in security aid to help Ukraine boost its military strength. Washington also made it clear to the Ukrainian president that to unlock the next tranche of IMF money, Kiev should push ahead with political reforms.

US Vice President Joe Biden held a luncheon with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who is currently visiting Washington as part of a nuclear summit comprising more than 50 world leaders. Poroshenko seized the rare opportunity to touch base with Obama administration officials.

According to an official statement on Poroshenko’s website, Biden has indicated Washington’s readiness to provide Kiev with additional $335 million in security assistance, which would be used to reform Ukraine’s Armed Forces, National Guard and border control.

Last year, the House Armed Forces Committee suggested providing some $300 million aid on the Ukrainian government and offered to “provide appropriate security assistance and intelligence support, including training, equipment, and logistics support, supplies and services, to military and other security forces.”

At the same time, Kiev also heavily relies on a financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Having received $6.7 billion from the fund’s $17.5 billion bailout package in 2015, the third tranche has now been stalled.

Plagued by corruption and deep political crisis, Kiev has been failing to fulfill reforms to unlock the next tranche of the loans worth $1.7 billion. To secure its lenders’ confidence, Ukraine must implement reforms and made scant progress in stamping out corruption.

Meeting with Poroshenko Thursday, Biden reminded that Kiev would not receive international economic assistance unless it forms a new government, “oriented on reforms and cooperation with the IMF,” Poroshenko’s office said.

For his part, Poroshenko responded that setting up “an effective anti-corruption system” was his government’s priority.

Ukraine’s corruption was one of the main topics of Biden’s trip to Kiev in December 2015.

“Corruption siphons off resources. We know this. You know this,” he told Ukrainian MPs, saying that “corruption eats Ukraine like cancer.” At the time, he assured Kiev of the Washington’s support and announced allocation of additional $190 million from the US budget to help conduct structural reforms in Ukraine and fight corruption in the first place.

While in Washington, Poroshenko also tried to lure more investment to his country’s economy while meeting with US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

Read more:

Obama signs NDAA, approving $800 million aid to ‘moderate’ Syrians, Kiev

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US to pay salaries of Governor Saakashvili’s team in Odessa, Ukraine

RT | July 6, 2015

The US government will pay the salaries to the staff of Georgia’s former President Mikhail Saakashvili, who is now serving as a new governor of Odessa Region, Ukraine, Saakashvili said, adding that California police will also train Odessa’s officers.

“Within the framework of Odessa’s anti-corruption pressure, the US government agreed to provide funds for the salaries of the new team of [Mikhail] Saakashvili,” Saakashvili wrote on his Facebook page after the meeting with Geoffrey Pyatt, the US Ambassador to Ukraine.

He added that American police officers from California “will train new Odessa police.”

Pyatt has repeatedly voiced his support for Saakashvili. Earlier in July he said that Washington “fully supports Mikheil Saakashvili and his team, and we will do everything so that they can succeed.”

US authorities have recently been sending other instructors to train local forces in Ukraine. In April, paratroopers of the US 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, arrived in the western Ukrainian city of Lvov to provide training for Ukrainian government troops. Pyatt then posted on Twitter several pictures of the US paratroopers marching through the airport in the city.

Saakashvili became governor of Odessa Region back in May. He was personally appointed by President Petro Poroshenko.

He was also given Ukrainian citizenship under Poroshenko’s personal decree, published on his website, as the Ukrainian constitution says that only a citizen can become an official at governor level.

Saakashvili left Georgia in autumn 2013, days before his presidential term expired. He has been living abroad ever since.

In spring 2014, Georgia’s new ruling coalition accused Saakashvili of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state budget. Georgia’s prosecutors have started an investigation into the case. However, Saakashvili denies the charges against him, saying the funds went towards attracting foreign investors to the country.

Apart from embezzlement, Saakashvili has several other cases ongoing against him. He is accused of abuse of power during the crackdown on anti-government protests in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, on November 7, 2007. He was also allegedly involved in the attack on the opposition TV station Imedi, which was seized by Georgian special forces on the same day, and the appropriation of the founder’s assets.

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Corruption | , , , | 1 Comment

Fugitive Georgian Ex-President Appointed Governor of Odessa Region

RT | May 30, 2015

Georgia’s former President Mikhail Saakashvili, wanted by his country’s prosecutors for embezzlement, abuse of power and politically-motivated attacks, has been appointed governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region.

President Petro Poroshenko personally appointed Saakashvili to the post, saying the former Georgian leader is “a friend of Ukraine.” In a statement at Saakashvili’s nomination in Odessa, Poroshenko said the two had known each other for 25 years, since university days.

According to Poroshenko, Saakashvili “has proven with deeds, not words that he can not only give birth to creative ideas, but also put them into practice.” He added Georgia’s ex-president had changed his country “in the direction of transparency, effectiveness, anti-corruption, appeal for foreign investors, fair justice, protection of citizen’s rights, democracy,” something Poroshenko “would like to see very much” in Odessa.

Earlier on Saturday, Saakashvili was given Ukrainian citizenship under Petro Poroshenko’s personal decree, published on his website. According to the Ukrainian constitution, only a citizen can become an official at governor level.

Mikhail Saakashvili left Georgia in autumn 2013, days before his presidential term expired. He has been living abroad ever since.

In spring 2014, Georgia’s new ruling coalition accused Saakashvili of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state budget. According to Georgian officials’ accounts, he spent the money on parties and expensive presents for his nearest and dearest. Saakshvili denies the charges, saying the funds went to attracting foreign investors to the country. Georgia’s prosecutors have started an investigation into the case.

There are several other criminal cases ongoing against Mikhail Saakashvili. He is being accused of abuse of power during the crackdown on anti-government protests in the Georgian capital Tbilisi on November 7, 2007. He was also allegedly involved in the attack on the opposition TV station Imedi, which was seized by Georgian special forces on the same day, and the appropriation of the founder’s assets.

During his term, Saakashvili personally controlled the country’s special forces. After his opponents came to power, the force was removed from the head of state’s direct command, and its documents declassified.

In February 2015, Georgia issued an extradition request for Saakashvili, but Ukraine declined it.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s human rights representative Konstantiv Dolgov has made a sarcastic comment about Saakashvili’s new post. “Saakashvili, accused of multiple crimes against the people of Georgia, has been appointed the governor of Odessa, where neo-nazis had burned people alive and got no punishment,” Dolgov said on Twitter, referring to the May 2014 fire in which dozens opponents of the Maidan movement perished.

“This is deeply symbolic of ‘Kiev-style democracy’, which the West is still watching with shameful approval!” the Russian official added.

Saakashvili has been a long-time supporter of the current Kiev administration, ever since its heads were leaders of the Maidan movement which toppled the former Ukrainian president in the February 2014 coup. He came to Kiev to support the protesters during the rioting. Before the latest appointment, Saakashvili was Poroshenko’s advisor on reform.

In his new post, Saakashvili says he plans to turn the port city of Odessa into “the capital of the Black Sea.” In an address following his nomination, he said: “It is very important for me to start, because this is going to be a very long process,” adding, “it needs serious change… to bring many more tourists and investors to Odessa and turn it into a real world wonder.”

May 30, 2015 Posted by | Corruption | , , | Leave a comment

Poroshenko violates Minsk deal vowing to recapture Donetsk Airport – Kremlin

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RT | May 12, 2015

The Ukrainian president’s decision to reclaim Donetsk Airport, a key strategic point in the conflict in the country’s east, are in violation of the Minsk peace deal, says the Kremlin.

Petro Poroshenko vowed on Monday to take the airport back: “I have no doubt – we will free the airport, because it is our land. And we will rebuild the airport.” He also promised to erect a monument to the “cyborgs,” which has become a common nickname for the Ukrainian soldiers that fought against the forces of the self-proclaimed eastern republics for control of Donetsk Airport.

Poroshenko spoke at the premier of the documentary “Airport”, which was dedicated to the siege.

When asked if he thinks such words violate the Minsk peace deal, the Russian president’s press secretary said they do: “Of course, they are a violation. In fact, we have repeatedly said that Ukraine is not complying with the Minsk agreement.”

The Minsk deal is a peace roadmap for Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine. Brokered by Russia, Germany and France, it was signed in the Belarusian capital in February. It aims to implement the peace process agreed upon in the September 2014 talks, also in Minsk. Since February’s agreement was signed, the violence in the East has reduced, but both Kiev and the secessionists blame each other for violating the truce regularly.

As part of the Minsk deal, the sides agreed to move heavy weapons away from a demarcation line drawn across eastern Ukraine. The self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic says this leaves the airport in its territory. Its representative to Minsk Denis Pushilin says Poroshenko’s vow to reclaim the airport is a call to arms: “This is a direct violation of the Minsk agreements and a call to military action. We ask that the guarantor nations pay attention to these statements.”

Donetsk Airport has been one of the hottest flashpoints in the conflict in eastern Ukraine for about eight months. In January, Kiev admitted its forces completely surrendered the airport.

During the lengthy siege the airport was reduced to rubble. The casualty count is impossible to verify, with the two sides giving vastly different numbers, both saying they had lost dozens while claiming the opponent had lost hundreds.

May 12, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

The Economist has a funny sense of European values

RT | March 24, 2015

In the same week that The Economist lauded Ukraine’s “commitment to European values,” Kiev’s current regime kicked out Euronews. Who do they think they are kidding?

Ah, The Economist. Without question, it’s is the best informed news magazine in the world… except on subjects I know something about. Take Ukraine for instance, throughout the country’s current crisis, The Economist has been weaving a web of fantasy to its readers. The narrative has continuously blamed Russia for all Ukraine’s misfortunes while painting its post-Maidan oligarchic rulers as being somewhere near God’s right hand.

After wholeheartedly backing last year’s coup, the windy weekly has been unwilling to admit the severity of Kiev’s economic malaise. Instead, it has maintained the pretence that throwing money at its pro-NATO regime will solve all its problems. Anybody who knows the first thing about Ukraine acknowledges that the lion’s share of the dough would be pilfered.

The problem is that a great number of the Western world’s most powerful people take The Economist seriously. The magazine appears both authoritative and credible, and never misses a chance to emphasize its own importance. However, this is “lipstick on a pig” territory. On subjects I’m reasonably informed about (Ireland, Europe, Britain, the ex-USSR for example), The Economist is more often wrong than right. Viewed through that prism, I’m extremely skeptical of the rag’s accuracy on topics I know little of.

In 2005, The Economist announced that Ireland had the highest quality of life in the world. I clearly remember reading the edition in downtown Dublin and that my first thought concerned the quality of the drugs the magazine’s editors were taking. Oddly, I’d penned a column a week earlier for the Ireland On Sunday newspaper predicting a deep recession for my homeland, which was rapidly losing its industrial base as credit-fuelled property madness raged.

Two years later, Ireland’s economy collapsed and a half decade of misery began. Incidentally, the periodical currently lists Melbourne as the best place to reside on earth. If you are in Melbourne right now, given The Economist’s track record, it’s probably best to emigrate before the inevitable happens.

Russia’s strong, determined President

Guided by its pro-interventionist and pro-neo liberal principles, the weekly doesn’t restrict itself to making a dog’s dinner of fiscal forecasts. Indeed, it frequently enters the realm of geopolitics to tackle countries and governments that don’t conform to its worldview. Russia is a case in point. In the 90’s, when Russia was on its knees, The Economist couldn’t get enough of the place. In fact, it broadly welcomed Vladimir Putin’s election in 2000, calling him a “strong, determined man.” By 2002 it trumpeted that “relations between Russia and the West have (sic) rarely been better.”

Now, the same Vladimir Putin is The Economist’s public enemy Number 1 and Russia the re-incarnation of Hitler’s Germany. Moscow’s crime? Standing up for itself and rejecting the Western liberal consensus. Essentially, refusing to pauperize the country to suit a bunch of ideologues in London.

In order to wage its anti-Russia campaign, The Economist pretends to care about Ukraine. The London-based magazine is far from alone in this. Last weekend, it hailed Kiev’s commitment to European values.

“European values like free speech and a commitment to truth remain potent,” it boldly declared. The reason I keep writing ‘it’ is because the article was unsigned, written under the pseudonym ‘Charlemagne.’ The Economist’s journalists don’t sign their work, which is probably for the best considering the kind of rubbish they pen.

The Menace of cliques

The diatribe quotes a scaremongering report written by Peter Pomerantsev and Michael Weiss, two activists connected to the shadowy UAE-backed Legatum Institute. Legatum’s Director of Communications is the former Catholic Herald editor, Cristina Odone, who just happens to be married to Edward Lucas, a senior Editor at The Economist. Mr. Lucas has previously advocated the use of Brezhnev-era KGB methods against RT.

Repeating the canard of “lavishly financed Russian media,” The Economist claims that “cash-strapped, fractious Europe will always struggle.” This is pure hokum. Only last month, Germany increased the budget of its Deutsche Welle news agency to $332 million. Meanwhile, BBC’s World Service has $406 million to splurge in 2015, and that’s just for radio/web. Additionally, France 24 spends around $130 million annually. By what stretch of the imagination is European media financially struggling here?

Snooze and you lose Euronews

Nevertheless, in the same week that The Economist was promoting Ukraine’s adherence to “European values,” Kiev revoked the license for the Ukrainian version of Euronews, suddenly claiming the current arrangement was “disadvantageous”. Now, I can’t think of a less offensive outlet. Euronews is so bland, so insipid that you could leave it on at an Israeli-Palestinian arm wrestling extravaganza and nobody would object.

While a private company, Euronews has received significant funding from Brussels over the years and is widely perceived, rightly or wrongly, as EU TV. The Ukraine edition was previously owned by an Egyptian, Naguib Sawiris, but reports suggest that it’s now controlled by Dymtro Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch and rival of fellow-billionaire, Petro Poroshenko. Some use the label ‘pro-Russian’ to describe Firtash, but I find that Ukraine’s ultra-rich are usually just pro-themselves.

The Ukrainian President has his own TV network, Channel 5, and apparently objected to competition from Firtash, who he evidently sees as a threat. So, it looks like he used his political power to muffle the voice of Euronews. “European values,” how are you?

Bryan MacDonald is an Irish writer and commentator focusing on Russia and its hinterlands and international geo-politics. Follow him on Facebook

March 25, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Arm twisting’ & arbitrary embargoes: Obama’s foreign policy in 7 snapshots

RT | February 22, 2015

Nine months into Barack Obama’s presidency, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation”. Six years on, has the 44th president of the United States lived up to his peacemaker laurels?

Humility and Power

“… our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please… our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.” – First inaugural address, January 2009.

“We’re the largest, most powerful country on Earth… [America] is going to be the indispensable nation for the remainder of this century.” – January 2015, interview with Vox magazine

Torture

“Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law?“ – Candidate Obama in a June 2008 speech in Berlin, Germany

August 2014 news conference: “We tortured some folks… We did some things that were contrary to our values.”

‘Arm-Twisting’

“… might does not make right…Citizens, like nations, will never settle for a world where the big are allowed to bully the small. “ – Speaking in Tallinn, Estonia, September 2014

“We occasionally have to twist the arms of countries that wouldn’t do what we need them to do.” – February 2015 interview with Vox magazine

Embargoes don’t work…Do they?

President Obama announced lifting the embargo against Cuba in January 2015, because “When what you’re doing doesn’t work for fifty years, it’s time to try something new.”

In the same speech, Obama boasted that “Russia is isolated with its economy in tatters,” due to sanctions by the US and EU governments for alleged Russian “provocations” in Ukraine.

Decisions, decisions

“Ukraine must be free to decide its own destiny.” – Barack Obama, speaking in Estonia in September 2014

‘F**k the EU’: Snr US State Dept. official caught in alleged phone chat on Ukraine

Legitimacy to lead

“A leader who slaughtered his citizens and gassed children to death cannot regain the legitimacy to lead a badly fractured country.” – Barack Obama at the UN General Assembly in September 2014, referring to President Bashar Assad of Syria.

“…since ultimately there is no military solution to this crisis, we will continue to support President Poroshenko’s efforts to achieve peace.” – Tallinn, September 2014

Petro Poroshenko’s plan for peace in Ukraine:

International law matters?

Addressing an EU youth conference in Brussels, in March 2014, Obama said: “in the 21st century, the borders of Europe cannot be redrawn with force … international law matters.”

Exposed: Obama states Kosovo left Serbia only after referendum, but there was NO referendum

Partner, not policeman

Secretary of State John Kerry introduced President Obama at the Summit to Counter Violent Extremism as someone who has “consistently sought to act not as the world’s policeman, but as the world’s partner.”

While he doesn’t have the option of “simply invading every country where disorder breaks out,” the overall goal “is a world in which America continues to lead,” Obama told Vox magazine.

February 22, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Official figures not credible’: German intel say Ukraine death toll 10 times higher

RT | February 8, 2015

Burnt military machinery in Uglegorsk. Background: a DPR bus column heading to Debaltsevo for evacuation of local residents from the combat zone. (RIA Novosti)

Burnt military machinery in Uglegorsk. Background: a DPR bus column heading to Debaltsevo for evacuation of local residents from the combat zone. (RIA Novosti)

The German intelligence service estimates the real losses in the Ukrainian civil war at 50,000 dead (civilians and servicemen), which is nearly 10 times higher than reported by the Kiev authorities, German media report.

The information comes from a source in German intelligence, who spoke to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAZ) newspaper.

“Germany’s special services estimate the probable number of deceased Ukrainian servicemen and civilians at up to 50,000 people. This figure is about 10 times higher than official data. Official figures are clearly too low and not credible,” the newspaper reported on Sunday, citing its source.

Just one day before the report was published, the Ukrainian president gave completely different numbers to the international community.

“The death toll for the Ukrainian soldiers defending land from the aggressor is now 1,432. Thousands of people, 5,638, have been killed since April [2014] and every single day the number of victims among the civilians is rising,” Petro Poroshenko said in his address to the 51st Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

The Ukrainian army is reported to be suffering its heaviest losses since the beginning of the conflict last spring. According to the Donetsk militia representative, Eduard Basurin, the Ukrainian army has lost 1,569 servicemen in just three weeks since restarting the offensive.

The situation on the battlefield is dire for the Ukrainian forces. Some 8,000 Ukrainian troops are believed to be surrounded near the village of Debaltsevo in Donbass. Militia units cut off the only road linking this pocket of land to Kiev-controlled territory.

Taking into account these heavy losses, Ukraine is set to call up as many military age Ukrainians as possible. The national military draft for 2015 is expected to see 100,000 people joining the army in three stages throughout the year.

The recruitment effort, coming amid intensified fighting in eastern Ukraine, is being met by a distinct lack of enthusiasm by potential soldiers.

READ MORE:

Potential conscripts evade draft, flee country amid escalation in E. Ukraine

Thousands of Ukrainian troops thought to be trapped in Donbass

February 8, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , , , | 3 Comments

American, Georgian & Lithuanian get key jobs in Ukraine’s new government

RT | December 2, 2014

Natives of the US, Georgia and Lithuania were hastily granted Ukrainian citizenship in order to become key ministers in the new government of Ukraine, which was approved by the country’s parliament on Tuesday.

President Poroshenko has also announced he will sign a decree to grant citizenship to foreigners fighting on Kiev’s side in the east of the country.

Natalie Jaresko of the US, who currently heads the Kiev-based Horizon Capital investment fund, will take reigns at the Ukrainian Finance Ministry.

In 1992-1995, Jaresko served as the first Chief of the Economic Section of the US Embassy in Ukraine.

Before that she occupied several economic positions in the US State Department, according to Horizon Capital’s website.

The position of health minister went to Aleksandr Kvitashvili, who occupied a similar post in the Georgian government in 2009-2012.

“Ukraine spends 8 per cent of its GDP on healthcare, but half of this money is being plundered. Aleksandr Kvitashvili must implement radical reforms as he has no ties with the Ukrainian pharmaceutical mafia,” Ukrainian PM, Arseny Yatsenuk, said as he presented the new minister to the deputies.

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Alexander Kvitashvili, a candidate for head of the Ukrainian health ministry, at a session of Verkhovna Rada in Kiev (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Polinchak)

Lithuanian Aivaras Abromavicius has been approved as the economy minister by the new parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.

Abromavicius, who is a partner at the $3.6 billion-worth East Capital asset management group, conducts his operations from Kiev after marrying a Ukrainian.

“There’s hard work ahead of us because Ukraine is a very poor and corrupt country and we’ll have to use radical measures,” he told MPs from the Rada Tribune.

288 out of 450 deputies supported the cabinet proposed by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, with the new ministers sworn in right after the vote.

“I congratulate the Ukrainians with the formation of the pro-European government,” Poroshenko wrote on his Twitter page.

He told the Rada that he views the foreigners as some kind of anti-crisis management need due to the difficult situation in economy, the fighting in Donbas, the necessity of radical reforms and large-scale corruption.

Earlier on the Tuesday, the president has signed special a decree granting Ukrainian citizenship to Jaresko, Kvitashvili and Abromavicius.

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Aivars Abramovicus (Aivaras Abromavicius), a candidate for head of the Ukrainian economy ministry, at a session of Verkhovna Rada in Kiev (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Polinchak)

Dual nationality is forbidden in Ukraine and the trio has already written applications to give up the citizenship of foreign states, Yury Lutsenko, the head of the Petro Poroshenko Block (PPB), said.

Poroshenko said that there’ll be even more foreigners on administrative positions in Ukraine as the country “must attract the best international experience, which includes assigning positions in the government to representative of states friendly to Ukraine.”

Also on Tuesday, the MPs from Poroshenko’s ruling bloc have registered a draft law in the Rada on amending the Ukrainian legislation for it to allow citizens of other states in the government.

It had been announced by Poroshenko a week ago. This move has been dubbed “unprecedented” and attracted criticism from experts with some calling it “allegiance to the so-called European choice,” and others expressing concern that it can be a sign of Ukraine losing its sovereignty.

Poroshenko also promised to grant the citizenship of Ukraine to all foreigners fighting for Kiev against the militias in the country’s eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

“I’m going to sign a decree conferring Ukrainian citizenship to those, who defended Ukraine with arms in their hands,” he wrote on Twitter.

However, not everybody in the parliament supported the inclusion of foreigners into the Ukrainian government.

Earlier, the MP from the Opposition Block said Aleksandr Vilkul suggested that by inviting people from abroad the Ukrainian authorities are trying to absolve themselves of responsibility for the state of things in the country.

Vilkul colleague, Yury Boyko, said he can’t understand how it wasn’t possible to find 10 candidates for the cabinet among Ukraine’s 40-million population.

December 4, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 1 Comment